Saturday, September 18, 2010

BSOW: Pimping Out My Little Red Dress

Y'all have missed my Best Scoop of the Week, haven't you? I've missed my ice cream too!! This week, I'm getting my red dress out and going out on the town with the featured blog....

Brought to you by:

You ever get an idea, like you think, "Wouldn't it be cool if...." and then you decide you need to rope someone into doing it too because it's just a lot more fun to share your idea with a fellow blogger who you know is going to be just as excited as you?

Yes? Then you'll get how it was when I thought it'd be pretty cool to form a virtual writers club. A place where bloggers could talk about the art of writing. And then we'd have a private space where people could post their writing samples for critique. I say "we" because I floated the idea to Ericka of Alabaster Cow and she jumped right on board.

We named our blog The Red Dress Club after a post by The Bloggess. She wrote about how so many of us have a "red dress," that dream we have that we keep in the closet, or deem to frivolous, or are just too scared to take out and "wear." It's one of the most inspiring posts I've ever read.

For many of us, our red dress is our writing. Maybe we've always wanted to write a book. But we don't consider ourselves writers, or we think people would laugh if they knew our dream, or we find excuses not to do it. 

At The Red Dress Club, we like to foster discussion about different topics about writing. We talk about what's holding us back and we give a little pep talk . We also give practical information like how to write a query letter

We also have a weekly meme where we come up with a writing prompt Tuesdays and, on Fridays, you can post it on your personal blog and link up at TRDC. It's a fun (we hope) way to flex your writing muscles and to try new things.

Both Ericka and I have writing backgrounds. Ericka has a degree in English/creative writing and is currently working on her third manuscript. I was a professional newspaper journalist for 16 years and am considering trying a little fiction.

We welcome anyone who has an interest in writing to come join us. Hey - it's free! What do you have to lose?

Cheryl from Mommypants
Can I just add in here that I'm having a blast wearing my red dress? I'm making new friends, all with a common interest--writing. I mean that's why we are all here in the first place right? 
Happy Weekend!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Red Writing Hood: The Unlikely Hero, continued

This week's assignment: write a morality tale based on forgiveness but written with the fantasy genre in mind........

I decided to add on to a short story I wrote for a Writer's Workshop assignment, which you can find here.

The Unlikely Hero

The smoke rises from the mountain followed by the giant ghostly black shadow. The giant mouth opens, revealing rows of sharp pointed teeth that would make a shark envious. His breath fills the air with the smell of decay and death.   His voice fills the valley with fear. Legions of dark elves, trolls and ogres bowed as Rtharo's form devours the sky filled with a thousand wings of the awakened Drtuaug.
I cannot do this. I am too young. There are so many others who are braver, fiercer, better fighters than I. Why me? Why not one of the Guild Knights or Prince Aletalian? Surely they are more equipped to fight this battle than I am. I am merely River of Holcaste, son of Haldaol the blacksmith. I only own a sword because my father made one for me. I can barely hold it, let alone wield it. And I'm destined to be the savior of the world? The world is in trouble then.

Beware the Drtuaug. Their wings bring fiery death and they will devour your knowledge. Ravengale's words ring in my head. He came to me in the stealth of the dark, the Drtuaug hot on his heels. It was my first encounter with the acursed Scions of Darkness. These are the creatures of prophecy, created by the blood of twenty necromancers. Their skeletal body is shaped like an eagle and their wings bring a rush of heat that makes your blood boil. The strange white light that surrounds them is misleading from a distance. I only knew them from their smell. The smell defies the imagination, smelling of decaying beast and molten lava. I do not desire to have them around me ever again.

With the task that has been handed to me, though, I realize with a sharp clarity that I will encounter them again. I must get moving or that will become a quick reality. I briefly wonder if the trolls, with their keen sense of smell for the human blood, have been dispatched yet. I am only a fortnight away from Holcaste; Ravengale's magic stones and a cloak of invisibility hiding me from my predators. The magic is running out though. I must reach the next village before sunrise or all is lost. I must find the village shaman, Brandlance, and recharge the stones.

