Saturday, October 30, 2010

Spooky Tired!

We just got back from another Halloween inspired get together. This one was a birthday party for a 6 y/o  friend of KC's.  It was fun. But loud.  Which is to be expected when one gathers many children and their commesurate number of adults together.  I have been begging my migraine to leave for a few days and i don't think the party hearty mode of the past 2 days is doing much to move it on out of my life.  But Halloween only comes once a year, so I don't want to have the kids miss out because my head hurts.  That would just be silly.

Tomorrow is a very busy day as well.  We need to be at church early because my wife is in the choir and I have RE responsibilities.  Then after service there is a UNICEF carnival for the kids. They will pay a few pennies to play games and the profits go to help a worthy cause.  Then home to make my spooky supper fixings and decorate our dining room.  After the spooky supper we will go visit KC's abuelita and then we will trick or treat the neighborhood.  How far we go, how long we stay out always depends on the weather and the kids.  Some years it is short but recently it has gotten longer as their stamina increases and their comfort levels about being out in the darkness. 

We hear from Dee

So last night  I checked Facebook really quickly.  I was shocked to see that Rob's brother Dee was on line.  I haven't connected w/ him in ages and ages.  I sent him a quick  IM.  Being so excited, I was not thinking clearly and wrote "Hi Dee, it's Lee.  I haven't seen you on line in ages and I know Rob will want to talk with you. He is in the shower so don't hang up."  There is a short pause followed by this answer "um excuse me but who is this?"  ROFL  So then of course i snap out of it a little bit and write that I am his brother Robbie's mom and that he had visited us a couple yrs ago.  He figures out who i am and there is more embarrassed (on his part) chit chat while we waited for Rob to get out of the shower.  we couldn't talk long as he was borrowing someone's computer but it was good to be able to say hi.  There is a possibility that he will be back on line today between 3 and 4. That will be a squeeze for us as the kids have a halloween birthday party to go to but we are going to do our best to make that work.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Representing on the homeschool front!

It is funny, I just wrote on someone else's blog the other day that I don't get a lot of static over homeschooling anymore.  In many ways, it is more mainstream and less "weird" in the eyes of the larger society.  No longer the sole province of jumper wearing, Bible verse spouting moms, I know so many more homeschoolers now than back 10 or 15 years ago when I was schooling Chet.  The times as they say, are changing.  (and I need to add a disclaimer that I harbor no ill will against the jumper wearing women mentioned above)  I haven't been asked about socialization in years.  I haven't been asked about curriculum unless it was by another homeschooler who wanted to compare notes.  I just haven't been questioned.

Today my kids were invited to a friends Halloween play date.  I brought the 3 youngest.  Though Rob is by far beyond the age of the play group, he isn't really good being left home.  My personal theory is that his PTSD issues surrounding trauma and abandonment kick in and they invariablely lead him to make poor choices.  So I just bring him where ever I go and he never ever complains.  Every few months, I try a few minutes at home with just him and Chet. Thus far, I still am getting proof that this is not something he is handling well.  But I am waaaaaay off topic.

My friend's mom was there, and as luck would have it, she is a retired public school teacher.   She sat down next to KC and asked him how old he was.  He happily replied that he was 6 1/2 

"Oh, you must be in first grade then!  I used to teach first grade."  (oh sweet goddess I think to myself) 

"Yes, but I go to homeschool," he answers.

(pause) " Ah,  . . . homeschool.   Well, have you learned to read a little bit."

"Oh yes!  I all ready know how to read!"  (I bit my tongue bloody to not interject that he has read 7 Magic Treehouse books all ready.

"Um, I see.  . . . (another pause)  Well can you do a little math?" 

KC actually grins.  "I love math!  I can add and count to 100"

"OH!"  (genuine surprise)  "Well then what is your favorite class?"

"That's easy, I LOVE playing the recorder!"

Meanwhile piano music was wafting out from my friends living room.

"Who is playing the piano?"  someone asked.

The answer was Robbie, who has been studying piano only since September.  Yup, I guess we represented!  LOL

Thursday, October 28, 2010

More addiction ramblings

A while ago I wrote about my fears about addiction and kids.  My fears got ramped up a bit this week as a beloved young family member (not one of my kids, thank the goddess) will be entering a 4 to 6 week treatment facility for addiction today.  It will be the second time this person has faced the demons of addiction in a rehab setting.  This program is longer--4 to 6 weeks and looks "harder" in the work that they expect their patients to do on facing not just the detox but the reasons why they are not staying clean on the outside. 

