Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunny Sunday~

This is another comic that made me laugh... It so reminds me of my kids growing up. No matter how hard I tried to teach them good manners, they always had an excuse and a reason for what they were doing that made it somehow "ok" to be rude. I still don't understand it, but this made me laugh none-the-less.

I needed a laugh today. I am feeling under the weather. I had a scratchy throat start yesterday, and I figured it was allergies, but then it developed in to a cough that kept me up and uncomfortable most of the night and into today. My head feels fine, just my chest and my throat are uncomfortable. I worked last night despite feeling punk and that didn't help. We didn't get out of the store until 10:45 (almost an hour past my scheduled end time) so I wasn't home til almost 11:30 last night. Never worked a close before. I was really frustrated last night and I am not sure how I am going to fix it. I put in a request 2 weeks ago to have the end of next week off so I can go to MN. I looked at the schedule last night and I am only scheduled to work one 4 hour shift--next Saturday, day 3 of my five days out of town. I am going to see if I can find someone to cover it for me, but if I can't I will quit. It strikes me as unfair that they cannot give me hours (and I have been more than flexible with them) but when I follow the policy and request specific time off, it gets ignored. I am not giving up another trip back to MN because of a 4 hour shift in the midst of it. I can't! I really NEED to "go home" and see everyone! I was so upset about it last night that I was near tears. I enjoy my job, but I really need something that is more predictable, that pays better, and that I can work at with my family life too. Maybe that's selfish of me, but it's how I feel. I give my all when I am there, but they are giving me very little consideration in return.

The kids go into finals on Monday. They are about as ready as they are going to be I think. Patrick is off with friends at the park, and Rei, Kimmie, and Aurora are at the pool for the afternoon. Eric has been playing Everquest while I have read and napped on the bed, and he just started the grill for dinner--porkchops I believe. It's a gorgeous day and I would have liked to be outside more, but it's better I just lay low for today. Tomorrow is a whole new day to get stuff done and enjoy the weather. I need to find more cough syrup and lay back down, but I hope everyone had a good weekend! I know I did over all...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New Tree!

So on my birthday, Eric and I made the rounds of a few local garden centers. We had been wanting a tree since we got married, and had been watching prices, sizes, and types. We had our eye on a few at Lowes and Home Depot, because the prices were right, but the trees we looked at there were scrawny and fragile looking. When we were at Eckerts, the same place we go apple picking at, we got to talking to one of the nurserymen there, and he told us the highlights and facts about this tree next to Eric, and we were "sold". In 30 years it will stand 50 ft tall, with a 30 ft canopy, and in the fall it will be a brilliant scarlet color!
This particular tree we bought was a slightly older tree, about 7-8 years old, and we paid a bit more for it, but it was exactly what we wanted.

We set it up so that it would be delivered today, and last Thursday I called the utility line phone number so that the proper authorities would come out and mark where all the underground lines were buried, so we could safely dig.

Eric started digging yesterday afternoon, between cloudbursts from the tropical depression we were under. He fortunately got it done before the heavens opened up and drenched the hole but good. Midnight found that hole this morning by accident, and was quite surprised by it--he clambered out quickly, and we were glad the water in it was minimal...

Just a quick view of the heavens as the storms rolled in on us... It was beautiful to see!

Today the tree arrived on a big truck, around 2 p.m. It took two men to roll it off and get it on the dolly, then they rolled it into the back yard.

Eric needed to widen the hole just slightly, then it took less than 3 minutes to get it level. The guys reviewed care instructions with us, then left us to finish planting it...

Eric got some of the removed earth returned to the hole so that the tree would be stabilized, and we were told we wouldn't need to worry about staking it at all because of it's size and shape.

We gave it a good watering, all the while listening to thunder rolling in the distance, and stood in the small amount of shade it is already providing, quite happy with our new addition to the yard!

This is my view of the tree from my kitchen window. Once it has settled some, I will add my hummingbird feeder to it, and will be able to enjoy the view of our beautiful new tree!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Busy weekend!

These are some flowers that Liisa and Jesse sent to me for my birthday. They are so pretty, and still quite robust, even today, almost a week later! Eric and I spent a wonderful day on my birthday: we went out to eat, we wandered around some garden centers, we explored Mascoutah a bit, and we bought a tree! A 7 - 8 year old maple that is taller than the tree in our front yard, and will be delivered tomorrow! Then we came home, we had a nice evening with the kids, and we played some everquest.

Thursday, the 21st, we took a day trip to Quincy, IL and Hannibal, MO. We initially took the trip to Quincy because my engagement ring needed to be cleaned and inspected (we didn't want to invalidate the warranty) and discovered the nearest Fred Meyer's Jeweler's is in Quincy. I came home feeling naked because we left it there to get resized; it will be fed-exed back to me any day now (insured), because of the distance we drove to get there. I had to include this photo of the Mississippi River as it overcame it's banks and flooded out the river road--if you look carefully at the fenceline and the tree tops you can see where the road was supposed to be...

After leaving Quincy's mall, which wasn't very big, we decided to wander around the Historic Hannibal, home to Mark Twain and the wonderful Tom Sawyer/Huckleberry Finn stories. I hadn't been to Quincy or Hannibal in many years, like 14.5, and I had fond memories of it. I was a little disappointed to see that many of the historic buildings that I had really enjoyed touring were looking quite tired and run down; there looked like there were some renovations under way in some places, but they were not as I remembered them. We also got there too late to take a ride on the riverboat, but I did really enjoy standing and watching the river flow by, something I have been missing, and Eric is so sweet to have recognized. We found the most amazing quilt shop there, and while I made no purchases, we did enjoy browsing their offerings. We also found an antique's shop we really liked: reasonable prices, good selections, and it was just fun to be in there! While looking for a place to have a cold beer we met a female vet who was power washing a fence, and we had a wonderful conversation with her about some of her life experiences and places she and Eric held in common (like a post in Alabama); she was quite an interesting person, and it was fun to chat with her!

While we were wandering around the gift shop, I got a phone call from Andrea letting me know she was enroute to IL to come visit us with the babies. She ended up having quite the drive to come down here! She had a negative reaction to an energy drink she tried that left her with an upset stomach and dizziness, and she was scared to drive. I encouraged her to drink some cold water, walk around a bit, and relax (they were at a walmart somewhere in Iowa). She got back onto the road after she felt better, but eventually hit (and killed) a raccoon, got pulled over by a state trooper for speeding, and, had her battery die on her cell phone, so she couldn't contact anyone. She got here at 2 a.m., 14 hours after leaving MN, and she was exhausted and frazzled! The kids, however, were very excited to be here and see me, and it was after 2:30 that we got everyone into bed.

