Tuesday, September 29, 2015

One tooth down, two to go!

KC has successfully made it through his dental  surgery.  I personally had no doubt but he was petrified.  The staff at the oral surgeon's office are amazing and really helped to put him at ease.  The anesthesia made him a very happy patient initially though after being home about 30 minutes the "weepies" set in.  I know that is a pretty typical reaction.

He is resting now and the hardest part of convalescence is likely finding things he will eat.  He prefers salty crunchy things and those are very much out for a bit!

Lissa has her 2 extractions at 2:00 so it will be a really busy night for the tooth fairy at our house!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Of Teeth and Eclipses

KC is my anxious guy.  And he is looking at some dental surgery tomorrow.  One of his adult teeth is growing sideways and if left unchecked it will apparently grow into his sinus cavity.  Frankly that is a revolting image to me.

The fact that my most anxiety prone child is looking at surgery is making life, well a bit more interesting than usual.  He typically ramps himself up in the late evening, just before bed.  I have yet to find a really good solution for helping him to find calm.

I have not minimized any of his concerns.  Ones that we could actually call and he could ask a question about to get answers we have done so.  (for instance "Can I accidently swallow the scalpel while I am asleep?!")

I have helped him with calming breathes.  I have helped him with visualizations.  I have gone over The Plan so that he has in his mind where I will be and such for the day.  (I can't go into the surgical room with him but can wait for him in recovery.)

We have sung. We have listened to quiet music. We have done art.We have done affirmations and visualizations.   Next up I am trying some aroma therapy and some pressure point massage that he can do to himself. At this point, I think I just so need this to be done as much as he does.  He is a bundle of nerves and the rawness of his fears is palpable to me.

At least this weekend was busy and full of fun and that helped take his mind off things a bit.  Saturday we went to our city's harvest festival. Which was a lot bigger than usual because our city is also celebrating their 100th birthday as a city.  The dance school performed and he danced in the street.  We looked at vendors, did some activities and then walked home.  Lissa had a birthday party to attend that afternoon so we dropped her off and then KC my wife and I went to a black smith festival in the next town. This is a laid back event that I used to take the kids to a lot when they were younger.  Think quiet folk music,way less vendors and interesting metal work all set along the banks of a river.  It was a fun place to spend a few hours and we also met up with our friend and the kids godmother who was vending there.  The night ended with a special fireworks display that our city had in honor of the birthday festivities.

Yesterday was the start of the new religious education year at church. The kids were chomping at the bit to do and to see their friends again.  We did go but we had to leave 15 minutes before the end of things in order to go home.  Lissa is a Brownie Scout and they were marching in our city's birthday parade yesterday.  I had to have her at the starting place at 12:15.  Our church is 30 minutes away from our home, so the logistics of getting home, getting her lunch and into her uniform and to the start were interesting.  Also, Fiona came down for the day so she could see the parade and hang out with us.

Lissa did so well marching.  She used to get scared and scowl in situations where she could see lots of people around her, but she was helping to hold the banner and smiling.  I took pictures like a crazy woman.  Lots of Liss but also lots of the parade itself which was enormous and very fun to watch.

By the time evening came the littles were exhausted so I did not keep them up to watch the eclipse.  My wife and i enjoyed it though.  I also loved the fact that so many people got out and watched it.  We are a society of screens.  Computer screens. Phone screens. TV screens. Tablet screens. But for a few hours last night we all looked skyward.  It was as if something primitive and deep within us called us all outside.  You could hear people talking softly on porches all around us.  This morning when I walked there were lots of houses where people had moved their lawn furniture to the sidewalks, obviously for better viewing.  The skies were clear. The view was amazing.  I kept wondering what early humans would have thought watching it. The next eclipse is in 17 years I think.  I was also wondering what my life will be like then.  My kids will be grown.  I will be retired most likely.  Where will I be in life and will I still be looking skyward in awe?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Walking towards fall

This is the weekend I say farewell to summer.  Our church (and another church from the same city) have a gathering in Maine on the coast.  There are dorm rooms for most folks but those who are frugal, and/or like it more peaceful can opt to camp at an appreciably lower overall cost.  I am all about both those things, so my family has always camped, regardless of the weather.

We have camped there when it is 40 degrees at night. When it has been raining. When it has been so foggy it was hard to see.  But this year, the goddess graced us with a weekend of amazing beauty.  Temps so warm I let the kids play in the ocean.  Cool nights that made sleeping easy but not so cold that anyone was needing extra fleece in their sleeping bags.

It is a weekend where my kids (and all the other kids there) get probably more freedom to wander and explore than they do in their day to day lives.  Rob opted to camp with a friend from youth group.  He checked in with me via text and at meals.  He always texted "Love you" at night as I did him.

KC and his group of pals from church made and sold jewelry and art. They created a skit for the talent show. They climbed trees and wandered around sharing the grandiose thoughts that 11 and 12 year old boys have.

Lissa had her group of friends.  Her "bestie" was there and they did a gymnastics routine together for the talent show.  She played in the water, danced in the sand, ran around like the crazy wild young girl she is.

Chet helps all the folks who arrive on Friday night. He knows the lay out of the conference center and helps bring belongings to the correct room, provides directions on parking cars and is generally very helpful. After meals he bussed dishes and before breakfast he swept the dining hall and got all the chairs out.

The kids and I also spent some time together.  We walked the beach and found a pooch that played soccer with my kids.  Actually she sort of ate the ball but they all had a blast together.  We found sea glass to bring home.  We ran races and toasted marshmallows, sang and told silly jokes.