The immediate family involved have also been damaged and traumatized by this situation.  Much healing is needed for all.  Obviously, in respect of confidentiality and the fact that this is only "my" story in the most perepheral of ways, I am not blogging details. (which probably made these two paragraphs kind of wonky to read)

But what I can say is that I had a talk with my Rob about it today.  He knows the person involved and they are relatively close in age.  I can also trust that Rob will not say something inappropriate about the treatment or the addiction when they see one another again.  It was scary to talk about.  It was scary to watch his reaction because I could tell by what he did not say, and where his eyes slid off of mine, that at a minimum he knows people who use some type of drugs. I presented things factually.  I said that I knew that at the age he was now, that friends would use, friends would talk about drugs, that opportunities would present themselves.  And that it scared me. Because no parent wants to lose their child to a drug overdose.  Or to a beating from a drug dealer.  Or to jail.

This is virgin ground to me. My Chet hates taking a painkiller if he has a headache so drug use was never a worry and still isn't.  He is the guy who would not let them knock him out when his 4 impacted wisdom teeth were removed.  He also wasn't popular.  Opportunities to even consider something like that just probably didn't come his way.

Rob on the other hand, is popular.  He likes to hang out with skateboarders at the park.  He has friends in youth group.  His circle is way wider than Chet's was.  I am vigilent but I also know that when kids want to do something, they can find a way. I may be old, but I remember being a kid.  I remember rules that I thought were stupid and the creative ways I found to circumnavigate them.

 I actually try to let my kids have occasional  small ways to "one up" the parent (like sneaking 10 minutes of a frowned upon TV show) because I figure if they feel they can do that they might not spend so much time finding a really serious way to try and snow me.  But drugs, drugs I watch for like a hawk. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cheering for Fiona

Fiona called last night and we had a great conversation. There was planning for our visit which is coming up in early November.  This is the first visit we are all allowed to go off grounds together so I am really hoping the weather cooperates.  She wants to show us the neighborhood which is a good plan for me because I know nothing in and around the Great School in the City.

Progress comes slowly and is usually of the couple steps forward, now a step back variety.   The step back is typically in Fiona bolting from situations that she finds uncomfortable or which are causing her anger.  The huge steps forward are the facts that now she is able to at least have dialogue about them afterwards and she is developing some concept of time.  She honestly has never had time sense.  Showing her a calendar and trying to make count downs to visits etc have never been possible. She just couldn't wrap her mind even around the days of the week. Somehow, the Great School has begun to work with that, or maybe her brain is just ready to absorb it. I have no idea.  But she has a clearer grasp of time flow than I have ever ever seen.

She told me last night that she didn't want to tell me that she had bolted but knew she had to "woman up" and face it. She told me she bolts when she is angry and scared and wants to punch somebody.  She knows she can't punch someone because then she gets restrained so she bolts,  and that when she does it, she hopes she gets hit by a car. (mom's love to hear something like that, right? I was working hard on not gasping) But that when she calms down she knows that she likes the Great School and Jane and wants to be back there.    Then she worries that I will stop loving her and be angry.

I told her I would never stop loving her and I wasn't angry, but that I was always worried when she did things that could wind up getting her hurt.  She said she knows she doesn't have a brain injury but her brain just doesn't work right when she is upset. (I think she is right and this is where the FASD may be the root of our problems) This is another huge step for her though.  In the past it has always only been about blaming the trigger incident or person and there has been no personal responsibility on her part.

At any rate it was a tremendous leap forward for her, both in cognition and in trust.  I am so very proud of her.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Drip Drip Drip

Remember back last October when I posted about installing a new kitchen ceiling?  Remember this summer when I posted about the troubles and travails of getting our floor replaced when the new dishwasher leaked and destroyed it?  Well the good news is the floor is fine.  LOL  The bad news is that about a week ago we found 2 small water stains on the kitchen ceiling.  We deduced that it was from the upstairs sink and I shut off the water to said sink. We called the plumber who could not come till today.  And he came.  And it is apparently a corroded pipe somewhere in the vicinity.  So now half our beautiful ceiling had to come down while they look for the leak.  I love my old house.  I love my old house.  (I am repeating this mantra while I bang my head on my desk!0

Monday, October 25, 2010

Letter Writing

This is about the time of year I start mulling over what I am going to write in the annual "holiday letter."  I work hard for it to sound natural and not braggy and gross and it takes time to craft it.  Then I put it in a Word doc that I can tweak slightly for each person. It is more personal than just running off a ton but still takes me far less time than the old days when I would write about 50 or so by hand.  I clearly was demented!  LOL

Thinking of the holiday letter also makes me think of two other letters I write annually. I write letters to my 2 youngest children's first mothers in care of the agency we adopted them through.  Our adoptions are closed.  We were told that neither woman wanted to have contact.  There are good reasons why each of those women may legitimately feel that way.  Or have  felt that way.  But people change and I always worry that they are out there somewhere wondering how a little baby boy and baby girl are doing.  So I have always written an annual update letter to the folks at the agency, and enclosed a letter for each mom with instructions to please keep this on file should they ever want information or contact.

