Happy, Happy (ish)

PicMonkey Collage

“…sitting and waiting is one of the most miserable occupations known to man – not that it usually is known to men; women do it much more often.”
― Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber

I waited 16 days for Nico’s appointment with the allergist. I monitored every crumb before it passed his lips. I stared at him while he chewed. I asked him how he was feeling and checked on him while he slept. I was very, very annoying.

One night, after I researched and called corporate headquarters, we went out for frozen yogurt. I barked instructions the entire time and made my patented Kermit Scrunch Face at the rogue peanut butter cup in the blackberry bin. I double-checked the ingredients and sat down in front of Nico empty handed. No yogurt for me that night; they were out of my favorite plain/original (of course my favorite is plain/original) and, besides, feasting on unrelenting anxiety was far more satisfying.

“Would you relax,” said the Mister, as my eyes made a 5th pass over Nico’s mouth, neck, the tips of his ears.

“I’ll relax on July 22nd when we know what happened,” was all I said.

We don’t know what happened. We know that his skin scratch test came back 100% negative for all tested food: milk, wheat, soy, eggs, seafood, and all the nuts expect pine nuts. Since he has a history of pine nut allergy, we went ahead and tested his blood for that. We also tested him for all the other rare allergies (including meat) and systemic mastocytosis. Those results we get in another 7-10 days.

Nico has been fine since the 6th of July. It’s like I’ve heard from so many people already–he went into anaphylaxis, we don’t know what caused it, and we don’t know if it will happen again. It’s not a comfortable place to be right now, but Nico is a trooper and I’m his rabid bulldog. We’ve got this.

The other day the boys and the Mister went and got yogurt without me. Mikey reported on the evening.

“Well, mom,” he said. “Dad and I took Nico to yogurt and we survived! I’ve never been so stressed in my life. Luckily, I didn’t have to ask Nico how he was feeling because Dad took care of that for me.”

“Oh? Dad asked Nico how he was feeling?”

“Every five minutes. Like clockwork!”

Really. You don’t say…”

“Mom,” Nico said, joining in the conversation. “I thought Dad was going to have a heart attack!”

Poor Nico. Flanked by not one, but two rabid bulldogs.

Happy, Happy


In the book Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Professor McGonagall gives Hermione Granger a Time Turner. This hour glass on a necklace allowed the wearer to travel back in time. Hermione used it in order to take more classes during her third year. I want one.

What have I been doing lately? Everything and nothing. I go to school, I volunteer in the library. I help the boys with homework, I cook dinner. On the weekends we try to do something as a family. I find myself returning to journal-style blogging, which is how I used to blog when I started 7 years ago.

I do have one exciting piece of news to share. I’m the literature coach for our diocese’s academic decathlon! We’re reading The Call of the Wild and Heart of the Samurai. I’m so excited, so nervous. Aside from a couple of days subbing, and a semester of helping first years after I graduated law school, this is the closest I’ve come to teaching. I trying very hard to tamp down my naturally competitive nature. I doubt very much the children want to meet with me every single day of Christmas vacation.

(The decathlon is in March! We’re not going to wipe the floor with the competition by celebrating the birth of our Lord!)

So that’s what I’m doing.

Happy, Happy


Fruit and squash


October Collage

Dining room table

Every time I think I’ve dodged the cold I feel coming on, I get a tickle in my throat. I must have caught something in the TK-K classroom, even though I wash my hands all the time. There is a teacher’s in service on Friday, so the boys don’t have school. I have to go, even though I’m not a teacher. Have you ever wanted to not get sick because you don’t want to ruffle feathers by missing something important, only to secretly also want to get sick enough that you can get out of going?

It gives me smug satisfaction to have bookcases that aren’t styled. Old craft projects, rocks the boys find on hikes with my brother, and a post-it note reminding me to check out The Snakebite Letters.

Nico’s teacher told the class about apple fries, and he hasn’t stopped asking for them. I promised I would make them for him, but when I searched for recipes I found out apple fries are literally fried. [insert bug-eyed emoticon here] I want to meet the person who looked at an apple, our modern-time symbol of health, and said, “You know what? I’m going to fry the hell outta this thing. Then I’m going to roll it in sugar.” I’m still making them, of course. I have apples, though I might need some more. I’m going to try this vegan recipe.

I decorated for Fall/Thanksgiving. The boys wanted to go out and decorate for Halloween, but I don’t want to decorate for just one day. Plus, the decorations are morbid. I don’t want to hang a zombie head over my fireplace. I can’t believe I am now one of those moms who decorates for the seasons. That’s thanks to the library. Also, the boys are appreciative and notice the decorations right away, which is motivating.

