Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hurting for Fiona

Fiona didn't call last night and I was worried.  Amazing Jane did not call and say why there was no call.  I am a bit conditioned to fear the worst and in this instance, it wasn't horrible but it wasn't good.  Jane emailed me late that night and Fi had been having a rough time since our last visit.  She had spent the weekend at ER though she was back at school for Monday, she said she did not feel up to a call.  That a call soon after a visit was too hard and too much.

I know she has a good time when we are together.  I hate that it is the classic yin/gang of adoption.  Joy at being with family, sadness that she drives away when it is over.   It doesn't matter that she is of legal age. T
here will I think always be that feeling of loss.  I hate that I don't have a way to heal that.

Monday I am leaving work early so that we can drive to the Big City and see Fiona's school fashion show.  It isn't clear if she is going to be in the show or not, but we will sit and watch it with her.  Then we will hang out a bit and then head home. KC  wants his sister to be in the show, so we will see if she decides at the last minute to do it!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Erin Go Bear?

This afternoon the kids and I decorated for St. Patricks Day.  We took our white teddy bear and with a bit of  vinyl table cloth manufactured him a green checked vest.  It is nattily secured with a shamrock decoration and a green hat is positioned rakishly on his head.  Next to him is my kids new favorite decoration--a little cauldron filled with "gold" coins that lights up.  They are enthralled.  LOL  In front of Mr. Bear is our next "in process decoration."  I got these 6 plastic shot glasses a few years ago.  One year they held candy at place settings on St. Patricks Day.  Another year they held battery operated votive candles. This year they are again being re-invented.  I stuffed foam inside them and the kids and I got twigs that we stuck into the foam.  We will then attach small foam shamrocks to turn them into festive bushes and trees! 

Martha Stewart is not quaking over our brand of creativity but we had a lot of fun. There were lots of laughs and the house shines with green now.  I am sort of starved for green by this time in the year. In fact, February and March are about the only months that i can be counted on to buy flowers when I go shopping.  I consider them as essential to my spirit as our staples are to our cooking.  Gardens seem a light year away by February. Even though we have planned our veggie garden, it is a wee bit too early yet to start anything much.  And I yearn for flowers.  We haven't had a lot of snow and that is great, but the landscape is still roughly like November.  Sere. Brown.  Spectacularly colorless. 

So I tend to buy budget bouquets of carnations, which with care last 2 weeks, meaning I only need to buy flowers about 3 to 4 times in a 2 month period.  By then, the crocus will have appeared and daffodil shoots, and I won't need my flower fix to come from a store.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Amazing Day!

Fiona came out today for a family visit.  It was such a great day!   We had lunch together with amazing Jane, all seated around our big dining room table.  There was laughter and conversation and Fiona's favorite foods.  Jane had intended to leave after about 30 minutes or so hanging at the house with us. After lunch the kids and I headed to a discount shoe store that I used to bring Fiona to when she lived nearer to us.  Fi and I both share a passion for shoes!  Jane went to a local book store and did something to pass the time.  Fi had fun trying on shoes and we found a really cute pair of boots and a pair of  white wedge sandals.  They both look great on her and her school is having a fashion s how in a week so one or the other will wind up "rocking the runway" in whatever outfit she is designing.

Then it was back to the house for a bit where we re-connected with Jane. Jane had brought her dog who is very beloved by Fiona. He is a therapy dog, a smallish fellow with a much larger personality than he has body.  Jane was afraid he might not get along with our dog and was keeping him in the car but we tried letting the pooches meet in the yard and they became best buds. Truthfully Blake is such an easy going guy that I am sure he doesn't know how to behave threateningly to another dog.  They ran big circles around the yard--well in the mud that should be a back yard but is really mostly mud.  Then we tried to bring Blake in the house and Jane's dog went inside instead.  Eventually it all got sorted out and we all took off to visit the school Fiona lived at for more than 2 years. 

