Ah, it is finally here #Kids #School #Summer


(My wife and other people will be jealous when they read this, and I am sorry for that)

This morning my alarm went off later than it previously had. Last night I was even able to delete my early alarm. I then hit my snooze alarm a few times. And was able to leisurely get up a good hour later than I had been getting up.

I then performed my normal morning routine of making my lunch, showering, dressing, making and eating breakfast. I cleaned the kitchen from my dishes and last nights remainders. Made sure the rest of the house was cleaned and ready for the day. Then left the kids with the simple instruction to pick up after themselves and left for work.

I did not get up early and work out, as I hoped to do. But this was just the first day of summer vacation. And I am not going to beat myself up for that. Instead, I am going to focus on the relaxed feeling I am getting from this. On the well being I get from a simple good night’s rest, and a chance to relax a little in the morning.

Granted Jimmy still has a couple of days left. After that, I will be asking more from the kids. But for now, for this week, I am just going to enjoy this as much as the kids do.

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Finding my way through it all today #Mentalhealth


I didn’t sleep great last night. The dogs woke me up twice. But that has happened before. But for some reason, my stupid brain picked today to fuck with me. I am hyper aware of every little flaw and small thing that bothers me. I know now from experience that I just have to ride this out. That by tomorrow things should get back to normal.

In the meantime, I just have to pick and choose my fights. Do my best to keep myself mentally isolated so the hyper-awareness does not drag me down. It is a strange feeling. I wish I did not have to cope with this. But I can at least be thankful for the awareness that it is only temporary. And that I know what is causing it. And that I work the kind of job where I am not constantly under a barrage of the kind of input that would overwhelm me.

On the plus side, we at least know where Danny will be for school next year. I called the one school where we were waiting on his permit. And they said that they would not be able to give a firm answer until August.

Kim made the very good point that we should just put him in the neighborhood school after all. And not worry anymore about wait lists. Because waiting until August, having him ready for one school, and then switching him, would not be good for him. Throwing that kind of uncertainty and change at my mini-me would be really tough on him. All of which means that we will just withdraw the permit application and put him in the local school.

This does have the advantage of knowing that he will be going into a smaller environment, which will be better for him. He will still have his family supporting him socially. And he will have Scouts as well for support. As an added benefit he will get the chance to make more neighborhood friends. It is the opposite of my own experience, but one I think will benefit him. He will go from the magnet school where his classmates come from all over town to the neighborhood school.

Academically I think he will be fine. With his reading issues, he needs to be somewhere where he can get some level of individual attention. And being in the smaller school the odds of that increase. With him, it is not as much of an issue to be challenged academically at this point. He has a long way to go academically and I do think that being in a larger school the odds of him being ignored are greater.

Even on a day when my stupid brain is being annoying I can find some positives. And focus on those. And do my best to ignore all the other little stuff that threatens my mental well being.

 

With few options, made the most of it #Kids #life


There were some plans for the weekend. But most of them fell apart in the face of the weather. Which is okay because we made the most of it anyway. The necessary things got done. And we still had some fun amidst the snow and rain.

There was some hope for a trip to Denver on Saturday, to get the passes to the amusement park, and maybe a short museum visit. But the sketchy weather put an end to that idea. But we did get some things done. Kim did a spring cleaning of Emily’s wardrobe. Danny got some new shoes. And Jimmy got a lot of school work made up over the course of the weekend. So it was a good weekend as far as the basic weekend projects.

Jimmy did get to have some fun. Going to a birthday party for a couple of hours on Saturday. He also helped Danny pick out a new game for the Xbox, which they proceeded to paly a lot over the course of the weekend. It was good to see them playing together and having fun. Especially considering that Danny had been suffering from a bug last week.

I still went up to Denver on Sunday for my game. The driving was fine, just a lot of wet snow and rain, with nothing on the roads. And Kim managed to keep the whip cracking on the kids over the course of the day to get the house ready for the week.

Kim and I watched a lot of TV over the weekend. Which is what happens when you are shut in by the weather, but do not have the motivation to undertake any major projects. I was fine with that, it is one of those things that we enjoy doing together.

We had a brief visit from my sister on Friday night. It was nice to see her and get caught up. Even if the kids were not exactly on their best behavior.

And now today I can start a month fresh, with some hopes and plans. And hopefully the weather will cooperate in coming weekends. And count down the last few weeks of the school year.

