Saturday, September 20, 2014

It's been two weeks, time for an update...

Things are going fine here. I have started getting my own cases, and I am finding the work challenging in a good way, and rewarding, however I am also getting fairly simple cases to break me in easily. I have a good supervisor whose goal is to not burn me out; from what another worker has said, not all supervisors are as respectful. 

Skye had a tummy bug earlier this week: she woke up at midnight Wednesday morning throwing up, and we had 3 baths and three complete changes of bedding in 5 hours... Poor kid took a couple of days to fully bounce back, and I called off Wednesday so I could take care of her. She is doing better now, thank goodness because it's hard, even knowing at times she is a drama queen who milks it for all it's worth at times.

We have been practicing her writing, both on paper and using an app I downloaded on my iPad. She is really enjoying creating letters, and she has even figured out (the minx) how to save some of her creations to my photo gallery...
This is an example of what I find unexpectedly :)

Aurora has started bowling again with the college team and practices are taking up much of the free time that studying isn't using; Reimond got a job at Texas Roadhouse as a busboy and is, so far, finding it surprisingly enjoyable. The paycheck won't hurt either. He is making significantly less than minimum wage, but he also gets a percentage of the tips. We'll see how that turns out when he sees his first pay check. School is going fine for both of them. Patrick too is working more hours, and he is keeping vampiric hours: goes to bed with the sunrise generally and gets up early afternoon. 

I was enjoying some pics Zack posted of an outing he and his kids took to Taylor's falls today: I love that state park and it looks like they had a ball!

The weather down here has been gorgeous this week and the foliage is starting to show some color. And I really enjoy Kiener Plaza kitty-corner to my office building because of the fountains, "waterfalls" and reflecting pool, and green spaces to go sit by during my lunches. I really have missed all my out-of-doors time this summer, especially since most of my weekends off previously have either been stormy or ungodly hot and humid!

Eric had a weeks vacation a week ago and spent some of it working in the yard, in between walks with the dog and keeping Skye occupied. He is headed back onto overnights soon, and life will get confusing while we get reorganized to that routine.

That is all that's new around here!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Some photos from the past weekend

made an impulsive trip home to MN for Labor Day weekend and spent some quality time with my mom, my kids, and my grandkids. I didn't really give many people a heads up that I was in town, because I had not been home in over 15 months and I really didn't have time to run the roads--I was parked between mom's, Liisa's and Tony's houses, and Jeffrey loaned me his jeep to get between houses. I had a wonderful time, and it was clearly too short a trip to do all that I would have liked, but I got in some nice chats with mom and quality cuddles with the grandkids.


My room at the Radisson Blu Friday night, courtesy of Liisa and the hotel staff!

Playing in the pool with Justin and Alexis on Saturday morning!

Loving with the grandkids at Liisa and Zacks's...

Family at mom's.

Fire in the storm at Tony and Andrea's...

And a flight home on Monday, so I could go back to work Tuesday! 

Work is going well and I am starting to get my own cases. The family is doing fine, and Skye had a wonderful birthday. She is quite happy being 4 now.  And now it is Sunday again, and I need to finish up some chores, so this is picture heavy and light on verbiage :)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

I apologize for my hiatus!

Life has been busy around here! Brie and Skye have moved back home, Brie just finished out her two week notice at the bank, commuting each way for the last week and a half, and I am in the final weeks of intensive training for my job. The photo is of a quick cuddle before I headed off to work, which Skye isn't sure she likes very much (she liked me home with her), although her time with papa, aunt Aurora, uncle Rei, and occasionally Patrick has been "okay". Brie is looking to enroll her in a local preschool/daycare so we have coverage when she is at her month long guard training in September, and then the focus will be on transportation for me, because I am turning in the rental at the end of my training days.

