"experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." -randy pausch

Monday, September 29, 2014

letters to emily/beth {life in germany is all set up, scripture power, and huff and puff hiking/german immersion, finally writing about ADHD, and scripture power}

tuesday september 9th, 2014 6:01am

dear emily,
i LOVED the picture of my little twin (except she is far better than i) eating oreos AND the water!!! and the fact she wanted to walk to church...she is a true romantic. in love with life:). We finally have everything we need for survival here in Germany: bikes, check. bike trailer, check. air filter machine, check. organic cleansers for the house, check (bear is allergic to the other ones). friends for bear to play with, check. okay we are set! i can't help but love the cobble stone streets and seeing the castle every day here. i really love those things, but there is something even more amazing that helps me, the scriptures. man, it's the only thing that holds its ground for me. you would have laughed at us the other day. we climbed a hill on our bikes, huffing and puffing away! and we got to the top and bryce and i both just sat down and couldn't believe we did it...now we have gone a few more times and we don't huff and puff as much:) it really feels like the sound of music at the top of the hill. well, i hope none of your kids get the respiratory sickness, and i hope you have a great day! have you "emified" anything lately, as in made it 1000000 times better?

 monday septermber 29th, 2014 9:01pm

dear beth,
oh my word, it has been a ride this past several months. i have so much to tell you i just don't even know where to begin, and so i guess i will start with a good laugh, as it is always what i need at the end of every day. i give you, brennan's german body part test:
after several hours of analysis,
i have concluded a few things for you to note:
1. it's not a long penis. if you look closely, you will see it's actually a regular sized penis with a long stream of pee.
2. the dots on the crotch and buttox are just there for no reason other than his seat neighbor put them there. this is what he told me when i couldn't figure out what they were.
3. it's actually a girl. see the girl hair flipped out? yep, a girl with a penis. very 2014 of him i thought.
4. the picture on the right is not a rear view of the penis, as i thought at first. no, it is poop. i spy some poop.

and that my friend can pretty much turn any monday into a friday. are you still laughing? i'm still laughing, and it was from last week. every time i look at it, i laugh. brennan is the funniest guy i know. other pictures of brennan's german homework i know you will appreciate:

it's only been a month, and he's already learned so much. you really have to see it to believe it! i truly BELIEVE that brennan going to german immersion was DIVINELY guided. it's like he was meant to speak german. his teachers...DIVINELY guided. heavenly father specifically picked them for brennan. i KNOW this. i get to start going into his english speaking classroom in two weeks to start helping out on a regular basis, and i couldn't be more excited. this kid is like a completely different kid, and i mean that in the best way. he comes home with 100% on EVERY test. he doesn't have any behavior problems in class at school, and his handwriting? well, it's better than a 3rd grade girl, i kid you not. i forgot to give him his meds on saturday, and well, i was partly glad because sometimes i sit back and wonder, is he just maturing out of adhd or does he really have it? see, the meds help him SO much, that sometimes you question. you just do. and well, questions answered. NEEDS THE MEDS:)

