Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A year in hair

The top picture was taken the end of last December when we were up doing Christmas at my mom's.  Lissa's hair was braided and although I had gathered the top few braids together with a ballie that she liked, you can see that the braid length was just above her shoulders.

The bottom pic was taken after K spent 6 hours doing her hair today!  Yup, 6 hours.   Our wee miss's hair is much longer and thicker nearly a year later.  It is healthy and shiny and I love to feel it as I work with it.  BUT, I am not good at parting.  Part of this is likely that i am just less adept.  Part of it is that I have a hard time making Lissa sit for any length of time.  K somehow accomplishes that.  (for the record there were breaks through out the day of hair, it wasn't 6 hours straight).  Also, I tend to have to do her hair at night (usually Saturday nights) and even if I give her an early bath, it is not a prime time to try to do anything with a 3 year old. So I have of late stuck with a lot of twists, bantu knots, partial twists with free hair pulled into a pony tail etc.  This style should last us, the goddess willing, through the holidays.  And it is parted so well that I can pull it into two side pig tails for gymnastics. It looks festive and I was so amazed at the proof of how much her hair has grown.  It can be hard to really notice how much black hair grows.  There is a lot of shrinkage when the hair dries and/or is loose.  But when it is braided and/or beaded, the length is very noticable.

Fiona is in the hospital and I need to write about that, but my heart is still coming to terms with that.

Farewell November

The last day of November.  November is usually a bleak month to me and I am always glad to see it go. Not that I don't like Thanksgiving because I do. But I have a hard time getting used to the lack of daylight, the loss of the color on trees, and such.  December eases me because the holidays bring with them the lights and decorations and push back the darkness.  Which is of course, what people have been doing since they learned how to make fire.  Clearly I am not all that evolved! LOL
But this year as November finishes and we head into the festivities of Yule, I am amazingly caught up. It is almost scary!  For the first time in nearly 4 years I had 3 days off from BOTH my jobs. Because those 3 days came bracketing Thanksgiving weekend, I actually had 5 days in a row with no employment obligations to anyone.  The last time that happened, we got a call to fly to Chicago the week before Christmas to bring Lissa  home!

I don't do idle very well.  My family was always the kind that was doing something.  Summer vacations always started with a big house project first and moved on from there.  We had fun, but it was fun doing. Not lying around watching TV or "hanging out."  It is a lifestyle I never shook and carried forward into my life even now, so many many years later.  So I used my free time well and wisely.  I wrote all my cards.  We only need to add a picture of the kids and then I can mail them on Saturday.  We have made lots of cookie dough and frozen it in balls ready for holiday gifts. We have decorated our house inside and out.  Over the past few months I did almost all the shopping for Christmas. I only have stocking stuffers left and 2 other gifts to purchase.  I don't have anything wrapped, however as they are all hidden all over the house.  But overall, I am really prepared and I like knowing that i can do things like take the kids to the city tree lighting festival this Saturday and not worry about how to sandwich in the other stuff.  The gift of time is always the greatest gift.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Back to work

Well it is back to the real world today!  I have not had any work--either my 8 to 4 fulltime office job or my 7-10pm piece work job that I do nights here at home since TUESDAY night!  You have no idea how rare it is for me to be off both jobs at the same time for an extended bit of time.  I think the last time I had that much time off from all of them, we were in Chicago to bring Lissa home.  Since she turns 4 in December, that is a while!

Though I was certainly busy, there is a real feeling of having rested.  All I really did was have fun.  For lots of days.  In a row!  We visited with family, we decorated, I caught up scrapbooks (hallelujah) I helped one of the kids with Yule shopping, I did my cards (except for the picture of the kids we need to take to put inside).  The littles helped me make wreathes for our shed.  I had computer time and it wasn't the dead of night.

Yup, lots of stuff, but I didn't once have to look at my watch and mentally figure how many more minutes I could do a thing before I would have to pull myself away and work.  What a gift to be thankful for!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

How I relax

Clearly, I am not a sit and sip tea and eat bon bons kind of gal! I have not had to do our piece work since Wednesday night.  We usually get one or two long breaks a year and this one fell at a really good time.   I got so much done and feel so good about it.  Not just the cooking of course.  But I also caught up 2 of the 3 scrapbooks.  I have pages made for Lissa but need to get sleeves to insert them. So they are almost all set. 

Then I did lots of holiday decorating. And last night, I began writing our cards.  I love the fact that my card list is on google docs now.  Made it quick and easy to print off and start writing. And although I do craft a "holiday" letter of sorts, I keep it up on the 'puter and tailor it to each friend I am writing to.  I used to feel like I was cheating, because long ago I would handwrite each card.  However, I don't mind anymore.  Other things in my life have changed as I have embraced--I do my check book on line for goodness sake.  So why stress over the letter? 

The kids and I are working on a wreath that will hang on our shed. We will be able to see it from the kitchen window.  Yesterday we painted a ton of acorns that we have collected to decorate it with. Then we will fasten them somehow, add some glittered milk weed pods, pine cones and berries.  They are having fun getting things ready  I think one of the things I love the best about the holidays is the stuff you do leading up to the day. In a lot of ways I love that almost more than the actual celebration.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sedate Saturday????

Today was supposed to be an "easy" day as KC has no dance class and the shopping at the market would be decidedly lighter.  Well first of all I decided that since there were some good sales on baking staples I would get those now.  So the shopping was not so light. Then we needed to bring the cemetary boxes down to the graves, do the banking and go to the library. Then we had to get birthday gifts for one of the kids friends to drop off later today, get Rob a new sleep shirt and shop for shoes for Lissa.

Have I mentioned I really hate shopping?  Well, we went to Sears and could not get service that was helpful.  Lissa tried on 3 pairs of shoes in the size they told me she was and swam in all of them.  Then there were 3 pairs of shoes we wanted to try and it turned out those were not in her size.  KC was starting to get hungry as we were approaching lunch time. Hungry children are not cooperative shoppers!  I made an executive decision to try another store in the mall.  We didn't even have to walk far to get there! LOL  I walked in, someone greeted me promptly, measured her up. Discovered the problem is she has a VERY narrow foot, so many of the trendy styles little girls like simply won't work for her.  But did walk out with 2 pairs of shoes, one dress, one sneaks that fit well.  And they had enough "bling" to meet her fashion requirements.  I'll pay for service every time guys.  Because I had left sears, I wound up buying Rob's sleep shirt which he needed at a different mall store and the birthday gifts at another different store.  They were more on our route at that  point than walking all the way back to the Sears.  I had thought we'd get it all done in that one store, but it was easier not to.

