Friday, December 12, 2014

Skipping Straight to the Holidays............

Skipped right over Thanksgiving.  However, there were some highlights.  We decided to eat out.  Dave worked long hours as that's the busiest time in the transportation industry, Thanksgiving, so he was working LONG hours and 6 days a week.  He just said he wanted to go out.  So we did.  We went to, ready for it?  Sizzler.  Yep.  Sizzler.  I was gonna cook but Dave felt it would be better to go out.  So we did.  The thing about Sizzler?  We got sat in the back (score!) and right near the buffet.  They had a passable turkey dinner with all the trimmings (and we brought the pumpkin pie which we are not fans of, to Dave's co worker A, who worked because the "boss" insisted someone had to be in the office even though no loads were going out that day.   The girls chose the buffet instead of the turkey dinner (they are not huge turkey fans at all) and were happy to get their own food, etc.  LGA ate off my plate (I don't like sweet potatoes) a bit and Dave and I had the salad bar.  LGA did really well because we were in a section where it was quiet and not many people and she got up/down to get her food, move around as she wanted to. It was a nice quiet day at home then out for dinner. It was pretty nice if I say so myself.

I ended up buying a small ham and turkey in case we chose to eat in, so cooked the ham on the Monday after Thanksgiving when Dave was off with the trimmings and the girls ate up the ham.  They really love ham.  So that worked out good. I still have the small turkey breast so we'll see if we eat it on Christmas or New Years.  It's frozen so just have to defrost it.  The girls insisted I also get another ham and even Dave who is not a ham fan liked it. I think I might get two and put one in a soup.  Found a nice ham soup recipe.  Soups are on our menus this fall.

Now on to the "holiday" season. There are a few things going on this year.  First, the girls did not want to put up the large 7ft or taller full tree.  I was surprised by that because they have bugged me since we got it two years to put it up.  We put the smaller 4ft tree that sits on a table, up instead.  Both girls have purple small trees that go on their dressers. Each girl has their own ornaments given to them, handmade, etc.  This year the lights they used in the past 2 yrs burnt out so I went through some tubs of ornaments my mom had.  There were strings of lights in them, so LGA got blue, which she likes because she has a lighted ladybug light that projects stars on her ceiling and she always picks the blue setting (out of red, green, blue) so the lights are comforting to her.  BGA got multi which she liked, but unlike last year, she did not want them to blink at all.  SO while LGA was putting up her small tree, BGA snuck in and helped me decorate the other one.  I really liked that she wanted to do it with me as she's a teen now, and wanting some independence.  But she really enjoyed it. I would have waited for LGA too, but the girls are doing a lot of arguing over who does what, fighting, etc. these days and it was kind of fun for BGA to do something with me.  She has a daddy daughter date coming up with Dave soon.  She made it quite known she wants to spend more time with him so he's trying to figure that out.  Funny to see her asserting some independence.  I wonder who she will become?  I am enjoying some more grown up movies, conversations, etc. with her (although she said if we had a mom/daughter day she did NOT want to go shopping, LOL.).

I got some of the ornaments from my mom's collection, that I brought home with me two years ago after she passed away and I was cleaning out her home to get it ready to sell.  There was this little gem, the angel we put on our tree every year.  Kinda fun to put up some ornaments from my mom. I found some other stuff for the girls to put on their trees and in their rooms and I think they really liked that they came from my mom. I put up some of the things I remember from growing up.  A lot of stuff got lost, given away, etc, but I found a few things I had forgotten she had.  It's making this holiday season a bit more special for me, and 2 yrs later I was ready to dig into the boxes and bring out things I remembered.  The angel must be at least 50 yrs old.  The ornament was probably made in the early 70's.  I have a whole box of handmade ornaments and we did not put all of them on the tree but it was fun to get these out.

Here's hoping you and your family are enjoying a wonderful holiday season and new year.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Halloween Pics........

Forgot to add the Halloween pics of the girls in costume.

She's 13! And Other Happenings................

