Monday, January 31, 2011

How to deal with the weather forecast

It is going to snow.  Again.  For 2 or 3 days.  And maybe throw in some ice just for the joy of messing with us.  Now if anyone from the arctic circle, or say, MI or MN happen upon my blog, the fact that we have 61 inches of snow on the ground is not going to faze them.  They would laugh, maybe sneer, maybe chat apres ski over the wimpy New England chick who was whining about snow.  But I am done, people. And winter isn't.

Which is why I am turning my thoughts to other things. Like KC's luau.  A few months after his carnival last  July he announced that this year he wanted to have a luau for his friends.  I was initially taken aback by the idea--and I still don't know what made him decide on that theme.  But it is intriguing.  And what has been fun is that both of us have just let it jell in the back of our minds over the months.  I came up with an idea of having a tie dye activity station first.  That was a thumbs up from KC.  He came up with an idea for making leis or shell style necklaces.  We both thought of a slip and slide on almost the same day which was funny.  I'm thinking moon sand or maybe making those candles that you pour the wax into the sand.  Fruit kebobs watermelon slushies and lemonade are about hte only edibles we have come up with so far.  Food is usually the most challenging as one of his friends has some really significant, wide ranging food allergies.  Oh and he wants to do the limbo.  And maybe have a hula hooping contest.Thinking of summer fun warms me right up!

Sunday Successes

Sunday was full of glistening moments.

1.  Chet did remarkably well in a workshop setting.  I had spent the two weeks prior in dialogue with someone who could facilitate his participation.  He needs to be there. He has questions about his sexual orientation and  this is a safe and excellent place to explore this.  However workshops have their own etiquette and he barely understands more traditional social settings.  I got 2 thumbs up from the facilitator when I stopped in at the end which made my day.

2.  Rob played the piano where others could hear him!  He is doing extremely well in his classes according to his instructor.  But he is so shy and afraid of whatever that he practices with headphones on so that you can't hear the music he makes on the keyboard most of the time.  He also went on a field trip to a cat shelter with our church youth group and wants to volunteer there.  This is great because although the shelter is a fair distance from us (not great) I do think that Rob could ultimately find a vocation in some form of animal care.  He is a kid who all animals like.  He is so quiet and calm that I have yet to see any animal shy away from him.  He doesn't rush them and they know it. But up till now, suggestions of volunteering at a dog day care or something like that have fallen on deaf ears.  He would tell me his goal is to play pro hockey in Russia because you get paid more there.  The smaller details of not knowing how to skate or how to play hockey eluded him. LOL

3.  My Sunday school class went great and KC and Lissa were excited that I was teaching their class. That age group is always easy to teach as long as  you over prepare in the activity area.

4.  Shaun White made X Games history in winning 4 gold medals in 4 consecutive games.  (OK so I am not all that mature sometimes! )  Rob and I watched him board to victory when he got home from Youth Group.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday doings

Saturdays are fun.  We have so much to do but most days we just have enjoy doing it. Today was no exception. We were out early and got our groceries, then we got the van inspected.  Came home and unloaded said groceries and then went out to the bank and to drop off our library books.  Then KC had dance class. He is super excited as the music for their recital piece was revealed for the first time today. I am glad that he is still positive about all of this.  Then it was time to go to a big box store and get Lissa a booster seat for the car and KC new slippers to replace the ones that are falling apart on his feet, to a craft store to get supplies for the class I teach at church tomorrow and then to the library to get our books. Then it was home for lunch.  This afternoon I made Lissa's dinosaur costume for the church play (this was a very simple costume; don't start thinking I am talented or sewing or anything here!) and I turned our ft door bear into cupid with sparkly gold wings and a valentine in his hand.  Made a double batch of sugar cookies cut into hearts and frosted with leftover frosting and adorned with smaltzy sprinkles.  They look divine! The kids had computer time while I did that and then after supper we all played wii fit for a while.  But all day I have felt a little tired and now I am getting snuffly so I think some zinc may be in my immediate future and then a hot shower!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Learning a new culture

Business culture that is.  My company was purchased by a new owner on Tuesday.  It has been an interesting ride so far.  Exhausting.  Interesting.  Nerve wracking.  And because I think often of what my kids have gone through en route to becoming a family, I see that I might have been better at helping them if I had gone through this before I became their Ooma.  Instead, I was happily ensconsed in the same job.  Sure policies changed, duties and reports changed,  but the way that was communicated didn't.  This is probably very  much how the kids felt coming home to us.  Everything somehow similar yet different.  Sounds, tastes, smells and routines sometimes hugely different, sometimes subtley so. 

That is one of the things that has struck me most about this week.  My new company is much more high tech.  If someone is standing in front of me and I ask a question, they tend to say, "would you email me that?"  My old bosses used email but not to the level that is now my new norm. It isn't wrong, or necessarily hard, but it feels weird and a bit like a garment that you are not sure you like.  You know, the dress you keep putting on in the dressing room because you can't decide if it is you?  That is what it feels like.  Someday it will be me. It will feel normal.  But not now. My goal?  To be as adaptable as my kids and embrace the change and the challenge.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fiona's and the moon

We had a great call with Fiona last night.  Apparently the last time she and KC spoke on the phone they talked about the moon. KC is a "moon child" Literally loves the moon and it is probably because we used to bring him outside to see la bella luna every full moon. He was first kissed by a full moon's light when he was but days old.  He came home to us at a full moon, I remember luna lighting our way home from Chicago when we were driving back home. 

At any rate, Fiona said something about the moon and KC told  about how he always talks to the moon. Fiona said for him to always remember that the same moon was shining over her and that every time she looked up at it that she would think of him and he could think of her.  Sniff.  I just heard about that part of last weeks call THIS week but it was still amazing. The cognitive leap, the connection to us being so strong, thrills me.

Fiona is also working so hard on processing some really tough stuff about all her moves. She spoke of how she thought that when she was moved from the RTC close to us to the far away crappy group home (I know not politically correct, I am sorry) that she thought we didn't want her anymore.  Because she didn't hear from us.  I was writing letters weekly. I tried to call and the staff would never put me through.  It was one of those icky situations where my lack of legal standing in her life was a huge impediment. (former adoptive mom, mother to her brother, none of those things carry a whole lot of weight unless a professional is truly caring and insightful.)  That "professionals" could not see that it would be detrimental to her to lose contact with family who had visited physically 2 times a month, and called weekly was insane.  Small wonder she was hospitalized two months into the stay there. She also disclosed  during the call that workers there pulled her hair when she was raging, which incensed me.  Thanks, all those powers that be that saved money by placing my daughter where she was mistreated.  Gotta love that.

