Category Archives: Family

Quitter (or “Understanding Your Limits”)

I could come up with a dozen different titles for this blog entry.  I wonder if any of my old blogger friends will see this – I’ve poked my head in on this site a few times in the past year, but I haven’t been diligent about reading like I should…and I’ve clearly stopped writing for over a year.

As usual, I’m not sure where to begin. (I seem to start all my blog entries off that way.)

I mentioned my health issues from last year in my last journal entry – swallowing issues, colon cancer, etc.  I took all of that as a sign that my body was telling me I needed to make changes.  I was under a lot of stress. I think the swallowing issues are closely related to my stress levels.

I was not being a good mother to any of our children. I don’t feel I was being a good wife, either. I was finding any way to escape that I could.

So much I want to say here, but when I’ve looked online for women in similar situations, all I’ve found are throngs of posters discussing what horrible people they are for not only having negative feelings towards their special needs kiddo, but – God forbid – discussing those feelings publicly.

Maybe I just wasn’t meant to have three children, period. Forget the “step” and the “special needs” labeling – three children can be a handful. Many of you know this.  I don’t know how some women do it alone. (I’m looking at you, Rose!!)

Late last year, I started asking myself the hardest questions of all:  Can I do this forever? Can I continue living my life the way I have been? Can I get past the anger, frustration, anxiety and stress I feel as a mother of a child with special needs?

One morning – following an especially trying evening where Colin had peed on the floor in his room for no apparent reason – I lost my cool.  I was exhausted. I was tired of being disrespected. I was still angry from the day before.  A million excuses come to mind, but none of them is legitimate – none of them excusable.  I grabbed Colin by the back of the neck, got in his face and yelled. I made him cry. The bus had just shown up and – without apologizing or trying to calm him or myself – I sent him on his way and slammed the door behind him, then burst into tears myself – right in front of the other two boys.

By that point, I realized I was just angry all the time.  Just seemed like every day, something was setting me off.

Later that day, I got a call from CPS. When Colin got on the bus crying, they asked him what was wrong.  He told them I choked him. (Not what happened, for the record – but I understand that “grabbed the back of my neck” isn’t a phrase that would spring to mind for him.)

We went through the CPS process – we were interviewed, Colin was interviewed, the other boys were spoken to and photographed. In the end, they agreed that this wasn’t an issue of a child in danger – this was a mom who had a bad day and knew she’d made a mistake.

Though, at that point, I was already considering leaving. I’d done some soul searching and wasn’t sure I could handle staying – this CPS incident scared me even more.  What if one day I lost my cool with Colin and it cost me Ryan and Robbie as well?  What if one day he pushed me so far that I did something I wouldn’t be able to take back?

But these are things we can’t discuss.  These are thoughts you can’t even talk about with your psychologist.

My stomach is in knots sharing this, but I feel it needs to be said.  How can someone get help if they’re not even allowed to discuss it?

I remember the first time I made Robbie cry.  He was maybe a year old, sitting in my lap… he reached for something dangerous – hot coffee maybe? – and I raised my voice at him for the first time.  It shocked him and he started crying. I felt like a monster making this poor baby cry! I held him and apologized.

Aside from the occasional hand pop as a toddler to keep him from touching something he shouldn’t, I never hit my child. Never hurt him intentionally.

When I moved in with Rick, I didn’t know how to handle older kids.  I went from mom of a 4 year old to mom of a 4, 5 and 6 year old.  I went from someone who had only a very loose understanding of autism and ADHD to someone who’s world seemed to revolve around these diagnoses.

A friend said to me recently, “I don’t think you really understood what you were getting yourself into.”  I think he’s right. I thought I could swoop in with my patience and research abilities and find a way to “fix” things.  I tried so many things, and while I believe I did a lot of good…there are some things that aren’t “fixable” – they need to be accepted. Maybe acceptance is where I’m struggling.

I’m not trying to blame everything on Colin. Or Autism. Or ADHD. Trying really hard not to blame myself – I was doing that for months. Still do.

At the end of the day, you have to understand your limits. I don’t know what the answers are, but I decided that leaving was what had to happen.  Rick and I have separated.  I signed a year lease at an apartment complex not too far away – I didn’t want to move Robbie around during the school year, no matter which way we decided to go in the end. Ryan comes and stays with us every other weekend, which I love – I’m so thankful that Rick agreed to that.

