Sunday, September 23, 2012

Summer Vacation Part II

The plan this year was for Ben to arrive half way through the trip so he could come to Sunlakes, attend the family reunion, and celebrate my birthday, however my anxiety put a wrench in that plan and he brought his camera to Seattle so he could get some work and then fly home with us. Although it annoys me that I was unable to handle it on my own I am so thankfull that I have a husband who is so wonderful and supportive. I knew 10 years ago when he attended my orientation for me at Hunter because I was out of town, that he was a keeper.

He arrived a few days before Sun Lakes which just allowed him enough time to get settled and help me shop and pack for the trip. I am not used to the extra adult so packing was a breeze. This year Sun Lakes was special because my entire family was able to attend. Normally someone is missing, either a spouse or one of my siblings. We were lucky that there were no injuries this year but my little Morgan did get sick and had to see the doctor. She is fine but Bran had to deal with a bit more whining and  crying than usual and put a damper on her trip. We had a lot going on everyday. The kids loved the boat, swimming in the pool, jumping off cliffs, hiking, golfing, boarding and playing games. It was great to have Ben there because it was hard to do everything all on my own and sometimes the kids wanted to different activities. Coolidge finally reached an age that he can participate in all the activities that his older cousins do. He tried knee boarding and I was so nervous for him. It is hard to be so much younger than your older cousins and constantly be 3 steps behind. His cousin Tyson told him how to do it and we all watched him give it his first try and get up without much struggle. The whole boat cheered him on and my eyes filled with tears. I was more proud of him in that moment than when he rode a bike for the first time. I am so blessed to be able to spend my summers in Seattle and go on a family vacation with all of them.

My little Brody has always been young enough that what his older brother and cousins are doing haven't really mattered. Well this year that all changed. He needed to do everything they did no matter how scary it may have looked. He was diving into the pool with floaties on, begging to jump off a 10 foot cliff and ride the pocket rocket his cousin Henry brought. It is hard for me to let him try these things so fast. I couldn't stop him from diving because he just did it whether I liked it or not. Ben showed him how to use the mini motorcycle while I closed my eyes.
I drew the line with the cliff jumping. I was worried he was pushing himself and would feel scared like his brother did after the fact. He seemed to understand. He still talks about it and I have a feeling it will be the same thing all over again. He is definitely a tough cookie and extremely coordinated but don't let his looks fool ya because he is quite sensitive.  This year a few of the dads took almost all of the kids on a hike that Henry led. Brody started off strong but once it got a little tough and he got tired Brody became the biggest baby and Ben was wishing he never brought him. That is the thing about my little 6 year old. Sometimes he acts like a teenager and sometimes like a 2 year old. You just never know what you are getting that day.

Coolidge on the other hand was ready to try it all and only complained if his age/height got in the way. He wasn't able to do wake boarding but I'm sure he could give it a try next year. He loved the paddle boarding. He road on the board with me last year but this year he was able to do it all by himself. This was the first year that Coolidge didn't struggle to much about feeling left out. We have so many kids with so many different ages that there is always something to do and play. This was Jaxon's first year. There are always struggles with the first year and lots of fun to have a little one to squeeze. Coolidge and Brody's first year was not one I loved. It is nice that you don't have to worry about them wanting to be on the boat, pool, and run to the store but you have to constantly watch them they are into just about everything and they get over stimulated very easily. We all just loved that Jaxon's only word was   BUH and we all were saying it to each other by the end of the trip.
We spent a week in Sun Lakes and always by the last day we are ready to go home. Our clothes and towels are filthy, our stomaches are stuffed with junk food, we all have headache from all the fun cocktails and beer, the kids start to get sick of one another, our backs are killing us from the cheap beds,  and the dry air is making our skin look bad. The last day is a race in the morning to get our cars packed and we are all on the road to drive 3 1/2 hours back home. As soon as winter hits we begin to miss Sun Lakes and start dreaming of what the next year will be like. I love my family.

When we got home from Sun Lakes we were greeted at my mom's house by Ari and Heather. They drove up from Reno and stopped at my moms to stay until Randy got there house in Vancouver ready for them. The kids were very happy to see them and so were we. I only get to see them once a year.

