Wednesday, November 30, 2011

30 Posts in 30 Days - Day 30

In the first novel and radio series, a group of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings demand to learn the Ultimate Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything from the supercomputer, Deep Thought, specially built for this purpose. It takes Deep Thought 7½ million years to compute and check the answer, which turns out to be 42. The Ultimate Question itself is unknown. -- Wikipedia re The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

I will be 42 in less than a month.

I thought I would know more than I do at this age. But the longer I live, the more I have learned that the ultimate answer is not necessarily 42. I think it would take me 7 1/2 million years to really understand how the universe works.

Right now I am in a kind of limbo in my life, mainly because of my job (or lack thereof) situation.

Yet another prospect has told me that I "set the bar high" that I was "exceptional" but I was their second choice.

Unfortunately, in my head I had already started the "hope" game. Where I was already strategically figuring out the next steps to be had after getting this job. I was so confident that I had nailed this one. And it was a nearly perfect fit, logistically, financially and career-wise.

I feel proud of how I have been handling this lay off and the job hunt. But I am weary. And my choices in life and career can be laid bare to me at such a time.

At this time of year, with the holidays, with getting another year often becomes a reflective time. Usually the hectic schedule of the holidays and work keep me from being overly melancholy.

Don't get me wrong, part of me is happy that I am going to have this time of year off with my children and family.

But part of me wants the normalcy of routine (not to mention the accomplishment and money) of a job. My job doesn't define me. But it does make me feel more like a contributing member of our family.

Despite the limbo, despite the weariness, I am looking positively at the coming year. Hopefulness will return to me as I look at more prospects in the coming year.

So. 42. Let's see where you take me.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

30 Posts in 30 Days - Day 29

I have decided to once again participate in November. To read more about NaBloPoMo please click HERE.

I love hearing about other people's traditions during this Holiday Season. Not only is it interesting, but it gives me ideas for new traditions for our family. A tradition that I find very nice is new pjs for Christmas, where on Christmas Eve children (or the whole family) receive new pajamas. I like the fact it is something practical and also something that can make your Christmas morning photos more fun. I did this last year for the first time and both kids loved it. (In fact, the pjs I got Michael is one of his favorites).

This year I went overboard (there was a sale) and I not only bought special pjs for the kids for Christmas Eve, but also new pajamas for now...

Modeling her Holiday Pjs.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Perfect Moment Monday - A visit with Santa

On the 4th Monday of each month we engage in mindfulness about something that is right with our world. Everyone is welcome to join. The next Perfect Moment Monday event will be on December 26.

To participate in Perfect Moment Monday:

Follow Write Mind Open Heart.

Between the Sunday night before and the Sunday night after, write up your own Perfect Moment.

Use LinkyTools on her website to enter your name (or your site/blog name) and the URL of your Perfect Moment.

Visit the Perfect Moments of others and let the writers know you were there with some comment currency.

Despite the fact that I am all into the Santa part of Christmas, I have never been one for the photo with Santa tradition. I just found it too forced or too annoying for me to stand in line for my child to be "processed". I am sure that it is not that way everywhere, but my limited experiences had shown me that it was more often than not, an experience I could easily do without. Michael did not seem to have the need to visit Santa (a letter and a special trip to a mailbox did fine--as well as one year a letter FROM Santa at the North Pole). I haven't regretted or missed that tradition in the least.

But, yesterday we were at The Enchanted Village and after the exhibit, Willow saw Santa was receiving children. She almost ran up to him right to him (she would have, if I hadn't held her back). And the line was short. And I decided, why not? This Santa impressed me. He took time with each child. One child in front of us had brought a letter for him which he then took the time to read and talk to her about it. No feeling of rushing and a lot of cuddle and warmth. Each child was someone, not someone to be photographed and off. children saw Santa (who welcomed a reluctant Michael onto his lap with a "hey, pal, come up right here" as if he understood a 13 year old big brother).

The Enchanted Village will definitely be a new tradition...and Santa, well, it may be a tradition that Willow would like to have too.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day 27 - I guess I cannot escape it...

the Holiday Season is upon us! And I am finally starting to get some Holiday spirit along with that. I have most of my shopping already done (hey, Black Friday--I scoff at you in September)!

