Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Wrap Up

 Chet the pirate gave out candy!  Chet is a pirate every year.  He is very in touch with his inner pirate.  Arrrrgh!
KC the stylin' werewolf showing off his tail and cute little werewolf ears!  He had fake fangs to wear but Lissa accidently kicked him in the face doing an illcit cartwheel in the bedroom today so he didn't want anything pushiing on his sore face!
 Lissa the glamourous were wolf, showing off bedazzled fur and fangs. That is a white tail hanging down with her.
 The whole tribe ready to hit the streets!
Rob my street musician.  He put his phone underneath the keyboard he created as he walked around in the dark music came out of his "piano."

Now the great candy trade is taking place in our dining room.  "I'll give you a Twix for a 3 musketeers" and other offerings.  It rained and we kept stepping in puddles up to our ankles but nothing could dampen the fun. It was spooky magical and a night to remember.

Happy Halloween!

It is very early morning as I write this and the kids are all ready awake and chattering in their rooms.  It is Halloween, you see, and that is a pretty big deal in our house.  There are pumpkins to carve, seeds to roast, costumes to wear in the dark of the night.  It is also a night that is very important within our pagan tradition.

Until last night, I did not have a costume.  I had precious little time to devote to such an endeavor and just was coming up short in the creativity department.  However KC said "why don't you go as Mother Earth?" This also embraces my theology somewhat, and was easy to do from things around the house.  Last night, while the Red Sox cruised to a win I tacked faux leaves and flowers on a green cloak of polar fleece that we all ready had.

This is also an exciting Halloween as for the first time since before Lissa was born, K is able to walk with us.In the past, her work schedule has not permitted it.

So have a spooktacular Halloween everyone.  The veils between the worlds are thin tonight.  I'll be holding the memories of loved ones who have passed in my thoughts and hoping they can feel the love and the joy that is their legacy.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Much is going on with  Fiona lately.  Some is good--it looks like my guardianship will be done and finalized in November. This is a relief.  I think it will help me to advocate for Fiona and have a position of relative authority to do so.  As opposed to the dance I have done for all these years, explaining the rather convoluted yet emotionally binding ties that we have.

I was told that the new agency wanted to meet me and my family 11/4 and that they wanted me to tour the group home w ith Fiona on 11/11  I requested the time off and was approved. Then the new agency said, gee no, they didn't need to meet with me on 11/4 and I could just come to the group home on 11/11 when Fiona visits and have lunch with her.  Um, OK.  It bothers me though not to have met these new folks.  Not to have a single email from them--any communications I have received have been through Jane, despite the fact that they have been given two contact numbers for me and my email.  In my longish experience in dealing with agencies, this worries me.

Then there are first family issues for Fiona that are complicating all of this. Fiona, like most of us, has trouble with change.  Her problems are manifested more profoundly than perhaps most of us though and there has been an uptick in incidents of unsafe behaviors, raging and such.  Into all of this, has been added renewed contact with D and a request from the birth family that her sister Krystal be allowed to visit.  Krystal has been living down south with an aunt. She has now apparently come back to the Northeast and is presently only about 10 miles away from the Great School.  She has been in phone contact with Fiona.

However the Great School director feels that there is enough on their (the schools plate) and Fiona's at this point. Despite my advocating for supervised visits at the school, despite Jane advocating for the same, our request was denied. Krystal will not be allowed physical visiting at this time. It will be up to the new group home staff and myself to facilitate this once Fiona has moved.  My feeling was that the staff at the school is well versed in how Fiona responds.  The new group home will not be.  While I will give this my absolute best effort in coordinating physical visitations, Krystal will be much further away from us.  I am not a licensed therapist and don't really feel that this should be something that I should be in charge of, given Fionia's level of mental illness.  Yet I also feel that to not work on this is a huge dis-service to her and abdicates my responsibilities as well.  So I am fretting about this a bit.

I am also fretting about the fact that the present time line for her move to the new group home is two days before Christmas. She is scheduled to spend Christmas Eve with us.  The first time ever.  Holidays are hard for her and it seems like the system sometimes sets up those least able to deal with it when big changes are planned at times that are all ready hard.  Can you hear my heavy sigh?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

It's almost official

I received a call from Jane last night and the finalization of my guardianship of Fiona will likely happen in November.  This is a relief to us all.  Presently, because someone administratively in DCF dropped the ball years ago she has not had a legal guardian since she turned 18.  So someone with very limited cognitive abilities, with a number of significant mental health diagnosis technically has been able to make their own decisions.  This has been tiptoed around since it was discovered and Fiona has very willingly empowered the Great School to make decisions on her behalf. But she leaves the school in December and I most definately want my daughter to have the safest and happiest future possible.

