Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last day of 2011

and what a year it has been.  My post today is not going to necessarily reflect on what was, nor do I plan it to be a resolution list for what will be.  Rather, I just want to think about today.

It blows my mind that on Jan. 31st I can be running around outside wearing my nightgown (ok, just in the back yard, and to put out and bring in the dogs) and barefoot, and be only the slightest bit chilled on my feet. I am so grateful for the sunshine today, after the clouds and grey of yesterday, and that the wind has died down some. The grass is even still green, despite our 4 hour window we had snow a few days ago!

I have been delighted watching Skye play with her babydolls this last week.  She got three of them for Christmas and she loves them all.  One is the Bitty Baby from the American Girl Doll collection, one is a Baby Alive for littlest kids (all cloth, but makes sucking and cooing sounds when you hold her cloth bottle near her mouth, and makes Skye giggle), and one that is a Cabbage Patch girl, with blonde curls and blue eyes. She tries to carry them all together, she pushes them in her new stroller, and she puts them to bed in the wicker cradle or plastic buggy basket of the stroller. She talks to them, she feeds them, and she even has tried sharing her own food with them!  She blows them kisses after tucking them in and pats them as I do when I put her down for a nap or bed, and she copies other mannerisms she sees me do with her or her dolls, and makes me smile. I realized in the past few days that she really isn't "baby" anymore, and is truly a toddler--she has slimmed down and gotten taller; she looks more like a little girl than a baby, and while her language skills are still minimal, she understands so much that my guess is when she does start talking it will be in sentences and not just random words. I have really enjoyed my time with her watching her grow and change.

I have also been counting my blessings.  My son continues to do better than I have seen in a long time, and while things are never gonna be perfect (he is a teenager, after all), I am pleased to see him more "himself" again.  Perhaps things are finally starting to click for him.  Aurora is eager to return to her classes, and has missed the structure and activities of being in school over this break.  I think she is surprised how much she has missed it! Patrick is planning to move home sometime this week (as far as I know--haven't talked to him since Christmas Day), as things are not going as smoothly between he and his housemate(s) as he would like, and he wants to regroup. The nest continues to get fuller instead of emptier! Brie got word that her unit is NOT deploying after all in April, so things are rapidly being revamped for her; from health insurance to education plans, she is trying to set a new course, and is frustrated by all the various complications that are arising.  Her boyfriend (and his daughter, on a regular basis) are guests here in our house too, so we can have anywhere from 8 to 10 people for dinner on any given weekend, or no one at all other than Eric and I. Once Patrick is back we need to sit everyone down and review house rules and expectations!

Eric is working this weekend, but had last weekend off and we thoroughly enjoyed it. I was grateful that all my tests came out "normal ranges" so now it's just a "wait and see" if something changes. I am so done stressing over all of it! We had a lovely Christmas and plan to have a low-key new year too--playing Everquest with friends, sharing a bottle of wine, and probably even going to bed early (as Eric has to work tomorrow too).  His term resumes next week, as does school for Rei; my new class starts on the 9th, and I am not sure when the girls start their new term(s).

I was thrilled to get a new serger for Christmas from my husband. It's something I have been talking about for a couple of years, and while it hasn't been a priority, it is a wonderful accessory to my sewing (makes professional finishing on raw edges, sews delicate fabrics or knits like a dream, and does rolled hems or decorative finishes to items); it will also aid in preventing ravelling of my needlework linens because it locks the edges into place for hooping etc. I plan to go work in my sewing room after I get done with this post and rearrange a few things so that I can finish up the two quilts for my grandchildren in MN and get some embroidery done on a few other things.  Oh, and there is also some mending to do...  I hate mending!

Anyhow, I guess the biggest reason for wanting to post today is to say I am content. God has been gracious to us this year, has seen us through the ups and downs we have had to deal with, and has provided abundantly for our needs. I am reminded of a quote I read awhile ago that says "Do not fear for tomorrow, for I am already there" and I know it to be true: God is with us every step of the way and holds us firmly in the palm of His hand, regardless of what the day brings.  In that I place my faith and look confidently forward,

My wish for all is that you too have a blessed New Year, and that your days are filled with grace and wonder.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Trying to feel the Christmas spirit...

I am trying really hard to find and feel the Christmas spirit. It seems to be missing this year. Some of it (for me anyway) is the weather, which has been fluctuating between temperate and cold, grey and rainy, with some sun, and all the grass is still green even though the trees are bare. It just doesn't feel like Christmas is next weekend. It still feels like early November.

I have both quilt tops done now. Did the second one over the last two days, and my muscles are feeling it. I need to pin baste them out, but don't have the energy to tackle it right now. Probably tomorrow. I am looking at sending out the gifts when we have them ready to go, and if they are late, so be it. I can send out some of them before the holiday, but we still really haven't done any shopping, and I haven't even thought about wrapping or anything.  I want to be able to spend some time baking this week, and our plan is to get and set up the tree tomorrow/Tuesday. I have a medical procedure to get through tommorw still (cystoscopy), so I am not looking forward to that, but it is the last test on my agenda for this year. Rei has a couple more appointments in these last two weeks of the season, and then he is done as well. 

I must say, I am glad to see this year coming to a close. It has had it's fair share of ups and downs. I am not complaining, exactly, but it has been stressful in many ways. I pray next year is better for us: more peace, more time to enjoy each other, and more time to focus on the things that really matter--each other!

I got my paper done and turned in. I am guessing I will have a B for the term. My instructor is a really hard grader, and despite her positive feedback on a few things (very few), she has been stingy with grades, and not just mine. I am guessing many in the class will barely pass, if the grades she has given me are anything to go by. I am not trying to sound snooty; I just know how my work stacks up to the other discussion topics I read over the term, and mine was up near the top. I worked my butt off this term, and feel really proud of the work I did, I just wish it had gotten better grades (or feedback about how I could have improved it).

I read a really awesome book over the past couple of days: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, by Katherine Howe.  I really enjoyed it, and I had a hard time putting it down.  Very cool story, with some twists I hadn't expected (although a few were sorta obvious, still well done). Now I am reading Stephen King's latest, about JFK's assassination. It's interesting so far, and typical Stephen King (I love the conversational tone he takes in his books!)

I feel really lost because I am NOT knitting any socks at the moment. The challenge socks for the month are threefold: do an atypical technique; do socks from an assigned designer; or do a pair of "monster socks" using up leftover sock yarn accummulated from other completed pairs.  I really don't have a lot of that as yet, so that is out, and the new technique ones call to me, but are too complicated for where my head is at right now.  I am thinking about just doing a designer pair so that I have some on the needles, and I have until the 31st to start them, and the 31st of next month to finish them (plus start the January pair, lol). I am thrilled with how my socks are turning out, and I am also thrilled that Eric loves wearing my handknit socks!

I do have both a sweather (mindless knitting) and a shawl (complicated knitting) in process right now, along with the sewing, so it's not like my hands are empty.  Then there are the three cross stitching projects I have nearing degrees of completion. I just really like the satisfaction that comes from making socks.

The kids are all doing ok here. Aurora has a bad cold right now, and a sore throat. Rei is doing better than I have seen in a while, and Brie is relishing being done with her term. Eric is also on a two week break. Dan and Rei have been spending quite a bit of time with Patrick of late, and that has been good to see. He too is doing fine. Our little bit is growing and babbling non-stop, and even makes sense now and again! Today she tried to climb out of her crib and landed on her head, poor baby. Has a lovely bump and bruise, but is fine otherwise.  What a munchkin!

Anyhow, that is the update from the lower mid-west...  I will probably post again before Christmas, but if not, a blessed holiday season and Merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Almost bedtime...

Just a quick update to say we are all still fine.  Baby Skye is bouncing in her crib and hooting at her mama, auntie, and Dan (who are watching a movie), while Rei is on his laptop in his room, and Eric and I are relaxing in ours. Eric and I had a date night tonight and it was much needed. We went out for a lovely dinner, complete with a bottle of wine and dessert, and I am so glad we did it. I really enjoyed it!