And I had alone time.  Well, kid-free time.  Time when I walked the beach with friends and we talked and caught up on each others life.  I have lots of friends so there were multiple walks which incidently was very good for my fitbit numbers! LOL  I tried a new beer at the gathering before supper on Saturday night.  I had time to read, time to enjoy the sun. Time to star gaze.  Time to watch my bare feet make foot prints on Saturdays walk. Time to watch my sneaker shod shoes make prints on the last walk today before we left to drive home.

Walking with my shoes on was symbolic.  It was about me getting ready to embrace the seasons change.  Fall is nearly here and I am such a child of summer. But there is much to be gained by finding and enjoying the beauty of each season.  So I really work at this.  Today I literally made steps toward fall.

Once home, there was laundry and all the camping gear had to be cleaned and put away for next season.  This too, is a step towards fall.  I am ready now, I think. The laundry bin is empty, the gear cleaned and stored.  Corn shocks decorate our front post and tiny gourds are beside the door.  Blessed be.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Journey

Kids grow up.  I know that in my head.  None the less it was a shock to have my 11 year old ask me if I could "just drop him off" at the dance school, instead of waiting in the lobby while he has classes.

This weekend my youngest daughter was invited to a friends house and it was a "drop off" play date--not the moms chatting while the kiddos played.

This weekend my college guy was at the gym during the regular family meal and he fixed his own later, noshing on food that since he is a culimary major was undoubtedly fancier than what I prepared!

The kids are old enough now that I am comfortable leaving for an early morning walk and bringing my cell phone.  I know that they all know how to contact me should the need arise. (My wife is still home, it is just that she is a heavy sleeper)  I confess that we tested this before I began doing it, but regardless, it is still another step toward independence. 

For so long I have travelled with a "tribe".  Now, interests are becoming more child specific--Lissa opted out of one set of dance classes this year and instead has chosen to swim.  I think that once the swimming is mastered, she may move on to basketball or soccer.

Fiona is slowly and occasionally doing things on her own with staff from the group home.  Everyone is making strides towards levels of independence that are appropriate and which they are comfortable with.

It is fascinating. It is appropriate.  It is also a tad bittersweet as I navigate a new facet to my role as a parent. .  It is a new chapter in unfamiliar territory and I do not have a map for this journey!.  Some days they are all feeling totally capable.  Some days, not so much, and figuring out the logistics of that is confusing.  Regardless, it is a journey that I enjoy and I am proud of all of them.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Long Range Planning

A couple of weeks ago I was hanging out with my friends Des and Eric at the local roller rink.  Our kids all have free passes for skating so the parents were chatting, while the kiddos did their thing on the rink.  Actually the odd thing is that I was not skating with them as I love roller skating and usually do. And if I had, well the conversation might not have happened. . .

Des said that their family was going to Disney in October of 2016 and camping at the Disney campground.  They would love it if our family could come along too as we are one of the few families they love to do camping with.  We like to do things together, but I am not a "joined at the hip" kind of person.  If something doesn't fit my family, I just do something else and hook up later. They love that as sometimes other friends have been a bit clingy and needy.

But, my company did not give raises this year.  And I have a guy in college. So this required a lot of thought and looking at the budget.  It required talking with my wife, whom I know HATES Florida with a passion.  I did both though, and I think we might be able to pull it off. We don't have a camper but I can rent one down there for way less than the cost of renting a house and the campground looks fun and like a place all the kids would enjoy.

I have also begun discussions with Fiona's group home about working with me to make a plan for her to come down for part of the week so that she too gets a Disney experience. She has wanted this her whole life--what kid doesn't?  In typical form, the head basically said gee, go ahead and take her on a trip.  I said, whoa, wait a minute. It is more than that.  I have researched and she is entitled to a vacation whether or not our family was going.  Therefore, I expect there to be a plan for accompanying her and helping her to succeed.  She may become overwhelmed and need to take space.  She may want to do something at the park that the younger kids don't want to do. Those options need to be planned for.  There was a bit of stunned silence at the end of the phone but then the head of the program agreed and said that they would be happy to contact the rest of the team and begin working on this.  I so hope it plays out well.  I have also been clear to them that Fiona is to know NOTHING about this.  It is way too far away and the anticipation will not be anything she can begin to deal with.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Chet turns 30!

Today is Chet's birthday and my perpetual teen turns (gasp) 30.  Yes, the big 3-0!  It is hard to wrap the mind around, in part because he is always so young in his behaviors.  And I have come to a place where I am really okay with that.  The luck of having a large family has been that there have been for many years youngers coming along who reach that place where Chet is comfortable emotionally.  It is a place typically inhabited by pre-teen or early teen boys who enjoy fart jokes and belching and the game Magic.

Rob has sort of passed through that stage and moved on towards young adulthood.  But KC and Lissa are filling the void.  They have learned Magic this summer and enjoy playing it with their big brother. Chet for his part, enjoys the chance to impart something he knows to them.  Albeit somewhat pedantically, but they are used to that as well!

What will happen for him when these two grow past where he is comfortable being I am unsure.  I may have to put an ad out for pre teen boys who want to gather at my house for fart jokes, pizza and games of Magic!

But for today, we celebrated all that is Chet!  He got his favorite supper of arroz con gandules, home made cake and of course gifts.  He asked for rubber bands, a note book and pens, and a couple of movies. He got those and warm fleece pants for winter and hair dye so his mohawk can again be the pink of his shirt in the picture above.

My wife had to leave for work so we did the party backwards with cake and gifts first and then the meal.  This was perfect for her schedule but also consummately suited Chet!

Happy Birthday Son!