Thursday, December 25, 2014

Pausing and Remembering

We are on the cusp of changes next year. Michael will be going to the new school and Chewy will be getting into the thick of things at his new job. But, as usual, this time of year and specifically this week are times of reflection and memory.

I find it weird and oh so human that we seem to have these specific times in the year that we permit ourselves to go so deeply into memories and melancholy. Why do I spend so much of my Christmas time going through various memories—not just of Christmases past but of other moments? Why not other times of the year?  (This could be because I also have the combination with my birthday, too.)

I slightly newer tradition with us (in the past 8 years or so) has been to light a remembrance candle for people we are missing during this time of year. Why does candle light comfort me? It is the same feeling I get from watching a river or the ocean, a calming reverence.

For Paul, Grandpa Michael, Grammie.  We miss you.



Getting older and watching my children grow up, some of those remembrances are of them as children versus my childhood.

I remember Michael at age 7, so excited for Santa Claus that he hopped into bed with us and was literally shaking with excitement. I stayed up with him until 3 a.m., trying to keep him from going downstairs to see what Santa had already left him.

This year, he was up late again, mostly from excitement again...partially being older and not wanting it to begin/end.  The same but different.

Willow is still at the age where there is wonder and song, excitement and imagination.  She drew a wonderful picture for Santa and left it with the eggnog, cookies and carrots (for the deer).


I started this post yesterday, Christmas Eve.  It is now Christmas Morning and I am officially a year older.  Pies are cooling, hot cocoa has been served, electronic devices all around...and finally put down for a bit.  

Still a bit reflective and missing the people who are not here in my life right now.  Missing extended family far and near...but also I feel warm and thankful.  

Being the main Santa here, my stocking was especially bare this year.  I am the gift giver...not especially the gift receiver.  But today...today I am happy that we are all happy and healthy.  That this year of challenges have been brought to very happy conclusions.  I am thankful.









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Friday, December 12, 2014

Twirling...

"As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball. But tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirlingtwirlingtwirling  ..." - The Simpsons



We are slowly moving away from the weird limbo that our lives have been in for the past few months....but we are not quite there yet to the other side...and there are still obstacles in our way...


We toured a couple out-placement schools for Michael.  We liked both, but found one that seems to be a fit for him.  I am being overly cautious on this...it would be a very good fit, and I do not want to even mention how warm our reception was, how much they "got" our son.  Because I do not want to be heartbroken if, for whatever reasons, he doesn't not end up going there.  All I can say is that they took him into a couple class rooms and he was talking with other children and seemed welcome and was so happy.  Luckily, everyone agreed that he would fit there...enough so that he will spend two trial days there next week to see how it works out.  I cautiously hope that this leads to a transfer to this school.

Chewy starts his new adventure with a bang on Monday, by going to NYC for a few days for orientation.  He is excited and anxious, as one is with any new venture.  Gonna miss him, but glad it is the start of his job.

Willow lost another tooth AND has a cavity in a tooth in the back.  We will have to get that dealt with in the new year.  Also, apparently Michael had his vision tested at school...and, surprise, he is nearsighted like his parents! So glasses are probably in his future also.

The holidays.are here in full force too...we have Hanukkah starting this week (when Chewy is gone), so we are letting the kids open their first night of Hanukkah presents this weekend.  And tomorrow we are going to a breakfast with Santa.

My birthday is coming...feeling older and tired...a little wiser...unlike last year, I really want this year to be over already.




Santa wrote back!  

Olaf from Nonnie.  



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Sunday, December 07, 2014

Friends and Grammie's Fudge

Yesterday I bought the fixings to make Grammie's chocolate and peanut butter fudge.  My intention was to do our traditional baking before we had company over that evening.  But, time got away from me.  No problem, figured we would do it today instead (and when I am done with this post, Willow and I are going to make the peanut butter fudge).

Thing about traditions...something that I have learned the hard way...is that they sometimes need to be flexible.  Sometimes you cannot have it the same way you had the the year before and the year before that.  Sometimes, you find that if you are flexible...the tradition takes on more meaning.

So I found myself last night making Grammie's fudge with someone else's child.  The other kids were playing a video game or otherwise engaged, and she asked if I had any crafts to do.  (I just recently did a purge of that stuff...so, no...)  She also likes cooking and in fact, her mom had brought brownies to make...but she said she really wanted to learn how to make fudge!  She was so enthusiastic...I couldn't say no!  