I am exhausted, having been on my feet for the better part of the last 72 hours, resting in spurts to put as much distance between me, Ravengale, and Holcaste as possible. The Drtuaug followed Ravengale out of Holcaste but I could hear the march of goblins in the hills. I am cold, having never lit a fire for fear of attracting a Rtharo spy. I am hungry, the beef strips gone, the bread gone moldy, using on the cheese and mead from my flask for nourishment, and the berries I picked from the woods outside Holcaste disappearing too quickly. My arm is tired from carrying my sword, though it is small. It is a work of art, really, my father melting a ruby amulet into the handle of the sword, with the rubies displayed promonitely above the blade itself. They glow like red eyes when unsheathed.

Suddenly, I find myself glad of the sword fighting lessons Ravengale gave me before we separated. Out of the darkness, a small cinder appeared, and I heard the clank of metal on the ground. It is an orc, and he is obstructing my path. My stones begin humming, something Ravengale warned me they would do when evil is around. Since I have yet to identify friend from foe, I have to believe that the orc is a pawn of Rtharo, and I silently prepare for the battle that is bound to happen. I grip my sword to my side, hiding the rubies against my thigh and begin silently creeping towards the orc.

A twig snaps, and the battle is on. Sword clangs against sword, and I draw first blood. The orc snarls in pain, and steps back, grasping his shoulder. "I cannot fight you and I have no wish to die tonight," he says "Kub Gasshadow at your service. Any friend of Ravengale is a friend of mine." I am literally taken aback as he seems to just move past the fact that I was the cause of the attack, and the source of his wound.

"Do you know what you are getting yourself into?" I can't help but ask. It is a suicide mission, one I don't expect to survive myself. "Why didn't you announce yourself?"
"I have a good idea. The better question is do you know what you are getting yourself into by taking me on? I am one of a very small clan that has rebelled against Rtharo, and is listed as an outlaw, punishable by death. You risk the same fate traveling with me." His response makes me laugh. I already face imminent death just by accepting the mission. "You needed to be tested. I did not expect you to get the upperhand so quickly. I'm sorry. It had to be done this way."
"I think I can handle that." I take his proffered hand and we seal the friendship with a handshake.

The fire he has started has caught and I begin to feel the warmth of it seeping through my clothes. By the light of the fire I can see that his wound is superficial, and I am glad that I had not done any real damage, yet disheartened at the same time. How would I ever defend myself if the best I can do against an orc is a superficial shoulder wound? I watch as he applies a salve to his shoulder then puts some meat over the fire. My stomach gurgles in appreciation.

"We are not far from Ithagar. You will be able to rest soon. It's been several moons since I last saw any foes. We must still be cautious and make haste. I should not have been able to sense you there. The magic in the stones you were given are fading fast." Kub's voice holds warning. "Ravengale sends you his thanks and asked me to let you know that he is okay. He had planned to come to you sooner, but he is not going to be able to do that. You are stuck with me for now."

Such an unlikely party, a boy and an orc. Can we really fulfill the prophecy?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

2 Truths & a Lie Thursday: Potty Training 101

Welcome! Tell 2 truths and a lie and make us guess which is the lie.
You've played this game before, so why not join The Scoop on Poop and CA Girl every Thursday by:

1. Grabbing the handy little button on the sidebar
2. Posting your 2 truths and a lie
3. Link up
4. Reveal your lie the next week!
5. Visit others who link up and leave a comment guessing their lie.

