Pool Party

Okay, maybe not. BUT the kids did enjoy themselves immensely! The pool we bought was much smaller than we intended but that's what we get for not reading the box. Ah well, fun was had and that's all that matters is it not?

The picture of Ian and his friend Joey in that very small pool just cracks me up!

Memorial Day!

Ian decorated the awesome heart-shaped strawberry cake we baked for our friends to enjoy. He's quite handy with the sprinkles, that kid. Kitty, while never directly touching the cake that I could see, managed to become covered in frosting. It was magic! We had a lovely day of grilling, baking and company!


After reading through Manic Mother it occured to me that despite my original intentions, I never really touched upon the topic of bipolar and how it has effected my life. I think that that is partly because so many of the decisions I have made while in a manic state have been, well, embarrassing. Many people have the idea that those of us in the bipolar community are these crazy balls of spontanious anger and that, for me, is entirely untrue. As a matter of fact I find it difficult to become angry. Instead in my most manic of phases I feel the need to do. I start projects, sometimes silly, sometimes huge, sometimes completely out of my leaugue. I've made 55 pieces of felt fruit by hand, baked an entire freezer full of breads, muffins and cookies, created web sites that I've never touched again, made huge elaborate meals for only 2 people, you get the idea. This is the lighter side of my mania. It gets darker, much darker.

When in these phases its not uncommon to be caught up and carried along doing things you would never otherwise do. I've done some things I look back on now and absolutely cannot understand. Getting a tattoo on my forearm for example. Not a big deal but wow, it's terrible work! WHY did I do that? At the time, it was a fantastic idea. At the time there were no alarm bells going off for me. That's the thing, when we do these things without batting an eyelash it's because we truly feel they are super good ideas. Later, when you come back down, reality comes crashing back down around you and you're left thinking, "What the hell have I done?".

When my bipolar started to get bad, the worst it's ever been, I began to hear things. Yes, I know how crazy that is. In my manic state I heard whispers, I was suicidal, I was terrified and completely off my rocker. Convinced that evil things were about trying to hurt me. This was when I decided to turn to medication and you know what? It worked. That was a mercifully short period of my life, these things happened because other factors aggravated my existing problem. I've since learned the value of seeing the triggers as they happen and taking steps to stop the snowball effect. I've learned maintenance for my life to keep myself emotionally, thus mentally, happy. Healthy foods, moderate exercise, the permission to myself to talk about the things troubling me; these simple things have allowed me to live a med-free and thankfully event-free life (bipolar-wise) for years now.

I think people like Beth over at Manic Mother are doing us all a great service by talking about their illness and thusly educating others so that people like myself can reap the benefits. I hope my posts does the same.
For those of you who may not have read about baby Ezra, please head over to Manic Mother and do so. With my own sweet Katrine just a breath away from 2 years old and my own Ian in and out of the hospital with a terrifying diagnosis, I can't help but feel connected to this mama somehow.

I hope you'll consider popping over and reading her story. Maybe tweet it, Digg it, or even donate if you have the funds. I understand how financially straining it is to not have enough for gas to get your child to the hospital, need a more reliable vehicle or have an extended hospital stay in which you have to feed yourself.

Thanks everybody. Love to you all.

Manic Mother

Friday Fun

Today was a hit with my little guy. Because of the MD and how it's effected his body, going to the park has been something he's only dreamed of doing for the last 2 years. For Ian, climbing on the play structures is an impossibility and swinging is entirely too hard on his back. We found out about a park in Nashville across from the children's hospital he's treated at that has handicap-accessible play structures and modifications to all the eqipment that would allow him to play like any kid. How cool is that?! Unfortunately our plans were foiled by scattered thunderstorms in the area so instead, we went to a local park to see if we couldn't try our hand at learning new ways to play at the park.

