Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Random Wednesday Stuff.........

Well, our leak was fixed yesterday and the company that dries out the concrete slabs came today.  It looks like we will get new vinyl flooring for our bathroom and new carpet! On a side note our carpet is almost 13 yrs old, original carpet.  The guy from the clean up co had his 'concrete' guy come and tear up the lino in the bathroom.  That's all he did, tear up the lino and some baseboard (and not even the baseboard in the bathroom that COULD be replaced).  He charged $900 something to do that and hauled out a bathroom cabinet that needed to go bye-bye.  Not to mention evidently our plumber charged WAY more than our insurance co wants to pay out and we might be responsible because, according to Dave (who is having issues about all this and it's really upsetting him that we have to move all our stuff and pack it up so we can get new carpet.  I told him if I can move most of my mother's house by myself, moving stuff for one day to get carpet or flooring is NOT going to be a big deal) because we paid more than we should have.  However, the clean up company said that the plumber we picked was very good and reputable. Dave said the insurance guy when he called to put in the claim sighed when Dave mentioned who we chose for a plumber.  Whatever, dude.  I will be on it like he won't believe.  Plumber told us the only way to avoid another leak is to have the pipes run through the attic, because our soil under the house is bad and is creating the leak.  So I need to take that up with the insurance co.  Who wants to take bets on how that will go?  Anyone?  Yes, we all know they won't want to pay out so it will be up to me to convince them I am not going to go through another concrete slab/hot water leak.  It's disruptive to my home Mr. Insurance Company Man.

The girls are sleeping together and actually LGA is sleeping so much better.  There has been talking and "stop!  GO TO SLEEP" heard for a bit till they settle down.  BUT......the key has been to give BGA some Melatonin along with LGA and that way they BOTH go to sleep and BGA is not egging LGA on and they fall asleep so no staying up super late.  I really wish they could share rooms again as I really would like my space back in LGA's room for my beading hobby and Dave would like to put his stuff in there too.  But BGA does not want to share and LGA has a habit of getting into BGA's stuff.  So I guess we'll go back to them having separate rooms and all of our stuff crammed into our already crowded bedroom.

So on to the insurance part of it, and then deciding on flooring and if we can afford to upgrade our bathroom fixtures, toilet, etc.  I don't think we can swing it, and it's getting Dave antsy when I mention it so will have to wait to approach him again.

I wanted to mention a company that I have recently discovered (and I am not paid or anything to mention them) through a couple of bloggers who post having their stuff,

I have gotten a few inexpensive necklaces and earrings, tops, etc. from them.  They also have various holiday themed items and I have enjoyed everything I have ordered so far.

I recently ordered these boots and I can't wait to get them (and it will probably be too hot to wear them unless the weather cools from the low 70's trend we are starting this week).

I also ordered this and it's really dainty and cute:

I ordered some necklaces like these, which appear to be "Anthro" inspired:

Thought I would share a few more things I am liking these days.  Groopdealz is fairly inexpensive too, which makes me happy.  So far all their stuff holds up well too. 

Got a good note from LGA's teacher saying no math homework rest of week (THANK YOU!!!) and that she is to read.  She wrote that LGA is making progress in reading and that she was proud of her.  The note that I got last week was from the sub, and the teacher had a sub for 3 days due to jury duty.  LGA didn't tell us, but when I wrote the note back to the teacher, I got no reply or the teacher did not come to me to talk to me after school like she normally does.  So, we saw her on Monday and she explained that she never would have expected LGA to sit there for an hour and write the rules (HELLO??? Seriously!) and that the sub must have done it.  Glad to have THAT mystery solved.  I felt for sure LGA's teacher would not have written that.  Dave swore it was not her and he was right.  But LGA didn't volunteer she had a sub, she just struggled through the week.  I'm so glad to hear she likes reading and I hope she will continue. I need to step it up now and offer more reading time.  The teacher is starting to require it this week, so that's a good thing too.

Well, off to see what everyone is up to.  Hubby came home early because I think he's just not happy with the whole carpet/lino situation.  So.... wish me luck for the rest of the week.  Also going to get LGA a new loft type of bed as the trundle bed she had was hard to open, hard to take apart and put together, and it's time LGA had her own bed. Wish us luck this week.

And.....check out Groopdealz. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

She Had A Good Time

BGA had a great time at her party.  The girl stayed 4 hours and there were still a couple of girls there when we picked her up.  The mother when we dropped her off, would not let me come in the house and sort of stood at the door not opening it (but then again they have a chihuahua dog and I do that with my little dogs when I don't want them to get out).  She told me to come get BGA 'whenever' so I said, "well she has our cell #'s so maybe you could have her call when the girls are done?"  She said yes. 

We took LGA to a movie.  LGA is always lost without BGA.  She always is.  We have tried splitting them up but LGA just wants to be around BGA.   BGA doesn't want to always be around LGA. LGA got upset and started acting out, even though as I am reading through my FASD groups, I had read that it's easier to tell her ahead of time so she can prepare.  So I did that, and also told her she would have time with Daddy and me, just her.  So she acted out a bit till we dropped off BGA.  Then she was quiet as we looked up the movie times.  We took her to Kid From Another Planet, I think it's called.  And it was cute.  She got popcorn, water, and candy.  She was in her element at dinner (El Torito, and they had THE most wonderful Tortilla soup and sort of peachy flavored iced tea.  And that is all I ate as we had lunch late and popcorn so I was not hungry but needed to eat), and of course bouncing from the candy.  The people on either side of us left shortly after we got there.  Oh well.