It’s Friday, what’s not to like? #Life #Kids


Well, this has been a tough week. Jimmy had to suffer through a migraine, putting him even further behind. I had some tough mental health days. I had some work issues. Kim was trying to get things ready for the coming weekend. And we all had a bit of a hangover from 2 weekends of hosting family gatherings. But today is Friday and we can put all of that behind us.

Jimmy had a migraine this week. 3 days of no school work. Which unfortunately put him even further behind on school work. Which means this coming weekend is going to be a bit of a boot camp for school work for him. Since I will be home with him, and we have nothing else to do I will be able to focus on him, his school work, and limiting extra-curricular screen time. When he gets these it affects all of us because I know for me there is a real feeling of hopelessness.

There is nothing I could do for those mental health days. I just had to ride them out. It wasn’t helped by my co-worker pulling a jerk move. Which put me in a real foul mood yesterday. But it is done, I survived, and did not do anything harmful. So I forgive myself for slacking on some things, and get back to regular healthy practices.

Kim and Danny are going to be gone for 2 nights. This is a bit of an unusual Boy Scout camping trip. They have an annual trip where the parents go along and do the cooking for the Scouts. The Scouts get to have fun. They will also be performing a service project. But the big thing is that Danny will go on a camping trip with the Boy Scouts, which is good for him, to get in with the troop and do something beyond the weekly meetings.

The other positive is that we are not hosting anything and I have no major projects. After 2 weekends of hosting family gatherings and doing a major house project, this is a welcome change. I have a list of things I want to get done. I also have a meal planned with one of my good friends. And at least one movie reserved for the weekend. I hope to do some outdoor work, take advantage of the decent weather.

I will admit that finally getting to wear my shorts and enjoy the sun does have something to do with my improved mood this weekend. Nice weather is a proven mood changer. And I look forward to getting things done around the yard to improve its looks.

Yeah, it was not the easiest week. But we can put it behind us. Shift gears and do some good, constructive, things. And also have some fun in the nice weather. Do things that will make us feel good, instead of focusing on the things that drive us crazy.

Dealing with the end of the world, and the illusion of choice #Kids #Parenting #Mentalhealth


Gee, just what I wanted the week after vacation. One kid going through all the symptoms of teenage angst. And another being too sick to go to school for 3 days. And being forced to scramble a little for school options in the face of the reality of illusory school choice. It is more than enough to make me want to scream. Instead, I am focusing on trying to breathe, and not being hard on myself for subconscious negative responses.

Danny caught some bug, hit him hard on Monday, he missed school Tuesday and Wednesday. He is out again today. He could have gone today. But I was still tired from the battles with Jimmy, so I let him have another day of rest. He is getting away with a little bit this week because I am focused on other issues, I know that. I don’t think it will be the end of the world for him, though. Unlike how his brother feels.

Ah, the joys of raising a teenager. When every setback is treated like the end of the world. When appeals to reason fall on increasingly deaf ears. And the ability to focus is almost nonexistent. Out of respect for his privacy, I will not go into all the troubles that Jimmy is facing. Suffice to say that he is in enough trouble that we had to crack down pretty hard on him last night. And his response by the end of the night was to feel like his very world was ending. I vaguely remember those years, they sucked. So I empathize. But that doesn’t mean that there will not be punishment, just that I feel bad for him. It is not an easy world to be in for a teenager.

Back to Danny, and school, and the biggest issue I am facing this week. We know Danny, he is a very tender-hearted guy, has a hard time mixing in with new kids. He is getting better, but you don’t change or grow out of that overnight, I know from personal experience. That means we have to take that into account when it comes to things like school choices. On top of that is his learning problem, which means he is on an IEP.

Knowing all of this we did not think that our close neighborhood school would be a good fit for him when he moves to Middle School next year. We did what we were supposed to do, and submitted his choice permit on the very first day we could for the school that Jimmy went to, his cousins attended and his close cousin will be at. And we waited and waited. Coming up very soon is his annual IEP review, which his future Middle School Special Ed person would ideally attend. At the beginning of this week, I grabbed the bull by the horns and called the school to see where he stood. This is where I get mad. Because he is close to the top of the wait list, number 7, despite the fact that Kim was there to turn in his application on the very first day it could be turned in. But I was told that because he is on an IEP, that if they get to his spot on the list but there is no special ed spot he will still not get in.

Intellectually I get this. I know more than a few special ed teachers, and I know that there is a limit to the number of kids they can deal with. I get that. But to be told that, because of his disability, my son might be forced to attend a school that will create more problems for him emotionally is just crushing. I now know exactly what my parents felt like (not from the disability side but from the emotional stability side I went to a different school than my peers.) The truly frustrating part is that everyone trumpets the concept of school choice when that choice is really an illusion. Because all that choice is really doing is resulting in poor schools getting poorer, while everyone flocks to the richer schools.

