Halloween 2022

While I realized that Halloween landed on a Monday which would have been an excellent time to do my typical Monday parenting post, I wouldn’t have had pictures of both kids in their costumes at that time. So now, a week later, you can check out their costumes. This year we didn’t have to make much like we have in past years. And with them getting older, I am not sure how many more Halloweens they will get dressed up in costumes.

Let’s start with my youngest – Lexie. She is 14 and this is her first year in high school. She didn’t go trick-or-treating with friends for the first time in a long time. She decided she just wanted to go with her brother. She decided this year to be a Jedi. I think this came about because we built lightsaber’s at Disney World back in June.

Her costume was store bought though my husband did make her satchel, and I used my Cricut to cut out a Star War’s Jedi symbol to put on it. Lexi also got to wear this costume to a friend’s Halloween party on the Saturday before Halloween.

Now, Jase is 17 and I really didn’t know if he will want to trick-or-treat next year so this might have been his final year. But then again, he doesn’t look his age and I see no reason for him to not dress up again next year if he chooses. Jase liked his gangster costume last year because he wore a trench coat. He wanted the trench coat to be part of this costume again this year. With that in mind, he decided to be a tax collector – a candy tax collector.

My husband made him a briefcase in which to collect his candy. It opened on one end verses opening like a normal briefcase. I again used my Cricut to make the design. He is now a candy tax collector for the Federal Candy Tax Bureau. My husband also 3D printed him a badge that I designed.

This year my husband didn’t dress up on Halloween as he didn’t have to walk around with the kids. And I pretty much never dress up on Halloween. But we did both dress up for my husband’s work Halloween party. We went as Fred and Daphne from Scooby Doo. The funny thing is one of the other employees dressed up as Velma though she had no clue what our costumes were going to be.

We didn’t see as many trick-or-treaters as we typically do on Halloween. I had half a bowl of candy left over. But the kids brought in a good haul and enjoyed their evening. And it wasn’t too hard for them to get up the next day and trudge off to school (with candy packed away in their lunch boxes).

World Mental Health Day & dealing with my daughter’s mental health

Today is World Mental Health Day – an international day for mental health education, awareness and advocacy against the social stigma of our mental health. For too long these topics have been hushed up, as if people are embarrassed to admit they have problems or need help. And while there is more focus today on our mental health, discussions about anxiety, depression, suicide, and mental illness are still lacking.

Even before the strain of COVID and changes in lifestyles and school, the public schools in my school district have been focused on Social and Emotional Learning – those social skills to handle the stress and pressure we all face in life. But as we return to normal from quarantine and masks, there are many kids who still struggle with these changes. Not to mention these kids are still developing mentally and emotionally and have the normal stresses of academics, athletics, social circles or just even their home life.

I remember being anxious as teen. I remember the insecurities and the feeling of not belonging, but this was a time when you were supposed to “suck it up” and just keep going. I don’t recall talks on suicide or how to deal with my emotions. Of course, I got through it and while I am somewhat anxious about certain social interactions now, it isn’t debilitating.

When Jase started kindergarten, one little girl that we walked to school with had a lot of anxiety. She missed a lot of school. Her mother also dealt with many of those issues so she was able to get her medication at the age of 5 that helped her handle her anxiety. Today she is in high school and competes nationally in dance competitions. 

My daughter Lexie has had her own mental health issues. As early as 5th grade she has had thoughts of self-doubt, anxiety and of cutting herself. She blamed a lot of her feeling on the ADHD medication she was on. We originally tried lowering the dose and then finally got rid of the meds all together. But even in middle school and without the meds, she continued to have those same feeling. It was bad enough that she asked to speak to a professional.

So last December she started seeing a therapist virtually who diagnosed her with anxiety and mild depression. About three months later, the therapist thought Lexie should see a psychiatrist about medication for her anxiety. The demand for both psychiatrists and psychologists is high right now. It took us three months to get into see a psychiatrist. And another four months to get in for neuropsychological testing so we can have a definitive answer on her ADHD, anxiety, and depression.

As her parent, I am working on understanding how she is feeling and what she is going through. It is sometimes hard not to tell her that this is normal and she will get through it. I have no experience in my past that will let me know how to talk to her about these issues even though I too experienced some of them. She worries that something is wrong with her and for awhile she worried that she would be put in a mental hospital. We assured her that wouldn’t happen.

She finished the last of her neuropsychological testing last week, and next week I will get the results. And we will figure out where to go from there. We will learn what needs to be done for her to feel better and learn to cope with her feelings. And there should be no stigma about getting that help.

If you are feeling suicidal or need help, and are in the United States, you can call 988 to access mental health services. And please, never be afraid to ask for help. If you want to find out more about mental illness, go to the National Alliance of Mental Illness website.

Choosing surgery to fix my cat’s broken leg

One day back in July, our cat Nikki didn’t come home for dinner. This was worrisome as Nikki loves food and never is late for dinner. In fact, she often is asking for her dinner hours before it is time. When we found her later – upstairs behind my husband’s computer – she wouldn’t put weight on her back leg. Our vet couldn’t get her in the next day so I took her to another vet. An x-ray later, we learned she had broken her femur. She would need surgery to put a pin/brace on the bone or we would need to amputate her leg.