It is only about 10 minutes from our house and is a large rambling campus in a rural area.  At the time, I thought it very much the best fit for our daughter and our family.  In some ways, it was.  It was close by which made keeping family connections strong and vibrant was easy. There were monthly events to attend, and visiting every week was a cinch. But in the clarity of hindsight, some things were really not a good fit.  The school was less qualified to deal in a constructive manner with the mental illness and cognitive challenges that Fiona has.  They rocked it out in some ways but were really not equipped to handle someone who truly could not ever hope to learn close to grade level.

I had really forgotten how to get to the school.  I explained to Jnae that I think I blocked it out because it hurt so much when she was moved from there.  I knew beyond all shadow of a doubt that she would decompensate, and was told in the team meeting that my concerns did not matter. It was about dollars and cents and I was there only because I was her biobrothers adoptive parent. I had no legal say in anything they chose to do.  I remember going out to dinner that last time, and driving her back to the school afterwards, knowing that i did not know when we would see each other again.  I remember crying so hard on the way back from the drop off that i had to pull over, and then trying to get things together because KC was in a car seat in the back seat. (Rob had gone home with Kirsty; good byes were too painful for him then.)

So as much as touring the campus again was therepeutic for my daughter, it was for me too. We laughed and shared stories of those days with Jane, and with the littles.  There is a giant spreading oak tree there and I have a picture of Fiona pushing KC in a stroller there. We took another picture there today, Fi looking so much happier and healthier and the babe in the stroller a loving younger brother cuddling close to his sister in the sharp wind.

Rob and Fiona went down slides on the playground together and we saw the 2 buildings where she lived during those years, the school buildings, the horse barns.  We talked about fire works and BBQ's summer festivals and school events, graduations and playing games.  The good memories of those days will be now more fully present for me and that is a gift.  I hope the same is true for Fiona.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The logistics of family connections

I heard back from Dee the other night.  He still lives in the Big City.  He wasn't particularly clear what the living arrangement is.  I don't know if he lives with family, is in foster care, or a therapeutic setting.  I said I would try and come up with a place 1/2 way between both of us where we could get together.  I am horridly directionally impaired however so I am asking friends and co-workers for suggestions of places I could offer to him.  I told Dee he was always welcome to come here, but that I thought it might be a long drive and wanted to try and make things as easy as possible.  When I was telling K about this, she was faintly horrified.

What do I really know about Dee and why he has had so many placements?
What do I really know about what kind of person he is?
What made me feel comfortable opening our home?

Oh geez.  I pointed out that Dee has all ready visited our home.  He didn't do or say anything inappropriate.  He was polite, friendly and very caring toward his brother and the other kids.  I guess I don't really believe that he is secretly an axe murderer who is going to show up on our door step some night.  I don't think he is a drug king pin and going to show up here and demand our valuables.

I do realize I could be very wrong.  But I really believe that unless people prove themselves otherwise, I assume the best. Truthfully, I don't think Dee is coming here to visit any time soon.  I think the transportation logistics alone will prevent it. But her reaction pulled me up short.  I am not slamming my wife, but I think these are some of the things that people who adopt hide behind to avoid putting themselves out there and being in relationship with first family members.  And I don't know how other adoptive families look at these relationships, but for me, what I strive for is for there to be bonds between me and the cousins, the siblings the aunts.  It isn't just connecting my son and walking away.  I need to know them too, because they are part of who my son is.  And we all love him.  And that frankly is enough for me to care about them. 

Except in Dee's case there are a ton more reasons why I care too.  I care because I see a system that failed him.  I see a young man with talent and drive and caring and compassion.  And if he did show up and knock at the door, I'd open it with a smile.


Lisa  over at The Grateful House has an amazing post.  Go read it.  She writes better than I do!  LOL  And she speaks such truth.  I think it isn't so much the old saw of "time heals all wounds."  It is more like time helps us to do the work of  healing of those wounds.  In my case, it has been and sometimes is, time of proving that I wasn't leaving.  I wasn't checking out emotionally.  I wasn't budging physically. I.Am.Here.  Because that is part of how I love and a big part of how I define family.