BGA turned 13 last week.  Wow, it's really weird to have a 13 yr old in the house.  She is really wanting to assert her independence ("WHY can't I stay up later? ") and it's interesting to see what she wants to do with it.  I have started seeing independence at school.  BGA just recently finished volleyball season at school and she has an upcoming tournament to finish the season so she was going to have practice last week after school.  The coach fell ill so BGA called and said, (quote) "Mom, you don't need to pick me up right away.  You can wait for LGA's bus (LGA is on the special ed bus) and then come pick me up, ok?"  Me: "Um you will be outside waiting for me and I really don't want you to wait for me."  Her: "It's ok mom I am playing volleyball in the courtyard with some girls.  Come after LGA's bus."  Wow.  I did and she was there waiting for me.  But it's weird to think of her doing stuff like that, not my 6 yr old who came home to us all angry and not having many friends.  She's branching out in 7th grade and has some friends and interests. It's nice for me to see, for sure.  She's grown so much.   I looked at her volleyball pics (I would post but would have to black out the school info, if I can figure it out I will post) and she looks SO grown up.  It's hard to see because I miss that 6 yr old girl but also good to see how mature she is and the nice conversations (when she's not mad at me and rolling her eyes and sighing at me) that we have.  :-)

We had a great birthday celebration for BGA. She did not have a party (she's just starting to have some friends after a few rough starts over the years, mainly being teased because of her red hair and freckles.  This year it has seemed to click for her finally).  But we went to see Big Hero 6 or whatever it's called on her birthday and went to a local pizza place that serves pizza in the NY style which she loved.  We went bowling the Monday (which the schools had off that week for Veterans Day) when Dave was off as well, then finished the week off with presents, dinner (meatloaf muffins, her choice) and a nice size chocolate cake. I think she liked it.

I celebrated my birthday last month as did Dave and we had Halloween.  Had a Ghostbuster (BGA) and a Vampire Princess (LGA).  I didn't want to do the candy thing as LGA had been taking candy from I think end of school (that tells you how I kept forgetting to get rid of it) and stashing it in her room (till we had an ant invasion and Dave discovered a whole bunch of candy wrappers, etc. behind her bed and the ants freaked her out) out of the cupboard.  So I decided I didn't want to do the candy thing (in the past they have traded it in for toys, last year no one wanted to this year I just decided to forgo any and all candy) and have her have the temptation to sneak it.  SO we went to dinner and then let them go to Chuck E. Cheese in costume to play as they offered free tix to those dressed up.  They had fun but did say after they wished they had candy. One of Dave's co workers sent home two gift bags with a small amount of candy in them so they were all set for a bit of candy and I know they got some from school.

Life has been interesting with a few twists and turns over the last couple of months but we are getting through it.

Hoping you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday whatever you do, whoever you are with and that the day is peaceful for you all.  Dave works right up to Thanksgiving day even this weekend. It's the busy time for his company.  I have no idea when the tree will go up as I am not really in the mood for one 10 yr old and one 13 yr old to fight over who puts on the decorations (even though they each have their own room tree to decorate).  So we'll see how inspired I get.

Here are some pics from the newly 13 yr old's bday, mine and Halloween costumes.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wow, 2 Months Since Last Post..........School, Life.........Etc.

Hey there small group of blog readers............

Has it really been 2 mos since my last post???

Where to begin..........

Summer eased on through.  It was quiet.  We had small moments of fun but mostly it was a quiet one.  Dave was working long hours winding up the company he worked for, to go to a new company that was taking over the business of the old one.  Sound confusing?  It was, but suffice it to say he got on with the new company in a managerial position.  Still more hours, lots of them, 10 hour days, 6 days a week.  So life at home is still hard with him only having one day off but we are managing.  We are glad he has a job to go to.  The stress of the many hours he worked over the summer are gone and we made it through.  Life experiences are good.  LGA did not go to summer school for the first time in 2 yrs and so she was home and could relax more. I think it was good for her.  Dave was home in the am for breakfast and we sat down as a family to have it.  Dinner was late as he was not home till after 7, sometimes 8, and even longer, 9.  He had an 8pm conference call with new co during transition so often times our dinners were interrupted.  But we made it and the growth I think was good.