This is my last week of class for the term, and Brie's too. Eric starts his second week of his term, and spent part of today doing assignments for his online class. Rei's IEP last week was really emotional for me (and him too) and he was moved from his regular classes into an alternative program the school started this year; small classes, lots of 1:1 support, and structure. So far it's going ok. We have some mixed feelings about it, but it was the school's answer to his needs for academic support while he gets things back on track. It will be for this term, perhaps longer, but should be helpful to his grades. At least that is the hope. I am hoping this was an answer to a prayer rather than another hurdle to get through. His new med seems to be helping and he has generally done a good job of staying med compliant since the last issue.

I finished my Nov. sock knitter's annonymous challenge sock, but don't think I will do one for December. Too much else that needs to be focused on, from my final paper, to gifts, to quilts to sew (and doll clothes), to house stuff to do in prep for Christmas decorating.  I feel bad we didn't get further this weekend, but we had other priorities, and it is all good.

Anyhow, I am getting weary so I think I will get my nightgown on, and start planning out my schedule for tomorrow.  Research articles need to be read, another quilt top needs to get sewn, and then two quilts need to be layered to machine quilt on.  It is gonna be a busy week!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Rain, Sleet, and Snow

Yeah, that describes our day today.  Another day of grey skies, gloom, and chill. I almost miss the MN cold and snow, especially the sun sparkling off of it.  So tired of brown, mud, and damp.

Some ups and downs around here, but nothing too major at the moment. Aurora got her driver's license on Wed. of last week and is loving the freedom it gives her. I too love the freedom it gives me from driving her back and forth on a semi-daily basis. She is in finals this week, then off til after the holidays. She is looking forward to the time off, but has done well as far as she can tell this term.

We had another set-to with the school over Reimond that I ended up addressing with both the principal and vice-principal.  They were going to give him an out-of-school suspension for telling a sub that "this is bullshit" and the shutting down after the principal and vice principal started rehashing things and he didn't agree with them.  I blew a gasket over this.  First of all, he started on new meds the previous evening to help him sleep, and he had asked to get a drink at the fountain because he felt nauseous and he had cotton mouth from the meds; he was told not until he finished his HOMEWORK (not a test, or something they might be concerned he was cheating on), and despite his being polite, explaining himself, and then getting frustrated (hence the comment) to being told no, he wasn't otherwise verbally abusive, out of line, or in anyway aggressive.  When he was sent to the office he explained his side of things and when the two continued to get him to agree he was in the wrong for not accepting no, he shut his mouth, as we (and his therapist) told him to, rather than be verbally abusive, disrespectful, or otherwise get himself into further trouble.  I pointed out he was on the new med because of another suicidal episode resulting in a night spent in the emergency room in St. Louis (the psychiatrist on call elected not to admit him, despite recommendations to do so, so I brought him home), and the hope was that the two meds (one in the morning, one at night) would work to calm the "seizures" he was experiencing in his emotional-regulation centers and help him to get on course.

I explained the situation to them in some detail, only to be told that my conversations with the school SW, my son's guidance counselor, various teachers, AND his IEP case coordinator had not been shared with the the principal, and she was willing to work with me rather than against me in trying to implement some changes that will support his IEP, which has not been followed this year (we have an IEP review tomorrow morning at 9 am). The principal gave me her card and asked me to keep her in the communication loop, and she would then forward info to the teachers etc. as needed, and that Rei would be allowed to take a couple of minutes to cool down if needed, or get a drink of water, and the IEP would be honored. I left the school feeling better about things, including the fact that while he did go home with me for the rest of the day, he was allowed to return to class the next day, serve an ISS for the first two hours, then return to his classes as scheduled.  I could support that.

I saw the eye doctor for the glaucoma check and she said the results came back as borderline normal (slight loss in neural bundles, but still on the outer edge of normal), so we need to keep track of it yearly, unless I experience significant change.  Then, I saw the urologist on friday, and I had a CT scan today for the microhematuria (blood in the urine). There was continued blood present in the sample, but I was called today and told no infection was present (which could be a cause). I was more freaked out about the CT scan than I thought I was, because I didn't sleep most of last night.  I read in bed til after 3 am, was still awake when the alarm went off at 3:45, then dozed thereafter until a little after 7, when I was again wide awake. Eric went with me to the appointment, and I was glad knowing he was there.  The IV was no big deal, but when they put in the contrast it felt really wierd.  I won't get results from it til the end of the week, and in two weeks I'll be having a cystoscopy in the office to look for internal issues.  Not looking forward to that at all, but I guess if my granddaughter can deal with it, I can too. The joys of getting older!  When I was at the urologist appointment, I was the youngest person there, and (I think) the only female patient. The rest were elderly men in the waiting room, with their wives.  It felt akward!

The rest of the kids are doing fine. Patrick was here for our family thanksgiving dinner the sunday after the holiday and he continues to be managing. We sent him home with leftovers. Brie is still busy with school, drill, and work, along with Skye, and is doing a better job of managing her time when here at home. Skye is trying hard to talk and mimics some words, but nothing consistent as yet. She is having night terrors on occasion, but we are getting through them a night at a time. Eric started his new term tonight, with two evening classes and one online class. It's gonna be a challenge, but he is close to being done. I too am getting to the wrapping up the term time, and am looking forward to a few weeks break.

We are NOT going to MN for Christmas afterall, my decision, because Brie is not eligible for any time off, and I didn't feel right about taking Skye for a second year over the holiday, leaving her home alone knowing that she won't be with Skye at all next year (she'll be deployed). I am ok with it, and am looking forward to getting the house ready to decorate and making things Merry around here.

That's my latest news from the damp and chilly state of IL!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Skye's new dress from Mimsy (paternal Grandma).
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.1

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Giving thanks for a productive Saturday!

Today didn't go as planned, it went better in some regards (for me anyway). Brie overslept her alarm and didn't go in to work (after calling in to see if she could go late), so I had no baby to take care of. Skye spent the day with her mom, her mom's boyfriend, and his daughter. I, in turn, spent the day doing homework! I got all my assignments turned in on time so far, and have one more due tomorrow by midnight. I had 4 pretty major topics to cover this week, with deadlines every other day since tuesday. Lots of research, writing, and thinking.  This last project is actually kinda interesting, in that we need to create a "role play" in which we are discussing whether or not children should be removed from their family homes if they are at risk. I have mixed feelings about that. On the one hand I am a great believer in sanctuaries for kids, like the crisis nursery, or in Mpls, St. Joe's children's home, or The Bridge for runaway youth. I think parents and kids sometimes need a break to get life back on course when things are mega stressful and support is limited. On the other hand, I also believe that families need support and guidance in dealing with stress too, not just punishment or condemnation. I haven't decided which side of the coin I will make my stance; will do the readings, then decide, although I do have to present both sides of the arguement.

Yesterday I spend the day mostly in bed. I had the chills so bad I was wearing multiple layers and under the blankets and I was still cold!  I was congested, achy, and hormonal as well, not a fun combination. I read, I slept, I played a little EQ when I couldn't stand being in bed any longer, and then went back to bed. Today I am better, still a bit chilled at times, and still hormonal and achy, but no where near as bad as yesterday.

I am being tested for glaucoma on Tuesday morning. The testing should take about an hour, and I should know relatively quickly if I have sustained any sort of vision loss. I will also find out if indeed I have glaucoma, or if the higher pressure was a fluke. The new glasses are helping with the cataracts in that I can see better, but things still blur far to easily and I find myself wiping my glasses and my eyes trying to "erase the smudges" that I see.  It's frustrating at times, especially when I need to take my glasses off for some close things, yet it's still blurry.  Then on the 30th I see the urologist to follow up on my other issue. Aging sucks! So far I haven't seen any major side effects from the drop in my thyroid med, so I am guessing I am adapting ok to it.

Eric put in his vacation requests for next year. He gets 4 weeks and we planned out one week in the spring, two weeks together late July/early August, and one week late November. That way we can spread them out and enjoy them, maybe even travel a bit! We are waiting to hear when our assigned week is for the timeshare, because that is a place I would really like to visit. Unfortunately we have to request the time now, and we won't know about the time share availability til early next year.