Some kids learn this quicker than others.  Some have been hurt more, or have more cognitive challenges and it takes longer than I wish.   But I see the changes.  I see my son fall asleep on the couch sometimes.  For many years he was so guarded that this was not possible.  He still wakens startled but there is less fear in his eyes.  He laughs more, and he is able to have relationships with peers.

My Fiona has been hurt the most.  She has worked so hard.  She is still often overwhelmed with feelings, with fears. But more and more, she verbalizes.  I think she trusts me.  I think she really believes now that I love her and that I am there forever.  She will talk with me about first family now and doesn't seem afraid that I will be judging or feel angry. She increasingly shares big feelings with an eloquence that staggers me.  Yes, she has an amazing therapy team.  But I still think that it has really been about the time that we have been a family that is a more important component.  And maybe (and I apologize for rambling) part of what makes this therapy team so stellar is that they have honored and embraced our family dynamic.

I know I had to heal too.  I attended TONS of training, read TONS of books, listened to TONS of experts.  Sorry, nothing prepares you as a person for being hated and distrusted when all you feel is love in your heart. Or at least it didn't prepare me.  It is easy to say love is not enough. It is hard to live it.  And time seems cruel instead of healing a lot of the time when things are going hard.

There are probably people who will feel that it is easy for me to say these things.  My  eldest daughter does not, and can not live at home with us.  But I had to heal from that too, because no parent wants to hear that their child can not be safe, can not ever live in a family dynamic safely and successfully.  But time healed that as well.  Because the bonds of family encompass Fi whereever she is and we have worked to show that with a really constant secure connection. Visits, calls, letters, it's all there in spades.  Pictures of us for her room, pictures of her in ours.  She is a part of our conversations and our plans, and that translates to a way of being when we are together that is deeper and more meaningful.  And time has given us nuggets of joy that I hold closely when things are rocky and  I need to find reserves of strength and calm.  I hope we all have enough time and find those nuggets.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Scootering toward Spring!

It has been an odd winter here in the Northeast.  Thus far, the offical snow count is something like 7 inches.  Last year it was 70 plus.  60 something inches is the average.  But trust me, I am not complaining.  I can't remember a winter when our kitchen floor stayed cleaner--when there were fewer snow puddles to wipe from the kids running in and out, when rows of wet things--wait where ARE the rows of wet things?  To be sure, the kids got sleds for Yule that they have yet to use.  But they also got scooters and those have been used almost daily.

Our walks now consist of K or I pep stepping behind 3 racing scooters.  It is a great workout and we have been traversing the neighborhood regularly. Lately we have also been observing signs of spring.  Little crocii are beginning to push through the soil.  The geese are starting to return.  The days are longer and the heat of the day comes earlier than winters 3 p.m. time.

I love watching the seasons unfold, but am decidedly blessed that this has been an easy winter  And as a bonus, my wife has enjoyed it too and for the first time ever, is talking about retiring to a warmer clime!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

On the Net again!

I'm back!  Did you miss me?  (laughing)  Probably not, but my computer unexpectedly croaked on Friday night and I was reduced to typing on my Blackberry (which I despise as my fingers are not midget sized and I look like English is not my mother tongue because I hit so many wrong letters.) 

But at any rate, I am glad the computer doctor could resurrect my old faithful computer.  This is about a 10 y ear old desktop model but I share this setup with 3 kids so I am not upgrading anytime soon.  There is still something sort of wonky as when I type on my blog I can not see what I write.  Hence I sometimes still look like English is not my mother tongue.  However, I am rambling. . .

I freaked a bit over losing the internet as Dee emailed me on Friday.  For those who may not remember, this is Rob's older brother.  I email him regularly--say once or twice a month.  I just say hi or comment on sometning he posts on FB./  I don't want him to think I am stalking him, but I DO want the kid to know that I am open to communication whenever he is ready for it.  He visited us once and had a great time.  I think though that he was overwhelmed with feelings--relief for his brother, knowing that Rob is both safe and happy--anger and disappointment at how his own situation is so dramatically different. Loss and sadness juxtaposed with happiness and relief. The eternal yin and yang of many adoptions.

