Monday, April 25, 2011

Thinking about Traditions

May Baskets, 2011
I was reading a very good former foster kid blog recently and the author spoke of one of the many losses she faces--that of shared traditions. She has no memories of specific holiday happenings, special foods, or music or, well anything.  And of course, she is now an adult and can and I am sure will, make traditions of her own.

But it has to be harder starting from a totally blank slate.  People who read my blog know that I celebrate everything.  I think life needs to be celebrated and that by making lots of little things special in life, we have those good memories that help us walk through the darker times that inevitably happen.  The funny thing is though, that I don't recall my family being nearly as into holidays and celebrating as I have always been.  I was the one in the family who came up with an idea to create a "Christmas workshop" every Saturday in Advent for my sister and our friends. We got together and made crafts every Saturday in December for years.  Since I was 9 I think when I came up with this our initial efforts were a bit feeble. But they improved over time.  And as I think on this more, I think the first year we did it was the year my mom was in the hospital over Christmas and my grandmother was dying of cancer. To add to the mix, we lived in a new town and had not had time to really get to know anyone.  Somehow, I knew that we needed those times and so 4 of us (my sister and the 2 kids we had managed to meet) formed the initial Christmas cadre.

As an adult, most of my family's traditions don't resemble anything I really grew up with.  For instance, my mom was pretty rigid about what week in December the deorations went up.  In my house, I am happy to let Yule explode all over the place right after Thanksgiviing. LOL

And there are things we celebrate that the family of my childhood didn't.  Groundhog Day, Earth Day, St. Patricks Day, Derby Day . . .But there is one holiday that I celebrate that is directly tied to my past and done almost exactly as it was done when I was a child. And that is May baskets.

I don't make as many as my grandmother did, but I do make them the way she taught me when I was younger than KC and a bit older than Lissa.  We fill them with candy or cookies or flowers.  One is mailed to my mom who lives in another state and would be shattered not to receive one.  Others go to elder neighbors who smile with delight when they find the suprise on their step.  Another goes to a friend who also has a birthday on the first of May. 

This year I have felt a bit under the gun with the May baskets.  I leave in a day for a multi day course for my job and before I did that I needed to finish the piece work job here at home that we do nights to supplement my "real" job. But somehow the stars aligned, the job was completed and the baskets were made.  And a tradition continues.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Piano Recital

So I opened my FB last night and saw that I had an email from Robbie.  I opened it up and it said "J. (piano teacher) wants me to be in a piano recital June 12th."  I went out to the kitchen and hugged him and marked the day on the calendar.  It is huge for Rob to put himself out there with anything like that.  He is deep down so afraid of failure that he is often paralysed into inaction. 

For instance, he is really a gifted athlete. Can hammer baseballs 1/2 way across the field that we hang out at.  But he would worry so much about whether a ball was a good one to hit that he struck out all.the.time. when he was in Little League.  Finally his coach hollered "just swing at anything" and I think he got a home run that night.

I am reasonably sure that back in December Rob had been asked to be in a holiday concert by his teacher and had declined.  We met someone from the music school during our city's Holiday stroll who spoke like Rob and her son were performing the following day. Rob looked blank and I just let it ride.  I am not about pushing him with his music. I want him to explore it and to hopefully have an outlet for emotional expression and that seems to be working. So I am excited that he is willing to stretch his wings.  And June 12th, me and the tribe, my mom and her new beau will be cheering on Rob as he plays a selection by his fave group "The Fray."

Happy Easter!

The crew has hunt for baskets!  The crew has eaten honey bunny buns. They crew has dressed for church.  Look closely and you will see Blake next to Rob!  LOL

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pre Easter Fun

Today there was no dance class, but our day was filled with busy fun none the less.  First, a funny funny story (at least to me.)  We shop on Saturdays about 7:00 a.m.  It is crazy early but it works for us as our Saturdays are packed with stuff to do together.  And I feel safe letting Rob and KC go to an aisle on their own to get things we need when the store is nearly empty.  Well today with no dance class and KC sleeping till 6:30 we didn't shop till about 7:30 a.m.  We got to the store and were getting out of our car, Next to us was an elderly woman loading her car.  I have never seen her before. Clearly she has seen us.  She smiled when she saw us and said "my you are late today!"  ROFL

Got the shopping and errands done and then went to my job. The clubhouse was having a brunch and magic show. The kids had a blast.  The younger two were truly in awe of the magician. He let a lot of the kids try to figure out the tricks.  One was a bell that he would be able to ring and they couldn't.  Till he invited Rob to try. Rob had it figured out, so he and the magician were the only ones with "magic!" 