i feel like this past 6 month journey has been such a roller coaster. i have never been through anything so challenging in my entire life. sean and i agree, it's been one of the most difficult things we've gone through together. it's weird though, because the further removed we come from it, the more positives that come out of it, that road we took to find the right med {once we decided TO medicate--A SIX YEAR OLD}, the less and less painful the memory of it all is becoming. it kind of reminds me of pitosin labor pains with brennan. i remember thinking that was the worst pain of my entire life. i remember in the moment truly realizing that i would never experience anything worse ever. and now looking back on it, i think, "meh, i could do it again." maybe it's not as bad as child birth though because just thinking about doing the beginning of the med road again with a 6 yr old brennan, and two parents that had NO IDEA what we were in store for, makes me shudder. traumatized for sure:) now, with that being said, i have never been so grateful for anything in my entire life. meds are not right for everyone, but they WERE RIGHT FOR BRENNAN. we spent months trying to decide if it was right, if he "really" had adhd, and were there ANY other roads or methods we wanted to take before. like i said, one of the hardest things i've ever gone through, and i think mainly that's because i felt so alone in it. sean would leave for work, the meds would kick in, and i would have to be the judge of was the dose right, were the symptoms balancing the side affects, and i have just never felt so UNDER QUALIFIED for anything in my entire life. by the time sean {the reasonable methodical one} would get home, the meds would wear off, and i would have to try to recall the day and how i felt it went, which was usually just plain awful. i didn't feel like i could talk to anyone. people would tell me he was "just being a boy" and "he would grow out of it." they meant well, but i just had to stop talking to people who just didn't know what we were dealing with day to day. it was more than just boy behavior. i knew it deep down in my heart and received confirmation of it. did i ever tell you that the summer before kindergarten i thought he had a learning disability? i knew something was off when he couldn't remember any letters of the alphabet other than "B." i got that mommy gut feeling in my stomach, but i just figured, hey, i was an elementary school teacher, i've got this handled. i will just catch him up, do my magic, and we'll be right back on track. i laugh at myself now thinking about it like i had some sort of control over the matter. #1 thing i've learned in motherhood: there is no control--there is only the ILLUSION of control, LOL!!! we didn't talk to our family about any of it, and not because we were ashamed or anything like that. it was just too hard to take in the comments and feedback while we were going through it. so we kept it to sean, the pediatrician, me, and two other moms who i'm friends with who have children with adhd and had been through the challenges of the medicating process. it was really the first time in my life where i really kept something private. let me tell you, i haven't felt so insecure in a very VERY very long time. i am a sharer! a talker! this was so challenging for me, but i knew it was the only way we were going to get through it. we weren't sleeping because the meds kept him up. i think i told you about that 8 hour middle of the night pacing episode. awful. made having a newborn look like a piece of cake. he was so sensitive to the meds that he would have major emotional outbursts, like something was taking over his body for 16 hours when the meds that were supposed to last 10-12 hours would finally wear off. he was irritable and angry about little things. it was exhausting. i'm just so glad it's behind us. i was angry at heavenly father. i remember one day saying in my prayers how i was angry with Him! sobbing my eyes out, asking why he was doing this to our family. i've always been so melodramatic;). but really, this was after brennan had walked downstairs one morning and punched max in the face just to "see what it felt like." oh, impulsivity {brennan has the combined type of adhd--impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattentiveness--some kids just have the impulsivity and hyperativity, and other kids may only have the inattentiveness}. i was in desperation. i have never prayed so hard for something other than when we couldn't get pregnant with brennan. how about that huh? i just think that's so deeply connected. and how did i get through all of this and finally find a positive outlook? god and the book of mormon {and 20 mg of methylphenidate--basically new and improved ritalin, as adderall and quillavent/concerta gave horrible side affects to him}. i have NEVER turned to the scriptures in my life like i have the past several months. i've been following this user on instagram called @bofm365 and every day they post about 15 verses to read with a question to ponder and respond to if you like, and beth, oh my word, it was the thing that filled the void. i could go on and on how my testimony has grown. the perspective the war chapters in alma gave me on the whole thing, man, i will just never forget them. who would have thought that i used to dread the war chapters? now they are my absolute favorite. "Scripture power keeps me safe from sin. Scripture power is the power to win. Scripture power! Ev’ryday I need, The power that I get each time I read." you and me beth, we are SO on the same page right now what all of it! i wish you were on instagram so you could follow join in and do it too. it's really reminded me of the girl i was before i was plunged into all of the demanding day to day things of motherhood that i love and take great joy in. i just let my love for the scriptures and prayer get swept to the wayside. it's a great place to be in now that i have rededicated myself to it all.

and THAT my friend is most definately NOT what i was planning on writing to you tonight about. good gracious, i've been wondering when i was FINALLY going to be able to write about ADHD, and there it is. all laid out and gathered together from my brain. i feel like a weight has been lifted.

other amazing things we've done in the past little while you would appreciate:

applesauce from grandma's tree {it took two separate go's at it because we picked THAT many apples, AND i also talked sean into chopping all of my salsa stuff up the same night at the first applesauce go and so i had to cut applesauce short to get the salsa going with the best chopper this side of the mississippi.}
{best and biggest apples i've seen on her tree in years!}
{chase kept eating all of the apples that were rotting on the ground, while we were busy picking apples from the tree and not watching him--also it was 99* in sept that day, and i wore jeans so i was just a big sweaty mess cursing myself for wearing jeans.
anyway, we were sure he would have a belly ache after all of those apples he kept grazing on in the grass, but no he did not. i can't believe it. WIN!}

{we make half plain applesauce, and half red hots applesauce--shawn ray's mom's recipe if you knew her--b/c max doesn't like the red hots, but the rest of us do. just add, melt, and can. delish! how have i never had you try this at my house before? put it on the list for next time...}
{this was from round 2 and the garbage can was literally filled to the brim 
with only peels and cores by the end of the night. thank goodness for my trusty helpers 
and my neighbors gigantic pots. thank you shana.}
{if you've ever made and canned applesauce, you KNOW what an undertaking it is 
to get 13 quarts in one go. these were all from round 2.}

annual homemade salsa {i couldn't do it without sean. he is my right hand man chopper extraordinaire, and it's only fun because we get to be in the kitchen together for 4 hours straight getting it all done. he pinches my butt and kisses me, and i usually just play hard to get. typical emily!}
{oh he is so cute.}