 Jane is still trying to figure out how to incorporate Fiona's sister Krystal into the healing and their b. mom.  Jane asked if I would get a chronology of Fiona's life together as much as I have (which is do-able as I saved everything but I have to unearth where I stored it!) Cousin N is going to try to fill in pieces of the early years of birth to age 7 or 8. Jane says that her perception of b mom is that she is not all that stable right now which saddens me.  I don't know the woman who gave birth to my children but I have always hoped that her life was better now.  Apparently it is marginally but there are still deep seated issues that may always plague her and which will make any kind of contact with Fiona difficult to facilitate.

Monday, January 24, 2011


My company has still not sold.  It will happen.  The question is the when.  It could have been last Thursday when we had our annual site audit. Thankfully it was not.  It was supposed to be today and for whatever reason it wasn't.  It might be tomorrow.  Or the first of next month. 

It isn't that I want this to happen.  It is the dealing with the uncertainty that I hate.  When do I have to start dealing with the new health insurance stuff.  When do I have to start looking at the new 401k stuff?  When do I lose my sick days?  What kind of new skills will I need and when and how do I develop those?

It'll be all right.  But I hate the limbo land that I have been inhabiting for the past several months.  On the one hand pretending everything is normal, when a little part of me is always wondering what is just around the corner.  And in so many ways I am lucky.  My professional contacts have expressed their desire to support me during the transition, to continue to be my friends in and outside of the work world, to be a sounding board as I navigate the  new challenges ahead.  Not everyone has that.

And actually what it made me think of was that kids who go through foster care must feel like this. All. the. time.  And typically they don't have the supports that can make all those changes any easier at all.  I know my son didn't.  And it took a long time for him to trust that this wasn't just another stop on the road.  It took longer for him to believe that I would not lie.  That there would always be food in the fridge.  That his clothes would be clean.  That he would not be hurt.

There are some similarities too to the experiences that Chet had in an orphanage in a country far away.  I was reading a blog today where the author basically said she could never recommend adoption.  Kids were too damaged, social workers were too dishonest, the system was too broken.  And I can't argue with that.  I have seen all that and lived portions of that too.  Not to the depth and breadth perhaps that she has, but life is not a walk in the park here, despite the fact that I love my family deeply.

And while I have great reservations about adoption ethically, I think there is a time and place where it is appropriate.  There are no guarantees even when having a biological child.  That child could be born with significant special needs, develop a terrifying and life altering illness, or they could become a substance abuser despite all their family's best efforts. I think having children, however they come to us is about being willing to step out in hope, in partnership with whatever Creator we believe in, building a future and building with love.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Giving up on Winter!

OK, goddess are you listening?  I am d.o.n.e. with winter.  Bring some warmer days.  Pleeeeze!  I will give you that we have had more daylight.  But warm?  Not really.  My thermometer this a.m. (which is notoriously inaccurate because it is close to the house and sheltered) says that it is 7 degrees this morning.  I am tired of sleeping in flannels, with a warmer at my feet, wool socks and handwarmers.  Who sleeps in fingerless gloves for goodness sake?

It was partly with this in mind that the kids and I decorated for Valentines Day yesterday.  I took down 90 per cent of our extensive snowman collection and replaced them with fat cupids, luridly glistening hearts and artificial roses that looked almost real.  I am thinking of taking those snowmen that i took down and building a bonfire in the back yard and burning those suckers!  LOL  Well, maybe I will just settle for thumbing through the catalogs and doing more garden dreaming!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lissa's speech and hearing eval

I have been stressing over Lissa's hearing and speech evaluations.  My company is being sold and we have had many different dates (we are now told Monday or Tuesday of next week).  That means my health coverage will change.  I wanted the testing done while I still had the Blue Cross Blue Shield that I am familiar with.  Which may take more out of my paycheck but takes next to nothing when we actually use it.  At any rate, the tests have also been changed a couple of times due to the stormy weather we have been experiencing.  The hospital where the tests are done is on a steep hill.  Not a hill one wants to drive up or down in a mini van in bad weather.

But the goddess was looking out for us and the tests took place Wednesday and Thursday while we still had our preferred medical coverage and in between two whoppers of storms.  And the bottom line is that Lissa tested fine.  I knew she was fine hearing wise.  I was not so sure language wise.  Part of me still isn't 100 per cent sure.  I know my perceptions though are colored by things like how my other kids spoke at the same age.  The fact that I know about her significant drug exposure and the fact that her first mother did not have pre-natal care. Those factors can skew my views so that I think something is bigger than it is.  I also believe that everyone blooms in their own time and space.

So I will just work on the sounds she has trouble with here at home and trust that she is fine and blooming as she should.  And if by chance a  year from now she speaks the same way, we will re-test and at least we now have this batch as a baseline.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Professional Review

I work in subsidized housing. Once a year we are audited by a state agency. It is usually about as much fun as dental surgery with no novacaine.  Veeeeery small errors can and will be found.  Out of the hundreds of tenant files I deal with I guarantee they will find one where I forgot to date a form for instance.  It will be written up.  Usually there are about 4 errors found.  Which means we always score well.  But I stress about it.

After all, an auditor has to prove not just my competance but in a sense, prove the need for their auditing skills.  So like the teacher that never gives 100 on a test, an auditor must find a mistake. I get that.  The company I work for gets that.  The company I work for also provides an excellent support team that come out to our site when audits happen.  They help explain the company procedure in auditor speak. So things that are sometimes initially perceived as errors are found not to be errors after all.  I am sort of the "good little soldier."  I know what to do and do my darndest to do it well. But I don't necessarily know all the back story of why that is done that way.  So I treasure the support that my company offers.  And in a weird waya it makes the audits nearly pleasurable as although I am in phone contact with these people often, we rarely have as much time to chat and catch up as one does during audits.  There tend to be long hours while the auditors comb the files and you wait around for their questions.  These pauses are good for conversation!

But although the audit results were really good, this was a very bittersweet audit.  My company is being sold.  It is pretty definate that by next week, or the first of February at the latest, I will have new bosses.  This kind of hit all of us as we were together in my office today.  My regional manager was originally employed at my site. She trained me in my earliest duties back in 1978.  One of our other company higher ups is related to her and I have known her for many years as well. They trust my character and my honesty.  I trust them to have my back and not to offer me up in sacrifice on the altar of the corporate world.  And for more than 30 years we have kept that faith with each other.