School started in August.  The girls were not super happy or ready for it, but so far for the most part, everyone is doing ok.  BGA is in 7th.  For the first month of school, I didn't push.  She said she had done her homework at school.  I left it.  We have had epic homework battles in the past, both when she has said she had no homework, and then find out on report card (5th grade) that she DID have it and just chose not to do it at home or bring it home.  So last year I became friends with her teacher and I became pro active and she succeeded.  She had the best year ever, Honor Roll for the first time at the end of the year, and 5 points away from Advanced. I had really high hopes for this year.  Then came the Progress Report.  F in Math.  So, we have buckled down again, figured out what needed to be done (homework comes home instead of being done in school, Dave works with her after working a 10 hour day, in the evenings) and are doing it.  The results showed up right away.  When BGA did her homework she, I suspect in some of her subjects, has guessed on the answers a lot.  In 7th grade math she cannot guess.  She has to show her work. She didn't show her work.  When I looked at a test she had gotten an F on I pointed out that the teacher had asked her to show her work and she hadn't. Her answer?  "Yes I did." Dave's working with her on showing her work.  After one huge epic homework battle, that did not go well, I have talked to both of them and gotten them back on track.  Last night went much better and BGA actually sat down while waiting on LGA's bus, when it was quiet and did some of her work to show her dad last night. Homework actually got completed on time a day early.  This is all good, because BGA made the volleyball team, a jersey has been purchased and practice has started.  In order to be on the team her grades need to be ok.  Her PE teacher Ms. M, likes her and told her to just try really hard on her math.  So we now are entering the phase of school sports.  Some games are on the weekend.  BGA also has a new friend this year, named L.  I am hoping it works out for them.  Girls are really picky and selective and it's been hard for BGA to fit in.  She had a friend from her previous school who she met her first year at this school, 2 yrs ago.  Lots of girl issues as the girl had a new friend who didn't like BGA and didn't want her to be the other girl's friend.  So BGA struggled a bit.  It was decided after an incident last year, that we would put BGA in the counselors peer group. It has appeared to help her.  She was also in leadership but lost out to that due to not putting it as her first elective and then going into a remedial math class to get the math grade up.  Vice Principal told me if she does well in this math class she can request another elective.  So far we are surviving middle school (the school goes K-8 so same school she was in previous 2 yrs).  School became full magnet this year so I believe Middle school now starts in 6th grade instead of 7th.

LGA is doing well too. She is learning to read, and the teacher bumped up her reading level so we are learning new words in the story she has to read each week.  Math has been bumped up a bit too. More homework for her as well this year. She is in special ed day class 5th grade adjusted.  She still has the same teacher she has had for the previous 2 yrs and this has been very good for her. I am hoping we can have the teacher for one more year, but not sure how that will go as now the school is middle school in 6th. I guess we will see.  I am just glad she has the same aide and teacher. This teacher is excellent as well.  Lots of issues coming up as LGA's class is now on the big playground (after the teacher pulling them all last year and putting the class on the small playground for recess, PE, lunch recess).  So we have had more issues and behaviors as we did last year.  I am hoping that it eases a bit, but kids are not very nice to the special ed kids so I am listening and watching, ready to step in at the IEP meeting in Dec with requests.  I have seen some growth in LGA and at 10, she's maturing and no longer the little girl she once was.  It's life, but I am sad to see the little girl go.  But enjoying this stage with her as some maturity has emerged too.  I have to share a funny story.  LGA has been reading a book as mentioned, and she will write sentences from the phonic words.  So she's been really good this year at writing sentences.  Some of them are very basic, but as she's coming up with the sentences, I think it's cool. sentence was, I am cute with my cat shirt.  Only she left the r out........ha!  I didn't notice it as I didn't check them, was cooking dinner so just said, "Oh you are done? Ok put your homework in your backpack then."  LOL.  So it came back with the corrected word to shirt on it.  I couldn't help but laugh.  Poor kid was so upset about it too. I am sure I told her how to spell it as I was cooking but if I don't go slow enough the processing speed is about 10 mins behind so she didn't hear all the letters I bet. Teacher said it was ok in the note that came back.

