A Wish Come True in Time and Space

After waiting nearly two years, Jack’s wish finally came true.

Initially he’d told Make-a-Wish he wanted to meet Lady Gaga. He made a dance video to the tune of Monster (which was the first time I’d ever seen him dance!) to send to her and he waited patiently for his turn. But he kept slipping further down the list due to kids in more urgent health situations and then Lady Gaga got injured on the road and canceled all her shows in order to get surgery.

In the mean time, Jack’s interests evolved and he became obsessed with Dr. Who. He will debate with you about the scariest aliens in the series and has strong opinions about which doctor is the best (the 11th Doctor, played by Matt Smith, is #1! Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor is #2 and David Tennant comes in at #3). Jack has watched Dr. Who almost every day for the past two years or so. He rarely watches anything else.

JackAge8

Doesn’t he look like a mini Matt Smith??

Last year we decided to give his room a little makeover since we wanted to build him a loft bed anyway. We did our best to turn his room into our (weak) interpretation of the TARDIS. We had limited money, but Jack was happy with the results. He’s got a good imagination, after all, and was able to fill in the blanks.

Not soon after, we talked about his wish and he decided he wanted to change it. He wasn’t very interested in Lady Gaga anymore. Instead, he wanted to meet the aliens from Dr. Who. Unfortunately, Make-a-Wish has a rule that the kids can’t switch from one celebrity wish to another (due to the long wait lists), so Jack settled on a more extensive room makeover that would add a console to his room and really make it into a TARDIS.

He submitted his new wish back in November and then we waited. During the wait, Jack made a lot of comments about how he wished he really had a TARDIS so that he could bypass the waiting altogether. Since the project was so unique, it took some time to find the right designer to work on it. Eventually they found Julie Giampaoli from Showcase Your Place, an interior designer in the area who was up for the challenge despite not knowing about Dr. Who!

She knows now!

Julie and Make-a-Wish pooled together some awesome resources and on July 22nd, the team arrived to get to work. I’ll admit it – I was more than a little nervous when they started drilling into my ceiling. But this was Jack’s wish and I just had to trust the process.

We were not disappointed. This video of the room reveal shows Jack’s stunned reaction pretty well:

 

And here are more extensive pictures of the process:

Jack LOVES his bedroom. He says it’s “too awesome!”

We are all so very thankful to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, their volunteers, and supporters for helping bring Jack’s wish to fruition and put some magic back into his life. We will treasure this experience for the rest of our lives!

Not Your Average Kid

Jack doesn’t like juice. He prefers milk or water (no bubbles!).

He won’t eat pizza.

He doesn’t like being dirty or sticky.

He gets upset for characters in books and trees that get cut down.

Jokes about bodily functions offend him and he refuses to even talk about those things. (We had to stop reading the How To Train Your Dragon series.)

As far as he is concerned, Band-Aids are the devil. He will absolutely not wear them. If somehow he gets one put on (like after a vaccination or a lumbar puncture, it’s hell trying to take it off him.)

He won’t wear shorts or tank tops. In fact, he’d like to be fully clothed (with sleeves) at pretty much all times.

Sponge Bob annoys him.

He thinks everyone should be able to easily draw like he does.

He will put himself in time out at school if he feels he’s done something wrong.

He doesn’t like guns.

He likes for his clothes to match.

His tolerance for others’ silliness is low, even though he is quite the goofball when he feels like it.

He loves things that other kids would think are spooky – aliens, monsters, bugs, etc.

He doesn’t sing or dance. He doesn’t like when others do it in front of him, either. He does hum when he thinks no one can hear him, though (but gets upset if you DO hear and comment on it).

He loves his long hair even though people mistake him for a girl often.

Choice Quotes From Jack

Some of my favorite quotes from Jack’s twitter account.

(Holding up Yogurt Drops and Wheat Things) “I feel up for a little fusion.”

Those are old school cool! They’ve been around since I was like 1 or 2.

Why is it so peaceful here? I want to be a hero but there’s no chance here!

In the sense that I have all the parts I need, I’m complete. But in the sense that I’m still growing to be a grown up, I’m not complete.

The bad thing about getting older is that things get harder.

Sometimes I eat more sophisticated chicken.

I feel like chicken filled with whipped cream instead of muscles.

You know why I’m like this – it’s because of the droids! (Just wrapped up a week of steROIDS.)

Being all amazing and things is not hard at all for me.

Maybe in the future, maybe in 20 years, we can learn to make magic happen.

I have three parts: good parts, bad parts, and dragon parts.