When we picked up BGA Dave went in and the mom gave him some cake for us.  BGA smelled of perfume, said she gave her friend a makeover, and the girl who was the one that told her the party was cancelled showed up for an hour and a half, and left.  The girls partied on.  BGA came home chatting and had a great time.  I'm so glad.  LGA had a few moments of being jealous but we got through it and turns out BGA was jealous that LGA got to go to the movie she wanted to go to.  So they each were jealous of the other.  That always gets me, the intense jealousy. Wow. 

When we came home our water leak finally came through the carpet, a small amount, and it was larger today so we called out a plumber and are getting it fixed this week.  It's centered in LGA's room so all of her stuff has to come out and Dave and I will be clearing it out tomorrow.  We found a small leak in our bedroom but we're not sure if Dave stepped in water and carried it in or if the large leak is in the bedroom.  I sure hope not because it will be next to impossible to take all of our bedroom furniture out of the room (CA king sleep number bed!!).  The plumber felt that the piping they used was not up to par and we already know from 4 yrs ago, that it was not wrapped, so to get the pipes re done is a very high amount that we do not have to pay, so we face another leak under the slab. I will see what the insurance says and if they might pay for it.

So wish us luck this week as we deal with the leaky pipes and two girls sharing a room again.  Ugh.  I can't bear to think about it, but I must.  But luckily we know what needs to be done and it will be fixed.

My little girl is growing up.  She attended her first tween party and really had a good time!  I am so glad, but it's so bittersweet.  I feel like time is going fast.  It seems like only yesterday when we brought this scared 6 yr old home and now she will be 12 this year.  The time has flown!  So much has happened in our lives since the girls came home.  I am finding I am trying to take the time to enjoy life as it passes by and savor the moments. It just feels right.

Friday, February 22, 2013


BGA cannot find her violin.  According to another student they saw an older boy put a violin in his backpack.  So not sure if I should call the school and leave another msg for the principal or not.  The principal did not bother to call me back.

Also, BGA was invited to a birthday party tomorrow by her friend A, who if you read the background here, know that she knew A in her other school, A moved in the 3rd grade and the girls became reaquainted with each other this year at this school.  But as is often the case, there is one girl who puts a wrench in everything.  S has been A's friend since A came to the school and now BGA comes and A wants to be friends with BGA, but S doesn't.  So, A cancelled her bday party which was supposed to be on Wed.  Then she came back and said the party was on for tomorrow.  Well, S told BGA that it was off yesterday.  But it was never off.  BGA, not being up on these things (as she gets few birthday invites, the schools around here are just not like that) didn't think to ask A if the party was off so she came home and said the party was off.  Then when I picked her up today she found out that the party is back on.  Why are girls SO mean.  This S girl looks mean and you know she is when the teacher even said when told of their issues in the beginning of the year, "she needs to be knocked down a few notches."  I'm just glad BGA thought to ask A if her party was on. 

I'm a bit nervous as I'm not sure of the dynamic at A's house, knowing only her mother has a boyfriend, and A does not like him, and that the grandparents live with them.  Boyfriend is supposedly not going to be around. I guess I just have to trust all will be well. I gave the spiel to BGA that if something doesn't feel right she is to call us and we will come pick her up, etc.  Then of course LGA did not get invited so now we have her disappointment at being left behind, to deal with and to find something she can do also. I am hoping that S and BGA can get along too, and that there isn't any drama or fights.  A is a very sweet, quiet young girl and I like her a lot.  This is the 2nd friend that BGA has become friends with, so I hope they can last as friends. The only reason the first one didn't is we switched schools, and didn't get the other girl's info so we could arrange a play date.

So wish us luck this weekend............and to figure out what kind of insurance we have on the violin.  Ugh.  I don't understand why things happen to BGA, glasses get ruined, violin is stolen, etc.

Whew, what a short week!

Wow, it was a short week, but it was a long week..anyone ever have that when you have a holiday week?

We sure did.  The girls always have a hard time when one of us is gone, I think I have mentioned it on this blog and the old one, before.  They just want us all together, where we are supposed to be.  I think it has a lot to do with what they experienced earlier in their lives before they came to us, and I understand it completely.

In the past BGA would be the one who would need to 'decompress' and come down from the emotions she felt while one of us was gone (usually me).  There would be acting out, there would be her mad at me, etc.  But this time it was LGA.  She has become a huge mommy's girl since my mother passed away. If you were to delve into it, I am sure it would be obvious that she's afraid of mommy leaving like my mother did.  So I have done a lot of reassurance, and usually at bedtime, there will be a few "mommy you still there?  mommy I love you!" (we have a very small house so you can hear everything in it) before she settles into sleep.  BGA seemed fine this time, no acting out, no being mad at me, just happiness that I was back, a few more hugs and kisses than I usually get (and these girls have always given hugs and kisses, I will miss that when they are teens and don't want to appear unpopular to hug or kiss mom) and wanting to talk to me. I really wish I could have taken BGA on the trip with me but that would not have been fair to LGA, so BGA stayed behind (and probably easier on my family, as she can be a bit loud and hyper and there were no other kids there).