Writing these letters is infinately harder for me.  I spend hours wondering if I sound the way I feel--which is incredibly blessed and lucky.  I realize they made a really hard choice for deeply personal reasons.  I don't want to sound like I am talking down.  I worry that I don't include information that they would want.  At the end of the day, after the 15th re-write or something like that, I say "it is what it is" and hit print.  I also enclose a scrapbook page collage of KC and Elisabeth with random shots taken that year.  I don't know if either mother will ever see these but it is important to me that they be there, waiting for when the time is right.

Sunday re-cap

Despite my whining of last night, it was a nice weekend. Saturday was busy, but Sunday less so. We planted bulbs at the cemetary in the afternoon after church.  KC and Elisabeth both share names with some of the ancestors we remember when we visit and plant.  Yesterday KC brought out his ever present note pad and copied down names and dates.  Kirsty's dad (who shares a middle name with KC) all ready has his name engraved on the stone where her mom is buried.  He was full of  questions about why Pop Pop's name was there when he was still alive, how old they were when they died etc.  He is proud to share the names of wise strong men in our family and made that clear too.

As we left, Lissa said, "but little kids don't die, do they?"  I said "not usually" but our spirits live on no matter what.  Then today I read on dia por dia's blog about a mom who just died in a tragic car accident with one of her daughters.  I didn't know her, but it is a sharp reminder of the transience of this time on Mother Earth.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I am incredibly lucky

There are times when my life decisions come back to bite me in the proverbial butt.  I have always wanted my mom to only see the good in my kids.  That is because I know, deeply, know, that my kids need that unconditional nana love.  And my mom is not the kind of nana  to whom I could confide worries or concerns in and have it not color her relationship with the child.  So I don't tell her about the big things.  She knows a bit about Chet but only because I have had to be firm about things he can not do or something like that when we visit. She knows very little of the issues of honesty that we continue to work on with Robbie.  Very little of the challenges in opening up a shell created by years of fear and uncertainty.  She knows very little about Fiona, other than the happy things I share about the Great School in the City and the progress she has made. I don't share much when Fiona has a scary  time like last Tuesday.  Even though she has not yet ever been able to meet her, I hope that someday they will. And I want her to be open to love without judgement.  I know from growing up experiences of my own that is a tough order to ask of my mom.

Apparently I have done my job very well.  Mom called tonight to say that Sis is having tough times.  I actually know most of it as I am on FB with my nieces and I see what they write about, and my sister and I also email.  I probably don't know all the details, but I have a pretty clear idea of what the issues are.  They are big.  They are scary.  And I feel really badly for all involved.

But then my mom says to me "I know your children are adopted, but you have been incredibly lucky. You don't have anywhere near the problems that your sister faces."  Say what?  I couldn't decide if the first phrase of the  first sentence ticked me off more than the end of said sentence.  LOL  My mom has no idea of the things we have gone through as parents and the rocky road that we continue to walk.  I do walk that road with joy though because I believe when you decide to be a parent, it is the greatest and most important job you can do.  And it is a job with no do-overs.  So yes, I am incredibly lucky.  Lucky that I get to do this job, and love these kids and live this life.  But it isn't always easy, Mom!

Friday, October 22, 2010

I am weird!

Actually I almost typed my title line wrong.  My fingers hit the keys "wired" instead of "weird" and since I have NOT had coffee yet ,I can but long for the feeling of the typo.  LOL  But weird was really what I meant.

I have a strange age breakup in my friends, because we really have 2 generations of kids in our family.  The folks I became friends with when Chet was little have kids all grown up, sometimes grandkids and definately lots of empty nester type things going on.  I am still friends with them but I sort of feel a disconnect from them--and I am sure they feel likewise about me.

Then there are the folks I became friends with when Rob, KC and Lissa came into our lives.  They are all younger than I and we don't match age wise but we share the same interests, challenges and joys of parenting. In many many ways we mesh really well.  But there are some disconnects here too.  It may actually be a function of the fact that age wise I am an older parent.  I have experience to know how fast a child grows up.  Even when I feel "pull my hair out" frustrated I often remind myself  that whatever the issue, it is only for a season.  They grow and change literally before my eyes.  Even issues from trauma and abuse change in their presentation.  Those with disabilities don't change as quickly or in as predictable manners but they do change.  The way they are able to handle their issues change, my understandings of them change.