Was it how I usually do it with my kids, Christmas music playing and all?  No.  But it was special and fun and I got to share my Grandmother with another...and I could not but think that my Grammie would have loved that I shared this with this little girl.

Besides, my daughter came in at the end...and they licked the pan.

All the kids loved the fudge...there is very little left.  (And the girl was not done there--she and her mom made the gluten free brownies too...oh yeah, we sugared up kids from 15 - 5 at 8 p.m.!!)

Which means...another batch will be made (with nuts this time!)

Yea for traditions and family and friends and fun!

Thank you, Grammie for the memories that keep on coming!




Friday, November 28, 2014

Thankful and Cautiously Optimistic

We seem to have faced a lot of transitional changes the past couple years.  Every time we try to stabilize and get to normal...we seem to have something happen to mess with that fragile stableness.

I understand there is the whole change thing that happens.  I am more than able to adapt to changes, but it seems that we haven't caught a lot of breaks when it comes to those changes...

So, we are on the brink of getting to the end of a couple of turbulent journeys...which are really new beginnings...new transitions...new chances to get to that "normal".

And while I am happy and hopeful...there is that part of me that just cannot believe that things will go smoothly.  Waiting for the other shoe to drop seems to be my go-to mind set.

Cautiously optimistic that Chewy's new job opportunity will grant him the rewards that he so deserves.  That this new job is one that we can all count on.  (And that he does not overwork himself in the process)

Cautiously optimistic that the school(s) we are hoping to place Michael in will provide him with not only academic challenges but more importantly, provide him a positive place to grow, learn and enjoy life and friends.

Both of these transitions are still in process.  Chewy has to go through a background check.  The schools still have to receive our referral package and we have to tour the schools, etc.

We are still in limbo...but there is hope that soon, that perhaps...2015 will be a better year for them and for our family as a whole.

And those are things I can be thankful for this holiday season.






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Monday, November 10, 2014

First Microblog - My failure to really write anything

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Sometimes it has been hard to find time to write here...sometimes I haven't been able to write what I wanted to write here...but I want to continue writing here. So...thought I would try to participate in Microblog Mondays for a bit!

Okay, I sat down in a quiet moment.  I was going to write about the stomach flu plague or Halloween or how time is going so quickly and its almost Thanksgiving. I was going to write and I even started a theme.  Then it became bullet points.

Then my son asked what I was doing.  And then my daughter wanted to know if she could have Ginger Ale even though it is close to her bedtime.  And one of the cats just walked across the keyboard.

So...I write nothing and everything.  My life is chaos sometimes.  But that is life.  And now I am going to live it.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

At the late-night... double feature... picture show

It is after 1 a.m. on Halloween...oh, wait, it is now November 1st....

We had a good Halloween.  It was a bit...different...or the same...or...well...

Last year it started.  We have two children who are at different ages and stages in their lives.   And before last year, Halloween still meant going out together as a family, Trick or Treating.  In the neighborhood.  (Or sometimes in someone else's neighborhood).

But...last year started it.  Last year, my fourteen year old stayed home with his father and watched Horror Movies...while the girl and I went to a friends house and Trick or Treated with a group of friends.

And it was good...but separate.  But at least at the end we got back together and did our traditional look around some neighborhoods and their decorations.

This year.  Well, the separate has been more separate.  It was good...aside from costume malfunctions (wigs just aren't that easy to maintain if you are running all over the place!) and a bag explosion.  But, right now...Willow is asleep. And Michael and Brad went off to a midnight movie.  Its good.  It is nice that he is getting this experience.  But...separate and I kinda miss my husband and son.  I would rather be eating popcorn and watching a scary movie (I am a scaredy-cat--not doing it by myself!)

So, I am up a lot later (or earlier...I guess) than I normally would be...and I have not spent Halloween like I would normally.  I guess a new stage/era has begun.  No longer can I deny...my son is growing up...and our family dynamic is growing and changing with that.  I know Michael feels this too--he still went out Trick or Treating for a bit tonight...those last grasps at childhood.

Meanwhile...we got one who is making those childhood memories.


Getting ready to go out:



After the Tricks and Treats:



The Haul!





Chocolate!

