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Why? my blog title "Better2me"

As a woman, mother, and wife my first instinct is to take care of those around me. I nurture those I love in many ways through out the day, but sometimes find myself neglecting me. Recently I realized that I need to nurture myself as well. So this blog is about ME!!!!! What fills my heart; my simple life of kids, husband, animals, home, and creativity. For being better2me leads me to be better to those I love.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

She held many titles.



Tonight I celebrate the life of my sister, Denise. Whose bed was a safe haven on Saturday mornings growing up and whose arms, heart, and home have been a safe haven ever since. Her unconditional love has been a treasure to me and i am thankful she was a large part of my life. I will miss you Denny, but I am glad you are no longer in pain. (my facebook Dec 22, 2011)


my sisters obituary:

Denise Chaldu
56, lived a simple life, putting others before herself. Born on July 19th 1955 to Ernie and Shirley Mason in Pomona, CA, she grew up in Claremont spending as much time outdoors as she could. In her teens, she joined Job's Daughters and reigned as Honored Queen of Claremont Bethel 301 in 1972. A couple years following her 1973 graduation from Claremont High, she met and married Robert Chaldu. The two moved to Chino and started a family. Her favorite role in life was that of mother, a job she perfected over the years. Once her own kids were grown, she adopted new ones in her position as lunch lady at Wickman Elementary in Chino Hills. "Ms. Denise," as her kids called her, was in her element in the kitchen both at home and at work, always trying out new recipes and improving old ones. She loved her animals, was a constant and avid reader and a feeder of birds. Denise left us on Dec. 22nd, 2011 following a year-long battle with cancer. She will be greatly missed by her husband Bob, daughter Michelle (Sam), grandson Grey, her son Marc (Monique) and granddaughter Aubrey as well as by her parents, sisters, Debra Duarte, Sharen Garcia and Karen Rothfus, three brothers-in-law and numerous other relatives and friends. Services will be held on Thursday, December 29, 2011 at 9:30am at Todd Memorial Chapel in Pomona, CA. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to City of Hope or the American Cancer Society .

Today we celebrated my sisters life. I am grateful to the many many people who attended and the out pouring of love and memories. Denise would have been mad at all the fuss that was given her, but also honored. I am eternally grateful to all who have supported me during this time and a special thank you to those who did not know her, but attended today to offer me support, how lucky am I. (my facebook Dec 29, 2011)


daughter
younger sister
older sister
tomboy
danny
honored queen
denny
nurse
wife
mother
friend
cook
bird lover
animal savior
aunt
Ms. Denise
survivor
and grandmother

These are just a few of the many titles my sister held and which are her legacy, I hope I am as lucky.

A Priceless Picture

Until the slideshow at my sisters funeral I never realized how many pictures we have of the four sisters taken throughout the years. From the beginning, when Debra and Denise held Sharen and I in their arms, until this one, taken on my mothers 80th birthday at her favorite hangout, the yarn shop. Unfortunately this picture will be the last, but what a great memory.

Friday, December 16, 2011

What we do for our kids.

Sixth grade at our elementary school is filled with new experiences. The biggest for the kids is the three day trip to Camp Cimi, located on Catalina Island. There they learn about marine life, learn to snorkel, but mostly just have fun. Every year more and more parents want to chaperon this event and so the teachers put roadblocks into place to weed out those not dedicated. Parents have to attend several mandatory meetings, write a letter of intention that they are interested, then those that make it through all the hoops are place in a hat and the number of needed chaperons are pulled out.


With our older son, my husband, would never have even thought about missing work to attend, but with our younger one he has learned how important this is and what a great experience he will miss out on. So he jumped on the bandwagon, attended the first meeting, wrote the letter (with a large amount of help from me lol), and received the notice last night that he is in!!!!!


Below is the letter, that I wish to keep for future reference :)

Dear sixth grade teachers.


I offer this letter as my request to chaperon Camp Cimi for the sixth grade this year. I know that the standards are high and space available is low, so I thought I might offer up some special qualifications, which I have, that might influence your decision.