It's that easy!! You know you want to play!! Link up today!!
Last Week's Fact or Fiction
1. GC is not house trained.
True. He still needs training. He doesn't do much to help around the house, often even neglecting the trash, and rolls his eyes when he is asked to give his son a bath.
2. Jellybean loves her new teacher.
True. She is really happy that she got the teacher she wanted. At least one of us is. I'm going to have to fight to get her on a 504 program obviously. *sigh*
3. Scooby is 100% potty trained
False. And oh how I wish it were true!! He is 100% pee trained, but poop? Forget it. This is why I have stocked up on Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars. If he wants one bad enough, he will do it. He's done it once, and again, a tiny bit this morning. I know he can do it.

2 Truths & a Lie
1. My favorite food of all is pasta.
2. My favorite cereal is Froot Loops.
3. My favorite ice cream flavor is Ben & Jerry's Coconut Seven Layer Bar.

Can you tell the truths from the lie?
Don't forget to link up here and over at CA Girl's place. Thanks for playing!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Lost in your Eyes

I meant to continue with the back to blogging bash SITS is having, but circumstances beyond my control have made for a very crappy Tuesday, resulting in a lot of running around on Wednesday, WITHOUT INTERNET. Yes, thats what I said. My Fios battery box is pitching a fit, but hopefully tomorrow, they will fix it. I hope so, because this Sprint card is SLOOOOOOOOOOOOW. Haha. Better then nothing at all though. I'll save all that for Oh No He Didn't Tuesday next week. You are NOT going to believe it.

For more Wordless/Wordful Wednesday, please visit: 7 Clown Circus, A Beautiful Mess, and Live and Love...Out Loud.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Back to Blogging Day 2: Jellybean's Story Revived

It's Day 2 of the SITS Back to Blogging week. Today we are supposed to revive a post we wish more people had read. I'm still trying to win Thelma and Louise (big thanks to the sponsors of the awesome giveaway: Standards of Excellence, Westar Kitchen and Bath, and Florida Builder Appliances), and I could use the exercise.

So, today I'm revamping the extra long post about Jellybean and her ADHD/mood disorder. At the end, I'm going to give a little update on how things are going now, because, after reading all of that, you truly deserve it. I figure that God gave me the life He did for a reason, and if my experience can help someone else, then I am already doing that.

Spilling the (Jelly)beans: Living with ADHD and Mood Disorders

**This post is not my usual humorous post. It is a serious one, perhaps in some places, a sad one, but it is important for you to know because it explains so many things.**

10 years ago, my heart was captured. I knew from that moment on, my life would never be the same. It was love at first sight. I never imagined that I could love such a little person with such a big love. She was an incredibly easy baby, cutting her teeth without so much as a painfilled cry, always managing to come out ahead on her milestones, walking and talking, and singing her ABC's by the time she was two. She's always been a bit stubborn, but what toddler isn't? She was also always very busy, busy, busy. She definitely was not one of those babies who can sit still while you read them a story, not by any means. Most of her behavior as a baby was normal and expected.

As she graduated from toddlerhood to preschooler, her stubbornness became a bit more prevalent, and a lack of respect began to surface. As she entered kindergarten, it was obvious that she had other issues going on, but because of a couple of traumatic experiences that she had when she was 4, we figured it was just a reaction from that, and left the door open for her to talk about them as she was ready to.

Little did we realize but that she was already exhibiting several of the key symptoms of "ODD" (Oppositional Defiance Disorder): excessive arguing with adults, active defiance to adults and especially the rules, doing things to deliberately annoy someone else, always blaming someone else for her mistakes or misbehavior. She began stealing things from the other students in her class, and from her teacher. She was stealing things from our bedroom and hiding them. She had no clue why she was stealing, even though she knew it was wrong. She also began lying, more so than is natural for children her age. She didn't seem to care about anything at all, and discipline was testy. What would work for us today, wouldn't work for us tomorrow. To us then, her behavior seemed deliberate because when she really wanted something, she seemed to know how to be good.

It's a very hard pill to swallow thinking everyone else thinks your child is bad (or you are in need of some serious parenting skills). You know your child isn't bad, but out in public, people's reactions to her behavior lead you to think you've somehow turned your child into a spoiled little unsociable brat. You turn on the punishment trying to correct the behavior, and the cycle just keeps spinning around and around, and around.