Yesterday we watched Rudolph and Heat Miser (aka Year Without A Santa Claus) and then went into the the town center for the big Holiday festival that is held annually. This year we were pleasantly attired and were quite warm. Last year we were freezing ourselves silly.

This year we did the hay ride around the town square, and watched the ice sculptures being made (quickly or else they were going to melt) and had some clam chowder from the Cub Scouts and fried dough from the Lion's Club. Willow and Michael feed llamas, goats and sheep at the petting farm. Oh and a glimpse of Santa Claus (Willow wanted to gate crash instead of standing in a long line).

A girl said "Hi Michael!" and Michael silently skulked away saying that he hated her. And Chewy noted that that silent "Angel like broody thing" is working for the boy (it really seems to, this happens a lot in public places--girls saying hi to him, I mean).

We also got to see the town square decorations and lights.

Speaking of decorations, here are some pictures of ours:

One of our Hanukkah decorations. (Starts December 20th this year)


Santa, of course--and Chewy's head--yeah, he has hit Santa and his reindeer a lot already.

Part of the tree--we are very eclectic with our ornaments, especially with special ones. And, of course, I have lost control of making it look "right" cuz I let the children put them on. (Oh my the fights to put on the garlands on...and Willow kept putting decorations on...and then off...and then on...and then playing with them...and Michael "correcting" her choices of putting things places...and then exclaiming he was TIRED and were we done yet....but I digress...)

Another picture of the tree. Santa hat as a topper.

Now the fun part of having the decorations and the tree--trying to keep the cats (KIF!) and Willow from destroying them! (And this is why some of our decorations stay in the box this year!)


Friday, November 25, 2011

30 Posts in 30 Days - Day 25

I have decided to once again participate in November. To read more about NaBloPoMo please click HERE.

Because we have a lot planned this weekend, we are putting our decorations up today. Our tradition is usually for the Saturday after Thanksgiving, but a day earlier is not a biggie.

The weird thing of it is...well, usually I am all hyper about getting the decorations up and getting going on it first thing. And well, I came home from Thanksgiving dinner at our friend's house...and promptly saw my T-day dinner in a bucket (ahem).

So, slow start to the day. I think I am fine (at 50%) but considering the most we are doing is going to the Muppets movie...I am fine.

Started off late on the decorating. And then some friends of Michael's came by. And then they wanted to go off to the park. And since we want to encourage Michael's social skills/connections as often as he went.

So that left me and Willow and reluctant Chewy. Willow and I have dug into one of the boxes and have done some discovering and re-discovering. It is so amazing to watch her look at each decoration and our wealth of holiday books. So I slowed it down so I could watch her enjoy. And I had semi-forgotten all the new things I had bought at the end of the season last year (doesn't it seem like I was just putting these things away!?).

So, it is 1 p.m. and we haven't gotten the tree up yet. Michael is out somewhere, Willow is looking at holiday books. Chewy is taking a nap. And while I hate the fact that there are boxes and a disassembled tree on my living room floor right now (I hate clutter, even though my life seems to perpetuate it)...I am fine with that.

Let the holidays come slowly this year.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Day Reflections

This year has been full of ups and downs. Low points and high points. I wish I could say the turbulence has settled down, but it has not.

Sometimes I like the roller coaster. But sometimes I would like things to just be like they are on Thanksgiving weekend.

We all are relaxed, we are all together. And, except for a couple of sniffles (me), we are all healthy. We have each other.

I am thankful that we are at ease with each other. That my children have had the benefit of having me at home with them these past few months. That we have friends to celebrate the holidays. That I have on-line friends who help me through the day, and lift me up when I am down.

That we have a home. That we have cuddly pets.

That we have we.

That I have you.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day 23

This day before Thanksgiving is a bit unusual for us. Normally, we would both be at work, Michael would have a half day and then go to after school program, Willow at her daycare. She is the only one having a normal before T-Day day.

I will be having a job interview this morning; Chewy has decided to take a day off--which is good, considering the hours he has been working since September!