I have 4 weeks left in my term, and Eric has one left in his. It will be nice to see those at an end and have some free time. Aurora is travelling with the bowling team this weekend and next weekend; she was in New York last weekend for the National cross country tournament. Her team came in 10/26 and she came in 4th for her team. She had a wonderful time. Patrick is still living independently and managing. He went out to dinner with us for Aurora's birthday and said he's liking his job, but isn't getting as many hours as he'd like.
Brie is in school through Dec. 15th, so a day before I am done, and is managing. She dropped (or was dropped from) her Saturday class because of absences related to all the drill weekends she has. She says she is doing ok, and Aurora is confident she is doing well too.  Her term ends shortly and then both girls will have about a month off. I think Eric gets a couple of weeks, as do I.

Reimond did NOT do well this first quarter, and in fact, failed all but one class. This was primarily due to all the absences he had, not because he was goofing off. He struggled with illness on top of the mental health stuff, and while he seems more stable now, I still se some flareups of the mood instability. He is trying harder to be respectful though and follow the rules, and I have seen some improvements since September/October.

Eric is home from work, so I guess I will go say hi to my honey, then get back to the books. Lasagna is in the oven cooking, we have 2 bottles of wine set aside, and I plan to have a fairly productive and relaxing night tonight!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I need to be doing homework right now; I am behind on my Tuesday assignment, and have another one due tonight as well.  They are not all that hard or onerus, I just have no desire to do them. My thoughts are still all awhirl and I feel like I need some down time to just pray and reflect, preferably while knitting, cross-stitching, or cutting out quilt pieces. Even doing dishes sounds more engrossing right now than schoolwork, because I need something mindless to focus on right now. Maybe I need to take some of this wasted energy and apply it to cleaning my room a bit. God knows it needs some sorting and attention!

I have three hours to use productively before I engage in watching Skye again. I know...  I will find my supporting research articles to use in my assignments. Productive, but somewhat mindless...  Still, I would rather be knitting... Or web surfing... or playing everquest...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Always something...

Just when I think things are starting to turn around, something else has to throw a monkey wrench into my world...  The last two day s have been stressful.

Monday was the 17th anniversary of my dad's death. It is generally a rough day for me because Reimond and I were the only members of the family to see and spend time with him that day before he died. It is always a day of reflection and some sadness for me.  Anyhow, I also had a doctor's appointment for me that day, a routine med check for my prescriptions I take. I had done my labs the previous week, and she said there were some things that came up on them. My good cholesterol was a bit low, but the rest of the numbers were good; my thyroid numbers were off though, so I need to have a new dosage. My fear is that the lowered dosage may be reflected in weight gain (again) and I have been so proud of keeping thos 15 pounds off that I have initially lost on WWs. Then she also said there was blood in my urine spec. and has been there now for over 6 months. Because there is no sign of infection this time I need to go see a urologist to find out what may be causing it. Looking on line it can be anything from benign to fairly serious, and it concerns me. I don't like not knowing.

Then yesterday I had an appointment with the eye doctor. I have noticed my vision progressively getting blurrier and I have had some eye strain issues with my handwork and reading/computer stuff so I figured I just needed new glasses.  I was told I have cataracts in both eyes and while they are not bad enough to require surgical intervention, that could change in 6 months or in 2-5 years. There is no way to predict it. The next blow was that the pressure in my eyes is too high and I need to be tested for glaucoma. There are treatment options there too, but this is something that is irreversible once damage occurs. So far I haven't lost significant sight that I am aware of peripherally, but this too freaks me out. I rely on my eyes to do the things that keep me sane: my handwork, reading, and writing. I realize things are not at a crisis level or anything at this point, but the fear of losing my eyesight has me spooked.  Eric took me out last night to get new glasses with a prescription that has made things much clearer again, and he took me out to dinner while we waited for the glasses to be made (God Bless Lens Crafters!  I have never gotten same day glasses before!). It is wonderful to see things clearly again; I knew things had gotten bad, but to have it in focus now reinforces how bad it had been...

I am trying hard not to catastrophize things.  I am trying to keep things in perspective and accept that the tests need to be run, and that the outcomes may be minor rather than worst-case. I just don't like dealing with unknowns, and I hate that my body is "aging" because especially with the cataracts, this is an issue generally for individuals so much older than me! I will do what I have to do to keep my vision as clear as I can for as long as I can, because I need to have my handwork and my books. I cannot imagine life without them. And as for the other medical things, I will take the lower dose of the thyroid hormone and go back for a follow up in 2 months, and I will go see the urologist and get an exam for that as well.  I have so much to do still and I need to be healthy to do it. So please, say a prayer for me, that things go well, that there are simple fixes for what is ailing me, and that life starts slowing down to a manageable level. I sure could use some stress-free living!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011

All dressed up as Batgirl!
Superhero pose! (note the hand on hip of each)
See some of my loot? And mommy was Robin.
Halloween at our house was a night of superheroes.  Brie was Robin, her boyfriend was Batman, and Skye was Batgirl. We had over a hunderd kids come to the door, and I ran out of candy before we ran out of kids in the neighborhood.  It was a really nice night.

Rei went out as Superman to a friend's party, and I guess did some trick-or-treating on the way home; he came home with a bag ful of loot as well...  Eric came home from work, all decked out in his uniform, and a kid at the door said "Nice costume dude!" to which his buddy whispered in a loud voice "I think he's a real cop..."  Eric and I both found it funny.

Loved seeing all the little ones out and about, although some of the parents bringing tiny babies out was confusing--they are too small to eat candy anyway; for that matter Skye can't eat much of what she brought home, but she really enjoyed seeing and following all of the kids.

Today is gonna be a "working" day for me and only me. Brie didn't work, and has no classes, so I am focused on my homework (I am an assignment behind, and have one due today) and catching up on chores that I started yesterday.  Eric had talked about us going away for the weekend this past weekend, but given the state of finances, we elected to stay home, so we spent the entire weekend engrossed in Everquest with our friends and guildmates, or (in my case) reading a series I am really enjoying that takes place in the Alaskan bush. We just enjoyed each other's company, tried to ignore the kids as much as possible (lol) and played hookey from life.  It was wonderful! Unfortunately, catchup isn't so great...

With the Cardinals winning the world series I am done being "forced" to watch baseball, and life can get back so some sembelence of normal around here; the weather is fantastic fall weather, and the stars the last few mornings have been utterly amazing at 5:30 am.  I have recommitted myself to working the tracking part of the WW's program and am pleased to say that despite some slacking on my part, I have maintained my loss of almost 15 lbs and numerous inches (did the weigh-in and measurements thing this morning). Now to prepare for the holidays!

Anyhow, that's life here in small town IL...  Time to hit the books!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Just wanted to add...

Skye and I are on the Yarn Harlot's blog for her visit to St. Louis yesterday!  So exciting! Check it out!

Another busy weekend!

We have been dealing will illness here all week long.  Rei has that bug Eric had and has been stuck in bed since Monday night. You know he's sick when he stays in bed and DOESN'T complain about boredom or wanting to go places.  The worst of it has been a headache that isn't going away. He started on antibiotics on Thursday, but the doc said it was more preventative than positive there was a bacterial component to it. Aurora then started with similar symptoms on Thursday night (after getting braces on Thursday morning). She too has been on the couch and not moving much since then. Skye too has been sick, with her first bout of the tummy flu.  She got slightly dehydrated with it and I had her to the clinic on Wednesday afternoon. We have been pushing clear liquids and bland food for her, and she seems better finally (threw up the last time on Friday). I am sooo tired of being nursemaid! Brie too threw up on Thursday before leaving for school, but said she was fine on friday. She is now at another Drill weekend (in preparation for their deployment in April) so I have had Skye all by myself all weekend (Eric is working too all weekend).

Fortunately, Skye was well enough to go out yesterday so I took her with me to go to the book signing over in St. Louis by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (The Yarn Harlot). She writes essays about knitting, which are often humorous, and she is also a prolific blogger (see my side panel), whom I follow, and she teaches and designs patterns as well.  This was something I was really looking forward to, to the point of running away from home on Friday for an hour to go buy her latest book at Barnes & Nobles (I got the last copy!), so I was glad Skye was up to going.  Has she still been sick, I would have had to stay home because they kids were too sick to watch her.

