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Everything is Awesome

April 18, 2015

Earlier this evening, when I settled down to work on my draft of this post, Truitt was running around “my” room in his Transformers t-shirt, six (count ’em) pair of underwear, and his iPad tuned to the kids’ Youtube channel, singing and dancing merrily to “Everything is Awesome.” It makes me giggle to think of it now. Not quite four and a boy all the way to the bone, he has only now become interested in dressing himself. Even though he kept picking at the crotch of his underwear contrivance, one pair would just not do. After all, he had to wear Spiderman and Planes and Cars and Batman…

Shortly afterward, he brought a book to me about Pickles the cat with the big paws and the naughty temperament, and we took a little while to read through it before he scampered off to dump out a bucket of Legos for me to pick up later. He was in and out all evening, cuddling up beside me for a brief few minutes as I worked at the computer, asking for a drink, showing me a poor, unfortunate Baymax, whom he had just defeated in a mighty battle with a Nerf gun. All the while, “Everything is Awesome” played a soothing, happy background hum in my mind.

Because Everything is Awesome.

I recently accepted a position with a new and up-and-coming news and media outlet called Chi City Digital Media (CCDM). The outlet consists of three media groups–SidelineBuzz.com, a site for sports news, The Bleep Button, a site for entertainment and lifestyle news, and Visual Treasure Hunt, a site for fashion industry news. We have just launched the first of the three groups, Sideline Buzz, and will follow shortly with the others. I am currently a columnist learning more than I ever thought possible about the sports world, and waiting impatiently for the launch of the other sites.

I LOVE what I’m doing. I have always loved blogging, as those of you who have been faithful readers even during my long lapses know. There have been times where I’ve gone through things that have honestly been too difficult to write my way through. And then Autumn and Lawson have been steadily growing older, as kids will do, and it has just been getting increasingly awkward to write about them. If I write about Truitt all the time, it’s “oh, you like him best.” If I put all of Autumn and Lawson’s stuff out there, though…whew. Battles royale in the White household. So what’s a blogger to do?

Get a job blogging, of course. Enter Chi City, at just the right time in my life. It’s exciting to have purpose and motivation to write, and to be able to write creatively once more. It’s really exciting to be able to earn while I do so.

The fact that I can sit in my den and do this while my Truitt runs around and–okay, occasionally annoys the snot out of me because he is chronic–plays is exactly what I have always wanted. I can defer my shower and remain in my pajamas if I want to–not that I would ever do so. I can sneak in a load of laundry, or drop supper in the crock pot, in between articles or jobs. I can stop what I’m doing and read a story, because the world isn’t going to grind to a halt and I’m not going to get fired if I do so.

In fact, I just received this, and I’m posting it primarily so I’ll remember it down the road:

Lori Wray White I just wanted to give you a personal shout out for all your hard work and amazing effort alongside an unmatchable team spirit! If you haven’t met her, you will at some point. She is so helpful, always aiding those in here that need it. And she never does it in a way that makes anyone feel bad, she does it to help you and make our work look better and more professional. (Unlike me who will make someone feel bad if they don’t follow rules.) People like Lori don’t come around often so respect and appreciate what this mother brings to the table. Pun intended. This former Professor of English has already been named the Editor-in-Chief of our Entertainment site  Thank you, Lori! You are appreciated!

Talk about your warm fuzzies to go along with that promotion.

If you would like to follow my articles, I’d love for you to do so. Here’s our Facebook page, and our website. All of our columnists do a LOT of posting, as news is breaking all of the time. I’ll try to remember to keep all of my Day’s End readers updated. Here are a few of my recent articles:

Living and Dying with Lauren Hill: Lessons Learned

Sarah Thomas: Shattering a Damaged Glass Ceiling

Barcelona’s Striking Trio

Porto Presses Bayern Munich

WalMart Declines to Stock Ronda Rousey’s Autobiography

For faster updates, follow me on Twitter @hintonrae.

Not to Be a Whiner…

February 26, 2015

I’ve been doing a lot of reading over the past few days, struggling to make sense of a diagnosis I received several months ago that is only now beginning to become real. My first thought upon being told I had fibromyalgia was yeah, whatever. I know one or two people that have fibromyalgia, and sorry, but that’s not me.