Now let me tell you a few things that would make most people hesitate to pay for the costly surgery – or slightly less costly amputation. Nikki is 16 years old. About 2 years ago, she was diagnosed with the beginning signs of kidney disease. We are giving her medication for that and the last reports were her kidneys were still doing good. Now, as the title of my post suggests, we went ahead and paid for the surgery.

Two weeks after surgery

Why? The simple answer is because she is part of the family. And even though she has some arthritis in the knee of the leg she broke, she is quite active. The morning she broke her leg, she was running around the living room like a kitten as she chased a ball. She is always outside – enjoying the sun or even still hunting lizards. We felt that we could still have some good years with her.

Or she could die in the next year. You never know. But we had the money and decided to go ahead with the surgery. They expected because of her age that she would take longer to heal. They estimated a 10 week recovery.

Nikki in the tunnel

Today is 10 weeks from her surgery. And she is doing great. We tried our best to keep her in her cage but honestly we started letting her out more and more until just this past week when we let her roam the whole house (but not the outdoors.) We go next week for a follow up where I think they will want to x-ray her leg to check on the healing. But as far as I’m concerned, she is walking around just fine. She snuggles with me at night, hangs out with my daughter on her bed, plays in the cat tunnel and enjoys sleeping in the sun. We have no regrets on doing the surgery at all. We don’t know how long we will have with her but we will enjoy her while we can.

Celebrating 50 years…

Yes, it is finally here. Today is the day I turn 50 years old. I certainly don’t feel 50 (not that I know what that should feel like.) I meant to have this post ready to go this morning but as with everything else, things take longer than I think or I just get busy or a bit of both.

To celebrate, the family went out to dinner last night – and then there were presents and cake. Today, I have received lots of texts or Facebook posts wishing me a happy birthday. The kids and I will go out to dinner again tonight as my husband is out of town.

Well, here are some facts about 1972 that were brought to my attention –

Other fabulous people born in 1972 – Dwayne Johnson, Eminem, Shaquille O’Neal, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz and Ben Afflack.

Average Income – $11,800

New House – $27,550

Minimum Wage – $1.60/hr

Movies – The Godfather, The Poseidon Adventure, Cabaret and Deliverance

Price of...a dozen eggs – 52 cents, a gallon of gas – 36 cents, a movie ticket – $1.70, a postage stamp – 8 cents

Wow. Those prices sure have have changed. And I’m sure if I look back in 50 years (assuming I live that long) I will see a bunch of other changes.

Time to return…

Wow. I knew I took a break but I didn’t realize I hadn’t posted since May 9. Let’s do a quick recap of what has happened in the past few months.


After the 1 year anniversary of my Mom’s death, we celebrated Jase turning 17 and Lexie finishing 8th grade with the 8th grade party thrown by her school. As soon as school ended, we jumped on a plane and went to Orlando. We visited Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure. We tried out the rollercoaster – Velicicoaster (Jurassic World themed coaster) – and loved it. We bought magic wands and enjoyed the Harry Potter themed areas.


It is hard not to go to Orlando without a stop at Disney World. In our 3 1/2 day stay, we went to Epcot, the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. We were able to ride the new Cosmic Rewind rollercoaster (Guardians of the Galaxy themed coaster) at Epcot. Loved it and rode it twice. And at Hollywood Studios, we built our own lightsabers and of course explored Batuu (the Star Wars themed area) with a stop at Oga’s Cantina.

June also saw the kids working at my husband’s law firm and a quick trip to Galveston where my husband attended a conference while the kids and I explored the island. Seriously, this month flew by.


Let’s see, highlights for this month would include Lexie developing a urinary tract infection that didn’t seem to want to go away. More on this in August. Jase also attended Orchestra camp. I am the president of the High School Orchestra Association so I was there each day helping out with lunches. This month also was a lot of preparing for school – for me, not the kids. I am in all new positions this year. In addition to Orchestra Association president, I am webmaster for our Council PTA and membership chair at the High School PTSA.

Also, at the end of July, our eldest cat, Nikki, broke her leg. It required surgery and a metal plate/pins to repair. That was a good chunk of money, and I am sure many thought we were crazy to spend that much on an elder cat who also is in the early stages of kidney disease. She should be on bedrest for the next 10 weeks – but hey, it is hard to keep a cat from jumping, running and playing.


School started just three days earlier this school year but wow, it seemed like it came so soon. And this year, they started on a Wednesday which added to the odd school started early feeling. Lexie is now in 9th grade so this is her first year in high school. Jase started his junior year of high school. He is driving to school this year. Of course, all my volunteer activities picked up this month with our first meetings. And in the case of the Orchestra, there was the first Kick Off concert where I had to give a quick meeting where I encouraged people to join the Orchestra Association and help us with our fundraiser.

In August, Lexie’s doctor said her urine still showed an infection though not the same one as in July. Her doctor sent her to a pediatric nephrologist who sent her for a renal ultrasound and urine analysis. The results were that there was no infection in her urine (we had been on our 4th round of antibiotics by this point.) Her kidneys looked fine too and the only thing they noted were nodules near her right kidney but I was able to explain that one away for the doctor since Lexie has both situs inverses (reversed organs) and polysplenia (which will show up as nodules near her spleen). So in other words, everything is normal for her.


And this brings us to September and Labor Day here in the United States. This three day weekend sees Lexie working on making up school work since she was out a few days last week for the ultrasound and follow up doctor appointment. My husband and I are doing some much needed cleaning up of the house. And, I am working on my blog. So, here is to hoping I can get back in the swing of posting regularly.