Chewy will pick up Michael after school. And I will meet up with them after my interview. And we will pick up Willow last of all, later in the afternoon. We don't have to travel far for our Thanksgiving get together, so this evening is our own. I think we will spend it relaxing and low key.

We have a big, long weekend of plans and today is the calmest (well, for some--I am nervous/anxious about the job interview).


Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Change is something we struggle with in our household. Michael likes schedules and I am an organizer and I do not like things that screw schedules up.

But change seems to be all around us.

The doctor that diagnosed Michael has moved us on to a psychiatrist for monitoring of his medications. Yesterday, his long time behavioral therapist called to tell me that she is being moved onto adult patients only. Which means that tomorrow is our last appointment with her. We will have to consult the psychiatrist as to what therapist he would least that person should be closer to home.

And of course there is the issue with after school care for him. Which may have to be dealt with sooner rather than later--as I may be getting the ultimate change, a new job.

So, the next few weeks, months are going to be tough for all of us. But the one I worry about the most is Michael because he has had many many changes to deal with recently.

I hope that we can transition smoothly to whatever changes are in store.


Monday, November 21, 2011

30 Posts in 30 Days - Day 21

Once again Michael has achieved High Honors at school!

Seventh Grade has been more of the same, yet different for Michael. He is not learning a new school now, he is a part of it. However, being in seventh grade does me more responsibilities and more band practice and a switch to Spanish from French.

I cannot believe that a month from now it will be time for the Holiday Concert!

The school year is going by so quickly--so it is nice to get the first term report card and see how well he is doing academically.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 20 - The Bullets, The Bullets...

I have decided to once again participate in November. To read more about NaBloPoMo please click HERE.

In bullets because it is Sunday and I really don't have a coherent thought for a post...

  • MineCraft has now invaded imaginary play. Earlier this morning, Willow and I were alternatively zombies, werewolves, creepers, skeletons and wolfs/puppies. Michael fought us with diamond swords, pix axes and the sun.
  • Lazy Sunday today, more in anticipation of the coming Thanksgiving weekend and the many activities planned. Lazy meaning I am on the computer in my pjs, Michael is playing an X-Box game, Willow is snuggling with Kif on the couch, Chewy is upstairs taking a nap. And it is almost noon.
  • Gaming night on Friday was Lord of the Fries; Michael won, I was last place although I was filling orders the quickest at the beginning (I guess my zombie brain burned out!)
  • We re-watched Captain America this Thursday night, and while I liked it a lot and thought it was a good comic book movie--I say it is still not the best one. (Spider-Man 2 is the best comic book movie so far, I would say).
  • With the weather getting cooler, I am definitely itching for more time for Board Gaming.
  • There is a jar of eyeballs on the desk. I see that decoration from Halloween that has been forgotten to be packed away. Wonder if I will just leave it. (Heck, for a time, before we had kids, we had a brain and a hand in a jar in the bathroom. Year round.)


Saturday, November 19, 2011

30 Posts in 30 Days - Day 19

One of my favorite movies, Watership Down is playing in the background. And it is now Willow's favorite movie--usurping Winnie the Pooh at the moment. I know, because this is the third time in less than 24 hours that it has been playing. Last night we watched it. And this morning. And now--watching it again.

The first two times I watched it with her. Luckily, Uncle John has come to visit so that he can watch it with her now.

Oh, and she is eating carrots.

This all comes from gaming--last week we were playing Bunnies and Burrows, which is based on Watership Down. So I had it in my head--and so when I pulled out some children's movies to watch last night--well, it was among them. And Willow took the deceptive looking cover of cute bunnies to heart. And since she is enamored of monsters and Buffy, etc., the blood in it is actually not a bother for her.

Looking at it now as an adult, I am amazed at the wonderful animation and soundtrack, the great voices. It has stood up to the test of time.

I think I may have to dust off the book...I have gotten into the mood for it now.

Although, I have no idea how many more viewings before I am completely sick of these bunnies...

Are there classic movies (animated or otherwise) that you cannot wait to show your children?


Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Story of the Grape

So yesterday I found that she still had that "baby" grape. Not only did she still have it in all its shriveled up glory, but she was using a small baby bottle to "feed" it. She was giving loving care and milk to a grape. I decided to let it go and see where this would lead.

