Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Shasta: The Return to Journalism

Life can change so quickly.

Little more than a month ago, I was a stay-at-home mom, and seemed destined to stay that way at least until the kids went to full-time school. Tired, drained and pulled in a million directions, I was ready to quit my tiny freelance reporting gig — because: who am I kidding? There's no way I'm getting my career in print news back. 

A few nights ago, I sat across from the former editor of Portland Monthly magazine at a $125-per-head charity dinner and introduced myself as the new Clackamas County reporter for the Portland Tribune. 

And it was true. 

Out of nowhere, my life has been turned upside-down. If there is any such thing as a Mommy War, I have defected to the other side. 

And I love it. 

Don't get me wrong — moms who enjoy hanging out with their kids all day are heroes and deserve waaaaaaaay more accolades than they get. 

It's just really not for me.

This morning I woke up, put on heels and walked out the door before one of my kids was even awake. I had adult conversations and wrote big picture stories on the events of the day. I then finished the day with a beer… or two… at a bar with friends.

Is this my life???

Don't get me wrong: it's not all awesome. Pretty soon, I hope, things will even out. But right now I'm vacillating between being super stressed out about the many aspects of my life that are in flux at the moment and being so overjoyed to have found my way back.

What I tell people is that I took a "break" from my career to raise my kids and now I'm back — as if it was a conscious choice. The reality is that I was flat broke and could not afford to return to a job that paid as much as child care cost. Beyond that, I was pretty well convinced that a person could not take four years "off" from a career as competitive as journalism and ever come back. Thanks to my friends at Pamplin Media Group, this was not the case.

But here I am. 

To be sure, I am taking a break from blogging for an indefinite amount of time. I still think of new posts, though. I take pictures and videos of Malachi's progress and hope that one day I will be able to update you all.

In the meantime, you are welcome to follow my new adventures in journalism through Twitter or on my Facebook page. (Be sure to hover over "liked" to select "Get notifications," as that is the only way to tell Facebook that, no really, I actually want to see this.)

Here we go!

Friday, May 02, 2014

A Day in Our Life: From Hot Air Balloons to "Go Blazers!"

6:15 a.m.: I wake up to a gorgeous morning feeling fully rested. I open my curtains and see hot air balloons floating in the distance.

6:20 a.m.: I realize that — because it is the epitome of irony — the day that I wake up at 6:15 is the day my kids won't wake up at 6:30, which they have been doing for weeks like clockwork, no matter how tired I believe they ought to be.

6:21 a.m.: I make myself some coffee. And a muffin. And yogurt. And hash browns.

6:40 a.m.: I sit out on the patio to enjoy the peaceful summer-like morning.

7:01 a.m.: I come back upstairs to find JJ laying half-asleep in my bed. I turn on some cartoons and take a shower.

7:30 a.m.: Malachi wakes up and I get him dressed. JJ — despite this happening at least twice a day every day — resists getting dressed until I lose my temper and do it anyway.

8:50 a.m.: Boys are dressed, fed and in the car.

8:55 a.m.: I finally find my keys and we are on the road.

9:40 a.m.: Arrive at the hospital for 9:30 a.m. VitalStim appointment.

10:15 a.m.: Actually begin VitalStim appointment. In the intervening time, JJ has decided he is a "dark pink monkey-dog named Sozo," and will now only bear crawl, or climb on me. (As monkey-dogs are wont. Obviously.) Malachi is a "colored" (by which he means multi-colored and not in the way my grandmother meant it) dog named "Andrea." They both bark and pant periodically.

10:45 a.m.: Finish appointment and Malachi joyously declares that: "WE CAN GO TO OMSI NOW!" (This is something he'd been waiting to do since yesterday when he suddenly decided that instead of going to preschool, we should all really just go to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. He was then was DEVASTATED and frankly shocked when I didn't agree to any of his eleventy-billion declarations that we do that.)

11:10 a.m.: Pick up cheap, plentiful and delicious Indian food at a downtown cart while dropping off a large check to an ABM practitioner for last month's sessions.

11:26 a.m.: ARRIVE AT OMSI, OMG.

11:27 a.m.: Head straight to this scale, which displays weights according to the gravity of 11 different celestial bodies. Malachi is so excited, he grabs on the support bar and is basically standing all by himself. He could drop at any moment, so I still have to keep my hand right next to him, but I'm stoked.  Very difficult to take a picture, so I took this crappy video instead. It still counts as proof.

Standing, sort of. from Shasta Kearns Moore on Vimeo.

11:47 p.m.: I'm starving and have to peel Malachi away from this scale and JJ away from the nearby trampoline to go eat our Indian food.

12:05 p.m.: JJ continues to act like a dog — excuse me, a monkey-dog — including attempting to drink water out of a cup on the ground with no hands, crawling around on the floor and frog jumping on the trampoline.

JJ as a monkey-dog. from Shasta Kearns Moore on Vimeo.

12:06 p.m.: Back to the beloved scale.

1:13 p.m.: Up on the top floor, we've had a wonderful time in the Science Playground — deserted since everyone is downstairs at the Tony Hawk skateboard exhibit (of which The Scale is, to everyone else, a tiny and rather uninteresting part). We've played in the water until we were soaked, then played in the white sand until we were sparkly. I give the first warning that we are leaving at 1:30 p.m.

1:30 p.m.: I tell the boys that it's time to go and there is remarkably little resistance. Could it be that they are finally growing up?

1:45 p.m.: Back on the road. This time to Embassy Suites in nearby Beaverton for our 2:30 p.m. lesson with traveling ABM practitioner Andrea Bowers.