This afternoon I have promised the kids we will bake sugar cookies in holiday shapes.  They are ecstatic!

Friday, November 26, 2010

A decorating frenzy!

Last night my mom told the kids to sleep in when she said good night to them.  She looked at me funny when I snorted with laughter.  I KNOW my kids. LOL They slept till 6 a.m. when they woke and asked if it was time to decorate yet.  So by 6:30 I could corral them no longer and we were up and breakfasting.  By 7:30 all the harvest decorations (3 Sterilite totes full!) were filled and put away.  Kirsty was not even up yet.  My  mom was gap mouthed.  I told her I have always tried to be clear that day starts early here.  I made her another cup of tea so she could recover.  She was impressed though by how much the kids do to help get things put away.  Then there was a slight lull while she played with the kids as she was leaving by 9:30.  When she was gone, the decorating began in earnest.  It is now wrapping up and essentially with the exception of our tree (which doesn't go up till late in December so the kids have room to play) we are done.  There will be decorations added throughout the month that the kids and I make.  A wreath I have planned with natural materials we spent the fall gathering. The mural that K will make with the kids has yet to be created.  A swag of pine cones that I suspect will be covered with paint and glitter awaits completion.  Stuff like that. But the bulk of the decorating is done.  The dining room is heavily decorated as we eat there every night, as is the kitchen.  A lot of time is spent there as well.  The front hall has a fair amount because the kids play there often.  The rest of the rooms have lighter touches.  Everyone's bedroom has something but not a lot. I don't do the stairhall with decorations because Lissa is still too young to leave the garland loops alone and I worry about her tangling herself doing funky stair things. 

Outside we have lights, our porch bear is now riding in a sled carrying a present and wearing a scarf and festive headgear, we have faux pine garlands strewn where ever we could.  We are all about Yule, guys!  The kids are thrilled.  In years past we have tried to decorate in dribs and drabs thinking that this kept down the hype of the holiday a bit.  It didn't and it wound up stressing out Kirsty as she tried to find time to get the decorating done amongst the 5 million other things that happen on a work week.  I love the holidays.  It is so much fun watching the kids faces as we unload things--like our collection of black Santas or Rob's nutcracker.  Bring on the Yuletide fun!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Peace of Post Thanksgiving!

The house is quiet now.  It has been filled with the happy noise of a family gathering today.  The kids did so well and had such a good time.  This is the first time in 22 years that my mom has been with us for Thanksgiving.  Usually it is Kirsty's family that come out. This year it was all of us together and that was both different and fun.  What impressed me was watching the kids make sure that they spent time with everyone.  My mom could have easily been "odd man out" as there are long standing Thanksgiving traditions that have evolved over the years.  For instance, it is not Thanksgiving for KC and Lissa without watching the Macys parade with their beloved Aunt Lynne. Yet these little people made sure that they sat next to Nana at the meal and chatted about all the doings in their lives.  Rob always watches football with the "men folk" but he too took time to be present in his quiet loving way.  And Chet did a really good job handling what had to be for him a massive amount of stimulation.  I knew it was getting over the top for him when he started quoting James Bond "shaken not stirred" over and over and got him some down time. But overall, he held it together amazingly.

Kirsty's brined bird was a big hit.  The side dishes all stayed appropriately warmed in the nifty warming gizmos I bought.  The rolls Lissa helped make were devoured. And Kirsty's new foray into a different type of pie was also well received.  She has been afraid to offend by trying new things at feast days. I think she may be braver about this in the future!

So I am thankful for this day together, AND for the fact that I have tomorrow off.  I know we will be taking down all the harvest things and getting up Yule tide things.  I have a surprise all ready for the kids in the bathroom.  They all have new holiday themed bath towels hanging on their hooks waiting for them when they wake up tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Taking Time for Gratitude

I do that a lot, really.  Maybe because I brush up against a lot of tough situations through my work, I can see how honestly richly blessed, we are.  Sure, things are always challenging, but we have a lot that others don't.   For instance, I have extended family who have moved probably 6 times in 7 years and not because of job transfers or anything.  The fact that my kids have a stable home, a loving home, a circle of friends and community, that means a lot to me. 

But this weekend is that time that I maybe look more formally at my blessings.  Today was a huge one.  You see, my wife is an introvert.  She really hates big get togethers and tomorrow our house will be packed with family.  It will be loud.  It will be fun.  Did I say loud?  LOL  For me, being around people is energizing.  For her, it is draining. She will be exhausted by the end of the day. I will be pumped and probably find some house chore to do with all my extra energy.  Truly, opposites attract!

This difference though, has always in the past, led her to approach the coming festivities with a demeanor somewhat reminiscent of --oh, say Ebeneezer Scrooge. Yup, I know that is Christmas, but the attitude is the same!  But this year, she has embraced the holiday.  Perhaps part of the change is in her. Perhaps part is that we don't have overnight guests until Thursday night. In years past, they have come in on Wednesday.  For her, preparing the meal AND entertaining is a double whammy she doesn't really love.  Today, it was just our immediate family getting ready and it was fun.  And she was happy. Which made it even better.

We also made some new recipes. I love trying new things and usually get shot down because Kirsty's family is very rigid about the meal.  It must be thus and so.  Forever and Ever.  Amen. It was a big deal for them to go from buying crescent rolls in a tube to eating my scratch ones!  LOL  (till they tried them and discovered how killer good they are!)

 But this year they want to eat while watching the Patriots game.  So in addition to not having a formal dinner in our dining room, we have turned our living room into sort of a bistro, with a tables to gather around, and other alternative seating and eating options. And that seemed like the perfect time to sneak in some daring new ideas. (grin)

Kirsty was at first I think afraid to do it but then got on board. She even decided to try something new with the turkey (brining.)  I can't speak to that as I don't eat meat.  But I have made a new cranberry sauce recipe (it uses pomegranate juice as well as cranberries).  I tried a new pumpkin bread recipe for noshing on in the morning.  Made parker house rolls instead of crescent rolls.  We have a new dessert in addition to the familiar ones.  It was just fun mixing in a few new things with the old chestnuts.  So I am grateful for the chance to try the new stuff.  What can I say, I bore easily! LOL

And I am grateful for my kids.  Rob helped us transform the living room, lugging up the patio furniture without complaint.  Chet helped vacuum.  Lissa helped me roll the bread dough.  She and KC helped me  make pumpkin bread.  There was very little fussing till the very end of the day when I know the littles were just tired and also somewhat keyed up because they know COMPANY IS COMING.  They always say it like that too.  You can tell how important the gathering is to them and I am grateful that they have that too.  A love of family and an extended family that loves us all is the very best thing of all.