After the show we scooted home. I had put sweet bread dough to rise before we went to the show.  It was risen and then some, so the kids helped me make it into bunny shapes. This is a honey dough so they are "honey bunnies"  LOL  After that we colored Easter eggs.  Then I did the housework and went to do the ironing and found that our roof was leaking in our spare bedroom--the bedroom my mom will sleep in in 3 weeks when she comes down for KC's recital. Oh joy!  On the plus side, it had not been leaking long so I guess I can be glad that I was going to do the ironing in there and found it quickly.

Now the troops are abed, K and I have hidden the Easter baskets and laid out the eggs filled with clues. (Every kid has their own color eggs to look for.  Lissa's clues are digital pics of things in the house)  The other kids all have written ones)  I will finish my piece work soon and hit the hay myself.  I think small folk will waken with the dawn chorus in the morning!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Running on empty

I'm not much for old music--totally a top 40 kind of gal--but Jackson Browne's old song describes me lately!  Work is crazy busy and everytime I think I am tap dancing fast enough the dance gets a little faster.  The pollyanna part of me says that eventually all this is going to work out but in the mean time, sheesh it is getting exhausting.

Realistically April is just also a crazy month for us.  KC's birthday and Easter only a week later is a lot, even for a family as steeped in celebration as ours.  Added to things, my wife has had to work every afternoon this week. That meant that I was up the creek for E. Bunny shopping.  I don't put a lot in Easter baskets (I did 5 baskets for $40.00) but they all love to hunt for them.  At our house the bunny leaves clues to minimize the dawn mayhem.  So today I left work 30 minutes early and got the shopping done.  It is in the back of my car and when the kids get to bed, I'll off load and hide it.

We also did Lissa's  Easter hair. She chose a hairband this year with a big fabric flower on it, so I wanted a soft style that would look good with a band. I took out all the box braids and conditioned everything super deeply.  We made a lot of little french braids that went back to just her crown and then two strand twisted them the rest of the way. This gives lots of bounce and swing to the style and it is also a style that is play friendly.  Hopefully it will hold up the next 2 days and she will look stylin' for Easter.

Now off to make a cup of tea.  Maybe caffeine will have me dancing again!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Back Flips or should I say, flipping back!

A few weeks ago Coach A. approached me and wanted to bump Lissa up to the more advanced level of gym classes.  Actually this is the class that prepares for meets and I heard from another parent the night we went that they are expected to come to two sessions a week starting in the summer.  Kind of a red flag for me, as Lissa is only 4.  She is not really ready for that level of commitment and I am not sure that I want that level of stress on her little growing body either.  But I didn't really have to decide because Lissa did.  She did well at the class when we tried it. But she wasn't happy.  At almost exactly the hour mark she came to me and said "I all done now, I go home."  The class is actually 90 minutes at this level, something else I told Coach A. didn't seem tailored to a somewhat flighty 4  year old.  And when we were walking out of the gym, Lissa burst into tears and said she didn't want to go to that class again.  I tried to talk about it during the week and she was adament. She wants to be  with her friends. Almost all the other kids are older in this class, it didn't feel fun.

Well I am not trying to raise the next Nadia, or Mary Lou, it is supposed to be fun!  The next week I had to work late so she missed class.  The following week I brought her for her former class time and collared Coach A.  I expected she would be understanding and perhaps regretful.  I did not expect that she would be ticked off!  She pointed out how well Lissa had done. I agreed but said I was not going to make my daughter cry over gymnastics.  She said that this whole thing surprised her because she really thought Lissa needed more of a challenge. I said that might well be true but she also wanted to be with friends, and the new class was from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. which was a really hard time for my daughter. She typically goes to bed at 6:30 since she wakens with the robins dawn chorus. 

About then, Coach A. said that Lissa was somewhat "disruptive" in her old class.  I said I agreed and that I had been kind of surprised at the antics that she allowed to go on.  In truth, I don't think Lissa is the only disruptive child, but  unfortunately she seems to kind of have a "ringleader" personality.  Coach A. said she does not want to have the role of disciplinarian. I said that I respect that, though most coaches I have dealt with do have a component of the disciplinarian in them.  I have always said that if Lissa is disruptive that she has the option of sending her to me and choosing whether to let her return to class or not.  But that the bottom line is that she was not happy in the more advanced class and would not be attending it.  As a little aside, I have paid for her enrollment in the less advanced class through June way back in September, , so if she kicks me to the curb she owes me a refund! LOL

Coach kind of backpedaled a bit then.  I don't want to be mean.  And I likely will not sign Lissa up next year.  I like to expose kids to lots of different things unless they show a passionate interest in something.  Lissa was passionate about this for about a year and a half which is a pretty long time for a little kid.  But it might be time to back flip on to some new challenges!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ding Dong the Mouse is Dead, Mini Imelda and More!