We were lucky that Asher and Ashley moved to Idaho and came and stay at my mom's house for a weekend. I haven't see Asher since my wedding and never met his wife and 3 other kids until that weekend. I knew all their faces from facebook but it was so nice to hug them and get to know who and what makes them tick.

I have to admit I was worried about how crazy it was going to be with 14 people staying in one home. You never know how the kids are going to get along but all the kids got along great. Brody and Abigale became to peas in a pod. If you were looking for one you knew they were with the other.  Coolidge and Christopher also had a great time together. I wished we lived closer to them so we could do more fun stuff together.

Thank goodness for my mother's big beautiful house because it allows us to create such wonderful memories every year. I pray daily she will never have to sell it but I know that the day will come eventually. Well, even though that was a lot of fun we are only half way through the summer. Part III will be coming soon. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Summer Vacation Part 1

We had such a busy summer that I will have to break this up in parts. In early June we celebrated Coolidge and Brody's birthday. For the first time they both wanted to celebrate in different ways. Coolidge wanted a slumber party and Brody wanted a Chuck E. Cheese party. I convinced Brody on the slumber party with them each inviting one friend but as time went by they both changed their mind and wanted a party. So we headed up to the great hill once again. We were lucky it was a nice and cool day and I wasn't running around sweating like a pig. They each invited 5 friends and had water balloon fights along with snacks and cake. I was great that my cousin Kiera was in town and she came to the party and helped me haul all the stuff up there.
Kiera bought the boys street slushies after school

We also finished the school year at CPE 1. We had a great year and I can't believe my youngest is now in the first grade and my oldest in the fourth. Coolidge  is slowly approaching middle school and it is crazy how fast time has gone by. Coolidge took his first standardized exam in school. He was a little anxious about it but after his first day he relaxed and realized it wasn't that big of a deal. I have to say that by the third day he was exhausted and so were the teachers from all the preparation before the big day. Brody started reading and writing this year. This was his last year with Yvonne and I can say he and I are going to miss her so much. Thank goodness her class is right next door.
Grandma finally got to see the boys play baseball
I was very blessed to have so many visitors this year. My mom came twice, once in December and again in early June. My uncle also was hear on business and was able to come check out my place and have lunch with me, Kiera, Ben, and the boys. My mother has talked about our apartment and neighborhood so much that it was really nice to put a visual to the stories. My boys just love him and were over joyed to have him in our neck of the woods. Just sorry it was for only one day.
We took Randy to our favorite beer garden
Before we left for Seattle my mom came and we drove to the Jersey shore and spend a week there. We chose to save the money last year and I and the kids were so bummed that we missed it. This year we didn't get memorial day weekend so we went the first week of June. It was a lot of fun and we owe it all to my mom because it was her time share. Because Kiera was headed to DC for her internship she stopped in Jersey and hung with us on the shore for a few days. I wish she could have stayed longer but I will take what I can get. This year wasn't the same as my past experiences because I will still dealing with vertigo so I was unable to drink coffee, alcohol, or swim. That can put a damper on the vacation but I still had a lot of fun. My mom usually stays for at least 2 weeks but because she couldn't bring the dog she was only able to stay for 10 days. We wished she could have stayed longer here in NYC with us. But it wasn't too hard to say goodbye because we knew we were going to be with her in a few weeks.
My boys love to fly
This year I  booked our trip to go to Seattle for the last day of school. I figured why sit around and wait when we can be there with family and friends and celebrate Forth of July lighting of fireworks. I wanted my kids to see how I spent the 4th of July. Here in NYC you can even light a sparkler. We spent the day at my dad's barbecuing and playing with cousins. Coolidge and Brody were able to light smoke bombs, flowers. parachutes and are really cool pyramid that shot up in the air then over sideways. Coolidge's eyes lit up like it was Christmas day. He was now a huge fan of fireworks. My sister took us to Boom City to buy these lovely explosives and oh boy there is really no way to explain Boom City. Their older cousins were in heaven, I was in hell. My anxiety was on high and the loud bombs going off every 5 minutes made me think we were at war. I have to say it was great because our show was quite impressive. Coolidge loved the friendly competition that we had with the neighbors. I am hooked and will be spending every fourth in Washington from now on. I just wish Ben could have been there because he would have loved it as much as we did.