Fast forward 7 years, my beautiful child is blooming. She has her own opinions, her own ideas of how the world should work, and she has hopes and dreams for the future. She is one neat little package. She has her own style, and she has the confidence to display it.

She's not afraid to lift her voice and sing as loud as she can to Taylor Swift or any other song she knows on the radio. She sings in the shower a perfect rendition to Teardrops on My Guitar. She is fast on her way to becoming a star. She is now a big sister, and her whole world has changed. She's no longer the only person her mom has to pay attention to. Now she not only has to compete with GC, she has to compete with this cute, can't do anything for himself, baby.

Whatever symptoms were still locked away are now all the sudden rearing their ugly heads.

As much as I love my daughter, it was heartbreaking to realize that her behavior was pushing me away. It got to the point where I was once again considering sending her off to one of those correctional type schools because I just couldn't handle it anymore. She started stealing again, vandalizing her school, etc. Now she was also yelling out "I hate you" and other hurtful things whenever she was angry and not getting her way. She became physical, kicking and punching and hitting. Her temper tantrums began to flare. The battles became more frequent and we were winning fewer and fewer of them. I could no longer trust her to play with Scooby because she was very rough with him. She pushed him, or smacked him for no reason at all (beyond normal sibling rivalry).

What am I supposed to do? How can I choose one child over another? I can't do it. I love them both. It was truly heartbreaking to have to worry about protecting one child from the other. It still breaks my heart. This is not at all how I had imagined my life and my family 8 years ago.

She is the perfect child. She knows how to throw the perfect temper tantrum, say exactly the most perfectly hurtful things during an episode, and she's also perfect at laying the blame everywhere but on herself. She's perfect at doing a lot of things that get her in trouble. She's very friendly, but doesn't really have any friends. No one understands her, least of all herself. She wants to please you, but she doesn't always have perfect control over her feelings and emotions. She often has bursts of energy that make you want to climb up a wall.

It was just so frustrating because it seemed like when she wanted to be good, she was very, very good, and the rest of the time, you didn't want to go anywhere with her. You'd think that she is in control of her behavior. I had the traditional mother guilt too, worrying and stressing over how I contributed to make her behave this way, where did I got wrong, did I not discipline enough? It had to be all on me, after all, she is just a child, right? My beautiful, strong-willed, spirited daughter, how could it be? How had I failed you?

I have to admit that I was incredibly stressed and frustrated with her. I was so stressed with her behavior, I just couldn't take it anymore. Just before she started school in the Fall of 2008, I decided it was time to take action. It certainly isn't fair to her for me to feel the way I do, and it definitely isn't fair to her brother to take the brunt of her anger, or her father, just because he is there. My feelings of guilt and having failed her somehow certainly didn't help the picture either. With a heavy heart, I signed the whole family up for in-home counseling as a last resort. They came in and did an assessment, and gave me an unofficial diagnosis. She has Oppositional Defiance Disorder coupled with ADHD. I've never heard of ODD, so it was to the internet and research for me.
Somehow once the counseling started, things seemed to get worse, not better, as you'd think they would. We had to stick with it though, because I am determined not to lose Jellybean. We had to totally change our way of thinking, our ways of disciplining, our ways of praising, or not praising. ODD and ADHD perfectly explain why our techniques didn't work in the past. They perfectly eleviate that pain and worry that I had failed her somehow.

Now, the understanding can begin. The changes can begin.

And so did the meltdowns. At first they were just over little things like my putting mushroom soup in the hamburger. All the sudden, everything you say becomes debatable. Everything you do becomes questionable. There is an explosion. Strikes won't work. Remaining calm won't work either. Everything begins to escalate. Favorite toys are taken away, waterworks begin. Foul words spew from her beautiful lips, and I start believing my child is being possessed.

And that's when it gets really bad. Because then it can get violent.