Wacky Wednesday

My mind is aswirl today with the million zillion things I want to get done to get ready for tomorrow.  I have cooking and re-structuring our living room to accomodate tables and the guest room to finish etc.  It will get done but despite lists, at times like this I find myself feeling like my mind is just going over and over things.  It will stop once I am actually DOING the things I am stressing about,but till then. . .

And yet, I am thankful that I am here, in this busy loving family getting ready to welcome our extended family in to share a day of food and laughter together.  Last night I found out that one of my residents where I work is seriously ill and in the hospital.  In an odd cosmic turn of events he is the room mate of a friend and co-workers father or I would not have even known he was in the hospital.  I was stunned when Glo FB'd me and told me Mr. L was her dad's room mate.  Mr. L usually comes to see me every single a.m. like clock work.  He is a lot like my Chet.  If Chet had not had family supports and lived on the streets for a lot of his life before getting some stability, he would be Mr. L.  They talk and act so much alike sometimes that it is uncanny and as Mr. L has no living parents and his family do not seem to be close by I have become this odd surrogate mother.  I find ways to help him budget, I have helped make sure that certain hygeine needs get met (like Chet he forgets some significant things) and helped him access services that assist people with food, and other needs. 

However I haven't seen Mr. L for over a week.  I thought nothing of it because the company that is interested in buying the place where I work has been on site and highly visible this past week.  The sale may actually be going through after so many years and every day there are tons of people who are not known to my general resident population on the premises.  This is hard for disabled people to cope with.  Mr. L avoided my office when there was a big construction project this summer so I figured it was the same deal.  But instead, he has been very ill in the hospital. I had all ready made sure that he would have a full Thanksgiving dinner ready for him, but now he may be in the hospital over the holiday instead. Sigh.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bringing Hope

At church on Sunday the sermon focus was on bringing hope to the world.  My Chet struggles with this.  Actually with almost any emotion, but I have noticed that the dark intense emotions can easily overwhelm him.  Processing, acnowledging and understanding emotions is nigh onto impossible for many Aspergers people.  Chet is very typical (in an NT way) of that.  He would rather not talk about emotions. He would rather they do not exist.  Rather not try to figure them out because they don't make sense.  Yet the reality is all people HAVE emotions. Even Chet of course.  I also suspect that all people pretty much want to believe that the world has hope and inherant goodness within it.  But someone like Chet will glom onto the fact that the news has story after story of sadness and negativity as proof that this does not exist.

So it was a timely sermon for him.  I asked what he thought he could do to bring hope to the world.  He said we all ready do that with our food pantry contributions. I agreed that this was one way we do bring hope.  But our church also was participating in a "shoebox project" this year.  You basically choose a child of a pre-determined sex and age and fill a shoebox with Christmas gifts for them.  This year the boxes are going to a co-op in Maine that helps the severely impoverished of that state. 

Chet and I were going out to do some of his holiday shopping (getting things done early is a fixation of his and he had 3 people left to buy for and it was causing unbelievable anxiety for him.) I suggested that after we get his last Yule gifts that he help me buy for the shoebox project.  Together we picked out a variety of craft supplies, small toys, and a warm hat for a nine year old boy.  After we bought all our stuff (it is amazing what you can fit in a shoebox with creative packing!) we realized we had NO shoeboxes at our house!  LOL  So we went to the shoe store next door and I had him ask for a box.  Chet being Chet walked up and said "Do you have a shoebox?"  LOL  I cued him on giving some details of why he needed an empty shoe box and he did well clarifying things.  We left with a box and jammed that baby full of cheer and hope for a boy who might not otherwise have a happy holiday.  And a smile on Chet's face. That always gives me hope.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Beautiful Dreams

The little kids slept in this morning.  Like, till 6:30 a.m.   Usually they are bouncing around (literally) by quarter to 6 so this was amazing.  I went up at 6:30 to give Chet his juice and make sure Rob was up and ready to get dressed.  They were sleeping angelically but woke when the older boys started moving around.

KC gave this big stretch and while I was picking out Lissa's clothes announced that he had just had the most beautiful dream.  I asked what it was about.

"I was with the Sugar Plum Fairies," was his answer. 


Never a dull moment at my house!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


In about 30 minutes my Rob will arrive home from singing with the teen choir.  I can't wait to see him and give him a hug.  I am so proud of him for doing this.  I know he was nervous as he ate a very light breakfast. If you knew what a chowhound Rob is you would know that this is a sure sign of nerves.  The boy who never misses a meal or a snack had a bowl of yogurt for breakfast.  Only yogurt.  Usually it is a bowl of yogurt, a piece of toast and a bowl of cereal, followed by a donut on the way to church when we stop a Dunkins.  He admitted to me that he was nervous (also huge) and I hugged him and told him I knew he was going to do fine.

He had chosen his outfit with care and had I think achieved his desired look of casual yet slightly dressy teen cool.  It would probably be frowned upon in some churches, but in our faith it will be embraced for the statement it is.  Turquoise jeans, a graphic tee, a slightly lighter turquoise dress shirt left open, so that his t shirt design could be visible. We trimmed his hair last night and he really looked so handsome.

They were singing "Imagine" in the teen choir today.  Who would imagine that my son would push himself to sing in public?  Every single public school event that we attended when he was in school he had this terrified deer in the headlights look.  He was miserable being there, and so obviously unhappy it hurt to watch him. His PTSD was so rampantly present and nothing we said or did made any of it any better.  I know that teen love has been part of the motivation ( OK maybe ALL of the motivation for this) but it is okay with me.  He will come away realizing that he COULD do this and that it turned out okay and have a bit more confidence in himself. Imagining that has kept a smile on my face all morning.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday doings

Saturdays are always busy but this one has an extra wrinkle or two just to make life, I don't know--interesting?  First off I needed to make cookies for fellowship at church.  Thank goodness for those little scoopy gizmos so I don't have to roll dough by hand into balls.  I whipped out 80 cinnamon snap cookies between 11:30 and noon. 