You can’t touch time. But a clock can!

Milk glues bones together in a tasty way.

TARDIS Room Makeover Results

I know you have all been waiting on pins and needles to see Jack’s TARDIS room (those who weren’t probably have no idea what a TARDIS is – so, fyi, it’s basically a time traveling space ship from the British TV show Dr. Who – on the outside it appears to be a police phone box but inside it’s infinite). If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you should go back and read the post about turning his bedroom into a TARDIS, otherwise this post won’t make a whole lot of sense.

Firstly, the room turned out pretty well and Jack LOVES it. He spends so much more time in his room now and he is much better about keeping it clean. There is so much more than can be done but David already got a raging cold during this process and I got a case of pink eye from spending so much time in a tiny room with lots of paint fumes. Plus, we’re pretty broke now. :P

Anyway, please know that I’m a terrible photographer and Jack’s room is fairly small, so these pictures are not good at all. I know you can’t tell, but the bed is painted a silvery gray and the walls are a golden yellow (to make it look lit up).

Here is the horrible, disgusting, embarrassing BEFORE picture:

JacksRoom

Here is the door to the TARDIS (paint color is Elmer’s Echo from Kelly-Moore and the decals are from bioblitz on Etsy):

door

It’s bigger on the inside…

This is the loft bed that David slaved over using plans from ana-white.com (we wanted to go with a bed that had stairs and a platform rather than a ladder to make it easier for Jack to get up and down when he isn’t feeling well) and painted while I was away at Type A:

Bed

I recreated the lights inside the TARDIS using cardboard cake rounds, a sharpie, and some cellophane, then used double-sided mounting tabs to stick them to the wall:

lights

This is Jack’s view (at least, what my phone could capture) from atop his bed (before it was painted):

walls

You might notice we do not have the control panel coming down from the ceiling with all the levers and buttons to control the TARDIS. That part stumped us – partially because we are concerned about it taking up all the space we created and also because it will be expensive and complicated to create. BUT Jack has changed his Make-A-Wish and it sounds like they are going to come create the control panel and maybe add some other awesome finishing touches to the room (maybe more storage)! So we are off the hook for that part – woohoo!

We are so proud of how this turned out. Jack finally has lots of space to play and a (clean!) room that he loves to spend time in.

The only downside is that now we can never move…

Misunderstood…or Complicated?

Recently I had a discussion with a friend about things people have said about us that just doesn’t make sense. In her case, an ex accused her of hating fun! Which was not only strange, but absolutely ridiculous. Who hates fun?! Anyone?

This probably happens to a lot of people. Sometimes it’s laughable and easily dismissed. Other times it’s insulting.

In my case, I’m a pretty calm person. I’m also rarely offended and I have almost NO ego connected to anything. I think most of the people I know would consider me to be a pretty easy-going, agreeable, and nice person. Yes, I have an opinion and I’m not afraid to share it; however, I am ecstatic to hear what other people think about a situation, too. I don’t by any means think my opinion is THE WAY to think, and I don’t try to shove my opinion in anyone’s face.

With that said, there are times when I get accused of being the opposite of what I consider myself to be. And it is absolutely BAFFLING to me. If it’s from someone who doesn’t know me well, I usually just shrug it off. Or laugh because ME? Really?

But sometimes it comes from someone I know. And I wonder what the hell I did wrong and why sometimes the history of our relationship can easily disappear in an instant. How suddenly someone I know and trust can think I am:

  • Judgmental
  • Intimidating
  • Overly feminist
  • Controlling or passive aggressive
  • Paranoid
  • Exaggerating or straight out lying
  • Pessimistic or trying to ruin others’ fun

And if you think I *am* any of the above – why keep me around? Why not drop me like a hot potato? Do yourself a favor and stay away if you think I am (or anyone else is) toxic!

Sometimes my words get twisted. I once stated that I like to live in towns that have malls (to me – that implies a certain size and level of civilization). To my ex-husband, this became “Crystal loves malls and consumer culture.” Nevermind the fact that it was rare for me to step foot in one and shopping has never been on my list of things to do for fun. Ever. Suddenly I grew horns and years of history were erased because I didn’t condemn malls like he did.

Not too long ago I said that I didn’t like the show Mike & Molly, and the response was, “Is it because you don’t like fat people?” Uhhhh, whaaaat? Why in the world would you think that? Actually, I just don’t particularly care for most sitcoms. I wasn’t a Friends fan, either! It’s just not something that tickles my particular funny bone. Do YOU hate fat people? ‘Cause now I have to wonder about you!