Some of my friends have said things like "thank goodness X is finally able to go to school.  It took forever for me to get my errands done".  I have friends who have bemoaned how long it takes to take a walk with littles.  And the reason I am weird, is that I love that!  I don't know if it is a function of embracing a homeschool mentality but all the time we spend together feels precious.  I don't want to waste it in "hurry".  I like doing errands with my kids and adore taking a 40 minute walk that goes around our block, collecting treasures. (right now we are looking for things to make fall wreaths.) I worry that when they are grown, I'll forget to look at fall leaves with the same wonder, or run out on the porch to share a rainbow or a sunset.  Wonder is the greatest gift our children give us.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fiona's OK and back at school

 I finally heard from Jane today and Fiona is okay and was not admitted to the hospital. She was back at school at 6 pm that night.  Whew!  I have been stressing since I hadn't heard an update and had sent 2 emails.  Just glad she is fine.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Thinking of Foster Kids

I am not a foster parent, though I have been a "foster to adopt" parent.  But reading some blogs of former foster kids and the status of my own Fiona, keep the foster care "system" (and sometimes I use the word loosely) very present in my mind.  I also work in housing and often times a significant portion of the client base I work with are aged out young foster kids.

Even without the really nitty gritty experience that so many people have, I can see that the system is broken.  In my personal experience, Fiona (who I could not adopt but who remains my daughter in all other senses, as we are all very intimately connected with one another) was moved from an RTC 15 minutes from me because it was "too expensive."  I was actually told by the state workers on the treatment team that the school was too expensive.  So they sent her to a far less expensive group home where in a matter of months she decompensated and was hospitalized for months because they could not find an appropriate facility. From there more than a year at a treatment facility that specialized in stabilization and then the move last year to the Great School in the City.  Now that is a great placement, don't get me wrong.  And I KNOW it is not an inexpensive placement.  I worry all the time that she will do so well they will try to balance the bottom line and "step her down" again. Despite all my advocacy efforts, I realistically have no say in anything.  I can make noise.  I can try and make other people who do have a legal right to answer, see what I am saying.  But it has historically been tough slogging.

I have read blogs where foster kids are essentially cut loose at 18 and off they go.  Out into the world with no safety net.  Where is the logic in that?  The thing is, parenting for me is way less about the legal ties and nothing about getting a check.  It is a commitment between the child and I.  Obviously in our overburdened care system, this isn't the way it is typically viewed.  Though Pollyanna that I am, I hold out hope that there are foster parents out there who let a child continue to live with them when the checks stop coming. 

In my work, what I see is that the foster kids who have "aged out" are woefully unprepared for tenancy.  They are still kids.  Even if they are 19 or 20 years old by the time I lease to them, most of them wind up with such eggregious lease violations that I can not help them maintain the tenancy.

What they need are parents.  Who have them to dinner on the weekends and talk about things like following the rules (even when you think they are stupid) and ask if they paid the rent, etc.  Failing having parents who can and will do that, why isn't there a mentor program where people could form relationships with teens who have aged out.   Someone to have them to dinner at Thanksgiving.  At Christmas.  To stop in on their birthday with a cake, even if the teen is going out with peers on their own.  It seems so obvious.  How come no one does it?

More reasons to love homeschooling

KC adores recorder class.  He also seems to have a real affinity for reading music and learning the notes. He will often practice twice a day.  Not long practices, just grab the recorder and sit down and play 4 or 5 little songs.  Then he might noodle around and make up his own song and then put it away.  Often this is done for my benefit because I am washing the dinner dishes and might be bored. LOL

Anyway, we just discovered that the curriculum only teaches 1/2 the notes to first graders.  The recorder book ends without learning several notes.  So I called the company and for $10 I can get the second grade recorder book which will allow him to continue learning notes and making new and beautiful music.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Funkins and Fiona

I went to the craft store the other night to get foam board that I promised to supply for a church project.  The way some people are with junk food--that's me in a craft store.  Especially this time of year with the daylight hours waning which means the kids loud and active after supper energy can not be outside as much. We are managing about 20 minutes of outside time in the evenings but tonight that was even stretching it.  Enter the funkins.

They are those fake pumpkins that you can paint, carve or do all manner of things with and to. A couple years ago they were new on the scene and crazy pricey.  Yesterday they were $4.99  $4.99 is doable for me. I got each kid an identical orange one and K a slightly different shaped white one.  My thought was we would mess around with them tongiht while we wait for Fiona to call.

Except that Fiona had a confrontation with a new teacher today and ran off campus.  She went to a local store and refused to return to the Great School in the City. The protocol is to then call the police who took her to the hospital.  Jane called to explain and said she is hoping they will not admit her as it is counter productive in every sense. But at the time we spoke she was still at the hospital so I will hopefully find out more tomorrow. Typically Fiona's behaviors are usually more volative from October through January.  She tries hard and when she is calm she makes lots of plans on how to handle things when she is NOT calm, but that is far easier said than done.  I have long suspected FASD should be (and for all I know is) part of her dx.  Her behaviors and responses to stimulus seem so similar to what I read on other blogs written by families who deal with this.

