Wednesday, May 30, 2012


When you move about 800 miles away from your family, you end up having to make connections with others to create that family.

Someone dear to me sent me a plaque a few years ago which I love: "Friends are the Family we choose for Ourselves."

It took us a few years, but we have acquired such friends and I am proud to consider them part of our family.

It is especially nice when someone who is not your flesh and blood takes you in and makes you feel like you are a part of their family.  Someone who dotes on your children and asks them those questions that only relatives ask.  Someone who takes pictures of your kids because she wants to.  Who sends you emails with pictures of those times (in montages even!).

Unfortunately, when you get close to someone you also have to feel heartbroken when they go.

Dee, you made me and my family feel welcome in yours.  You doted on my children like a grandmother.
And you showed how us how to face adversity with a positive fighting attitude.

Thank you for being a part of our lives.  You will be missed.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pressure Is On...UPDATED

June 9th will be my One Year Anniversary--no, I won't be celebrating (although maybe I will have chocolate).

On that date, one year ago--I was reluctantly laid off.  I am on my 2nd extension of Unemployment Benefits.  I have had many many interviews (some with staffing agencies, some with actual employers).  I still don't have a job.  And time is running out.

Frankly, I am not sure what more I can do.  I am on all the job sites.  I have honed my interview technique--I even get comments like "you are great" "you are setting the bar high" "I'm thrilled with you"---all of which end up with me getting my hopes up--but being told I was a second or third choice candidate (or they never call back at all).  I have started to make concessions on what I can and cannot do as per location and salary (unfortunately, there is not a lot of wiggle room there).

When the benefits go away--I have no idea what we will do.  I have never been unemployed this long.  The budget is already tight--I can only make it so much tighter. The end of July will be the end of my 2nd extension.  I may qualify for a 3rd.  The pressure is on.

UPDATED: Well, it is official.  I got the letter today in the mail. I will not be getting a third extension.  I believe I will be cut off at the end of July.  If anyone has some ideas about how to cut costs, please let me know...I am running out of ideas.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fashion Show

Bought Willow a few outfits for the summer.

Riding a plastic Dolphin won at Carnival.

Saying hi to Daddy in another outfit...

Obviously, this outfit needs an undershirt...

"i love you more than ice cream" - she is wearing this to Preschool tomorrow.


Monday, May 21, 2012


On Saturday, it was just me and the kids. I enjoyed taking them out to a Carnival and later on to a discovery museum. The funny part is that this was a museum that I had taken Michael to when he was Willow's age. Stranger still--we were going there for free because it was an event for families that have children on the autism spectrum. (At Willow's age, I had no idea my son had any such time changes perspectives...)

Michael was definitely one of the more high functioning children there--and it made me feel guilty for any of the times I have felt bad for our situation. (In fact, one little boy about 5 years old was so taken with Michael that all he wanted to do was follow him around and hug him--and his shoes). Michael took it in stride (which is really good since he has issues with his personal space, etc.)

More importantly, it was great to see him interacting with his sister. A lot of people commented to me about how great he was with her (which is so true).


Friday, May 18, 2012

Table Time

We got a new kitchen/dining room table yesterday. We finally decided we couldn't wait for me to get a job before getting a new set--the old table was wobbly beyond repair, a couple of the chairs were breaking and to top it off, this past Thanksgiving, the table leaves broke.
The new table is more elegant than our previous one. It makes us giddy and feel grown up...and at first I was not sure why it produced such weird feelings. Until I was looking through old pictures to try to figure out how long we had had the other table...and found a picture of Michael sitting at the table--in 2001.

Hmm..I thought Willow was the only one to put her sunglasses on upside down...

So, good bye old table!  We actually have one of the original chairs (we had replaced the chairs a while ago)  so you will be around in more than spirit.

Hello, to elegant and more grown up!  

Let's see how long we can keep this table! (I made sure to get a 5 year maintenance warranty!)


Both kids are on growth spurts.  

Michael, for the moment, is growing in more the physical sense.  He is starting to get the veracious appetite of a teenager.  He reminds me of a Hobbit.  Luckily, he is generally a good judge of healthy foods--however I have noticed he is trending towards the junk food more...trying to keep stores of healthy snacks (along with some not so healthy--hey it is childhood after all!) has been a challenge.  

As for mental maturity--he seems to want to join in on adult discussions even more than he used to.  It is interesting to see him try to engage in political discussions, etc. For him to overcome his social awkwardness to enter a discussion is already an extra level.  It is also a struggle because he is caught between the worlds of a child and an adult.  

For Willow, she is figuring out how the world works.  She is constantly questioning how and why things are. And she is often getting into things to understand how they work.  She is also trying to grasp her imagination and what is real and what is not.  

Learning responsibility and guilt also seem to be on her mind lately.  The last couple of days she has "told" on someone.  "Someone" scribbled all over my grocery list tonight.  And it wasn't her.  Nope.  She is not sure who, but she wanted to point it out to me and when asked, she is totally innocent of any crime.  

Tonight I read her Dad's Dinosaur Day.  It is a fun little tale of a dad who is turned into a dinosaur for a day and hangs out with his son.  Tonight she asked how that could be possible.  I said magic.  And then she worried about whether I might get turned into a dinosaur because she would not want that at all.  The worries of a four year old.  