It’s time for me to move the fiddle leaf fig. A couple of months ago I mentioned that the plant was starting to scrap the ceiling. Now it’s growing along the ceiling. I might move it outside, though I’m worried because the spot I have in mind faces West. I finally bought some air plants for the containers I bought over the summer. Now I want to get some sand for the balls, for looks more than anything else. I regret heartily the long air plant holder-thingy I bought. I should have bought a third glass ball.

Currently our dining room hold book wrapping supplies, legos, a toy car, graded homework, glue, the a fake pumpkin that fell off my door wreath, two cacti, a variegated jade, and Nico’s pinto bean school project. Notably absent: things that belong on dining room tables.

Happy, Happy


After 10 days of searching, I found a rescue organization licensed by California Fish and Game willing to take and rehabilitate Snickers. Up until Wednesday, everyone I contacted said the bird would be euthanized. Snickers was a pigeon, not a California Condor. Pigeons don’t rate when it comes to allocating resources. I understand. But understanding the reasons why doesn’t mean I have to accept them.

I was in the baby bird formula section of PetSmart, of all places, reading a popular online discussion board on pigeon care. I had searched the board for rescue organizations the day I found Snickers, without luck. Lots and lots of UK organizations, but nothing local to me. In one thread I read something about medicine and how you could buy it at bird feed stores. On a whim I decided to google “bird feed stores” and one came up in my area–I’ve actually been there for wild bird seed for our feeders outside! There, near the bottom of the site, was a link that said, “Have you rescued a wild bird?”

Yes! Yes I have!

I called the number listed for a rescue organization 20 minutes from my house–one I didn’t find in the previous 10 days of googling. I spoke at length with the woman and ensured she would not put Snickers down unless it was absolutely necessary. We agreed I should come over and show her Snickers and when I asked her if 11:15 was a good time she said, “That should work because I feed the squirrels at 11:00.”

That’s when I knew she was my people.

I pulled up 15 minutes early and waited at the gate. At 11:15 she walked out with a sparrow flying alongside her. I kid you not.

She confirmed what I already knew about Snickers: I found him when he was days old, putting him at about 2 weeks when I turned him in. Everyone (rescue organizations, vets, friends) kept asking me if I was sure he was a nestling, if maybe I didn’t pick up a bird that was just testing out its wings. The woman at the wildlife rescue organization is the only person who trusted my judgment over the phone when I said I had a very, very young bird on my hands that needed rehabilitation and release.

I’m positive Snickers is going to be happy in his new temporary home. There are many other birds there, as well as squirrels, raccoons, and opossums. He’ll get to grow in a very large pen for birds, and because he is so young, the woman is going to supplement his formula with wet dog food. What a relief he is in the hands of an expert!

Before I left I gave her a $20 donation and took one last look at Snickers’s horribly ugly-adorable yellow fuzzy head.

Since then, I’ve gone to check on Snickers several times before I remember he’s at his new for-now home. I catch myself checking the clock every few hours to see if it’s time for a bottle. Ah, well. Maybe my happy-happy is the tiniest bit bittersweet.

Happy, Happy


When your husband is traveling for most of the month (only one week left to go!) and your boys are in several activities, sometimes it’s best to admit you’re overwhelmed.

The boys have swim practice M-F for two hours in the early morning. I’m thankful because we avoid the heat–though I still had to take Nico to the urgent care on Tuesday for dehydration–but it does take sleeping in over summer vacation out of the equation. To top it off, the boys both had choir, piano, and clarinet in the evenings. Last week I cancelled all music activities until September. Yesterday, we skipped swim.

Nothing terrible happened when I admitted I was struggling.

No one was upset with me for cancelling activities. I don’t mean the boys. I mean the instructors.

Sometimes it really is the little things, like cancelling an activity or finding a breakfast both boys love. I don’t know how I came up with this chocolate shake/smoothie, but it’s the one thing the boys will both eat. This is key when you have early morning swim practice. I mix two cups of dark chocolate almond milk (Silk brand), two frozen bananas, 1-2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, and two-three tablespoons of natural unsweetened peanut butter. They’ve been having it daily for a while now, which is such a blessing. Usually I can get them to eat something, oatmeal, for example, for a couple of days before they’d rather starve than eat breakfast.

Little things. Important. Off to swim practice.

Have a great weekend!