And then there was the time that a longtime friend thought I hated homosexuals because I had once said I’m not interested in getting busy with lady parts. Again, what the hell? Somehow my interest and preference for males was viewed as anti-gay just because I didn’t share a passion for lady parts? So if I were to say that I’d much prefer chocolate over vanilla, does that mean I think vanilla is the devil and should be banned and everyone who likes vanilla is the devil?

‘Cause whoa! That’s some deep shit right there. And I should maybe not speak ever again if that’s true.

I’m an introspective kind of gal, so when these things happen I immediately wonder what I’m doing wrong. How is it that people who should know me quite well could even for a moment consider that these things might be my point of view? And if I’m NOT doing something wrong, am I invisible? Am I speaking a different language?

Does that word not mean what I think it means??

I try to think of it from the other person’s point of view. Like, it probably has very little to do with me and more to do with that person – either their own feelings on the subject or a generalization they’ve made. But generally these situations arise around people with whom I mostly communicate just fine. That that doesn’t lead me to a clear answer, either.

I just don’t know why this happens. I just really want everyone to know that my opinion has nothing to do with the validity of yours. It’s okay to disagree – different points of view, different experiences and conclusions, are a huge part what makes life interesting! At least to me. If you want only people who have the same views as you do in your life, I give you a free pass to walk away from me right now – no explanation necessary. I’m not that kind of friend and I know it. I accept the consequences of not being a Yes Man.

Readers, what are your thoughts? Is there something in particular at the heart of misunderstandings? Is it just too common for people to look for the worst in others and mind-read? Am I seriously bad at communication?

Decking The Halls

We’re gearing up for Christmas. This is our first Christmas in our new house, so we are pretty excited! It’s been a rough year, but we are taking every opportunity to celebrate life. I’m trying not to let the fact that Jack has a lumbar puncture and chemo scheduled for Christmas Eve get to me. Blech.

Last year our dog ate our stockings, including the personalized knit one I’ve had since I was a child. To write that wrong, I went to Etsy and found an awesome stocking shop called Forshee Designs and now we all have coordinating stockings with our names on them. They are big and sturdy and gorgeous (and we hung them high – out of Lambert’s reach!).

David and I bought ornaments and Christmas lights at Kmart, since we only had decorations fit for a miniature tree (having lived in apartments for so long). David decked the house with white dangling lights and the windows are lined with blue lights. I put snowflake decals in our front window and we have flickering LED candles in all of the windows. That went a long way to making things feel pretty magical.

Our shopping is nearly done. This weekend I did a blitz on getting stocking stuffers at Pier 1 and Target. I also got some holiday crafts to work on with Jack, including a gingerbread cookie decorating kit. I then hung our Stampin’ Up! advent calendar – filled with chocolate and small toys. I’m not super excited about most of the things we got for Jack this year, but I think the top three would be the Little Thinker CDs (a story is told or question asked on the CD and the kid is supposed to draw along with it), the Creatures Card Game and the animated Ewoks DVD (which he may not like at all!).

To complete our home decor, we just need a tree! We’ve decided we’re getting a real tree this year. I found a Christmas Tree farm in our new town where we can cut our own. I remember doing that as a kid and LOVING it. I can’t wait to take Jack and search for our perfect tree and then take it home and decorate it!

One thing I’m super excited about this year is a DVD we got from Your Santa Story. I went onto the website and input Jack’s info and asked that Santa tell him what a brave and strong kid he is. On Christmas morning a note will appear from Santa to tell Jack about the DVD. Santa will then talk right to him and even tell him where his last present is hidden. I can’t wait to see the look on his face! If you want to give your Christmas a little extra magic this year, go check it out.

I thought I would share the other websites I’ve found helpful in getting ready for Christmas this year for those of you who are dragging your feet! I know it can be hard to get started and it can be stressful to spend all that money. We certainly don’t have a lot to spend this year after buying a house, a car, and paying a bunch of copays so we are watching our spending, but the celebration is important to us so I took extra care to find deals and rebates. Maybe you can benefit from my shopping experience via these websites:

