Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hair and Beauty for My Daughters.......

Took the girls to the salon with me on Tuesday. I don't have babysitting so I have to take them a lot of places with me.  My stylist is ok with it luckily.  The girls did ok (BGA had her nintendo so she was occupied the whole time) but LGA gets antsy so the owner, who evidently has grandchildren, sat down and colored with LGA while my color was on.  Then she got up to do something else and LGA instantly got bored.  Ok, part of that was my fault.  I gave her some donut holes as a treat because they got ready early enough for us to stop and get some.  BGA is noticing a bit more what she wants to eat and to eat healthier (even though she's still a picky eater) and didn't want any donut holes........or that could have been that I let her take some bubble gum with her.  Come to think of it, I bet that is what she wanted.  No donut holes but she'll take the bubble gum.

When LGA got bored, the hairstylist asked me if she could do some stuff with the girls' hair.  I said ok, because at that point, my color was being rinsed and I was gonna get a trim so I needed them to stay put. 

This is what they ended up with:

Here is me, growing out my hair

To this maybe??

Or this, strangely enough Dave liked both

The girls would never let me do this to their hair.  Last year, Aunt Kim did this to their hair:

I could never do that to their hair, as I am not really good at doing hair.  My mother always kept my hair shorter and occassionally she would do stuff with it, but not very often.  So I never really learned how to do hair.  My mother came from an era where she rolled her hair and dried it under a portable hair dryer. I found curlers and the portable hair dryer at her house when clearing it out. 

LGA hates having her hair touched as well, must be a sensory thing.  So the last hairstylist who cut it in June, told me to keep taking her so she gets used to someone else touching her hair.  I think she did ok with the stylist who had colored with her as I didn't hear anything from her about not liking her hair touched.  We went shorter this year because now she can brush it herself.  She wanted no bangs as well, so we started growing them out last year.  They are almost chin length now.

I hate having to grow out my hair.  I kept it short as the hot flashes were not fun and last summer I just didn't want to deal with hair in the heat.  However, now I want to grow it out to the two pics below, but that will take most likely till the end of the year.   I hate dealing with my hair and wish I could get a style that would require less effort (it does now, but still there is some blowdrying involved and putting product in it).  I loved having it shorter and would sport the pixie in a heartbeat, but my kids thought I looked like a man and my husband didn't like it at all.  So growing it out a bit to accomodate them.

 I do think it's funny the girls both went shorter this year and after initially not wanting to, they both like their cuts and BGA blow dries hers when after she washes it. She gets the old blowdryer I gave her out and I put a bit of product in it and she goes to town drying it.  She goes through stages where she does not want to dry it and then she just does it on her own. I think it gives her some freedom from her sister, who doesn't ask to do her hair at all yet.  I've also given BGA some lip gloss that is just her own and she uses it almost every day.  Too cute. 

Do any of you style your daughter's hair?  I just don't know how to do french braids and curls like the shots above. I'm just not that into it.  So Kim gave BGA a book last year to show her the different styles she can do with her hair.  I hope that will help her some day, cause I just won't be able to do it.  I always wished I could style my hair better or that it looked like the woman I'd see in a magazine or on the street with the great hair.  But reality is I am not very good at it so I need an easy style I don't have to mess with.

I want the girls to feel comfortable with hair, make up and nails (when it's appropriate, BGA still wants to cake it on) and clothing.  I have some friends who are good in these areas so I have a feeling I will be enlisting them to help the girls when the time comes that they are into clothes, hair and makeup.  They don't have any real desires for shoes or clothes, etc., although they are good now at picking out what they want to wear.  I will need to give up the control over BGA picking her own clothes soon.  I now let her pick from two styles I feel will be appropriate and she will ask me if she can wear something, etc.  When we shop the girls will pick out a t'shirt or dress or skort/skirt/pants that they like, sometimes shoes (BGA does like the high heels but is very bow-legged, so doesn't walk very well in them, poor girl, I'm so afraid she'll fall down. But she always wants to try adult high heels on and keeps asking me when I'm going to get some.  Um..........try the twelfth of never).  I want the girls and I to share doing some of this stuff.  I look forward to seeing their styles develop and what they want to wear.