So the funkins became what we did to make up for the fact we were not talking with Fiona.  They were fun for the kids and the part I liked the best was that Chet got into it too.  He has motor skill issues that make him less likely to enjoy and gravitate toward arts and crafts. He has a few select things he likes to create--note cards decorated with stickers and peace symbols for instance.  But his skill set is limited and his interest restricted probably more by autistic perserverations than abilities.  But for some reason, the pumpkin painting really spoke to him.  All 4 kids sat and stood around the island for a good 30 minutes--longer for the 2 older but the 2 littles were tapped out by then.  K did her pumpkin too and it is very cool.  A black witch on one side and a black cat on the other.   Once they get sprayed with fixatives I will try and remember to post pics.

The "it" family

KC's English class this morning was hysterical.  You know how kids learn words in "family" groups.  For instance, the AT family of cat, rat, sat, etc.  Well today was supposed to be the "it" family.  Kirsty asked KC if he could think of other "it" words. 

"Sure" he answered, "biscuit!"  The kid cracks me up.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Not your Momma's jeans!

Rob and I went shopping this morning.  I had a little window of time between coming home from church and actually going BACK to church to chair a religious ed meeting.  So I thought we would do the deed and get the shopping trip done.  Have I mentioned that I hate shopping?  I am on line or catalog all the way, guys. But teen boys are iffy on sizes and styles and I also respect the fact that Rob is trying to develop his own sense of style.  So off we went to the store he had indicated had skinny jeans. 

Now I wear skinny jeans sometimes.  Low rise bootcut sometimes.  Kind of whatever is on sale or in the bag of clothes that someone gives me.  My style sense sort of rolls that way.  But when you are 14, your jeans define you and I truly remember that.  And I remember that I usually couldn't get what I really wanted when I was 14 because my parents could not afford it and I wasn't working enough hours yet.  But by 15, my jeans rocked. 

We get to the store and I ask him what he had in mind for jeans color.  I have in my mind, distressed, stone washed, white, black, grey or that deep overwash indigo. 

"Orange."  he announces.

Orange?  I bleat at him.  Like seriously, WHO wears orange jeans?  The great pumpkins grandfather? 

Lucky for me, and probably him, they don't have any orange jeans. (which for the record I would have bought.) 

We walked out with electric blue.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saturday catch up

It is getting chilly around here, folks.  I am wearing my fingerless gloves more days than not and had a heavy sweater on today when we were out and about. Sigh. These are the days I wish I lived in a clime like Georgia.  With the freedom to marry like in MA.  Guess I'll stick around and wear those woolies till the rest of the country becomes more openly accepting. 

But this wasn't really intended to get all political, I was just moaning about the inevitable freezing temps that are headed my way. But at least it was brilliantly sunny today. Sun counts for a lot with me. I worship sun.  I could  not live in areas with lots of gray rainy days.  I would fall asleep.  Like forever.  I have no energy when it rains and have to flog myself to do the minimal stuff.

Instead, today we did all our usual Saturday morning errands.  Except we added in a trip to a store to purchase slippers for Rob and KC who needed them. Also thermal underwear for the 2 littles.  More socks because someone eats one of each child's socks.  And since they have found 'fancy' socks that have insignias on them, or little kitties or sports logos, there is not a lot of use for one lone sock.  It basically has life as a sock puppet and nothing else.  In the good old days before my kids found fashion, I bought plain white socks for everyone.  They were so identical that I had to put colored dots on the toes to make sure they went in the right child's drawer after washing.  Not any more.  There is only one person in the house interested in princess and hello kitty socks for instance.  So we re-stocked the socks. (try saying that 3 x fast!)

We also made some cool little bats to decorate our front window. Tomorrow they should be dry as we outlined them with spooky glow in the dark paint.  My thought is to string them with invisible thread and it will really look like they are flying.

I did Lissa's hair so it will be fresh and nice for church and hopefully for the next couple of weeks.  This took about an hour but I let her watch TV so she was golden. We have not done much TV in recent weeks and have seen an improvement in behaviors once the detox from the tube happened.  Still, for hair day it can't be beat.

Got the bathroom shower curtain and mat washed and the kitchen floor swept and washed.  Laid out clothes for church tomorrow.  Let the kids play outside and then we played together inside.  Convinced Lissa that running and banging into each of our walls was not considered play.  LOL  Then convinced LIssa it was not a good idea to try a handstand on the couch.  If only Coach M. saw her at home she would know why I am so laid back at the school.  What happens there is not scary.  There are MATS for goodness sake.  And cushy ball pits, and harnesses.  At home,not one of those safety things exist.   Unless you want to pretend my couch cushion is a mat! LOL  Listened to KC play his recorder while I cooked supper.  He feels it is his civic duty to play for me daily, but he seems to genuinely enjoy the practice and it doesn't bother me a whit. Not only is  he not really 1/2 bad, but I once had to babysit daily a child who had to practice violin.  This dear sweet child played violin really really badly.  I think dogs were pained by the experience if they lived nearby.  I know I was.  By contrast, recorder is a piece of cake!