Then last night, it happened. The baby was not where she thought she left it. She was upset, especially since it was such a baby and needed her. I told her that probably it got lost or maybe one of the cats ate it (I really don't know what happened to it). I figured this would be the time to put a stop to this and even though she was upset, she was not inconsolable, and she was starting to understand that it was just gone.

And then daddy came in with a new grape. And said that he found the baby grape and it had grown! And oh, was she so happy and wide-eyed! And proud that she had made it grow. (Sometimes we are not always on the same page on the parenting--I think Chewy is a little more protective of his daughter)

And then after she was so happy with it...she chose to eat it. Yep.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 16 - PINK EYE!

One of my favorite South Park Episodes...

So, yesterday while at the zoo I noticed Willow's right eye looked kinda puffy and red...and I knew. Oh, I knew. It was conjunctivitis. But, I was hoping I was wrong. Because today was a Preschool day and I wanted a day freed up for other adult-doings.

But this morning--the left eye looked puffy. Michael had pink eye a LOT when he was her age, so I remembered it well. And I even had some of his eye drops left...but worried that their effectiveness would not be as good as getting new drops for her. (And I wanted confirmation that there was no other illnesses brewing)

Off to the pediatricians. And then we did some adult-doings anyways at Tar.get. And then off to the pharmacy for expensive eye drops.

That I have now administered to not only her (3 times a day for 5 days)but to ME. Because I always get the Pink Eye when the kids do.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 15

It was such a nice day today, Willow and I went to the zoo!

One thing that I do appreciate about having time off is that I am getting a lot of time to have individual time with each child. When I am working, the time I have with them has to be divided up between them and homework, dinner, and millions of other domestic tasks.

Now, I have days when I have the day with Willow (until I have to pick up Michael from school). And I have days where I don't have her, but after school, Michael and I have a few hours together before we have to pick her up from preschool.

So, today, I took her to the zoo. It was very nice to go with just her. To stay at exhibits that she wanted to go to. To spend the time that she needed to see things. And, afterwards, we went out for lunch. Just me and her.

oh, and some animals...


Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 14 - Weekend Snippets

They play with the stuffed animals and she directs the play. Occasionally I hear him ask if he really has to play the part of the "baby" to her "mommy". The fun part is when she switches gears--and somehow they are now superheroes and werewolves. To hear him rev up with the new direction is fun. I wonder that a near four year old somehow has figured out a near thirteen year old's interests.


EVERYTHING is family sets. Even grapes. She finds an extremely small grape in the group. And holds it and shows me. She exclaims "how cute!" and then says she wants to put it in water so it can grow. I explain how that won't work. And then she plucks off a small grape and says that it is it's brother. And then a bigger grape...the mother. She holds them in her hands, the baby, brother and mom. I finally ask her if she wants me to get a cup to put them in. She hold the cup for about an hour. Then she disappears for a while. I find out that she has distributed the grapes. The baby grape is in her room; brother grape in her brother's room; the mom grape in my room. (mom and brother eliminated those grapes a while ago--the baby grape is still in her room...I am kinda afraid to throw it away yet)


Big brother piggy back rides, give way (after he swears he cannot do it anymore) to a big brother tickle fest that is joined by me. He is not as ticklish as he used to be. But his sister and I find a way.


Spontaneously, she decides that she wants to direct the seating at the dinner table. She decides to set the table (she has NEVER done this before). I help her finish it off. And then later I see her taking napkins out and trying to fold them into something to decorate each place. (I hope she does this at Thanksgiving--it is cute as pie!)


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 13 - Dentist!

Yesterday Willow went to the Dentist for the 2nd time. Well, technically the first time since this was the time he actually counted her teeth and brushed her teeth.

We have had the same Dentist since we moved out here in 1993. I like him a lot. One of my favorite things about him is that he is genuinely a nice guy. He owns a farm, he likes to keep bees, he enjoys life and is a good person to recommend a good restaurant in the area. And he loves his job and enjoys kids. And he thoroughly enjoyed giving Willow her check up!

First, big brother Michael went. I thought I would be in the waiting room with Willow, but the Dentist asked if Willow could "help" him. So, she went in with daddy and Michael. And I could hear him asking her where he had to put things, showing her "Mr. Thirsty" and joking with her and Michael.