So, LGA was the one acting out a bit, it started on Monday when I got home and we went to dinner.  LGA gets upset if she can't sit by me.  She will act out at dinner and somehow convince her sister to give up her seat next to me because she throws a fit or becomes loud. I don't give or let BGA give in because I don't want LGA thinking she can get her way by doing this, but sometimes I do let BGA give in because she never did it before.  I think it shows she's come a long way.  So, we managed to have a table where we could all sort of sit next to each other.  That always works out good.  Lately, what really has made me happy is the girls will let Dave and I sit together.  They will say, "Mommy you and Daddy sit together."  I love when they do this because I get to sit next to Dave and I enjoy that.  Plus the girls are having to sit side by side and make it work.  No fighting, no sitting across from each other and trying to kick each other.  So LGA said, "I sit by MOMMY.  I am going to sit by her."  She did for the most part as Dave and I sat together and BGA sat across from us, LGA to my right.  But of course she was coming down from holding it all in over the weekend.  In our case, the girls have gotten used to getting through when one of us is gone and then when we get back, they feel comfortable letting it out.  Even if they have stayed with someone else and come home.  They have felt comfortable, but they have needed to process the emotions of us/them being away.  Luckily I am used to this and I know what I need to do to comfort them and reassure them, and each time gets easier, as BGA now needs very little time to process her emotions..........but now LGA is experiencing it, as she goes where BGA goes and follows what BGA experiences.

Tuesday when LGA got home from Girl Scouts where she informed me that she didn't want to go, that she wanted to come home and be with me.  We had double digit carryover math, which is hard for her and she's struggling, but the teacher is telling me that she is doing it, and she threw a fit.  But, Mommy expected it and I was able to head her off before it got fully in gear.  But I knew (whereas the teacher seems to be surprised at this, which makes me wonder if she has any trauma experience) that she would need to do this, so I prepared myself that it would be a hard week. Maybe because I had a break and weekend to recharge, but I found myself calm.  I found myself not wanting to be frustrated with the behavior but to stop it before it got fully started.  We got the math done, but she was obviously on overload.

Let's recap, while I was gone, on Friday, LGA's friend M (who is autistic), told her (and FASD kids tend to go along with what someone tells them to do) to throw food.  She did.  She got in trouble.  The weekend with mommy gone, the emotions of mommy being gone, being home where there was no set routine and Daddy and girls did what they wanted, but no routine.  Then school and having to go back after not fully dealing with her emotions.  M says to throw food and LGA initiates it this time and gets lunch recess for the rest of the week.  She is upset, she doesn't want lunch recess taken away, and she comes home on Tuesday after Girl Scouts, in a bad mood.  Add the math in there that she is struggling with and emotions were high.  She knows mommy will be disappointed in the food throwing incident and knows that her teacher wrote mommy two notes.  We talk about how we should not throw food, or do things that others tell us to, if we know it will get us in trouble.   She calms easily.

The teacher writes me a note telling me that they asked LGA to write the class rules...........for an HOUR.  Now, I don't know how they thought that my child who is FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder for those of  you who don't know the abbreviation) and ADHD, with hyperactive behavior, to sit still and write the rules for an hour.  She only wrote one paragraph.  Well, I decide to write a note back, and I can say it was a bit sarcastic but I did say I wasn't trying to be sarcastic, in my note. I told the teacher that I wondered how she could get LGA to sit still for an hour, because it has not been my experience, as her mother, that she can sit still for an hour (well she can if it's something that interests her, but what kid will sit still when they know they have gotten in trouble and are upset).  I said I expected a half hour would be appropriate.  I asked if it was pre afternoon meds, because if she hadn't had them, she would not sit still. I asked what the outcome was since the teacher wrote that it was "unacceptable behavior."  Um, ok...........what did you expect??? (I did not write that but I WAS thinking it)  I did not get an answer back.  SO, LGA struggled a bit, and came home with a few tantrums she wanted to start, and which I had to head off before they got bad.  I wrote the teacher a note and explained that double digit math with carryover was hard and she was fighting me on it.  Teacher did write a note back yesterday saying she didn't want her to fight it and if it became a problem she would work with her at school.  And the homework came home yesterday with double digit math and no carryover, so once I convinced LGA no carryover she was ok.  But she has to add with a number chart, unless the numbers can be added on two hands or she has memorized what the numbers are, added together (which she does do).

The good part of her week was when she read me a story.  It was a first grade level story and about animals on safari, but she was able to read elephant, giraffe, lion, rhino and she had a hard time pronouncing, but she tried and got it pretty well, safari.  I try to think when I pronounce a word, where she will get stuck, and try to have her watch my mouth and she will do what I do. But she likes to read, and she's making progress and she likes to read to me.  I'm happy about that as BGA is not much of a reader and feels that she has to do it, she will very rarely read just to read, but LGA wants to.  Once she gets it, she will try harder.  She was able to remember what the words were on the next page when they were repeated and could sound them out.  Some were harder and we worked on them together, but she was willing.  Last year, she was not willing.  This is the first full year in Special Ed Day class and I have to say it's really been good for her.  I wish we'd done it in kinder.