Anyhow, we got to the reading about a half hour early so I could find the church and find parking. I tried to run her around outside for a bit to tire her out (she had only taken about a 45 min nap), and she was being really good. Then the program started late, by about 30 minutes, because of sound system issues.  By the time it got going, Skye was overtired, couldn't relax to just nap, and wanted to be on the move and talking. She fussed and screeched at times when thwarted from going her own way, she flirted with people and waved and charmed them, and she essentially caused me to miss about a third of the program because I had to keep taking her outside to quiet her down. I was very disappointed, although I wasn't upset with her--she is little, she was bored, curious, and she just wanted down! It was tiring though. Other mothers with small children had husbands there to take the kids outside so they could enjoy the reading.  I was on my own...

Stephanie started signing books afterwards, and an announcement had been made that if for whatever reason some people needed to cut in line to the front that that would be ok, no questions asked.  I waited in line for about 20 minutes, but Skye got heavy to hold, and even harder to keep by me, so I did cut to the front, and the lady I stepped in front of was very gracious.  I apologized for Skye's disruptions, and Stephanie was very gracious about it, saying that she was very good and it was clear she was just busy, and thanked me for being courteous and taking her out when needed.  She also took our picture for her blog and made some lovely comments about my Shipwreck shawl.  Oh, and she signed my book too.  I left worn out but happy that I was able to be there.  And of course Skye fell asleep as soon as I started the van, sleeping til we got home an hour later.

I also got a lot of attention for my shawl from others there.  I had brought it with me as a wrap for either me or Skye (hoping she'd fall asleep and I'd just drape it over her like a blanket). It was complimented, I was asked about what yarn I had used, told how lovely the workmanship was, and how beautifully the beads set it off; Skye also wanted it wrapped about her like a cape, and she strutted up and down the back of the church where the reading was being held like a queen; people around us laughed. It was a good day!

When I got home I escaped for a little bit to my room because Dan was around with Aurora in the living room and they said that Skye could play by them.  I read in peace and quiet for a half hour, then went back downstairs. I didn't, unfortunately, get any homework done, because the baby stayed up til almost 9 pm, and by the time she went down I was too fried to start anything; Eric had the ball game on in our room (yuck) and the Cards won by a landslide (he fell asleep with the score 15 to 7; final score was 16-7 but I turned it off before the last inning). So today I hope to go wander around the arts and crafts fair at the county fair grounds for a bit, Eric is off at 2 pm, and Brie should be home sometime this afternoon/evening. I will focus on homework once I have someone around who can help with Skye, and then hopefully watch the Good Wife tonight (missed last week's because the timing was off by the network and the DVR only tapes as requested).

Okay, time for coffee, some breakfast, and to start my day! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

lady of shalott...

Is ready for backstitching and beading. So very pleased!
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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Life continues to be challenging...

This won't be a terribly long post, more like a brief check-in.  I really need to be working on MY homework. After rushing and phone calls with Capella, things were straightened around that I could take my class this term, only the term started on Monday and I didn't get everything figured out until Wednesday. I am playing catch-up today with posting the first week's discussion topics, and preparing for next week's assignments.  Given Brie is at drill all weekend, this is going to be challenging with the baby, but I hope to enlist others to help with her so I can get stuff done.

My nerves and emotions are fairly shot right now.  Things continue to be a struggle on a couple of fronts, and while the best I can do is the best I can do, leaving the rest to God, it doesn't make things feel any lighter at the moment.  In amidst the struggles there are moments of grace though, and that gives me encouragement to continue forward. I have cried more this week than I have in a long time, and I pray without ceasing. I know things will turn out as they are meant to, but right now there are no clear answers in sight. Only lots of varying desires, opinions, and strong feelings.  In some regard, returning to class is as much a blessing as it is another challenge: at least it gives me something I feel I have some control over and a modicum of success at.  Please continue to keep us all in your prayers!

I really enjoyed having my in-laws here for the time they were here, and it was lovely to see Great-grandma again.  It amazes me how well she continues to do at the age of 101.5!

I am also thankful for the beautiful weather we have had for the most part these last couple of weeks.  Sitting outside has also been a comfort to me and I gain such peace from listening to the birds, feeling the breezes, and watching the trees as the leaves fall.

I have been really missing home and my support networks there of late, but I have been able to talk to my family and close friends on a regular basis, and it helps.  Not quite the same as getting a hug in person, but it helps none-the-less.  I am hoping I can make a trip in November, but it will all depend on finances, weather, and availability of transportation.

Ok, now on to homework!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Just a quick update...

Rei came home from the hospital Saturday evening, and things have been going ok. He went back to school on Monday with no problems, and we have appts. scheduled for post-hospital follow ups tomorrow. My in-laws safely arrived yesterday afternoon, and we had a nice evening of visiting and tv watching. Today we went out to breakfast, then picked up Aurora from school, and now Eric is grocery shopping with his mom, Brie, and the baby, while I enjoy a quiet house for a bit.

Eric saw the doctor on Monday after being super sick all weekend. He has an upper respiratory viral infection that knocked him flat for a few days, and he still has a cough and tires easily (this is like day 6/7 of it).  I wonder if I am fighting it off because I have a stuffed head, cough, and general ennui, but that may be allergies too, as the farmers are harvesting their fields all around us and dust is in the air. I just feel blah though, and really don't want to do much of anything right now.

This is the first year that we will be missing the annual lawn tractor races and party up at Jesse's land. I cannot afford to take the car (and a driver) away from the household to go up there for the weekend, and I can't afford to fly Rei up.  He is pretty bummed out about it, but it is what it is. I have a feeling it's gonna be a looooooonnnggg weekend with him...

I am so grateful for all the support I have been given over the past few weeks.  It has been grately appreciated, and it helps to know people care.  The prayers have worked too, as I continue to have the grace and strength I need daily to accomplish what has to be done, and I know that I am never completely alone, no matter how helpless I may feel at times.  Just wanted to let you know you are appreciated!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I found a leaf!

After all the drama and chaos of this past weekend, I needed to share something happy. I had Skye outside walking yesterday and her joy in something so simple as a dried leaf was contagious and made me smile.

Rei is still pretty labile, but he is off strict precautions, and is moving forward in his program. I was really tearful feeling yesterday--my guess is pms and let down from the stress--but had a good nights sleep last night finally and I am better today too.

Thanks for continued prayers. They do help!
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Monday, September 26, 2011

The power of prayers~

We had our meeting at the hospital today and Rei is doing well.  He seems motivated to do what he needs to do, and thanked Eric and I for taking him there. It's a start! I feel like I can start breathing again and relaxing a bit. Thank you for all your prayers.  They are working!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

In a funk

I am overtired today, and feeling pretty stressed out.  Yesterday afternoon Rei and I had a few go-rounds about his status of being grounded for not going to bowling in the morning, and this escalated to the point that he packed a backpack with clothes, gave me his cell phone and told me "good luck finding me now," and he snuck out the back door when I thought he was in his room and I was in the front yard crying, praying, and trying to calm down.  He was gone for about 3 hours, and I was honestly concerned, because his emotional state has been somewhat (ok, totally) labile of late and I didn't know what his plan was.  He came home either fully expecting that things would be fine or prepared to battle. The battle ensued, he broke some items, and he showed me a burn on his hand (fairly minor) that he had given himself with a lighter, and resulted in his saying he just wanted to die, had nothing to live for, and just didn't care anymore. He also insisted he wasn't going to live here anymore and started packing some of his belongings.  Long story short, I ended up calling 911 and getting support from the police, to whom he also said he wanted to die, and he was taken by ambulance to a hospital over in St. Louis that has a strong inpatient adolescent psych program.