I’m not sure what the future holds. I’m not sure that we’ll ever be able to go back to the way we were.  But I know that my son needs his mom to be happy and healthy. (I could/should write about how the whole situation was affecting him as well.) He needs the mom he remembers that loves snuggling and singing and playing games with him. Not the mom who is always angry or tired or stressed out.

I still worry about the selfishness of this decision. Rick thanked me at one point for acknowledging that I felt the way I do and for speaking up and leaving vs. bottling it up and/or becoming abusive.  Leaving is never easy – doesn’t matter what the situation is.  I’ve had people tell me I’m brave, but I feel like a quitter.

Once again, where to begin?

I guess I’ll start where I left off – that’s a good place, right?

We stopped the extra dose of Seroquel and that helped for a bit…but over the past few months, Colin’s mood continued to worsen.  He got into the habit of going to his room to break things when he got mad – usually his own toys, but still not a good habit!  We’ve continued with him going to play therapy every week – we alternate which brother goes with him – and that seems to be helping quite a bit with his verbalization and his relationship with both brothers.  (We’re getting less “I don’t know”s and more “I’m angry because ____.”)

A couple of weeks ago, we told Dr. L about the mood swings – Colin was often angry/sad at the drop of a hat – and Dr. L decided we should take him off the Clonidine and try Intuniv.  We started with 1mg/day for the first week, then up to 2mg/day after that.  As we eased into the Intuniv, he had us ease off the clonidine.  We stopped his morning and afternoon doses immediately and then eased off the bedtime dose. 

His mood improved within a couple of days – he stopped having meltdowns and seemed generally happy again.  His hyperactivity, however, was off the charts again.  After a full week on the 2mg of Intuniv, we called Dr. L and asked what he thought we should do as Colin wasn’t focusing at school and was very hyper.  He decided to up his Adderall XR to 30mg.  He hadn’t prior due to his weight, but considering he was on 100mg/day of Ritalin just last year, 30mg of Adderall didn’t sound quite so drastic.  (They do not make a 25mg of the XR or we would have tried that first.)

So far, things seem to be going well.  To recap, he’s on 30mg Addreall XR and 2mg Intuniv in the AM, then 50mg of Seroquel at night.  He’s still having some issues in the evening, but he’s doing pretty well the rest of the day – no wild mood swings, a LOT less anger…if anything, he’s a little too silly at times – I’ll take it!  He seems happy – that makes me happy.

 

And now… to explain what *I* have been up to the past few months.

Near the end of last year, I started having issues swallowing – food would get stuck on the way down and it was sometimes a bit painful, but mostly just annoying.  By March, I was tossing my cookies a few times/week and could not handle eating if there was even an ounce of stress – I’d taken to eating dinner after the kids were in bed most nights.

Mid-March, I accepted the fact that I couldn’t put this off any longer.  I wasn’t sure what the issue was, I just knew I was tired of this esophagus mess, so I called my GP.  He suggested I go see a gastroenterologist. I actually had one in mind because in 2005 I had some issues and wound up getting a colonoscopy where they found a polyp (benign) and removed it.  I’d been instructed to come back in 5 years…but time had gotten away from me and I just never went back.

First thing Dr. S said when he saw me was, “You’re 3 years late for your colonoscopy, you know that, right?”  Yes, yes…I told him we’d fit that in with whatever was involved in fixing my swallowing issues.

After a few inconclusive tests on my esophagus, I went for my colonoscopy.  They found 2 polyps this time.  One was malignant.  Suddenly I went from having throat issues…to being diagnosed with colon cancer at the ripe old age of 33. 

I went for another throat test that week…and a CT scan of my abdomen.  The CT scan came back showing no other signs of cancer, thankfully.  The throat test concluded that I have achalasia – essentially, the sphincter that connects my esophagus and stomach malfunctions.  (When you swallow, it’s supposed to open. Mine only opens when it feels like it!)  But that would have to wait – I was meeting with my colorectal surgeon the following week.

When sharing my medical news with family, I found out my great-grandmother (paternal) had colon cancer when she was a little older than I am now. She had surgery and no further issues – lived to the ripe old age of 98!  My grandmother also has polyps often, but none have become cancerous.

The things we don’t talk about!  No one discusses medical history that isn’t life-threatening, do they!?