I mean, look at me. How could someone that chases a three year-old around all day, and plays volleyball four times a week, and tries to get in 10,000 steps a day, and is almost through with a pretty stout master’s program…how could that person have this illness that sends these other people I knew to bed most of the time? Or did I just have a really poor conception of the illness?

It became rapidly clear to me, though, as the diagnosis started to sink in, that if I were having trouble rationalizing it and making it mesh with the Lori I knew myself to be, that certainly those around me would also be having trouble doing so. Especially since the question on everyone’s lips seemed to be “what exactly is that, anyway? You don’t look sick?”

I didn’t have a good answer for anyone, including myself. My rheumatologist hadn’t really given me any information about what to expect or how to proceed with my diagnosis, beyond trying to get a good night’s sleep in order to better heal my nervous system. In the early days and weeks I was constantly on the internet trying to get a handle on exactly what fibromyalgia was, even. I felt so ignorant. All I really knew is that it had something to do with the weird pain I had been experiencing, and the chronic fatigue that didn’t really seem to have a source. But I couldn’t figure out what caused it, or how it was successfully treated. The internet was full of alternately vague and/or repetitive information that was only moderately helpful.

Claudia Craig Marek’s book Fibromyalgia: A Patient Expert Walks You Through Everything You Need to Learn and Do the First Year, though, turned out to be a goldmine of information as well as a confirmation of a myriad of symptoms I had not even realized were part and parcel of the syndrome. Fibromyalgia affects a number of different systems of the body, hence the “syndrome” designation. It is comprised of a host of musculoskeletal symptoms that you may or may not experience, such as widespread, aching pain, stiffness in muscles, tendons, and ligaments, TMJ, headaches and migraines, restless leg syndrome, and joint pain. There are central nervous system symptoms, such as insomnia and non-restorative sleep, irritability, anxiety, depression, apathy, and impaired memory. Fibromyalgics can suffer from IBS, genitourinary syndrome, skin conditions, hair and fingernail issues, eye issues, allergy issues…the list seems endless.

Reading all of this, on the one hand I felt vindicated. YES. I was not crazy. I was not a hypochondriac. This was stuff I had dealt with since I was a child–particularly stuff like IBS, dry skin, brittle nails, allergies…things I hadn’t even attached names to. On the other hand, though–what did this really prove? Scientists still had no clue what caused fibromyalgia, or how to cure it.

Craig provides a letter to help explain this very difficult to explain illness to family and friends, in words that are much better than any I can come up with.

“Fibromyalgia isn’t all in my head, and it isn’t contagious. It doesn’t turn into anything serious and nobody ever died from fibromyalgia, though they might have wished they could on really awful days. I can’t control how often I feel good or how often I feel terrible. …

Fibromyalgia is a high maintenance condition with lots and lots of different kinds of symptoms. There’s no way to just take a pill to make it go away, even for a little while. Sometimes a certain medication can make some of my symptoms more bearable. That’s about the best I can hope for. Sometimes I can take a lot of medication and still not feel any better. That’s just the way it goes.

There’s no cure for FM; it won’t go away. If I am functioning normally, I am having a good day. This doesn’t mean I am getting better, because I struggle with chronic pain and fatigue for which there is no cure. I can have good days, weeks, or even months. But a good morning can suddenly turn into a terrible afternoon. I get a feeling like someone has pulled a plug and all my energy has just run out of my body. I may get more irritable before these flares, and suddenly get more sensitive to noise, or just collapse from deadening fatigue. Other times there may be no warning; I may just suddenly feel awful. I can’t warn you when this is likely to happen, because there isn’t any way for me to know. Sometimes this is a real spoiler, and I’m sorry.

Fibromyalgics have a different kind of pain that is hard to treat. It is not caused by inflammation like an injury. It is not a constant ache in one place like a broken bone. It moves around your body daily and hourly and changes in severity and type. Sometimes it is dull and sometimes it is cramping or prickly. Sometimes it’s jabbing and excruciating. If Eskimos have a hundred words for snow, fibromyalgics should have them for pan. Sometimes I just hurt all over.”

