Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Is it Wednesday already?

Things are mostly back to normal here at Chez De Haan. I am having little bouts of anxiousness, but part of that, I think, is the adrenaline overload from last Friday. It was interesting to me to realize that it was hard to take the kids to school on Monday. Driving past everything I went past on Friday when I thought that Rhys was missing. I took two colossal cookies to school that said Thank You on them for the staff. Many people stopped us on the way to the classroom, lots of people were very happy just to see Rhys. It was good.

Yesterday and today I've kept Rhys home. He's been fighting something, nothing awful or huge, but a bug of some sort. He had a slight headache on Sunday and had a runny nose that started on Monday but got worse Monday night and Tuesday. He has no fever. I had a sub job yesterday afternoon, so, happily, Mom was able to come over and watch Rhys for the afternoon while I worked. He had nearly no computer time and no TV time all day. He and I worked on his Lego Hogwarts Castle, then he worked on it with Nana. It was a quiet and thoughtful way for him to spend the day. I had high hopes that he'd go back to school today. He went to bed earlier than usual and slept really well. Alas, this morning, he sounded snarfly and was coughing. I figured the better part of valor was to keep him home one more day. We've got his math book, so he's all caught up there. Not sure what else he is missing today. We went through all of his lines for the 3rd grade musical/play. He's doing great with it!
I got a call to work in 4th grade today. Sad I couldn't take it. I don't like having to say no to jobs.

It's been hard for me to go walking the past few days - happily, Irene is 12 and able to watch Rhys while Rob and I go for quick walks after dinner (just here in the neighborhood - Irene with her phone, us with ours - always just a max of 5 minutes away), so that's good. I will need to walk more this weekend to make up for the short walks :)

I need to head to the grocery store to get some butter - thought I had plenty in the fridge, but that is not the case. I'm going to make some toffee crunch for the school police officers that helped on Friday. Had hoped to do that today, but now it's on the docket for tomorrow.

And on a completely different note -- today, Joshilyn Jackson's book A Grown Up Kind of Pretty launches! Hooray hooray!! I can't wait to get mine! And perhaps tomorrow, I will go to BN and find her books and make sure they are all facing outward - not just the spine showing, but the beautiful picture. Perhaps I should call the independent book stores around here and see if they have it already too. Then I will go in and talk her up in a big way. Because I've actually met her in person and talked briefly with her on the phone and been on a yahoogroup with her for *gasp* 11 years, AND I've read all of her books and I have the audiobooks for Between, Georgia and Backseat Saints which just happen to be read by Joshilyn, I feel like I can talk her up honestly and vociferously!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Lost and Found and Humble Thanks!

This afternoon Rob and I had, what I believe was probably, the *worst* 3 hours that felt like days of our lives. Rhys was missing. I will state right here, right up front, that he is fine, he never knew he was lost, he was with a dear friend, and they both did exactly what they were supposed to do.

It started yesterday afternoon. Mom, Irene, and I were planning on going "over the hill" to my sister's so that we could celebrate my nephew's birthday. So I called my dear girlfriend to see if she could pick up Rhys and then Rob would grab him after work. Late in the evening, Mom and I decided that the weather was going to be too awful to drive in safely, so we'd stay home. It was late, so I didn't call.

Next morning, early, I got a call to sub. Did the quick groggy run through in my head, remembered we were NOT heading to the Bay Area today, and said yes. Totally and completely forgot about other plans other than, I need to get showered, get the kids breakfasts and lunches, and get them out to the bus. I told Rhys and Irene that I was going to pick them up from school (previously, I'd told Rhys that our friend was going to pick him up).

I got to school. There was Irene, with her friend, by the flagpole. No Rhys. No biggie, it usually takes him a bit longer to get around the school.  Nope, still no Rhys. Checked in briefly with his teacher, she saw him walk out the door with his great good friend. Okay. Well, I just need to get home before the bus does because he's going to be worried that a) Irene's not on the bus and b) that I won't be home. So off Irene and I zoomed. We got home just before the bus. I went to grab Rhys. Came home, called school, spoke with Margaret, the wonderful secretary. She did an all call at school. No Rhys. Then she called transportation. No. Not on the bus. Serious panic begins to set in. Where is my child? He is my worrier. My "gotta know the plan" boy. My "hey! the busses are leaving and mama's not here, so it's time to go into the office because she's subbing and sometimes it takes a minute or two more to get here" boy. He is not the boy who goes wandering off with a friend, walking home by himself (does he even really know the way home?). I called my mom to come to my house to be with Irene (who was really really getting more and more concerned by the minute) and tried to stay calm for her. I was then on her phone, my cell (with margaret), and Irene's phone calling Rob to say that Rhys was missing. Come home. I then went to a friend's house who maybe, just maybe, if Rhys had been on the bus and realized I might not be home and Irene wasn't on the bus, he'd be with her...nope. not there. Went to another friend's house to see if somehow, just this once, Rhys went home with someone else without thinking about calling or telling me. No. Not there either. Margaret stayed on the phone with me the whole time. I then headed to school. I was met with people already combing the school and looking outside.  I think Carrie met me outside where I broke down. The principal, Prim Walters, was right there too. Rhys' teacher was already in the office trying to piece together what could have happened from the moment it happened.