Working for a new company will be exciting.  I am optimistic that there will be new challenges and interesting things to learn.  I am also somewhat apprehensive.  The handbook we were issued  for our new employers even dictates the length of our skirts.  And while I can buy new skirts, what I can't buy is trust.  I can prove myself, but in a good working relationship there is a level of reciprocity.  I'll know what that is by this time next year, when the audit comes due.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Emailing with Jane

So Jane emailed me at work today about how great last night's phone call  She had also  forgotten to tell us  that there will be a student assembly one evening in April and she was hoping it would be possible for one or more of us to attend.

She also said that she has been in contact with Fiona's cousin and they have spoken about Fiona's grandmother ( who is deceased but was very much beloved by Fiona)  but not discussed Fiona and Rob's sister Crystal or their first mom.  Jane feels it is coming time to broach these topics and wanted my opinion on how best to do this. Um, say what?  I just about choked on my morning coffee. Color me unqualified here people! My degree is in business admin and that so doesn't apply.

So I thought about things for a while and I wrote back that although I know the hard part about talking about Crystal is that she was adopted by family (the cousin who is now in contact with Fiona and Jane.  However she doesn't live with this cousin as things didn't go according to plan and she lives with another family member geographically very far from all of us) However, Fiona seems open and happy about a relationship with her cousin and not resentful of the fact that she was not part of that adoption plan.  The two girls are barely 11 months apart, there are a lot of good memories that Fiona has of them together, so I weighed in on starting with that relationship.

Her first mom is a harder situation as she now lives geographically close to Fiona and she has another child around our Lissa's age that she is parenting.  When D found out about this he was extremely upset.  I confess that I have not even begun to wrap my head around how to talk with Rob about this. I see this part of the family history as being infinitely more painful and challenging to process for Fiona.  Fi often spoke to me of her anger with her mom for the fact that she had so many children when it was clear that she was having trouble caring for them.  Fiona also felt for a long time (and may still) that she herself was to blame because as the eldest child she should have somehow kept the family unit together. My sense from my conversation with the cousin is that their mom is still distant with her own extended family although she lives fairly near to them. There is not a lot of visiting or communication between them. So I attempted to write that all out coherantly and sent my .02 off to Jane.

In the spring there will be an arts and entertainment night at the Great School in the City.  My goal is for our entire family to go.  Last year, Kirsty went alone.  That would normally be fine again this year actually as the kids and I visit Fiona so regularly. But Jane also hopes to have Fiona's cousin and her daughter there as well.  There was a really really BIG argument between the cousin and Kirsty back when we first became Rob's parents.  Truly hateful things were said by the cousin who was singularly unprepared for two white women becoming the mom's of her little cousin.

But I believe that people can and do change.  While I doubt that cousin and K and I will ever become super close, I think she has grown and matured a lot.  She and I have exchanged some decent emails and IM's on FB.  I just keep reaching out because while slammed doors sting, the thought that they could be opened for my son is important enough that I just keep trying. Also I tried with my persistance to let the cousin know that we had remained very involved in Fiona's life even though the adoption plan was dissolved.  That she was loved by us and would never ever be considered not our daughter though legally we understand that it is not so.

 K has a harder time not referencing the past history with cousin N.  When I have shared with her the maturity I see when I speak to cousin N I get a look of disbelief.  To put it mildly, a look of disbelief. 

So I don't think K alone is the perfect emmisary for a joint family gathering, much as I love my wife.  However she would have to drive as there is not a way I would even consider trying to drive there myself.  So we will see how this all plays out. It is a few months off and I did explain to Jane that I have to see what happens at work. My company is being sold this month and I am not sure how time off and all will be impacted.  The timing of the event would require some of that so we will see what happens but I really really hope we can do it.  Not only do i not bear cousin N ill will, but I think it has the potentiality for being very healing for Fiona.  For her to actually see that two very different facets of her family can come together in warmth and love and be present with her should alleviate any lingering concerns in her mind about loyalties.

Love is in the air

Sometimes my mom can be really cute and funny.  She was married to her second husband for over 20 yrs and he passed away more than a  year ago.  The last years of his life were filled with lots of care taking and my mom was devoted and diligent. There was a 20 year gap between their ages so while he was in his 90's when he passed, Mom is only in her 70's.

This year she started seeing a fellow from the church she attends. They have been doing "date" stuff, going to movies, dinner out and dancing etc.  He had her to his place and cooked for her, she had him to hers and (poor man) she cooked for him. They are going away over Valentines weekend to a really cool hotel.   Anyway, I think it is great.  I can see in my moms daily emails to me her great joy in life.  I can hear it in her voice when we talk on the phone.  So what is not to like about that?

Well I had to spend a solid month convincing her that I was really okay with this.  Yup, a solid month.  I am not sure why.  I was never upset when she met and married husband number 2.  In fact, I was an adult at that point in my own relationship and raising a young child.  But I think I managed to finally convince her that I am okay with this.

She has finally decided she will bring G down to meet us this spring. It is sort of a reverse thing of the kids bringing their date home to meet the parents and it just cracks me up.  What can I say? I have a warped sense of humor.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Marking a Passage

I've been shopping for one of my residents that lives where I work for a while now.  The kids have become friends with Mr. D. too.  Undeterred by the oxygen line snaking through his apartment, or his somewhat quirky nature, they would smile and chat with him while I unloaded his groceries and explained what I had chosen for him at the market that week. As the weeks passed, I learned his "favorites".  I think he had even forgotten he had favorites because his illness had confined his choices to the local 7/11 type market until I began shopping for him. Sometimes I would throw in a few of the cookies we had made here at the house, telling him he was helping my waist line by taking them. (this is not a lie, that is a help!!)

This Saturday when I did his shopping I knew I could not get there till Sunday to deliver the groceries because of the party at our house.  He was fine with that.  I tried calling several times on Sunday and there was no answer.  I was marginally concerned.  I brought the food with me to work today and tried calling him from the office.  There was no answer.  Now I was  really concerned but one of my staff said they saw him out walking on Saturday so I convinced myself he must have gone to an appointment.  Then the hospital called my office.  He had passed away Sunday  night.  The hospital called us because they could not locate the next of kin.