I missed out on that with my mom as she never really showed me about any of it.  I don't know why.  She did take me to get my very Brooke Shield eyebrows trimmed and I regret that day completely as I could have had some great brows instead of the small, nonexistent ones I have now.   She never taught me how to maintain them, though.  Mom took me to get my hair cut and highlights put in, but she never really showed me how to blow dry and style my hair (I have self taught myself to curl my hair with a flat iron and curling iron) maybe because she didn't feel comfortable with it herself.   I learned to apply makeup by myself, and so therefore do not think I am very good at it.

I guess I never thought about having girls and teaching them about all this stuff, as well as all the things a girl needs to know.  It will be fun discovering what type of women they will grow up to be.

For now, I'll just be happy that people want to give them cute hair-do's when I need a bit of peace and quiet to get my own hair done and to chat with my stylist.  :-)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Taking Care of Me

I need to take care of me.  I really truly do.  The past year has been about taking care of (in no random order):  my mother, my late brother's estate, my kids, my husband, my animals, the house.  I have not really taken care of me.  I've brought it up before and decided to make a concerted effort to take care of ME, realized I needed to take care of ME.  And then my mother needed taking care of after my brother died last year.  And then my mother died.  And I have not really taken any time to take care of me, or made time for myself.

The truth is, I have a special needs child.  Not many people know what it means to take care of a special needs child. I didn't. I had no clue.  Sure I had been around them, had babysat them in my nanny days, but I had not raised a special needs child.  This child takes a lot out of me.  Seriously, taking care of two ADD/ADHD kids (not counting in the other issues) can take a lot out of you, but add in a mother who was mourning her son and didn't really want to live, and there is a lot of guilt, a lot of stress, and just plain stress.  It was a hard year. I think this next year I need to focus more on me, now that I truly can, without having to worry about others' needs and I need to let Dave shoulder more responsibility and both of us need time together and apart, to do things that interest us.

Special needs children are often misunderstood because I think people are not sure how to behave around them or what to say to you about your child.  Having people say, "I'll give you a pass because I know how your kids are"  or say that they think one is "growing out of it" is hard to hear sometimes. I don't want people to give me a pass because of my kids, I want them to be there when I need to vent, I want them to want to be around my kids and have fun with them, because my kids want to be around them and they want to have fun too.  They can't always control how they behave, but they are the most loving, sweetest girls and they will hug you, they will ask you 50 mil questions but they genuinely care and get excited when we see people we know.  They will be excited to see the people we know and to meet new people.  They will say after we have gone somewhere and seen the people we know, how much fun it was. These girls for all that they have been through, are truly, deeply, loving and affectionate.  But they are sometimes hard to raise. I have been posting and reading the blog, Easy To Love, Hard To Raise. I have not read the book,but I have been on the blog to read the posts and on the FB page to read and for support.  It's helped a lot, and helped me to understand my ETL (Easy to love) child.

So on to my bucket list for me this coming school year:

*Get back into beading. I like it, it's relaxing and I would like to sell my beads on Etsy.  But even if I don't get that started, I will still bead. I came back from my mom's and made a pair of earrings to wear one day and had to wrap the wire for the look I wanted. The wrap came out perfectly (something that takes time to learn and that I had to practice again and again when I started beading again). I was really pleased and it made me want to sit down and bead some more.

*Therapy dog.  This is something that is controversial, as we have 3 dogs already, however, I wouldn't have gotten the 3rd dog if the rescue person had not told me she could possibly be a therapy dog (she can't, but she is a therapy dog for LGA, who adores her). I would like to get another Cavalier (and am in talks with a Cavalier breeder who raises therapy dogs) to take to schools as a therapy dog as well as assisted living facilities to brigthen the seniors' days.  I have been researching it and LGA could technically have a therapy dog and this is something I would like to do, would make me happy and give me a chance to reconnect with seniors.  If I don't do the therapy dog, I will be going to visit seniors, as I am missing that connection in my life and I would like to maybe befriend a senior (or more) to visit.  But I would really like to do the therapy dog training and have a therapy dog to take to the schools.  I saw a video that I will post below, that shows how a teacher took a Cavalier puppy and raised it to be a therapy dog, then brought it to her class, where the kids read to it and wrote letters to the dog (who had it's own mailbox).  There was one boy who never talked at all and you see him reading to the dog on the video. I want to train a dog to do this and one of  BGA's former teachers, who moved to a new school, is interested in making this happen once she gets settled in to her new class, maybe in the new year.  I rescued our male Cavalier but he is too skittish, our other terrier licks, and the new doggie licks, and does the small dog jumping, all stuff you can't have in a therapy dog.  I wish I had known this but I didn't do the research and now I have.  So we'll see if this comes to be.  I would like it to.  But we'll see.