Home again!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

School Pictures

Putting the picture in the frame is like a time warp.  My little boy transforms into the handsome, troubled teenager...


and yet, he is still forming into the young man he will become.  Hopefully, time will help in its way.

Meanwhile, the toddler-no-more is growing into the first grader:




Although, if only the school portraits could have waited a few more weeks...she would have had the more accurate 6 1/2 year old portrait:








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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Waiting

Things are still up in the air.  Cannot really write about details, but just waiting for tests and results, and hoping for the best for all.

Stress makes me eat bad food and watch television (and more of it!), but stress also makes me want my friends and family closer...and that has meant that I have been contact with more friends and family than normal lately...and that has felt good.  I often feel isolated and alone...its me and my own against the world.  Most times, I am kinda alright with that.  Other times, I wish I had more support.  It was nice to see that there are people out there who will help me when I need that (as I would be and have been for them).

Meanwhile, even during times of stress and strain, we find time to live life and to see what is around us.  Maybe it is our need to see outside our problems.  Maybe it is because we do not want to always bring our family down. Our maybe, just like in times of grief...life just does keep going despite the circumstances!

So, October is in full swing, both kids have decided on their costumes:





We went to a county fair:



And we are working on Reading on our own:

She read this all by herself the other night!



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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Battle Armor

The last few weeks in our household have been tumultuous.  I find that our family "new normal" was short-lived.  Weariness and exhaustion, fear and hopelessness set in....

We have multiple battles beginning.  Chewy was laid off.  Without warning, without provocation.  But the larger battle was looming...and last week we found ourselves worrying about our son and his health and safety.  Last week we were in shock.  We asked for and received support in ways we had not known from places we did not expect.  I am so thankful for my friends.

Now, we gather to put our armor on.  The battles will be won. Have to be.  Now we gather our resources and we fight for what we need as a family.


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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lion King The Musical, Part II

When Michael was in kindergarten, we took him to the Lion King musical.  Being a bit extravagant, I spoiled my only child...by having us go in a Limo (!)


Being silly in the Limo.


It was a wonderful experience and he had a great time...told all his classmates about it the next day, etc.  Looking back, we dressed up (he wore his Simba shirt...awwww...)  (He was far more into Lion King the movies than Willow has been).

Finally, the Lion King came back to Boston...and we went as a family of four this time.  Willow is in First Grade.  We skipped the expense of a Limo, but did go out to eat nearby.  This time, we were more casually dressed, more because it was a Sunday early evening performance.

It was as magical as last time!  (Although, I think the production we saw with Michael was more polished)  The second "Circle of Life" starts, and elephants walk down the aisle right by us (again!)...Willow was hooked!  Michael said he enjoyed it even more this time around.

Chewy and I spent time watching Willow's reactions...which included putting her hands in wonder up to her mouth, her eyes wide open, and cheering.  I told Michael that I had a tissue in my hand before the show started because I knew I would tear up at least once.  The biggest compliment came at intermission...when Michael confessed "Mom, I cried a little bit too."

It was a wonderful evening and we enjoyed it very much...it was such a beautiful production and a wonderful way to "end" summer and "begin" the fall season.


Nursing her Root Beer.

Father and son talking.





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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

More Photos from Tom's Visit

It feels so long ago since Tom was here!  Summer is definitely over, Autumn has begun with the chill in the air!

Before I forget these photos...

Confirming his existence.  :-)

Hanging out with the Willow Bean.

At the MFA.

A Beret!

Dim Sum Yum!

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Thursday, September 04, 2014

First Day of School 2014 - 2015

Today was back to school day!  Of course, there are the traditional poses for pictures:

First thing in the morning:
He is awake!
 
She was so excited, she hadn't gotten dressed yet!

Breakfast:



She found a lucky penny!  

 Outside the house, ready to go!







 They had a good first day, Michael had homework already and paperwork for me to fill out.  I forgot to send Willow in with a snack (d'oh) and she got to have pretzels from her teacher.  (I remembered that I forgot the snack--when I was picking her up this evening!)

Now...the new normal begins!  (well, tomorrow being Friday...I think the New Normal will begin Next Week!)






Ripple Effects 2

"Do you ever feel dead inside?"  -- this is what she said to a teacher in the hallway.  Promptly got a call from a counselor.  For...