I had surgery in April and spent the following 6 weeks in recovery at home. (Gee, Sara – you couldn’t throw together a blog entry during those 6 weeks??  No, apparently I couldn’t! lol)

On the 4th week, I went for an endoscopy with balloon dilation – one of the methods for treating achalasia.  The other option was surgery (overnight stay at the hospital), but I just couldn’t stomach the idea of spending any more time in the hospital at that point, plus my colon surgeon had recommended that I try balloon dilation first.

Thankfully, the first round of dilation seems to have helped about 75%, I’d say.  I’ve only had to vomit twice since the procedure, though I do sometimes feel food get stuck…at least now it almost always goes down.  I’ve been told that I’ll likely have to go back and have the dilation done again in the future, but I’m good for now at least! (The procedure essentially tears the muscle.)

My pathology report came back clear as well, by the way – they removed 19 lymph nodes from around the area where the tumor was and all came back showing no signs of cancer.  Yay!  I’m still waiting on my genetic testing results to come back, but otherwise I can stop thinking about all of this for the next year (I will be back for my follow up colonoscopy next year!!).

As you can see, it’s been a pretty crazy past few months for us.  I’m back at work now and the kids are enjoying their last week of school. I can’t believe Summer Break is almost here!  We were able to push Colin’s week at camp off until late July (he was supposed to go next week originally) so that I’ll have vacation time accrued again by then.  We’re hoping to take Ryan and Rob to CO for the week – a “normal” family road trip, if you will.  I want them to get to experience things Rick and I did as kids and that’s not always possible with Colin.  My mom is local and told us not to worry – she is listed as an emergency contact at the camp and can be there ASAP if anything should go wrong.

 

So that’s me.  Now I just need to find time to read through everyone else’s blog posts!  I’m quite far behind. I’ve checked in on a couple of you here and there, but not as often as I should have.  I spent the first 4 weeks of my recovery sleeping, more or less!

Hope you’re all doing well!

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Dear Santa…

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So far, so good

We’re almost through our 4th week of school and things are going pretty well!  Colin has had ALL GREEN DAYS.  Amazing.  (Hope I’m not jinxing myself!)  Robbie’s had a couple of yellow days and so has Ryan, but no major issues at all.  And, ho-hum, Robbie got 103 on his first two spelling tests. 

103!  He’s gotten all of the regular weekly words plus the 3 bonus words each time.  Crazy kid!

Colin and Ryan are both reading very well these days, though Colin has trouble reading books due to the ADHD – he gets bored after a few pages and is ready to move on.  I’m just glad his skill has increased.  Baby steps!  

We had family come visit last weekend – Mom, sister, brother, sis-in-law, and our four-legged nieces, Bella & Abby (brother’s dogs).  My brother and sister also invited over an old friend of theirs from high school that was in town.  That brought the total to 7 adults, 3 kids and 4 dogs. I don’t think our house has ever been so full!  But we had a great time – the weather was gorgeous and we had tons of food to eat.  I made kabobs and fruit salad, my mom showed up with some bbq and sides from a place near her.  I’d just picked up my bountiful baskets order (usual basket plus 8lbs of strawberries!), so the kids were constantly begging for apples, strawberries, etc.  Good problem to have!

As the day was winding down and people were helping me clean up, my sister-in-law remarked, “The boys have been really good today.  I mean REALLY good. I’m impressed!”

Usually a change in routine turns into temporary insanity for all three of them – not just Colin!  This past weekend was different.  I don’t know if it was because we were calmer…or because they knew (almost) everyone there…or if it’s just them maturing and growing up a little bit, but we had a great time. 

It’s difficult to notice little changes on a daily basis, but when someone points it out to me, I step back and realize how far our kids have come. 

Four weeks in and not a single red day at school.  That’s pretty awesome. 🙂

“I love school!”

These are words I never heard Ryan say last year.  In fact, it was far more often the opposite came out of his mouth.  He’d say he hated school, we’d ask why…he’d usually say, “Because it’s too hard.”

This post by a fellow blogger made me consider how far we’ve come since last year when it coms to Ryan’s self-esteem.  I’m not sure what changed, but my theory is Ryan’s ability to communicate better has helped him in other aspects of his life.  Speech has always been something he’s struggled with, but over the past two years we’ve seen so much improvement!