I genuinely like D.  I think he is a kid with huge potential, among which are artistic gifts. I also suspect he is a kid with a lot of challenges given what has happened in his life.  I figure the best thing I can do is what I try and do for Fiona. To show that I care. To show that I will not disappear.  You can ignore me. You can choose to not initiate, but I will just gently be there.  And hopefully, eventually, things start to feel safer and he will open up more.

I think we are approaching that a bit.  I shot him an email just before The Big Computer Crash of 2012 (LOL) and the last thing I read on my computer before I went to bed Friday was a response from him, indicating that he had missed being in contact with us and would like to work something out to connect and catch up.  I went to bed with a smile on my face and woke to find out my computer had inopportunely decided to give up the ghost and I could not write back to D.

My phone is a work phone and doesn't have fun stuff on it.  I took a huge leap and downloaded a FB app so that I could write to him in Thumblish (this would be the new language invented by the fat thumbed folk of the world who try to text and can not keep the right keys under their thumbs.) But I was at least able to get that message out to him. It was huge to me that his tentative overture not fall into what to a teen would be seen as a void.  A couple of days is a blink to an adult--to a teen, it is an eternity.  Predictably I have not yet heard back and I am not actually sure I will.  I do know I'll write again.  And again.

And Saturday Fiona is coming out for a home visit, so life is busy and good on the home front!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Spring Cleaning?

No, not really spring cleaning.  But we needed a post holidays deep cleaning.  We know that it is human nature to do something the easiest way, so we try and have things set up so that it is easier to be clean than messy--especially where the kids are concerned.  (but this does certainly apply to the adults of our house as well!) My wife and kids had done a great job early this past fall, sorting and organizing a storage system for the toys. Then came Yule and new toys were added.  And a couple weeks ago, we had Yule with our my in laws and not only were more toys added but Rob received a very large, very awesome keyboard to further his music studies. We set it up in the living room, but without taking the time to look at re-tooling storage systems. In short order, messiness began to be the norm.  The littles could not reach certain areas well because of the keyboard and the path of least resistance was soon taken.

Yesterday K and the gang reconfigured our living room and the various play spaces.  There was a truly palpable feeling of order and calm when I got home.  The cleaning bug continued on through the night as odd little messy spots became more visible targets of attention once the larger cleaning had been accomplished.  Now I believe we are sparkling and ready to begin to decorate for St. Paddy's day and to begin getting our annual art gallery together!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

Valentines Day is a holiday that my wife believes is engineered solely by retailers for profit.  I am not really buying into that.  And even if Ha**mark tries to milk the day--it is our choice how we choose to show our loved ones that we care.  And so, despite our philosophical differences, Valentines Day was celebrated in our own unique fashion in our corner of the NorthEast.

First, there was breakfast.  I made heart shaped raisen toast and scrambled eggs.  It was a fun way to start the day and oddly enough even the older kids enjoy a certain amount of hokey!.  Home made valentines are also a tradition in our family. For the past two weeks we have all been making valentines and putting them in the "mailbox" that appears in our dining room each year.  Cards arrive in the mail as well and those are carefully put in the mailbox as well.

There is a traditional Valentines Day supper.  No, not a fondue.  No, not some fancy feast.  Rather, it is individual heart shaped pizzas.  And a heart shaped cake with lots of sprinkles for dessert.  We look at our valentines while we eat and that is usually it.  Except that with KC around, you never know what he will think up.  This year he made Rob find a picture of a "love bird" on line and print it off.  He had a "love bird" contest after supper where we all tried to get votes as the best love bird.  Lissa and I tied, but that is only because I kept flapping and tweeting longer than a 5 year old could. LOL  There were silly jokes and so much laughter. 

Happy Valentines Day everyone!