We gave them the number we had for his sister.  They said that they had that number but no one was answering.  We said we didn't know what else to do right then as we had no other number. The hospital had the nerve to say and this is sadly a quote:  "Well that is no help and now we are stuck with him."

My coworker who had answered the phone said that Mr. D was a really nice man and the jerk from the hospital backed down.  By the time I got  home tonite his sister had been located. But passings should be marked by more than being an inconvenience to hospital staff so this is my marking the passing of Mr. D.

He loved to share a joke, or something he heard on the TV or the radio.
He had wonderful memories of his mother who had predeceased him.
He was so very proud of a nephew who lives far away and always shared the boys athletic accomplishments with us when he heard of them.
He knew he had made mistakes in life and was willing to acknowledge them.
He was honest to a fault.
He had a very sweet way of paying back when help was offered--bringing up a pen set or a calendar for me  or a lighter for my coworker.
He loved all kinds of music, especially classical that he heard on the local public radio station.
He will be missed.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pranking the Parents

I love seeing Rob find ways to play pranks on us.  K calls it "tweeking the parents" and it may be that too.  But it cracks me up.  Here is the most recent example:

Last evening after the socializing was over, I went into our work room and started watching football while I did some piece work.  I couldn't figure out why there was NO commentary on the station.  You could hear crowd noise, and you could hear the refs, but you didn't have any talking heads dissecting plays.  I thought it was weird cause this was a playoff game, but didn't do much about it. Rob was sitting quietly in the room reading his new Skulduggery Pleasant book and glancing up at the TV from time to time.  I didn't think much about that either.   It would be hard to choose which he loves more; football or that particular series of books, so I figured he was combining the best of both.

Playoff game number one finishes.  Playoff game number 2 starts.  This time there are talking heads. . . and they start talking in Spanish!  All the ads are in English, all the commentary continues to be en espanol.  Doesn't bother me actually as I can understand what they are saying. However, Kirsty doesn't speak Spanish and is getting annoyed.  She goes to the living room and checks the tv in there and comes back and reports that they speak English in the living room.  She turns the TV on and off.  Rob leaves the room suddenly to take a shower.

She fiddles around with the remote doing weird stuff and now I am getting annoyed because I am missing plays while she does the fiddling.  So she gets on the phone to call the cable provider.  She is on hold for a looooong time.  About the time she gets a real person, Rob comes out of the shower, sees her on the phone and reaches over and grabs the remote. Goes to something called settings and clicks something that makes the spanish go away.  Then he laughs hysterically.  So do I.  I wonder if he and Chet had bets on how long it would take the parents to figure this out? An added plus was that he fessed up right away that he did it, which allowed me to just revel in the humor of it.

Slothful Sunday!

I almost always go to church! Not because I believe that I must and most definately not because I believe that my presence there guarantees my place in a lovely hereafter.  My religion can easily and is often practiced in solitude, or in the warmth of my family community. 

Rather I go to church to challenge my mind and to offer my kids a chance to learn and grow, and for their strong friendships there to be nurtured.  But today, I wimped out.

Yesterday we had the surprise party here for Lynne. That meant that my usual Saturday chores did not get done.  I did the grocery shopping but have not yet brought D. his groceries.  I dropped off the library books that were due but didn't have time yet to bring the kids to get their books for the week.  I have not cleaned the bathroom. I have a couple batches of pumpkin cookies with penuche frosting that I promised I would make with the leftover pumpkin from a supper we had a couple nights ago.  I promised to make a raspberry mousse.  And of course, I had to take in the penguins on their tomato stakes and store them properly in the garden shed.

And did I mention that it is COLD here?  Not surprising in New England. But yesterday when I was shopping it was minus 2.  Minus 2 should only happen for people who want to live in the Arctic.  Me, I don't want to live in the arctic.  And we are entering the time of year when the unremitting cold begins to sap my physical energies.  I find myself  pushing to do things that I normally do without ever a thought.  Things like getting out of bed at 5:30 for instance.  Getting dressed.  (my house is not warm!!) So having accomplished those first two arduous tasks of the day, I think that I was justified in cutting myself some theological slack today.  Plus there is football at 4:15 so I have to have all my chores done by then!  LOL

Saturday, January 15, 2011

March of the Penguins!

 50 happy penguins "marched down our hedge to honor Auntie Lynne's 50th birthday!  The 50th penguin proclamined why they were marching. LOL
 The kids helped make smaller versions of the signage penguins into place markers.
 A shot of part of the centerpiece.  I was in a hurry and didn't realize i missed most of the stuff on the table!  Oh well, it was very cute.
And the cupcake tower.  The blue frosted cupcakes had red velvet cake and were topped with penguins.  The white frosted ones were double vanilla and had snow flakes.  Gorgeous paper snowflakes also floated through our dining room.  Rob made them, he is amazing at them.

It was a great party and Lynne was really really pleased and surprised.  The kids did awesomely well. It was also Yule with K's side of the family and the kids got a really amazing drum set from indulgent aunts and uncle.  Sadly it is electronic and does not work.  Uncle Brian was really upset that he had gotten them this and spent an hour setting it up and it didn't work.  I was so proud of the kids.  Rob of course at 14 could be counted on to take it in stride.  KC said it was so cool to have "real" drums and he didn't mind waiting a while longer till thenew part came.  Lissa just sat down and hammered on them without them working and showed that imagination is truly the best gift of all.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

More on Dee

In some cases with my adoptive kids I have not had much information provided.  In other cases, I got a lot of info that came "accidently."  For instance, for both KC and Lissa I got information packets from the hospital that they were born in. It had lots of family history info and also the addresses of their parents at that time. I know I wasn't supposed to get it, but I didn't ask for it. So I looked at it as good karma for the time that if they want to search.  I have saved the packets and it at least gives a good launching place.

When I asked Jane about Dee's mailing addy, she said she couldn't give it, but she would supply his social worker info.  She would also email the social worker introducing me and copy me.  Now I don't know if she meant to do this but what she did was use an email that had been going back and forth between Jane and a number of professionals involved in Dee's case.  It gave a  whole chronology of Dee's recent experiences, his address, his clinicians name and address, the whole spiel.  My wife thinks that it could be a case of Jane doing this "accidently on purpose" so that I have the back story.  I think it is more a function of the multi tasking that she was doing--emailing it while monitoring the phone call.  In any event I will not mail the card even though I technically have his address as I would not do anything to jeopardize the excellent working relationship I have with Jane.  At any rate, I have called his social worker and left a message, so hope I hear from her soon.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Neither sleet nor snow nor freezing rain. . .