It is so fascinating to watch both of them learn and master their world.  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Low Key - Mother's Day 2012

With Michael being a teen and Willow being four--it has been low key for Mother's Day (not that we ever do anything that over the top--usually I get to sleep in, have breakfast in bed, perhaps a few home made gifts, then dinner out).  But, because of various circumstances, we changed things up this year.

We went out to dinner last night at a Japanese Steakhouse.  It was the same one we went to for my birthday last year.

Then the actual definition of mom was in play--at 4 a.m. this morning.  When Willow came into our bedroom soaking wet.  Yep, she had an accident in her bed, so we got up...just like a well oiled, sleepy machine--we got her bedding off her bed, got her into new pjs and got her bed re-set up.  And then she wanted to sleep in her bed.  Which we let her do.  (Dad was able to move her to her bed later.)

Everyone let me sleep in until 8:30 - 9:00 a.m.  Michael came in with a laptop to wish me Happy Mother's Day with a go.og.le doo.dle.  Willow came in later in her footie pjs, baseball cap, and a spectre with a skull head to wish me the same.  (Her gift she made at preschool was given to me earlier this week...she is not good on keeping surprises...)

Later we will be going to take my mom to lunch.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Getting Physicals

The last couple of years I have had the kids get their check ups together.  Mainly because scheduling time to take off work can become bothersome. So far it has worked even though their ages and genders are different.  Michael hasn't hit puberty--I am sure next year will be different and we will have to make separate appointments.

We went to the doctor's appointment after school.  Michael went first.  The dynamic is different now as he is old enough to answer the doctor's questions on his own (generally speaking).  Being the big brother, he did real well with his shot too.  He is almost as tall as me (I have 3 inches on him) and he has gained some weight (which is good because before he was too skinny).

Willow's turn and she had no problem--although she did start early on the "I don't want a shot" whining...

She had two shots--loved how the doctor came in and basically ran in and made one stab on each arm--it was like Buffy the Vampire Slayer!  Of course, Willow was still upset...the promise of lollipops eased the hurt though.  (She did say she is "never, ever" having a shot again).

Willow is almost four feet tall and is growing quite well!  She made sure to not only stand on one foot, but to then hop around on alternating feet.

Getting a urine sample from Willow, she then said she needed to BM...luckily not on my hands that were holding her sample cup underneath.  I took the urine sample, leaving her to finish...for the next few minutes we were all treated to her song stylings while doing her bathroom duty.

While waiting for our physical form print outs, the kids sat in the waiting area eating their lollipops.  Some teenage girls were leaving and one of them said "Hi Michael."  Which meant that he cringed while sucking on his teenager!  I talked with a lady nearby about him being shy about the girls...and he made sure to point out to us that he did not acknowledge them because he HATES one of the girls  (who made sure to address him twice)....the lady and I chuckled at how that HATE usually becomes something else....

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Earwig Sync

Watched Tangled again today with Willow.  We bought it with Birthday Money--figured she had several Rapunzel dolls now...and the repeated showings have begun.  It was a cold and rainy day, so it was actually nice to snuggle up with her and watch.  I like this movie and find her one of the least annoying Dis*ney Pr*in*ces*ses around.  We actually went to the theater to see it originally--I think Willow was not quite as impressed.  Now it has struck her.

This song is stuck in my head:

Seven A.M., the usual morning line-up
Start on the chores, and sweep 'til the floor's all clean
Polish and wax, do laundry and mop and shine up
Sweep again
And by then
It's, like, seven-fifteen

And so I'll read a book
Or maybe two or three
I'll add a few new paintings
To my gallery
I'll play guitar and knit and cook
And basic'ly
Just wonder, when will my life begin

Then, after lunch, it's puzzles, and darts,and baking...
Paper-mache, a bit of ballet, and chess....
Pottery and ventriloquy, candle-making...
Then I'll stretch
Maybe sketch
[From: ]
Take a climb
Sew a dress

And I'll re-read the books
If I have time to spare
I'll paint the wall some more
I'm sure there's room somewhere
And then I'll brush, and brush
And brush, and brush my hair
Stuck in the same place I've always been
And I'll keep wond'ring
And wond'ring
And wond'ring
And wond'ring
When will my life begin.....

I think it kinda syncs into how I feel about my life right now.  We are stuck in a bit of a rut...well, especially me...I am stuck in a rut.  I have been unemployed for almost a year now.  I have taken advantage of this time (mostly).  And I have been pretty successful in getting my resume out there and getting interviews.  I have just not landed a job YET.   And I am wondering when the rest of my life can begin again...

Sounds kind of pathetic when I say that but it is true.  I am definitely not defined by my job.  And I can tell you that I have genuinely enjoyed having this extra time with the kids.  BUT.  I am not a person who likes to be idle.  I am not a person who likes to be without a firm plan.  Being unemployed causes both those things.  Not to mention the financial burden or the fact that without the extra money home improvements are out.  Or that we are going to need a newer car eventually....or the million other things running in my head.

Basically, I am to the point that I have run out of things to I want my life to get back on track again.


Roll Out

Well, after over nine months of unemployment, I have accepted an offer for a position at a mid-sized law firm.  So, the "strange normal...