BGA had a rough week too, but we're hoping it ends well.  Her violin was missing when she went to go play it on Wednesday.  We looked here at home and didn't find it, talked to the teacher and left the principal a msg because BGA felt it was stolen.  However, we think after talking to the teacher, who thinks that BGA is very responsible with it in class and the teacher has them lock them away in a cabinet during school, that she probably left it out last week.  So she has to go see if she can find it today.  Both the violin and the bow are missing.  So we had to explain that she needs to be more careful with it and remember to put it away after playing.  We are renting and we have insurance, but still...........

The good that came out of that conversation with the teacher?  The teacher feels BGA should go into the magnet program at the school next year.    She is a bit dramatic (the teacher) and said, "She needs to go into this program or she will not make it!"  Wow. Ok.  Well, I appreciate the honesty (teacher has a very difficult class, but the good thing is BGA has not been in with the troubled/acting out kids this year and that makes us very happy).  We were told we could not get her into magnet as her grades were not good enough,  Teacher says that is not the case and she will help us get her into the program next year.  Definite positives.  BGA has been extra loving coming for hugs and snuggling with me since I have been back.  But she's also been giving her dad hugs too. I'm happy to see this.  I know we will probably face some challenges with her when she hits her teens, but I am happy to see that she is thriving even if her homework on her report card came back as a U and her math slipped.  She has made some growth mentally and I like seeing that.  Someone once told me that for however long the child was with BP (BGA left her BP when she was 5) it takes that much longer for them to move past that stage and bond. It has been almost 5 yrs that we have had the girls and I am seeing some very positive growth.  I know there is more work to be done with her and that we are behind in some areas, but it is nice after almost 5 yrs, to see some positive growth.

We still have a cat with urinary issues after two rounds of antibiotics.  We changed to a different food and restricted her eating the dogs' food (she will eat the dogs' food even if she has her own) and changed to a higher fiber food as the vet felt she could lose some weight and this would make her poop more instead of holding on to it. Well, she has lost some weight, but she still has urinary issues so now we are facing buying more expensive food for her, and she keeps running to the litter box, every half hour.  So back to the antibiotics, but she doesn't even fight them now, she just lets us give them to her (before she fought us and we had to wrap her in a towel to give it to her).  I feel bad, but I am really regretting getting this cat. I have never felt that way about a cat before, but....this one was semi feral (don't ever get a semi feral cat with kids) and while she has come a long way, she still bites when she is mad, scratches if she doesn't like what the girls are doing, and peed on my bed, 2x, my footstool for the living room chair and squatted on the seat of the family room chair.  Luckily we caught it and I could wash the cushions (and have deep clean/sanitize on my washer settings).  We have to keep her in the bathroom because of this urinary infection as I'm afraid she will pee the bed again(or anywhere else if she can't make it to the box), with her litter box and a bed, food/water. She hates it but it takes an hour on that washer setting and if I have to wash all my bedding it's a pain.  I didn't really want another cat and neither did Dave, after both of us having grown up with cats, but the girls LOVE LOVE LOVE cats.  I hate doing the litterbox (finally switched to a low dust litter, as I am allergic to dust) but Dave did it for the other cats for 9 or 10 yrs and he hated doing it.  He swore he would not do it again.  We swore no more cats.  Then I saw this sweet calico face on Petfinder and we went to "look" (yeah right, who just looks??) and came home with psycho kitten.  She's loving when she wants to be, will lick your nose and purr and wrap her body around you when you are standing, but is NOT a lap cat, nor does she like to be held.  She will sometimes lay next to you while you watch tv. But now, with having to keep her in the bathroom during the night and when we are gone, she is going back to not being friendly again.  It took her a long time to become friendly, almost like bonding and attachment.  So, I am torn.  I would like to place her in another home, as it's just too much for me to want to handle, but the girls get upset everytime it's mentioned (it was only initially mentioned when the vet claimed he could find nothing wrong with her and she was peeing out of spite so we said, 'nope not gonna have that' and mentioned she might need a new home).  LGA's teacher came and talked to me one day and asked if the cat was going away because LGA was upset.   So I'm torn.  I've never given a cat away in this situation, but I'm tired of getting bitten (and she mostly bites me) and I'm tired of taking care of her.  I know those cat lovers out there will be mad, but really, we are now on our 2nd food change, and if this doesn't cure her on this round of antibiotics, I just don't know.

Add to that, our leak, which I think is in several places in addition to LGA's room.  Our insurance said without any damage, it will be up to us to pay for it.  It could be a huge leak and we could have a real high bill.  So, feeling a bit anxious on that.  LGA originally had a crack in her concrete (which we did not know about) 4 yrs ago so that's why the water came through the carpet but there is no water damage this time, so we will have to pay to fix it.  Evidently a few people have had water damages in this complex because I remember the class action suit we were a part of (and got only a small amt as we had not had any issues come up at that point) they wrote in the suit that people complained of water damage.  Now we know what that means, the 2nd leak in 4 yrs. Same time frame we had the leak 4 yrs ago, as well.  We think it's a hot water line leak as LGA's room is warm, like it was 4 yrs ago.