1. I own a home in Mammoth and would be more than willing to share.

2. I am in good shape (round is a shape).

3. Being in the shape I am, I can help out in several capacities:

A floating buoy.

If no whales are spotted I could swim out in my wetsuit and imitate one.

A life saving device for anyone who might be drowning.

4. Mammoth

5. I could keep Anthony Price in check (ya right!)

6. I just bought a new thong and have no place to wear it.

7. I represent a good male role model :}

8. I only drink when I am alone, or when I’m with Anthony.

9. I am great entertainment; have you seen my impression of a duck?

10. Did I mention Mammoth?


Thank you for your consideration regarding this and if you have any questions or would like further qualifications or recommendations please contact me.

Sincerely,

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My life through facebook.........


Some special memories from my facebook status I want to remember:


Today I feel like Dorothy, but without the adventure, when she gets back to reality and has to clean up the mess from the tornado. Which in my case means one XL trampoline that flew over the wall n a block down the street, some nice men stopped n helped us carry it back, but we still couldn't get it through our tractor gate, a broken windshield on kevs car, a dog who is permanently traumatized, numerous trees down, and no electricity.:) (December 1, 2011)


Thinking of doing an au natural xmas tree this year. No lights, no ornaments, no work,......just a wonderful smell, now if I could just get the rest of the family on board (although it is us moms that do all the decorating work anyway lol) (Dec 7, 2011)

Kellan skyped me tonight, then wanted to show me where he was......next thing I saw was my license plate.......needless to say I went screaming outside. It is so good to have him home! :) (Dec 14, 2011)


Last night my bunco group celebrated our 20th year together, what a blessing to have friends to go through the stages of life with!!!! (Dec 9. 2011)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Hubby!

Recently my hubby was asked to submit a profile for a website he was being featured on and I was lucky enough to write it for him. It allowed me to reflect on all that he has accomplished and all that he continues to accomplish as The Discovery Channel recently asked him to be a part of their special on flying which he will be featured in:


Kevin's love of flying began at an early age as he watched his father’s enthusiasm as a pilot for United Airlines, and grew into a passion that only continues to get stronger each year.

At the age of sixteen, Kevin soloed his first aircraft and at the age of seventeen he received his private pilot license. He graduated from Metropolitan State College in December of 1980 with a degree in Aviation.

His actual flying career began when he became a flight instructor at the age of eighteen at Cable Airport in Upland, California. It is here that Kevin fell in love with the teaching aspect of flying, which still continues today as he strives to mentor and train pilots at every level, whether they are a student sitting in the right seat, a check ride candidate sitting in the left, or a co-pilot on a Boeing 737.

Kevin’s reputation as a thorough and extremely confident pilot caught the eye of a local businessman and a new stage of flying began for him as a corporate pilot in 1981. In 1987 Kevin fulfilled a lifelong dream of following in his father’s footsteps, by signing on with Continental Airlines. Throughout his career he has been a flight engineer on a B-727 and the DC-10, a copilot on B-737, and now resides as an LA-based captain on the B-737.

Kevin’s passion is not one to be corralled. In 1986 he began and ran his own small charter company, KMR Aviation, which began with only two employees and grew to over fifty, when sold in 2003. In September of 2009 he became the Director of Operations/Check Airman for Elite Aviation out of Van Nuys, California, a title he held until of April of 2011. He remains active in the 135 world as a training instructor and consultant for a variety of charter companies. In 2006 he was honored to be asked by the FAA to become a Designated Pilot Examiner, where he specializes in administering FAA type ratings in a variety of light business jets.

Presently Kevin has the privilege of holding an Airline Transport Pilot certificate and Certified Flight Instructor ratings with type ratings in seventeen different corporate jets in addition to the B-737, and he is scheduled to include a nineteenth rating on the Phenom 300, by the end of 2011.

