Thursday, May 17, 2018

Silver Linings

I'm a little neurotic. OK, a lot. I obsess over tiny things and I often lose perspective. These things usually relate to anything to do with the Tomster, but, I admit, not always.
As you've probably gathered by now too, I'm sensitive, and I tend to suffer from hurt feelings more often than I should, even than I want, but, I can't help it.

But - this is the summer of self-improvement. I am going to make a concerted effort this summer to focus on the positive, to turn the frown upside down (except on days before you know what, then I have zero control over my temper) and to try and find a silver lining to any negative thoughts I have. So, here we go with today's examples -

1 - I'm pretty sad that Tomster's amazing Spring Thunderbirds experience is over - the last practice was last night. It's been so much fun to see him really progress and raise his game, to see him master drills that utterly confused him and to see his speed and confidence grow, and I will miss that. I've loved watching him have a whole team of kids who are skilled to pass to, to receive passes from, for him to start playing at his potential, and yes, I'm biased obviously. After a disappointing fall where he fell short of his goal to make the top U10 team for his club, it was so wonderful to see how excited he was to make this super competitive opportunity. And tryouts for their fall team are this weekend.

So - the positive. Right up there. He was so excited to make this team, to play with skilled kids and grow his skills. Those skills will stay with him. He met some great kids, and we met some nice parents, who I am sure we'll see around the various Colorado rinks we are often found at during the season. He's so fast right now! I can't believe his speed improvements, and I am excited to see how he builds on this new skills foundation this summer at his various camps and activities.
I am also very happy that I no longer have to drive from Colorado Springs to Denver 3 times a week. I-25 sucks. Always. As for tryouts - I would be crazy to do that I-25 drive multiple times a week for 11U hockey. Yes. 11U. Bonkers. And we actually like a lot about his current club - coaches, opportunities, kids, families. So, it's been a great experience, but, it's nice to be much freer in our schedule and now I can enjoy my new ride (a shiny red Land Rover Discovery Sport) on roads that are fun to drive on.

2 - I am struggling to find time and motivation to get work done. I need a several hour window to fire the kiln and prep things, and right now I'm not finding those chunks of time. I seem to run from appointment to appointment.

Positive on this one? Well, firstly, how lucky am I that I have the flexibility to just stop working when I have an appointment to get to? I was able to get the Tomster to Denver thrice weekly for the past 6 weeks precisely because I am self-employed. And, I don't have summer shows this year to have to prep and stock inventory for. That in itself is enough of a silver lining to line all other linings. No worrying over wind, rain, hail, things blowing away. Ahhhhh... I even sold my canopy to stop me being tempted to do one. So, there are lots of positives there too.

See? I feel better already.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

A Personality Journey

Firstly, thanks to everyone who reached out after my latest rant. I guess it's been so long since I blogged, and we've met so many new friends in the past few years, that I didn't even think about how familiar people are with our story over the past decade or so. That really makes it sound a long time ago. But - thank you for your kind words, we appreciate them, and you. It wasn't easy, but, the journey has strengthened us as a family, and as individuals.

Having a journey such as ours changes who you are, maybe not entirely, but, it certainly amplifies both the good and bad portions of your personality, and sometimes makes a good thing for one task a bad thing for another.

For me, for example - I've always been a straight shooter - a little blunt and never backward in coming forward. But - when you're having to defend your approach for your child's future, you strengthen that backbone. I remember when Tom was first diagnosed - the board certified developmental pediatrician (who kept us waiting beyond our appointment time by 2 hours each time), upon hearing that we'd tried diet change and were seeing some positive results, launched straight into scare tactics. Without even pausing for air, he ranted about how chelation (removal of metals) was dangerous and children had died. Luckily for me, I'd read about the case he was referring to - where the child had received the WRONG chelation drug, and had, tragically died. The point he was trying to make was that chelation was deadly - but, actually (and thankfully I was informed), the point he actually made was that drug errors can lead to death - that medical mistakes happen - I relayed to him it was no different to the incorrect dosage of blood thinner that Dennis Quaid's twin babies had received, almost leading to their death. Needless to say he was rattled, and more than anything, it made me realise that we needed to keep doing our research and that many doctors would not be on our side. It made the choices we made about medical providers all the more important - and it made the need for me to know my proverbial shit and not be afraid to speak up vital.