Cars also have issues, so we have a few things to take care of.  When it rains, it seems to pour.  But the sun is out and there is a good weekend (albeit quiet for the most part) in store for us.  And the girls finished the week on positive notes, so what more could you ask for?  Enjoy your weekend, blog readers.  :-)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

My Uncle's 90th Birthday........

We've been busy here at Family of 4 household.  Lots of odds and ends to work on, some house issues, car issues, pet issues.  In the midst of all that, I took off to Los Angeles, for my Uncle's 90th birthday this past holiday weekend.  By myself. 

I don't usually worry about the girls and one parent (Dave) taking care of them while I am gone.  When I went south with the girls last summer for my mother's funeral and to settle her estate, the girls and I were together alone (for the most part, we did have some outings with my high school friends down there) for 18 days.  18 days with no parent back up, with one special needs child and two ADHD kids, who cannot handle things like my grief, losing their grandma, so everything was heightened and behaviors were off.  If I can do that, Dave can handle a weekend on his own (he was notably tired when I came home and gave me a huge hug and kiss when I got home, LOL).

So............I headed out on Friday morning, with two little girls (and the pets) looking at me sadly as they all left for school.  The hubs said, "have a good trip, I love you" etc.  as he left to take BGA to school.  I said, "have a good time"  (and in my head wondering how they'd have a good time with me being gone, and knowing I'd have a bit more fun and freedom than he would) and "I love you" too and headed out on the highway to LA.  I made good time, however, the mama van has a few items going on with it and one of them is an airconditioning hose and exhaust manifold.  So......needless to say, LA was having a heat wave on Friday and when I hit the "valley" traffic, it was 84 degrees according to the van and the air was NOT working.  I had jeans, tennis shoes, longer socks on, and a short sleeved t'shirt (luckily I packed some of them).  I was HOT.  I did eventually get to my aunt and uncle's house (the uncle with the 90th birthday) where I was staying in 6 hours time (going on to San Diego county always meant another two hours so it was nice just to drive the 6) with minimal stops.

My aunt and uncle have a nice home, that they have lived in since the 50's I believe.  They were happy to see me and we had some good chats.  My uncle was looking a bit older and tired, I think, and had recently lost his best friend of over 84 yrs, so he wanted to talk about his friend.  We chatted as I sat and rested up a bit, then we decided to go to dinner at the Olive Garden.  We met the 5pm crowd (but that was too late, and there was a bit of lamenting on not getting there at 4, but we missed the big crowds so that was ok) and had a great dinner and some more conversation. We also made a dry run to my cousin's house, where I would go the next day to help out, so I could see where I'd need to go. I didn't think it would be beneficial because it was dark (but they were right and it was when I had to drive to my cousin's the nex day.  I am a landmark driver and there were some unique landmarks).  During the night I asked my uncle about his service in the Pacific theater during WWII and he happily shared.  I think he liked having someone to listen and I asked questions I had (after watching Stephen Spielberg's The Pacific) and also talked a bit about my grandparents and my mother, their growing up years. I got to thinking that really we should record my uncle, so that I could type up his memories for us all to have.  He has some good ones.

My uncle drifted off to sleep for a couple of hours and my aunt and I had a chance to chat.  We talked about where they were on 9/11 (they were in DC waiting to go on a tour of the White House), we talked about Jacqueline Kennedy and their tour of the Book Depository and the spot where Kennedy was shot, on a visit to Dallas.  We talked about the girls (my aunt is a former 4th grade school teacher) and about her classes visiting the California Missions (this is a project most CA school children work on in the 4th grade, BGA did a short summary and that was all her class did).  We had quite the conversation and I sensed she wanted her turn to talk to me.  We stayed up till 1am.  That's nothing for me as I am a night owl, but my aunt and uncle were tired the next day.  After my uncle awoke from his nap, he had his 2nd wind and we talked some more.  We hadn't talked like this since my mother died last year.  It was nice and I enjoyed it.  I asked questions and took everything in that they talked about. 

The next day, Saturday, I awoke from my momento filled bedroom (they have traveled extensively and had a few items stored in the room I stayed in) and got ready in the bathroom.  The bathroom is tiled, even the floor. I didn't realize why my aunt pointed out putting the rug down on the floor till I stepped on the tile (even in my shoes) and felt like I was gonnna go down, the floor was that slick.  Saturday breakfast was oatmeal and an english muffin, oj and I had to bring instant coffee as my aunt and uncle don't drink coffee.  I thought about having herbal tea, like they did, but I knew that would not tide me over and I didn't remember if there was a coffee place between my uncle's house and my cousin's house (where I was going to help cook and get ready for my uncle's party on Sunday).  So I brought instant. It got me by.   I slept well, too, like a rock.  I hadn't stayed in that bedroom ever, but had stayed at my aunt and uncle's house. I hadn't stayed in about 25 yrs though.  But you know how you sleep the first night in someone's house, sometimes not restful, and it takes awhile (at least it always has for me) to feel comfortable to sleep there?  Well, this was not the case for me as I drifted off completely and only woke up when the sun was shining through the curtains.