So much now is blurring in my head already. It felt totally surreal. This stuff doesn't HAPPEN in real life. This happens in movies. My brain was on overload and I was trying to stay calm, but as more friends and more people were coming to help, I would hug and hold and cry. So many people were there asking what they could do. I sent Carrie all the recent pictures I had on my phone of Rhys. She put it on facebook. Suddenly people who didn't know me or Rhys from anything were ready to help too. The school police came and started asking me questions. I couldn't remember which sweats he was wearing - his teacher absolutely remembered. I knew he had on his super cool sweatshirt that Mom had made for him and was pretty sure he had on a green shirt (his favorite color). 

I just can't say enough about our school and friends and the school police. And I was awful. At one point, I said (and truly, it kills me that these words came out of my mouth) "When can we call the real police in?!" Ms. Walters came out and let me know that they are real police and I KNEW that - good lord, whatever possessed me to say it?! I quickly apologized, but that doesn't take it away. As another friend said, these are the people that deal with these kinds of things on a regular basis and I'd just treated them in a horrible and horrifying manner. Please, when you see those school cops around, THANK THEM for being there for the kids! There is nothing I can do to take back those words, and I feel truly awful. Meanwhile, Ken (my step-dad) arrived, Rob arrived, Cub Scout friends and Girl Scout friends came and were doing everything they could - they were driving the streets, they were calling friends, they were walking the neighborhoods. Teachers came back from their homes, or never even left school to help. There were 4 different people who thought they saw him on a bus - on their bus, on the wrong bus, getting off at the Raley's bus stop, he realized that I wouldn't be home, so he was going to go with the neighbor kids on the bus to their house.

The teachers and staff called every parent from Rhys' class, Ms. Walters talked with Rhys' best buddy in his class (bless that sweet boy) who, as we found out later, was spot on. Rhys walked out with J, then a "girl" called his name, and Rhys walked over to the "car circle." Ms. Walters had put the Connect-Ed All Call out to all parents in the school. Pictures were printed of Rhys, what he was wearing was added to it. Teachers and parents were going door to door. People were canvassing everywhere and I was attempting to keep it together and feeling totally lost in my head. I thought of other kids who might know, Margaret made more calls. Still nothing. 

After way too long, I looked at my phone and thought of my friend - I said "I KNOW WHERE HE MUST BE!!!" and proceeded to call her. No one called anything off just in case I was wrong. Then, the blessed voice of my dear friend answered and told me what I'd been longing to hear - "Of course, Rhys is here! I told you I would pick him up." I explained the situation as best as I could to her and told her I'd be on my way. I told everyone and the whole office erupted in cheers. You can probably imagine how I felt (and how Rob felt) when we heard that he was safe and sound and exactly where he was supposed to be. I felt awful that I'd started this whole mess - that I didn't even know where my sweet boy was when I SHOULD have thought of that. 

The school police were already on their way over to the house and they brought Rhys back to us, while we waited knowing everything was miraculously okay. I was so totally overwhelmed by the outpouring and love in our community. Carrie said it best. I was humbled. I hugged just about anyone who would let me. 

When I saw Rhys, I gave him giant ginormous hugs and let him know that he had done everything right - because he had. It was my mistake - first that I didn't call last night, that I didn't remember this morning to call, and then, why didn't my brain turn on and remind me that I should absolutely call her first thing? 

While Rob and I were doing that, Irene was home with Mom - both comforting one another. It is not easy to be the big sister. I just knew I needed someone here just in case somehow Rhys was late getting here to the house.