Last year, he was getting in trouble left and right for his anger.  He’d get reprimanded for something and the second the teacher went to change his “color” in his folder, he’d just have a meltdown.  The meltdown itself was often more cause for disciplinary action than the original infraction. This would usually all begin with him acting silly in class. 

That’s what Ryan does when he feels uncomfortable or challenged – he makes a joke, giggles, wiggles, etc.  Part of me is glad that he doesn’t immediately resort to anger like he used to, but the silliness can cause problems.

So far this year, we haven’t had any anger issues at all.  In fact, in the first 8 days of school, he’s only had 2 “yellow” days – one was for talking when the teacher was talking and the other was for getting out of line to get a drink after recess.  I’ve never been so proud of yellow days before!  Last year, either of those moves resulting in a color change would have likely developed into a full tilt explosion. 

Ryan’s new mantra has become, “I love school!”  He told us this morning that he loves school, but loves summer, too.  He actually comes home happy and he wants to tell us about his day.  Robbie has the same teacher this year that Ryan had last year.  I jokingly told her the other day that I’ve learned more about her in the last week (through Robbie’s tales of school) than I ever did last year! 

Ryan’s reading has improved so much since last year.  I feel guilty at times for not working with each kid individually more, but I think the combination of our reading time in the evenings (the hour before bed) mixed with a little brotherly competition (Robbie’s by far the strongest reader) has done wonders.  I introduced the boys to Shel Silverstein last year – Where the Sidewalk Ends is one of my favorite books from childhood.  It’s now one of their favorites, too.  Ryan used to struggle reading anything from that book (granted, the poetic license isn’t really teaching grammar or proper pronunciation at times!), but now he’s doing so well. 

As a side note, I’m starting to wonder if books like WSE are better for weak readers than I’d originally thought.  It’s one thing to guess what the next word is, but authors like Silverstein and Dr. Seuss throw you for so many loops that they force you to SOUND IT OUT.  What’s that? You’ve got a Wocket in your pocket?  You went for a ride in a flying shoe with Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me, too?  I think these authors – and others like them – help children have FUN with words. 

Last night, Ryan was telling us everything he’d learned in school.  They’re discussing civil rights and he was going on about Thurgood Marshall and Harriet Tubman (though, admittedly, he made us guess at Harriet Tubman – he couldn’t remember her name, just that “she helped people find new homes and she changed her name when she was 18”).  I’ve never heard him go on about what he’d learned in class before.  It was really great to hear him so excited about learning.

I know it’s early in the school year, but this year already feels infinitely better than last year.  Rick’s easing the boys into walking to/from school (currently walking most of the way with them, but will slowly wean them off having him there the whole way).  I’m making them healthy lunches – and they’re coming home with empty lunch boxes most days!  Even Colin is reading better, when he’s willing to sit down and try for more than a few minutes. 

I hope this school year continues to be a good one. Here’s hoping for a good school year for all of you other moms and dads out there, too!

Need your help, please!!

I don’t do this often, but I could really use your votes if you’d be willing to spare just a couple of minutes.  This would really mean a lot to me!!

I’ve qualified for a cooking contest and the grand prize is $150 to Whole Foods!  As you all know, I’m always trying to feed my family healthier foods, so this would help out quite a bit!

Please check out my recipe here: http://cavegirlcuisine.net/2012/09/01/entry-1-pan-seared-sirloin-with-maple-brussels-sprouts-amandine/#

To vote, just comment on the recipe.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!!

 

Thank you all in advance.  I appreciate you!!

First Day of School!

Like so many other parents, yesterday was a big day for me.  Er, I mean…for my boys!  Yeah, that’s what I meant!

They love Ninjago. Can you tell?

Colin and Ryan both started 2nd grade and Robbie started 1st grade this year.  Colin and Ryan went to the same school last year, so it was exciting to see what teacher they’d have and which friends were in their class again this year, but otherwise they know the ropes pretty well and I’m not terribly worried about them.  As an added bonus, Colin’s special education teacher was also moved to the 2nd grade wing, so that was one less change for him!

Robbie, however, is new to this school. And he’s a 1st grader.  It’s a tad unorthodox, but he really is a sharp kid with a big heart, so I’m hoping he’ll do well.  Of course, I was still a nervous wreck yesterday morning.  I took off for the day and scheduled some other appointments as well, but my main focus was making sure everyone had a smooth start for their first day.