So - I am not afraid to voice my concerns. It's made me a little hard for many to cope with. I have a habit of reading and retaining 'useless' information (such as linking medical errors regarding celebrity children to our own medical experiences) and I am not afraid to speak up. Americans in particular seem to struggle with this - oddly, since I've always thought of them as so confident, but, I think it's more of a social confidence rather than a confidence to speak your mind and argue your point. Maybe Brits are just more straight shooting and our natural social reserve generally prevents us from being too direct. Now add living in the US to that mix, and well, here I am.

Since Tom was little, I've had to be 100% certain of what I am conveying, or asking, or advocating for, because, when it's your own child - whether you like it or not, you become a mama bear. In my case, I became the grizzly-just-waking-up-from-hibernation-early type. What I say might come out with a different accent, which sometimes helps, and sometimes people just feel patronized, but, there it is.

Here's where it becomes a little odd - you have to be so sure in how you advocate for your child's needs, but, it never stops your own self-doubt. I cannot even count how many times I have asked myself if something was the right decision, whether changing a therapy provider was the right thing, whether a school choice was the right one, whether to try a new therapy or a new supplement, whether getting a school psychologist fired was ok (yep - I did that), and at the end of it all, you live with the decisions you make, and, I can say with about 99% certainty say that I feel comfortable with the decisions I have made along the way. I still question in my head and I still overthink. "What if I had done this, or not done that?" What indeed. In our case, given our almost-end result, I feel we made good choices. But - when you have all that self-doubt, you tend to take things personally. Very personally. When your child isn't invited to something, instead of taking a sensible route of consideration, it hurts to your core. Then, when there is a pattern, it hurts more. You become so used to trying to find a rationalization for something, and that sometimes the only one left is a personal one. Someone doesn't like your child. Or you. And I guess, sometimes you have to just accept that. The question becomes, when do you move on, or do you persist in trying to make it work? And when does it stop hurting? Never.

Not surprisingly, I am a fixer by nature. Tom seems to be the same way - he will try to repair any relationship he struggles with - he will keep trying, because he wants people to like him. I guess none of us are all that different in that respect. We all want to feel wanted and valued. We all want to be liked. But - in our case, it seems one of those magnified traits. In my case though, because of our prior experiences, I do have some limits. I will only go so far and although it pains me to fail, I will walk away from things. I have taught myself to realize that it's ok to have boundaries and to enforce them.

I'm extremely passionate about a lot of things - sadly, not making my fortune - but, when I am absorbed, I am 1000% absorbed, to the exclusion of all else. Not good for balance. Not good when you need that balance, but it's made me learn things quickly - all kinds of things!

I am also extremely loyal - but, and this is a big one - it MUST be reciprocal. When I am left out, I am hurt and it makes me question a relationship and if I'm being used. Sadly, it's happened more than once and now I am hyper-sensitive to it. It makes me question motives and friendships and on that front, I tend to sit back. Sometimes it's easier to not form those deep friendships and I often question if I am even able to anymore - whether my trust level can ever get there.

I sound a basket case, right? I know.

In personal relationships, it can really cause problems, but, in Tom's recovery, it's made it all possible.

- I am tenacious and I fix things - like a dog with the best bloody bone he's ever had in his life, and he is never giving up on getting a little more pleasure from it. Ever.
- I am a great researcher. I will find multiple reputable data points on everything. There is very little I cannot find on the internet. If there is a link between folate and autism, I will find it. I did. Then I found a test in development, the university researching it, the lab that is running it, the process for getting it and the method for submitting and interpretting it. I found the link between those folate autoantibodies and milk. I found the link between gluten and enriched flour and folate problems. I tied them into our family history. I was able to circle them back around to Tom's test results and apply them to help him. It did. It was only a small part of the puzzle, but, it helped. It was another layer of the onion.
- I get science. I am a visual person - if I can picture a process, I can understand and apply it, then find links to other things. I also understand chemicals. And, if I don't get it, I will learn. I took a bunch of undergraduate and graduate level classes in the US to help me understand biology, physiology, nutrition, epidemiology etc. Because I cannot stand being ignorant.
- I  believe in a rational explanation for everything. Even if I don't have it yet, I will think, learn, read, overthink, then overthink again until I do. The churning over 500 times of everything has helped me figure things out. And probably also wired my brain in the most absurd way ever.
- I fly by the seat of my pants - which makes me unafraid to try new things, chase new dreams, always believe there is something else out there for discovery and that opportunities that come up are for the taking. Maybe it's more a fear of missing out? Who knows, but, it's helped me find new leads and new approaches.
- I trust myself more than I trust others. It's made me a bit of a pedantic old fool who struggles to hand things over, but, on that front I'm trying. But - I still trust my own process and information more than anyone else's.
- I care. Deeply. I am passionate about what is right, what is fair and what life should offer in terms of opportunity and I felt Tom deserved the same opportunities in life as every other child.  I won't do the work for him, nor feel I should, but I will fight for his right of opportunity until my last breath.