2:40 p.m.: She does awesome stuff like this:

2:41 p.m.: J/k. Actually that was yesterday. Today, JJ and I were sharks under the table. Malachi was a fisherman on the boat. The game was that Malachi would put one of his hands or one of his feet off the table and JJ and I would "snack-snack-snack" on them. This was a lot of fun and taught Malachi a bit about how far he could put his hands and feet off the table without jeopardizing his balance and also how to get back onto the table when he wanted to "be safe."

3:05 p.m.: Packed up and on the road again.


4:09 p.m.: Celebrate finally arriving to our town with a tasty frozen yogurt parfait with soon-to-expire $1 off coupon. Malachi chews and swallows three whole gummy bears without even gagging — a remarkable accomplishment for him. JJ announces he's all done with the treat before it is all gone — a remarkable accomplishment for him.

4:36 p.m.: We go to Wilco to look at vegetable starts and baby chicks.

4:42 p.m.: JJ announces that he needs to potty. The bathroom is too small to go in with the cart, where Malachi has to stay, so I ask JJ if he can do it himself. He does.

4:50 p.m.: After what seems like an eternity, during which I check on JJ frequently and Malachi sits and reads aloud the notices on the corkboard, JJ finally announces he's done. I am super impressed that he completed this task almost completely by himself.

5:18 p.m.: A fight breaks out when JJ continues to open the refrigerator door next to the cashier after I've asked him to stop. JJ digs in and so do I. Malachi is jeering at us both. I take away their "extra" screen time ticket as punishment and now everyone is very sad.

5:38 p.m.: Arrive home at last. We read books together until we cheer up. JJ picks me dandelions to apologize "and to get screen time." (He doesn't.)

7:07 p.m.: We all sit down to eat delicious dinner cooked by my mother-in-law, with whom we live.

7:44 p.m.: Dinner and dessert out of the way, it's time to watch the Portland Trailblazers in the NBA playoffs. I know nothing about sports and care even less, but it's clear that I have at least one little dyed-in-the-wool sports fan.

Go Blazers! from Shasta Kearns Moore on Vimeo.

8:15 p.m.: Come upstairs to find this picturesque scene replacing the last time I looked out my bedroom window 14 hours earlier.

8:16 p.m.: Decide to write this blog post.

9:44 p.m.: Finish it.

10:02 p.m.: Publish it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How to Make a Medicine Spreadsheet Chart on Excel

OK, I admit it. I have trouble remembering to give Malachi his medicine. Even when I do, later I don't remember whether or not I actually did give it to him. Part of this has to do with the fact that his medicines are in liquid form so those cool pill cases don't work for us. Add to the mix a few more caregivers and things get pretty confusing.

So, I created this handy chart and taped it to the back of the medicine cabinet. We are still not at 100 percent compliance, as pharmacists say, but we're getting better! Soon I might actually get ambitious enough to add other medicines and supplements. Woo-hoo!

Here's what you do to make one of your own in about 5 minutes:

1. Open Microsoft Excel. (I actually use Open Office, a free, open-source version of the Microsoft Office suite.)

2. New spreadsheet document.

3. Title in bold at the top.

4. Skip a few lines and start a heading row containing "Date," then each of the medicines. Include their dosage or time of day if that's helpful.

5. In the first column, under "Date," write today's date or whenever you want to start. Then — this is the cool part — click on that cell to highlight it. In the bottom right of the cell, you'll see a black dot. Drag that black dot down the column — about 48 rows for an 8.5 x 11 -inch print out. If your software recognized your input in the first cell as a date, it should copy that pattern to the rest of the cells and complete your timeline.

6. Print and post near your medicine. Check off when you administer the dose. You might even begin to see patterns emerge about when certain behaviors pop up or don't depending on if you forgot!

Enjoy and let me know if it's helpful!

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Feel free to share this post using the tiny icon buttons below and if you haven't subscribed to my RSS feedliked me on Facebook or followed me on Twitter, there's no time like the present! 

Looking for a meaningful gift? Dark & Light: A Love Story in Black and White is a beautiful and insightful board book available here. All profits go towards my son's medical needs. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Adventures in Hippotherapy

You might think hippotherapy is some bizarre form of exercise with highly dangerous two-ton water cows. You would be wrong.

Even though it is not called equitherapy, it has to do with horses. Some kind of Latin thing. If only the Romans were around to explain.


Behold! Malachi having the time of his life on said horse! He absolutely loved it!

…Until the third week when I got the crazy notion that I could leave him with the therapist for 10 seconds while I wandered over to my seat on the sidelines. Then he totally freaked out. To this day I have no idea why. Did he suddenly realize how tall the horse was? Did the therapist inadvertently do something wrong?

Perhaps he could just tell that I was headed on the next plane to Caracas to leave all this behind and live out my days on a sun-bleached plantation as a salsa baroness. Or lime queen. Potato contessa? Where is Caracas again?

Anyway, for whatever reason, he totally freaked and wanted absolutely nothing to do with riding horses. Petting them, reading their name tags off stalls and harnesses, feeding them carrots and giggling at how slobbery they got, sure. Who doesn't like a good slobber? But riding them? What kind of demented mind came up with that?

It took us four weekly visits — during which we mostly just did assisted yoga and some occupational therapy stuff — to get him back to his happy place. By then the term was over. This, by the way, was a term that it took us eight months of poor communication and bad luck to get signed up for.

So. That was that until such time that we decide to try it again.

Which I think we will. Because. You know. I'm crazy.

Feel free to share this post using the tiny icon buttons below and if you haven't subscribed to my RSS feedliked me on Facebook or followed me on Twitter, there's no time like the present! 

Looking for a meaningful gift? Dark & Light: A Love Story in Black and White is a beautiful and insightful board book available here. All profits go towards my son's medical needs. 


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