Restraining my child is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. It feels so wrong on so many levels. The vulgarities that spew from the mouth of the angry child are no picnic either. I feel so lost and helpless during this time. I just wanna love on her like I used to, caress her cheek, smooth her hair, kiss her face, blow raspberries on her cheeks, make pbbbbblttttttttt noises on her belly, and tickle her armpits.

I don't want to straddle her, holding her wrists down to the floor, or with her arms crossed across her chest, so she can't hit me or kick me, or Scooby, or throw things around the room violently, placing everyone in the room in danger of being hurt. I don't like the helpless feeling that comes over me, and knowing that I just might have to call 911 and get police assistance. I can't release her or the kicking and punching resumes. Nothing is working to calm her down. I have a baby and another child that are in danger during this manic episode. I make the hardest phone call of my life and call 911. Finally, she gets calmed down, and the police officer scares her enough that she snaps out of it.

The worst part is, at least for me, when its all over with, she pops up like nothing has happened. It's like she has no clue what triggered the episode, but she got it all out and everything is copacetic. I don't understand what has happened, and her friends who have witnessed certainly don't understand what's going on either, and they end up being alienated. My poor beautiful crazy child. My heart is broken for her.

Over the summer of 2009, I was able to get an actual diagnosis for her, and they confirmed what the counseling group had said: ODD with ADHD. The next step was to get her medicated since she was clearly in need of it. That finally happened in November. She is prescribed the lowest possible doses of Metadate and Tenet, and we continue on with our lives, and restart the counseling since it was again needed.

At school she seemed to be doing well, except for minor issues with homework, and some stealing and lying issues that were dealt with. At home, though, she is a completely different child. She is still the hateful child, who will explode at the drop of a hat over anything and everything. She no longer needs to be restrained though, since the medicine is helping to control her explosiveness, and I can even see her thought process being clearer, that she is slowing down and thinking things out, able to sit and complete projects, etc. All things she couldn't do before.

That changed in February. We don't know what caused the change, but it was terrible. Even at school, a notable difference was occuring. She was alienating and verbally bullying her classmates and friends. The lying and stealing was out of control. The mood swings were terrible. Something was going wrong.  The medications were not working. Things were escalating out of control very quickly.

Both her teacher and her counselor were key to getting her medicine changed. Her psychologist realized that her behavior at school was completely opposite then it was at home, which was contrary to what was originally said. He said that she couldn't be ODD, because it would be the same at school as it is at home. He said it seems more like a mood disorder, and changed her meds to accommodate a diagnosis of ADHD with a Mood Disorder (NON-No Origin Known, or in layman's terms, its not any specific one). (I have since discovered that many children diagnosed with ODD were actually suffering from a mood disorder and wrongfully diagnosed. When you get to the core of it, it makes sense. The signs are very much the same). We are now facilitating the help of Wellbutrin and Resperidol, and after a shaky start, and with a few kinks, things seem to be finally, at long last, calming down.

Like ADHD, I am hoping that she can outgrow the mood disorder, that perhaps once her hormones calm down (but as a woman, do they ever?), her sweet self will emerge without the need for medication. This is my hope. My whole goal right now is to get her normal, feeling normal, and making friends that she can keep for a lifetime, share fond memories with, and think back when she is my age about all the fun she and her besties had. Making sure that she is getting the full benefit of her education, because she is super scary smart, maybe even gifted, is a goal that both we and her school share.

I also have a lot of learning to do. I need to relearn parenting skills, find creative discipline techniques, be more open with my praise. I am willing to do whatever it takes to give her the best possible life, just like I dreamed of when she was still kicking my ribs inside my belly 10 years ago.