My aunt and uncle saw me off with a "let us know if you are coming back for dinner" (it was so nice.  When you have lost a parent, it feels good that someone wants to know when you are coming back). I made it to my cousin's house in record time and with no help from the 3x5 card my uncle wrote the directions on.  My cousin had broke her wrist in a fall (but neglected to mention to me) in Nov and had a splint on.  Her son was there and so we moved furniture and they let me cook with them.  Both are cooks and I really didn't expect to do much other than be a sous chef, but I got to wilt some spinach (which I had never done before, but it turns out the girls like it so they gave me a tip on how to cook it) and enjoyed some great infused water and Earl Grey iced tea, while we worked.  My cousins and I talked and it was very relaxed and fun.  I love my cousin's house, it's very bungalow style, but she's decorated nicely and it just felt like home to me.  I enjoyed my day very much, and we finished it off by getting the most wonderful carrot cake and cupcakes for my uncle's bday.  I brought some back with me to my uncle's house and we enjoyed them after dinner.  This is where my cousin ordered the cupcakes and cake from:

We had another evening of talking about adventures, this time we talked about my aunt and uncle's travels.  It turns out that they have seen weddings and been invited to share in the celebration, on most of their travels.  They shared some stories I had already heard about, and some I hadn't. I listened and was reminded of a time where my mother and I sat at the very table we were at, listening to the stories they told about their travels, only this time it was just me.  It felt weird and comforting at the same time.  We turned in early Sat night as they were tired.  No tv in my room so I got out my book and read till I got tired enough.

Sunday, my uncle made the best pancakes I have had in awhile. Dave makes good pancakes too, must be a guy thing.  These pancakes were light and fluffy, the large ones you get in a restaurant.  Some pre cooked sausage, oj and my instant coffee (again, but hey no caffeine issues, so it must have worked since it was Starbucks instant).  I headed over to my cousin's house and we got ready for the party.  My cousin's daughter, who has been mentioned on this blog and my other one, came down from the bay area with her fiancee, who I had not met.  He's very nice, and I was very happy to see her so happy.  You can tell they are in love and they get along well.  Her mother said they were two peas in a pod, and they really are.  It was nice to see that she is happy and getting married.  My aunt and uncle referred to her wedding as "THE wedding" and it really is, just as ours was almost 13 yrs ago.

I got to see my cousins arrive, and most notably my 2nd cousin, once removed, as we are known, and his partner.  We have known each other since we were about 10, we have written to each other, gotten together, lost touch, gotten back in touch, for years.  I saw him at my mother's funeral but the girls were there and I really didn't have much chance to talk.  He took me out to lunch on the first trip right after mom died, but I think I was in shock and I don't really remember much from it (sorry Michael).  We had some great conversation going and it was nice to connect with my cousins and also with my cousin's daughter's two friends, who came.  They know my uncle from the many gatherings that they all shared.  The girls were funny and my uncle commented on how much he liked E's laugh.  He seemed to light up when she came around.  :-)  We had a nice day and my 2nd cousin and his partner and grandma (my 2nd cousin I guess) came back to my uncle's house for a half hour and we chatted.  

We ended the evening watching the season finale of Downton Abbey, which I had seen before but didn't mind seeing again.  They fell asleep through it, but my uncle fought it and wanted to watch the full 2 hours, my aunt nodded off and on but caught most of the last hour.  It was a sad finale, but I won't share my thoughts on it if you haven't seen it yet.

Monday I woke early intending to be on the road by 7:30 (I didn't make it till 9:30). I packed and got ready and had a small breakfast with my aunt and uncle. We chatted and before I realized it, it was almost 9.  I had to get on the road, so off I went, a bit bittersweet, as it always is when you leave a nice weekend.  I was anxious to get home so I really didn't stop and made the trip in 5 hours. As we were loading the car (my uncle insisted on helping me, he didn't know I used to load my stuff in the car from mom's by myself) I heard my aunt tell him, "make sure you have her call us when she gets home."  If she only knew how touched I was by that. My mom used to say, "call me when you get there."  So it reminded me of my mom.  I like how my aunt said, "Just a brief call.  That's all we need."  I am known in my family as a 'chatterbox' so I think we were all chatted out.  LOL.  As it happens they were going out for a meal (at 3) so it was very brief.

It was a good weekend, and I do need to do it more often I think. I know my cousin takes good care of them, but it would be nice to reconnect with them.  When my cousin's parents were alive (my mother's sister and her husband) and I lived in S CA, we would get together once a month, and then this aunt and uncle would come down from LA and we had lots of family gatherings.  These days the gatherings are less frequent and it's sad, in a way.  I want to rectify that.  Even if I came down every few months or so.  Now that Dave has his promotion he can make his hours and be available by phone.

All in all, it was a great trip, I was able to reconnect and celebrate my uncle's 90th (I came down from N CA to S CA for his 80th, and my mother was still alive. I missed his 85th) and enjoy some family time as well as time to myself. It was nice to do this. 