We were in the ER for about 10 hours, when they finally completed all the assessment process to admit him, and we (Eric and I) got home about 5:30 this morning.  My nerves are shot right now.  It is so hard to acknowledge that your kid needs something you cannot provide as a parent, and it is a decision made harder when he is feeling so hopeless. Of course today his song is that everything is fine, he doesn't need to be there anymore, and he wants to come home (due in part to his not being allowed his cell phone or ipod, and there being strictly enforced rules and routines in place).  I am not buying it; this has been going on too long, and needs to be addressed. I am hoping that they are wise enough to see through his act and push him a bit--his true status comes through under stress. We have an appointment with the therapy staff tomorrow at 11, so a treatment plan will be developed at that point.

I am perfectly comfortable with where he is as far as care goes, at least thus far.  Their handbook reads like ours from CRTC and I know how effective our program was. It offers a closely structured day, accountability, support, and a chance to make positive choices and learn better/more effective coping skills, something he needs. I am also worn out. I feel like I could sleep forever.  I got up at 10 this morning, so 4.5 hours of sleep, and I napped another 2 hours this afternoon (Eric just laid down himself); I feel worn out, weary, and drained. Yesterday was such an emotional day, and I have obviously left out a lot of particulars.

It is so hard to be in this spot for me, because I have been here before and I know that only time will work out what needs to be dealt with, along with honesty, soul-searching, prayers, and unconditional love. I am feeling like somewhere along the way I didn't provide Rei with something he needed, that somehow I have failed him as a mother/parent; and I am in this moment taking some of this extremely personally. I blame the school as well for adding fuel to this conflagation that occurred, because perhaps if they had handled things better he wouldn't be as down on himself as he currently is. Rightly or wrongly, that is a part of how I feel.

I am also feeling guilty because I have very little patience for Skye right now. Brie had tickets to a concert with her boyfriend for today/tonight, and the are also getting a hotel room (something I was unaware of until just before she left). She arranged babysitting with Aurora's boyfriend Dan, and I am leaving it to him. I am also staying out of sight because when she sees me she cries, tries to cling, and won't let me out of her grasp. I am happy to hold and love her, but my patience is limited with the pick me up/put me down/pick me up game she has been playing the past few days, combined with tantruming if she doesn't get her way. I know she is teething and her mouth is sore, and I also know we are transitioning her to milk from formula. But my nerves are shot right now, and I just need to relax and be quiet.

There is no discharge plan in place for Rei as yet; it will be based on him, his behavior, and how comfortable staff feel about his ability to keep himself safe. I need to call the school tomorrow to arrange for his homework, and will be taking this a day at a time. He is limited in who he can have contact with, and phone privileges and visiting hours are strictly regulated. The hospital is about an hour from here, and visiting hours are from 6-7, so I will be hitting rush hour traffic getting over to see him. I need to go pick up a few items for him and pack a bag of clothes and hygiene items that I can bring when we go over tomorrow, but I (and immediate family) are able to call and check on him any time.

I knew this weekend was going to be busy, but I had no idea how stressful it would be!

On a more positive note, Aurora did well at her first college bowling tournament: the girls team came in 3rd, and she came in tied for second place in the individual standings.  The boys ended up in 5th place. Brie's birthday party for Skye went fine, although very few of the people who said they would be there showed up; it was small, but sweet for her.  I didn't go because I was too upset over the stuff with Rei, and was uncomfortable being social and happy when my eyes and nose were obviously tear-stained and I was stressed.

Please keep us in your prayers as we move forward, and thanks for caring!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A free day!

Or not...  I had my day sorta upended when Rei decided he wasn't going to bowling this morning, and Brie didn't go to class, so, with the morning to myself, I went off to spend some time at the Strange Folk Festival, a yearly arts and crafts event in O'Fallon IL. Last year I went in the rain with my father-in-law, Brie, and the baby; this year the temps were cool, the sun was shining, and it was a perfect day for browsing and drooling.  I (finally) invested in a hand made drop spindle for spinning with, and got a free lesson to go with it from a member of the So. IL Artisan's guild, a talented wood carver who makes many drool-worthy objects (last year I bought a carving of Merlin and Archimedes from him for Eric, carved out of an old gnarled piece of wood).  I then bought a small baggie of hand-dyed, spin-ready fiber to practice with in a brilliant red called "Sookie"  (ala the True Blood books).  I also bought some sassy metal tins ($5 a piece!) to store small notions in (after dumping the open container of hooks and eyes for the umpteenth time in the sewing room), and I found a ceramicist who does lovely work that I plan to order from on-line for a wedding gift I would like to get and another item for us.  I collected lots of business cards from shops that intrigued me, as most venders are local people who also have etsy shops online, and I am a happy girl.  Hot coffee, sunshine, and lots of arts and crafts to inspire me!

I got home looking forward to some quiet time to get some chores done in, but have now been asked to watch a fussy baby while her mother bakes cupcakes for the birthday party this afternoon.  I really wanted to get this blog post made, so she is, at the moment, complaining in her crib...  She apparently needs a nap that she refused to take earlier.

I haven't blogged much since my last post because I was too discouraged about a situation that had come up last week, and I wasn't sure how I wanted to present it (or if I even wanted to present it). Rei got a 5.5 day suspension from school a week ago wednesday, for "threatening behavior," even though the Vice Principal admitted to me there was no threats issued physically, verbally, or otherwise.  Rei was verbally defiant and rude to the VP, and he was belligerantly defiant to the principal over a situation that was so stupid (in my opinion).  Rei's reaction to everythings was over-the-top, out-of-line, and very inappropriate, and I agreed there needed to be a consequence for it, but I felt that 5 days was a significant overreaction, considering how poorly they handled things from their end (does no one at the school, including the police officer, have training in basic de-escalation techniques????) I took it to the superintendent to protest the length of the consequence, but he "elected to support his staff in their determination" and by the time he mailed me the packet to further challenge it, the suspension had been served.  The thing that bothered me the most is the stance of giving only 70% (a D) of the grade earned for all homework done over the suspension, which means anything less than A work is an automatic F.  How does this encourage a student to learn from their behaviors and try their best???  I was just sick over the whole situation and was upset with both my son and the school...  Just as he could have turned his behavior around at any time, so too could they have given him a couple of minutes to cool down before attempting to process the situation.  Regardless, it's done.

We also had some nasty 48 hour upper respiratory infection blow through the house last weekend on top of everything else.  Eric was totally laid out on Friday night and all day Saturday from it; I started feeling it on Sunday night and it took me til Tuesday to feel better (including being in my nightgown by 6:30 pm and asleep by 8 on Monday night).

This week has also been Eric's long week for work, along with some intensive coaching sessions/meetings for Aurora's college team.  They are at their first tournament this weekend, and Eric was sad he couldn't be there, because there were a few monkey wrenches in the works getting the kids to the tournament.  It worked out though, and Aurora will be home sometime Sunday.  The boys bowled this morning, and the girls started bowling this afternoon, so I am waiting to hear how things go.  The boys were in 2nd place at the break. Eric is very proud!

Baby Skye is quiet!  My guess is she fell asleep.  Lately she has been fighting sleep something fierce, despite being really weary.  She is in the process of working her way to one nap a day I think, but depending on when she gets up in the morning, holding her off for an afternoon nap only is a challenge sometimes.  She generally starts showing signs of weariness about 2-3 hours after she gets up for the day, naps for 1-2 hours, gets up, eats lunch, plays, then wants to catch another nap going on 3ish (which Brie likes because then she can nap too after work).  The problem with that is then bedtime gets late.  I would really like to see her on a schedule where she gets up by 8, has an early lunch, then goes down for a nap around 11:30/12ish, sleeping til 2-2:30 or so, then playing in the afternoon, having a snack, eating dinner, then going to bed around 7 or so.  The problem with that scenario though is that she often wakes up with Brie at 5 am, goes back to sleep til 9:30 or later, gets up, eats breakfast, plays, naps around noon for a couple of hours, then gets up, eats, plays, and wants a nap again around 4.  It becomes a vicious cycle.

I am thinking I need to take advantage of this naptime to get a couple of things done, so I will sign off for now.  Skye's birthday party is this afternoon at 4, down at the local park. It should be a nice afternoon for it!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Rainy friday...

It's a gloomly and drear friday, not at all the lovely day we had 22 years ago when my sister and her husband got married.  It's also my cousin and her husband's 50th anniversary today (my dad's oldest niece). Wow, 50 years...