Then when we were at the library I saw that they were having a wild animal program at 3 p.m.  The kids really want to go so we will trek back there for it.  But it will make supper a challenge as I won't be able to cook till we get home.  And tonite I also need to do Lissa's hair and trim Rob's.  He is "not" singing in the teen choir at a sister church on Sunday. They are singing "Imagine."  Even he agreed that he needed to have his tresses trimmed.

Also got a shock when we were at dance class today.  KC's teacher came out and asked if KC was willing to be in the recital.  I said as far as I knew it was not on his agenda but she was welcome to ask him.  She reminded KC that he could not see the audience when he danced but that he and his teacher could see each other and she would be looking right at him. And that he didn't have to do the curtain call. (which is when disaster struck this year and he saw the large audience and freaked.)  At any rate, he surprised the heck out of me and said sure he would do it.  Go figure!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Having a Pity Party

So I have decided that Zumba class is my reward for my week from Hades.  No office support since Monday.  My co-workers son is ill so she has been out.  I sympathize but felt like whining at the same time.  Mature of me, isn't it?  My boss's wife had surgery so he has been out as well.  So i have been doing work for 3 and for most of the week I was sick and had laryngitis.  Ever try to answer the phone when you have no voice?  Seriously, vendors kept hanging up on me because they thought it was a dead line.  I would have screamed but--oh yeah--no voice.

Last night I got myself new Zumba shoes.  I figured I didn't want to dance barefoot for weeks on end.  And it looks like regular cross trainers are not the right style of shoe for this exercise regime.  So I went and got some hip hop sneakers at the dance store.  Haven't worn Capezio's since I got out of high school; it was almost surreal!  Then to really put the icing on my pity party I got myself a new dance T shirt.  Now I no longer need to wear my Yankees T-shirt--which means people might even talk to me at class. (I live in Red Sox nation in case you are wondering! LOL)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I'm a winner!!!

OK I spent morea 1/2 century not winning things.  Clearly the cosmos has decided the second 1/2 century of my life is to have a little of that winning thing going on.  Now I don't expect this means the publishers clearing house folks are going to pull up in my yard, but I have to brag!  I won something again!  First I won a nifty Nudred for the boys over at Keep me Curly. (and oh gosh, KC adores the look I can create for him!)

  Now I won a $10 Dunkin Donuts gift card from Corey over at Watching the Waters.  Wahoo!  Dunkin Donuts coffee is in my humble opinion, the best.  Simply the.best.  It is nirvana in a cup. Don't get me wrong, I'll drink other stuff.  After all, caffeine is mostly what courses through my veins.  But there is something about DD coffee that my taste buds adore above all other. Also my odd little children abhor (picture gagging and ralfing noises) the smell of brewing coffee so I never get coffee at home.  Somehow breakfast is more pleasant sans sound effects!

 So I am deeply grateful to Corey for feeding this happy addiction, and confirming that I can too win something!  (grin)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Diary of a Wimpy Mom

So today on my lunch minute (yup, i am being sarcastic but it has been hectic this week!) I happened upon a new blog.  I was intrigued, as Jenn the blog author asked her readers to dare to dream about the perfect school situation for children of ADHD and FASD.  I can't speak to the latter, as I don't have a formal dx of that for any of my children.  (though I have suspicions that occasionally worry me).  But I can speak to ADHD because I have 2 with that dx. And I realized upon reading her blog entry that I am a wimp.  Because I didn't believe I could dream that perfect school.  I couldn't make myself be Don Quixote and tilt at the windmills of the administration for my kids.  I was afraid that there would not be enough change, fast enough for my eldest.

Part of me still feels I made the right call, pulling him out and homeschooling.  And don't get me wrong, I love homeschooling.  And we were so able to tailor his education to his uniqueness that we didn't even know there was more involved than ADHD till he tried to get out in the work force.  But I digress.

I had a 6th grader who was utterly and completed overwhelmed by the chaos of the lunch room.  I could see why.  I vividly remember arriving at the school for an IEP meeting and truly hearing the sound of the caf outside in the parking lot.  And it wasn't anything unusual. It was just lunch noise.  But to a child who is easily overstimulated it was more than he could take.  It was physically painful to him and he would become wildly out of control.  He would be too distracted to eat, and then consequently his blood suger would drop in an hour or so and things would be even worse in a classroom.  I remember asking if he could eat somewhere else and being told that the teachers needed a break.  OK so they needed a break and that trumped the needs of a child designated as a special needs student.

There was such a catch 22 situation with Chet.  At one point they decided to mainstream him into regular classes because he is very bright.  We had the joy of getting a retired military guy who decided that he was "going to make a man" of my child.  Chet was really tall by 6th grade.  He looked like a young adult.  But he was a child.  And emotionally he was so, so much younger than the 6th grader he was. Let's just say this particular student/teacher match was not made in heaven.

There was the special ed teacher who gave him detention for tapping his pencil during class.  When I pointed out that this was a SPED class for children who had disabilities and that he couldn't physically be totally still, I was told that it still wasn't acceptable. It would cause other kids to do other annoying things and chaos would reign. That is not an exact quote but it is the honest gist.

There were countless missed recess times because of violations of school rules.  It never EVER made sense to me that you would take the one energy burn the hyper kid has and take it away as punishment.  On my worst day, with my worst migraine, I would NEVER ask any of my high energy kids to sit still without first giving them that time to burn some steam.  When I would say that this would just make things worse, I was reminded that schools had rules and we needed to find a way to help Chet follow rules.   My knowledge as a parent had no value. I think in actuality that they were pretty darn sure I was an over indulgent fool who was taking up space.  After all, life would be good once they got me on board with token economies right?

Oh yeah. We did token economies.  And they worked.  For like a week.  I thought for a long time that they failed because Chet doesn't care passionately about most tangible stuff and most experiences.  And he isn't a foodie so treats of that nature were no incentive.  It took years before what I realized was that compliance with the demands of the token economy was so hard that he could really only sustain it with that week of effort.  After that, he just decompensated and fell apart.  But if you asked the school it was my fault, because I didn't find a proper incentive to modify his behavior.