Now I am the only person up and I am bored.  So I think I will put together some muffins for tomorrows breakfast.  Or maybe some teeny little vanilla scones.  Mmmmm scones sound good!

Flu Shot ReCap

I forgot to let you all know the results of our seige on the Drs for shots.  KC brought his favorite teddy and whimpered but that was it.  Lissa jumped up on the chair, sat stoically, jumped down when it was done and gave her brother this huge eye roll and said "see KC I TOLD you it was no big deal!"   ROFL  Even the nurses cracked up.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Halloween costumes

It is a rainy windy day here in our state.  My wife doesn't mind as she has designated today as Costume Day.  She is making Lissa's Tinkerbelle costume and KC's Robin Hood costume.  Tinkerbelle has 5,894 pieces to it.  She is not amused.  However she is a very amazing seamstress and I am confident that Tinkerbelle will be conquered. Robin Hood is way easier.  However, next year I have been informed that we will buy costumes.  ROFL  The funny part is that the kids saw costumes at iparty and wanted them.  I said no because she always makes the costumes and I thought it was something she loved to do.  I have been informed of the error of my ways. She would like to make a costume of a robot for instance, out of recyclables, or turn one of our children into a slice of pizza.  But an outfit that has as many pieces as Princess diana had seed pearls on her wedding dress was apparently not on her clipboard of fun.  Still, I can't wait to see it tonight!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Flu Shot Day!

I don't know if they really work.  I only know on the years we didn't do flu shots we were a lot sicker for  a lot longer.  And I am exposed to billions--well not billions, but lots-- of people on a daily basis. And those who don't like what I am saying to them take great pleasure in coughing or sneezing in my face.  (this is not hyperbole; it is totally for real) So today the lucky doctor gets to poke all 6 of us with flu shots.

KC hates shots. This is thanks to Rob who used to be my shot phobe.  He has now at 14 decided it is not cool to run down the hall screaming when he sees the needle.  But it is a near thing!  LOL  However since Rob is the gold standard for behavior in little brother's eyes, you can see where this was not the best of role models.  It doesn't matter that no one else in the family did this.  KC is now petrified of shots.  Oy.  We have bribed him with a brunch at Panera bread if he will stand there with minimal fuss. This means he can cry but not scream and not run or pull his arm away.  LOL  Hopefully his favorite bagel is a huge incentive.

Lissa is her own independent little person and has been announcing for days that she has no intention of making such a fuss.  She probably won't.  Either that or she will scream in such a high pitched  level that the windows will all break at the doctors office.  She is subject to change without notice, my Lissa.

Should be fun, folks!  LOL

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

October decoration

It was time for "back to school bear" who sits on our front porch, to get ready for the holidays.  This weekend the kids and I made this halloween costume for him.  He is supposed to be Robin Bear.  Or maybe the Green Man?  The kids are looking for a feather to put in his hat.  I better put on my thinking cap as next month they want him to be Pilgrim Bear!  LOL

Monday, October 11, 2010

Family Monday

So not withstanding the whole icky issue of celebrating Columbus Day, I am glad that I had a day off!  We really really enjoy those long weekends and this one was really especially fun.  Somehow we hit that "sweet spot" balance where we got a lot of picky chores done AND had time for fun.  It is easy with a busy life, big old house and such to lose sight of taking time. 

But the extra day, makes it so easy!  We did silly things, like changed the outfit on the stuffed teddy that sits outside our front door.  No longer, is he "back to school" bear.  Nope, he is Robin Bear all set to trick or treat. I'll have to try and remember to take a picture.  We decorated the house for Halloween inside and out. I helped the littles ride bikes.  We read extra stories.  And today we went on a hike.

There is something magical about having a child who packs his own knapsack when we say "hike."  In it goes a sketch pad and pencil and his water bottle and his magnifying glass.  The hike itself was not long in distance but long in time because we took time to feel moss, look at dying ferns with the magnification of his glass, and jump on rocks.

My spirit soars with days like today.  They are a balm for the busy times, the harder times.  And I feel so very blessed.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Floor pictures

OK these are not really good pics because our digital camera is dying I think.  I actually got K another one just like this but I think she hid it from the kids.  Hence I had to use the old one and the flash is bad among other things.  However, it will sort of give an idea of things. The top one came out better, it is the bathroom floor.  It was hard to find a way to take the shot as our bathroom is so small (you basically see the whole width of the room in this shot)  I just didn't feel comfy putting a picture of the throne on the web. I like you all but sheesh! You can't really tell from the shot but there are embossed ferns in the greenish squares.