I want to thank my friends far and near who called, texted, posted on facebook, sent up prayers and thoughts. It means the world to me. More than the world. Thank you to all the staff at Spanish Springs Elementary School for zooming to action so quickly and for brainstorming different possibilities and places to look. For answering and making calls. To the police - all of them, thank you. I know that many of you were working from the wee hours of the morning and were not getting to go home tonight for quite a while. And to my dear sweet friend who did exactly what she had told me she'd do, thank you to the ends of the earth!

I know that there are similar stories that don't end up nearly so well. I send my prayers and thoughts out to those parents and the friends of those parents.

Right now, I'm happy to have my family all snuggled in.

Thank you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

weight & health & ramblings

I can't remember many times in my life when I've not been worried about my weight. Maybe when I lived in Spain and walked everywhere and lost quite a bit of weight. Definitely not when I was pregnant - man, did I ever LOVE being pregnant! Never did I feel so good as those 18 months! There have been a few other times off and on.

I often wonder what the heck I was thinking back in high school when I was sure I was fat. Amazing what a person's head does to us. I love the fact that I have curves. I love having an hourglass figure - even if it is a larger hourglass than I'd like to have. I am content with the knowledge that if I ever got to the BMI weight that is supposed to be healthy for me, I'd look like Skeletor, and there is nothing pretty OR sexy about that.

One of my goals is to get more fit - more healthy. I'm working hard at that. I'm using the map my walk app ( on my iPhone. I'm greatly enjoying going on walks with Rob. It is nice to walk and talk and just enjoy one another's company. It is also nice to have a twelve-year-old daughter who I trust to watch Rhys. I can remember that Jeremy and I would argue when our folks were home, but when I was watching him, everything went smoothly. It seems like that is the case for Irene and Rhys as well.

While the kids were off track, Rhys and I went on many walks together. It was something that I greatly enjoyed. We did shorter and slower walks, but they were precious and dear to me. It was time that he could just talk and I could listen. There were lots of discussions about the animals, particularly lizards and snakes, but also bees and colony collapse disorder, and ants. We talked about heaven and what he thinks it might be like. We talked about The Warriors books that he loves and wants to discuss and talk through, but it tends to drive Irene a bit insane. Now that they are back in school, I'm missing that time we had. But he's doing karate (and LOVING it!) 2 - 4 times per week, and it's hard to figure out where to fit it in. We will figure it out in time.

Today, it was 10 degrees when I put the kids on the bus. I knew it was going to be cold. When Rob left for work, it was 7 degrees. Yes, seven. So I had to plan what I was going to wear to make my walk successful. I put on my cuddle dud top, another long sleeve fitted shirt over that, a sweatshirt, my wool hoodie, a lovely handmade scarf, my jacket, and gloves with mittens over. On my lower half, I decided that because I couldn't find my cuddle dud bottoms to wear under jeans, I'd suck it up and wear the LL Bean fleece lined jeans that I've had for 6 years now that have never fit comfortably. They always took me laying down flat on my bed or hopping around to get them up and zipped. Once on, they'd be fine, until I had to sit down, then I'd have to think about the setting and figure out if I could tactfully unbutton the damned things or not. So, today I put them on. They fit. I didn't have to take a deep intake of breath to make my lower half skinnier than usual - I didn't have to wriggle them over my ample hips. I just put them on. And right now? I'm sitting on my bed cross legged and still wearing them. They are still feeling fine! As if they were any other pair of jeans that I own. Astounding. This morning, I was 3 pounds heavier than when I got pregnant with Rhys. That's still a good 20 - 25 pounds heavier than my happy happy joy joy weight (which is still probably considered overweight according to my BMI), but it is less than I've weighed in a  really long time. So - yea me!

So - back to my walk in the 10 degree air...Taking those first breaths outside in the 10 degree air was sort of crazy. felt like breathing in ice. But I had Pandora set to the Erasure station and blissed out on *MY* kind of 80s music (erasure, depeche mode, the cure, duran duran, new order, naked eyes, thompson twins, yaz, OMD, when in rome, etc etc etc), and focused on walking and not falling on the ice. It was good. I went farther than I thought I was going to go - and I know it looks funny if you see the loops and twists and turns i make, but it works for me - and faster than I've gone to date (probably because it was cold!).

For me, it never did. Give me the curves and some extra flesh.
I got the above picture from Carrie's fb page. I really don't think it is the men that feel this way. Men that I know like for women to have curves. So, I'm just going to look at that bottom half and think of that. And, I'll keep on working on healthier living and being.

And now, I *really* need to get some things packed up so that I can ship some woefully late presents out as well as ship the ebay item to the winner so that I can head to school and work in the kids' classrooms.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Books read, reading, and to read

I've seen other people do this and I have yet to remember to do it, so I'm going to write down the books I've read this year.