A lot of people question the way homeschoolers will socialize their children.  I used to laugh when people asked that about Chet.  The poor boy had no friends in public school and that was the thing that probably killed me the most.  How do you get to 6th grade and never get invited to one single party.  The only play dates he ever had were ones we orchestrated and by second grade, there were no willing folks who could be lured to spend an hour with us.  Obviously it isn't the schools job in a sense to teach friendship, but it did nothing to create a climate of acceptance where his differences would just be , well uniqueness.  As opposed to coming home from school happy because a kid gave him a nickname.  Friends have nicknames for each other, he told me.  Yup, except his was dipstick.  One of those moments where I just wanted to cry and couldn't because he was standing there.

I will give you that when he was 19 we found out that Chet was more than just a quirky kid with ADHD but that he also had  Aspergers Syndrome.  So the problem was bigger than his impulsiveness and bigger than his hyperactivity.  But truthfully , the educational climate wasn't one of collaborative work to offer a quality educational experience to my child.  It was more about shunting him off to the "behaviors room" at which point, I truly did become a wimpy mom.  Because I put down my sword, waved my white flag, and became a homeschooling parent.

Words from the Voiceless

I have been sick for a few weeks now.  Not ever REALLY sick.  See the minute I get a sniffle I chow down on these herbal zinc things that I got at the health food store. They usually get rid of the what ails me in 24 hours.  Except this time, it didn't quite work.  I would feel better but still slightly symptomatic. The sore throat would linger slightly till 4 p.m.  The sniffles would never quite leave.  Etc.  You don't want to know each symptom I am sure.  But the thing is I really never felt horrid.  I did all my usual stuff, even taking my new dance/exercise class last week.  But on Sunday I could tell that I was losing the battle.  I now had developed a cough.  But it was hard to tell if it was because I had to chair a meeting at church and talked A LOT all day long as a result.  But I figure there is only so long one should blast ones bod with zinc, so I had stopped the supplements. 

I woke Monday with almost no voice.  I woke yesterday with no voice at all.  Even downing a couple cups of super hot tea didn't do anything.  However my coworker is out sick because of her son so I had to come to work.  Also as the company that might be purchasing our site is here all this week and next meeting with tenants, it was not a great time to say "oh geez, the office is closed today!"  So I came to work.  It was fun.  I had vendors hang up on me because they could not hear me on the phone and thought it was a dead line.  I had residents asking "how do you feel."  Um geez if I had a voice I'd tell you.  LOL  Today I at least have a voice.  more or less. At least enough to let the world know I am still here.  Still working alone.  Sigh.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

House Rules

When my brain is not fogged by my weird cold/chesty thing that I have going on I have to update my list of books to include this one:  House Rules.  It is by the woman who wrote My Sisters Keeper.  It was a hard book to read.  Not in syntax or anything, but because the lead character is a boy not too much younger than my eldest.  He is accused  of murder.  He also has Aspergers.  So much of the character of Jacob is my son.  We have house rules too (except we call them family rules).  I have had to have the conversations that the fictional mom did with her son with my other kids in regard to Chet's disability.  With the exception of the soothing song that Jacob in the book uses, and Jacob's particular interest in forensic science (Chet's is the environment), they seriously could have used Chet as the model for the book. 

It is good though that at least now there is a lot more awareness surrounding Aspergers.  It used to be I practically had to do a mini educational seminar when we went somewhere and something weird happened.  Now I just say Aspergers, or that he is on the autistic spectrum and most people are better about things.

But I still worry.  I worry that because for the first few minutes you meet him that he seems NT that people will then assume that the inevitable non NT behaviors that will show  up are meant as rudeness, disrespect or worse.

Monday, November 15, 2010

KC music and musings

A couple of things about KC:
  He is writing his own music these days.  He can't write the notes correctly to read quickly enough, though he can read music that is pre-printed.  So his solution is to write the notes in a letter stream--AABCAABCetc. He noodles a little with it and then adjusts and adds to it.  It fascinates me as I could never in this lifetime do that.  He plays his recorder two or three times a day on average for about 10 minutes at a shot.  Just goes and gets it and has at it. I love it.

He is planning for his sisters birthday next month.  Today he brought me a list that he had done out in pictographs.  He told me we had to remember this chart.

1.  Big present with a bow drawn first.
2.  Big cake with 4 candles drawn next.
3.  Lots of little pictures in a line signifying her birthday mural.
4.  Party hats to stand for decorations.
5.  Arms (signifiying hugs)
6.  lips (kisses)

What a kid!

Anything for Love!

My teen son hates to sing.  I have to practically BRIBE him to sing happy birthday to his siblings.  I know a big part of that has been the voice changing thing.  For some reason, his has had more periods of "breaking" than Chet ever had.  And that makes him self conscious.

Still, imagine my surprise to find that my son is a member of the teen choir that meets for an hour weekly before Youth Group!  There are certainly worse things to be surprised about.   I strongly suspect that the motivation is the lovely teen aged girl that he makes goo-goo eyes at every Sunday. They have had eyes for each other ever since they were in the Coming of Age program together 2 years ago.  I'm betting she is in the choir too. LOL

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Passing on the Patriots???

Today was a busy day.  We had church this morning and I was filling in for our religious ed director who is presently on sabbatical in Costa Rica.  So we had to be there extra early. Then I had to return later in the day to chair a meeting of the RE committee.  After that I had to stop at the dreaded store that begins with W and ends with "art".  I hate this store. It is big. I get lost.  But I also eventually find good deals which was why I needed to go there.  We need a decent storage system for the gigantic amount of mittens and hats that a family of 6 uses in the N.E. winter.  I got home and never even went on line.

At supper a friend from church called. We often car pool her son and our Rob to youth group. Both of us live in the same city, which is a good 20 minute drive from the city our church is in, so it really helps out.  I told her that sadly he was not going to Youth Group today because we had all ready made 2 trips and that was pretty much my quota.  Sweet friend that she  is, she offered to take Rob both ways if he wanted to go as her son would be going regardless. 

I didn't think Rob would actually take her up on it, but he is sort of interested in a girl at youth group.  Apparently young love tops the New England Patriots, though he did ask us to tape the game!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nudred Love!

The Nudred that I won arrived yesterday afternoon so tonight after supper I tried it out on the boys.  I wanted to get a feel for how long it would take and how they would like the style.  My pictures are not as good as I would like because I don't have a zoon on this camera.  It came with one but I think it hit the floor once too often! LOL  The sad results of fostering youthful photography I guess!  Anyway, it took way less than 12 minutes to do each one, although I am probably more free flowing about it than some might be.  Neither boy said it hurt.  KC's defined almost instantly.  His hair is thinner than Rob's and more curly than kinky. In fact the picture doesn't do the definition justice.  It is very very cool to look at and he likes it.