Friday morning we went to Toys R Us and I bought the little ones their birthday present, a Radio Flyer wagon, complete with adjustable seats (and seatbelts!), a canopy for the top of it, and a small collapsible cooler for packing juiceboxes, sandwiches, or treats in. We brought it home, and Eric had more than enough help and supervision to put it together for them. Alexis was excited sit in it even without tires on it, and Justin quickly joined her.

Eric kicked them out so he could get the tires on it, and Alexis sat on his lap to help him, then stood across from him asking "Grampa Eric, is it ready yet?" "Please is it ready yet?" "We go riding yet?" As soon as it was finished the kids eagerly loaded in, and we took them for a walk around the neighborhood.
We went to the commisary after our walk to get some groceries, as we planned to grill that night (Justin's idea), and we had to get Aurora to the high school for graduation; we spent a quiet evening at home, watching TV, cooking, and just hanging out with the kids who were home, then Eric's ex picked up Patrick and Aurora to go to IN and Rei and Kimmie headed off with Cliff for an evening of entertainment--a concert being given by a friend of Cliff's, then to spend the night at a friend's, before heading to Pointfest at the Verizon Ampitheater for the day on Saturday. We made it an early night for all of us, and after baths, we all headed to bed at a relatively early night--given it was just Eric, me, Andrea, and the kids here, it was even peaceful before 11 p.m..
Saturday morning Eric had class, so Andrea, the kids, and I went to the park for part of the morning. Justin remembered my "really cool park" from their last visit, and I have to say we really missed not having some of the older kids there with us! Last time we were there, Rei and Aurora chased "Little Miss", while Tony and I followed Justin, making it safe for them to be at the top of the slide and still have a catcher at the bottom... Both little ones are monkeys of the first order, and man are they quick! After Eric got home we had lunch, packed up the pilot, and went to the St Louis Zoo.
Finding parking at the zoo was nuts! It is in a huge park bounded by a golf course, many museums, and an assortment of picinic areas (and the John F. Kennedy National Forest), and I had never been there before. The zoo itself was lovely, massive, and very tiring to wander. We brought the wagon with us, and it garnered much positive attention from kids and adults alike. The kids spent as much time out of it as in it so they could see everything.
A few highlights for me included when the hippo pressed it's face against the glass in front of Alexis, startling her, Justin laughing at the baby elephant having hay all over the top of it's head, and, the Chimp sitting against the window in front of them (both kids started petting the glass, with Alexis stating "I petting the puppy gram!" and Justin noting that the chimp had peed while he sat there in front of them!
We basically stayed until the zoo was ready to close, then made the long trek back to where the car was parked. I was quite proud of myself: I had been ready to give up and have Eric bring the car back to get me as my feel and legs were tiring dreadfully and I was huffing and puffing my way up the slight inclines we were traversing... What a sad reminder that I need to be in better shape, heehee. When we got home it was time for baths, and we ordered pizza a pasta for dinner as we were all too tired to cook!
Sunday dawned a beautiful day, and Eric had to work an 8 hour shift. Andrea needed to head for home, and I too had to work, from 10-2, so Andrea hit the road about 9:30, leaving just ahead of me and hoping to get home shortly before bedtime for the kids. I got a call from her just after 2, and she proudly announced she was still on 70W and had not yet seen 27, her turn off. I took a deep breath, then told her she was on the wrong route: she should have turned north onto 61 about an hour or so after getting onto 70, NOT 27. (27 is the highway needed in Iowa). Liisa looked her location up on the map and discovered that Andrea was nearing Kansas City, about 5 hours west of where she needed to be. Liisa got her routed onto 435, then 35 N, which would take her directly to Minneapolis, but Andrea got all upset and frustrated. She didn't get home until almost 12:30 a.m., a 15 hour drive instead of a 10 hour one. I don't think this poor girl will ever drive down here again by herself, but I was so proud of her for making the trip, and I so enjoyed having the kids and her here! We had a wonderful visit!
Monday we got up early, and Eric headed off to IN to go pick up Aurora and Patrick. There was constant rain, given we were under a stalled tropical storm system, and it was a yucky day all around. Eric had a safe drive though, and the kids had an "okay" time in IN. Eric and I spent the evening playing Everquest, and we again made it an early night. Reimond is having a hard time with his asthma these past few days, needing his nebulizer treatments every 4 hours. He seems to be doing better tonight, but we will continue doing them until he is feeling better. My guess is that all the cigarette smoke he was around at pointfest set the trigger for it, and the humidity we have had hasn't helped at all. Between showers, Eric got the hole dug for our tree, which will be delivered tomorrow, and we will plant it after he gets home from court tomorrow afternoon.
That should bring everyone up to date on what we are up to. Liisa thanks everyone for their condolences on Max, and she is doing better, although she still has her moments. Rei and I are planning a trip to MN for the 5 days between school ending and summer school starting, so we hope to see everyone then, and Aurora and Patrick will be headed back to IN as well over those same dates. Aurora made dinner, so I guess I should go eat, but I just wanted to post this so I could update everyone!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Remembering Max...

This is our last picture of Max. I stole if from Liisa's facebook page. Max lost his battle with Pancreatic cancer this morning. Liisa and Jesse sat by his side as he went to sleep, and my heart sure is with them today as they grieve his passing. For being someone who was only with our family for a very short time (not even a full year!), he brought so much joy and fun to our lives and we are richer for having known him, and saddened for our loss.

Max was a 12, almost 13 year old pure bred yellow lab. He was good natured, inquisitive, and so very even tempered and loving. I can't remember his "offical" name, the one on his papers, although I know his first name is "Maximus." He was also known as "Dogbert" for whatever reason, and he was much loved, both by his original family, as well as us, his adoptive family.

At our wedding reception at the house last August, Max discovered the keg, where there were ice cubes for the taking. He snuck over, looked around to see if anyone was paying attention to him, then quickly snuck one out.

He was very coy in chewing it up, not realizing how loud he actually was....

And then he looked innocently around as if to say "Who? Me?????"

We laughed and laughed at him! He was so cute!

Another fun memory: he wasn't supposed to be on the furniture, but that didn't stop him from sneaking up there. I came downstairs from doing something in my bedroom, to find him on the couch. When I didn't scold or holler, he laid down so sweetly. Who could get mad at that face?