So far I've read:
Gregor the Underlander series (5 books) by Suzanne Collins (of Hunger Games fame)

  • These were fun and well written books. Not as intense as The Hunger Games. More of a Hunger Games "light," I suppose. The books were a quick read - I read them in 5 days. Helps that I was able to stay up quite late and read them.
Discussion of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon

  • This is for my book club. I read it in a few days. It was a very interesting read. It's written from the point of view of an autistic teenager. It's probably not a book I'd have picked up for myself, but I enjoyed it very much.

So - six books so far. I want to re-read The Hunger Games before the movie comes out, but I'm waiting for Rob to finish them the first time around. He's on the last book. I bought my sister, nephew, Irene, and I Hunger Games shirts from Irene and I are REALLY excited about this movie and desperately hoping that it's good and doesn't add a bunch of bologna that isn't necessary and isn't in the books. The actors I know in it, I think are spot on for the characters they are playing. That's a good sign.

On my Currently Reading list I have:

Book 2 of Game of Thrones. I had to stop reading this for a while because it was giving me graphic dreams when what I really needed was rest.

The Anxiety Cure which was recommended by Dr. C-H.

The two books I am most anticipating this year?

Lydia Netzer's Shine Shine Shine which comes out in July (AND, I am hoping beyond hope that she really is able to come to Sparks and do a book signing - it is my desperate and fervent hope, not only because I want EVERY SINGLE ONE of my friends and acquaintances here in this town to meet her and buy her brilliant book, BUT, she is also a very good friend of mine and she lives far far away in Virginia, so we don't get to see one another nearly enough). By the way, the first Shine link is to the FB page. The second link is to the contest to WIN Shine Shine Shine

The second book I am greatly looking forward to owning is Joshilyn Jackson's A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty. Joshilyn (the h is silent, for new readers of ardent peace) has also written gods in Alabama, her first published novel which started out with quite a bang! Next came my very favorite so far, Between, Georgia, then The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, and her last book (previous to A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty) is Backseat Saints. One of the very very awesome things about Joshilyn's books is that if you choose to get the audio version, she has been the one to read all of them except for gods in Alabama. She is amazing.

Monday, January 09, 2012

A goal or two

In the past 4 - 5 months, I've lost close to 30 pounds. Some of this was because of not feeling hungry/feeling nauseous/worrying. Some of it has been from paying more attention to what I'm eating, some of it was from surgery and being in the hospital for 4 days and not getting to eat for most of that time. But, I've been *out* of the hospital now for 8 weeks. And in that time, I lost 5 pounds(ish). So...
One of my goals is to average 5 walks per week. I'd like them to be at least 30 minutes long. Last week I walked 10 miles and did indeed walk 5 days and 6 walks.

Now I just need to keep it up. Because of the weather, it's been easier to do - no snow/no ice. I'm sure that at some point, the snow will come pouring down and it will be trickier, but it's a goal. I will do my best to achieve it.

Saturday, January 07, 2012


So - I decided I needed to have some outside help. I found a therapist. She was able to see me right away on the 26th. I've seen her 3 times and it has helped tremendously. I am still dealing a bit with the anxiety - it really is more anxiety than panic. I've had true panic attacks, but didn't really realize the difference until talking to Dr. C-H. When Rhys was lost at Hendy Woods, what I had *then* was a panic attack (breathing too fast, feeling like something was pressing down on my chest, feeling like I had tunnel vision). Panic attacks are relatively fast. This that I was dealing with seemed to go on for a long time.

I've been listening to some relaxation tapes (is it still called a tape if it is on my iPhone?), reading a book called The Anxiety Cure, and working on different techniques to keep the anxiety at bay. Right now, I seem to be winning.

The Bloggess recently posted about anxiety/panic/self-harm. It is an amazing post that I highly recommend. A few days later she posted this - another good one.

So - school starts back for the kids on Monday. I will miss them. It's been nice to have them home during their track off time - even if I was down and moving slowly for a good chunk of it. Rhys and I have gone on some lovely fun walks together - he's 8 1/2 now and needs opportunities to just talk, so the walks give us about 1/2 hour of talking time (well, talking for him, listening for me).

And now, I need to leave. The Cookie Rally is today - that's right, GIRL SCOUT COOKIE TIME IS UPON US!!! Beginning tomorrow, let me know if you have any cookie needs - Irene will be happy to supply them if you don't have any Girl Scouts in your neck of the woods.