So - what nourishes us also kills us? Or whatever that phrase is.

Yeah, it's complicated. And always a work in progress.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Autism "Awareness" After Recovery

Firstly, how appalling am I that it's been over 2 years since I last wrote on this blog. I guess things have been busy. Really busy. 
But - today, I need to address the day I hate above all others. 

Autism Awareness Day. 

"Awareness". I don't even know what to say on this front. Frankly, if you're not aware, then you're asleep, or dead. Everyone knows a kid who has autism. Teachers are aware. Parents are aware. Doctors are aware. Politicians are aware. What we need is ACTION. Action to end this nightmare. 

You see, I don't see autism as a gift. I see it as a tragedy. I see it as criminal neglect on the part of our politicians and public health experts. There is no urgency. There is no compassion. Parents struggle to cope with a mess of a health care insurance system that covers almost nothing and states are running out of money for services. These kids aren't going anywhere - they are increasing in numbers and aging into adulthood. What then? Where do they live? How are they supported? Autism is not 'quirkiness', it's a collection of neurological, medical and behavioural symptoms that impair independent daily living for some and preclude it for others. And nothing has changed or improved since the last time Autism Speaks promoted their blue lightbulb of awareness. As far as I'm concerned, they can shove it where it won't shine. How has this become 'normal'? It's a hell of a marketing campaign. 

I am eternally thankful that I did not 'accept' autism for our son. Yes, I'm stubborn by nature, but I couldn't live with myself if I ever allowed that to be his future. A future of assisted living, drugs, pain, vulnerability to whichever arsehole wanted to abuse him either physically or financially, stares, lack of awareness of his surroundings, no family of his own, no school achievement, no college, no career. No. Not for my son. 

Autism cost us. It cost us my career and my independent financial security. It cost me and us friends and it cost us relationships because of an inability to accept our approach. It cost us a normal parenting experience. That joy of just reveling in those little milestones, the cute conversations, the soccer and t-ball that everyone else seems to do with their toddlers. The smash cakes, ice cream socials, grabbing a bite to eat wherever, the joining in at birthday parties. It cost us in stress, both individually and in our marriage. It brought self-doubt and destroyed confidence. It cost us a larger family. It cost us tens of thousands of dollars in supplements, testing, co-pays and therapy that our insurance didn't cover. It cost us family holidays and spending time with people we love because it was simply too difficult for us to get there for a while. 

I used to be open about our approach, but, many don't share our viewpoint and I got tired of explaining, so I shut down, I retreated inside myself. As our son recovered, I didn't want to burden him and his reputation with the knowledge that he had a 'disorder'. It's almost 2 years now since that diagnosis was officially removed. He no longer has a disorder. He no longer has autism. We succeeded. We fought and won. 

We are plenty 'aware'. Aware of drug companies making a fortune. Aware of Lyme disease. Aware of gut problems. Aware of allergies. Aware of the lucrative 'business' of autism. Aware of folate metabolism problems and receptor autoantibodies. Aware of mitochondrial dysfunction. Aware of detoxification impairments. Aware of a contaminated food supply controlled by massive corporations. Aware of OAT and stool testing. Aware of vaccine reactions. Aware of co-morbid conditions. Aware of sensory dysfunction. Aware that the masses buy into the lie that autism has always been around and is now just more recognized. 

Am I bitter? Yes. I am bitter that we had to fight to bring our son back to health. I am bitter that doctors tried to steer us away from that course. I am bitter about my lack of career and all the money we've spent on this. I am bitter that our son had to go through this.

But - I am also relieved. Relieved that is in our past, in his past. Relieved that he is hanging in there at school, that he has friends, that he has found a sport he loves, that we are finally able to share 'normal' family experiences, that as a family of bread lovers we can finally reintroduce gluten ( as long as it's made with unenriched flour). Relieved. And thankful. But no less determined to help him soar and achieve everything he wants to in life. He's worked so hard and continues to do so, and I know that work ethic and effort in everything he does, whether or not it appears so from the outside, will serve him well for his future. He will never think something is beyond him. Little by little, day by day. It's achievable.
I am thankful for the friends that stuck by us, that put up with my flakiness, because sometimes I just couldn't get there, physically or emotionally. That put up with my lack of filter, because, it's so worn down, it's pretty much gone. I am thankful that my parents raised me to think for myself.