We were all ready to leave the house and walk to school together when we realized Rob’s glasses were missing!  Aw, man!  We searched high and low – all five of us turned everything upside down and still couldn’t find them.  Rob’s response, “Well, we’re going to get new glasses later today, right? So it’s okay.”  Uh. NO.  I mean, yes, we were going to get him an eye exam and get new glasses, but that doesn’t make it okay to lose the first pair.  Those things are EXPENSIVE!

Ryan is blind as a bat without his glasses, so he has kept incredibly good track of them! (The lady at Lenscrafters told us he likely would!)  We just ordered him a new pair the other day, but mainly just because his current ones are a little scratched up and he needed a check up anyhow. 

Rob’s last pair of glasses were purchased in MARCH.  And now they’re MIA.  *sigh*  We learned yesterday afternoon that he needed a new prescription anyhow.  I had been a bad mom and not taken him in for a check up for entirely too long.  He has strabismus (his right eye is not strong and sometimes turns in), so he sees a specialist.  They’re a little harder to get into…and a million other excuses I could make, but won’t.  I won’t let him go that long again.  In fact, with the new script, doc wants to see us back in 2 months anyhow (appointment has already been made!).

Check out those stylish new frames! We swear by these “twistable” frames. I won’t buy anything else. These things are practically indestructible!

I felt bad picking him up from school early on his first day, but it was really great to get the chance to talk to him about his first day at the “big boy” school.  And boy did he have a lot to tell me!  He loves it.  That makes me SO happy.  He also loved the lunch I packed him. I quizzed him about what his favorite parts were (the cheese cubes and the granola) – I’m trying to get away from the boring-old-sandwich routine. 

Robbie’s birthday is in 2 weeks.  Eep!  Starting a new school so soon before your birthday can cause challenges – namely, who do you invite?  I told him he should start thinking about that as his birthday party will probably be on the 15th (we might push it out a week to give him more time) and he’ll have to tell me who he wants to invite.  I wish we could invite the whole class – that would be easier in a way – but I can’t afford a party for 25 kids! 

His response?  He wants to invite his teacher and the other 1st grade teacher (Colin and Ryan’s teachers last year).  I told him he probably needs to think about kids his own age instead.

Best part was all three boys had green days.  Yay!  What a great start to the week.  We had a great dinner, watched a little TV and then spent the last hour reading books before bed.  I’m really glad school is back in session. 🙂

Vacation pics!

Okay… I’m new at this whole posting multiple pictures at once thing. Can’t figure out how to caption without altering the pic and since I uploaded these from home, I don’t have that option!  Simple enough, though.  The first 3 pics were taken on the Comal River in New Braunfels. The next 6 pics were from our bike tour of Austin, TX  (the 2nd pic of that batch features one of Austin’s homeless that decided to catch us at a red light and assist in narrating the tour!).  The remainder of the pics were taken at the Barton Springs Greenbelt in Austin – we took a cooler of beer and my brother’s two adorable pups with us.

Fun times! 

And…we’re back!

What a great week!  (Can I go again? Please??) 🙂

Where to start?  I only have one kid back so far, so we’ll start with him!

Colin was so excited about camp – we’d been talking about it since the Open House in April.  For those who didn’t see my previous post, the camp I’m talking about is Charis Hills.  We arrived and were sent to check in Colin’s meds as he was swept away for a mini-physical and picture-taking.  While in line, we got to speak to a couple of other parents – their kids had been campers there before.  They raved about how much fun their kids had and how much they loved this camp and everyone involved. It was really nice to have people set our minds at ease right away!

In the medication line, I couldn’t help but notice the bags other kids had.  Our doctor had told us that Colin wasn’t on as many meds as we might think, and maybe he was right. Some of these kids had enough to fill a gallon sized Ziploc bag.  Colin’s four medications didn’t seem like much in comparison!

We double-checked his activities – apparently he and one little girl named Emily were the only ones signed up for dance!  I tried to sign him up for activities that didn’t involve sitting quietly or shooting anything (boating, fishing, archery and riflery were OUT!).  When we turned around, he was already on his way to his cabin! 

In the cabin, we helped him make his bed – top bunk! – and then it was time to change into his swim clothes for a swim evaluation.  He was pretty much pushing us out the door.  I think he must have said “Bye, Dad!” at least three times before we left!