*Reading. I had loved to read before the girls came home but some days leave me more exhausted so I don't really like to read and can't concentrate.  I posted about the book I read and I will be doing more reading as the fall and winter approach.  I have missed it.  I would read maybe one or two books a summer.  But I have books on the bookshelf and ones I brought back from my mom's so I need to see what's there and what can be downloaded on to the Kindle cheaply and get to it.

*Exercise.  I want to take the dogs out for a walk once school starts.  Our neighborhood has gone way down and I really didn't feel extremely safe walking, but one of the parents who I know walks in the am and I know if he's walking, there would be someone else around.  I'd like to get a bike so the girls, Dave and I could all go biking. This would be fun and promote exercise in all of us.  I have loved to walk and know I could lose that last 20 pounds I need to lose if I start exercising.  Walking has always been my choice.

*Time to myself.  This one I have always felt guilty of doing.  In the beginning I had all kinds of time to myself.  But lately, over the last couple of years, Dave has been tired at night and I have felt guilty of asking for time to myself.  He needs time to himself also (although he had 18 days to himself while I was gone, so time for him to give me a break, as I have not really had one all summer long) so we need to work on that during the year.  We also need to work on time by ourselves.  It's kind of hard to explain to people who think you should just be able to make time, that when you are awakened in the night by one daughter having nightmares and one waking a few times a night and very early mornings, it's really hard to have that time to yourselves.  I wish that we could get a weekend away or something but I don't think that would happen soon and all we want to do is sleep when we get a weekend away.  Seriously, sleep.  I didn't understand that before, but I do now.  But I must make time to myself if it is a book club, or a class I take or going to the movies, or doing what some moms do, sitting in Starbucks with coffee and a book.  I must make time to do this, I really do need it after all that has happened in my life over the last 2 mos, and I won't get the time if I don't ask for it.

*Pampering myself.  I'm not into the whole massage/facial/mani/pedi stuff, but I have been missing my acrylic nails.  I might have them put back on, although I think it would be hard to bead with them and not sure I am into the 2 week fills. I might get a manicure though, as there is now a nail gal at my hair salon.  I already color my hair and will add highlights to my hair in Aug (or so my great stylist says).  I enjoy the time with my stylist, she is my former co worker's sister and I have gone to her for almost 8 years now.  Growing the hair out again so we'll see what style I get. I'm thinking this:
or this:

But not the colors of course. 

* Photography. I would really like to get into this, but not sure I have the patience or desire to learn it right now.  I'd love an SLR camera and to take a class to learn how to use it.  I don't know about apertures and low lights, etc.  But I'd like to learn.  I'm genuinely interested now. I had an aunt who was good at photography, her daughter is and my uncle are good at taking pics.  I'd like to learn how to do it.  My brother got into it and I was able to bring some of his desert pics from his time in AZ back with me and saw how good he was at taking pics. 