And on our 13th wedding anniversary, above all, I am thankful for my amazing husband - the most balanced individual I will ever meet, and the best father imaginable for our son. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Being a Slacker

It's been a long time since I wrote anything on this blog. The main reason is probably because we've all been so busy.

I realized I never followed up on the testing that we did for Tom.

1 - Pyrole Testing. Negative. So, that's good.

2 - CFD Testing. Positive for one of the antibodies and borderline for the other, but, it means that we had levels of both antibody types in his system. Whether they caused a cerebral folate deficiency or not, they are there and therefore we have to be careful about ensuring that he gets sufficient folate in a form that can cross the blood brain barrier. It also means that he will stay milk-free for the foreseeable future (milk upregulates the antibodies).

3 - Lyme. Positive. Flaming positive. We don't know when the exposure was, but it's been there in a big way. We ended up doing a month long abx course and we will just need to watch for future issues. We'd always assumed that his joint pains were because of growth, but maybe they weren't. Since the abx we haven't had any issues with them either... Hmm.

We've started the process for vision therapy too. We've suspected that he had some lingering visual issues after his eye surgery at one and he also fit into many of the symptoms of this, including visual fatigue, reading problems etc. Anyway, following his evaluation, we discovered that his visual processing issues are awful. His tracking is terrible which is causing some hurdles to reading. I am honestly baffled how he could read at all. He has a divergence excess and his eyes operate totally independently. When eyes don't work together, they don't give depth perception, and needless to say, he doesn't have much of that either. He also can't see 3D at all in terms of screens, cinema, magic eye pictures. This is something that isn't covered by insurance, but, frankly, who cares? It's something that has the potential to be life changing for him and there is no way we wouldn't do it. He's a couple of weeks into what will be a 10 month process. So far so good. My main goal is that he doesn't hate the process and that he understands what we are trying to achieve, which he does. He recognizes the issues he has and wants to fix them. This has made this whole thing much easier than I ever would've thought. We are doing weekly appts and daily homework, which again, we haven't had any issues with, so, we're all very excited about what this brings to the table.

Well, that was short and sweet... :)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Cruising!

This past spring break we took our first cruise vacation. We were looking for something where Jeff could fish salt water areas and where I could relax, but also that would be great for Tom. So, we figured we would try out cruising, which neither Jeff nor I had done before.
We took a Western Caribbean cruise with Royal Caribbean, which stopped at Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, Belize and Cozumel, Mexico with 3 cruising days in addition to our port stops.

Firstly, let me just say that we are hooked. The boat had so many things to do, the food was great (and we were able to deal with Tom's food issues easily) and the port stops were wonderful, but, what was also a big deal for us was the kid's club activities for Tom.


Family vacations are exhausting, especially with the child that never stops, but, it worked out really well. Tom loved the kid's club and all the games and activities they did. They even did a little pirate show which he was fully engaged with. I am so glad I have a 'joiner' of a child.

In Roatan, Tom decided he wanted to stay on the boat, so a friend and I decided to take a quick walk whilst Jeff and his friend went fishing. The port area in Roatan was super cute, but the town itself was pretty typical of some Caribbean areas - dirty with small children following you wanting to be 'tour guides'. It was at least nice to get out and about though, although, if I ever go to Roatan again, I'll take an excursion next time.



Belize was really cool. I've been there a  few times before (Ambergris and Placencia) but this time, we had a boat into Belize City and I booked Tom and I on an excursion to the Mayan ruins at Altun Ha with a boat ride on the Wallace River. Tom loved it, as did I. There is something about travel that is so good for him. We stopped for lunch at a little roadside restaurant and had some great chicken and a drink before our boat ride. We saw a ton of animals - monkeys, bats, iguanas, crocodiles etc.




Our final stop was in Cozumel and that was also wonderful. We did a morning excursion to snorkel with sting rays and again, Tom lapped it up! It was very cool, we all got to pet and feed them too, then we hung out at the little beach area for a drink before heading back to the ship to clean up a little and then go out to explore for the afternoon.
Cozumel was fun - I had the strongest margarita I've ever had in my life and did a little drunk jewelry shopping, picking myself up a lovely silver cuff. Tom also scored a shark tooth necklace that he is very proud of.

All in all it was a great trip. We came back refreshed and relaxed and are already looking towards next spring break!