I love every little part of her from the inside out. Together, she and I, and the rest of our family, will figure it out. It won't always be like this. At least I can claim that every day is a new adventure. There's no such thing as predictability in this house, and that keeps life interesting. As rough as life may get, and as much poop as it tries to sling at us, I wouldn't give it up for anything.
Now to provide with an update:

Since I wrote this, her meds have again changed. She spent the summer on Resperidone (the generic for resperidol) and her weight gain was awful. She went from a size 8 to size 14 virtually over night. And I found out that resperidol increases your risks of adult onset Type 2 diabetes, and since I am a diabetic, her chances are already higher that she will end up with this as well. So, I had to put a stop to it.

She started Geodon in late August. It comes from the same family as resperidol, only it doesn't case the weight gain. So far, so good.

As for everything else? We still have our battles, and there are some things that are not quite normal, but overall? She is a typical 10 yr old girl going on 16, and that alone scares me.

Thanks for taking your time to read the novel. I have the best commenters ever.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Back to Blogging Day 1: The Very First Scoop of Poop Ever

So, over at SITS, they have this really cool "Back to Blogging" theme going on to help all us busy summer people get back into the groove of blogging (not that I had any problems with that) and commenting (and you all know how badly I have failed at consistency with this over the summer).

Hey, did you see that purty blue laundry duo in the middle of the above picture? That's Thelma and Louise (thanks to Standards of Excellence, Westar Kitchen and Bath, and Florida Builder Appliances) . I could really use Thelma and Louise, especially since we have been talking about getting a new washer and dryer. There's nothing like being in a hurry for something and having to dry it 5 times before it's done. Ha. Anyway, you have to play along and do a bunch of other stuff to be eligible to win, but it's all right up my alley. (Click here for details). So, without further ado, I give you my very first Scoop on Poop blog post...

Birthdays are the Poop

Everyone has to start somewhere, right? And not always at the beginning. Some stories start at the end. Some, like this one, start in the middle.

Ok. Technically, I'm off by one year, but who's keeping count? Certainly not myself. Anyway, happy birthday to me. Woohoo. 39.

Before you start blowing all those noisemakers and singing "For She's a Jolly Good Fellow", notice the face. Yeah. Not so jolly. (and what's with the fellow there anyway?). Far from excited.

I mean, let's face it. 39 isn't anything to write home to mom about. In fact, it is actually pretty scary when you think about it. It's one number less than 40.

Yeah. We are not going there.

So, I think I am just going to kick back, listen to the clock ticking those hours by, and smelling the goodness of those fat free blueberry muffins baking in my oven. I am going to dream of said fresh baked blueberry muffins, which, I can promise you, are NOT fat free in my dreams.

I'm going to dream of the spacious, never gets dirty historical pink and green Victorian with the Olympic sized heated pool in the backyard that my husband (who by the way looks like George Clooney's identical twin...MY DREAM PEOPLE!!) promises to buy me someday.

I'm dreaming that I have the world's most perfect children (literally I do. Except, most days I don't, but I'm working on that). Never a scratch, never a speck of dirt, perfectly polite and mannerly, never an angry outburst or toddler tantrum.

And I never, ever, ever raise my voice. (MY DREAM, PEOPLE!!)

Then... I wake up.

The 2 year old is crying under his door because he has a poopy diaper and his sippy cup is empty even though he's already pooped three times today (not to mention well past his bedtime) and had a refill on his cup, while the 9 year old ignores the "put the game away, lights out" requests, and George Clooney snores from the bedroom. (I can pretend can't I?)

C'est La Vie. Same poop, different day.

So there you have it. The very first post I wrote on this blog way back on February 21, 2010.

You know what I like about this post? It's funny, just like me. I think it gives a great vibe of what I was trying to do here on my blog. I also like that the labels were "lies, more lies". Hahaha.  I guess I was destined to start a lying meme, eh?

I don't think I would change anything about this post, either. I read back over it and I say to myself "This is a fun chick. I want to get to know her." Hahaha. Well it's mostly true, right?

Ok, now that I have totally embarrassed myself, I hope you'll run on over to SITS and play along, sign up to win Thelma and Louise too. Happy Monday!!

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