A couple days ago, our cat Maui caught a mouse.  Unfortunately for us (and luckily for the mouse) he apparently experienced performance anxiety when all the family were there.  In his shock he dropped said mouse  in front of us and it escaped down a crack in the dining room floor.  I am not particularly squeamish about mice.  But it IS why we have a cat and Maui received  a stern talking to about his dereliction of duties.  Today, Mousie met his Maker.  The littles had to parade upstairs and view the body.  Very funny actually.

Then, readers may remember the less than stellar results I had buying Lissa shoes this weekend. A friend at church said that if I knew her size I could order from and just return any that did not fit well.  Made sense and I am really all about shop from home if you can.  One only needs to take 3 or 4 kids shopping at once to know why the internet is my friend. LOL  At any rate, sometime this weekend I actually had time to place an order for 4 pairs of shoes. One pair were sneaks that had velcro.  Tie shoes are all ready becoming a royal P.I.A. for Lissa and it will only get worse as the weather improves.  So I extravagently threw those in and then picked 3 pair of dress shoes.  Note to self:  For this to work the styles you offer to your child have to be sort of similar.  Or  you have to have a child who would wear anything and has no real style preference.  Do NOT buy one pair of glittery pink shoes, one smooth lilac patent leather shoes and one pair of brown suede.  At least don't do that and think anything but the brown suede are going back.  Mini Imelda, aka Lissa is in serious shoe love.  It is ridiculous and I am usually all about practical.  But I also know that she also hardly ever finds ONE pair of shoes that she both loves and that fits.  To hit the mother lode has just rocked her world. So for this one time, we are letting extravagence rule.

Then tonight Fiona called. She sounds so good.  She talked about how she is wanting to know more about her first mother, and her biological family.  Her cousin N is able to fill in a lot of those gaps for her and I am glad.  I said that I knew it could be hard not to know things about your family.  I don't know a lot about my dad's side of the family and I do not know where my father lives--only that he married three times and is now living with another woman. We had this really mature conversation about how families can separate and lose contact for many kinds of reasons and how hard it can feel when you don't know stuff.  I never realized till I adopted, that my father's choice to cut me from his life would ultimately prove so beneficial in my parenting.  If I had a real dad, I wouldn't have an inkling of what my kids feel.

  Jane also said that she and Fiona have decided to slow things down in their interactions with cousin N.  Cousin N lives much closer to the Great School than we do and I suspect that a flurry of visits have been perhaps more than Fional could process easily. Even if she WANTS it, it doesn't mean she is emotionally ready for it.  I am pleased that Jane is there to see that and that she found a way to help Fiona see this in a way that does not seem to be causing her any internal conflict.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Happy Birthday KC

 Behold!  The artist birthday cake!  Replete with marshmallow fondant (MANY thanks to a blog reader who suggested the recipe.  It tasted divine!) Gum paste and modeling chocolate were used to make the box of "crayons." The big "paint brush the kids made out of a squished up rice krispie treat covered with fondant and painted with food coloring gel.  There are sugar crayons on the cake and we made a pencil and paint tube from edibles as well.  Oh, and the palate!  It was pretty cool looking if I do say so myself.
 And here is the King for A day!  KC is finally 7.  In case you were wondering, he picked the hat!
 Lissa, ready to party!
 Chet preparing to have pizza at the party.
Rob is always up for parties and is a huge help in getting things ready!

So the morning was church  where Rob and the Youth Group sang with Joe Jencks.  KC sat through the whole service because a) he wanted to see his big brother up there singing and b) he adores Joe.  Lissa went to the kids programming which was a better option for a wiggly 4 year old.  We got home about 1 and had the pizza and the party.  The party was replete with "party games" chosen by KC.  A mini table ping pong game and finger football were lots of fun. Then we did a pinata. The games all happened after the gifts and the cake so that my poor tired wife could go take a nap. LOL  She fell asleep for 2 hours while we played party games.

Rob had to be back at church early for the concert with Joe Jencks so a friend picked him up.  The little kids and i followed later and got there a bit before it started at 7 p.m. To say it was a long night for KC and Lissa would be a great understatement. We did not get home till after 10 p.m.  Lissa usually goes to sleep at 6:30 so she was asleep in the car. KC was still awake.  It was so worth the effort though. First of all, I would have been there anyway--with the kids--because Rob was singing 3 songs with Joe Jencks and his band and the youth choir.  I have a really firm rule that one of the things families do is cheer each other on.  We are there for the good times and the tough times and it is easier to be there for the latter if you have celebrated the former together. The littles are used to being "cheerleaders" and I know it was important to Rob that we be there.  He would never come right out and ask as this is not something he ever does.  But when I asked if he wanted to sing in the concert, he asked if we would be there.  When I said yes, of course, that was when he agreed that he wanted to do it.