Flying is not a profession for Kevin, it is a calling. Kevin has passed this passion down to his youngest son, Keaton, who at the age of twelve is on his way to becoming as amazing pilot as his dad.

Aviation Roles
Director of Operations, Check Airman, FAA Designated Pilot Examiner, Training Instructor
Special Skills
17 Type Ratings, Boeing 727, Boeing 737, DC-10

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Scheidemantle Adventure

Kellan's ex-girlfriend, Hayley, promised Keaton long ago a fishing trip. She is one to never forget a promise and so last week she and her mom, Cindy, picked him up for a Scheidemantle adventure, which means lots of action. They went up the mountain to Arrowhead when they got a call from Alyssa, Hayleys sister, that her credit card was stolen. Cindy had to hit the nearest bank and after that they decided to do the trout farm, it was closed. As a last resort they went to Puddingstone, where they had a blast and even included a five mile hike to the VOR.

I always kid that Keaton should have been born into their family, because they love to do everything he does and like them he just keeps going like an energizer bunny.

They also have the same sense of humor Cindy told me she was teasing Keaton that his dad needed to find her a pilot and she didn't care if he was short and fat and ugly, he just needed to be nice. And Keaton replied, so I should tell him your desperate. Lol...Keaton should have fun in Cindy's jr high classroom:)

Thank you Hayley and Cindy for making the day so special for Keaton!!!!! Next time I want to go! But not if it is one of your marathons lol.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Stranger in Room 160.

Today, I walked into room 160 at San Antonio hospital looking for my sister, but instead I encountered a stranger.

The person there was the same height as my sister yet that is where the similarity ended. For where my sister has beautiful black hair which has never gone gray, even though she is nine years older then me, this woman had wispy strings of hair making her look like a zombie in a horror movie.

Where my sister has beautiful skin that she took great pride in, this person had scaly dried skin, making her look wrinkled and a good forty years older then my sisters fifty-five.

Where my sister had a figure to be proud of and well she should, as she took great care in watching her weight and making sure it stayed the same as she was in high school. This person looked like a skeleton, twenty pounds less then my sisters ideal weight.

I took a step back at this sight, and a second look at the numbers on the door. Yes, this was the right room number. I began to wonder if perhaps they had given me the wrong room in error. As I turned to leave my eyes fell on a framed picture near this woman's bed. I recognized the people in it; my niece and her two day old son....... my sisters, daughter and first grandchild. The light began to dawn and as I once again looked to this woman her eyes lifted to mine and lit up at the sight of me. I knew instantly that this was indeed my sister, Denise.

In that moment memories came rushing at me, like a tidal wave you are unprepared for. Her smell hit me first. The smell of her is different than any other person I know and it was ingrained in my senses during the Saturday mornings of my childhood. I would get up early and crawl into her bed, falling into her deep mattress and being cacooned in her warmth. There we would stay cuddling and laughing until the outside world made us enter it. I remember her feeding me, bathing me, and even licking her thumb and scrubbing my face with it when I needed to look presentable. I remember spending almost every weekend from the age of twelve on, when she and Bob married, at their home, learning how to be a parent by watching her raise her children. I remember her door was never locked, but most importantly, her arms were always open to me at any age, or time of day.

In that instant, all the episodes of my life that she had been a part of, brought me to a very simple conclusion. My sisters outside was but a shell, but shining through those eyes was the unconditional love that she has always given me and which is the essence of who she is.



My sister, Denise and her Grandson, Grey (three months).
Creating a goodbye "remembrance" necklace for Fe, that including everything from an airplane, to pictures of the boys, to a chicken as a reminder of me, sparked a creative outlet that had lain dormant for sometime. Five of my nieces birthdays falling together allowed me to feed this new obsession and release some creativity.



A bracelet for Cara that I used scrap paper, some "liquid vinyl" type substance and crystals.


Earring made from old buttons (green) for Lauren and the bright colors of Andrea, her twin sister, which I hoped,(and did) remind her of Spain.