PS and for my wife the anti-Valentine, I got a small arrangement of flowers and made a card that was inspired by something from Pioneer Woman's site.  It was a cat, eating Cupid as if the little guy was a bird.  It was perfect and she laughed and laughed.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

On judgements

I read a lot of foster and adoption blogs.  I read about families struggling with behaviors caused by trauma, mental illness and pre-natal exposure to drugs and/or alcohol.  If Fiona was not in the Great School in the Big City, I suspect that people would look differently at my family.  The reality is that she can not control all her responses to emotional pain, to confusion, to many basic day to day situations.  Sure, my casual friends know that I have an older daughter--but she is a picture in my wallet to them.  They hear me talk about her artistic abilities, her affection and patience with young children, her love of animals. A few of them know of her fairly regular hospitalizations but that is about as far as I go with sharings.  It is too deeply personal.  I am a stoic New Englander in that regard I guess.

But a few weeks ago, I was brought up a bit short.  A friend was speaking of an experience she had during one of her pregnancies.  The pregnancy was difficult and  hospital tests were frequently needed to make sure both mom and baby were doing okay.  In the next bed she told me was another mom, a mom who was  a drug addict.  She wound up requesting a different room because the behaviors of the other woman bothered her, as did the fact that she was an addict.  "And you know those children are born addicted"she went on.

I said quietly, "I know."  I didn't say anything else because I couldn't, just then.  This is not a mean woman. She is a caring, loving person and a great mom to her kids. And she was perceptive enough to see in my silence, and in my face, that something was wrong.

"Oh. . . " she stammered, "did. . . are?"

The truth is both my youngest children were born drug exposed. It isn't something you see, now that their little systems have purged that evil. One was exposed daily during the entire pregnancy, and may have also had alcohol exposure.  One had much less.  But this doesn't define them.  In fact, right now, I can't predict what impact any of this will have on their lives. There are only a kabillion or so things that I worry about.  The "heart incident" that caused my preemie to wait an extra day in the NICU.  The statistics that indicate the higher probabilty of addictions for the children of addicts.  The sudden rages that one exhibits.  I spend time searching the net, trying to determine if the rages are normal developmentally or a marker for something darker that waits for us.  I fret over learning issues--checking to see if a speech or comprehension situation is "normal."  (as if there was a true definition out there of normal.)

I know that there may be things we face and demons we will need to fight as our children grow.  But for now, I have to focus on the joy that they are.  I celebrate their artistic leanings, their curiosity and try and teach that  the hot tempered one that we can take a breath and wait before we respond to a situation.

And I hope and pray that their lives will be interesting, productive, filled with love. And that someday I'm sitting in a rocking chair holding grand babies and thanking the goddess that we beat the odds.

Fiona and Rob

Fiona's school called a little while ago.  My heart jumped to my throat when the woman on the phone said who she was and where she was calling from.  All I could think of was that something was wrong.  What happened to Pollyanna? Aren't I supposed to be the one who thinks bright side first?   We've been sort of riding the dysregulation train with Fi lately and she was only recently discharged from the hospital.  Thankfully it wasn't anything horrible at all.  Fi has instead been doing spectacularly well since she got back to school.  She has earned an off campus shopping trip by remianing at one of the higher levels for a certain number of days.The problem is that she doesn't have money available for an off campus shopping trip and we all know that Fiona needs a pretty quick reward when she has been doing well. The school wanted to know if it would be okay to use a gift card that I I had given her for Christmas for the trip. H*ll yes!  I am totally fine with using the money in whatever way is best for Fi.  But it was aweseome to be asked!