*Cooking. I am getting proficient at cooking, but there is more to learn.  I ponder taking a class, but never really seem to sign up for one or start it.  I think I just can't seem to want to start.  But I have gotten a few good cookbooks, and really like Everyday Food mag, so I have tried recipes that I might like and have a few I now draw on for meals.  I would like to really get into baking and cooking. My cousin is a good cook and I'm so glad I can ask her about cooking and talk to her about it, now knowing some stuff and not feel like I really don't know what I am doing.  I still have some failures, but not as many and I am starting to see how a meal comes together. I don't think I have the cooking 'vision' that many cooks have, or how to experiment on my own, but I can put a recipe together, and follow it, time the meal to come together at the same time, all things I never really learned from my mother as she never liked cooking or felt confident (even though I can remember some good meals she made and the fun baking we had).  I learned on my own, and was able to talk to my mom about the meals I made. Over the last year she asked what I was making and if I'd been cooking and told me and others that she was proud of me. That made me feel really good.  It's what has made her passing easier, knowing she was proud of me as a mother.  I'd like to involve the girls in cooking too, so I hope to get them involved in the making of the meals, now that I have some under my belt that I can make easily. It was harder before when I was trying to learn the recipe, and it's harder when you have a very small kitchen with two girls excitedly wanting to help out and one gets jealous when the other helps out. But I am going to try to involve them so they can learn sooner than I did.  They are already involved at the grocery store and pick the fruits and veg out and bag them.  But I think if you are involved in what you cook you are more into eating it. 

So there is my small bucket list.  I'll report back later if I am able to get any of it done.  I might wait to start it, but it is recorded here for all of you to see, so I have held myself semi-accountable.  LOL.

Hope you are all enjoying your weekends, it's expected to be a dry, hot, 100 degrees here this weekend.  H-O-T! 

Friday, July 20, 2012


How is your summer going?  Ours is quiet as I stated.  We have done some local things, but mainly I have had two separate summer experiences.

The first one was with BGA, having a month together with her.  It was a good month, and she's grown so much, she's becoming 'tweenish' and wanting to have more 'older' kid stuff than her sister has, picking her own clothes (I know most people let their kids pick their own clothes but this just has never worked for us, so I pick two choices then she picks which one she wants), staying up later (this has not worked for us either because all LGA does is lay in her room awake, calling out and waiting for her sister to come to bed) and picking from the adult menu (although she can't eat off the adult menu) because some menus say kids 12 and under or one said 8 and under.  She's asserting some independence and it's nice to see her grow a bit.  It's nice to see her get how her behavior affects her sister and how not to fall into the trap of letting her sister bug her.  I feel sometimes she doesn't always get what she needs because LGA's needs take more effort on our part to parent her.

Speaking of LGA, she has not made the transition well from summer school to summer vacation.  I'm being challenged every day by her and she's spent some time playing in her room because I can't take the constant fighting with each other, the constant jealousy and tattling. The girls cannot play together without fighting, and BGA's newest thing is to tell her sister, "Go away and leave me alone" which only makes her sister want to egg her on even more.  So now we're having to get into a summer groove and transition and then it will be time to transition back to school.  Hopefully LGA can get in the groove now that it's been a week since she's been out of school.

People say that they give their kids the summer off, but really for LGA we all needed the break and she needed the structure.  I'm sorry if that offends anyone but really it's very hard to parent her some days and having a summer school break was good not only for BGA and I to spend some time together that she very much wanted and needed, it was good for LGA to have some extra learning time so as not to forget it once school starts.  This will help her and one of the teachers was one of her former special ed teachers at her old school so it was not hard to transition back into school.  She actually asked Dave this week if she was going to go to school, "Am I going to school today daddy?" So I think it was good for her and she will be going each summer.  We didn't go before now as our school didn't offer summer school and the program specialist we are assigned to for the Special Ed dept never told us we could sign her up for another school and have her bussed. 

I'm not feeling the energy I would normally feel.  I know it will come back, but I don't feel it. I don't want to do anything which probably makes it hard on the girls as they are hyper vigilant about things so are probably sensing my sadness and have seen me cry.  So pretty low key non active summer for the most part.  But that's ok.  I'm not gonna stress about it, I'm just taking one day at a time. 