So anyway, KC also adores Joe Jencks music.  We have ever CD the guy has ever made and KC knows many of the songs by heart.  It is a little odd to have a  little kids who has songs about striking union workers and civil rights workers who lost their lives as their favorite play list, but that is what it is! LOL 

A friend of ours told Joe that it was KC's birthday and after the concert he came up to us specially and wished KC happy birthday and sang Happy Birthday to him.  I thought KC was going to melt in a puddle of excitement.  Despite the late hour, he had such a gigantic smile on his face.  It was the perfect end to a magical birthday.

And though they will be cranky today, they will all have special memories to carry forward.  Lissa waving like crazy at Rob while he was on stage.  KC's special song, amazing music, pretty good way to launch year 7!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chet's New Blog

So Chet has launched a new blog to review movies, books and TV shows.  He has been planning this for a few weeks. First I had to explain to him that he should not have a weird title for the blog because if he calls it "goth vampires" people interested in that will find out it is a book review on STNG and to put it mildly, be annoyed. LOL  It took a long time for him to get the correlation between what people typed into a search engine being representative of an actual interest as opposed to be a random set of words typed in to just see what would pop up.  Although it was a bit frustrating trying to explain, it was insightful in understanding a bit more the way his mind works.

Then I had to talk him out of a screen name that was something like 25 letters long.  I am his scribe for this endeavor you see. Chet has in his lifetime destroyed 4, count em 4 computers.  He even killed his laptop so badly that he had somehow deleted the hidden files the manufaturers put there to restore a computer.

Then I had to explain to him that he could not begin the blog with an entry that gave all our personal information on the internet.  Trust me, it was all there.

We went through all that and I scribed his first two entries for him.  I pressed the "publish" button and he literally turned to me and asked how many hits his blog had!  LOL  So anyone who wants to see what Chet thinks of the movie Donnie Darko can head on over to Chet's new blog to get the latest and greatest in media reviews!  LOL

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday Madness!

Our Saturdays are always busy, but when one is crazy enough to add shopping for Easter clothes into the mix, well a special brand of insanity is created!  We did our usual Saturday errands and dance class. We visited the library and then after that I said we should do the Easter duds deal.  The kids said they were too hungry and we should go home for lunch.  It was only quarter to 11.  I stopped at the local bread outlet and got all manner of non-nutritious snacks.  LOL  2 packs of donettes and a partial bag of cheetos later, we were shopping. 

Rob was up first.  He is in an odd growth place in that there is a full size difference between his torso and his lower body.  This makes wearing a suit, which is what he wanted to do,very challenging.  We settled on him wearing the pants that went with his outgrown suit as the pants still fit and getting the same suit one size larger so that the jacket fit him comfortably.  Then there was the choosing of the shirt.  Rob does love to take his time with his fashion but finally settled on a deep blue shirt with a red print tie.  Very dapper.

Next up was KC. He was speedier and fell in love with a set that consisted of pants, deep blue shirt, vest and a yellow and blue striped tie.  He decided he needed to be even nattier and added a stylish hat to the ensemble.

Meanwhile Lissa was tearing the boys department apart waiting patiently for her turn.  We found a really cute sleeveless pink dress with the requisite ribbons, bows and acoutrements that 4 year old girls simply MUST have. LOL   I found a coordinating headband, white sox with lace trim and a white cardigan in case it is cold. 

Chet has a nice shirt and pair of pants from last year that he can wear, so I am not getting him anything new this year.  As we walked past the womens dept I grabbed a dress.  Rob said no way.  I put it back. Who am i to argue with a fashionisto?  I chose instead a madras plaid skirt that he gave the thumbs up and 2 shirts a pink one and a white one.  I tried the stuff on when we got home and he said I have to wear the white one.  They actually both go with the colors in the skirt but I have no strong preference either way.

We check out and I am thinking longingly of going home and making lunch when Lissa makes that fateful statement:

"Ooma my shoes hurt my feet."  Oh now WHAT have I done to make the fates have my child's feet grow AGAIN????  I don't mind buying shoes as a general rule.  In fact if I ever do a geneology of my family tree I suspect I will find myself related to the famous Imelda Marcos because i do have a deep love of shoes.  But I have easy feet. They are medium width and medium size and all of the cheap shoes in America are made for feet like mine.