My two nieces, Michelle and Monique (who happen to be sister-in-laws) and both having and had their first babies, received lockets.


Michelle, whose son, Grey, is three months old received hers already with his smiling face enclosed....she loved it and cried big tears...... I told her it was hormones :)








Monique's is waiting for that special someone to make his/her appearance.

So much fun to make and give gifts filled with love.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Passing on life lessons...........

My 18 year old son, Kellan, came storming through the garage door, metaphoric steam rising from his being. When I asked him what was wrong he threw his hands up in disgust and uttered one word...."Fe", as he exited through the patio door and into the night.

Seconds later his girlfriend, Fe, came striding through the garage door with anger and frustration emanating from her every pore. I asked her the same question and received a somewhat garbled response "YOUR SON...(unrecognizable word in her native German language).....ARROGANT......(another German word that I thought I knew, but can't be repeated)......PHYSICS....!!!!!! As she stormed upstairs.

I thought to myself, yes, he is my son. Yes, he can be arrogant. And yes, he is all about physics....so glad that is cleared up;)

Enter Kellan again, still steamed. As he walked by I uttered a simple sentence,

"I hear that you are being arrogant about physics, my son?"

Fire flew from his mouth as he began to tell me his side of the story........

"You have no idea how stubborn she can be. We were discussing the fact that if you put a shirt in a plastic bag and sucked out all the air what would happen? She said it would curl up on the edges and I stated no, that because of physics, it would not.....I tried to explain it to her,but she wouldn't listen........"

At this point the giggle, that started when I realized what they were fighting about, could not be contained and erupted like a volcano.

"What are you laughing at!," indignantly exclaimed Kellan.

"Who cares if it curls or doesn't,," I gasped through tears of laughter.

Kellan finally getting the stupidity of the fight, caught my contagious laughter and soon we were both rolling on the floor.

Fe hearing us, came down to investigate and soon too was caught in our web of silliness, laughing so hard she leaned against Kellan and they both fell on the couch into each others arms.

When the laughter subsided I heard each apologize to the other for the stupidity of making a mountain out of a molehill and later when they exited the room I heard Kellan tell Fe.

"Next time we have a fight, we have to come see my mom, she can fix anything" and we all three smiled:)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fear of Change

Maintaining my nightly ritual, I stuck my head in my older sons room to wish him good night and to tell him I love him, only to find his room empty. My heart sank. Not because I was worried that he was stolen by some twisted religious fanatic, that is not my worrying style, nor did the thought that he might have snuck out ever cross my mind, that is just not his style, but because I realized in just a few short months an empty room is what I would encounter every night when he lived in a college dorm several states away. Sadness overwelmed me. I contemplated a life without one of my best friends being there on a daily basis. How would life be different without him here? Was he ready be on his own? Was I ready for him to be on his own? Had I done every thing I could to help him succeed?

His open window alerted me to the fact that something was out of the ordinary and as I moved toward it I saw my son reflected in it's dark pane. He had climbed out onto the patio roof and was engulfed in his favorite blanket with his iPad on his lap. It reminded me of when he was little and sick with chicken pox. He spent several days on the couch cacooned in a quilt with a bowl of ice cream on his lap.

When I questioned why he was out there, he swept his hand across the vista in front of him; including our house, the back yard and the beautifully lighted valley below us.

"I'm just thinking that soon this will not be a part of my daily life. In fact it may never be a part of life ever again.".

Sticking the top half of my body out the window with my head twisted so that I could look him eye to eye. I asked him why he was thinking that. As we dug deeper his fears began to surface.

"What if I don't fit in at college? Am I ready? What if I don't succeed in school, in life, in......," he questioned?

Basically he was telling me he was scared. And I quickly realized that fear was also the emotion that I was dealing with. Fear of change, of the unknown, of the future.

As I helped calmed his fears I realized I was also calming my own.

"Change is good" I told him, "it means you(I) are growing and not staying stagnant." "You(I) have been preparing for this for years...." "You(I) are ready for this!"