  Rob's hair is thicker and more like Katie's Mr.C in her video.  His hair  took more "muscle" to twist but it did twist up pretty quickly.  Unlike Katie I stayed section by section till I felt each was twisted sufficiently.  KC really likes the look. Rob totally hates it.  Says it is "weird."  I pointed out that lots of sports stars wear dreads and you can start dreads this way if you choose.  I think he was ready to go get the razor and have me skin him down. LOL  Course this is a boy who thinks a fade is weird so fashion is a very um interesting experience with him.  Orange jeans and definately no twists!    I can only get Blogger to upload KC' s  pic right now but when it decides to let me, I will up load Robbie's pic as well. 

Beary Thankful!

I think I no doubt would have had a better shot to put on the blog if I had remembered to take the picture of Pilgrim Bear early this afternoon.  My mind is still not quite wrapped around the fact that 4:30 is down right dark here now.  Anyway, today we took Mr. Bear and made him a Pilgrim hat.  He is also holding 2 ears of Indian corn that we grew at our community garden plot this year.

Zumba Recap

So last night was my first Zumba class.  On the plus side, there were only 7 of us, 6 women and 1 guy.  3 of the girls were probably still in high school but 3 of us were um, mature adults?  Though I suspect I MIGHT have been the oldest (hard to tell though as the gal next to me apparently has a need to Zumba in full make up.LOL)  I did the class barefoot as I know you are not s upposed to be on that dance floor in street shoes which everyone else was.  Also I don't wear sneakers often and mine have holes in them which likely would be a severe Zumba style faux pas.

The music was almost all music that I adore.  I love latin music almost as much as reggae and could sing along with a bunch of the songs.  Thankfully the music was played at such a loud decibel that no one could have heard me singing  or the class might have ended early.  And while the sight of me shaking my hips doesn't look ANYTHING like when Shakira does it, it was a lot of fun.  And basically aerobics is aerobics.  Most of the steps were steps I did when I took or taught classes years ago.  You just wiggled your hips when you did em!  I will definately take another class and am not sore today so it's all zumba good!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Movie Nights

Rob and I have begun a new little tradition.  It started I think sometime in the summer.  On Friday night I would invite him to hang with me in our work room and we would watch a movie on demand together.  I did it for a couple of reasons.  I wanted to hang with him in a way that was "cool" and not in a way that would make him feel like "oh geez my mom wants to talk to me."  Talk is stressful for him, more so than most teens and I try to do it in roundabout ways. The desultory talk that occurs while watching a movie (I am really totally unable to be quiet longer than about 15 minutes!) really works for he and I .  Sure we are not digging deeply, but the roots of our relationship are deepening and strengthening.  I can tell by his body posture when we are together.  I can tell because he has become more comfortable cracking a joke or wise guy comment to us.  So in an odd way, it is very relationship enhancing.   It also gives him time just he and I.  No little brother or sister. No big brother who is sending things careening off into some unusual tangent that only an Aspie would understand. It is just us.

What I didn't know for sure though, was how much Rob liked doing this.  Due to his past, Rob is always pretty reluctant to really say he likes something.  I think in the past, divulging that, meant things that gave joy and meaning were taken away, or used punitively.  This morning as I left for work I said that he might want to check the list of new movies that were out to get an idea of what we would want to watch. (I am notoriously bad at working those screens and it can take us 10 minutes just to find what we want to see!)

Literally almost before the words were out of my mouth he said "The new Karate Kid movie is out and we could see that."  Despite the fact that as a martial artist I have issues with calling the movie "The Karate Kid" when the kid is learning tae kwon do, I am still pretty excited!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankful Thursday

My company might be sold. That is not what I am thankful for incidently! LOL  For a long time (more than 6 yrs) we have known this was a possibility.  However things have never really seemed to be moving forward for us, though we have seen other apartment complexes owned by our company gradually be sold.  There are a lot of weird reasons why selling the property I manage is more difficult and then when the enonomy tanked it really looked like it was not going to happen.

I have been pretty philosophical about things.  It is nothing I can change one way or the other.  There is certainly a level of stress.  There will be a lot of new procedures and policies to absorb.  i will be working with people who don't really know me, whereas the upper management team I presently report to have known me over 30 years.  My regional manager actually used to work at this property and back in 1978, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, she trained me as a leasing agent.  Later I received more training and became an assistant manager.

But people that have known you that long have a good handle on your integrity. They know that I am not like my immediate supervisor and that I can be trusted.  I am grateful for that.  I am grateful for the amount of time and money they have invested in keeping my training current (even though some of said trainings could also double as cures for insomnia!)  I am grateful that when I have a policy question, there is someone there that really answers it and doesn't leave me hanging out there trying to follow all the myriad complex government regs on my own.

I sure hope if we ARE sold, that my new employer will be as fair and pleasant to deal with.  There are not a lot of people nowadays who can say they have worked 32 years for the same company.  See I told you I was a dinosaur!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


When we were in a taxi in the Big City on Saturday, KC decided he wanted to talk about princesses with Elisabeth.  Now mind you, neither one of them has really seen the Disney movies, just ads and the toys.  We tried Princess and the Frog--Lissa got scared.  We tried Sleeping Beauty--KC got scared.  That was enough for me.

However inexplicably, KC thinks he knows "everything" about princesses and was chatting up Lissa. 

KC:  "Sissy, what princess do you like the best?"
Lissa "Cinderwella"
KC:  "I like the one in Aldin."
ME:  "KC do you mean Aladdin?
KC:  "Yup, that's what I said."
ME:  "So you like Jasmine."
KC:  "Nope, I like the genie. He's funny. What would you wish for if you met a genie?"
Lissa:  "Candy."
ME:    "No more war. What would you wish for KC?"
KC:    "I would wish for an electric guitar that came with ear muffs for you to wear when I played it!"


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

We really haven't come that far

It is scary to raise black boys.  On the one hand I teach them to respect authority, to be polite, to never sass a police officer.  But I know that these lessons won't necessarily keep them safe.  A police officer overwhelmed by a situation may allow unknown prejudices to govern his actions in a crisis.  My sweet son(s) could misunderstand a directive and their action could result in a fatal shooting.