Lissa on the other hand has a very high arch and very narrow feet.  I have no luck getting her shoes at Sears where we were shopping so we went down the mall to the store where I was successful the last time around.  What I really need for Lissa is that sales clerk who measures, then says x, y and z run narrow and are good choices.  Let me get them for you. But nowadays we are a self service society in so many ways and this is NOT what you get.  You are lucky to get the feet measured and get waved to a general area of the store. 

So this part of the shopping took forever.  And of course KC then revealed that his shoes were tight as well and Rob mentioned that his sneaks were fraying on the top.  So I told the clerk it was a potential sale of 3 pair of sneakers and one pair of dress shoes for Elisabeth if she would stay there and fit my daughter.  Do the math, that is a  pretty good amount of money that i would have to drop.  Without blinking the clerk told me that she couldn't stay with me because she had to cover the whole store.  I said I was willing to wait. She said it wasn't going to happen.  We did manage to walk out with sneakers for all 3 kids but I could not find dress shoes that would stay on Lissa's feet when she walked.  If the length was right, they were too wide and none of them had straps that would help them to stay on her feet.  Sigh.  So I still need to try and solve that sometime in the very near future. Or stuff her feet into her old black patent leathers for that one day.  Sigh again.

Once home I made KC's cake for tomorrow and then a strawberry pie for dessert tonight.  I think I am looking forward to bed . . . 5 hours and counting!  LOL

Friday, April 15, 2011

Standing on the Threshold of 7!

 Tomorrow is the very last day that KC is 6.  As he put it tonight at bed "buh bye 6, and HELLO 7!"  LOL  Excited much?  This year he decided on a theme for his birthday that reflects one of his passions.  Art. Actually this kid loves all creative pursuits but has taken art lessons for the first time this year. He has loved learning about the styles of different artists and Picasso and VanGogh are his current favorites.  He wants his cake to reflect his love of art so it was only natural that the birthday mural depict our artiste at work.  It is hard to tell in this shot but there are all of us in the picture, hiding behind trees and bushes, I am a butterfly, K is a dragon, Lissa is a flower.  It is the kind of fantasmagorical art that he loves to create.  He helped paint some of the mural and create Lissa the fairy.
And he said that he needed to have a beret because "real" artists wear berets.  So he has one.  I don't know quite how I got lucky enough to have 5 wonderful kids.  They are all so very different and I love each of them so much.  There is an amazing sensitivity of spirit in KC.  Someone once said he is an "old soul," and they may be right.  Of all my kids, he is the one who speaks most of Fiona, who writes notes of love for no specific reason just when someone needs it--me, his Nana, or Fiona.  This is probably the most unusual birthday he will ever have--replete with lots of cake and the requisite presents,  but also with amazing music and the chance to attend his first "real" concert AND to watch big brother Rob with the youth choir perform at that event as well.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Locked out of my email

Technology has been kicking us to the curb lately.  Last night something  happened to our computer internet and it took my beloved wife forever to get it fixed with the carrier again.  Then t his a.m. my email won't let me in and won't recognize my password.  I have the same password I have always had so this is super weird.  It says I can't get a re-set password till 4/15  Which means I will have to call my mom today as she will freak out if she can't get ahold of me. We email twice a day usually.

And this is how you know you have had too much technology at work. . . I was looking through blog titles of folks I follow and I saw one called "Blackberry something or other"  I thought it was about a phone.  Duh it was a cooking blog that I enjoy.  But I have this digital leash aka a blackberry now and you can see what it is doing to my poor psyche!  LOL

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ignorance is Bliss?

I am really bad about one thing in my life.  That thing is Western Medicine.  I just have truly awful luck with it as a general rule. Don't get me wrong, I like my family MD. But typically anything done to me in the "accepted" manner does not work. Or it makes things worse.  The time I went for poison ivy and the cream I was given caused my whole leg to swell up and suppurate.  Gee that was SO much better than the itching! LOL The time I had strep throat and the antibiotic made me have such a migraine I could not lift my head from the pillow. So they switched it. Then I needed anti nausea meds. See what I mean? 

I am (knock wood) really lucky as a general rule and rarely take much more than aspirin or Excedrin migraine in my life.  My allergies are controlled with OTC's and I only take about 14 pills per year of those.  But three weeks ago I hurt my neck.  I have scoliosis so this is pretty easy for me to do.  But usually I know when I do it.  There is pretty significant discomfort involved or this weird "twang" feeling as it pops out.  This time, nothiing.  I just woke up one day and could not move my neck.  Actually I thought I had a migraine as   my head hurt and it took a few days to realize the source.