One of the nice things about visiting Seattle is that most of my friends and family still live there. It makes it very easy to see them. However, Aj also lives out of state and luckily most of the time she plans her visit at the same time as me so we can see her and her family. It is so nice to see how her girls have grown in size and how their personalities have changed. I hate how she lives so close to me but just far enough that the drive would be annoying and the flight cost too much. I just wish they would spend the whole summer in Seattle like me so I could see them even more.

I'm so happy that Brandi and her family move home this year. We usually both come home during the summer but her moving there will make it even easier to see her because she is not living out of bags like me and cramming all her visits in also. I saw her and the kids more than ever because she was able to relax. Brody and Logan really connected this year and played more than I've ever seen. It was so nice to see because usually he is too young for all the other cousins.

This summer was packed full of fun and oh boy did we deserve some relaxation and fun. Between my vertigo, anxiety, and apartment flooding. I need some good times. Part II will be coming soon.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Happy Birthday...I have Anxiety

As the spring was ending I had a lot going with vertigo, my apartment was flooded, family in town, birthday parties and the anxiety of flying home was all just coming on so strong. I've always had anxiety but not like this. As soon as the kids had their last day of school I had an anxiety attack. It completely freaked me out and I didn't know what to do. I reached out to some friends who I knew could help me. I thank God for them because they were a great help. I saw a doctor about 4 days before I had to travel because the anxiety got so bad. I couldn't eat or relax at all. The doctor explained that it was completely normal and happens to a lot of people. He prescribed Xanax and said to only take it when needed because of how addictive it is. I am not a big fan of having to take anything. I have always been one to get through just about everything I put my mind to. However, the idea of a panic attack with my kids on the flight was too scary for me to not give it a try. When I was packing to go home I started breathing heavily and shaking. I knew that was the right time to give Xanax a try and see if it was going to help. I couldn't believe that in 20 minutes I felt completely normal and excited about traveling again.

I figured that a pill was going to take all that worry away and I would wake up without anymore anxiety. Well I was wrong and I spent the next 3 days still quite anxious. I knew that I had to go through this for several reasons. 1. I could never tell my kids we are not going to Seattle this summer. 2. I would be completely depressed if I stayed in NYC. 3. My fear would just get bigger. I have always been that person who says, "what are you scared of just do it and get it over." Now I completely understand FEAR. And to tell someone to face it is much harder than you ever think, when every instinct in your body is saying DON'T do it. I knew the worst thing for me was to not fly so I got up that morning and I did it. I am a strong person and I tried to do it without Xanax. As soon as I got out of the car I felt like I was going to pass out. The first thing you want to do is run home but I knew I needed to take a Xanax and keep on walking. I stood in line and repeated to only takes 20 minutes! If you have ever experienced an anxiety attack/panic attack then you know it is the longest 20 minutes and you feel like your whole body is freaking out. You feel like screaming help but you realize that you would look insane so you hold it all in and talk to yourself over and over. After 20 minutes I was completely fine and ready to go. I never in my wildest thoughts saw myself going through this. I have been through some tough shit in my life and never felt that vulnerable. Makes my eyes fill with tears when I think of it. It is amazing how anxiety can make you feel so weak. I'm sharing this story because I know that others helped me through all of this and I wanted my story to make someone else feel they are not alone.

I turned 40 this year and for my birthday I got vertigo and anxiety. All I wanted was a trip to Mexico. I spent my summer accepting my anxiety and learning how to handle it. August 1st. I looked at the day on my phone and realized the count down to flying home was slowly approaching. It shook me and I spent a day feeling awful. I decided I wasn't going to let it ruin the rest of my trip. I exercised,  cut down on the caffeine, and told myself that if I need xanax it was there to get me through it. I never needed it until the day of my flight. I had a panic attack on the ride to the airport and this time I didn't let it take over me too much. I did take a xanax and by the time I got to the airport the worst was over. I am home now and the anxiety is there but not enough to cause any change in my diet or daily life. I don't understand why this is coming out of me now at this stage in my life but maybe soon I will see a therapist and he/she will help me pin point it and maybe I will be able to laugh about it some day.