Sunday, March 23, 2014

Stressful Semana

This has been a stressful week.  My father in law was in a significant car accident.  At 80, he is still very active, working part time and bowling weekly on a league.  This past week on his way home from bowling, he was in the high speed lane of a busy highway when he was sideswiped.  He was hospitalized for two days while they made sure that surgery would not be needed on the spleen. He also cracked a rib.  Thankfully, he did not need surgery after all and returned home by Thursday night. We drove down to see him yesterday and I think we all felt better for having seen him.   He seems very much himself.

In a perfect storm of stress, the day we found out about his car accident, my wife had job stress when a local bank was robbed and the gunman fled up the street to the school that she cleans.  Thankfully although the school is on break, the maintenance man had been told to wait for her and to not let her remain there alone. The school backs up to conservation land and would be a logical place for people to try and hide.

Rob had his glaucoma check up and for the first time in ages his pressure was up. Even more significant to me is that when the did the peripheral acuity testing there was an area where he did not detect things visually for the first time.  We go back again in two months to see if pressure is still high.

Today is a busy Sunday with some church responsibilities and some get togethers for the various kids, but I am making sure to take a bit of time to breathe.  Just. Breathe.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Endings, Beginnings and Celebrations

It seems we are at a birthday party nearly every other week over the past two months.  It is a shame that my homeschooled children have so few opportunities for socialization.  (big snicker here folks!)  Saturday it was a party for a 4 year old. We are friends with the whole family who have kids ranging from 4 up to Rob's age.  There are also two near KC and Lissa's age.  We mesh well together, a couple of loud gaggles of kids and congenial parents.    KC had actually put a lot of thought into his gift for the little girl and she loved it which pleased him greatly.  Celebrations are so much fun for all of us!

Rob was not with us at the party, though as he and my wife were touring a college.He liked the campus.  It is much closer than his other college choice and I hope this works out.

Sunday was the Youth Group service at church.  Rob played an original piece that he wrote for the prelude. Very jazzy sounding, and very beautiful. I am honored that he shares himself through his music with us.  He also played the opening hymn.  I was so proud of him.  Reading music is harder for him. He tends to memorize pieces as opposed to reading the music.  He didn't have a lot of time to learn this piece and though he made a few mistakes, what I was proud of was that he was courageous enough to try. There was a time when just the thought of flubbing anything in front of people would have made him refrain from stretching and trying at all.  It is hard to wrap my mind around the fact that this is the last Youth Group service that he will participate in.

This afternoon he spent his time at his girl friends house.  I confess to some parental concerns over his girl friend's behavior lately.  She seems to need a lot of adoration and adulation. To further that in her life she has begun bringing a young male friend to church with her.  Said young male is clearly smitten by her and hangs all over her.  Rob has been handling this with far more grace and maturity than I think I had at that age. At least I am hoping it is grace and maturity and not naivity. . .   I keep reminding myself that this is his life lesson to learn, which is hard for this momma.

While he was gone, the littles and I set up our Lucky Leprecaun art gallery.  KC this year found it easier (thank you goddess) to edit his work and actually willingly disposed of a few obviously unfinished sketches or pieces that he knew were just practice and not up to his usual quality.  He helped me to decide how to group the art. This year we have a wall of abstract and modernism, and a wall of mixed media.  The latter has become increasingly his passion.  He loves to use oils or markers and then embellish or deepen the art with stickers, or cut out pieces of paper, tissue paper layers etc.  Then there is a long wall that encompasses, holiday art, nature, and his growing passion for drawing comics.  To be sure the other kids have art in this display as well, but for the most part this is KC's passion.  He even made the Lucky Leprecaun Art Gallery sign on the computer this year, almost without help.

I'll try to remember to take some pics to share at some point!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Busy Times,Fun Times

Things have been such a whirlwind lately.  Dance is ramping up with the recital coming on in mid May. That sounds a long way off but isn't when you count weeks for practice.  KC is always keenly aware of this and begins practicing on his own at home very regularly.

The boys went to a local hockey game w ith our close friend and their godparents yesterday.  They had a blast!  The girls got their time the day before, with me taking Lissa and Fiona to a local salon for a "spa" day of manicures and pedicures.  They too, had a blast and it was a great sisterly bonding time.  Fi sees a lot of herself in Lissa and enjoyed having time for just the two of them.  Lissa has wanted to do this for ages and was totally into the experience.

Work is insanely busy, and of course it is tax time and I am trying to carve out time here at home to work on that. I will never love doing taxes, but this year I can file as married when I do my federal taxes so there is something very cool about that.