Friday, March 6, 2015

Tomster's 8!

Kiddo turned 8 this morning, and just as the case 8 years ago when he put in an early appearance, at 6.15 today, in he came, full of birthday joy.
Sweetie pie with crazy hair!
The past few years really have flown. I can hardly believe our tiny boy is so big and grown up.
We've been through a lot in the last 8 years and every year just gets better and better. He is just amazing. He has such joy for life.

This year has brought so many milestones for him. He is reading pretty independently and although still needing a little help on the longer words, he's really getting there. He's also reading for fun, which is wonderful to see. His latest loves are his Minecraft books, which he takes in the car for trips as well as bringing them out in restaurants.

He is a hockey fiend! He loves playing and is getting pretty good these days. More than anything though, he's a true team player, which is something I never knew if he would be able to do. I guess he showed us :). He genuinely loves the sport, works hard at his practices, lives for playing games and loves his teammates. I don't think we could have found a better fit for him - the kids on his team are just super.

He loves Minecraft! I don't get it at all, but, he loves it. He creates things in there that I have no idea how he can see these things as he builds them. I guess we're finally seeing really how good he is with visual-spatial relations. What's more, is that the quest for knowledge about how to improve his game play has encouraged him to read more, which I'm always all for.

Tom has continued with his swim lessons, and now only has one more level before he's officially ready for pre-team, or rather, longer swim sessions to build up endurance. He's also started some riding lessons and loves hanging out with Cutter, the horse he rides.

School continues to go well from most aspects, he has friends in his class and fits right in. He's finally getting to grips with math skills, which were more of a challenge last year although is still struggling with spelling, which is something we are going to tackle over the next few months. He is surprisingly competent in Spanish and of course lives for PE.

The past few months have piqued his interest in cooking - having discovered Masterchef Jr on TV. He says when he's older, he would like to play hockey and if 'that doesn't work out, he'd like to be a chef, with his own restaurant'. He clearly doesn't follow his dad in that respect...

He continues his love of music, even though it has switched from playing (we couldn't fit in violin with hockey...) to listening and singing in the car. The current favourites are Maroon 5 and Fall Out Boy.

His language continues to develop and grow and his social skills are pretty darn good these days. We have been so amazingly fortunate with his progress.

More than anything, he is a true INDIVIDUAL. I love that he is so accepting, so generally cheerful, loves to make people laugh and to try new things. He is just the most amazing little guy and I am the luckiest person in the world that he's mine. The gifts he has, and shares universally, you just can't teach. I am so so proud of him.
Happy birthday Tomster!


Monday, February 16, 2015

First Skiing of 2015

Looking up Monarch Mountain
This past weekend was our first ski trip of the 2014-2015 season. Yes, we're late this year. Tom's been playing a lot of hockey and with us having visitors over the Christmas, we just haven't seem to have found the time to get to the slopes.
Since it's already so late in the season and we are away for spring break (more about that another time), we decided to not get the Keystone passes we normally get and try something new.
Tomster with helmet hair and his new togs. With my 20 year old bag. 
We took our first trip to Monarch Mountain to ski, driving up on Saturday, skiing for the afternoon, staying overnight in Salida, then skiing yesterday too.
Thoughts on the resort? Well, it's an odd combination actually. It's not a large hill, but has a lot of black runs, which, obviously we can't do with Tom (if at all these days). Then, the blues are a lot darker than at other resorts in Colorado, unless it's just my imagination. This, honestly, seems to restrict how many runs we could actually ski. So many of the blue runs, honestly, should have been groomed and would still have been a little challenging, but, double fall lines, narrow runs, trees and moguls are not a blue run.

Waiting for everyone else to get ready
It was good to try something else though and it was pretty cheap for a holiday weekend ski trip.
We stayed in Salida and that was a unexpected bonus - the hotel was cheap, decent and had a nice warm salt water pool. We also had a nice dinner on the river at River's Edge.
Tom has also discovered his new favourite thing - snorkelling. We picked him up a mask and snorkel for spring break and thought it would be a great opportunity for him to try it out.

We're kind of playing catch up with Tom's skiing, as we always do at the beginning of the season, but, he had a blast, despite some initial complaints about his gloves. Apparently they're too small. Hmm.
Anyway, here's the little guy in action! We still use his little Lucky Bums handle - it's so much easier for the lifts with it.


So, he's graduated to poles, is starting to bring his skis a little closer together, but, the biggest milestone we've hit is we're now letting him take his turn at leading our little group!