Besides pain we have muscle stiffness, which is worse in the morning. Sometimes when I get up out of a chair I feel like I’m ninety years-old. My fingers are stiff and my coordination is off. I walk slowly up and down steps because I’m stiff and honestly afraid I’m going to fall.

Because I feel like crap most of the time, I’m usually pushing myself to get stuff done in the times I feel somewhat normal, which means I’m usually pushing myself too hard. When I do this, I pay the price. Usually I end up compensating by getting sick or needing to rest for days afterward because I have expended too much energy.

Another symptom I have is problems with memory and concentration, dubbed fibrofog. Short-term memory is the worst. I am constantly looking for things I’ve misplaced, walking into rooms and not remembering why I’m there, leaving my to-do lists sitting on the counter, forgetting appointments, and forgetting what someone told me ten minutes earlier or just the day before. This is apparently pretty normal for fibromyalgics. I was worried I was getting Alzheimer’s.

Then there are the sensitivities–to heat and cold, to noise, to bright lights. To certain smells, like fish, chemicals, or perfume. They make me physically ill. …

So there’s that. Will any of us ever really understand what we’re going through? Doubtful. But knowing some of what we’re facing can give us all a little more patience, acceptance, and love to make dealing with it–on all sides!–a little easier.

ToddlerDome

June 18, 2014

I think my Facebook posts over the past couple of days will say all that needs to be said about my totally awesome and enviable existence.

Tuesday, June 17

Okay. So I thought I was doing alright with this parenting thing, give or take a few moments. That was right up until Truitt took a dump on the floor today.

Can I just say that potty training sucks? I can practically see the wheels spinning in Tru’s little mind, muttering fiercely “MY way, woman, and on MY time.”

Wednesday, June 18

10:16 and still not asleep. “I need my gac.”
“Your gac? What’s that?”
“My gac.” (As he gives me the “duh” face.)
“What’s it look like?”
“It’s got a blue window and little wheels.”
So we looked, for fifteen minutes, for something that fit the description. “Is it a car?”
No, it’s a gac.”
“Is it a tractor?”
“No, it’s a gac.”
“Is it
this?” I asked, holding up an oddly shaped Cars character.
“Noooo, it’s a gac.”
Finally, Truitt holds a jet plane aloft triumphantly. “My GAC!”
“A jet?”
“Yeah! My GAC!”

Oh. Well, okay.

A brief while later, he’s still wide open. We can hear him over the monitor increasing steadily in volume while Lawson murmurs steadily in a monotone from the other twin, “go to sleep, Truitt. Leave me alone, Truitt. Be quiet, Truitt.”

It’s Duane’s turn. He goes into the bedroom and begins confiscating toys. Over the monitor I hear him say “I’m going to put your truck up now.”
“That’s not a truck. That’s a ambulance.” (Duh.)
“O-kay. I’m going to put your ambulance up now. Say goodnight to the ambulance.”
“No. Ambulances don’t talk.”

*sigh*

 

Shishkabob.

May 21, 2014

Okay, so I just blogged an entire post. Then pressed preview. And then…it was gone. As in vanished. Poof. Disappeared. I have no clue what happened.

It was a really, really awesomely great post, too.

(I’m just saying that to make myself feel better.)

K. So I’m going to bed now. I’ll probably re-write it some other time.

 

The Family Session: A Study in Dynamics

May 17, 2014

I’ve been working on getting back in the swing of things lately. I’m not sure why…what it is that’s driving me to write more and do more and just be more. Maybe those hypothyroidism meds kicked in all of a sudden. Maybe I just got fed up with an endless string of Pinterest pins that were mocking my eternal busy-ness. Whatever the catalyst, I am on a roll today. I wrote half a paper for my MA class, played with Truitt and took care of his essential needs for food and drink, wiped down the counters, bought groceries, prepped for and got stood up for a photo shoot, and–my crowning achievement–managed to corral the fam for my own photo shoot that lasted all of ten minutes.

By the grumbles heard round the county, you would think that I had yanked them all out of bed for a sunrise session, forced them to take shower beforehand and fix hair and make-up, put on matching Christmas outfits, and pose naked in the snow with the Easter bunny. And maybe a goat or something.