  • Pinterest – This is where I keep track of holiday craft ideas, recipes, and gift ideas. You can follow me there if you’d like (not that I profess to have especially great taste). :)
  • Ebates – You get a percentage back from merchants you buy from when you click through the Ebates site. It’s free money, so you are screwing yourself if you don’t do it – I’ve gotten over $400 back since I joined in 2008! This year I am getting cash back from purchases on Groupon, Amazon, Tanga, The Children’s Place, eBay and Zulily.
  • Etsy – For unique, handmade anything! There are some really good stocking stuffers to be found (like mojito lip balm), personalized stockings (as mentioned above), or that special thing for that quirky friend of yours who likes things like Velveteen Rabbit necklaces or beard beanies.
  • Threadless – For unique artsy or funny shirts. Everyone loves t-shirts, right?
  • Tanga – A great deal site! I particularly like the deals on board games, such as this 3-pack of Dominion for $60 (we love this game!).
  • Nomorerack.com – This site has a bunch of new and amazing deals every day. There’s a flat rate shipping fee of $2 per item. You can get some really fantastic deals!
  • Naked Wines – Usually it’s a losing proposition monetarily to run a small winery. This company helps independent wine makers distribute their wines without the crazy overhead, which means cheaper and more unique wines for customers! If you click my sidebar button over on the right you’ll get $100 toward a $160 purchase – perfect for stocking up for the holidays.

What are YOU excited about this Christmas?

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This post is not a sponsored post and only contains retailers and products that I would personally recommend; however, some of these links are affiliate links for which I may receive compensation.

Make A Wish, Little Monster

Last week I submitted the referral for Jack’s wish to the Make A Wish program. If you are living in a hole (one with internet access?) and are unaware of this program, it’s a charitable organization that grants wishes to seriously ill children. From what I understand, most of these kids want to go to Disneyland. Jack, being Jack and ever-unique, wants something very different.

At first, Jack said he wanted to act in a movie as Charlie (of Willy Wonka fame). I thought that was pretty interesting. His dad suggested meeting a football player, which Jack had absolutely no interest in. It was a few weeks later when he settled on wanting to meet Lady Gaga and become one of her “Little Monsters.”

I’m not sure what exactly first drew Jack to Lady Gaga. There were a few songs on the radio and he immediately loved them and protested if I tried to change the station. Then he began requesting that I play Lady Gaga songs every time we got in the car. That led to asking to see her pictures (he declares that people are beautiful based upon their voices on the radio) and then a whole new level of fascination developed. Once he learned that she dresses up in crazy outfits (he thought the meat dress was hilarious), his artistic little heart was completely smitten. After all, Jack has dressed up as one thing or another – or just pretended to be some magical monster or alien – just about every day of his life. In fact his daycare provider quickly learned not to call him “Jack” upon drop off, and instead asked who or what he was that day.

So, one evening he and I were sitting at home hanging out. Jack was dressed as a bat and we were discussing his wish in between his eating everything in sight (he was on the steroid at the time). I figured I’d show him one of Lady Gaga’s music videos. Well, once he saw one, he wanted to watch them all! I sifted through the videos and picked the most kid-friendly ones (this does NOT include Paparazzi!). After watching a half dozen of her videos, Jack decided he needed to make a video, as well, to go along with his wish!

Now, Jack is not very athletic. He was never the kid that swayed his diapered booty to music and he does not sing – nor does he allow most people to sing in his presence. Partially because he is noise-sensitive and partially because he gets incredibly embarrassed by grandiose displays. Up until this evening, I’d only heard him humming (but I wasn’t allowed to acknowledge it) and the only dancing he’d done was in my arms as a baby. Not to mention, he had already begun chemo and was generally low energy, sore, and pretty blah.

I’m sure you can imagine my surprise when I turned on some Lady Gaga music and found myself recording this low-quality video (the darkness is one of many reasons we left our apartment in the city) of a dance routine Jack came up with on the spot to go with his Make a Wish application:

We should hear back this week from the Make a Wish Foundation about when they’ll be out to interview Jack regarding his “one true wish.” I can’t wait!

Jack’s #ShineOn Journal

GapKids


This post is sponsored by GapKids. Check out all the fun Shine On activities at your nearest Gap store. For event dates and locations, visit Gap’s Facebook page and join the conversation on Twitter with hashtag #ShineOn.

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On Sunday Jack and I got up bright and early to drive down to The Gap in Los Gatos. As I mentioned previously, Gap is sponsoring some Back-To-School events using projects designed by craft blogger MerMag. The project of the day was a journal.

Jack got to pick out his cover cardstock, coordinating binding tape, a label for his name, and there were a variety of stickers and gem embellishments to choose from. He got right to work and didn’t stop upon completing the project itself – he decided he would start drawing inside of it, too! Then he told the project guides all about his sea monster.

The journal was a big hit. Jack’s been drawing since he was 2 years old, and he absolutely loves art, so I was happy to have this opportunity sent my way. This was a great way to get him thinking about school (he goes back in October!) in relation to something he already loves. He plans to write a story about the sea monster inside of the journal. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with.