Fi is struggling a lot right now.  She is deeply afraid of moving to the new group home and leaving the Great School.  It has been a solid anchor in her life and though there have been typical issues between her and other students, it is familiar.  It is home.  And the unknown is scary for everyone, probably amplify that a thousandfold for Fiona.  The unknown has in her life brought some really scary negative things.  Hopefully between us, the staff at school and her other family supports, we can show her that she is not alone and we are all in this together.

She had a visit with D, who is Rob and Fiona's bio brother.  He is a year or so older than Rob but younger than Fiona.  Jane said he reminded her so much of Rob as like Rob, he  was very quiet at the outset of the visit. I am hoping that we get to have a visit between he and Rob and in an ideal world, Fiona as well.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Harvest fun

Saturday was a day filled with fun.  Fiona arrived on Friday and we were all up early Saturday morning to begin our day. We got our shopping and banking done before the 9:00 a.m. dance class. After dance, we shot over to the library and then were home for lunch.  My wife got back home and we all went to the school where she cleans to visit their Harvest Fair. I forgot to take a single picture there, but it was a cute fair and the kids had fun.  Fiona enjoyed the fishing game, winning tickets that could be turned in for prizes.  KC and Lissa enjoyed the bounce house. Rob tried to win some prize baskets that had tickets to our favorite football team.

After we spent about an hour there, we headed  home for a bathroom break and some snacks before heading to another city for Pumpkin Fest. This is held at a large science museum and features about 1000 pumpkins that are eventually all lit once it gets dark.  During the daylight hours, there were lots of cool science activities to do, a large playground to fool around at, a nature trail to explore, and wildlife exhibits. We watched someone juggle fiery torches (totally amazing) and then the juggler balanced a tall peacock feather on one finger.  After accomplishing this she held it out for the audience to try.  The first child who tried failed.  KC stepped up and totally rocked it. I actually think he got so into it that he forgot that there were lots of people watching him; it was pretty amazing!

Rob's friend D from church met us there and hung out with us the whole evening.  D is feeling a little lost right now and loves to spend time with us.  It is fine with me.  One more kid, two more kids, it is all relative. As long as everyone  understands the ground rules, we seem to do just fine.

As it got dark the pumpkin displays began to glow.

There were amazing carvings on some of them. But I think I love the happy glow on my daughters face most of all!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fiona's plans move forward

There have been a flurry of phone calling and emailing with regards to Fiona's pending move.  I have filled out and mailed the guardianiship papers and the CORI form.  The DDS wants to meet our family on November 4th at the Great School so I have successfully gotten permission to take that day off.  I have a 1/2 day off on 11/11 so that I can go tour her new home with her as well.

Wednesday evening when we spoke on the phone she said she had great news that she wanted to tell me when she comes out this weekend.  I think is has to do with contact with her Mom J.  She said that she is happy but feels really badly because she is afraid KC and Lissa will be sad.

I told her that Lissa is so young that she does not get a lot of these things yet.  KC would likely be a little sad but he would also be happy for her, because he does understand. He is in fact, writing to his birth mom again this week.

She said she wished she was adopted when she was a baby because then she would not have all these confusing feelings. That she wanted us to be "like blood."  I reminded her that we are family forever and that getting back in contact with her first family members never changes that. I also tried to explain that even if she had been adopted as a baby she would still have confusing feelings because she has seen that in KC all ready.  Adoption has part of it that is always about questions and hurting, but what we can do as a family is love each other and that gives us strength getting through the tough spots.

I don't know how much she got and how much she will remember if things start to feel overwhelming for her.  We have some fun festivals to visit this weekend though that will hopefully help balance any of the tough stuff.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The splinter you can't pull out

We had a really great holiday weekend together and Rob is safely home from his mission trip.  He said he stacked a ton of wood during the weekend so folks will be warm this winter due to his sweat equity.  The littles and I had a lot of fun as well, crafting, playing, cooking and biking.  Fiona had fun.  It was all good.  Till the adoption splinter poked KC last night.

He had picked up a Martha Speaks book that Lissa chose from the library.  It is a new Thanksgiving one and though it is below his grade level he was sitting at the table reading it after shower.  Guess what?  In this one, Martha searches for her lost family.  She finds her mom and her entire litter of puppy brothers and sisters and they all have Thanksgivinig dinner together.   Oh yay.  KC put the book down and said "well at least MARTHA found her family."