Well snow at least!  Probably 10 or 15 inches of it at least and it is still coming down.  However (drum roll please!)  I still got to work on time at 8 a.m.  LOL  My boss could not believe I showed up .  He said I drive a roller skate. (my commuting car is a Scion).  The thing is a) I have numerous children to help shovel me out.  I fed them well, put shovels in their hands and pushed them out the door.  Also, b)  my car is  a standard and thus I have lots more control than if it was say, the van.

In other non-weather related news, we talked to Fiona last night.  She was extremely excited as she had just completed a letter to Dee.  I asked Jane if she was able to give me his mailing address and due to the issues surrounding how information is diseminated she was not.  She was able however to give me me his case workers name and number which was a huge help.  I have put in a call to her to see if I can have his mailing address.  His birthday is coming up and I want to send a card.  I always do a greeting via FB but I know he doesn't consistantly have access to that account.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Book Reviews

So I don't really read as much "big people" literature as I would like at this point in my life.  I do read more than I did 2  to 3 years ago, way less than I did 5 years ago. But life is a continuim.  I will have more time for this at other points in my life.

What I do read a lot of is kids books.  For obvious reasons. LOL  And I have decided that I don't need to apologize for that.  I am going to embrace it.  Because I love reading to and with my kids.  I love sharing the magic of the written (and spoken) word with them.  Each week, between my 4 kids we haul away about 30 books from our public library.  And they are generally all consumed within a week.  Yes, consumed.  Like the necessary food for the spirit that they are.

Of late, we have found some truly exciting reads.  So for no particular reason other than my love of these books I share some titles:

Skulduggery Pleasant   This is a middle school book series about a skeleton detective. (yes you read that correctly) and his young female human assistant.  They are very busy saving the world and the universe from all manner of evils.  It is witty and enjoyable to read even if you are an adult.  There are 4 books in the series.  We just ordered book 4 tonite on line through Amazon as Barnes and Noble did not have it and none of the libraries that we have borrowing rights to had a copy.

The Rangers Apprentice Series  Another good middle school and up series.  Rob and I read these aloud at night and are eagerly awaiting the next book.  The author lives in Australia.  He has a special place in my heart because as a homeschool project I had Rob write to him a few years ago and explain what he liked about the books.  John Flannagan wrote back!  Rob still has the letter. The series is about an orphaned boy in a medievil-ish sort of time who learns to be a Ranger.  Rangers are sort of the king's "special forces" and they help out in all sorts of escapades through out the kingdom of Aruleun and beyond. I loved that the book inadvertantly brought home that people who love you are not always related by blood and the idea of working hard to become good at something that you really believed in.

The Chiru of Tibet  Until a couple nights ago I don't think I knew about the Chiru. They are amazing creatures that live (duh) in Tibet. Their fur is extremely warm, but in order to get the fur the chiru must be killed. They can not be shorn like sheep because Tibet is so cold they would die if you shaved them.  This is the true story of a man's effort to document the secret breeding grounds that the chiru have visited for ages so that this could become a protected area. There is a beautiful rhythm to the language used in the story and there are pictures in the back of the real people involved.  Real is very exciting to 6 year old boys!

The Art and Science of a snowflake  Here in our corner of New England we haven't really had a big snow yet.  (I think that will change soon) But snowflakes have always fascinated us all.  My kids make paper snowflakes in such quantities that you usually can't see out our windows in winter because of the white lacey beauties that adorn them.  This book is written by a scientist who takes pictures of actual snowflakes through a microscope.  The pictures are truly stunning, especially when he puts colored lights behind them and takes a shot.  There are clear explanations of the actual ways that snowflakes develop.  I don't think KC got all of that data, but he understood enough to be entranced.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dentists and Shameless Parental Bribery

I admit it.  Having multiple children did it.  Where I would with only one child, feel I had an obligation to take that moral high road and help my child see each situation clearly. . . well let us say that with 4 children at home themoral hight road could just get covered with weeds and lost forever before we got everyone seeing their respective situations clearly.  Enter:  The Bribe! 

Bribes are only useful in my experience if one saves them for Really Important Stuff.  Like today.  KC had to have a tooth filled.  My two  younger children have been gifted genetically with poor teeth.  I sigh.  My dentist smiles.  He is probably picking out retirement condos in Maui and figuring out how many years he will take care of KC and Lissa's teeth to get there.  But I digress.

KC is petrified of shots.  And this filling would require a shot of novicane.  Or whatever it is that they really use but we all still call it that.  He also really wanted me to be with him and that was not possible as I am preparing my office for a site audit and we are in the process of being sold.  So I brought out the big guns.

If he worked very hard at letting our nice dentist (and he IS a very nice, very gentle dentist) do his job and fill the tooth, then tonight we would go to Barnes and Noble.  This is akin to winning the lottery for my children. They adore the place.  Even if we don't get a book, they adore the place.  We sit and read. We look at the displays.  We search for favorite authors.  And we go to the cafe.  Where we get one humungous cookie that can easily be split four ways and bring it home to share amongst all of them.  A trip to Barnes and Noble is always an event.  And not something done often.  A trip out after supper as dusk was creeping over the horizon added additional cachet.  The tooth was filled.  There was no drama for the dentist to deal with.  And we had a lovely time at Barnes and Noble. 

Except that Rob discovered that they do not carry book 4 of the Skulduggery Pleasant series that he and I have been reading.  (he introduced me to the series via audio book while I was washing dishes one night and I was hooked)  We came home and I looked and found it on Amazon!  Go figure.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Project Penguin

We are celebrating Christmas (yes, again people!) on Saturday.  My in laws always come after the fact.  It is easier and actually I sort of like the extending out the fun factor.  Except for last year when weather and illness, and my BIL's band gigs prevented us from gathering together till Valentines Day.  It was slightly surreal to spend the day opening Christmas gifts and that evening make valentine heart favors out of old candy canes! LOL  So this year, if we pull it off on Saturday, it is definately a step up in the date department.

The other thing is that we are sort of surprising my SIL with a 50th birthday party.  She actually has her birthday about a week to 10 days later but I figure it is close enough.  And I figure the surprise factor will be there because it isn't her actual "day."

Lynne has always been big on the black balloon thing for milestone birthdays.  K and I not so much. I truly don't see any birthday as "over the hill" and all such days to be celebrated and enjoyed.  BUT I want the celebration to have what Lynne wants in order for her to feel properly feted and  honored.  So being the queen of party planning, I have come up with a plan.  I present:  Project Penguin!