If you want to attend one of Gap’s Shine On Saturdays event and live in a major metro area, check out the event locations listed on the Shine On Saturdays Facebook page. For those of you in California, there are a couple events this weekend (one in NorCal and one in SoCal) on August 25 from 10am-1pm in the following locations:

1139 S. Main St. @ Walnut Creek

Los Angeles: 2111 Glendale Galleria

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Hustle and Bustle

Last week at work was brutal. I am not quite sure how I made it through. I think I’m still recovering.

Amidst the stress of work, I had THREE posts published elsewhere. I revamped and combined my prior posts about my dad for World Aids Day and posted it on Band Back Together, and I wrote a brand new piece for Postpartum Voice in which I talk about the details of my postpartum depression for the first time. The third I won’t directly link here due to its sensitive nature, but you can hit me up on Twitter or via email if you are interested in it (and haven’t already read it).

We’re still dealing with fear at home. Jack is sleeping with his bedroom light on every night now, which is a change from the first 5 years of his life. He now watches Dora the Explorer and Berenstein Bears instead of Scooby-Doo and Ben 10. We’ve acquired the Scaredy Squirrel books and “When I Feel Afraid.” Nothing seems to be particularly helpful. We may just have to ride this one out.

With that said, and while I know that this is a phase that kids Jack’s age go through, I’m wondering if some of the stresses his families are dealing with (unemployment in both households, for one) might be contributing and/or if school issues may be having an impact on him. It seems like he has more trouble sleeping and is tired more often these days.

Jack’s teacher has started sending his incomplete classwork home for him to finish. This is super fun (not)! I don’t even know what to do about that. For now we are just continuing to encourage him to finish his projects in class and emphasizing that we all want him to do his work well. This may be another area where the reward of money will motivate him (that’s how he potty trained)…hm…

On the good news front, I recently won a $500 Apple gift card thanks to my attendance and participation in a Twitter party hosted by LiveOn.com. WOOHOO!! The site is pretty cool – you can basically create a digital scrapbook of life’s events with photos and such and it’s got some nifty social media enhancements. I haven’t had much time to play around with it but I did create an account and will definitely futz with it. It looks fun!

I also won passes to the new Children’s Creativity Museum in San Francisco. I’m super psyched to take Jack there!

My birthday is at the end of this week and so the promise of cake and dinner with friends is keeping me in decent spirits. Oh and I’ve gotten nearly all of my Christmas shopping done and the presents are mostly wrapped, too! Now I just need to take down the Halloween decorations…

Luck, Leprechauns, and Little White Lies

Leprechaun with rainbow

Image via Wikipedia

Jack didn’t want to leave the house to go to daycare today.  He was whining and moaning about how much he HATES getting dressed and how it’s “stubborn” that he has to go to daycare.  I then came up with the brilliant plan of telling him it’s a SPECIAL! DAY!  He perked up and asked what I was talking about.  I explained that it’s St. Patrick’s Day and some people believe that it’s a good day to catch leprechauns.  He had no idea what the heck a leprechaun is, of course.  I explained that they are little people from Ireland who hide a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  I showed him pictures on the internet, which he loved.  He asked me if leprechauns were for real life and I said I didn’t know and there are definitely some people who do not believe they are real.

I figured he would like this whole idea but I underestimated his enthusiasm.  He wanted to hear all about it so I let him know he should wear green today so he could be extra lucky and maybe catch a “tricky leprechaun.”  They hide and you have to be on the look out, you know!  In fact, I’ve never even see one because they are so sneaky!  Well, he filled in the rest.  These little suckers apparently wear green as camouflage so that it’s difficult to see them when they hide in bushes and trees.  And “no one knows if they are going to be on top of the tree or behind the tree!”

Jack picked out a green monster shirt to wear.  His theory: “Maybe I can scare the leprechaun with this monster shirt and he will run away and leave his gold for me to take!”  Very clever, I thought.  He also came up with the idea of putting traps at the end of the rainbow.  “Well, mom, you just don’t know which end of the rainbow he’ll be at!”

It was so hard not to crack up while he was telling me all kinds of new things about leprechauns even though he hadn’t heard of them before today.  We saw a neighbor’s nanny as we were walking to the car and Jack told her all about the special day and how he was going to catch one of those leprechauns!  He made sure his friends at daycare were wearing green.  I suggested he work together with his little friends and maybe they could find a leprechaun.

I then told him good luck and left for work.

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