I reminded him that we had found Mom Y and that he could write to her again if he wanted to.  He does want to do that.I reminded him that I am always willing to help him with that if he wants it, but that if he wants it private I will respect that too. He was okay with that as well.  But he also thought it would be a great idea to invite her to Thanksgiving dinner.  The hard conversation of geography and finances (I didn't even get into the fact that we don't know one another well enough for Y to feel even remotely comfortable doing this even if she could afford it) was painful. I know that despite my best efforts, my son was hurt by the fact that this isn't going to happen.  That life's questions and issues aren't able to wrap up tidily like a chapter book. It is okay for now--until the next time life pokes the  adoption splinter.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Monday Holidays are the best!

Today has had a lot of fun packed into it.  We had a bigger breakfast than usual as there was plenty of time for extra cooking.  Then the kids played with our neighbor B from next door while I got some tidying and chores done.  When B went home, we started working on their Halloween costumes and the werewolves are ready to traipse through our fair city!  LOL  Lissa spent an unbelievably long period of time gluing faux gems onto her pink fur.  For KC we took a pair of jeans where he had blown out the knee and glued the fur inside so it looks like his furry self is trying to bust through the jeans. There are also patches of fur glued to the jeans and he has a tail, furry ears poking through a snow boarder style hat and fur wristlets.

Lissa also wanted silver duct tape as part of her were wolf costume so there are patches of that on the hoodie and the jeans. From a safety standpoint that is probably great anyway. Then we cut the tips off of dollar store gloves and she will have glow in the dark nailpolish--doesn't every glam werewolf?

At any rate, it took two bottles of fabric fusion glue to achieve all this but they are very happy with the results and I will post pictures when they don them.  I like that they were so much a part of things. For me, it was way more fun than going to a big box store and buying something.

Then we did some leaf raking, some cookie baking and some bike riding.  The haunted house in the picture above we made during Fiona's visit this past Saturday.  Thus far, Lissa has still not eaten off the candy.  I may have jinxed myself by writing that!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Creative Love

 OK, I'll give you that this is an odd picture.  There is a thread of commonality to this post though.  It is about love and creativity.  I give you exhibit A.  That is the once white fur that I have managed to successfully dye pink for Lissa's Halloween costume. The littles are crafting their own costumes this year and Miss Lissa wants to be in her words a "glamorous" were wolf. Which when she broke it down for me, translated to sparkles and pink fur to attach to the jeans and hoodie we had bought at a consignment shop.  Except we could not find pink fur at the craft store.  And fabric stores are nigh onto non-existant these days.  She tried painting on the fur but even with a fabric medium added it resulted in gloppy fur that lost the real feel of fur.  She was pretty upset.  I put on my thinking cap and came up with. . . (drum roll please!)  Kool Aid.  Yup, strawberry koolaid.  Made sans sugar, made double strength.  Makes a lovely mottled pink fur.  The wee princess is quite happy.  My hands incidently are also quite pink.
And in the pink creatvie theme, I give you Exhibit B.  This was taken by KC earlier in the week.  Pinkie the bear (that really is her name) was transformed into a ninja warrior.  She was rapelling down our staircase.
And, lastly, Love.  Fiona was out today for a visit.  KC brought this heart out last night that he made for her.  He said it was a good luck charm for her to carry in her purse so she would always remember that she is in our hearts.  It was made on that scratch art paper so I covered it in contact paper for him and she seemed very touched by it.

I love that my kids are so creative.  Even though it is messy.  Even though I sometimes feel like I am drowning in the flotsam of their art, deep down I love it.  I love that they show their affections so freely and that family is so important to them.

Today was a good day here for Fi, even though Rob was away.  We decorated a haunted gingerbread house.  We did simple house things, our usual chores but also played and cooked and just enjoyed one anothers company.  We were like the curlique's in KC's art. We all sparkle on our own, but when together we make somethng more beautiful--family.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Holiday Prep x 2

 It's October baby!  That means it is time to start working on Halloween costumes.  This is Lissa hard at work turning lovely white fur lurid pink with sparkles so that she can be transformed into a glamourous werewolf.  LOL  She worked really hard on this.  I am going to cut the pink fur into strips and she will glue it onto jeans and a furry hoodie with fabric fusion glue.  We will also make anklets and wristlets from it.  Have not figured out the tail thing yet.  Or ears. Gad we need ears too. Pink werewolf ears! ROFL

KC on the other hand, has the tail thing all set for his werewolf costume.  He borrowed Rob's tail.  Rob went through a stage where he liked to walk around with these dangling off his jeans.  I have no idea why.  Clearly my fashion sense is impaired.  Thankfully, like many teen fashions it has gone the way of other fashion faux pas.