We are scrambling a little bit at this point. Figuring out how to make things work. I have some confidence that we will be able to do so. But that is just one more thing to face this week when I am already dealing with sickness, anxiety and emotional angst from the kids.

All of this is why I went out for lunch yesterday and had an unhealthy but comforting meal of junk food. I know why I felt that need. And knowing that, I am not being too hard on myself for doing so. It is a reasonable response to everything that is going on. I didn’t hurt anyone one. It didn’t even hurt me in the long run. It was just a blip, an emotional response to a difficult week. And because of that, there is no reason to get upset about it or feel bad. I have a lot on my mental and emotional plate right now. Just do it, and move on.

It’s going to be interesting #Health #Mentalhealth


I spent yesterday afternoon at Urgent Care. The Cough was just becoming too bad again, and I wanted to be sure it was not something worse. Good for me that it all came back okay, I got a breathing treatment, but negative on bronchitis and pneumonia. So I have an inhaler and prednisone for a couple of days and the doctor thought I should be clear by Monday. The only real effect I can see so far is I do have a small case of the shakes, probably from the steroids. She told me that I might be a little more emotional taking this. I gave the family fair warning, that I might be a little nuttier than I normally am.

Danny has been sick this week. Mostly a stomach bug. Saw the doctor who said there is one floating around, so it is not too odd that he has one, and in fact, validates his having one. The twist is that this weekend is his first Boy Scout campout. These are different  from Cubs, no parents along. I am sure that this stomach ailment is magnified by his anxiety about the campout. That’s a big step for him. This morning he asked if he was still feeling bad after school if he had to go on the campout. I’m torn on this one. My softy parent side says sure, this is not a mandatory formation, not all the Scouts will be there. My hard guy says no, you committed to doing this, you need to stand by that commitment. But the real issue is this. I know from own experience that I did not do a lot of stuff when I was younger because of my own anxiety issues. And that’s a big deal because no one wants to have regrets, I missed out on a lot. On the other hand, I completely understand that instinct to look at this new thing, this challenge and say hell no I don’t want any part of being challenged. At this point the jury is out, it will depend on how he is after school (and how hard Kim want to be.)

Otherwise, this is a pretty empty weekend for the family. There is the Wrestling club banquet. Which used to be something I looked forward to as they held it all the swimming pool where I am comfortable. But this year they changed locations. To a church that is walking distance from the house so if I want to bug out, or Emily wants to, we can easily just walk home. But Sunday is clear so maybe we can finally tackle some household things we want to get done.

One of the things that I have begun to realize in recent years is how much our physical health affects out mental health and vice versa. I knew it before, or at least, I had an intellectual understanding of it. But I had not really grokked it until now. The good thing is that because I can see and feel it for myself, I know that a lot of why I have felt so troubled this week was because I was fighting this never ending bug. And now I can apply that knowledge as a parent and help my kids get through the same thing.

One journey completed, another one begun #Kids #Scouts


About 4 years ago Kim thought it would be a good idea for Danny to check out Cub Scouts. He was never going to be into sports like Jimmy. Nor was he all that musically inclined. And it is good for a kid to have at least one extra-curricular activity. It has been a good time. Some ups and some downs. But last night all that time and work paid off.

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Danny received his Arrow Light, signifying that he had completed his journey as a Cub Scout. He crossed over the bridge and officially became a Boy Scout.

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When he and his cousin BamBam joined they were part of a 20 boy group that all came in at once. They had to split them up during meetings because there were so many of them. Now, years later, many miles hiked, and several camping trips under their belt that group of twenty ended up with 9. And that is pretty good in this day and age.

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Danny was awful excited last night. This has been a real good week for him. He has been feeling good, and pretty energetic. And he is not hesitating to jump in. He will be selling Scout discount cards on Saturday for his troop. And he will join his first camping trip in 2 weeks. Which is good for him, he needs to not lose focus on Scouting as an activity.

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I mentioned his cousin, he and his cousin are 2 weeks apart in age and thick as thieves. Two very different kids, with unique personalities. But they have learned that they have each others back and enjoy spending a lot of time with each other. Scouting is just one of those activities and has helped them both grow into real good kids. And next year they will be in the same school together, and that bond will become even stronger.

After the leap some more personal thoughts on scouting, plus a health update.

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