We survived the first week of high school, and Rei is even doing homework!  So pleased.  Aurora has her second cross country meet tonight and won't be home til really late (like around midnight), and then youth bowling starts on base tomorrow morning. Brie has drill all weekend and has elected to stay at a friend's rather than come home, so I will have Skye all weekend.  I am so glad she is feeling better finally. She had a bad cold, turned into a double ear infection, then had an allergic reaction to her amoxicillin.  She is on prednisone at the moment and we are tapering her off.  She will be done with it all on Sunday.  She is back to her happy, bubbly self again though and for that I am gratefull.

Eric has picked up some overtime for Monday so he has 4 days in a row for work. We took the harley in to the shop last night for new tires and a basic once-over of the wiring etc. Not sure when it will be ready to be picked up; Eric hasn't heard anything from them so we hope that is good news.  The van is in really rough shape.  It needs new brakes as there is a grinding upon braking on the right fronts esp. and I am not sure when we can get it looked at.  Has to be relatively soon though. Brie has been driving a friend's pickup truck of late instead of the van.

Aurora went to get her license on Wednesday, but it didn't happen because she has no proof she took the driver's ed class through the high school.  When I called the school it was because she had taken it as a summer session class and failed it (she was told because she didn't have enough practice hours of driving done; when they looked it up for me and called back, Eric was told she hadn't done well in her behind the wheel, which he thinks is BS). Needless to say, they won't send info saying she took it because she didn't pass it, so now she has to wait til she's 18 (in November) to take the road test, or retake a driver's ed class so that the state has proof she has taken it.  She is quite bummed about it.

Aurora's boyfriend Dan has moved in here with us as of the 1st. He needed a place to stay while he gets some things lined up for his future, and he is a really nice kid.  It's going well. Jesse was down here too from Mpls. one night this past weekend, and was in town to visit a friend of his who lives in St. Louis. It was fun to see both Jesses!

I have been procrastinating heading back downstairs for a bit now, because I had to research resale prices for the timeshare for Eric's court date on Tuesday, then decided to also check emails and blog...  Dan is watching Skye for me in the living room, but I am guessing he's ready to be spelled...  It's gonna be a LOOOOOOOOGGGGG weekend!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Midweek Hump!

It's Wednesday!  Eric is working today and tommorrow, but is done with classes for this week, Aurora is now picked up and brought home from school, and Skye is napping.  It is supposed to be a brutal day today and through the weekend, with heat index warnings through Saturday night.  Very thankful for central air!

Justin started 1st grade on Monday in Minneapolis.  He had a little excitement after school though. Despite the school being notified, by his mother, that he was to go to Mpls Kids next door at the park house after school, they put him on the school bus and SENT HIM HOME! Of course no one was there, and no one was home at either of the neighbors on either side of his house, so my smart, brave little 6 year old grandson sat outside and patiently waited for someone to come home all by himself.  In the meantime, Tony went to get him at Mpls Kids and was freaked when he wasn't there...  Andrea was at work and she too freaked out; Tony went home and found Justin there safe and sound (he had been there about an hour on his own), but the school, transportation, and Mpls kids all heard about it...  We all praised Justin for being a big boy and knowing to stay put, and I am very proud of him.

Rei starts school next week and he is basically ready except for a backpack, which we will get one day this week.  The new school is gorgeous, huge, confusing (for right now), and amazing.  I really am quite impressed by it.  We went to every class he has and his locker so he could judge times and distances (and how long he had to flirt, bs, and hang with friends between classes). It's (hopefully) gonna be a good year. Brie is in classes three evenings a week and Saturday mornings; Eric will be in classes two nights a week, and I still need to get signed up for my course. Aurora is liking school and is doing a fairly decent job of juggling two sports, homework and a boyfriend. She missed getting her license yesterday because she didn't come home in time to go take the tests (she was riding home with a friend), so that is still on the agenda for Friday or Saturday.

Eric fixed his motorcycle on his own to be sure he had it for work--he had to replace a cellenoid (I know I spelt it wrong), and he has an appointment to get it looked over at the shop in two weeks because of a lose wire that keeps grounding out. We had to get a headlight replaced on the honda yesterday so we looked at used cars there, then went over to the Chevy dealer and test drove a Chevy Cruze.  We drove (Eric drove) the Cruze econo model, which is a manual 6-speed, and gets 42 miles to the gallon, along with having amazing safety ratings. We both really liked it, although I would prefer it as an automatic (I know Eric likes the manual better); I have driven a manual in the past and am ok with them, but like automatics better, even if it means a slight drop in gas mileage (to 38 fwy). We just really need to figure out how to finance another vehicle, especially if we do go with brand new.  I am favorably impressed with the price points on the Cruze too, and the plan (if//when we get one) would be for Eric to drive it daily while I keep the pilot (and share it with Aurora), to save money on gas, and then I would use it for trips to Mpls. and local running around when Eric is home.  It's nice to have a possibility in mind, even though we have nothing set in stone right now.

Skye is awake, and Brie just got home, so I am gonna go out and water the gardens...  I have about 2 hours to myself before I am back on duty!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Happy birthday Skye Noel!

Her birthay was actually Friday, but I have been sick the past few days and haven't been on the computer much. So hard to believe a year has passed! What a joy and blessing this little girl has been! May you be rchly blessed in ths new year baby girl.
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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Back to Saturday again!

I am not sure where the week has gone to! It's been busy, hectic, crazy!  Aurora started running cross country this week, with 6 am practices and needing rides, so Eric and I have taken turns running her over to the University for her practices, sitting in the car waiting for her to finish, then coming home.  It makes more sense (especially gas-wise) to just wait on her, because it is a 20 min ride each way, and by the time one got home, it would be time to turn around and go back.  I have gotten quite a bit of reading done.  Brie starts class today, and Aurora starts classes Monday.  Aurora and Eric are at a gateway tournament today (bowling) and if she does well, tomorrow as well, over in St. Louis, while I am home enjoying a gloomy, COOL, rainy morning with Skye.  I have just laid her down for a nap, and decided to take a few minutes for me.

It was so cute yesterday: Brie got invited to a concert last night, and Eric and I were with Aurora at her cross country practice (it had been moved to late afternoon from the morning because of lightening yesterday morning); Brie asked Rei to babysit (until I got home) so she could go, and he took Skye with him to the Purple and White game at the high school.  He carried her in a baby carrier on his chest (with her facing forward to see everything), with a backpack on his back with diapers, wipes, and a bottle...  She was a little overwhelmed by the crowds and the noise (meaning she was sorta shy and quiet initially) but she soon acclimated and clapped and yelled and laughed.  Some friends of Rei's (girls) took Skye down to the Cheerleaders, where she was happily passed around, until she realized Uncle Rei wasn't there and started to cry.  The girls brought her back and she was happy once more, staying for the entire game!  I had called Rei when we got home and told him I would come and get her whenever he wanted, so I was quite surprised when he didn't call until the end of the game, and said she was perfect the whole time!  It just tugged at my heart because I remember when my sister used to take Liisa to stuff at the high school too when she was a baby. Happy memories!

I have to be honest and say I have been in a bit of a funk the past week or so.  I have found myself emotionally eating, and I have found myself struggling with keeping up a positive attitude.  I realized it was due, in part, to missing having some quality time with my husband!  Things have been so crazy around here that we have not had any time for "us." We remedied that by leaving Skye with Aurora yesterday morning and going out to breakfast, then running some errands together (home depot and lowes), and later taking Aurora. With Skye being worn out from the football game, she ate dinner and went to sleep in my arms right away, so we also had last evening.  It was a lovely change of pace and much needed. I am feeling less stressed out today and hoping that this weekend continues to be relaxing.