I think he liked that couch because it was right next to the heat/air conditioning vent and it was nice and cool that way. Liisa made him a bunch of "seasonal" neckwear and he often sported something fun in honor of various holidays or themes. He was very good natured that way!

Another fun memory of Max was being at Kris and Rollie's lake place over the 4th of July. Max and Hank woke the place up when Jesse and Liisa got up there and tried to sneak in (Kristi fell out of bed and hit the floor in the loft, adding to the noise and confusion!). He loved swimming and playing fetch.

Here he is swimming with Jesse and Rei in the lake.

And here he is with Hank, resting in the boat. Max loved to travel by car and went pretty much everywhere with the kids. He loved to be in Princeton on the land, and had free rein to run and roam. He was such a good dog! Max even travelled down here to Mascoutah and met our three dogs here! There were a few issues with territory, but he was a good houseguest, and a wonderful traveller!

I think this has to be one of my favorite pictures of Max. He was so good with the babies, and seemed to understand instinctively that they were small and needed herding. Alexis loved him and his name was one of her first clearly spoken words. Justin too claimed him as "his" and he was so gentle with all their poking, prodding, and climbing.

Jesse found Max for Liisa because she was so dreading having an empty house after Rei and I moved. He had been raised in a family who were splitting up due to a divorce, and Liisa struggled with taking him away from "his boy", who, along with his father, wept when Liisa and Jesse drove away with him; He loved Liisa with a passion and was her faithful companion. He came to live at my house, and was never any trouble, although he and our cats had their issues.

Max had a run-in with a neighbor's dog, and nearly got his throat torn out; Liisa paid a small fortune to get him strong and healthy, but that was the beginning of Max's difficulties. After the incident, he became a bit more fearful, and he started having seizures and "episodes" of confusion, disorientation, and balance. It was eventually discovered that he had a tumor on his pancreas and it was causing low blood sugar issues for him. He was treated medically for as long as it was feasible to do so, but this past week Max took a turn for the worst, and wasn't going to get better. Liisa and Jesse made the only decision possible for Max, and they loved him to the end. He is going to be cremated, and when he comes home, they will decide whether he'll remain in Minneapolis, or be taken to Princeton, where he can be by them always.

Max has crossed the rainbow bridge and I am sure my Dad has met him joyfully on the other side.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tomorrow is my birthday...

I was teasing Eric that he can make all the "old" cracks he wants--regardless of how old he gets to be, I will always be 5 years and 8 days older than him. My age really doesn't bother me much, and I don't try to keep it a secret or anything. I will be 47 tomorrow. Three years from 50. Wow! Some people get really freaked out about age, but for me, it's just a number. I feel the same as I did when I was in my late teens/early 20's. Just a bit wiser (at least I hope so!) and not as in shape (I don't have the stamina/bounce back from things like I used to have). I am comfortable in myself and in my skin. I wish I were in better physical shape sometimes (weight-wise/muscle tone), but Eric and I bought Wii Fit yesterday as a birthday present for the two of us, and I am looking forward to playing on it. I like who I am as a person, I like where I am in life, and while I still have goals to accomplish, I don't look back with regret on any facet of my life. I am who I am now because of what I had to work through and experience, and it has made me into someone whom I hope is honest, strong, empathetic, and experienced in so many ways. I look forward to this coming year, with all that it has to offer, and I have plans of what I want to still accomplish both personally and professionally. God has been good to me and has been faithful in making sure I have had all that I need; I have lived by faith and Grace to this point, and don't see that changing in the future.

I had Eric read through some past blog entries I wrote, because I was concerned he might be unhappy with my honesty about our struggles with Brie, Patrick, and some of the other kids. He was in agreement with them, so I have kept them up. I really want this blog to be a "letter" to my family and friends, but it is also a place for me to voice my thoughts and opinions, and to process through things that are going on. Sometimes it's hard to find that right balance between honesty and attitude, because I do want to be fair to all parties involved and not misrepresent issues as being all one-sided. That being said, things continue to be a struggle with our oldest two on the issues of communication and courtesy. Brie had drill all weekend, and said she would be home Sunday night. She had been unwilling to participate in a discussion on respect and household expectations, so she was not allowed to take the van for the weekend. Because of this, she chose not to come home at all, until 5:30 am, where she grabbed her work clothes, then got a ride "from a friend" to work. She posted a status a few days back on "Facebook" that said "I'm living my life on MY terms, and loving it" (adding in "who needs boys anyways?"), and essentially that is what she is doing. Eric called her phone last night to see what was going on and what her plans were, and it became another arguement, so we are not sure what to do. She is loved so very much, and cared about so greatly. How can she NOT see that her behaviors and decisions are what are causing the chasms between her and the family? To not communicate with us about her plans or her needs, but then expect everyone to bend over backwards to accommodate her... It's hard! And as I said before, she is burning bridges she may later regret having destroyed...

Patrick too isn't seeing how his decisions to not be home, to not check in, and to not follow through on things are resulting in his not getting what he wants from us. He is essentially alienating himself from the family, then gets upset because "no one tells him anything"!!! He goes off after school with friends, he "sneaks in" when he comes home at night and goes straight to his room/bed so we have no clue that he is even home; then he gets upset that we are frustrated. His idea of checking in is to call and say (three-four hours after the fact) "I'm with X and Y." Period. No "I'll be home by __________" or anything! Bah! I am NOT looking forward to this summer: he isn't registered for summer school, he doesn't have a job set up, and if he thinks he is gonna run the roads with friends all summer with no responsibilities... Let's just say it's not gonna happen.

Reimond too is struggling, primarily with school. I checked his grades today and they are NOT where I'd like them to be. This year has been hard and while I have done my best to smooth what I can for him, he has made choices that have consequences, and he has to deal with the results. At times I see real progress, but other times I see him coasting and goofing off. I have tried so hard to impose artificial structure to his day (such as doing homework right after school, making sure he has all the things he needs to be successful tool-wise, helping him when he keeps me in the loop), but the bottom line is that he sees no purpose or satisfaction on following through and would rather do it as he pleases... I get so discouraged sometimes. There is a part of me that wants to rescue him and make it better, but I know that does him a huge disservice, so I have to just let him deal with it, while being supportive and caring where it's appropriate.