In other news, Rob has had a really busy weekened.  Friday evening through Saturday afternoon he was at our UU church at a youth "con"  There were a lot of other UU youth there and he had an awesome time.  He also did not sleep all night!  He went to bed last night at 8:30 and at 7:30 this morning was still out.  You have no idea how rare that is!  Then this a.m. he was an usher at church and had his volunteer gig at an ecology center.  His night wraps up with the youth group helping our youth group make supper and play with kids that will be in a church homeless shelter.  A sister church has the space to be part of a group of churches that can offer accommodations to a number of families for 2 weeks each  year.  They do a great job, fixing rooms to look as much like real bedrooms as possible.  The sad reality is that the vast majority of participants are families.  And not necessarily single moms or dads, but often 2 parent families with two or more kids, who have been battered by the financial storms our country has faced. Our youth group does not just cook for the shelter participants. They eat with them and do crafts with the kids, giving a gift of friendship and caring that is as important as the bed they will sleep in.

As he enters his teen years, Rob has a self assurance and self awareness  that I wish Fiona had.  I know that a big part of her dx involves some mental health stuff that may have still existed if she had a more stable early childhood. But I can't help but wonder if she had been in our home by age 5 the way Rob was, if things could have been different for her.  The abuse, the stress, the multiple moves, the lost stuff, the reports not filed, my daughter has baggage so heavy I don't think I could carry it--let alone a young woman most recently labeled  as a victim of undocumented traumatic brain injury.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Rob's Away, Kiddos play!

Rob is off at a teen conference at our church.  He was part of the "con" planning committee and is leading a workshop on ultimate frisbee playing.  I have no idea what that is.  I have mastered catching a frisbee well enoughto play with the kids, but frisbees have never been my thing.  But I am proud that Rob wanted to be part of this, and I am proud that he wanted to be on a steering committee for it.   It is exciting to see his world widen.  His family is special to him and we still hold a key place in his life, but as it should, other people, other experiences, are also becoming increasingly important.  He talks about being an adult occasionally, and is beginning to focus on what he will do with his life.  He talks about lving away from home.  Not in an "I can't get out of here fast enough" type of way, but in a pretty normal teen kind of way.

Meanwhile back at the ranch the littles have stepped up to the plate with big bro gone for the weekend. (Rob left for this event last evening and won't be home till late this afternoon). They have very ahppily pitched in with pet care, and shopping chores but I know they are missing Rob.  Today was observation day at dance class though and that was pretty exciting for them.  KC is rocking his new jazz class.  It is the first time I have gotten to see him in action in the class.  He does really well in the tap and ballet classes, but he has a couple years experience with those.  But best of all, he seems really comfortable in the classes, really happy to be able to express himself through this art form.  After his class, he plays with a couple of boys whose younger sisters take the next class with Lissa.  We have been invited to set up a play date with one of the boys because he so enjoys spending time with KC.  I guess it is a bit of further proof that one can successfully socialize and not be enrolled in public school!  LOL

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Happy Birthday Kirsty!

Today is my wife's birthday.  We will celebrate with Chinese food for supper and a decorated dining room, including the birthday mural that the kids and I made last night.  Actually we also baked the cake, wrapped the gifts and did almost everything last evening.  When special days fall on a weekday it gets a wee bit crazy around here. And Rob is away this weekennnd so we could not have the party on a different day.   We painted a garden on her birthday mural.  I sort of free handed some of them with paint and then I gave the kids markers and stickers and had them draw garden things and add embellishments as they saw fit.  Butterflies, birds caterpillers and ants appeared among the blossoms.  I loved watching them all work together and I loved the way it reminded me that each of them bring their own special gifts to our family and our lives.  If I am lucky, I will have time to post party pics!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Birthday Prep

K's birthday is the 9th.  I had told the kids that tonight we would be going to the party supply store to get decorating stuff.  We had talked at length about what to get her.  And we had decided--at least I THOUGHT we had decided on a gift certificate for yoga classes.  She loves yoga and counts on doing it every Wednesday.  Except that KC had other plans.  He announced on our way to the party supply store  that we had to stop at the craft store for what he needed.He was going to make khis mom a treasure box becuase everyone should have one of those.  Um, OK we go to the craft store.  Does he want a little box to paint and decorate?  Nope.  My laddie has his eyes on a box that one could probably put a loaf of bread in. LOL  I feel a tad desperate looking at the size.  He wants to paint the thing and then decorate it with stick on embellishments.  Did I say her birthday is the 9th?  And that this is the um, 7th? 