Final thoughts? Monarch is reasonable, not too far (under 3 hrs), you can get there without using I-70, but, there just aren't many runs you can do with a 7 yr old and the lifts are SLOW. Oh, and the lift line runs down are awful. Especially when you have to do it quickly because your kid loses one of his skis off the lift on the first trip. Not the way to warm up...!

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Harris-Stockwell Christmas!

We've had a super busy Christmas. Between both sets of parents being here, as well as Jeff's brother, Craft Fairs that seemed to drag on forever and what seemed like insane amounts of hockey, we survived!
Hobnobs and coconut milk for Santa!
Tom was very funny. He declared "I must've been good - Santa left presents! I was so worried I was going to get a lump of coal!"



Layering up! AF jersey on top of a Broncos jersey on top of another shirt...

Dinner time!
 

Tomster was completely spoiled, as usual, scoring the much-nagged-for Republic Gunship, a new hockey stick, rollerblades and all manner of hockey accessories, including a ticket for his first Avalanche-Blackhawks game in Denver.

Of course, no family Christmas would be complete without some kind of sickness, right? Yours truly went down with flu on Boxing Day, followed by mum a day later...

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Houston, We Have A Greenhouse!

Finally, we have a greenhouse. I've wanted one for years. Of course, we get it *just* as winter is coming, so, there won't be an awful lot of activity for a little while, but I am super excited that it's there and ready. Jeff also made me a little bench and another will be forthcoming at some point...

First installation in what will be our veggie garden area!

It is level, it's the pic that isn't...!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Making Hard Decisions...And Being Surprisingly Happy About Them.

As my previous few recent posts have indicated, one of the things I have struggled with most since we had Tom is my career lack of progression. There was simply no way in the preschool years that I would be able to get him to all of his appointments and continue working, unless we had an au pair. 
I feel good about that choice for him. He has thrived because of all we have been able to do for him. 

What I've struggled with a lot is since we have started school. I'm not sure whether I feel I am missing out, or that staying home to raise our son is simply not enough, or whether it was a simple economic issue. We have to be more careful with finances because we have one income. 

Society doesn't value stay at home parents enough, that's for sure, but no level of articles about how much they 'should' earn ever convinces me. Because, at the end of the day, you don't get paid for raising your children, regardless of the value of what you do. Nor should you. 

A few weeks ago I went for a job interview in higher education here in town. It was a good job that required a degree in science. It would be a great launching point for the jump start of a somewhat stalled scientific career. It had great benefits and a decent salary. What it was not was particularly flexible. The hours would have been from around 10 am until 5 pm, which is not bad, until you consider that your child finishes school at 3.35 pm. That twice a week he has speech at 4 pm, that once a week we do tutoring at 5 pm. He has swimming at 4.45 pm one day per week. So - our appointments would need to be changed 4 days out of 5. Where else could I fit those appointments? Or would they have to disappear? Add to this fact that now I would need to arrange and pay for childcare for 5 days after school. Now add in snow days, teacher training days, school holidays, small child sick days and the costs that run with that. Our schools here have a 3 month summer break. 

My husband doesn't cook. He does lots of other things I prefer to stay out of (chopping wood, anything involving power tools etc), but he doesn't cook. So, imagine getting home at 5.30 pm with dinner still to make, homework still to do and appointments to fit in somewhere. We would be exhausted and ratty with each other. 

Don't get me wrong, I know that people manage just fine when they have 2 working parents. My sister has done for years, with 3 children. But, it's not for our family. Not right now anyway. 

So, I turned it down and surprisingly I don't feel upset. I think it's because I turned it down because I realised that I would be unhappier doing that job than not doing it. The hubby had said if I wanted it, he would support my choice and we would make it work. I couldn't think of a way it would work and I would be happy with everything else. So, I will continue with my glass work (and I'm also going to expand into selling some stained glass panels), I will work on our garden (the greenhouse went up this weekend!), I will be able to continue to volunteer at Tom's school, I will be able to get Tom to whichever appointment or activity he does. I will maintain control over my time. 

I am also going to pursue my teacher certification in science. There is a big shortage of science teachers in the US (as in the UK) and even if I only ever substitute teach, I won't have to worry about school holidays and expensive childcare. Nor will I miss time with my son, who, these days especially, is a pretty cool little guy. 

I had no idea that turning down a job that I thought I wanted would provide such clarity. Now it feels like I am in control of my choices and I think that helps. 

Pics to follow on the greenhouse... I am so excited to finally have it up!