You know how people often put a flock of flamingos on their lawn when someone turns 50?  Usually with a big sign that says something like Nifty Swifty, Sue is 50 or some equally clever rhyme along those lines.  (Please tell me people do this in other communities than mine! LOL  I just realized as I wrote this that plastic  pink flamingos were originally manufactured in the city I live in and this may not exactly be a cultural norm in the wider world!)  But Lynne grew up here so it is part of her cultural background. 

But it is winter.  And I am frugal.  I am not buying 50 pink plastic flamingos for my sister in law no matter how much I love her.  So we found a cute picture of a penguin in an on line coloring book and printed it off on our computer. We are taking it to a copy center and having 50 printed.  My 14 y/o son will have the joyous task of laminating these for us and we will attach them to thin dowels.  There is a hedge that runs the length of my home and the penguins will "march" down the hedge.  The last penguin will carry a sign that says " Hooray! this bird is 50!"  It also leaves off her name as I always wonder when I see those signs if the person who had the party truly wanted that info out there for the wider viewing audience.

So the penguins give us a bit of black.  Inside in our dining room we will have black, silver and shiny blue balloons.  Think icy blue looking.  My kids love to be in charge of the balloon gig.  We will make paper snowflakes and hang them around the room too.  When one has the misfortune to be borne in January one ought to find ways to celebrate the beauty of winter. ( I should know, my actual birthday is also in January but I never celebrate it then!) We will have placecards that have snowflakes stamped on them, or possibly penguins. The jury is out on them, but there will be decorative place cards.  I am still thinking about the centerpiece for the dining room table.  My kids have a game with penguins that are supposed to balance on something and I am thinking of borrowing the penguins from the game and making a snow scene that they are part of and running that down the center of our table.

Lynne has been working hard on a weight loss regimen but I know she  will expect and deserve some kind of festive sweet.  So instead of cake we are going to do cupcakes, some of which will be topped with tiny sugar penguins and some with tiny sugar snowflakes.  Penguin cupcakes will be made of red velvet cake.  Snowflake ones of a white cake recipe that two of my kids prefer.  It will be fun.  I'll try to remember to take some pictures as Project Penguin evolves!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Los Reyes

As a Unitarian Universalist pagan I try hard for my kids to understand and respect the sources that our faith draws from (Christianity, Islam, Hindu, Judaism, etc)  Thus, although we do not celebrate Christmas with a nativity or creche scene, my kids are familiar with the birth story of Jesus.  To further complicate matters, we celebrate 3 Kings Day in our house. We are not latino but KC's one and only day care lady was.  Abuelita Maria (and I think Dora the Explorer) introduced El dia de los reyes into our life.  Since I have no qualms about celebrating as long as the back story is understood and respected, we do 3 Kings. 

We had to do our family celebration late because Kirsty had worked all week but was not working Friday.  So we took the day before to make crowns, find our cake recipe etc.  Last night at the celebration KC was explaining the story behind 3 Kings.  "It was because it was such a long trip to see baby Jesus.  And they were rich cuz they were kings.  They brought GOLD, FRANKENSTEIN and MIRTH!"  OK, so maybe I have a little work to do.  On the other hand, I don't know about Frankenstein but a gift of mirth is not such a bad thing.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Lissa's hair

I haven't written much about Lissa's hair in the past few months.  We seem, with my singular lack of facility with corn rowing, to have a good system.  We do a "protective" style of small to medium braids for about 3 to 3 1/2 weeks. Sometimes with beads, then we take it out and I do simpler styles that are changed up weekly for a couple weeks.  Typically twists, french braids, piggy back braids (large) and puffs. 

What I do find I spend the most time thinking about lately is what I call the "transition" stage. For instance, she had about 30 little braids in her hair in December with festive colored beads.  It took about 6 hours with lots of play breaks, for Kirsty to do the style and it lasted beautifully. (when you consider that Lissa is still very much one who scrubs her head on everything and also studies gymnastics, it amazes me when ANYTHING lasts!)  lol 

Anyway, when it came time to get rid of the tiny braids, I knew I would have to do it in stages. This is something that is very different with black hair than with my limp, fine caucasian hair.  I don't have so much hair that I need to transition anything.  I just can do it all quickly and easily.  Or if not easily, quickly.  But Lissa's hair is wonderfully thick and tightly tightly coiled.  I am sure if she was older I could have done it all at once, but even I am too eager to move around to envision that.  So thus, "transition styles."

  First I just took out all the beads. That was one night (and i got bonus points cause I put them all away in their appropriate storage gizmo the same night too!)  Then I super conditioned the braids, gave her a shower, put on her sleep cap and called it a night. The next day they went nicely into a low pony in the back of her head that I secured with a headband used like a scrunchie.

The next night I began the process of taking out the braids.  I could do this a lot quicker I am sure, but I take extreme care to cause minimal "ouchies" while I work.  I would rather go more slowly and not have my daughter dread a hair session.  I found that because I hadto do this at night when she is not at her most patient, I could at a maximum get 3 to 4 braids loosened, conditioned and combed out.  So I developed a series of transition styles to keep the princess looking appropriately diva gorgeous  as we went through the week.  But did I remember to take pictures as I went along?  Nope, I did not.

Day 1.  Left all the tiny braids in the back and part of one side and all of the left side.  Took out enough braids to make a nice fat side twist and used lots of multi colored terry stretch bands on it.

Day 2.  Made another fat twist on the other side of her head the same way.

Day 3.  Made a second twist on the right and then twisted it together with the first fat twist.  Again, lots of terry stretchies for color and hold.  This looks super cute and had the added benefit of keeping her twists away from her face.  Lissa hates hair in her face.

Day 4.  Made the other side match the right side.

We are now at the point where I only need to deal with the back. But for gymnastics tomorrow the hair will stay nicely out of her face and I can gather the mini back braids into a low pony with a ribbon and she will still look super cute. By the weekend I will be able to get all the mini braids out because I will be able to work on this at times of the day when she is more amenable to sitting.