As we spoke I began to see fear replaced with excitement and clarity. The pride and deep belief I have in him made me realize that if he can enter this next phase of his life with optimism and hope then so can I.

After telling my son goodnight and that I loved him I crept into bed where my husband slept. My jostling awoke him and knowing me so well, he sleepily tried to reassure me....

"Don't worry about him he will be ok."

And even though a few tears streamed down my face, I knew he was right, Kellan would be o.k., and so would I.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Full Circle!

As a baby, Kellan's MiMi would watch him while I worked. When I left him, my mom would be holding Kellan in her arms and when I returned, four hours later, she would be in the same spot, still holding him. Now it is his turn to hold her:)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The best part of my day........

This morning I awoke to the warmth of my little one, who like his father rises and sets with the sun, who was trying to get me up with kisses and cuddles. I thought to myself, this is the best part of my day.

After the hectic hour, since rising, that is filled with breakfast orders, backpack organization and lunches, I sat down to an empty house with my coffee and my list making iPad and in the silence I thought to myself, this is the best part of my day.

When my boys came home and the house is filled with laughter, and pranks from them and their friends, I thought to myself, this is the best part of my day.

When we sit down to a dinner of grilled salmon and homemade ravioli with mushroom sauce, and I look around the table to the faces of contentment from family, friends and even a new addition of a girlfriend, I thought to myself, this is the best part of my day.

As the day begins to end, and I hear my eleven year old and his father discussing the intricacies of flying, I find myself amazed that his young mind can even comprehend these things. Then I see the pride reflected in both their eyes and the sense of camaraderie emanating from them and I thought to myself, this is the best part of my day.
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When the house is quiet and I think I am alone, my oldest comes down with an issue he has. A life lesson ensues, and I find myself speaking as one adult to another, I thought to myself that this is the best part of my day.

Lying in bed and re thinking the days events I realize that today, a day full of the usual, the norm, nothing out of the ordinary is the best kind of day!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

?????????

What makes you happy? What do you dream about? What makes you get up in the morning and keep doing what you do? What makes you feel most ALIVE?---Headless girl

Thank you Headless girl (and mom) for creating some questions that got me thinking too!

What makes me happy? Being together with my sons and husband, there is nothing like the warm fuzzies I feel when sitting on our old, mouse eaten couch watching anything on television with my three boys. Such a feeling of contentment that can only be felt and not described. As long as there is no arguing, I am perfectly content.

What do I dream about? My sons as grown men, who and what they will be. I also dream of the time my husband will find more time for us, when he finally will be able to relax and enjoy the life we have made. What my garden will be in full bloom; both as a metaphor for my family and literal as my summer garden starts to take root in my head. I also daydream about that children book I will write, the way my life will feel when everything is in place (of course that will never happen :) and my vision of what I want it to be.

What makes me get up in the morning and keep doing what I do? I have learned that at night when I go to bed I have to think of one project or event that I can look forward to working on or completing the next day. It may be cleaning a part of my house, creating something using my mind or my hands, it may be searching far and near for the perfect "whatyamacallit", whatever it is it will make me look forward to that day with arms wide open. Forget to plan this event and the dawning day can look dark and ominous.

What makes you feel most alive? Easy one.....Creating!!!!! Whenever I am creating, whether it be cooking, painting, writing, gardening, knitting, decorating, etc., I feel alive and connected to the core of who I am. My husband says each of us has our passion and that we must follow it to live a life fulfilling, my passion is creating and someday I hope to find out how I can make a living at it, lol.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The men in my life.