Aurora had a wonderful time in Branson, and came home with lots of pictures and lots of memories. She brought home two really cute shot glasses for Eric, which was very sweet of her, and she showed me a picture she took of a quilt shop in Branson--her way of enticing us to return there for a family trip. I think it would be a lot of fun to go there, and given it's fairly close by, I bet we could do it for a weekend trip sometime. Aurora really has blossomed in this year plus that I have known her. She seems confident and comfortable with herself and she is a really neat person. She continues to have strong ideas and opinions on things, but the power struggles with her are generally few and far between (although when they DO happen, watch out! She is a stubborn lil cuss!!!!). She is looking forward to the summer and driver's ed.

Eric is at school right now taking his first final of the term, then he is gonna stay after for a bit to work on some things he has to finish up. I am thinking I should get moving too--want to try and get some chores done while he is gone, so that he can have peace and quiet for studying when he gets home. So glad to see this school year draw to a close!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Do you ever have days like this?

I saw this online this morning and laughed my butt off! It is so typical of what life has been like around here for the past couple of months... No one taking responsibility for themselves, blame being passed around... It is so KIDS!!!! Lynn Johnston is amazing. I followed her comic strip, For Better or For Worse in our local paper and when I stopped getting a paper, was fortunate enough to find it online ( It is a part of my morning routine (check emails, check blog updates, check facebook, check the comic) while drinking my coffee. She officially ended her strip last fall, and as with the peanuts comics, her strips are now being re-run from their beginning, with updated art at times and occasional new additions. I missed out on most of her strips at the beginning (started following them somewhere around the time that "April" was born), so most of them are new to me. They make me laugh though because she truly understands family life and family dynamics. I see myself as a young mother, I see my kids growing up, I see my grandkids today... It reminds me not to take myself of what is going on too seriously, that there is laughter, and innocence, and hope, in all circumstances. Sometimes I really need that reminder.

I got my new Quilter's Newsletter Magazine yesterday and browsed it from cover to cover. In looking at it, Eric and I got to talking about my Baltimore Album Quilt, and my almost being done with it, after having it as a "work-in-progress" for almost 20 years. I shared with him stories about it, how and why I started it, what some of the various blocks mean to me, circumstances surrounding it, as well as why it has taken me 20 years to finish just the top. Truthfully, the blocks themselves have been done for many years now. It is just the borders, which I designed myself, that have more recently given me fits and starts. But now, it is almost done. I have the last border over half appliqued, and once it is sewn into place, the corner element can be completed. Then, as I told Eric, I need to give it a good washing, mend some of the seams that frayed (from 20 years of folding and refolding it and having it stored away), and then I will get it basted so I can quilt it. If possible, I would like to have it machine basted (for ease in being sure it is all flat and secure), but if need be, I will pin baste it myself. When it is done, I want to show it at a meeting of MN Quilters, I would like to enter it in the MN State Fair, and I would like to show it at a MN Quilt show. These were all goals I had for it when I started it, and I would like to follow through with them when I have it finished.

Eric says when it is done I should write an essay about it, sharing the details of it for posterity's sake. I probably will, for my children and grandchildren. Elly Sienkiewicz, from whom I learned my techniques and who's patterns I primarily used, stated that an Album quilt is usually a quiltmaker's masterpiece, and is a reflection of who she is as a person. This is true of my quilt, and in my head I have always called it "Reflections of Reina: A work in Progress". Eric suggested I also "publish" it here, complete with pictures, and I may do so. I need to finish it first though. My goal is to have the top done by the end of the month so that I can start working on Liisa and Jesse's quilt next month. It isn't unrealistic at all, so that is my plan.

One of the things I love most about that quilt is how it shows my growth in skills in the art of applique, as well as how it documents (for me) important events in my life and allows all the separate pieces to become a cohesive object of beauty and joy, despite some of the heartaches therein. I guess that is why I love Lynn Johnston's comic strip too. They allow us to see the bigger picture from small snippets, and reminds us how rich life truly is.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The storms are finally subsiding,

and it's turning into a cooler, quieter night. It was a hot and extremely humid day: I saw thermometers listing temps as high as 91 today and as low as 85. Eric mowed the yard yet again, and it is finally at a length that he approves of; we grilled porkchops for dinner, and watched the storms roll in around 7 pm... Just in time to disrupt my season finale's of Friday night television...

It's a quiet night on the home-front too. Patrick went to a concert and is spending the night at a friend's, Aurora is in Branson, and Brianne just left to go to drill for the weekend. Rei and Kimmie are watching the end of a movie on one tv, and we have the news on in our room, while Eric raids on Everquest. He has school in the morning, and Rei has his Saturday detention, so it'll be just Kimmie and I home in the morning. Despite a brief difference of opinion with Brie late this afternoon, she spent the evening hanging out with Eric and I watching TV and keeping us company 'til her ride picked her up, and she left with hugs all around. It was so much nicer than previous partings this week. I think we all needed the peace and quiet. I have to admit I was a bit frustrated with Rei and Kimmie at one point; after seeing the weather reports, they elected to go out on their bikes about the same time the storm started rolling in, without even letting us know they were taking off... I ended up picking them up and loading bikes into the car when the winds picked up significantly, the sky darkened ominously, and the rain started to fall. I admit, I was hard on them for being stupid, and I reminded them of the rules that they NEED to check in before they take off places. I am just glad Rei had his phone on him. I didn't mind picking them up, but they have to know that they are not yet close to being adults, with the freedom to come and go as they please.

I was a bit blue today. My sister's crafting weekend at the lake started today and I would have liked to be there. I have been talking to Minneapolis quite a bit these last few days, and I am really missing my family. I had a 45 minute conversation with my grandchildren (and their mother) on Thursday and I laughed myself silly throughout it. Justin was adamant I needed to get in my van and drive to his house, where they "have a tv" and I can watch his favorite movie with him. He talked about using his "super powers" to make an airplane that he could fly here to my house, and he also had it all figured out that if I drive to his house, we can load up the van with his sister, himself, their stuff, and the puppies (Liisa's I am presuming), and then after driving to get gas, we can drive back to my house. He has been really missing me according to Andrea and Tony and it sure came across loud and clear during our conversation. Even Alexis was telling me to come visit! They sang me the itsy bitsy spider (I love Alexis' version!), and they had so much to say! Andrea says things are a bit better from earlier in the week and she sounded better, brighter. I am so relieved. I also had long conversations with Liisa and my mom over the past few days and those have helped as well.