{i had to cook and process it all the next morning because after sean did all the chopping i still had to cook and can the applesauce. 24 pints of salsa and 5 quarts of applesauce and 12 hours later, i was done with the first go at it. all together from both go's we got 18 quarts of applesauce!!! i'm thrilled!}

thomas the train art on a saturday morning and my peach pecan leige waffles {really took the waffles to entirely new level. is it peach season again yet??? you will die and go to heaven eating them.}
{i was conjuring my inner-beth}

family bowling {where some lady refused to let my kids sit and eat their pizza at the table behind our lane--this was a work party, but they weren't part of our work group, they were part of another work group BUT I THOUGHT they were part of our work group so i just smiled and held my tongue and acted really nice so i wouldn't make sean look bad a work and such--b/c she said it was their table that they needed to sit and eat at, BUT THEY NEVER SAT AND ATE AT IT ONCE. it literally sat there empty the entire time, and max cried and cried because the girl just needs a seat to eat. i'm so proud, haha. finally by 8pm some bar stools opened up behind us so i had them eating there, but brennan kept swiveling his chair and max got her fingers pinched, and then she was crying again, and i finally just gave in and let them all watch movies on my phone while we took turns bowling with the 9 pound pink ball that was my favorite. it was actually some of the best pizza and breadsticks i've had out to eat before. who knew at a bowling alley? a family that bowls together, stays together. amen.}
{this is my FAVORITE picture of sean and chase!!!}
{the infamous bar stool swivel chairs--i forgot to mention there were only 2 and so max STILL was late on the draw and didn't have a seat until brennan's turn to bowl came up, and she snuck in and took her place in the hot seat. 2nd child. gotta take what you can get.}

i finally took the plunge and bought an aquarium pass {i was ready to go ask for my money back, totally disappointed at first--i think this was mainly bc brennan wasn't with us, and let's be honest, bringing the ADHD kid that hyperfocuses on animals is just magical and brings the party to life in a whole new way, if ya know what i mean--not to discount the gifts of my other two--it's just that we are all still adjusting to doing things without brennan during the day, almost like we're having an affair on him or something really weird like that--he just has a way of teaching us all everywhere we go, especially when it involves animals--so anyway, then we found the shark tunnel and i was all, "um, this is amazing!" and max looked at me and said, "MOM!!! we HAVE to bring brennan back here tomorrow!" and chase kept telling me it was "way CARRIE MOMMIE!!!" {way scarey}, and we couldn't wait to bring brennan back, and i was just feeling so sad we didn't end up going when you were here. we will have to go on my pass next summer. liz, that means you come too. you will love it.}
{we came back a week later when brennan had the day off of school, and i let max and brennan bring a friend. me and 5 kids under 7. nailed it;) it made me fall in love with the new aquarium, but i still miss the old one and all of the memories i have of taking 2 year old brennan and newborn max when we were killing time waiting for sean to get home from school.}
{the shark tanks really take the cake. i can't wait to take you next summer.}

and also today, i organized my book nook by collections {because my inner librarian self took over, and every time someone pull all of the books out i get a little excited because i know i'm going to create a shrine in one little corner on the right hand side of the second shelf down to all of my collectible series {curious george, froggy, 5 little monkeys, disney favorites, if you give a mouse a muffin, biscuit, and then a section devoted to my most VERY favorites: ferdinand, the giving tree, corduroy, bad case of stripes, love you forever, baby beluga, snowy day, alexander and the terrible horrible no good very bad day, runaway bunny, goodnight mooon, stuff like that. books i have loved since childhood and gathered since college, and through my teaching years, and since no one bothered me the entire time i was organizing away it happened today. and it was magic! i have the urge to go over there right now and flip through the pages of them all, read the bindings, and think of all of times i have turned their pages.} 
other things you just have to see....
{he is her personal dress up baby doll. nothing will stop you dead in your tracks for a good solid laugh than walking into something like that with the headbands, although the princess dress up dresses are my personal favorites.}
{we got to go without kids together. amazing. also, one of my high school friends sang in the mini-choir at the session we went to. small town salt lake city yet again!}
{above: BOLT.}
{above: the day two gibson's never wore shoes, one gibson never wore pants, and we only made it to half a game of flag football. and by "we" i mean brennan, because the rest of us didn't get there until the ending huddle when the game was over. wednesdays are rough. also, i think max peed in her pants on the way home because she said she didn't need to go 5 minutes before when we left the house to get brennan. i didn't like that day all that much.}
{"max is the ninja princess and WE are her ninja guardians!" -brennan 
and then chase was all "yeah yeah! ME ME!" and then they all struck a pose. i kid you not. click:)}
i love this life.
so very very much.
ADHD, books all over the floor, crying max, hard wednesdays and all.

how are you? how is school going for the boys? 
how's the swing of a school-going man going after a nice summer break? 
what fall treats are you making? 
what is halloween like in germany? i love you dearly and think of you often!

with love,


jen said...

I made it all the way through the longest post in history just to tell you how happy I am that you've worked out Brennan and his meds. It's a miracle when it works right, and you can't explain it unless you've lived it.

Keep enjoying your life--this is the best time ever with three little kids and no whiny teenagers!

Amy said...

I have to tell you this. Once upon a time I stopped reading your blog. I was in a dark place and you were too happy and nothing bad ever happened to you and it was just too depressing to read your blog. Not that I wanted anything bad to happen to you, not that at all. It just felt life was so hard right then and your blog life seemed so perfect and wonderful and I guess it was me being uncharacteristically jealous. I am happy to see that you are human :) but not happy about your trial with ADHD. I can't even imagine the stress and pain you must have been going through! I am glad you got it figured out, though. I really love your posts. Really. You have such a zest for life that is contagious, even through your writing. Just saying. :)