Today being Valentines Day has made me reflect on the different "love" styles as they relate to the men in my life:

My husband shows his love with gifts. He wants to shower me with riches and jewels. He saves and plans and instigates. I have learned this the hard way through twenty five years of marriage, by not appreciating the effort this takes and instead focusing on the cost or the impractibility of the gift........did you feel that lag in my typing? That is because I had to get up and answer the door for the bouquet of tulips that arrived (tulips being my favorite flower), even though we specially discussed it last night and I made him promise me NO FLOWERS!, I rest my case. My husband has learned a lot about me though the years, such as he knows I will huff and puff about the cost and impracticality of a gift and then turn around some time later to love it. The IPAD I now type on is one such example. He also has learned that my love language is one of service and thoughtfulness, so last night as we discussed the no flower rule he pulled out two scarves which he knows I love. Inexpensive, so to him not a real gift, yet thoughtful, so to me the best gift ever and that he saw them on a trip in advance of Valentines day and that he thought of me makes me warm and fuzzy.

My older son is all about showing the love. He is affectionate with hugs and kisses on a daily basis. He is the type that will greet you with open arms and come up behinds you and wrap his arms around you in a "just because" I love you hug. Several times a day I hear I love you with true warmth and sentiment. His openness and easy expression of his love is something that brings me joy every day.

My youngest son is just the opposite. Not only is he not openly affectionate, he hates any show of affection. An "I love you" to him is greeted with silence. Try to wrap your arms around him and he stiffens and tries to get away. Continue this type of unwanted assault and he will retaliate with a indignant "stop that". I guess that is why it is so sweet when he does show affection. Sitting on the couch I love the emotional warmth he gives me when he unexpectedly cuddles up beside me. Or the amazing feeling of his hand as it reaches for mine as we walk in a public place, it tickles me, dancing from connection to not, then back again.

I am blessed to have such different and unique love styles from the men in my life, my husbands love is like a fresh water pearl: unexpected and beautiful. My oldest sons is like a salt water pearl: consistent, smooth and perfect. My youngest son's love is like a black pearl: rare, yet breathtaking. Yes, truly blessed.

J

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

They still need their mothers.

Right now as I am sitting in the oral surgeons office, waiting for my eighteen year old to get his wisdom teeth out, I am reminded of so many times throughout the years that I have been in the same situation. Those long days sitting in the waiting room with a sick child trying to ease his fears about a shot or some unknown which the doctor might inflict upon him, or the times he has ended up in the emergency room with appendicitis, or stitches for a foot caught on a boat prop. As a mother my fears equal his, yet I am unable to show it because it is my job to ease his fears and walk him through it, so that he might gain the skills himself for the future.

Recently, knowing that he is a young man skilled in so many areas of his life and that he is quickly heading towards independence, I have found myself torn; glad on one hand that I have done my job well and sad on the other that my job is almost done. Today however, I realized that my job may be coming to an end, but that my role of mother is far from over. For today my sons eyes still searched for mine, just as he did years ago, when fear comes into the equation. When he was unsure of what is required or requested he referred to me to make the decisions. But most importantly, as I left him to the surgeon I gently touched his head, too old now to pull him on my lap and calm his fears, and I heard him sigh with relief.

I am proud that my son is turning into such an amazing man, yet glad that my simple touch still brings him such comfort.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Today I am blessed!!!!

I wonder sometimes if it us, our hormoneS, our brains, and our viewpoints that decide how we look at things or is the outside world that influences us most.

Today I have to assume it is us, or me to be more precise, because today, even though every thing is not peachy keen,(in fact far from it) I am happy.

My sister is struggling with the fact that her life might be shortened due to a cancer her body is fighting with all it's might, yet today I chose to overlook the fact that they found hot spots in her brain and that she will have radiation to eliminate them and instead I concentrate on the positive. The fact that it could be so much worse. They caught it early, it has not metastasized, she is young and her body can better fight it, and she will be around to welcome her first grandchild into the world:)Brings me hope for those days ahead.