The girls missed me and LGA said on Saturday, "Mommy.......I miss you.  You come home today??"  I had to tell her no and all I heard was a sigh.........she has become quite the mommy's girl, and she started out being more of a daddy's girl.  When I came home and put my key in the lock, I heard, "MOMMY'S HOME!  MOMMY'S HOME!!!"  Lots of huge hugs and kisses for me, lots of wanting to be by me, etc.  My sweet dogs missed me, especially my first Cavalier, who has always preferred me to anyone.  Dave said he moped (he usually goes with me but my aunt and uncle did not want me to bring any of the dogs) around.  He rarely licks and he just kept licking my face, so happy to see me.

I had some good news to tell the girls as cousin G and her fiancee picked their date and she asked me if the girls would be flower girls. They were SO excited! 

So, back to life here, the routine, etc.  We have a leak again in LGA's room, although it has not come through the carpet, but it is warm in her room so it's another hot water leak.  We have issues with the cars, and our cat has a urninary tract infection that 2 rounds of antibiotics have not cured.  So we have our hands full.

LGA had a hard time (last time I was away was in Oct for my high school reunion) and did not have a good time at school.  She was caught throwing food.  She said her classmate told her to do it (but classic FASD is lying, so hard to know what the real truth is) with me being gone.  The girls have always had a hard time, no matter how often we go away and come back. They just want us where we are supposed to be, all 4 of us together.  Also, LGA's teacher wrote a note yesterday after the holiday telling me the food throwing was on friday and yesterday.  She said LGA needed to write the classroom rules and that she only had one line done after an hour.  AN HOUR???  Seriously, they expect an FASD, ADHD kid to sit still for an hour and write rules???  I'm afraid our nice relationship will go by the wayside because I wrote a note back asking how they thought she could sit still for an hour and write the rules down (when she is barely learning to write and feel comfortable copying stuff down).  I mean, come on, they KNOW LGA, they know she cannot do this.  The note said, "this is unacceptable."  So I wrote back and asked what did they mean by that.....did she miss recess, etc.  Then LGA shared (and the teacher did not) that she had to go to the Vice Principal's office and that the other girl got suspended but LGA did not.  So I am not quite sure what was going on but I did explain that I was going out of town and that LGA has a hard time with that so there might be some acting out.........which makes me wonder why they were so surprised.  Unless they did not believe me???  So LGA and I had a talk about how to behave at school, and how if someone asks you to do something and you know it's wrong, you should not do it.  LGA has had good behavior in school for the most part, so this was out of her norm and I think the teacher was surprised. I guess she didn't believe me when I told her LGA had issues in mainstream class and that we were happy it didn't appear she had issues in this class/school.    So we will see what today brings, but I got her ready for school (Dave usually does it) as Dave was not feeling well, so I reminded her again (it's all repetition for FASD kids, lots of repetition) of the rules and said, "you are going to have a good day today, right??"  But what still gets me is her sheet with plusses and minuses did not show any minuses for Friday when she was 'observed' throwing food.  Also FASD kids can be led very easily so we have to talk about that too. I guess I need to get the teacher a copy of my info on teaching FASD kids.  She has Special Ed experience of over 20 years, but that does not mean she's familiar with FASD (or needs a refresher).

So here's to my week back from my weekend.  May we get all the issues resolved and life back to normal.  I enjoyed my trip and it was good to get away again.  I feel more refreshed so I know it's needed again. Sometimes you just need a break to reconnect with family.

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Movie........

I did something today that I haven't done in awhile.............I went to an early movie by myself.  I am not sure how much time has passed since I went to a movie on my own, but it's been considerable.

I have been wanting to go to a movie on my own since the girls started afternoon Girl Scouts at their school one day a week. I have two extra hours to myself and figured I'd have plenty of time to go see a movie and then pick them up.  But........there weren't any movies I wanted to see out, so I wasn't able to go on the day they go to GS.  Today was Friday so the new movies came out.  I decided to go to a movie today.  I think I just needed something different to do. I'm in a rut and as I mentioned in my last post, I really want to start doing some stuff for me this year.  I want to define who I am, not by a mother, but me, the person I was before a mother and before raising a special needs child.

So, today I picked a movie to go to.  I picked Identity Theft, because I really like Melissa McCarthy. I always have.  I also like Jason Bateman, the male lead, so I decided as the time worked out, that I would treat myself to an early movie.  By the time it got out, it allowed me time to pick up BGA from school.  She's been late getting out of class the last couple of days so I figured I could swing it.......I was correct.

The movie was funny, and just sitting in the theater by myself was a treat.  No having to share my red vines with Dave and the kids.  No one talking before the movie started, no one having to go to the bathroom or complaining that their straw didn't fit in their drink, or that they dropped a piece of candy, etc.

The theater was packed for a Friday, mid day.  I had to sit down at the front (because I took my time getting ready, couldn't decide what to wear for some reason today (as the weather that had been in the mid 60's and sunny, decided to go to the mid 50's and cloudy).  Perhaps my body is getting acclimated to spring coming soon? Especially since the groundhog did not see his shadow so spring is coming early.