Rei made the deans list for his spring semester, and has a 3.5 gpa for his first year of college, and he got another A for his painting class this summer. I was very amused by a story he shared last night: when babysitting Skye this week, he, some friends, and Skye were drawing with calk on the sidewalk. His friend was so proud of a drawing he did of a dragon for Skye, until he looked at the human face Rei had drawn nearby... He said " dang it Rei! I was feeling really good about my drawing, but there you are making art!" It was a really nice, detailed face (unfortunately it rained before I could get out there to take a picture). Aurora has worked really hard this summer and has been putting money away for a trip with school, and Patrick has been working too.

The month of June, besides being filled with my new job, was a month for family. Alex came to visit, along with his parents, and it was wonderful spending time with them. Photos were taken and stories were shared. It was a healing, loving visit, and we are so blessed having them in our lives.

Training has been very challenging for me, and I have been told I am doing very well in it, that I have the  necessary skills, experience, and personality for it, and I am finding it to be interesting, eye-opening, and satisfying. I have seen my first heroin addicted newborns, dealt with a shaken baby case, and seen a number of neglect cases. I have sat in on forensic interviews for child sexual abuse, and have been to court a number of times, all parts of my shadowing experiences. I like the fast pace of it, and while I have been a bit bored during office time when nothing is going on, I know that will change when I get my own case load come September.

I am sure many of you have heard of Michael Brown and Ferguson MO... That is a suburb of St. Louis, and is considered county rather than city, but it is just across I-70 from St. Louis, and I have co-workers who live and work in that community (one of our county offices is up there). Obviously feelings and tensions are running high, especially in the populations we serve, and it's effects are being felt all over St. Louis. Safety is a primary concern for all of us, and while opinions vary regarding the facts of the case, the media spin, and outside interventions (e.g. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, even the president's comments), all hope this will be sorted out and things will calm soon. To me, and in my opinion only, good kids can make stupid choices which end in tragic consequences, cops are human too, and when provoked may overreact as well, and the truth of the matter lies somewhere in the middle of all of these points of view and opinions.  Thankfully trial by public opinion is NOT the law of the land.

The bottom line is that in getting used to my new schedule (my alarm goes off at 5:15 and I am generally on the road between 6:30 and 7, depending on my destination), dealing with traffic headaches and construction, and then long days of training in state and local policies, I get home at the end of the day and am wiped out! I have been going to bed between 8:30 and 9:30 each night (of late with Skye, who may or may not cooperate), and I am out! The state of MO is very particular about Internet use at work due to the privacy laws, so I have limited access to things like my blog, personal emails, and the like during work hours, and although I check them and Facebook during my off time, sometimes I am too tired to do more than just read them. I have tried to do some handwork too, but it feels like everything is taking a back seat to my work life for right now while I get used to the new routine. I will try to be more faithful to the blog and updates, because I know people worry if I let it go too long. I do appreciate the emails though! 

Love you all!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Early May

Saturday was prom for Mascoutah. Reimond had never gone to his, because of miscellaneous reasons, but he did go this year, with his girlfriend Jamie. They had a really nice time. I wasn't able to see them, except in photos, because they got ready at Jamie's house, and I had no car to get back and forth, but I have enjoyed hearing all the stories, and seeing the pictures.

Today is one of those perfect days. I have been up since 7, working on changing around my sleep schedule some in the hope of having a job, and I am sitting in the backyard with my coffee and my iPad, enjoying the birdsong, insect buzzing, and the warm breeze. Eric is working today, his fifth day in a row (60 hours!), Patrick is still abed, and the others are at school. I love the peacefulness of it all. Later on I will focus on the chores needing to be done, but for now, I will enjoy my yard. 

I am assuming my interview went well, because they finished their interview schedule on Thursday and were calling on my references on Friday. I know that is no guarantee, but it is hopeful. Part of me thinks it will be fun working out of downtown St. Louis, and regardless of which position I get hired for, there will be lots of moving around and being out of office time as well as office work, so it should be interesting and challenging. 