This is the picture that came out badly.  So you can't really tell it is a green floor. It looks sorta like a BLACK floor to be honest.  But it is green. Honest.  Now I have to find out what is leaking upstairs and staining my kitchen ceiling.  That would be the kitchen ceiling K and i spent a day replacing last year.  I am annoyed.  Very. Very. Annoyed!

Friday, October 8, 2010

A holiday weekend approaches

This weekend I will take pics of the new floor and post, I promise!  This weekend is a long holiday weekend and I am looking forward to it.  Tomorrow we have our usual Saturday stuff starting at 7 and then in the afternoon I plan on taking the tribe to a local apple orchard (didja know that the real Johnny Appleseed was baptised in the town I live in?)  Anyway the town owns this last remaining apple orchard and there is a big festival there every fall.  It is also the same location where we have our community garden plot.  Which is also something we need to take care of this weekend as we need to remove our plants, and our landscape cloth etc.  Another growing season gone.

Sunday will be church in the morning and then in the afternoon I have promised Chet I will take him to a store that he wants to go to for a "Shopping Trip."  Every time he suggests such an outing, I swear it always sounds like he is saying it is capital letters.  Cracks me up.  The store he wants to go to sells DVDS and CDs.  He has been waiting for a time when I could leave the littles home with K and take him so he has as much time as he wants and needs. It was cute though, he wanted to know if Rob could come along with him and I said sure. 

Monday we are readying the house for fall.  We are deep cleaning the living room. Essentially this means sorting out the kids toys and re-doing the pictures on the cubbies so that they can be more orderly about things.  The days are growing shorter and their outdoor time is becoming limited and the living room is showing the strain of that!  I also want to get some bulbs in for some of our gardens, clean up the stones at the cemetary and put away the last of the outdoor furniture at the house.  Don't want to accomplish much do I? Oh and I have an idea for creating a halloween scene in our front window and want to help the kids with that.

In between I want to bake some cinnamon bread for their breakfast on Sunday or Monday and maybe some apple scones.  I know we will have a ton of apples that we will pick when we are up at the orchard so it is time to dust off all my apple recipes, and maybe find some new ones!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The floor is getting fixed!

The floor is finally getting done.  Actually it is our kitchen floor, our teeny (4 x 4)  back hall floor and our equally teeny bathroom floor.  We are adding in the bathroom, the hall floor was considered part of the original quote.  The bath floor is 20 yrs old and we even all ready had purchased tile to re-do it.  About 3 yrs ago.  The boxes of tile have been living under our armoire in our front hall.  I just couldn't face pulling the toilet to do the floor.  Now I remember why.  6 people and only one bathroom which happens to be on the second floor.  Fun times, as they say.  LOL

But it is going to be gorgeous.  Yesterday they ripped out all the old flooring and installed about 1/2 of the kitchen.  They could have done more but found that the plywood was still damp in significant areas.  They cut out a piece of the plywood to test for mold growth or standing water between the older floor and the floor we are replacing. (our house was built in 1835) Thankfully that test was fine but the contractor recommended running 3 fans on the floor last night to dry it out and a dehumidifier.  So we did all those things and the wood feels dry this a.m.  So hopefully they finish. Then the toilet gets put back and life will resume its usual chaotic path! 

Actually, the kids have been really good about the house being changed up.  Most of the kitchen is in other rooms in the house so it can be hard to find things that we need.  Also we can't eat breakfast at the kitchen island so they have had to eat in the dining room. (which we do at supper but never breakfast!)  But all in all, we are coming along fine in the latest renovation.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

First Family Contact

I think first family contact is very important for adopted children. We are all of us the sum of the many paths our lives have taken, a mosaic of both smooth and jagged pieces.  Hopefully, in the presence of enduring, patient love, it becomes beautiful and good and stronger than it would be if we walked our paths alone.

I have worked hard to make sure my middle son has as much contact with his first family as is safe and appropriate.  I have worked hard to try and help them see that I love him.  Deeply and completely and that I want us to be present in his life in positive ways.  I have worked hard to show that I care about his first family members and I am not being fake.  I do care.  Stuff happened.  Some of it was their bad.  Some very likely was a system breakdown beyond their control and things spiralled out of control.  But none of that was my doing either. I am not evil incarnate just because I was blessed with being his adoptive mom  My doing is the day to day parenting and loving of my wonderful, albeit occasionally challenging (!) 14 year old son.

So why did my stomach clench when I read Jane's email this a.m. telling me that she had received a letter from Rob and Fiona's mom?  Apparently the cousin who is writing to Fiona now suggested to their mom that she might want to write and so she did.  Jane has not given the letter to Fiona at this point. She said it is disjointed and rambly and apologetic and that when contact happens it needs to be in a therapeutic manner.  My first thought was that I wanted this for Fiona for so long.  Years and years ago one of her many therapists thought she might heal and be able to attach to us if she was given permission by her first mother to do so.  That she would stop feeling that living and loving in another relationship was a betrayal.  At the time, we could not find her first mother.  And eventually, her behavior deteriorated still more and the idea was taken off the table by the therapy team at the time.

