Today was the funeral mass for Helen Macedon, Rusty's grandmother. She died at Anne & Russ's home on Tuesday morning with family surrounding her in prayer and comfort. It was a lovely Catholic mass followed by a reception. Elliot was quiet and in good spirits. Joshua did not attend though; he was in day school.

I did get sad during the mass but admittedly not for Helen. The funeral mass brought back my feelings of loss for my own father. I'm at peace with Helen's passing having a chance to see her before her last day, knowing she had lived a full life and was ready to end her suffering with cancer and old age. It's in strong contrast to my father's death. He was not done with life and I had not yet made peace with him in our relationship. I'm talking now to a counselor to help me sort things out in my head and find some peace. I think it's going to be a journey though, not a quick fix. Periodically Rusty will tell me he thinks I seem down or distant or unhappy.

On the bright side, we got the left over reception food including lots of cookies. Maybe I'll go have one now. :-)

We have a code word in our home to signify a major accident and/or needing backup immediately. Tonight, from upstairs while I was finishing the post-dinner cleanup, Rusty shouted "mayday! mayday! Sarah, come quick!" Joshua was getting out the bathtub, was wrapped in his towel and somehow tripped on Rusty's foot then slipped on the wet tiles. His hands where wrapped in his towel so he couldn't catch his fall with his hands. Instead, he landed face down busting his lip and chipping a front tooth. He wailed and cried for a long time (about 5 minutes) but after the Tylenol kicked in and his gum stopped bleeding, he ended the evening in good spirits and high energy- the usual. Tomorrow I'll see if his dentist or doctor can look at his teeth to assess the damage.

In lighter news, Josh started his swim class today. He did very good! Today they practiced putting their heads under water, holding breath, and reaching for toys on a ledge in the water. One girl there was a little scared after her first head dunk so she cried the entire session. She begged, pleaded, screamed for her mommy. The mom stayed in the shaded seating area watching, encouraging her some. The teacher was firm saying she (the girl) needed to stop crying. Several times she told her, stop crying, and continued the lessons. This is a tough-love teacher. She doesn't do songs, warm-up games, super enthusiastic (empty) cheers, nor does she waste time with a child who crying to her mother. After all, mom can't always be there and this is a class on how to swim which can be scary for some but it's necessary to face these fears and conquer them. The teacher finally sent the mother away so the girl didn't have anyone to call for. She kept crying but the intensity went decreased after ten minutes or so. Elliot & I watched from the shaded area. It was entirely too hot and supposed to be hotter through the week. Today Elliot told me he was too hot and cried a bit too. Tomorrow I'll bring a Slurpee or smoothie and some snacks for him.


We found an adorable bunny in our backyard this morning then again this evening. This little critter fit right in my palm (that's how tiny he is) and when he was scared he squeaked, just like a dog's chew-toy. Hmmm, bad analogy. I gave him shelter this morning in our house to keep Merlin from attacking him in the backyard. I released him in the front side yard a few hours later but he came back for some reason. Maybe he's waiting for his mother rabbit to find him or something. If he hangs around here too long I'll take him to a wildlife rehabilitation.

Elliot is making new sounds. For milk he says 'mil' and for cat he says 'may-yow'. The way he says it is sooo cute! He can now tell me if he prefers milk or juice. For juice he sometimes says 'oos' and sometimes just points and whines at the bottles. Here's a quick list of all the words he says when he's in the mood to try talking:
momma
dada
pop-pop (grandpa)
mil'
dink (for drink)
nap
night night
oos
osh (for Josh)
'nack (for snack)
nom nom (means I'm eating or I want to eat something yummy)
ewww
may-yow
'og (for dog)
'uck (for duck)
bye
Hi! (he says this clear as a bell)

He's sprouting two canine teeth but those aren't bothering him. He's also over a cold that passed to Rusty. I hope I don't get it too.

Joshua starts swim classes next week. He'll go everyday for two weeks (not weekends) to a private instructor's home. She has an indoor pool. The word is she's a teacher and does swim classes in the summer on the side. I don't care so much about Josh learning to swim per se, I just want him to learn how to not drown. I'm happy if all he does is a doggy paddle.

Finally, some sad family news. My mother's older sister's husband died this evening of a heart aneurysm. It came on suddenly and without warning. They tried surgery but he didn't respond well. Then organs began to fail. He was on life support when his wife and grown children made the decision to take him off. I didn't know him well as I think I met him maybe twice in my life. My mom's sister, Connie, has family nearby to help her through the grief. I'm sad for them even though I wasn't close. Kenny was in his 50s. I'll send a nice scented candle to Connie with a card.

My new favorite breakfast item is what I call at home Apple Sunrise. It's soooo good! And easy!