I guess the best case scenario would have been to visit the chiropractor but I haven't had time.  And I never go unless I know I can really relax the area involved because then I know they can manipulate me safely.  So I did something I have never done before.  I took mot*in for a few days.  Then I weaned myself off it because, as my eldest would tell you "those are LIVER KILLERS Ooma!" I got pretty used to walking around with a hand sort of rubbing the left side of my neck and life went on.

Yesterday I woke up and my right knee hurt.  This is seriously weird because my left knee is the knee I wrecked in high school. It aches all the time.  I won't have anything done to it and I am used to it. Better sore and strong than pain free and going out on me when I am hiking or carting kids.  But my right knee?  I have never had an issue.  Again, I had no incident I could point too, except that we have been playing outside a fair bit.  I run around a lot with the kids at the park, maybe I did something then.  I wear high heels.  Maybe that did something.  Who knows.  I wore flats and ignored it.

Now, if I have bored you all to tears, here is the amazing denouement:

I woke up today and nothing hurt. The knee was fine and my neck feels better than it has in like 3 weeks.  My personal hypothesis is that I somehow knocked my own self back into alignment and that is why I had the pain on the opposite side of my body for a day!  Go figure.

Counting up to 7

KC turns 7 on Sunday.  This blows my mind more than most of my kids milestone birthdays.  He was such a tiny infant, so fragile, that to see this self assured "big kid" emerging is mind blowing.  His birthday will be hectic and quite the event this year. 

We don't do a lot of "kid" parties because they are honestly cost prohibitive. But we are still all about celebrating.  This week the birthday mural which KC has helped design, will go up on our dining room wall.  And on Sunday we will party. 

KC loves music almost as much as art.  All kinds of music. (sadly I heard him singing Linkin Park 2 days ago)  From the Wiggles to top 40 to classics, and my beloved reggae, he is a music afficianado.  Our church often invites the musician Joe Jencks to do a Sunday service.  When KC heard Joe was going to be singing on his birthday he was convinced that Joe was coming just for him.  The fact that Joe also hails from Illinois adds extra cachet.  Joe is a folk singer who sings about issues of injustice. So KC had all ready opted to skip his children's religious ed class and stay in the service so he could hear Joe next Sunday.

Last night we found out that Robbie's Youth Choir has been invited to sing in a real concert with Joe and his band Brother Sun on that Sunday night. So after the birthday party we are returning to church for the concert.  KC now isn't sure what he is most excited about, going to a real concert or the fact that his big brother will be up there with Joe.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Surprising News!

Today I was on FB and happened to see that Rob's brother Dee was on line.  Rob had all ready left for choir but I instant messaged Dee to say hi.  He answered right back and I told him I had some great pics of Fiona at her arts night and would send some over to him.  He wrote back that he all ready saw them as he looked in cousin N's camera. . . because he lives with her now.

Don't get me wrong, I am so glad he is in a family instead of a "facility."  In my humble opinion this is not a kid who needs the kind of 24/7 assistance and monitoring that Fiona does.  But I was surprised as Cousin N did not mention any of this when we sat together and talked for a couple of hours on Thursday.

On the other hand, she might be worried that this will upset Rob.  It is another instance of a sibling being placed with a relative, where he was not. Or it could be that despite my mentioning in our emails that I tried to stay in touch with Dee that she didn't realize the veracity of the statement. Or it could be that she feels guilty about fighted for their sister Krystal and then sending her down south to live with other relatives.  Who knows.  I refuse to believe that this was intentionally hidden though and am proceeding personally with the outlook that we were all so caught up in Fiona's night that the time and opportunity didn't come up.

Dee seemed happy in the exchange though.  I said I could not believe how much cousin N's daughter has grown and he agreed and said he would definately keep in touch.  I sure hope so.  Sometimes I feel like I am trying to be a master weaver, trying to blend all the warps and wefts of our different relatives, our separate experiences and our shared experiences into a tapestry. Those who know me in real life, know I am not particularly gifted with fabric art so I have cause for worry here!  :-)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dreaming of those lazy hazy days of summer

OK this morning I have gotten the shopping done, banked at 2 banks, took care of the kids donation to the animal shelter, shopped for the food pantry, taken sleeping bag gear to the laundromat and retrieved same, done dance class and the library.  Fed the troops lunch and shooed them outdoors.  I find myself dreaming of quieter days.  I was thinking about summer which is somewhat lazier for me.  There is no dance class so our mornings start a little later.  There is not church on Sundays as regularly till fall. There is no youth group or youth choir.