I made a short trip to Los Angeles, during Labor Day week.  My aunt and uncle celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. They wanted to renew their vows in the downtown Catholic Cathedral and wanted their nieces and nephews there to visit. Some were not able to make it.   But I was able to go, left on a Wednesday and came back on Friday.  Dave was able to take off the afternoons (I think they owed him as well since he's only had one day off a week now for over a month) off to get the girls.  It was fun to be with my aunt and uncle.  They are 91 (uncle) and 89 (aunt).  They were so cute together.  It was a fun time with my family as we all went to brunch/lunch afterwards.  Lots of stories that my uncle really wanted to share. I took it all in and listened. It was nice to hear about parts of their lives, my mother's life growing up, etc.  They could go a long time too, first night (after getting a late start, driving 80 most of the way on a 5 1/2 hour trip - because I drove 80 - would normally be 6 hours) we stayed up till almost midnight.  The Catholic mass was a lot of sit stand kneel, etc.  But they renewed their vows during mass and we all went up to witness them.  SO nice.  However they had also done it at their 50th (in front of the Pope in Italy) and 60th (with the Monsignor at the same cathedral but he goes to visit his family on Thursdays so we had another young priest instead).  So third time is a charm?  LOL.  But it was nice for all of us to be there.  Several people thought we were my aunt and uncle's children (they don't have any).  One woman from Columbia, said to me, "are you from Europe?  Your hair is lovely. Your dress is lovely."  That was unusual.  I was surprised, but the hair is about 3 inches in white/grey.   My aunt and uncle liked it and told me I looked pretty in my dress, etc.  I was surprised, none of my family is extremely complimentary, so it was nice for me to hear that. I had a good time. My aunt cried when I left and my uncle said, "I wish you lived closer."  So, it reminded me of when I would leave my mom after a visit.  I drove back excited to see Dave and the girls after a few days away. But as sometimes happens, even though they were fine with mom going, they missed me and we had a few behaviors that came out. LGA especially would cry when I was on the phone with her.  But Dave made it fun, he took them out to dinner and to get his hair cut (they like looking at the hair magazines). He made omelets one night.  They were fine and they saw that I did come back. I had not been gone since Feb of 2013 for my uncle's 90th bday and that was 3 nights I was gone, this was only 2.  But the difference was they were able to quickly move on, whereas before there would be a transition time of much longer.

Fall is upon us, and it's my favorite time of the year. Not only do Dave and I have an anniversary coming up (14 yrs), our birthdays, and BGA's all in the fall.  It's warm here though, still mid 80's where it will be till end of Oct.  Last year we had a really mild winter with hardly any rain (we really need rain in California) so I am hoping this year is different.  We have rain and mid 70's today!  Yay! So let's hope this is a trend.

So there's the update for now......I will include a few pics to this post too.

Happy Fall to you all!

More later...........

First pics are me at my aunt and uncle's wedding vow renewal. Cropped my cousins out of first pic as I didn't know if they wanted to be published out there on the internet.

Second pic is me with my hair. It's getting white.  White on top and sides, white with grey mixed in for the back.  Some people either like it or do not. One of my British cousins told me he thought it would be better as blonde because he thought I was too young to go white.  I personally like it, Dave and girls like it, so that's all that matters to me.

Third pic is the iconic Randy's Donuts in LA. My aunt and uncle and I did not go there, but they told me that pilots landing at LAX look for the iconic donut when landing at the airport.

Fourth and Fifth pics are 1st day of school. They are growing up.

Sixth and Seventh pics are of a visit with some of our 'quack quack' friends to a local reptile museum. The pic of LGA holding the dragon slays me.  Look how grown up she is!!  Wow. That pic just takes my breath away.

8th pic  - did a bit of beading. Not regularly and left a project I wanted to finish not completed. It was a warm day too, in my little bedroom beading area.  Hoping when it's cooler I can get back into it. The longer I wait between beading the harder it is to get stuff completed and remember the steps. I have heard there is a new tool called a looper to help me with loops so if I can get that I think it would save me steps.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Our Summer.............

Our summer has been a very interesting one.  We have had a lot going on and then not much going on.

LGA turned 10 last month.  Where did my baby (3 yrs old when I met her) go?  In her place is a tall, lean, tween looking girl.  Double digits!!  Wow.  We had a very small birthday for her as I couldn't get a 10th bday party for her together.  So much has happened that it just was not possible. I felt so bad for her.  She really wanted a party.  Here are some pics from her birthday though.  Nice dinner at home and a Spongebob cake (her choice).