We chose a rural park near the military base and accross from some horse stables. Driving down the country roads with the windows rolled down was, in itself, a great way to spend the day. The kids loved seeing the horses at the stables as we neared the park, so that was a second score for team Ybarra. The park itself, play structure-wise was nothing to scream about but as it turns out, that was okay because it wasn't the equipment he was interested in. It was the stream. He loved sitting on the bank playing with sticks and watching the ducks. There was a waterfall and he was totally into that too. He wanted to see it up close so we ventured into the wooded area to see how close we could get him. As it turns out, getting close meant a hike and some mild rock climbing. So, John put Ian on his back and made the journey while I followed along with Miss Kitty. It was tiring but so worth it. We got the head of the waterfall where there was a large platform made of flat rocks and another smaller stream up top.

Both Kitty and Ian had a grand time splashing in the water, looking for bugs, climbing on things and just generally being kids. It was the first time in a long time I got the feeling that Ian wasn't being cautious because he was afraid of being hurt. He smiled (in his own Ian way) he laughed, he made monkey noises, he just had a good time.

It's funny thing things you take for granted when you don't know anything different. I was left thinking on just a few years ago when in Germany we took him to the park all the time. I remembered watching him climb, run and swing his little heart out and never once did I ever dream that I would be here. That when that little child was 8 years old, moments like these would be so precious. Yet, here we are and the funny thing is that while I wish against hope it were different, I feel so fortunate to be able to have the gift of taking the smallest moments and triumphs and keep them in my heart like I do now. That's one of the aims of this blog for me, to share my family with others and to encourage all parents to do what I've been forced to learn to do. But I digress...

So Ian had his first hike ever, his first very first waterfall and his first park in years all in the same day. Me? I had a moment of introspection and some fantastic photo ops.

What a day!

Flashback Friday!


I am participating in Scary Mommy's uber-fun idea of Flashback Friday. I don't have many blog entries so in lieu of that, I'll post this here old-ass and super fly picture.

This was taken about 3 years ago in Mainz, Germany (where we lived at the time) at a club called Kuz. We were, obviously, completely wasted. Good times. The people are, from right to left, my darling hubs John. Yes, the man licking my face is indeed the love of my life. Then comes myself and next to me is my sweet friend and super duper bestie, Ashley. Ashley was the hit of the evening as she later lost her cookies all over the floor. This is one of my all time favorite pictures and I can't begin to say why. I suppose because it was a night with people I love, in a place I love, having a damn good time.

These evenings are few and far between anymore. The clostest I get to a club since my sweet Miss Kitty was born is hanging out in my living room, watching anime and drinking Cape Cods. Or boxed wine. Or both. In my underwear.

Shameless Plug

Yep, I'm doing this. My very good friend Kristin has opened an Etsy shop. Those of you who know me know that I am a big advocate of buying handmade whenever possible and Kristin has finally opened her doors over at Etsy to sell her adorable and completely handmade baby hats and, eventually, baby wraps. Her products are great for your sweet little bundles or as gorgeous props for all you photographers out there.

She's an amazing and talented lady and a mama to boot.

Please visit her over at BugsHugz Boutique.

When I Was But a Girl

Diet coke. Check. Caribou Coffee Chocolate Mocha Granola Bar. Check. I am now ready to blog.

You know what I miss? I miss the 90's. I miss boys with long hair, I miss dresses with combat boots, I miss girl power and the Crow; I miss Soundgarden and Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains. I long for a time when Linda Perry was considered a female role model because she was loud and proud and didn't take shit from anyone. When girls wanted to be strong and educated and make thier own choices and all the chicks I knew were damn proud to be woman and we listened to girl bands and made stands and knew we were destined to be woman with a loud voice. What the hell happened? This brave new world we had waited for, that we had planned for and fought for on our own teenage battlefield has become a wasteland of the worst possible role models for our girls. Woman who have no self-respect, who are stupid and vapid and actually think that makes them better in the public eye. It's considered cool to be those things. If you're smart you're boring, if you're political and feminist you're just a "feminazi". I shudder for my girls. What's a mom to do to give her girls the power she felt as a teenager?

Okay, this is a repost from a previous blog that I no longer have. It was a favorite that I still feel a lot of truth in. A friend mentioned that I should post it here to have a more complete picuture of myself. So, there you have it.