I have some ideas for moving forward and when I'm ready I'll put them in place.  Ideas I have had are wanting a therapy dog to go to schools and also assisted living facilities (yes, I know we just added a dog, yet, she was presented as a therapy dog but is too hyper, licks and jumps.  So I didn't realize it when we adopted her.  She's sweet but not what I need in a therapy dog).  Some have felt this isn't an option I should pick, but it's something I would very much like to do.  My other option is to spend more time beading and open an Etsy shop to sell jewelry. I would like to do this also but never felt I could start because I didn't know how my mom would be healthwise, and didn't want to start a project like that when I didn't know where she would be healthwise.  Another option is a therapy dog for LGA, I have found that it would be an option for her, if we chose to have one. She would qualify, which I never thought she would.  I may still go around to volunteer at Assisted Living facilities when the girls go back to school.  I am missing the senior connection and would like to possibly connect with a senior who has no family, etc.  Again these are ideas I have thought about, we'll see when I am ready to put them in action.  I am surrendering to the grieving process, allowing myself to feel it and grieve and move to the next day.  I'm not wallowing, but I am just letting it happen and moving on.  It's like the person who gave me life, who was my best friend and always there for me, is gone.  I never imagined how I would feel when she was gone, and the rest of my immediate family was gone (triple whammy) leaving me on my own for the most part (although my family has been supporting me).  So it's a lot to get through but the light is at the end of the tunnel and life goes on. I will come out on the other side.  :-)

On a lighter note, I have started to read on Dave's basic Kindle that he purchased a couple of years ago (he has since upgraded to Kindle Fire that he got for xmas).  And I read a book he and my friend Kim recommended, "$#*% My Dad Says" (those might not be the correct symbols, but you get the drift). I enjoyed the tv show with William Shatner and the book was very funny.  It was nice to get back into reading, so now I'm ready for the next download on the Kindle. I have always been a reader but when the girls came home I just didn't really do much of it.  Each summer I attempt it and read one or two books then lose interest over the fall/winter/spring.  Trying to see if I can re-kindle (so to speak, LOL) my love of reading.

We celebrated National Ice Cream Day on Sunday, so attached are some pics of us all in Super Hero t'shirts.   I am growing my hair out again and am in bad need of color and cut.  I am hoping to add the highlights back, in August.  So, a no makeup (except lipstick) day, and hair not super styled.  The girls loved their Old Navy Wonder Woman t's.  :-)

This is how Olliepop is spending the summer

She always has a sweet smile

Bad shot of me, but that's what you get for no make up sunday

She's growing up, I can't believe she's 8

Takes my breath away sometimes, she's growing up so much.  She looks so different from the 6 yr old girl who came to live with us.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Our summer has been pretty low key here at Family of 4.  We spent 18 days at my mother's house, leaving the week after the girls got out of school.   LGA had summer school the monday after we got back from my mom's house, and went for a month.  During that time her birthday fell, and our 4 years as a family anniversary.  We didn't really celebrate either, although I made LGA a cake and she wanted to go to the house of cheese, Chuck E. Cheese.  She had a good time so that is all that matters. 

There have been movies we went to, parks they played in, and an early am $1 movie today with our friends, but other than that, it's been pretty much a stay inside summer.  I am trying to have more energy to do more, but I'm just not into it this summer.  They go back to school in 4 weeks.  And with the amount of fighting going on just as of today, I am sure ready for it.  We started out great this am, enjoyed the movie, gave them some candy and popcorn in the movie (Regal's $1 movie Tues/Weds) even though they'd just finished breakfast at 8.  And all was well till we hopped in the car looking for a park to play at.  All of a sudden BGA was hungry and LGA just wanted to play.  We got tied up in traffic and that was the end of that, it fell apart in the car as they began to argue with each other.  They are definitely better split up.  Also LGA now has to integrate into the summer routine, just in time to go back to school.  She's resentful she has to do it at all since BGA was in her summer routine the whole time and has hit her stride, but LGA had to go to summer school so she lost some of what she had gained as far as transition goes, when she went back to school. I'm giving her a week, but am coming down a bit hard on the consequences for tantrums/fits.  LGA threw one in DQ as we had lunch, so I nixed the park and any electronics.  As we speak they are playing with legos and squinkies in the living room and not happy (BGA) about no tv.  Oh well.  BGA had some nightmares last night and she has been in a pretty foul mood all day long.  I hope tomorrow is a better day, tried talking to her, but LGA kept interrupting and would not hang out in her room so I could talk to BGA.  So BGA has been grumpy, which of course affects LGA's mood. 

Anyway, here are some more pics from our summer and my mother's celebration of life, the pics we put on display..