But no.

I merely requested their presence next to a window for a few minutes, so each child could press his or her cheek against their father’s for all of 30 seconds while I snapped a button.

“You want me to do want?!” (Touch him.)

“His face is scratchy!” (Yes…just a little closer, please, in order to close that 3 foot gap between your faces.)

“I can’t contort like that!” (Like…sitting on your knees? And leaning close? Weren’t you a gymnast?)

“How much longer?” (Well, let’s see, we’ve finished one child and we have two more, so that much time twice more.)

“MOMMMMMMMEEEEEE! Want to sit on Mommmmmeeeeee!” (Okay, bud, but…..just fuhgeddaboudit.)

It’s a good thing I knew exactly what I wanted, and had my camera set precisely to grab the shot. I took five shots, and these three were golden. Now…to figure out who’s going to take the ones with the kids and myself… ;-)

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A Different Kind of Letting It Go

May 16, 2014

A Different Kind of Letting It Go

(CLICK TITLE FOR VIDEO) A friend posted this on Facebook today, and I teared up even as I laughed through it. It reminded me of virtually every day in the White family household: piles of laundry, both clean and dirty, folded and crumpled straight from the dryer. Wrappers littering the counters less than twelve inches from that mysterious receptacle we call a Trash Can. The daily detritus of toys skimming nearly every available surface. It’s clean, mostly, but it’s uber lived in, you know?

I used to be so different. When I was teaching, I had an inbox for every class period, plus one for late assignments, plus one for make-up work. I had special bins and baskets for the week’s handouts and novels and anything else that needed organizing. I was on time, or early, even, everywhere I went. My hair and make-up were done, and I wore something other than spandex and tee-shirts. My walls were not colored upon, my DVD collection was intact, and I’m pretty sure I was sane when I was younger.

I am different, now. I question myself, constantly, even while on some fundamental heart level I know the majority of the choices I’m making and the actions I’m taking are the best ones, if not the perfect ones. What mother doesn’t question, though? He won’t eat his supper. Should I make him eat? Or let it go? She has an expectation that we’ll pay for activity after activity, but never seems to want to help around the house. Am I a terrible mother if I make her work for some of the fees? And should I make the other participate in something besides hunting a groundhog? Trivial? Sure. As light as the song from Granger was, I worry about their hearts, as well. Lord, I don’t see them in Your Word enough. Are they still close to You? These questions keep me awake at night.  

I watched a movie last week (Moms’ Night Out) that was a tribute to the worry mothers do day in, day out. It steadied me, reminded me, as one character put it, “…the good Lord [didn’t make] a mistake, giving your kiddos the momma He did. So you just keep on being you.” What an eye-opening statement. I’ve never really thought about it like that, but YES–everything the Lord does IS intentional. I am Autumn, Lawson, and Truitt’s mother for a purpose. And they are my children for a purpose. They delight me, even as they occasionally fill me with frustration. They continually bless me.

One Reason Why

May 9, 2014

Today I was reminded, so sweetly, why I wanted another little one as profoundly as I did. And I believe the Lord was perhaps giving me some indication as to why he decided to bestow him upon us…hot mess that he is.

After a busy morning of errands and the gym, and another couple of hours of errands stretching out before me, I couldn’t quite stomach a lunch of McDonalds or Sonic, or wade through the Panera crowd. So I opted for a treat–an out-of-the-ordinary, weekday lunch for just Truitt and myself at O’Charleys.

We shared a booth in the bar, quietly munching on our respective yummies: chicken tenders and fries for Truitt, and a spinach salad for me. He was unusually well-behaved, shooting me smiles, eating agreeably for once, and actually sitting still instead of climbing all over the restaurant.

As I glanced down in to my salad to spear a chunk of chicken, a little hand suddenly crept around the back of my neck. I stilled. Truitt crept closer to me, saying nothing, and continued eating, his arm hanging awkwardly around my neck in what could only be a gesture of affection. It was Danny Zuko at the drive-in at his classic best, stealthily hanging an arm around his Sandy as he fake-yawned.  

Will you be my girl?

Only for forever.

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