At Michael's check up the Dentist decided he was old enough to have some x-rays done--so Willow and daddy left the room. After he developed the x-rays, he let Michael look at them too. He took the time to explain things to the always inquisitive Michael. Michael has no cavities, but still has some baby teeth (two have recently fell out), with grown up teeth slowing emerging under them. I got to see the x-rays too, and it was very cool to see those teeth underneath other teeth.

Then it was Willow's turn. Michael and I stayed in the room. Again the Dentist asked her where did he put his gloves...on his elbows? His ears? Oh, right--on his hands! And the mask? Oh, it doesn't go on his ear--or the top of his head like a hat--oh, no it goes on his nose and mouth!

He counted her teeth and said they were great and coming in fine! She got to pick out what flavor of toothpaste (bubble gum) and he brushed her teeth, giving her breaks to use the water and cup and spit into the little sink like she had seen her big brother do.

Oh and of course, the kids got treasures---a new toothbrush for each (Princess & the Frog one for Willow) and a Scooby Doo Sticker--and a treasure from the treasure box! (Michael got a whoopee cushion, Willow got a bracelet that she has been constantly wearing ever since then).

Here are a couple of blurry pics from my cell phone:

Willow sucking and making noises with "Mr. Thirsty".

After the tooth brushing--and spitting the water out (and wiping herself with the dental bib--and making it into a hat)

PLEASE NOTE: Both Chewy and I asked about her thumb sucking--and the Dentist said that we shouldn't worry about it until she reaches six years old (if she is still doing it at that point). It is not affecting her teeth at all right now. (so, pffft to that Sub.way counter guy who wouldn't give Willow her cookie until she took her thumb out of her mouth!)


Saturday, November 12, 2011

30 Posts in 30 Days - Day 12

Michael is in the in-between stage between child and young adult/teen. For example, a while back we were at the mall and he saw a sister and brother coming from Bui.ld A They had made stuffed animals and dressed them up as Princess Leia and Darth Vader. He mentioned that he thought we should take Willow there sometime soon and do the same. I said "sure, sometime" and left it at that. BAB can be expensive and it is an indulgence that I felt we did not need.

Until yesterday. With both kids home for the holiday, our plans changed with the weather...and my suggestion of places included the Mall. (I was thinking the play area for small kids in the food court). Immediately Michael reminded me of the Bui.ld A plan.

And I found myself taking them to an overcrowded mall to go get expensive stuffed animals.

I justified it by saying it is an early Hannukah present for each of them.

And he is not getting any younger.

And they are kids...and sometimes you need to indulge.

After getting them dressed up.

Willow did not get one dressed as a Star Wars character--they only had Darth and Jedi's and she wanted--well, she wanted PRETTY. So, she got a dog, she dressed in a white snowflake dress--name is Jack.

Jack is very happy to hang out with Willow.

Michael, of course, got a Bunny Rabbit that Roars and dressed him up in Darth Vader clothes.

Name is Darth Cutie Pie. (He is so my son)


Friday, November 11, 2011

song for maddie

My daughter does not know the background of the purple monster in the corner of her room. One way I remember a special little girl who touched many in her short life. Today, on what would have been her fourth birthday, please help me remember Maddie with a song.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day 10 - Obsessions - Video Style

As I write this*, Willow is watching Winnie the Pooh (2011) while sitting in her chair holding Winnie the Pooh and Tigger bath toy figures and a stuffed Bunny Rabbit (which is actually from this Book). She is now obsessed with Winnie the Pooh. Daily viewings and playing with the above mentioned toys in intricate scenarios. The music is very catchy from the movie--and even though we are all getting tired of it (well, except for Willow) I must say it is very re-playable.

Michael is obsessed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- which we love to share with him. We are now onto Season Four, and actually just finished watching the Thanksgiving episode. (And now he is practicing his clarinet in hopes that we will allow him to watch another episode after Willow goes to bed). (Yeah, we will)

As for me, during the day when I have a chance to veg out--its past episodes of Judging Amy.