Now, if this can happen in a way  that will help Fiona, I am really glad.  She is 18 now.  Technically an adult, though in many ways trapped as a child in ways similar to my Chet.  But she deserves that apology.  She deserves to know that her mother loves her.  The key of course, is to do this in a manner that is healing.

And there is Rob to consider to.  Like many teen boys he is loathe to talk deeply and I know that if Fiona gets a letter from their mom that she will want--and need-- to share this with her brother.  This is right and proper.  But I need to figure out what to say to Rob and how best to help him navigate these waters too.  His feelings may well be different.  He may not remember her clearly and feel upset about that.  He may be angry or confused as to why Fiona got a letter and he didn't. And for both of them there is the fact that mom has since had another child, around my Lissa's age. To the best of my knowledge she is parenting that child.

Luckily for me I guess, Jane is not passing on this letter as is.  She feels that this particular letter will inadvertantly cause more harm than good and that she will focus on the relationship building with Cousin first and then work with mom on a way to communicate that will be healthier. So I have more time to process and think, and plan--I think!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sundays highs and lows

In some houses Sundays are sort of laid back.  And there are some houses where the belief system dictates a day of "rest".  Not ours.  LOL  That is okay with me.  I like busy.  I am kind of hardwired for that.  Even when I was a kid our lives were busy.  A vacation meant painting the house or something!

So today,  I was up at 6 (which truthfully is sleeping in) and got the bathroom cleaned cause I forgot it on Saturday, did a load of wash and unloaded the dishwasher.  Had a leisurely breakfast before the kids woke (late for them at 20 of 7) and got everyone fed and dressed for church.  Noticed wife was still asleep.  Hmmmm.  She has been recently diagnosed as potentially having blood pressure issues.  She also has a heavy cold.  What to do?  I did the ironing.  It was now 7:30.  I crept up to her room.  I could hear snoring.  Knowing she was alive I crept away and she emerged at a bit before 8.  Amazingly, she came to church with us (we leave at 8:20)

After church I did a few more chores, cooked lunch and then the little kids and I walked downtown to enjoy a childrens festival at our local library.  I left Rob home to enjoy an afternoon of football.  Even though the Pats were not playing, I knew he would enjoy a few hours to just veg and watch the games.  The littles and I had a blast.  There was music, food, balloon art, face painting, glitter tatoos, crafts, and magic shows.  We were there for hours and the time just flew by.  And it was all FREE! 

I was so pumped when we got home and the minute I walked in my wife said I had to call the security officer where I work.  Severe emotional pain caused one of my residents to make a choice that I can't even contemplate.  I talked to this person 3 days ago.  And now -- they are gone. I dread talking to the family tomorrow.  And I wish I had known  and could have helped.

Of friends and Facebook

Anyone who has read my blog for a while knows that I have no relationship with my father.  Most times I am rather philosophical--it is what it is.  My sister has a relationship with him and while I know that, most times I don't even think about it.

But the other day when I facebooked her, I saw that one of her activities was that she had written something on my fathers wall.  Like a spectator drawn to watch a car wreck I found myself clicking over to his FB page.  Which of course I could not access because I am not his friend.  But I could see that he has 4 friends and who they are.  My sister and the two children from his second marriage and one other person.

I am not sure what is sadder--the fact that I was not comfortable sending a "friend request" or the fact that the guy has only 4 friends.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Floor, Wreaths and Attitudes oh my!

Our new VCT floor tile is in and our floor guy thinks he will start the job on Tuesday.  I will unload the hutch in the kitchen tomorrow and move it out into the dining room and refill it with the china we use for feast days.  (it is not spectacularly beautiful but it is enough to serve 12)  It won't really take me long to do this and my days tend to start early so I should have plenty of time.

Except that I have also planned Halloween crafts with the kids.  We went for a walk tonight and collected acorns which we then boiled to kill insect larva that is usually inside them.  I figure the kids can paint them silver and gold and we can use them as accents in a fall swag we can make.  I WISH I could find milk weed pods to use as they look totally awesome. But nowadays in the times of overbuilding, there are not the fields that our city used to have and the only stands of them I know of are in a protected area.

KC has been testing his power lately with K.  Tends to back talk a bit, which is a very new character trait for him.  He will sort of do it with me but I tend to offer more choices (albeit of the spinach or creamed spinach variety, it still LOOKS like a choice!)  K is less about that.  She comes from a military family that sort of had to "jump to it" when they were told to.  It didn't work all that well with me suggesting that she try another style, but when she read a parenting website, she felt differently.  Based on the parenting website, his behavior is pretty typical and one of the strategies suggested is giving choices.  LOL