I still enjoyed it and stretched out with a whole row to myself. I didn't care if anyone heard me laugh out loud.  If I liked a line I was gonna laugh heartily..........and I did.

I got out in just enough time to meet BGA at school, and since she's been late the last couple of days I had enough time to sit and check my phone while I waited.  Think about the movie I just saw and have a few minutes of peace before that was over for the weekend (and it's a school holiday so no school on Monday, but that's ok because daddy is off on Sunday and Monday and will be home to help out).

I think at times, it's hard to make time for yourself, when you have a special needs child. It's not easy to find a baby sitter, or leave them with people, so you end up going by yourself or in Dave's and my case, we try to cram stuff in on the Monday he is off and the girls are in school.  It's hard to find that time together and since Dave works Saturdays, I feel guilty taking a Sunday to myself when he's just off work on his first day off.  But I need to find time for stuff for me. I've really let it go by the wayside.  The first few years I was just plain tired, and days were tiring and discouraging at times.  I was dealing with a lot of issues from my brother (who lived in another state but who had no problem bugging me by phone) and my mother who was failing health wise.  It was hard to make time for myself and I just didn't do it.  I let it go and then when I tried to carve out time for myself, I couldn't relax.  Being a stay at home mom, I could have made time during the day, but after my mother died, just doing any kind of task, cooking, laundry, cleaning house, etc., became a chore to me (sometimes it still does, and sometimes I just need to mentally decompress).  I couldn't find my way.  I didn't want to at first.

But very slowly, I began to read again (I still have a hard time picking reading back up, and I have always been an avid reader, but I just can't do it for some reason, at times), I have read some small books and posted last post about the ones I just recently bought.  I started to watch movies on DVD or DVR ones to watch on tv, instead of mindlessly turning on the tv to whatever show was on.  I began to slowly bead again (although that has taken a backseat lately and I can't seem to organize a project.  I am really wondering if there is ADHD in me, I can't seem to complete a project, and can't focus enough to start).  But I am such a long way from where I want to be.

The loss experienced, both in my mother's passing and an issue with a friend, has taken me to a place, where I have had to examine some truths, and where I have been disappointed about what was said. I have had to decide what I feel about the friendship, and if you have followed this blog you know how hard it has been to lose my mother, and to form the 'new' ideal of family (the girls, Dave and I) and to fully be able to focus on them.  It's different, and I could go into it, but there is now a blog on my sidebar if you want to read more about my experiences since my mother has passed away.  There is only one post up as I can't seem to decide what else to write about (or get motivated).  I have been very tired these past few months, but have been staying up late, on the computer or watching tv, not really connecting with anything.  Grief can do that to you.  Grief you don't expect or the amount of grief you don't expect to feel. 

So making myself go out to a movie was a good thing.  It felt good, I felt good, after.  It was a good start for me.  I must start doing things again.  I did when the girls first came home, the first few years, then as issues with my brother came up and my mom started failing, I stopped. I just stopped.  So, another beginning this next week, I have a lunch date with two gals, a mother and her daughter, who I have recently met through my friend. I buy jewelry from the daughter, and she's very sweet and nice, and her mother is my age and we got along well the times we met.  They uplifted me and made me feel special. They told me they liked my hair, they liked the girls, they started inviting me places, it felt great.  They have their lives and I have mine, but we can get together socially and it's fun.  Dave, the girls and I have been to their houses for parties and had fun.

I used to be social, but raising a special needs child has changed a lot of that.  I am not alone, I know that other mothers out there are experiencing the same thing, as I have now met some on FB.  Yes, the very same FB that causes people to not be able to get a feel for what others are saying because you can't get the tone of someone's voice on FB.  But there are a few Fetal Alcohol groups I have joined and I just make sure I stay out of the controversy, however, most of us are just trying to get support for raising our kids, and I didn't realize I needed that support till I started connecting with others who have children like mine.  That's dropped a lot of stress because I can log on, read how someone else handled a situation and know what will come next, etc.  I needed that so badly.  If I can stay out of the fray (not that I have seen any at all, like I said most of us just support each other and we are all pretty supportive of each other) I think I will do ok there and it's needed.

So getting out of my comfort zone for a movie today, was a good experience for me and one in which I think I will repeat. I'm also going to contact some former co workers of mine and arrange lunch on the day when the girls are in GS for 2 extra hours. 

LGA was testy at dinner tonight, which is always hard, and not a pleasant experience, so my nice day was almost a distant memory, but we did manage to get through and she must have had a hard learning week as she went right to bed (which might mean she's up earlier than usual) so that evened out in the end.

I need to get more sleep as I have become a night owl, preferring the late night time when everyone is safely tucked away in bed and I can relax a bit, but it's tiring me out. I am still getting up early as Dave and the kids leave for school and work, so I need more sleep.  So I've been trying to go to bed an hour earlier than I had been and determined my tiredness was due to lack of sleep.

A movie was a good start for me, though............I must take advantage now that the times are earlier, to go before school lets out.  I enjoyed my day completely. And it was just a movie...........who would have thought that would be what I needed today?  But it was............