My friend L came over yesterday afternoon with her daughter and she and Lissa played together all afternoon.  Eventually the little boy next door came over too so even though 2 of mine were gone, there was still a house full of laughter and fun.

In the midst of it all, the group home director called me to report that Fiona had an incident at the home and required physical restraint.  It sounded like she was very out of control which has not happened in a long while, but which I did feel she was slowly building towards.  I do want to know though what a restraint consists of with this new program.  They have a lot of stuff written in their plan about how there will always be 2 staffers but that to me is just to give themselves alibis.  What I want to know is how they are handling my daughter.  She has been in places where holds were few and appropriate and in places where they were frequent and done with a disregard for her--almost intentionally frightening and escalating the situation.  So today, some more discussion with the head of the program is in order.

And, in other exciting news--daylight savings time is back!!!!!! I love that.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Our company does an annual goal setting as part of our employee annual reviews.  I am amazed at how stressed people seem to get about setting some goals.  I am also surprised that some people don't like to set goals.  I am a natural born goal setter I guess!  I have always been a planner and goals are part of making plans.

Our previous company didn't have a formal goal setting the last 10 years or so that we worked for them. Prior to that there were goal settings and reviews.  But even when the formal ones stopped, I had goals I set for myself.    I think I would feel rather adrift if I didn't.

One of my coworkers told me that she didn't like goals because if she didn't achieve them, then she felt would be held against her.  Now I don't know that it wouldn't  be held against one--but I suspect if there were good reasons why a goal was not met, it would not be.  After all, goals are a plan not a guarantee.  I tried to explain that it was something to strive towards, but there seemed to be a collective feeling that it was so much safer not to try.  I found it very sad.

The Skaters Waltz

The weeks are passing so quickly!  However that may be a good thing because unless we have entered an ice age that means that soon it will warm up and the polar vortex and snow will be a thing of the past.  I can't wait.

This Saturday Lissa was invited to a friend's birthday party at the local roller rink.  She was super excited to try roller skating.  We got there and got her skates and it became clear that she was going to need a little assistance.  I had expected that, and as I used to skate, I paid for a pair of skates for me.  A few times around the rink and it had started to come back to me.  I used to love roller skating and did it outside for hours when I was growing up.

However, as we were going around the rink we noticed these gizmos that children were pushing to give themselves stability while they developed their skating skills.  They never had anything like that when I was learning how to skate, but we quickly availed ourselves of this new gizmo. Soon Lissa was whizzing around the rink as I skated near she and her friends.  I was even able to leave the rink surface and chat with my friends as her confidence grew.

When we got home I asked her to tell KC about the helping thing that they have for beginning skaters.  KC is sometimes reluctant to try new things and I thought hearing about it would boost his confidence.  "Oh sure, Ooma, " said Lissa with a grin.  "Hey KC you know those walkers that old people use? They have them there to help you learn to skate!"

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Fabulous Forever Family Party

While the group home experience made last weekend very stressful, the party that Fi and I planned to celebrate the guardianship was a great success.  There were 11 of us, family, Fi's friends from the Great School and Amazing Jane.  Jane had only gotten back from vacation the day before but had agreed to not only come but to bring some of the friends.

I had made a reservation a week or so in advance and we had 2 waitresses that were assigned to just us.  They were so kind and handled everyone so graciously.  As you may imagine, some of the guests had some cognitive or behavioral challenges (my Chet falls into that mix incidently).  Yet they were kind and calm, handling the occasional odd question or extra wait time for someone to decide if they really wanted dressing on their salad, with aplomb.

Fiona just shone with happiness.  I think as much as the fact that we were cementing "forever family" for her, we were also cementing the promise we made at the start of the transition from the Great School, which was that she would not lose contact with people she had become close to.

She got a heart necklace that K and I made, Jane gave her a picture that I had taken of all the kids together at Christmas, and her friends gave her jewelry.  It was a really bright gem of an experience.  I will remember how she was smiling always.

Speaking of memories, we have not been to Olive Garden since KC was 2.  Yet when Fi chose that restaurant he recounted a memory of how they used a giant grinder to put the cheese on his pasta.  He was correct, but I was floored that he would remember that from such a young age.  This is not really a random little aside.  What it made me stop and think about was how many memories remembered or shadowy that Fiona still deals with, most of hers made intense from situations of trauma.  I am glad that at least for that moment, there was a happy memory that outshone the others.