To be sure there are other things, but I really look forward to them.  Gardening. Beaching. Camping. The kids and I have all ready booked our first campout in NH with friends.  It will be sooo much fun.  KC has been planning to hold a luau for his friends and we have scheduled that for the last Saturday in July.  It isn't anything elaborate.  Essentially a cookout with Hawaiin decorations and a slip and slide, a tie dye craft, and a limbo game.  We are hosting K's family's annual BBQ this year in August. That is more work but I love to entertain so that is fun.  There are so many simple things that I love in the summer.  Berry picking. Canning.  Fresh salsa. Veggies straight from the garden or the farmers market.Hiking.  Painting Lissa and my toenails. OK so maybe none of that qualifies as lazy hazy but it sure sounds like fun!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fiona's a Star!

 My daughter, hamming for the camera when we got to the Great School in the City!  She looks so shy doesn't she?  LOL  And the ring I brought her went perfectly with this outfit, which I thank the goddess for.  I had no clue what she was wearing!
 Looking pensive here and I love this shot.
And Rob, looking as relaxed as he was all night. And this was about the first 15 minutes or so.  I think he was very nervous about seeing his cousins again. It has been a long time.  Many many years.  I tried to initiate conversation about that before we went  and he made it pretty clear that he was "fine."  So I let it ride and will see if we have better luck with talking AFTER the visit. Cause he sure wasn't fine.  His posture was more tense and guarded than I have seen in years.  And his cousins were super nice and have really changed and become so much more kind and accepting.

Fiona rocked out her Lauryn Hill song and KC pronounced to one and all that his sister was the best!  I kept trying to temper that remark as truly every student did amazingly and you could see what a huge leap they were making getting up to sing.  Not an easy thing even  for the "normal" to contemplate.  So much harder with issues of trauma, brain injury, Tourettes, paralysis depression and more.  The issues these students face are all hard.  Listening to a parapalegic sing the song "Flying without Wings" about brought me to tears.  But many of the performers including my daughter did that to me several times.  She is a fighter.  She is sensitive. She is talented. She is fragile. She is my daughter.  I love her.  And tonight, she openly embraced me, called me her mom, introduced me to friends as such, even while introducing her cousins. There was no line.  We were family, encircling her with love and it was the best feeling in the world.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Great Phone Call

Fiona called tonight and she sounded great!  Happy, vivacious, no slow halting words.  No slurring.  Yes, a bit more animated than might be deemed "normal."  But truly the need to medicate children so that they are at an "acceptable" level for showing happiness and/or enthusiasm has always bothered me.  Right now Fiona has a lot to be happy about.  The arts and entertainment night is in 2 days. She knows that we are all going to be there to watch her sing, and have supper with her, as is her cousin and her cousin's daughter. (2nd cousin?? I don't understand extended relationships like that all that well!)  What kid wouldn't be pretty excited with that happening?

Jane asked me if I had ever heard Fiona sound this way and the answer was not in years.  Years.  I think that the need to try and find a med combo that kept her safe from self harm had led for a long time to regimens that basically nearly flattened all her emotions. Sure she didn't get as angry. She didn't get much of anything.  She was happy to see us, yes. But part of what Fi has to learn is that it is okay to feel things and to learn how to cope with those feelings in safe and appropriate ways.  Not to feel nothing as an alternative.  I am so looking forward to Thursday night. I have taken part of a personal day to make sure we can get to the Great City with no rushing and stress.

In other random news---my boss today came out after his review by our new company. He looked at me with a stunned expression on his face.  "can you believe that they want me to work every minute of the day?" he whined to me.  I swear I thought it was one of my kids talking to me.  It would have been funny if it wasn't kind of pathetic.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Rob's Home!

The New York trip was an unqualified success!  Rob and K arrived home last night a little before 11 p.m.  Tired but happy.  The littles had made a welcome home poster that was hanging on the front door waiting for them.  I was still up to welcome them home as I can't sleep when some of my family are due in. 

They did soooo much stuff in the city. They visited Battery Park and took great pics of the Statue of Liberty. They were in the Financial District, in Soho, ate in Chinatown, walked through Central Park, visited Ground Zero. Rob was part of a contingent that visited MoMA and I can tell from his pictures that he loved it there. Saw the Addams Family on Broadway.  And they shopped.  Rob came home with new duds that he purchased.  Though one pair of pants don't look like he can breathe when he wears them, I am saying nothing. LOL 

Oddly enough he remembered to buy a gift for me but forgot to get anything for the kids. I know he didn't forget me because I got this really great Bob Marley shirt.  My love of reggae is legendary and it isn't a love Rob really shares (laughing) It is a really cool T shirt and it is the right size (a huge bonus since I couldn't exactly exchange it!)  But somehome the littles and Chet fell off his radar. 