I am also feeling more "myself" if that makes sense. The winter depression has lifted, and getting my hair done (highlighted/shaped) has "removed a few years" to quote my son. I had bangs cut again, and when I look I the mirror I like what I see. My weight, of course hasn't cooperated, and my increased sedentariness since Skye moved away has contributed, but I am not letting it bother me over much, and I am. Trying to just be mindful about my calories and my activities.

I did have Skye here this weekend, and it was a lot of fun. She introduced herself to Jamie's grandma as "Skye, the Princess" and we spent part of our weekend playing in the castle (my yard swing), as various Disney princesses in let's pretend games, riding her bike ( she has finally mastered both pedaling and steering at the same time), and cuddling while reading stories, singing, and watching Disney junior on tv. 

 Skye is never still,  and she has an endless appetite for everything--food, knowledge, attention... She makes me so happy. We looked and the photos I have of when she was a tiny newborn, and she just giggled at how small she was, and what a big girl she is now. I have no pictures from this visit where she isn't in motion, and she only napped on Saturday (having gotten up at 5:30 am) because she sat down to watch a movie. 

Reimond had two pictures in his first college art show in April, and they are on display thru mid May. He is doing really well this second semester, and I am proud of him. Aurora too is working really hard at school, and is focused on homework almost to the exclusion of all else! That isn't to say she doesn't have a social life--she does, she just is a really diligent student! Since Patrick and Kalen broke up, Patrick is out and about when he isn't working, and we hardly see him. He's almost a ghost, who comes and goes at will!

Brie, James, and the kids are doing fine; Liisa loves her new position, as assistant director of guest services at the Radisson Blu, and Zack has returned to Dickie's, as a general manager for their Shakopee store. Tony and Andrea are also content, and the kids are busy with school and activities. I am so grateful to social networking to stay an active part of their lives!

That is all that's new around here. I suppose it's time to head in as my coffee cup is empty!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Mid February!

For those who didn't hear (lol), my diploma arrived and I am thrilled. I hope to frame it, and someday have an office space in which to display it. The job hunt continues, and my hope is to get into some place where I can do active counseling under supervision (like an internship) so that I become eligible for licensure. I keep plugging away at the listings, and pray God has a plan for me. In the meantime, I am having convoluted dreams about my previous job at the treatment center, where former kids, former coworkers, and total strangers float in and out of my consciousness, never quite sure what my role is, or why I am there again. Even the locals and physical environments are not as they were, despite my somehow "knowing" that is what or where I am, telling me even when dreaming I am searching for something that continues to elude me.

We had the pleasure of Skye ( and Brie's) company over the weekend while Brie had drill and drill related activities. She was just a pistol all weekend, and we played "born baby" with dolls (or her) in the starring role, danced, sewed, made cookies (which she thoroughly enjoyed helping make), and watched movies, read books, and snuggled lots. We attempted to FaceTime with Oma and with Auntie Kris one afternoon (Auntie Liisa was working) but no one was available, and she kept this grandma-mom hopping! I was exhausted when she went home, but had such fun being with her. Rei and his girlfriend spent some time entertaining her as well, but Aurora was at a bowling tournament all weekend, and Eric worked, so it was mostly lil miss and me. I feel thoroughly well-loved!

I am thankful I had a flu shot this year, but am fussing with some bug--stiff joints, headachey pressure, and chills off and on. Not enough to take to my bed, but enough to feel "off". Blech! Aurora has a cold she picked up at the tournament, but fortunately we have been healthy here otherwise. Patrick continues to work limited hours, and his girlfriend has started back at school two days a week at the community college. It's progress! Aurora's class schedule has limited her work schedule, so she has only enough hours to keep her on their roster. Given the rest of her activities that is ok though, and she is a busy girl.

I have to admit to having a horrid case of cabin fever. I have been working on a variety of projects to distract myself, but as satisfying as they are, I feel stuck. I cannot wait for spring to really be here so I can at least open up the windows and get outside! I am trying to be patient, but it's hard. 