Reimond and I are struggling some with allergy stuff, and even Eric has been sneezing his head off, off and on. Rei's asthma flared a bit this morning, but he seemed better to me by this afternoon. I had to remind him about not abusing his inhalor though--he was using it every time his chest hurt at school and they called me concerned. I was a little frustrated with his clinic: I went and picked up his refill script for the concerta, and they wrote it wrong; then, when the pharmacy needed to call for a correction, the office was closed. Rei didn't have meds for today and won't have them for Monday either. Grrrrr! They don't make a single dose pill for the amount he is on, so he needs two pills to combine to the dose needed, and the script was just written for the final total. Common sense would suggest that the dosage needs to be split, but the pharmacy cannot act on it independently. Illinois has some screwy laws when it comes to their handling of controlled substances, and it is completely different from how we did it in MN. I also miss our clinics, where there are multiple docs available for appointments and referrals.

We have all the blinds up right now to watch the lightening. The bulk of the storm has passed but we still have lightening flashing around us, and rumbles of thunder. It's supposed to be cooler tomorrow, upper 60's for the weekend, but 80's are predicted for the holiday weekend. Letterman is on, and I think it's time to get ready for bed... It's been a long day.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Happy Birthday to....

Anthony last Wednesday (May 6th) and Reimond (today). It is so hard to believe that my boys are each another year older. Tony is now 24, and Reimond is 15. It seems like it was just a few months ago that they were each babes in arms, and yet today both stand taller than me. Wow. I never get depressed about my own birthdays, but it seems to me that my kid's birthdays are bittersweet for me, because it forces me to reflect on the changes that have occurred and how much they have grown. It's another step closer to letting go of the reins and seeing where they are going to steer on their own. As both my mom and my wonderful mother-in-law have said, you never stop being a parent, no matter how old your children get, and the worrying never goes away, but the joy and the pride in the people they become grows exponentially as well.

When I look at Tony I think what a wonderful man he has become. He still has some of his rough edges, some of his wildness, but it has been tempered by the experiences he has had in life, including that hell year in Iraq. He seems stronger somehow, and a little less impulsive, a bit more thoughtful, and a lot more open to differences. I had hoped this coming year would be one of happiness and success for him, but unfortunately, it looks like it will be another one of struggles, growth, and refining. He and Andrea are having many differences, and it shows in both of them. Life can be difficult, with those difficulties magnified when a couple is not on the same page, let alone in the same chapter or book. I am not sure if they will be able to reconcile those differences, although I hope so, and I worry for how these things will affect their two little ones. It is so hard to be so far away right now when I know that my kids are hurting. Tony is seriously considering redeploying to Iraq when his unit (Reserves) deploys in September, and he will be doing some travelling this summer as they send him to different training sites around the country. I am so glad he has the military to fall back on (he's done with school this month), but I hate it that he is going to be gone so much from the kids. It's hard to maintain a marital relationship long distance, yet I also know he is doing it as a way of supporting his family in these difficult financial times. And I like it that the military helps him to stay focused and directed; it gives him structure and definition and it has really helped him to be the person he wants to be. It recognizes his strengths and has helped him to use them to their fullest capacity. I see such pride in him when he is in uniform, and I am grateful that it is there for him now.

I recognize the stresses Andrea is under too. She is working at an emotionally (and at times physically) taxing job, one that she doesn't really enjoy all that much, she wants to go back to school, she married young and has had the primary responsibility for the babies since they were born (with Tony's being gone so much with the Army), and life has been challenging for her as well. She lost her father almost 3 years ago, her mom has remarried, and I have moved 600 miles away. Her supports are few and far between. Neither her nor Tony have had much time to build a strong marriage together, and both are strong-willed, strong-minded people, with their own goals and ambitions. I am equally sure there are things I am not privy to going on, as there are in any relationship, and I pray so hard for them, that they find wisdom, strength, comfort, and direction. She sounds so drained when I talk to her on the phone. My heart hurts for both of them. Her birthday is on Tuesday (the 19th) and she will be 23. So many changes packed into such a short period of time, and she has done so well with all of them. I wish I were closer and could be of more help to both of them! I have given it over into God's hands: He can be where I cannot, and He knows better than I what they need most. I only want for them to be happy!

In reflecting on Reimond too, I see so much growth and change. Despite his occasional grumbling about our move down here, I see that in so many ways it's been good for him. No, high school hasn't been easy for him, but he has made friends, he has a decent relationship with Eric, and really seems to appreciate him (most of the time anyways, heehee), and he shows glimpses of the man he's growing to be. He still is too impulsive for his own good, he still acts without thinking it through, but he also continues to be sensitive to other's feelings, tries hard to do what is right, and gives his all where it counts. I really like him as a person, and I see in him so many wonderful characteristics and qualities. I am grateful I have been able to give him opportunities I was unable to give to the older two, especially the gift of my time and attention (because I can be home with him when it counts), and I am so very grateful for the relationship we share. My "surprise package" baby has been such a joy to me, and God truly had a plan when he brought Rei into being. I had given up all thoughts of a third child when he came into being, and yet he was my reason for being after my dad died--he made me get up when I would have rather stayed locked in my sadness; he has kept me young, and involved in a way I might have not been once Liisa and Tony were grown, and he forced me to make some hard decisions at times they needed to be made, because I really had to take into consideration what was best for him, and not just focused on me and my own needs or desires. He is such a neat kid and I am blessed to have him!

Life here continues to be stressful. Part of what we are experiencing can best be described as "growing pains". Brianne and Patrick both (to greater and lesser degrees) want the priveleges associated with being treated as "young adults" but neither are willing (or able) to accept equally the responsibilities and obligations that go with being treated as such. The issues can be boiled down into two headings: communication, and family obligation. Both have taken to using the house as a place to crash, but are not being real good about letting us know where they are going, what their plans are, when they will (or won't) be home, and whether we should be counting on them for dinner or other plans. With the CRX still broken, Brie and I are sharing the van, but I at times, need to ask permission to use it (or clean out her things before I can use it) because she just takes it when and where she wants to. It's getting old real fast. I don't mind sharing my belongings, but I would like it to at least have it acknowledged that they are mine! Patrick has made it a point of saying he would communicate better if he had his own cell phone, however, he has taken to carrying the kid's phone, and yet he still doesn't call! Both don't let us know what their plans are, and yet get upset when they get left out of things, because they are not around! Eric and I keep bringing it back to courtesy and respect, something that has been in short supply around here of late (with all the kids at times, and not just those two), but they don't see it. They both feel mistreated and ignored, therefore their behaviors are justified. Neither feel obligated to help out here at home, unless there is something in it for them (although, again, that could be said for all the kids at one point or another), and they feel very put-upon when we expect them to do something (like clean up their own messes!). The spill-over from all the tensions of the past few months are huge and are negatively affecting all of us!