Second I always worry about Keaton and today I am very at ease about him. Yesterday he went to a bday party with trepidation because they where going to Victoria Gardens, to walk around, something that makes him nervous because it is new. he had a blast and "laughed the whole time there". What was even more gratifying was the comments about Keaton from some of the parents at the BBQ afterward and the kids who he hung around with. They praised Keaton for his quick wit, his manners and his ability to make them laugh. The boys are ones from his soccer team a few years ago and are two to three years older then him, yet all I heard and saw from them was mutual respect and friendship. I have realized that I need to take keatons opinion more often. He knows the kids he fits in with and were he feels comfortable. Even though I know Keaton's I.Q. is high. I worry because of his inability to learn in the meaner that most kids do I worry that information we be lost to him. However I have seen how this week implementing the rigYht learning environment can allow Keaton to excel. I am so excited for his future and my abyility to see it clearly.

Lastly, today I got to spend some early morning time with Kellan as he got ready to go to the academic decathlon. Usually, it would make me realize how short amount of time we have together before he goes away to college. Today it just reminded me how lucky I have been to have him all these years. I enjoyed the fact that he still took my opinions to heart and was thankful for them. When he came home, he told me everything that occurred, just as he does everyday when he gets home from school, but sometimes I took take advantage of what a gift this is. Hearing him want to tell me all the details was like receiving a rare jewel. At the end he stated that his English teacher reminds him so much of me. When I asked him why he said she is smart, easy to talk to and a good listening and (this is Kellan) she is short.

Today I am so blessed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Many things have resolved this week, some of which I never thought would be resolved, for this I am very grateful, but I also realize some things are just a part of my life, my brain wiring, and from these I may never be totally at ease.

This week I was directed by a friend to a blog of a woman whose daughter has NLD. She writes so eloquently and I feel her pain for I have felt it too, as a dr she knows the reality of her daughters disability, but as a mother she aches every day for her inability to make things better. Reading her blog has made me realize I am not alone and also has made me realize how lucky I am that Keaton is very dis-similar to her daughter. It got me thinking that perhaps Keaton's disability, which I know is caused by his hydro, may not be the typical NLD, but one that has more to do with hydro issues vs genetic. As I dug deeper and researched it more, I found that many drs feel the same way.

Imagine my surprise when I complimented her on her blog and mentioned that Keaton hydro had contributed to his issues, and she responded that she too had a son born with hydro. When discussing it further we realized that our stories from pg thru birth are almost exactly alike, down to what drs told us and how amazing our ysbo are doing now. They even both have hyper sense of smell and very easy gag reflexes. At first, I was sad that even though they were so much alike her son( who is several years younger then Keaton) has no issues, yet Keaton does. But as we continued our conversation, I realize that perhaps they are very similar and that she only compares him to her daughter and that her son is more normal then different. It made me see Keaton has more normal than different and I was able to finally put his issues in perspective. Learning will be harder for him, but he does not have many of the trade marks or severity of other kids with NLD. I now believe in Keaton's issues being more about how he learns, oral and verbal learner, and that he can learn anything if presented right and repeated enough. This can be seen in how quickly and well he is learning to fly.

She was also able to give me medical information, such as the fact that kids with ventriculomegaly(a term I have never heard of and different than hydro because it is just enlarged ventricles, with no genetic or physical reason why, which is what Keaton has), tend to do very well. She also led me to sites that shows that nothing I could have done would have contributed to it. A guilt that has been haunting me ever since Keaton's second grade teacher suggested it.

This revelation allows me to look at things different. Such as this week when Keaton's soccer coach gave him the award for most versatile player and awarded him the player who put forth the most effort, I was proud of him and felt the coach had gotten him just right. But Keaton was disappointed. Why? because he would have rather gotten the friendship award, which would mean he attracted friends "like magnets". Usually I would worry that he was having trouble with friendships, but this experience with Kris and her blog allowed me to see it in a different light. Keaton does make friends, true he is harder to get along with then some kids, due to his black and white personality and loud voice, but he is also easier then others. At the same age, his brother, who is Mr. Social today, also had the same difficulties.

Then,when Keaton was hurt, emotionally and physically, by someone he thought was a friend this week, I was able to go to the parents and express how hurt Keaton felt, when usually I would have questioned his involvement. This showed me how wrong I had been towards him. And when the parent of the other child started to blame Keaton, I could, with certainly, know that the story Keaton gave me was the truth.