I have so many styles always swirling in my head that I want to try on her.  But I have to mostly go with something relatively tried and true because at this age, if I mess up and have to start over--well, it is just not a good thing.  But you know, she's only 4!  I think I have a lot of years yet to try out lots of styles.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Practicing Restraint

I have read some shocking stuff about "therepeutic restraints" of late.  I confess I hadn't been thinking about that much.  I am lucky that Fiona's placements have not in the past 10 years been places that typically have any sort of physical restraint.  If anything is truly uncontrolled the police are actually called and the youth is transported to the hospital.  As is often the case, they typically stablize in the ER and then go back to school.  The school is okay with that too.  They don't want placement in the hospital if there is not a need, but this is just how they handle it when things get scary. So I am not too concerned for physical things happening when she is out of control.

But it made me think of how we were instructed to do holds on Chet at home when he was young.  From about age 3 to about age 7, we were told that when he was wildly physically out of control (which happened a fair bit) we were to hold him.  Intellectually it made sense to a first time parent with a child who acted in ways that I did not understand at all.  Holding him would stop the sensory overload, would give him a moment to breathe and to listen and process.

Except the reality was just the opposite.  The holding made him feel less in control and as time went by he would fight them harder.  We explained that.  We were told to "graduate" from something called a basket hold to something similar but also pinning his feet.  I can't now remember exactly how we were supposed to do it.  But when we did that, he learned to bang with his head while he growled and fought.

It  It was a horrible place to be in.  As a parent, many of us feel that at some level our kids need to know that we are "in charge."  That is obviously a loose term that is interpreted in many different ways in many different families.   Stopping the holds, even though they were not working felt like we were saying at some level that we were not in charge.  But it was clear that if we continued someone (and truthfully it was likely to have been my wife) would have been hurt.  This was clear.  My son has always been strong, particularly when he was raging.

We consulted another professional.  They recommended putting nails in a board in our yard so he could go hit them when he was angry.  Except that when he raged he would not stay outside.  When my wife tried to make him stay outside, his perception, so skewed by rage and autism was that she was throwing him out of the house.  So much for plan B.  That was probably around the time that I sort of gave up on professionals too.  LOL

We were also lucky at the time that we lived just the 3 of us in a very large house.  So we could escort him to his own space and leave him there until the storms passed.  And despite my wife and others thinking that we were "giving in" that is what we did.  My wife agreed to step back from the situations when he became angry and to let me take the point position.  He has never been as likely to be physically agressive with me and this was safer all around.  

But reading the articles on line, I think of the "what ifs." What if, in our quest to prove to Chet that we were his parents and were supposed to be listened to and all that, that we had continued.  Would we all be here today, unharmed?  Would we be the healthy unit that we by and large are today?  I wonder. If life gave "do overs," I'd want one for this.  It is a parenting regret that I ever for a minute believed that this was helping my son. 

Looking back at the hold stuff, I can see the inhumanity of it.  It isn't soothing.  It is controlling.  People receive and accept comfort in different ways.  Chet needs to burrow under heavy blankets and stop the flooding with quiet.  Fiona needs quiet space.  Rob needs music.  KC wants cuddling.  Lissa wants to be near you but not talk about what she is angry about until later. It can be hard, particularly in a large family to remember everyone's specific needs in a charged situation, but that is my job as a parent.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Not only is my employment life changing at some point in this month,  (our site will be owned by a new company by month's end)  but for the past 2 weeks Kirsty has been working from 3 to 7:30 in our clubhouse.  She is covering the shift usually worked by our clubhouse director. (that spectacularly lucky woman is visiting with family in the Caribbean.  I am insanely jealous. LOL) 

What that has meant is that our usual family routine has been upended more or less the past couple of weeks.  The first week I had a bit of time off so it was less noticable.  The kids only had to spend time at the clubhouse on two days. This week it will have been 4 days. 

It is not a long time.  I leave work at 4.  But it is a change.  And of course it isn't the only change, because we all come home and Mom stays there.  We are a family who almost never have a meal with someone missing.  So this too feels odd to us.  She is not here when the littles go to bed.  This felt weird to both of them.  Lissa adapted more readily.  KC spent a few nights trying to stay up.  Spent a night in my bed because he made himself all anxious and unhappy at his bed time.  By now, with only a day of this left, they are pretty well used to things.

In the grand scheme of things, none of this was calamitous, or even particularly difficult.  K and I are both good planners. She has had supper together and in a crock pot or on the back of the stove, every single night. So we have eaten at almost the exactly same time despite this shift.  But the fact that the kids did have a bit of a challenge with all this points out the obvious.  Yes, kids are resilient.  By week 2 they had pretty much embraced the new normal for us.  But they had issues adjusting.  How much harder would it have been if the situation was more earth shaking?  That is why after 9 years one of my children still has some issues that pop up.  He's been through earth shaking changes and a small bit of him is always waiting for something big on the Richter scale of life to happen again.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The perils of honesty

As an inherantly honest person, it never fails to astound me when people lie.  And people who can lie spectacularly can usually totally snow me. Because, well, I just wouldn't think of lying. So I believe them.  In my job, this is not always a great quality.  The plus side is that those people who made poor choices in the past--well they get that fresh start with me.  The down side is that every so often I get  kicked and look pretty darn stupid.

Like the year that an elderly resident told me she was returning to her homeland for a visit.  I helped line up security to watch her apartment in her absence, reminded her about the heat settings, checked to see if her mail had been taken care of . . . only to find out that she was actually a guest of the commonwealth for 90 days.  Seriously, you say "homeland" when you mean the pokey???? And you didn't think about the return address on the envelope when you mailed something to me?

That is actually funny to me now.  Then, not so much.  Today I had a somewhat similar but more tragic situation.  Tragic because the lying to me by the tenant's family was unnecessary.  I would have helped not judged.  People assume that a landlord will take a hard tack always and that isn't the case, at least where I work.  But my belief is that what you do will come back to you three fold.  Well, those that lied, got lied to by their own family member.  They are now devastated and can not believe that the person that they fabricated this ruse for didn't tell them about the life growing  inside her.  I just worry for the life that child will face.  I see what drugs and alcohol do. Truly, it makes me cry.

Fiona calls

Fiona called tonight.  She did not call last week and I was worried because I did not hear from Jane, nor did she respond to my email. Despite vaunting my Pollyanna outlook, with Fiona I am more likely to start fretting.  Too often it hasn't just been a staff member absent or forgetting to help place the call.  Too often it has been hospitalizations, arrests and worry about self harm.

Thankfully, it was NONE of those.  The call was missed last week because the storm delayed Jane's return flight and she was not there to place the call.  Floor staff, probably busy to the max, forgot or did not know. (note:  I do not have a call number so it isn't like I can call in when she doesn't.)