Brianne took it upon herself, twice this past week, to tell Cliff that he was unwelcome here in "her house", despite Eric (and I) telling him he was welcome here until he had things figured out for himself. He packed up his car with his worldly possessions and has since been living out of it, crashing here and there with friends as he is able to, but otherwise sleeping in his car. Our hearts are just aching for him, because he really has nothing at the moment other than his car, and no where safe to go. We are keeping the lines of communication open for him, and he is now, and always will be welcome here (despite Brianne's opinion); we are pretty much the only family this kid has. Brie has started dating, which we fully support, but we are also encouraging her to be respectful about it. She is such a neat person, and has so many wonderful qualities about her; we want her to be happy and successful. It's just that she can be so terribly stubborn, and unfortunately, it seems she needs to learn by experience rather than taking our word for some things. She is walking a very hard road right now and burning some bridges she may regret later destroying. The hubris of youth! There are so many things we wish we could spare her, but she is determined to do it her own way, and all we can do is let go and pray.

Ptrick too is bound and determined to walk his own road, and given he'll be 18 in August, we are trying to let him have some room. My guess is re-doing his senior year next year is taking a toll on his self-esteem right now, and unfortunately, he sees himself at the bottom of the family pecking order right now, so it's just easier to be gone rather than try to make things different/better. He does need some freedoms and independence, but sometimes his decision-making is questionable, and that makes it harder to give him free reign. He's letting his emotions get the best of him right now, and while I am a great believer in everyone being entitled to their feelings ("all feelings are valid"), I am an equal believer that "feelings are NOT facts" and that just because one feels a certain way that does not give them the right to treat others accordingly... He is walking a hard road right now, and we wish there were some way we could make it easier for him...

Fortunately, Aurora seems to be doing ok right now, and Rei seems pretty stable too... Eric and I have made a point this week of stealing some time for us, and that is helping too. Last night he and I went out to the movies. We saw Star Trek and we loved it. They did a really nice job of integrating things from the original series into the story line (back-story wise), and we laughed at so much that was familiar. They updated the set of the enterprise, because audiences today wouldn't buy the old sets, while keeping the old costumes/uniforms, and while the special effects were cool, they were equally "staged" (not sure if I am describing that right--they looked sorta surreal as opposed to trying to be realistic). Eric and I really enjoyed it and wouldn't mind seeing it again/eventually owning it. He and I are doing ok, and I'm glad. I don't like it when we feel off-kilter. He is back on day shifts now until July and I am so glad for that. We can get back to some kind of normal again.

My birthday boy and Aurora are home from school, so I guess I will get this posted. Still have chores to get done, and I am trying to decide if it's worth sitting outside at all--keeps getting black like bad storms, and the wind is fierce, then the sun comes out for a bit, and it's humid as all get-out today! Cliff is taking Rei out for a bit this afternoon, and I am gonna just "be" for a little while.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day, 2009

My Mother's day was very nice. Eric started my day with pink and lavender roses on the kitchen table, along with a very lovely card. He also brought me a bouquet of yellow flowers that he put in the bedroom for me (he wanted the greenery and baby's breath for the roses!). Rei and Kimmie followed with a lovely Yankee Kitchen candle, in the scent of Lilacs, and to complete the display, we added the pink monkey! The kids and Eric finished up the few chores we hadn't completed on Saturday, while I drank coffee and cross stitched, and it was a full morning.

The kid's mom came to get them around 12:30, and they left for the afternoon and evening, a day of bowling, wandering the mall, dinner, and a movie (they got to see the new Star Trek movie, something Eric and I hope to go see soon). It seemed like they had an ok time, and they got home around 9:30 or so. In the meantime, Rei, Kimmie, and I went to run a few errands (exchanged a shirt for Rei that he needed exchnging, got a book of poetry for Kimmie she needed for school, and bought some Brides magazines for me), then the kids and I went to Red Lobster for dinner. We had a wait of about 45 minutes to be seated, then had a really nice meal.

Eric had been invited to join us, but he had only slept about 3 hours that morning (prior to the kid's mom arriving), so he decided to return to bed. We brought him home left-over so he had a nice meal for later at work. We came home so I could be sure he was up for work, then we just hung out at home for the rest of the late afternoon and early evening. I got calls from Liisa, Tony, and Andrea, and I called my mom and sister up at the lake (my mom went to the lake with Kristi and her family). It was nice to visit with them!

Rei and Kimmie made a cake for me, surprising me by coloring it purple (it was a white cake mix). We only had chocolate frosting left in the cupboard, so chocolate icing it was. Despite it's interesting color, it was quite tasty, and it was a first for Rei, who had never made a cake before!

When Brie, Aurora, and Patrick came home, they crowded into my room to talk about their activites, and it was a nice end to the day. In talking to their Mom, it sounds like the plan is to go camping over Memorial weekend, and we made sure to pass on that Aurora needs to be at graduation that friday because it is a huge part of her grade for the term.

Today was another really full day. I had to take Rei to the clinic for a follow up on his injury. He still has quite a bit of inflammation present, and the doctor believes he has a blood clot in that area; we are going to give it another week of healing, and if it isn't better, or the pain intensifies again, we will need to get him in to see the urologist. In the meantime, he is to be taking 6oo mgs of ibuprofen twice a day, and continue to use supportive garments and ice as needed. I took him back to school (he missed 2nd and 3rd hour), and came home. Then, Eric and I took Aurora in for a follow up too, pulling her out of school at 2 p.m. She feels that things are not any better than they were a week ago, when she was seen at urgent care, and the doctor wants her to have an MRI. I will need to call and get that set up. Pending the results of that, they will either schedule an appointment with an orthopedist, or for physical therapy. She too needs to continue on her ibuprofen regiment, much to her dismay, and we made a point of buying more at Walmart on our way home (perhaps we should take out stock in the company!). Lots of running around! I had told Aurora we were going to get her a bottle that she can take with her when she goes to Branson (she has permission to have it with her) as they are going to do a lot of running around and I didn't want her to be uncomfortable.

Now Eric is out cutting the grass, again (second time this week!) because with all the rain we have had, the yard has been looking like a field. As he put it, between the rain and the sun, the grass is growing by leaps and bounds. I am taking these few minutes to blog, then it is off to start dinner!

Friday, May 8, 2009

It's friday!