This is KC's start on his werewolf costume.  We have a really warm hoodie and he is attaching "patches" of fur so it will look like he was transforming into the wolf while still wearing his human clothes.  It looks cool, but he has decided that he has to take some light browns and white or gray and tip the edges of the fur so it will tie better with the color of the tail.  I guess if you are of artistic bent the fact that you are wearing this in the dark does not matter. It has to flow together and make sense. :-)

It was a fun project for them as KC was stuck inside today on day 2 of a head cold. Thankfully it doesn't seem too bad but he typically needs to get a lot of extra rest when he is ill.  And he had to miss dance class which kills him.  I wonder if Rob will dress up this year?  Even last year he did (Lil Wayne)  but I am not sure about this year.

I also have to get cracking on Chet's costume.  He has a vision of being a giant head of lettuce and somehow the body of the lettuce head is supposed to conceal the candy bowl from which he will dole out treats to the kids who ring our bell.  At one point this all made some kind of sense to me (or else i was delusional) and I happily agreed to help craft it.  Now it seems rather um, challenging so I need to spend some time thinking about that.

Added to that my wife and I are going shopping to put gifts on layaway tomorrow. I am actually excited as this is the first year since Lissa was born that my wife has been able to do this with me. typically up till now, the buying, wrapping hiding et al, has been on me.  With her schedule being even crazier than mine, and the depression that often hits her at the holidays, she had no energies to devote to it. We have tomorrow morning free and I thought that perhaps doing it earlier would also be better for her emotionally. K and I rarely are out together with out the kids. This is going to be a fun date!

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Oregon Trail?

I keep trying to wrap my mind around the fact that we are looking at colleges with Rob.  Part of me will always see the little boy cuddled up with me reading stories, the Little Leaguer, all those different stages our kids go through. But he has gone through most of them.  And now, at 17 is in his senior year of high school and seriously looking at college options.

He is eager to embark on a culinary arts career. For a while, he was leaning toward a college here in the North East, but these days, the front runner seems to be out in Oregon.  Yeah.  Oregon.  As in all the way across the country.

He has done his homework and there is much to recommend the school he has chosen.  Academically the class sizes are small. The students are encouraged  to work in the food industry part time while in school and classes are structured time wise to accommodate this. They embrace homeschoolers and alternative learning styles.

Situated in Portland, there is an excellent public transportation system. He won't need a car.  He will be minutes from several excellent skateboarding parks.  I think it is smart that he looked to find out about this--skateboarding is a passion of his.  There are also a lot of other outdoor activity options and Portlands funky, green vibe appeals to him.

The school will pair him with 3 other students who will share a furnished apartment together.  It makes sense.  I am proud of the effort he has put into searching out information and the hours spent in phone calls with the staff there.  I am also pleased that his relationship with his lovely girl friend is not factoring into where he wishes to go to school.  Though not one to pick a fight, he is also not one to give up on something that he really wants to do.

For us, the family, Oregon seems soooooo stinking far away.  But my goal has always been for him to spread his wings and fly.  Better yet, to soar toward a goal. For the longest time, I thought he would never HAVE  a dream or a goal.  He didn't like to look that far ahead, was too afraid a dream would result in disappointment. That he has a dream and a plan to achieve it--that's all pretty amazing and I am excited for him.  Even though the house will seem awfully empty come July.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Feeling sorry for myself

I think I should not read facebook first thing in the morning when I have a migraine.  I am overly sensitive and it is not smart.  I read my sister's status cherrily announcing  how she has three main support systems in her life and how grateful she is for them.  Her husband, her father and her god.  I was a little bit stunned that I was not part of the support system as I have always thought I was a supportive big sis, but okay.

It was more the second support that kicked me in the solar plexus.  My father.  The guy who has not seen or spoken to me in more than 25 years.  Who flies my sister out to visit him annually, and who visits her when he comes to the east coast.  The man who has only met one of my five children.  He knows my number. He knows my address.  He chose to move across country without saying goodbye to me, though he went to visit my sister.

He is the only person in my life who ever managed to make me feel inadequate and unworthy.  I thought I was past feeling that way--and most days I really, really am past that.  Just not today.  OK, pity party over now, I promise!