I think my mom looks very glamourus in this pic

More of a close up of pics of her life

Hula, Glamour, Softball, and Getting her degree

Wild girl at dinner

New summer cut (dentist is coming in 2 weeks, I see $$ signs)

Hanging out at Grandmas, pre packing up

New little imp

New Haircut, stressed out eyelash pulling, growing back finally!

Pool time

Pool time

Birthday sundae at Red Robin

Birthday cake at home

Birthday bear from Aunt Kim and Uncle Lupe

Bear all tucked in (this is how I found him on going into her room one morning)

Monday, July 16, 2012

So did I totally overwhelm you with posts yesterday???

Sorry about that, but a certain blog and adoptive mama reminded me that I should keep writing. I emailed her and told her I couldn't but right as I said that, it seemed the world opened up and I NEEDED to write.  So I started writing thank you notes, emailing cousins and thanking them for things like eulogies, etc.  Then all of a sudden I was reading a blog and thought, "hm, should go see my own blog and see how long it's been since I posted." Well, then of course I needed to rectify that immediately and out it all came, the post about our summer and my mom, the pics, etc.

So today's post will be about the dentist...........Part I. 

BGA and Dave went to the dentist today.  Dave to get his teeth deep cleaned and BGA for her check up.  BGA, I have been noticing has been brushing lately, as we've casually brought up that we would be going to the dentist.  She really didn't want to, but she's been doing it. I have noticed cleaner teeth.  LGA, on the other hand, was the discussion of the moment, down south, when my aunt or uncle casually asked, "do her teeth look like that always?"  I about died.  Seriously, her teeth have some yellow and on one of her front teeth, brown spots on them and she refuses to brush.  Will not allow you to brush her teeth and it ends up being a fight that Dave has been unwilling to fight (he's the one who gets up with her in the am).  So her teeth look bad.  The caps are coming out, luckily, but one of her front teeth is coming in sideways, so I'm thinking we may have an ortho consult in our future.  She goes in a couple of weeks for her appt.  She did get to see what they did to BGA today and was only nervous a couple of times.

BGA on the other hand had no new cavities and just needs a filling she had previously, fixed.  She got x-rays, an exan and her teeth cleaned along with flouride painted on, today.  She has always hated the dentist and when they needed to fix her filling in 2009, she would not let the dentist, turned away, freaked out screaming, etc.  So we finally got what we thought was decent dental coverage, only for it to change again, to one major insurance company, that frankly bites.   But we decided we needed to get to the dentist and when Dave had some calcium fall off his front back tooth (but he thought he chipped a tooth) while the girls and I were at my mom's, he went in and made appts for each girl.

So four hours after everyone went to the dentist, we were done.  BGA did very well, enjoyed her appt, liked the female dentist, and did very well.  Her teeth are great and I'm really proud of her, as she has never really wanted to brush, but somehow when her teeth started getting yellow and we told her the dentist would show each tooth on the xray and know where she was and was not brushing, she stepped it up.  She received a cute spinning Ariel toothbrush and some sparkly toothpaste.  The nurse gave her a token to put in the prize (like the grocery store candy machines) and she gave the prize to BGA.  So she did very well at the appt.  That's like a complete 360 turnaround.  So next is me, but I'm going to wait till the girls are in school and then make the appts for me.

Yesterday we celebrated National Ice Cream day, went out for dinner and then got ice cream. Dave took LGA to see Ice Age and they had a nice daddy/daughter outing. 

I'll attach some more pics in another post, to catch up our spring/summer.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

One more pic I forgot to add

Another one of my mom's collage but if you look on the top right corner you will see my mom with each of the girls.  I didn't have a hard copy of these, and forgot they were taken. However, I found them in an envelope at my mom's.  So I want to get the pics out and frame them (I put them in a box when packing up and don't remember where they are......but I know I have them).  Aren't they great pics of my mom and the girls?  I know I will look at these fondly when I frame them. I think I cut them down as well so will need to see how I can frame them (don't ask me why I did that, I think I was so tired when we were making this collage, that I just wanted it all to fit).
Okay that's it for today, now that I have totally overwhelmed you with different posts.  I will post more of our summer, LGA's bday and some pics from our stay down south, in a later post.