I know in theory that could happen to anyone.  The reality is it statistically happens far more to teen and adult black males.  Ask the family of Danroy Henry. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Watching Robbie Emerge

I think that when kids have suffered a huge amount of trauma and loss they spend varying amounts of time (depending on kid and circumstances) in cocoons. These are protection against the hard and awful things they have experienced and the things they don't understand.  The hard thing is that there comes a time to break through the cocoon and emerge to fly. 

Breaking through a cocoon takes strength. And courage.  And no one can do it for them.  At least that is my take on it.  I have done the nurturing part, the talking and walking the talk part. But ultimately,I can support and nurture, but then I have to wait.  And hope.  Rob's cocoon is a watchful silence, a retreat to media instead of interaction, and maintaining invisibility in social situation.

It has felt like I have done a lot of waiting and hoping.  But I think the cocoon is starting to crack.  Things that make me privately dance a jig these days:

--watching Rob crack up at the goofiness that defines a family meal at our house
--listening to him argue with me when I dis Randy Moss
--watching him ever so gently sass back one of us.  Nothing rude, nothing major, an oh so gentle testing of the waters of teen one liners
--watching his body language appear relaxed and happy after a Youth Group meeting

I'll wait as long as it takes but I can't wait to see him fly free and proud and strong!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

November visit with Fiona

Fiona is growing and changing so much.  She calls me "mom" pretty consistantly now.  It wasn't always like that.  I was "mom Lee" sometimes.  Sometimes I was Lee.  Sometimes I was "Robbie's adopted mom"  Sometimes I was un-named by her in a group setting.  It isn't even like there was a logical chronology to any of that. It was all over the map, depending on her emotional state at the time.  Initially it was pretty painful to go from one week being embraced as mom to being looked at as the Evil Imposter, but I got over it.  Because I realized that even if that was the most I would or could ever be to my daughter, I wanted to be the best, most consistant Evil Imposter she had ever known.

That and the wonderful work that the Great School in the Big City is doing, are combining to really help her.  She has invited us to celebrate her birthday with her.  That is huge.  Historically, October through early January are her trauma anniversary times and the fact that her birthday is on Christmas doesn't help much either.  I talked to Jane on Saturday and am planning to go in with the tribe and birthday supplies on the 23rd.  It will be hopefully just early enough to make the celebration do-able for her and for the younger kids who will also be getting wound into fever pitch. (I have a 6 year old writing KC loves Mr. S.C. and drawing pictures of holiday scenes all ready!!!)

We had a successful jaunt off site, walking for nearly an hour through beautiful parks hidden in the Big City.  Who'd have thunk such beautiful nature was so assessible in that busy, hectic hubbub? 

I don't know what her future can or will be and I am at a point now where I am glad.  I used to obscess about this all the time.  She is 18 and until recently could grasp the flow of time even using a calendar.  Now she can.  Limitedly and with cues but still she.gets.it.  So what else could be possible?  I feel like it's wide open and I'm so blessed to be along for the ride.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I won a Nudred!

Me!  Me who never wins anything (except the occasional bench audit at tax time!)  I won a Nudred over at Keep Me Curly!  I should be blogging about the great visit we had with Fiona but I am so so stoked over winning this that all I can do is go I WON!  LOL 

Now I need to go cut out 50 3 inch foot prints for church tomorrow for posters we are making for our Religious Education theme which is Standing on the Side of Love.  More on Fiona when my brain stops chanting "I won!"

Friday, November 5, 2010

Keep Me Curly and the Nudred

Like many adoptive moms I spend a lot of time educating myself on my kids hair.  (for the record I have pretty much thrown in the towel on my own!!! LOL) There is a really cool new product out called the Nudred that I am dying to try on Rob and KC.  It will make little twists out of their hair in about 12 minutes as opposed to the hour or more. Frankly I know I can't get them to commit to the time I need to twist their hair.  BUT at Keep Me Curly they are running a contest and some lucky winner will get a Nudred!  Maybe it will be me, because I get an extra entry for linking their site in my blog. (grin)  I hope so, but even if I don't win I am happy to spread the word about their site.  As adoptive parents we all have a special responsibility to care for our AA kids hair in a healthy and culturally appropriate way.  The ladies at this site are really a remarkable resource for those of us on this particular journey.

Tomorrow we visit Fiona

There is always all kinds of excitement leading up to a visit to see Fiona.  (or 'my big sissy') as Lissa puts it.  Tonight will be busy as I have to pack some crafts for us to do together, snacks for the kids on the train ride there and back, and the gifts I bought for Fi.  I replenished her hair care supplies and found sugar free candy to make her a Halloween treat bag. All the kids worked together on decorating the bag and it is really cute.

Today is also exciting because it will be Lissa's first class in the new gymnastics class.  She got promoted to a more advanced group and this also means a new coach so although she is excited, I think she is also a bit anxious.

Busy times!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Elisabeth's First Mom wants pictures

None of my children have open adoptions.  This is not something that I engineered, it is just how their particular situations evolved.  Chet was abandoned in another country and we don't even know what his name was at birth. 

Rob has first family connections but not with his first mother.  With siblings, cousins, and aunts. 

When we did the adoption plans for our two youngest we actually said we were willing to have open adoptions but in both cases, due to circumstances in their personal lives, the parents decided on closed adoptions.  Despite those choices, every year I send a letter to those mom's in care of the adoption agency.  I also send a bunch of pictures of the kids.  I try to make the letter as newsy as I can without sounding braggy, if you know what I mean.  I talk about what they like to do, facets of their personalities that have developed, experiences they like, gestures or phrases they use etc. 

Yesterday, the agency called the house.  I was at work.  The director said that Elisabeth's mom had contacted the agency and wanted pictures.  I have no problem with that.  I just finished printing out an entire collage of pictures for her.  I also printed off the letter I usually send in December to the agency for her mom to get with the pictures.

What annoys me is that my wife got the impression from the phone call that the agency didn't keep those pictures I have been sending on file.  That makes me livid, as some part of me always hoped that those women would come forward and that at a minimum, my letters and pictures would be there to help them know their children are doing well and are loved.

I also wrote in my letter to her that I would be happy to send enlargements of any picture(s) that she especially likes and that we would really really love it if she would be comfortable sending a picture of herself .  I have a picture of KC's mom in his first scrapbook.  Rob has pictures of relatives, though I was never able to get a picture of his mom.  I think it will be very important for Lissa to be able to have that picture and I hope her mom knows I really spoke from a place of honestly and respect.