One of my favorite things about this camp is that they have their own shutterfly account and they post pics daily!  That was really nice – we’d check out the site each night and see what he’d been up to.   Here are a few:

in class – they had study time!

Testing out the water

Swim lessons! Colin earned an award for putting his head under water before the week was over!

I found it pretty funny when we picked him up that one of the first things his designated counselor mentioned was how early he would wake up.  Apparently the kids were supposed to sleep until 7:30am – yeah right!!

 Otherwise, they said he did pretty well.  They sent home a little evaluation sheet that discussed how he did at meeting the goals we’d asked them to help him work on (assessing dangerous situations, developing a less inflated sense of self, etc).  They essentially said what we knew – that he doesn’t think before acting and will apologize after the fact, so he knows wrong from right, he just doesn’t have the impulse control to stop himself.  He got in trouble mid-week for touching/taking other people’s things, but he gave them back immediately without argument, so that’s good. All in all, he had a blast.  He can’t wait to go back again next year!  We will probably hear about “sleep away camp” (as he calls it) for months to come. — As this blog has gotten fairly long-winded already, I think I’ll save my yabbering and pictures on our kidless vacation for another post!  I need more pictures from the camera anyhow.  It’ll be like one of those old slide-shows your grandparents made you watch as a kid!  (I know, you can’t wait, right??)

My Husband is Awesome

He is.  In fact, I think I’ll run away with him!

Vacation time is near!  I’m so excited!

You know how those last few days of work before vacation just wear you down?  I think it’s the same thing with kids.  Those last few days before you’re about to get a break from them, they just get on your every last nerve!!  Unfortunately, I mainly mean Colin.  They’ve all been a lil’ stir crazy, but Colin has been balls-to-the-wall out of control most of the time lately.  He’s been destructive, reckless, and just…even more hyperactive than usual.  I think a lot of it has to do with the excitement/anxiety of camp coming up.  Yesterday, I bought the rest of what he’ll need for his week – sleeping bag, extra socks and undies, travel sized items, etc.  It occurred to me that with all three boys going in different directions for a week, we might not have enough socks and undies to go around!  I mean, that’s a minimum 21 pairs of each item of clothing.  And the boys have been outgrowing their undies and losing socks right and left, so it was time.

 Tomorrow AM, we’re dropping off Ryan with Rick’s brother – he and his son C (who is Ryan’s age) will be in town overnight, so the timing was perfect.  Then we’re taking Robbie (oh, excuse me – ROB) and Colin to the Special Needs Screening of Ice Age, followed by lunch with my mom, who is taking Rob with her after.

That will give Rick and I some time alone with Colin to pack his suitcase, talk about camp, etc.  The camp gave us a great idea: pack each outfit – one shirt, one pair of shorts, socks and undies – in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag!  That way, he can just grab a bag each morning and he’s ready to get dressed.  I love that idea.

I really think Colin’s going to have a blast.  I can’t wait to hear how it goes. 

Another great thing they do for the parents and campers is they allow you to pre-write letters and cards, etc, for your camper! You drop them off after checking him in and then they can hand out mail throughout the week without worry of letters not making it in time.  You can also email your camper throughout the week. They print off the emails and pass them out after lunch.

We’re even checking our pups into a boarder while we’re gone!  I’m still waiting for something to go wrong – I can’t believe how many different wheels are turning in the right directions for this to come together!

 

Once we’re all back together, we will only have FOUR WEEKS until school starts back up!  I can hardly believe it! We’ll come back from vacation and it will be time to start gathering school supplies and making sure everything is ready to go!

Going back to the title of this post… I want to brag on my guy for a bit. 

As some of you might recall (although I’ve taken down the posts) we had some drama with the neighbor behind us earlier this year.  Well, in the last couple of months, our shared fence had a panel come loose.  One of the posts broke off in the ground and the panel just kept falling over.

After a heck of a lot of inaction from the neighbor (we have actually run into each other a few times now – our dogs keep slipping into the other’s yard, etc), Rick decided to take matters into his own hands.  Yesterday, he went to Lowe’s and bought supplies.  He put in quite a few hours – and a couple of trips to the store – yesterday…and finished it up today.  I think he did a heck of a job.

I wanted to share a pic of his handiwork, but I’m having technical difficulties.  Just trust me – it looks awesome! 

 I hope everyone has a great weekend.  I’ll be around, but might not post again until we get back!