So, even though this has brought me some piece of mind, I still realize that it is all on my shoulders to make sure Keaton succeeds in the goals he wishes to. The weight of making sure this happens and that I don't over do things, nor under do things is sometimes overwhelming. What is too much or what is not enough? This will always haunt me as teachers look at me in annoyance when I ask for extra information to help him. or even from himself when he would rather be out playing soccer then reading "that" story one more time to give him better comprehension.

So even though I have resolved so much, I still ache over my inability to make it better for Keaton, just like Kris does.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Christmas Story








The "season" has come and gone and looking back I can say that although it was not the most enterprising year, it was the most relaxing year, due to a number of factors.

First, usually the day after Thanksgiving I start whining about getting the Christmas tree. We leave for Mammoth the day after Christmas and thus take it down Christmas night, so if I am going to put the work in by decorating it, I also want to enjoy it. But this year I decided not to push it. A week before Christmas my hubby asked me when we would get the tree, and I stated that we were not, due to the time constraints and the work involved. He stepped up to the plate and organized our tree expedition. The four of us rode the two tractors and hay wagon, down the middle of Archibald and picked out the cheapest, but still nice, tree we could find. It was a wonderful experience that I hope will become a tradition. When we got home hubby once again organized the troops and we decorated the tree, but we left the rest of the house bare.


The next thing I did that made life easier was that I started way in advance. I decided to make most of my Christmas presents this year. Even though we only buy, on my side of the family, for the person we picked, I decided to make some smaller gifts for those I wanted too. Several months in advance found me knitting hats for all the men in my life and even some that weren't, such as Kellan's teachers (who requested them after they saw Kellan's), and several of his friends. For the girls such as Fe, Jill, and Tina, I made braided knitted headbands (Fe wears hers every time I see her:) Keaton's pg teacher got knitted fruit hats for her twins, as did Michelle's baby "Nagashima". My handmade ornament this year was knitted chickens that went to all the kids. Handmade stitch markers went to all of the women in my mom's knitwit group and friends who knit such as Mary, Michelle and LaDonna. Sets of handmade cards were also a fun gift to give those who have everything. All these projects were made and wrapped, along with all the bought presents, several days in advance of Christmas. This years wrapping consisted of wrapping paper that looks like knitted garments in red and green along with homemade tags and ribbon.

A holiday free of stress also occurred in great part due to my hubby:), who took care of all the boys presents. Kellan received an iPad(as did I ), along with two large gift cards to REI and the bike store, along with some smaller presents, which I bought. Keaton received the flight simulator, which he wrote a hundred times to Santa, a xbox 360, obtained with reward points from Marriots reward system and a fishing pole he has been coveting, along with some games which he and I can play together. Kev is the only one who did not make out like a bandit, in part because I could never be as extravagant as he, but also due to the fact that he buys what he wants, such as his second John Deere 1940B tractor that arrived recently from Iowa. Plus my husband is one of those unique people who enjoys showing his love through gifts, he just doesn't realize that he is the best gift of all.

Really the only stressful thing I tackled was at the last minute I decided to have Christmas eve dinner for all of our friends who have no place else to go, to tell the truth it was one of the best times we have had, filled with friends, kids, and laughter. I think it too might become a tradition.

So all in all it was one of the best Christmas seasons ever. Next year I would like to take the lessons I learned this year; letting go of perfection, allowing others to help, and starting in advance, and mesh it with past traditions which I have let go; such as more elaborate decorating, several small get togethers, and really remembering what the season is about.

about me

Alta Loma, California, United States
I am a wife of 28 years to Kevin, a pilot, a mother of 22 year old Kellan and 15 year old Keaton. I am caretaker to a zoo of animals including dogs, cats, chickens, fish, birds, turtles, etc. I am a gardener, a cook, a writer, a painter, a teacher, and I am truly blessed to be able to live life the way I wish too.