It is November

If I didn't know the date today, I would still know that it is November in New England.  The skies are leaden and rain is falling.  Cold icky rain, not the rain that holds the promise of new shoots popping up to delight us with veggies or blossoms.  The leaves are almost all down off the trees and two weeks ago, my last "morning glorious" died and I had to rip out the vines for compost.

It is November in my heart today as well.  I don't like rain.  Truth to tell if I lived in a state that had almost no rain, I'd love it.  I could probably even deal with cold to get the high sun factor.  But I also believe in blooming where I am planted and my roots go deep down into the rocky ground here in N.E. 

On the plus side, KC has art class tonight and he is always so bubbly and jazzed when he returns that I can't wait to hear the focus.  And Lissa and I will make french toast for supper!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fiona and the holidays

We had a great call with Fiona last night.  She actually is getting quite clever about things which cracks me up.  It is kind of the normal manipulation that kids usually do and that frankly she has never been able to do. So oddly enough it is for me, something to celebrate.   For instance, she is supposed to work out a phone plan with Jane before they call and I gather that they did this. (important disclaimer:  the phone plan is in no way something that I have requested; it is a school thing and they use it to help her process things and to help her learn to choose words and topics appropriately) 

Anyway, Jane, Fiona and i were on the phone and Fiona says "Oh, Mom I wanted to ask you about something.  Jane, I forgot to include this in my plan but this seems like a good time to discuss it!"  ROFL  I think Jane was okay with it too as thankfully she let it happen.

Fiona wanted to talk about her birthday.  Which falls on Christmas. This is always a really tough trauma time for her.  Usually she is not capable even at this point in the calendar year of having a positive, happy conversation.  So the fact that she could is more cause for joy.  She wants us there to celebrate her birthday.  She knew that we would have to come on a different day rather than Christmas.  Can you see me beaming?  This is SO much growth and change for my daughter.  It is beyond huge.

I am going to email Jane today and see if we could come in the afternoon on 12/23  It will mean I will need to work late a couple nights before that in order to get the year end stuff done, but I think that would be close enough to her birthday to feel that we were "really" celebrating and yet not so close to the day that there is a heightened chance for her melting down and not enjoying herself.  If we went to see her on Christmas Eve for instance, I am not sure she is going to be emotionally able to have as much fun. It sounds silly since there is only a days difference betweeen what I am suggesting for the visits but I think that it will make a difference. I can't wait to see if the 23rd will be okay with Jane!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Finally a costume picture!

Blogger finally cooperated and let me put up a picture of the kids costumes. In some ways this is not the best shot.  You really can't see the details on Lissa's tinkerbelle costume which are pretty fantastic, and you can't see the tunic that Robin Hook is wearing.  But I adore the interplay between the two wee gremlins!  Last night Tinkerbelle was running around the back yard with her wings on over her heavy coat (it has gotten very cold again here) and Robin Hood was wearing his hat, his winter jacket and using his bow and  suction cup arrows!
We have taken all the copious Halloween decorations down in the house though, leaving only the things that just bespeak harvest.  It helps things get back to normal after the sort of excitement that has been the past few days around here!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Zoom Zoom Zumba!

A long time ago I used to go out to a fitness center at least 5 nights a week.  I am weird in that I really like working out. Then I started studying karate and for 12 yrs I logged a lot of dojo hours working my way up the rankings to nidan.  (second degree black) But expanding our family meant a couple of things.  Obviously, less free cash.  But more importantly, younger kids that needed me there at bed time. 

I don't know what bedtimes are like at my friends houses but I sense that they are probably a bit less structured than ours are.  Some of my kids have disabilities that mean structure and sameness helps them to settle. Some of my kids come from trauma and need that as well to feel safe.  Some are just wild indians. (laughing)  It runs the gamut but I have a system and it works really well. (patting self on back).  As I know, because my wife will flat out refuse to put the tribe to bed. LOL

But that has meant that there really isn't time to go somewhere and work out.  I have a Soloflex in our cellar but it is sorta damp and icky down there and I strongly suspect that it is not the healthiest environment for working out.  But I had to move it down cellar because a Soloflex was way too enticing for the kids.

Anyway, KC's dance studio had a sign up on Saturday. They are starting something called a Zumba class.  It is on Friday nights from 5:30 to 6:30.  This is a really do-able time slot for me.  It means Lissa goes to bed 30 minutes later than usual but that is not horrible. And K is away all day Saturday at work, so if I need to structure in some quiet time Saturday afternoon because she is tired, I can easily do it. 

The funny thing is that I had no clue what Zumba is. The woman who googles everything had never ever heard of Zumba.  All I knew was the poster said it had latin music which is something I adore so I thought an hour of exercise to good music sounded like fun.  Also it said it did interval training which I also adore.But when I emailed my 77 year old mother, she knew all about zumba. Go figure!

  The only hard part of the time slot is that from 3 to 3:30 Rob has piano lessons.  From 4:00 to 4:50 Lissa has her gymnastics (new time slot as she just got bumped up a level).  So that means after I get back from her gym class, I would essentially just go out the door to my class.  I am okay with that as long as my wife is okay with it. And at this moment in time, she seems to be!

The class doesn't start for a couple of weeks, but I am kind of excited.  It sort of beats calling my shower "my time!"  LOL

Pumpkin Collection

This is the collection of pumpkins that adorned the end of our table on Halloween night!  I love that they are from years ago to the present.  The really pale orange one in the middle is one that belonged to my mom when she was a little girl.  I don't even know what the material is that it is manufactured from.  It almost feels like paper machie but not quite.  The teeny weeny pumpkin on the top of the orange pumpkin in the middle left is made of wax.  When I was very little, probably Lissa's age, we used to have a set of these.  My mom would put birthday candles in them and for a brief flickering moment, our table would look magical on Halloween supper night. There are a bunch of small plastic ones that Chet got growing up displayed there. The one with the witch on it, K made this year (she is so way clever) and the bigger funkins are the ones the kids did this year as well.  So we have pumpkins through the ages here at our house! LOL 

It was a great Halloween and we had so much fun.  I will try and put up a post later with the kids in their costume.  Blogger was arguing with me about uploading pics this a.m. so I only managed to get the pumpkin shot up.