Anyway, that's the latest from around here. Hope everyone else is staying warm, healthy, and active!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

First month in limbo

I have successfully submitted some applications, but so far have heard nothing back; I realize that it is a process, and figure I have some time to get things organized. My hope is to get in the door somewhere, then I can look at opportunities for moving upward into where I want to be. 

We have been experiencing the ups and downs of the polar vortex, not nearly to the degree of family further north and/or east, but we have experienced our share of snowfall, ice, and bitter cold. My own biggest problem has been with cabin fever because I have not been out much, other than letting the dogs in and out, or getting the mail. We did have one lovely day where it hit 60 and I stitched outside for a few hours, but then the sun must have rattled me because I spent the next afternoon picking those stitches out and redoing them...

I also enjoyed an outing Eric and I took to St Charles, MO to take pictures of things for Miss Alexis and her school project-- being the recipient of her flat Shannon, I took my role of tour guide to heart, as did Uncle Rei, and we took Shannon to the landmarks before mailing her back to the school. We had a February first deadline, and hopefully someone is at the school getting the mail in. I had fun doing it and hope Alexis is proud of what I sent back. As unusual as it is for Minneapolis, they have had 6 days off this month because of the bitter wind chills. 

Not much else is new here, just the usual routine of kids out and about with school, work, bowling, friends, etc. Eric switches back to overnights in a couple of weeks, and is not doing so much overtime, so he's been bowling a bit more as well. One could say life is pretty static at the moment!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

2014: a new beginning!

I am doing better. It's helped a lot that we are through. The stress of the holidays, and I am now officially done with school, so some of the worries are gone. Eric is still working crazy overtime when he can get it, and I too have started my job search and hopefully will find something so I can help out.  

The weather here has been crazy. We have gone from record snowfalls and cold temps to being mild and beautiful today. The snow from last weekend is just about gone, and the temperatures a bad memory. They say it may be cold again early this week, but I am ok with that. Aurora is taking a J term class so she can bowl tournaments, and Reimond returns to start the second semester tomorrow. He is just back from a trip to Florida with girlfriend and her family and he had an amazing time. Now he is buckling down to job hunting as well, and hopefully will find something he enjoys. 

I spent yesterday running the roads with Brie's boyfriend and the kids while he attempted to get new tires for her car (she blew a tire on a pothole). It was a fun day, and the little ones and I sang, played, used my iPad for games, and chatted. We don't see Skye as often as we used to and we miss her. She is growing so fast! Seems hard to believe she is three! She tried to convince me yesterday afternoon when they dropped me off that she needed to come in with me so we could take a nap and watch movies together. And Liisa cracked me up with a comment her little Kodie made yesterday: their little dog Charlie had gotten into the bathroom trash, and Kodie put his hands on his hips and told Charlie, "I love you, but I am ashamed of you: this place is a disaster!" Gave me the giggles! He's just a bit older than Skye and I find them both so entertaining, especially as their vocabulary builds. Skye told me yesterday that she was the mommy doing laundry and she "folded Liam's taggie blanket excellently" (and actually, she had--it was nicely folded into quarters). 

Other than job hunting my focus now is on finishing projects, both personal and household. I am working my way thru my yarn stash and knitting socks, scarves, and finishing some shawls; I have been stitching on my cross stitch projects and my appliqué, and I have some sewing lined up of materials I already have on hand. Tony and Andrea loved their quilt, and the kids (Skye, Justin, and Alexis) loved their pjs. It feels good to put my hand to practical things, and know they are appreciated. All the fabrics on Tony's quilt were ones I had in my stash and I bought nothing new for any of it, other than stabilizer for the embroidery.

Christmas itself was very quiet, and Brie and James came down with Skye on New Year's Eve to open her presents for us, but otherwise they were just normal days for us. Liisa facetimed with me from my moms on Christmas Eve so I sat in on her reading the Christmas story from the bible and talked to my kids/mom. That is one thing I love technology for: I can participate long distance. Anyway, that is what is new around here. Just taking things one day at a time, and trying to find my footing again.