*Yeah, technically I am writing this on November 9th--scheduling this post because of plans to play with a certain 3.5 year old tomorrow. :-)


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Day 9 - At the Playground

Yesterday Willow and I went to the playground. Just me and her.

This is a playground near a lake so I could get my nature fix, she could get her playground fix.

It was a wonderfully warm day--nearly 70 degrees(!)

Not only did she have a great time, but she wanted to go back and bring everyone she knew to the playground!

In the background, you can see the lake, with it's requisite ducks and seagulls.

They had put in a new playscape that included a bench to sit down and eat/drink. So, she had a juice box and some Halloween Pretzels.

Then it was time for the climbing portion of the day!

Later, we went to the shore of the lake and she made an Autumn Sand Castle. (Or, as she called it, a house for bunnies.)

Later still we saw a little boy feeding the seagulls.


Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Day 8

Last evening I got a call from Michael's after school care. (Well, after school care when I am working--right now I pick him up from school). They called because they wanted to let me know that if we decide to have him go back to after school, they are not going to be able to transport him his school to their facility. This really puts a kink into the system, because, obviously, if I could transport him--I wouldn't need after school care.

This puts me in a weird situation. First off--nothing is really changed at the moment--I still don't have a job. BUT. I have a really good prospect or two (including an interview Tomorrow) and if any of those actually take fruit and I get offered a job, I have to scramble to find after school care for him. (Not to mention having to enroll him a new program, etc.--oh, the paperwork!)

Before he went to this place (which is the same place he went to for a month for summer camp this year), he was at an after school program where he ended up getting bullied. So, I am definitely not putting back to that program.

I love the fact that I find a perfect spot for him...and now I have to find somewhere else! Especially since he is on the edge of not having to have after school care at all. (I figured once he went to high school I would just have him come home from school on his own). Right now, I just cannot see my almost 13 year old being home alone for almost 4 hours.

So, I have to see if I can either arrange transportation for him somehow to this program which I love and he loves; or I have to find another program. At the moment I think we will end up having to change his after school program, but he will still go to the other place for vacations and one month of summer camp.

I think this especially is a vexing problem for me because he needs more social outlets because of his social issues and I was already feeling bad that he was not going to this after school program because of my lay off. And now even if we find after school care for him, it will probably not as adequately fulfill that social need.

The good news is that our doctor recently gave me a listing of social skills groups to call for extra help in this area. So I guess there is more that I need to do on that front too.


Monday, November 07, 2011

30 Posts in 30 Days - Day 7

Today is a weird day. I am feeling lazy, slightly sick and tired.

I have not had an uninterrupted night sleep in a while. Last night she woke up at 3:30 a.m. I think she had a nightmare, on the other hand, she seemed to be mostly upset that she could not find her sippy cup of water (which was right in front of her).

Everyone left and I made myself productive despite myself. Nothing on the job front so far for this week, I am anticipating some feedback from interviews from last week.* A watched computer has the same principle as a watched kettle, so I sit down to write a post. But cannot seem to settle on a topic.

I am usually the productive one, but right now, I feel a lack of motivation.

So far, this stint of unemployment has found me busy and sluggish in turns. For a little while I could not even get myself to land my brain on a good book. Thankfully, that stint of non-bookness has left me and I find my brain and imagination engaged once again.

But there is still today. Where I just don't really feel like doing anything. And the things I want to do, I don't have time to do. Or the money to do. Or...oh, hell, I don't know...the endurance to do. Hopefully it is just me being under the weather. Or maybe it is the time change. Or the end of Halloween and the beginning of the holidays?

Maybe I just peaked too soon in this unemployment stint. I think that June and July I just poured myself into the summer with the kids and then August I started to fret and work on the job of finding work. And then school started in September. And then an abnormal Autumn. Maybe I just need a vacation from my forced vacation?

Or maybe I am just having the Monday Blahs today.

Eh, I will have a nice tea with honey for my throat, snuggle with the cat and watch television for a bit and then pick up Michael from school. I will make us all a good dinner tonight.

And then tomorrow--is another day!

*Finally got some news--I have an interview on Wednesday!


Growing up....

We finished off the summer activities with a BANG, with Tom coming up for a two week whirlwind visit.  We did the touristy things with him a...