I will confess that there is a long standing family rule that when one goes away one returns with a "remembrance" for the sibs left behind.  It can be small (frankly a postcard is sufficient).  It is all about showing that we remember each other even when we are apart.  I think for Rob, despite having a bunch of years where he has had good experiences, there is still a componet that harkens back to the times when there wasn't enough.  Enough love. Enough money. Enough care. Just enough.  So when he gets to do something the first time, it becomes All About Rob.  And I think there is part of him that doesn't fully wrap his mind about how important he is in all our lives, and most especially in the lives of KC and Lissa who are sure he is one step down from god.

I decided that I would just act like I was sure he had remembered his siblings even though K has told me privately that he hadn't.  He decided on his own that he had of course remembered them, and a belt appeared for Chet, a very large blingy watch showed up for KC and Lissa now sports the hat Rob is wearing in the picture above.  In no way did this strip him of too many articles he purchased during his trip.  He still has several new hats, 2 new pairs of pants, a new backpack etc.  I ignored the fact that the watch is too big for KC as is Lissa's hat.  I exclaimed over them, as did the littles who were predictably just thrilled to be remembered.  As this happened, I saw Rob glow too, and I hope that there will next time be that memory of the joy of sharing a bit of reflected happiness in this way.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday Reflections

It is Sunday night and sometime very late tonight my wife and my son will return from New York. They have been having a great time with the youth group.  K called me twice and today recounted their visit to MOMA, Battery Park, Central Park and informed me that there had been much shopping by the teens.  All the girls had bought new outfits to wear to the Broadway show they saw this afternoon, and Rob?  Rob found the long wished for red skinny jeans.  Also a pair of black skinny jeans and a graphic T shirt.

Back the ranch, we have had a nice weekend.  My mom was here for a visit and the kids really enjoyed having a longer stretch of "nana" time.  That has not happened much as in recent  years her husbands health precluded being away from him that long.  Then she became worried to leave her cat (!)  But she arrived mid day Saturday and did not leave till actually after we left for church.  There were games played and chatter and art and lots of catching up. We went for a walk after supper together, the littles racing ahead while my mom and I talked.

Today at church we had a Go Green and Leap into Spring party.  It was co-hosted by the "Green" Committee at church and the Religious Ed committee.  It was a lot of fun.  The littles and i were in charge of setting materials and samples of paper flowers on the tables.  As we visited at the tables we made flowers which would be delivered by Parish Services to shut ins.  We divide by birthdays at this particular event.  Last year we sat at the December table for Lissa. This year we sat at April for KC.  Neither of the kids want to sit at a table without me so I pretend that whatever month I am at is my "honorary" birthday.  But conversation flowed freely and it was so great to see the kids chat with adults and meet new people comfortably.

I buckled down this weekend and got our taxes done.  I hate this.  Most people do, but people in a same sex marriage I am sure hate it most of all.  I have to do a federal as head of household for Kirsty. A federal as head of household for me and then a NEW federal that is not submitted that combines both our incomes so that I can file a joint tax return for our state that lists us as married. Because part of my wife's income is from a home based business the whole ordeal takes just short of forever.  And most of this I of course do late at night when the wee ones are asleep.  But it is done and the two that can be efiled have been sent.  Mine has the adoption credit so I have to snail mail that federal and will probably see the refund in oh--5 or6 months judging from the gossip I hear from other filers!  LOL

In between I have baked, and cleaned, and helped the kids make a welcome home banner for Robbie. Oh and we visited our neighbor friend for an hour or so of play time.  But it hasn't felt rushed.  It has been a lovely weekend.  I need to hold tight to some of this happy mojo as I head into the hectic crazy work week that awaits!

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools!

I like being silly with the kids. So last night when the littles had gone to bed, we ordered Dominos Pizza which I stored and re-heated gently in the oven this a.m. The delivery guy thought this was so funny. (I felt somewhat compelled to explain that I was NOT eating 3 medium pizzas myself at 9:30 at night!) Woke them all to supper. . . April Fools!  They got a huge kick out of having pizza for breakfast and cereal for supper. 

They hid fake snakes in the laundry basket for Kirsty (I alerted her to make sure she would squeal appreciatively)

And Mother Nature got in on the act dumping some snow on us!

Fire Hydrants

Yesterday we were taking a walk after supper.  Lissa is very tactile, touching everything. and then, despite her being 4, or perhaps because of it, her hands go to her mouth.  As we passed a fire hydrant by the side of the street she reached out to touch it. 

"Lissa honey, please don't touch the fire hydrant," I said, knowing that her hands would next be in her mouth.

"Why Ooma?"
"Well, dogs pee on fire hydrants for one thing."
"Oh is that why they are yellow?"