Fiona had a great Christmas.  I think her birthday was downplayed but that is okay because we were there a couple days before and made a great big deal out of it.  She loved her Hannah Montana lamp and the porcelain doll she had asked for.  In fact, she said she loved everything we got her. 

The school has changed their policy on how the students attain levels and I think the new system will work better for Fi.  The higher your "level" the more autonomy and privileges you have.  The trouble for Fiona is that in most placements this is decided on a weekly aggregate of behavior.  For someone with poor memory, a difficult time with cause and effect, and an only newly emerging sense of time, this has always been tough.  This is the first time in her life that she has begun to grasp the concept of a calendar, so saying good behavior for a week gets an off campus shopping trip  was not something that had impact.

Must be a lot of kids there like Fiona, because now they achieve their levels daily.  I assume they start at a high level and it goes down according to behavior issues but I am not sure.  At any rate, with the new system she has been level 4 several times.  I think with this type of system she can see more readily that if she does X she gets to do Y by herself. 

KC could not wait to tell Fiona that he was wearing the outfit she gave him.  In truth he rarely takes it off.  I am surprised--it is a very tangible sign of his love for her, because the motif on the outfit is pirates. Pirates are not super high on his list of things as he tends to be my timid guy and pirates don't mix with timid all that well.  But he wears that skull and cross bone shirt and pants three times a week at LEAST! LOl

Lissa was joking with Fiona as well and Rob seemed more relaxed than he has been in a while.  He was also noodling on the computer while he talked and i could not decide if that was a good thing or a bad thing.  Kids multi task in that way a lot--but I have reservations. But for tonight I let it go.

At any rate, Jane and I need to kick around some potential dates for the next visit but it was a great start to the new year for Fiona and I feel so happy for us all.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Party in the USA!

I have yet more proof that I am immature.  Well, young at heart sounds better.  But immature is probably what is more honest. LOL 

Yesterday I exchanged the hoodie Chet gave me for Yule (sized 2X) for one that would actually fit.  (jr medium) I found a really pretty lavender one that will go with my Zumba clothes for my work out night.  I thought the zipper pull had a funny symbol on it but didn't think much of it at the time.  It fit, it was pretty. I bought it.

Today I decided to wear it to church with my funky mini skirt that will no longer be allowed at work because our new company's dress code says all skirts can be no more than 2 inches above the knee.  This is probably 3 inches above.  So I wore it with the funky skirt and a lavender top in a lighter shade than the hoodie and my fingerless gloves so my hands wouldn't freeze.

And when I went to put it on, I saw that inside the hoodie was the name of the clothing line. . . Miley Cyrus.

Seriously?  I didn't know Miley Cyrus HAD a clothing line.  But now I have to make sure that I never leave my hoodie inside out when I am hanging out with adults!  LOL 

Family donation Vote

It is important to me to teach kids about money.  As in saving for things they want or need. But also as in being empathetic, giving human beings who reach out to those who are not as fortunate.  I try to make sure that we model this in a number of ways, through service as well as through charitable donations.  But the way that seems to bring it home best to the kids is our family penny jar. 

Now each of the kids has their own piggy bank which they use for their immediate spending.  Sort of a place to park a modest amount of money that they want to bring with them on a field trip or when we go camping. They have passbook savings accounts where we put their allowances every Saturday morning.   This is their long term savings.  It is also where most of monetary gifts go that are over $5.00.  And then there is the family penny jar.

It was initially borne of my desire to have people stop fighting when one child found a coin on a walk and the other 3 did not.  And it solved a problem with one particular child who periodically had a bit of a "sticky fingers" thing going where money was concerned.  So the rule became that we as a family would put our small change after purchases (think fifty cents or less) and any money found on walks,hikes and playing at hte park, in the family money jar.  It has an auto count thingy at the top so they know how much they have in there.  At the end of the year, we have a family vote and decide where to send the money.  Last year they sent a flock of chickens to someone via Heifer Project.  I think that was around $30.00 or so.  This year we have saved $28.41 and they have chosen to send it to the ASPCA.  I love doing this because in addition to the saving and the giving there is also the discussion of where the money should go and why.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Challenge

OK, so I said I don't really often do resolutions and that is true.  Though because I am goal oriented, if I make one, I tend to work like the devil to achieve it.  But I thought I'd cut myself some slack this year. . . then my wife said "hey did you hear about the picture photo challenge thingy?"  Turns out I had, a year or so ago but it had faded from my thoughts. 

365 challenges you to take a picture a day for (gulp) a YEAR!  I jumped in before I had a chance to talk myself out of it.  I love photography and always have.  I have only got a digital point and shoot but it still seems like it would be fun.  So, I'm in.  Kirsty's in.  I wonder what the year in pictures will look like next December 31?

Saying Hi to Dee

So tonight I was on FB checking stuff and saw that Rob's brother Dee was on line.  Unlike October 30th, I actually calmly said hello on the IM and reminded him of who I was. LOL  He had a good holiday and I grabbed Rob and told him he could use my account to chat w/ him.  I know Dee does not see to have regular access to a computer so when ever I see him on, I try and say hello.  He's such a nice kid.  I wish we had more contact and have absolutely no idea how to facilitate that. I hate that he is back in foster care, that he got moved from where he was happy.  He seems to still be very involved in dance though and that is a plus as I know he really loves that.  Maybe 2011 will bring us all closer.

Happy New Year!

The first thing the kids wanted to do this morning was to see if our boats had sunk during the night so that their new year wishes would come true.  LOL  I am happy to report that every boat was consigned to the blue depths of the punch bowl and the flowers were floating rather beautifully on the top. 

Other than our Brazilian celebration New Years Eve was quiet here.  Rob and I watched a movie--The Other Guys, which was really funny.  Rob enjoys being the guy to pick the movie for us, and we both like Will Ferrell a lot.  I confess that I laughed so hard the year we went to see Elf that I was afraid they were going to throw me out of the movie theater.  So it was a great night and I was in bed before midnight.  Which is also good because today we finish de-Christmassing our house.  Yesterday we took down lots of the things but today we do the tree and organize the stuff in the attic. We have so many decorations (think 11 boxes of them!) that they are catalogued in the attic so we know what is in each box.  We should be done by 10 and then the day is ours for fun and family.

I am not one much for new years resolutions.  I do them some years and not others.  Always with very varying success rates.  This year, I don't feel so moved, so we will see.