This is my Mother's Day present from Brianne and Aurora. They made it for me today, and it has a recording in it where they wished me "happy mother's day Mom/Mommy" in their voices. It was very sweet and I love it! She is holding a bouquet and is wearing a sash. Apparently they were looking at adding an apron to her suggesting cookie baking and I thought that too was really sweet. I was very touched by their thoughtfulness. It was a really nice surprise after a somewhat rough day.
I was really tearful today. I was over-tired, headachey, and emotionally drained. I was at the ER with Reimond last night til after 1 am, and we didn't get home til after 1:30. He was struggling with excrutiating pain and nausea from his injury, and per the urgent care doc's recommendation, I took him in. Kimmie actually went along with us, because she had been with Rei as things got worse. They did an ultrasound and said that there was no torsion (twisting of the spermical cord) present, but there was occlusion, indicating inflammation and swelling present. The doctor consulted with a Urologist at St Louis Children's and it was decided that we should try a couple of other things to make him more comfortable (supportive garments, ibuprofen, ice packs) and have him rechecked again on Monday at his follow up appointment. We didn't learn too much more than we already new, but I don't regret bringing him in. Given the level of pain he was experiencing, 5 days after the fact, I felt it was necessary.

The tearful part I think was related to a number of things, including being overtired. I think the tension of the past month finally got to me. Eric and I were snapping at each other, patience was fairly thin, and everytime we tried to take some time for us, we were interrupted by kids needs one way or another. Today it was picking Rei up from school because he still was struggling and uncomfortable (I made him try school, although I did have a doctor's note excusing him for the day). He has Saturday detention tomorrow for being distracting in class; he has it again for the Saturday after that for two reasons: he didn't go get his "homework" to do in tutorial because it was hurting him to walk the distance of the school to get to his locker and back (he intended to bring it home and do it here) but he was embarassed to explain that to the teacher; then, when she wrote him up and he went to the office, he declined signing the referral because he didn't agree with it. The assistant principal said she would add consequences if he didn't sign it, hence the second Saturday detention. I personally think it's bogus, and punative. Eric sorta agrees with the school, whereas I understand Rei's taking a stand. I guess my biggest beef is that I don't understand what this consequence is meant to deter... To make him feel he should sign somthing he doesn't agree with? He says he was respectful in his not signing it, and it didn't say that he was rude or disrespectful. For not doing homework in tutorial? As long as he is using the time non-disruptively, I was under the impression it was to help him with his study skills etc. and not as just a study hall. Even the one he is serving tomorrow, I don't necessarily see the value of: two weeks after the fact, where is the immediacy of the consequence and the connection between cause and effect? But that is me. He will be there, and he will do what he needs to do for the next two weeks. There is a part of me that is not looking forward to his being in summer school--I think a break would do all of us a world of good, but he needs the credits. Still, it makes me sad.

I was also sad today because I am homesick. All the stress and tension around here has left me feeling emotionally drained and I haven't really had any way to recharge myself. Up until tonight it has felt pretty constant. I miss my kids, I miss my mom and my siblings, I miss my friends... I miss not being able to go to the places I enjoy going to. Other than Eric, I really don't have much for a buffer here for when I feel overwhelmed and need an escape. I try to go sit out on the swing where it's quiet, I try to read or get involved in some handwork, or even my video games, but there has not been much uninterrupted time for any of that. Having Eric at work tonight, Patrick at a friend's overnight, Rei and Kimmie out with Cliff, and Brianne at WildCountry, has left just Aurora and I here, and she is very restful company. She is reading a book and I have the tv on in my room. I got the living room cleaned and vaccuumed, I just still need to dust, and that makes me feel better. Having the time to just think my thoughts helps too. It's been really nice to have a break tonight.

My plan for tomorrow is to finish cleaning the main floor tomorrow morning, then take Aurora to the mall to get her a few things she needs before she goes to Branson. Today I picked up some fleece to make her a small blanket to take with her on the bus (one of those tied ones in polar fleece). One side is white, with black paw prints on it (could be cat, could be dog, lol); the other is solid purple--her school colors. It was said at the meeting that the bus gets really cold, and I know she gets really cold easily, so I thought this would be fun and special for her. She can even help me make it if she wants to! I also got buttons sewn on to my sweater and now it's totally done and ready to wear. Makes me really happy!

I think I need to get ready for bed. A good night sleep will be helpful and tomorrow is a new day. Eric has school, so he won't be home til around 1-1:30, and then he'll need to sleep, so I have lots to get done in the morning before he gets home.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Been a looooooonnng week...

I haven't written much this week because there has just been too much stress and I don't like to put things into the "public" eye that are personal and/or private in nature. Suffice it to say things have not settled down much, nor does it look like resolution is anywhere close to happening any time soon. I will say, however, that we are tired of vindictiveness, drama, and a lack of acceptance of responsibility by those who are creating it, and we will NOT tolerate it's continuance. Yesterday and today are Eric's days off this week, and we have had no time to just be... The drama finds a way to dominate all of us, and it's getting old, real fast.

I had Aurora and Reimond both at urgent care on Tuesday evening. Aurora has had hip pain for the better part of 2 months, and her trainer recommended she be seen as it isn't improving. They determined it isn't actually her hip that is bothering her, but rather the area above her hip, still in the pelvic region, and they believe she has tendonitis, where the tendon is attatched to her growth plate. She had an xray and nothing major showed on it, so she is on 600 mg of Ibuprofen three times a day for a week, and we have a follow up appointment set for Monday afternoon. She is restricted from running of any sort for the next two weeks, and has been encouraged to keep off it as much as possible. She wasn't happy about taking pills, but it was impressed upon her that if it doesn't heal, it could lead to more serious complications.

Reimond was seen because when he was in Minneapolis, he got "kicked in the balls" to put it bluntly, and he had some extreme swelling and pain that was lessening slightly, but not going away. It was determined that he had a "left spermical cord contusion," and he needs to follow up on Monday as well with his own physician, and perhaps with a urologist if things aren't improving. He too has been told to use ice and ibuprofen for the discomfort... Poor kid! He still hasn't said whether the kick he received was deliberate or accidental, only that it happened. What am I gonna do with him?