Some Random Pics.......

Getting an award at school

Touching a Lobster at Red Lobster

Me, growing hair out, experimenting with Instagram

I found these dolls placed in bathtub when I went to clean it (by LGA)

My sweet Cavalier

The new addition (behind)

Earrings I made for a Relay of Life Fundraiser


Another pair made for fundraiser.  Don't mind my yucky dry fingers.

Another pair of earrings. Loved this heart.

Catch up.....

In between my mother passing away and being gone on two trips, we celebrated LGA's 8th birthday and in March we adopted a 3rd doggie (more on that in a separate post).  Anyway, I will try to play catch up with some phone pics (sorry none taken on the camera) soon.

Hi there.......


Anyone still out there reading??

Has it really been since January that I posted on my blog?  Wow.  Well, lots has been happening here in the family of 4.

Well, I guess I'll go back to January, and fill in a bit from there.

LGA started her new Special Ed Day class in a new school quite a ways away from our house.  She did ok for the most part, but as she was with younger children (she went from 2nd to kinder/1st) she tended to regress a bit.  There were children she talked about a lot (boys seemed to be the ones she talked about and one little girl with downs who I think might be in her class this year) who either did something to her, got in trouble, or "so and so said this, mom" etc.  She did well, although tattling continues to be a problem.  She had a great teacher, Mr. M. and an aide, Ms. M.  She finished out the year with getting an outstanding in classwork on her report card, so that lets me know that she is really trying hard in class.  We still have the ADHD focus and sit still issues, but we will be seeing a psychiatrist to see about meds doses at some point.  I was very proud of her and while she still throws tantrums/fits, I saw quite a bit of growth and a much happier LGA since her school change.  Her speech has gotten much better, but she still has a hard time (and can now realize it which frustrates her) when trying to get everything out at once, when she's in a hurry.  We had tried to get into one of the university speech programs for her but her previous speech therapist did not fill out her paperwork needed to enroll LGA, so when we have her IEP meeting (and get to meet the new speech therapist, teacher and her new school district Special Ed person) we will ask for more paperwork and see if we can get her some additional speech tutoring.

BGA finished her year out pretty well, too, however, she had a male bully, who the last straw is he put glue in her hair and cut another girl's hair up to the ear (the girl had very LONG hair).  We were told by BGA that he got expelled, but we are not sure that is the case, as her first grade teacher, who I am in touch with said he was coming back.  Anyway, he created some stress in BGA's life so I personally hope he's gone.  The school has always been behind in their testing scores and this year they lost their grant so the class size will increase to 34 students and less teachers (some of the good ones left).  The class sizes were at a great 21 student size, which is why we left BGA at that school.  Now we are re-thinking that and might pull her, but we don't really know where she would go, but it would probably end up at a school farther from our house, and LGA already does that (although she is bussed).  So we'll see how her school year goes this year.  She has a problem with wanting to be in charge, so that has not served her well in the past.

School starts in August this year as well (in the past it was end of July) so we have a month till school starts.  LGA attended summer school this year for a month, which was really good for her, but hard as well as she thought BGA was doing more with me and she was not.  BGA really wasn't, because I had no energy to go anywhere, so we stayed in she played Nintendo and watched a lot of Disney and Nickolodeon while I slept.  (More on that in a bit).  So now we have a month till school starts, approximately, and I have nothing signed up for them to do, as I was not sure what would be happening this summer.  Hopefully we can find stuff to do, so they don't fight (which has been a common occurance this summer, mostly stemming from LGA's jealousy.).  We have been working with BGA to not get her to engage.  She's finally seeing the light (after 4 years) on that and trying not to engage LGA when she tries to get her upset.

I cannot believe it has been 4 years since the girls came home, 3 since adoption.  I see BGA growing up (she's almost 11) and cannot believe she is the same scared, sad, upset, 6 yr old who came home.  I enjoyed the month home with her, I truly did.  She comforted me, she and I bonded and talked and it was a special time.  I'm glad we had it.

So, on to the sad part of this summer.  This blog started out to be a fun blog for me, to post my jewelry, to post recipes, fun stuff we do, etc.  To be a bit lighthearted as well as to post stuff the girls were doing.  But in May my mother passed away.