I try to guide KC to some smaller boxes.  He is having none of it.  Truly having no part of it.  Finally he turns to me and says, "Ooma this is my gift and it should be my decision to make."  When did my 7 year old get so wise?  .  I stood there, feeling really stupid.  Then I bought the bread box treasure box, and tonight he painted the dang thing.  We agreed that instead of story time tonight, he would use that time to get it painted so that tomorrow he can do the decorating.  It's going to be gorgeous!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Rob is out tonight at his girl friends sweet 16 party.  Watching him grow and mature, riding the crazy teen train--it is new for me.  Chet never had a girl friend.  Never had dates, or parties, and I spent a lot of time mourning that.  Part of me will always grieve for Chet in that regard.  I think that there is a part of him that wants something he can't figure out how to have.

But that doesn't stop me from also reveling in watching Rob grow up and try these things.  In his laconic, quiet way, he likes to share snippets of his life with me.  He is pretty fashion forward for a teen, which amazes me.  Partly because Chet was all about black and grunge for forever.  Partly because when I was a teen I was not fashion forward.  It was jeans and ripped sneakers and some kind of weird top.  But Rob has an innate style sense.  Tonight he chose to wear a suit, with a buffalo plaid shirt under it, and a  skinny black tie, silver grey sneakers and a fedora.  When I write it, it sounds weird. What is weirder, is that it was a very cool look!  LOL  I had to drive him to the party as K was still at work.  It was cool that the sharp dressed teen who got out of my car, took time to go around to the back and hug his little sister and brother good night, because they will have been in bed for hours when he gets home.

Rob and I do a lot of things together--he is a huge help around the house and we both enjoy our Friday night movie nights.  I watch him spreading his wings--he is trying to be accepted in a very neat student conservation program which could have him away from home and living in a national park for a month this summer.  I remember the scared little boy who became my son at 5 and I marvel at the young man he is becoming.  And at how fast they grow.  It is truly the blink of an eye.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Time to Shoot a Groundhog!

That pesky groundhog saw his shadow yesterday and not even the warm fires of Imbolc candles could help me forget that there will be 6 more weeks of winter!  I know that is all very silly as the part of the country where I live pretty much ALWAYS has 6 more weeks of winter.  And our winter has not been of the snowy magnitude of last yeasrs where our snow fall topped over 60 inches.  But I am just eager for warmer temps.  We have had a few teaser days, but last evening when the gang picked me up at work, there were snow showers.

However, despite the  groundhog, this should be a fun weekend.  Saturday evening, Rob has a sweet 16 party to go to for his girlfriend.  She told him he should wear dress shoes which cracked me up as Rob is king of the stylin' sneakers. So last night at his request, we went out looking for dress shoes.  And wound up laughing our heads off as he tried on pair after pair.  We found shoes that fit, but none that seemed like his style.  I finally said that maybe T. would not mind a nice pair of stylish sneaks. And we found a pair that don't really look sporty, but are silvery gray and have a nice sheen to them and which looked good on him.  So that will be what he wears to T.'s party tomorrow.  He has purchased a lovely locket for her so he has the gift all ready all covered.  While I helped Rob, the littles amused themselves with socks.  My kids love socks.  So we also left with a packet of brightly colored tie dye socks and a packet of socks with flowers on them. 

Fiona continues to improve but is still hospitalized at this point.  I am hoping she is back at the Great School by next week. 

And our van not only flunked inspection but has copious things wrong with it. We thought it was just the muffler system but that is as they say, the tip of the ice berg.  There were also 2 leaks from oil or coolant (I forget which) and one was leaking onto the exhaust manifold and could have caused a fire while we were driving.  Since in April, K is part of a van caravan of kids from our church to NYC for a weekend retreat, that was scary news.  There is something else wrong too but my ear flaps folded over and my eyes glazed by that time as the damages are all together nearly 2K.  Yipes!