Eric bowled last night in his last league game of the season. His last game he had 9 strikes in a row, then left the 7 pin standing in the tenth frame. He ended his season with a 267 game, and they lost by 6 pins. Brianne was supposed to bowl with him, but elected not to get up from her nap and go with him when it was time to leave, and unfortunately, that left them minus a player. Perhaps they would have won had she been there. Who knows! It certainly came down to the wire and sounds like it was exciting. I couldn't be there because Aurora needed a parent representative at the high school for her band trip meeting. She leaves for Branson at 6 am next friday, and has to be to the school at 5 am. They are actually bringing in drug dogs to inspect all the luggage before they leave, and all personal possessions will be searched before they board the bus. A private security company has been hired to monitor the halls at the hotel from 11 pm to 6 am, and I was surprised to hear that the kids get "taped" into their rooms after bed checks so that if the tape gets broken, they have to answer for it. I understand it (and have fond memories of all the band and choir trips I have gone on in the past) and the reasons for it, but I do think it is a sad state of affairs that they need to resort to all these methods, just to protect the "good kids" from the poor decisions of the rest. Then again, when I was in Mexico, at the age of 17 and a half, all the alcohol we (legally!) drank, and the things we did sans chaperones, maybe things should have been tighter! Kids that age are impulsive and stupid sometimes! (Heehee, but I wouldn't trade my memories for anything--I had a blast!).

We were informed that the kid's mom will be here about noon on Sunday for Mother's Day (as well as her birthday), her court ordered days with the kids. The kids have been told the plan is to go to the mall and a movie for the day. Maybe Rei, Kimmie, and I will go do something for the day for me, since Eric is working and will need to sleep. She will be back down on the 22nd to get Patrick and Aurora for Memorial weekend, and my guess is we will need to pick them up in IN on the 25th. Then, she will be back down on the 27th for court. Eric is actually on vacation the week leading up to Memorial weekend (he requested it off when we were planning for Patrick's graduation), so it's gonna be a nice long break for him off, from the 15th to the 26th, so 12 days. (He will, however, need to take the 27th off too, as he is back on days then, and he has court). I cannot wait!

I am very happy that Eric bought me a new camera on Monday. It was part of a huge sale at Best Buy, and we got a wonderful deal on it. It makes me so happy to have a camera again--I have really missed it! I told him it could count for Mother's day and even birthday if he wants, but then again, if he chooses, it can be a "just because I needed one" gift as well... I'm not greedy!

Looking at the time, I guess I should get moving on the rest of my day. Got lots of chores to do today, including clearing the mud from the floors after all the rain we have had, and we need to cut the grass as well--it's starting to look very meadowish out there!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Okay, last post for today

Just wanted to note that the kids got in safely from MN at about 9:30 tonight. They were on the road for 13 hours (we generally make the drive in 9-10 hours). Cliff headed directly in to work, and Rei and Kimmie headed for showers (seperately, of course, lol) and then an early night to bed. Kimmie loved Minneapolis and the Mall of America; Rei was happy seeing family and some of his friends. I am just glad to have my chicks home and safe. Next trip will be far more organized, I promise!

Now it's time for me to settle down with my book and relax before going to sleep. Good night!

Hey Teach Sweater is done!

I finished my sweater tonight! I just need to get buttons for it. It's called "Hey Teach", and it's from the Spring 2008 issue of The Knitty, an online knitting magazine. I made it in 100% Egyptian cotton, "King Tut" is the brand name. I made it according to the directions, and if I were to do it again, I would make the bodice and skirt a bit longer--more tunic length. It fits nicely though, and I think will be nice for the spring/summer. I love how lacey it is and it turned out better than I had hoped for! I am going to enjoy wearing it, and I just wanted to share it with you.

Prom Pictures from yesterday...

Here are pictures from before Prom yesterday. It was an oddly warm and humid evening, with a chill underneath it. Patrick wore Eric's good black suit, and went with his friend, Jeb, and Jeb's date, Megan. They were attending the dance, then had plans to go to Steak 'n Shake for dinner, and then possibly bowling later on, followed by a chaperoned after prom party at a friend's house in the next subdivision to ours. It sounds like he had a good time, although I haven't spoken to him myself; I was at work when he got home today, and then he headed for the mall for the afternoon with some friends.

We did actually take him to get a haircut earlier in the day, and we teased him that he got a minimalistic cut--his bangs still go down to almost his nose tip--although they did shape the back and sides some so he looks less shaggy. We decided against going the rented tux route because of both cost, and the fact that he didn't have a date that he needed to coordinate outfits with. Besides, black goes with everything!
Patrick just got home and said that the bowling didn't happen because the bowling alley they went to was packed with an after-prom party from another high school, so they went on the the friend's house, where they were bored to tears for awhile, then played Dance Dance Revolution. He says his muscles are sore in his calves and his neck (from head banging to the music). He's also really tired out from all his adventures, and his butt is dragging at the moment!
Cliff, Kimmie, and Reimond are enroute back from MN. I am not sure where they got their directions from, but they are taking a really convoluted route back, and I am somewhat concerned about when exactly they will be getting in. They have had a bit of car trouble on the road with the car not starting; it may be that the starter is going out, or it could be operator error. It first refused to start about an hour south of Minneapolis, and Rei's dad (a mechanic) offered to go and look at it; he also suggested they turn around and head back so that it could be double checked before they got too far out when it failed to start about an hour and a half south of the metro area; Cliff elected to continue on, and it has been touchy, but is running. Jesse put in over 9 hours of labor on it on Saturday to be sure it was all perfect, and it was running fine when he was done (this trip to MN was sprung on Liisa and Jesse with little to no warning, so the things they had planned to do on the car before Cliff bought it got crammed into one day as a rush job), so he is as confused as the kids are. Part of me would like to just get in the car and go meet up with them and caravan back, but that is not really feasible, so I am just keeping in touch with multiple phone calls, and saying lots of prayers. Eric has been tracking their route on the map, but I am really frustrated that Cliff didn't bother to ask us (or Liisa, or Jesse, or Tony) for directions so that he was coming a direct route.
This has been a rugged weekend in a lot of ways, things I am not going to go into detail about. Suffice it to say I am exhausted by the stress and drama, I am tired of pseudo-adults who refuse to take adult responsibility for their decisions and actions, and I am tired of being placed in a position of needing to enforce rules and other things that should be common sense. I am tired of being taken for granted, and I am tired of being used. Eric feels the same way, and things are fine between us; in fact yesterday was our 9 month anniversary. We just have had very little time this week to be "just us" and we are feeling the strain a bit. Our "hard week" is starting tomorrow evening (Eric working 5 out of 7 evenings and having class 3 of those mornings), and we are NOT feeling relaxed, refreshed, or rested.
Keep your fingers crossed for us that things start settling down soon!