I have also been a bit down on myself lately because my weight gain instead of loss these past two weeks (just a pound total, but still), and I was tired of my hair being striped. I took myself to the salon and had high lights and low lights put in to blend out all the color changes, and while I am okay with how it turned out, it is a bit darker than I have been for a long time (the stylist went a couple of shades darker than my "natural color" on the low lights, almost to a chocolate color), and while it has blended beautifully, it is definitely darker looking overall. The darker colors will lighten up with washing, bringing it back (or closer to) my natural color, which is similar to Rei's, Erik's, Neal's, and Tony's, thus meaning less maintenance in touch ups etc. I was pleased to be told I still have NO grey in my hair at all, and given I am getting closer and closer to 50, that pleases me immensely.  My guess is when I am an old lady my hair will be white, like my Aunt Aili's was.  It's nice, but a bit startling to see myself in the mirror when I am not expecting it, and I kinda miss my lighter hair, but this is good for now.

It is so hard to believe that Skye is going to be a year old on Friday.  It seems like this years has blown by in a heartbeat!  She is such a joy to us, and so happy and loving.  Brie and a friend of hers are taking Skye out today for her birthday, and she got a lovely package from her Dad and his family in the mail yesterday: pjs, shorts and tops, sandals, dvd movies, and a leap frog puppy that plays games, music, and talks to her (personalized with her name!).  She loves the music feature on it and knows which buttons to push/squeeze.  We are now getting her 18 month sizes because she is not fitting the 12 months sizes so well anymore--especially the pants/shorts.  She is a healthy size, and looks beautiful.  Her hair is growning in and curls in the back so sweetly. She is trying so hard to talk, and she responds to and mimics everything! Eric and I are really enjoying watching her grow and change.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday morning coffee...

It's so lovely to sit here in my quiet bedroom, drinking my coffee, watching big fleecy clouds roll by in blue skies over the housetops across the street.  I have had a lot on my mind of late, and it's nice to have some time to put them into some sort of order.

Liisa called me yesterday morning to tell me Jesse's maternal grandmother had died.  She had been having multiple strokes over the past month-month and a half, and had been in and out of the hospital and a nursing home.  They brought her home from the hospital to her own bed on Friday after they were told nothing more could be done for her medically, and Liisa went with Jesse Friday night to see her.  Liisa called me when she got home, around 11 p.m. Friday night and just sobbed.  She loved Marilyn dearly and was distraught that she seemed to still be so vital and present that "saying goodbye while she was still here" somehow felt wrong. I explained to Liisa that when the body starts shutting down, nothing can really be done to reverse that process, and that this was a part of life.  I felt so bad I couldn't be there with her. She wasn't around as much when we went through it with my aunt Aili, and she was so young when Grandma Soulak died that she doesn't remember.  When they got the call Grandma was gone, her and Jesse were on their way back up to Grandma's house. Jesse was going to play his guitar for her, and Liisa was going to read to her from the tabloids, something they used to do on a regular basis through the years.  Liis both found and offered comfort being at the house with the family as they waited for everyone to gather before the coroner finally was called to come out to get the body.  I am so very proud of her for how she is handling all of this.

Liisa and Jesse are no longer together as a couple, and haven't been since December. They have, however, remained the closest of friends, and are trying to navigate the waters of loving each other as friends (versus as lovers/life partners).  This too is a difficult road to walk, but we all love both of them and want nothing but the best for each of them. My mom continues to hope that they will find their way back to each other, but I am accepting that this is how it is and I pray for both.  They still share custody of the dogs, and in many ways, Jesse is more devoted a "dogdaddy" than many fathers are of their biological children!

I have resumed doing (relatively) daily devotional readings, which I find both comforting and chastening.  One I read recently hit a little too close to home, in that it dealt with finding the good in all things, being one who is supportive and uplifting versus critical and nit-picky.  The reading (if anyone is interested) is Ephesians 4:29-32. Lately I have been fairly negative and critical in how I approach everything: the dogs, the kids, even sometimes Eric, and especially myself.  I don't like being this way, and when I catch myself being critical I feel terrible about it, but it hasn't stopped me from doing it a whole lot.  I know why I have become so critical, and many of my complaints are valid, BUT complaining doesn't change anything, and being vocal about it sets the stage for negativity to build on negativity. So my plan is to start catching myself when I am being critical or negative and try to find ways to build up rather than tear down the things that bother or upset me.  Maybe if I set the example, others will follow, and that positive vibe will be reflected in our daily lives. It's worth a try anyway!

Patrick came by on Friday to pick up some mail he had here, and he stayed for dinner and most of the evening.  He starts his new job on Tuesday, and I need to run him out to get some black pants for it either today or tomorrow. He explained that his girlfriend breaking up with him was NOT about him; it was about her life (being a single mom among other things) was so complicated at the moment that she didn't feel it was fair to him to be relegated to the sidelines, and that she didn't feel she had the ability to focus on a relationship at the moment or give him the attention and devotion he deserves.  He really felt ok about all of it, but was, of course, sad. He and I had a really nice talk about his plans before Eric got home, and it continued with Eric prior to dinner as well.  Basically we both feel good about where Patrick is at right now, and we support his fledgling steps into independent adulthood.  He is doing ok!

Skye is walking everywhere now. She looks like a little primate with her hands up as she toddles and wobbles, but she goes and goes and goes!  It amazes me it's almost been a year already that she has been a part of our lives.  Despite some of the work, she is such a blessing, and she is truly a child of my heart. Friday night she was having a really hard time staying asleep, and Brie was getting frustrated and overtired as well, so after I hung up with Liisa I sat in the rocking chair in the living room with Skye, and hummed hymns to her, prayed, and shed my tears--for Liisa, for Jesse and his family, over memories of the past...  It was comforting and catharctic, and when Skye finally fell asleep around midnight, I too was ready for bed.

We are still no closer to figuring out what we are going to do about transportation issues in the coming weeks. Aurora has a sports physical and team pictures on Monday, then her practices start for cross country, with school classes beginning the following week.  Brie's classes too begin that week, and of course no-one's schedule matches up well...  Eric has been riding the motorcycle when the weather permits so we have the pilot as a back up vehicle, and next week is his "short" work week, so we have a little breathing space to coordinate things. I am confident we will figure things out. 

My coffee cup is empty, so I think I will refill it, then move on to the next item on my agenda. Please keep Jesse's family in your prayers as they move through the grieving process, and my Liisa too.  She still is unemployed, and while she is managing, it's rough. Winning the lottery sounds like a wonderful option to me, as unrealistic as it is....

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

August doldrums!

The month of August started with a bang of activity, but as of today, hopefully will be slowing down a little bit. Our 3rd anniversary was on the 2nd, and it was a nice day.  We didn't do a lot of anything in particular, other than go out for breakfast, but it was nice to go out. 

Liisa came down on the 4th, flying in from MN early in the morning, and I took her to the train station for 5 tonight, only to find out that her flight has been delayed until 8:30 tonight (to Chicago, where she has a connecting flight she is gonna need to run to).  Poor kid is just sitting at the airport with her book and bags, waiting to go home.  We spent much of the weekend at our local park for Homecoming, enjoying the rides, concessions, and live bands. We danced, drank beer, and socialized with friends. We also ran errands, shopped on base at the BX, swam at the pool, and enjoyed being together.  It's so sad to see her go home.  I wish my kids and I were closer locale-wise.  I know we talk on the phone all the time, but it isn't the same as face to face contact.

Eric is putting in some overtime this week. He has security detail for some big-shot from the VA who is in town, and it's been a nice change for him. He has only a few more weeks of school left and his term is done. Aurora starts her cross country training next week, and the bowling practices are not too far behind. Her actual classes start the third week.  Brie will be starting classes the end of August too.  In a huge change of pace, Rei won't be starting classes this year until after Labor day, and the school year is running thru mid June of next year (normally they start the third week of August and get out mid May). He will be in the brand new school, starting his Junior year.  Classes for me won't start til October, so I am safe for a little while yet.

We are still in need of at least one more car for the family.  I am at a loss as to how we are going to manage Aurora, Brie, and Eric's schedules of work and school needs on a daily basis starting next week...  Eric can take the motorcycle, but that is strictly weather dependent. And it means my wings are effectively clipped until someone is home.  I know we will work it out and I am fine with being flexible. I really don't go many places during the day anyhow; it just means I need to be careful in how I schedule appointments and such. And we have braces to worry about too...  Haven't scheduled the start of those as yet, but that needs to happen in the near future.