1 cup apple juice
1/2 cup old fashioned oats, not instant oatmeal

In a small pan bring apple juice to a low boil, add oats, reduce heat then simmer 3-5 minutes. Cool, garnish with cinnamon or apple sauce, and serve.

The first time I made this for Elliot he gobbled it all down then mooched off of my bowl. The second time, he turned up his nose entirely.

I've been better the last few days. I'm less depressed, less weepy. I'm keeping my appointment to see a counselor on Tuesday. I'm hoping she will help me work out my anger issues with my dad and get to the root of why I was so down last week. I've been taking fish oil twice a day and boosting my B vitamins.

On the topic of diet, I did an experiment on Friday of counting all my calories for the day. I was just curious about how much I consume in an average day. For that day, I took in 2007 calories by the kid's bedtimes. Then added two cookies before my bedtime for 120 calories. In all 2127 calories (give or take). Not bad. That explains my steady weight- not gaining, not losing. Here's what I ate that day:

tea w/ sugar
raisin toast
1½ tbsp peanut butter
2 tsp honey
1 Owens sausage biscuit
½ serving Apple Sunrise
chicken thigh
pear
bottle vitamin water
1½ cup milk w/ 2 tbsp Ovaltine
shot of espresso
small ice-cream
chicken casserole*
iced tea
2 chewy chips ahoy cookies

Chicken Casserole
* 2 skinless, chicken breast halves, cooked
* 1 can mixed veggies or 15 oz. frozen mixed veggies, thawed
* 1/2 cup cooked rice
* 3 ounces sour cream
* 1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
* 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
* 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
* 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
* salt and pepper to taste
* 1 cup crushed buttery round crackers
* 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces.
3. In a large bowl, stir together sour cream, soup, celery salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix in cooked rice, vegetables and chicken. Spoon mixture into a 9x13 inch casserole dish. In a resealable bag, shake together crushed crackers and melted butter. Sprinkle crackers over the top.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

It's only 7pm and I feel wiped. It's been an emotionally wrenching day for me. Funny thing is (that was a pun), I don't have a tangible reason to be sad, yet I cried off and on throughout the day. Silly things brought it on like walking into Elliot's room, grocery shopping, thinking about being depressed, even little frustrations I normally shrug away. I have a doctor's appointment on Wednesday morning to figure out why I keep clearing my throat (I've been doing that for months and it's straining my vocal cords) and while I'm there I'll bring up my new state of depression. It runs in my family in varying degrees. I've been through depression before lasting several weeks, but this was before kids, before impressionable people watch my every move and question everything I do. I can't break down in front of them without a concrete reason, nor can I shrug my cheerful motherly duties like playing and patiently teaching them. I want to avoid medication if possible. I don't trust medication, I don't want to be dependent and I don't want the expense. I've bought some fish oil and brought out some left over prenatal vitamins to boost my diet. I generally don't like talking to just anyone because I don't know what to say. It's not like one event has caused me sadness that I need to talk to someone about. It's just chemicals or neurons that are making me feel less cheery, dull and sometimes weepy. The best thing for me, for now, is to keep busy. And get plenty of sleep.

Elliot is showing the first signs of actively trying to communicate beyond shrieking and crying. Sometimes he'll say 'dink' for drink, 'nack' for snack, 'cra-cra' for cracker, 'wa-wa' for water, and 'osh' for Josh. Words he's got down are 'mom-ma' and 'da-da'. He's learning a handful of useful phrases like "give it to", "put it", "go to" and so on. So I can say "put the cup on the table" and he'll do just that. Then he'll bring the cup back smiling as if to say, now what? He delights in helping like putting folded diapers in the diaper bin, putting plastic dishes away, cleaning up toy and Tupperware messes, and wiping up with a damp cloth. The last one has to include playing with the cloth as part of the bargain. Giving a hug involves leaning his head in (not using his arms) while giving a kiss is a slimy open mouth experience that only a mother could love.

It's upsetting that the abortion doctor George Tiller was gunned down at his church this weekend. I've given this some thought over the last couple days and think the person who should be to blame for late-term abortions is the customers, not the doctor. It's like being mad at prostitutes who are serving men who want to pay for sex with strangers or being mad at the person who slept with your wife/husband when it's your spouse you should be taking issue with. It makes no sense to shoot a doctor who is trying to serve his customers in a safe, healthy environment. It makes better sense to advocate better adoption services, to speak to young women about choices and consequences, and to have outreach and compassion for mothers who might be faced with a legitimate reason to have a late-term abortion. It saddens me that in an age of advanced education, free access to literature and an age of reason that some Americans still turn to rash violence to make a political point.

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