She went in the hospital in April for a colon infection (she had a whole host of issues going on with her) that did hit her blood stream but they managed to get rid of the infection (I have never heard of anyone surviving a blood infection).  She stayed in the hospital a week and then went on to her convalescent home that she had been in previously for falling, getting a horrible flu/cold bug, etc.  This time around she was not happy to be there, and wanted to go home.  It was a hard decision but my aunt/uncle and cousins and I decided to put hospice in place.  Mom went home and had hospice for initially, once a week. However, mom had some dementia and it seemed to be increasing and she became combative to her live in caregiver and the person the caregiver had helping her as well as the hospice nurses.  So I consulted with her hospice case manager and we decided to increase her anxiety meds.  Mom seemed ok but not really with it.  I believe in the end she went into a light coma, as we then had the hospice nurses administer the heavier meds as she seemed to be in some pain.  The week I came down to see her, I got to talk to her on the phone and she was conscious.  The previous days before that she was combative to me on the phone.  It was a hard decision to make.  I didn't know and still don't know if I made the right one to increase her meds.  I was told once you give the heavy duty morphine pack the patient just sort of goes out of it (not by hospice they assured me that was the way to go for mom) and that's what happened to mom.  But my mother was not happy, had not been happy all year long since my brother died, and really didn't want to live anymore.  That's hard for a daughter to hear and to see, but I had to honor what she wanted.

I came down two days before she died, and was with her, although had stepped out of the room when she actually died.  But I gave her permission to 'go' and within an hour she had passed away.  I miss her tremendously, and some days were so hard I cried through most of them.  However, I still needed to take care of details, and clear out her house.  I did that with two separate trips.  The first trip my friend Gwen, who I have known since Jr. High, helped me clear out part of the house, took me to the beach one day and shopping, brought me food, and was there for so much support.  She called the donation charities and arranged to have them pick up the first load of stuff.  Then I still had mom's live in caregiver (who didn't really want to leave and was in no hurry to leave) to find a place to live (she eventually found her own place but friends and I had to physically move her out one Saturday night, on the 2nd trip, girls in tow) to worry about. 

The 2nd trip was mom's graveside service and her 'celebration of life' services.  The girls were freaked out being in grandma's house without grandma (they came with me on the 18 days trip we were away from home) and totally were scared at the graveside and kept asking me if grandma was in the urn.  They couldn't wait to get home, even though my high school friend Heather came and took us to the Wild Animal Park, and we spent 2 days in mom's complex pool with them.  My aunt brought stickers and Heather brought some clothes, books, coloring books, etc., so that kept them busy.  We had an inside estate sale so the girls had to stay in the bedroom all day, so it was hard on them, but they handled it well.  I ended up mostly packing mom's house on my own, and going through most of it on my own, but I did have help with the estate sale, mom's friends came by, my aunts and uncles and cousins, helped.  It got done, but personally it was very very hard to see my adult 'home' that I moved out of, came to stay when visiting my  mom, that now is mine to sell, with all the stuff I had grown up with, either go to relatives/friends, charity, consignment, sold or donated. I was so exhausted as I was packing up to go home, and having the girls help me load the van up, that on the day we left I was so frustrated I couldn't get the girls' portable DVD player to work with the screens that needed to be put around the back of the seat rests.  I took them off and have put them on plenty of times, but I was so emotionally and physically drained that I broke down and cried.  As I went to call Dave to ask how to do it, BGA just quietly did it for me, even hooking pu the DVD player.  I was proud of her.  She hasn't totally taken care of me, but both girls when we got home have (when they aren't fighting) really helped me a lot. I know time heals, as they say, but I really miss that my mother will not see the girls grow up, I will not be able to talk to her anymore, and I wish that I had known the last real conversation I had with her would be the last one.

Here are some pics of my lovely mother and me and the girls and one with my aunt and uncle and brother.

Mom in the 80's. 

Mom and me in the '90's, a favorite pic of mine.

Picture of the first time mom met her granddaughters, with my aunt, uncle and brother.
The celebration of life board I made of pics through my mother's life

Mom's high school pic.

Mom on her 80'th birthday