Patrick just got hired at the pizza place in town as a cook, and starts next week.  He had (in his words) the worst birthday ever: he got a girlfriend over the weekend who broke things off on his birthday, then got dumped by his oldest friend.  We called him on his birthday (assuming his girlfriend/friends would be helping him to celebrate) and no one planned anything.  It made/makes me sad. We are going to be doing an outing for/with him probably next weekend when Eric is off again.  This week is too full and confusing.

My brain feels fried right now.  I am stressed out and sad and weary.  Too much to think about with regard to juggling the future. It's better to focus on the here and now instead.  Anyhow, that is what's new around here! I am hoping things start to settle into some sort of routine, and I am glad we still have most of a month to get organized, even if things are coming up quickly!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A lazy summer Sunday...

I have thoroughly enjoyed the last three days, and am taking today to get stuff done here around home. This weekend has been the Summer's Last Blast Yarn Crawl over in St. Louis and here in IL, and I went to all 12 yarn shops in the past three days. I spent a bit of money, although not as much as I could have, and am well satisfied with my purchases:

I got 7 skeins of yarn; the yellow is 1600 yds of laceweight for a big shawl; some pattern books and patterns; some door prizes; and a few accessories I needed. 

I was very proud of myself for driving to 5 of the 12 shops all by myself on Friday, in the 100+ degree heat, with no air conditioning, and using only my gps on my phone for back up directions.  I had a lot of fun and met some lovely people.  The other 7 shops I did with Eric in the air conditioned Pilot, and we had a lovely time together, including a nice dinner and bottle of wine at a winery in St. Charles, MO after our 4th stop. I have found a couple more places I would love to return to as needed (although they are a bit of a hike to get to), and one shop I adore is closing in October and moving to Colorado.  I also got an invitation to join the Gateway Knitters Group, which meets in Kirkwood, a western/southwestern suburb of St. Louis, and I may try to get there once in a while as time and family obligations permit.  It was lovely to be asked!

Stitch markers I made myself

I have been very productive in my crafts this summer, and have really enjoyed not having studying to compete with it. Skye likes being by me, so there are things I can easily accomplish while she plays happily by me, and others that I do using the playpen as a safety zone for her (we put on music and dance while I move between the cutting table, sewing machine, and ironing board). As long as she is by me she is content, and I don't leave her there for extended periods of time. I try to alternate activities so her attention span and muscles get appropriate levels of stimulation.

At left is a picture of some of the stitch markers I made for myself out of wire, o-rings, and beads. I didn't do a great job of tightening the wire down on itself (it was a first attempt after all), but they came out pretty and they don't snag the fibers, which is what matters most.  There is also a picture of the rest of them in use, on a Mmystery Shawl I am knitting (a play on the designer's name: MMario). I love the way it is coming out so far! Oh, and I also bought one tool NOT pictured: strip magnets glued to ribbon to form self-sticking placement holders on graphic patterns!  I paid $15 for the set of them, then realized as I studying them here at home how easy they would be to make myself...  sometimes the simplest things are the most useful! 
Stitch markers in use.

Summery sundress I made recently.

Completed peacock, Misty Morning Vineyard.

Homemade stitch markers in use.

Summery outfit I made.

I am getting really frustrated with blogger!  Grrrrr!  I am trying to put my photos into the order I want them and they are not cooperating and moving to where I want them to be!  Oh well, they are on here and I guess that is what is important.  I just wanted to show that I have been sewing garments for myself, cross stitching, and knitting, along with taking care of Skye and the rest of the family.

Skye is walking now; she started taking steps just before she turned 11 months old, and she walks subconsciously quite well until she realizes she is walking and seats herself back down.  It makes us laugh. She is such fun these days, trying hard to talk and making a wide range of facial expressions.  I do wish she would nap better at times, but I liked her going down at 7:30 to 8 pm for the night.  Now that her momma is home things are a little less predictable with regard to bedtime especially.

There are things to get done, and I am still fuming over blogger not cooperating, so I guess I will go for now.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's a hot and sticky thursday!

But things are fairly cool here in the house, and babycakes is down for a nap, so I am free to blog for a few minutes.  I have been working on sewing the past few days, as well as finishing up some things. I got a summer dress all sewn that I have been wanting to make for close to 2 years now, and was amazed that even at the size suggested by the pattern it was too big, so I had to cut the pieces down and resew. It turned out amazing and I am so pleased with it!  I have cut the patterns apart for 2 more outfits, a dress, and an skirt/jacket combo in nice summery fabrics, and I have reviewed the fall/winter fabrics too to see what else I want to be working on.  I put together my dressmaker's dummy, in my measurements, and it has been a god-send for working on clothes for me. I actually need to take the measurements in just a bit (ribs/bust) as the dress I just finished fits the dummy perfectly but is still a teensy bit loose on me, even after the revamp. I am so pleased with my weight watcher's plan.  I haven't been as honest with it this past week, despite my good intentions, as I had wanted to be, but it is working none-the-less and I am content.

I have been plugging away at some cross stitching too, and am quite pleased with my progress on those projects as well.  It has been nice to have things to work on when the baby is sleeping because I have very little time without her during the day--she has decided napping is for sissys, and she has taken only the briefest of naps the past few days.  I am hoping today will be a good nap as her eyes were really heavy after lunch. Skye has taken her first independent steps--took them on Monday accidently/unintentionally; then on Tuesday she actually walked to me from the couch, about 4 steps.  Each day since then she has been practicing and getting better and steadier on her little feet.  It's such a joy to watch her figure things out!  Today she cracked me up because she found the tv remote on the floor next to Rei, who was sleeping.  She started pushing buttons, then looking expectantly at the tv (it was off); she'd push more buttons and look at it again; still nothing.  Finally she got frustrated and threw it down in disgust cuz it wasn't doing anything!  She sure knew what it was for though!

Eric has this weekend off but it's already jam-packed.  Aurora has a gateway tournament this weekend over in St. Louis, and that takes up much of each day Saturday and Sunday; Brie is supposed to be home sometime Sunday too. Eric wanted to focus on our room (moving some things around/decluttering) but I just don't see that being got to too easily between Skye and the bowling alley, and he has part 2 of a major project due Monday that will need some focusing on also...  Aurora got her books in the mail today for her classes, and she is happy about that. I think she is looking forward to college starting, even if it does start before the high school does.

I had Rei and Aurora at the orthodontist on Wednesday.  They both need braces for similar issues, but Aurora is going to need 6 teeth removed (4 wisdom teeth and 2 on the top due to crowding), while Rei's wisdom teeth can wait til after he is done with his braces. Both treatment plans will take about 2 years to complete, and insurance is supposed to cover part of the cost. We will need to figure out how we are going to cover the rest of it.  Aurora's oral surgery consult is not scheduled until Sept. 13th (the first available appt), so we will be scheduling the surgery after than; early October will be when she gets her braces (I think), while Rei's we can set up anytime.  Eric has to look through the budget, as will I, and then we will make the appointments.  Always something!

I am waiting on edge to hear back from Liisa. She had a horrid sore throat (on just one side) that started Tuesday evening/Wed. morning.  She went to urgent care for it this morning after being in such terrible pain last night that she called me at 1 am, and they said she needed to go to the emergency room: her tonsil, tongue, and jaw were all inflammed and it looked like she may have an abcess on her tonsil that is in rough shape and may need lancing.  She called me in tears because it hurt and she was scared. Her dad has gone with her to the emergency room and I know one of them will call me when she is done.  My poor girl!  Especially since she is concerned she may not have health insurance right now (given she was fired the end of June she doesn't know if July was covered or not--I believe it is). Anyway, I am praying for her.

We haven't heard much from Patrick of late, nor from Brianne, so the assumption is things must be going fine in their respective activities.  I will be glad to have Brie home so I can have some "me" time again.  Little one is fussing off and on in her bed; I am not sure if she has actually slept or not (haven't peeked in there) but she's been down for an hour, so I guess I should get her up.  The only real blessing to her not napping much is she has been going down for the night between 7 and 8 each night this week so far!