The pic here, I did not mean to cut out BGA but she refused to stand next to her sister and I had my sunglasses on (major darkness) so couldn't tell if I had them in focus, LOL.
 Check out the terrier photo bomber in the cake pic!  LOL.

The tent was a last minute gift but she has slept in it every night since her birthday.  Loves it.

We also celebrated our 6th year as a family.  Celebrated our "gotcha" day as well last month.  Here are some pictures of our first couple of weeks together as a family and then one of the girls last month.

My hair also is continuing the process of turning white and grey and I have about 2 1/2 inches of white around my face and 2 1/2 inches of grey/white at the crown, and evidently grey in the back. I am still enoying it being blonde in on top and growing it out to grey/white.  This is 6 mos progress.

We have had a rough summer as far as Dave's work schedule has gone. Last month he had a change in hours that did not (and still don't) suit our family, he worked night shifts, he went in early. It was a very hard transition.  We also learned he would be getting a promotion (Operations Manager) and going to work for a company that hauls for a major specialty food chain.  His current company lost a 30+ contract to work for this company and brought their own company in, which in turn has hired all the workers to go work for them in early August.  So our summer was all disorganized.  We didn't know if Dave would have a job so did not enroll the girls in any outside activities.  It has been a very hard summer as it took the girls 6 weeks to transition to summer (due to no summer school for LGA this year).  There are 3 more weeks until school starts.

We did have a couple of playdates and have a few more hopefully next week.  The girls and I have gone to movies, and small day trips when we were able to, so it hasn't been a totally Judy Moody and The Not Bummer Summer.  But it was not the summer I imagined it to be.  With that said, I have been thankful for the times Dave was off so we could be together as a family and I do think that helped in the girls summer transition.

We also have a couple of Groupons we bought so I hope to use those before summer is over.

It was nice that we celebrated our family anniversary as well.  BGA has also been asking the tough adoption questions so big summer of dealing with some issues as well.  She did make us a very nice card for our family anniversary and knew what day it was and wanted to make a point of celebrating it (we went to dinner).  That was really a great thing, as in the past the kids dictated how we celebrated it and the girls never really wanted to celebrate.  This was a nice change.

The girls have been great help around the house this summer as well, very intune to the pets and their needs, doing dishes, cleaning, bringing in groceries, etc. I have really enjoyed their help and I like that they are willing (at first the "almost" teen BGA was not into it at all) willing to help out.

We found a great used bookstore in our town and each girl got some reading material for the summer.  LGA is coming along well, but retention is her issue so I will start her this week reading a book a day (they are small ones) and also starting some math. Her teacher let her have some work books so we will try to do some basic math and reading to make sure when school starts she will be ready for it.

Lots of changes, a middle schooler (BGA) and Dave new job next month.  We didn't really have a lot of changes last summer, but this summer has more than made up for that and is one we will remember as a summer of change.

I haven't had much to blog as we have not really had much of a summer but hopefully next month will be a good one for us, with a regular schedule for Dave and we will be able to do a few more fun things.  The girls have seen how life can be when there is not a lot planned and how you can make total fun out of it (hello playing with ZuZu pets and Barbie).  That's kind of a good thing in my book.  Making your own fun.

More later........hope your summer has been grand.

Friday, May 30, 2014

End of School Year............

Well, it's the end of school here at Family of 4 house.  We will have a middle schooler and 5th grade special ed day class student.  The girls' school is going magnet as well.  We had to fill out an application for it, so not sure exactly what that means for us as BGA is not exactly grade wise, in the magnet program.  I wish the teacher had explained more but she's easing off, now that school is ending.  That's fine with me.  I have enjoyed getting to know her and appreciate all she has done to help BGA this year.  We have seen so much progress from her, it's nice to see it and to see the compassionate person she has become.

School ends next week.  There will be no summer school for LGA this year.  Her teacher said that only the kids who really need it will be going.  I thought FASD and brain/retention issues would be a qualification but teacher says that the resources teacher who teaches summer school, has them play a lot and the focus is not on keeping up with what they have learned.  I disagree with this because we had to start (well the teacher did) from scratch last year and go over the stuff LGA learned and then get her back up to where she should be.  Last year I seriously thought we'd have some medication changes (to the more heavy duty 'mood' disorder meds) because the behavior was off the charts.  However, lots contributed to that, being in with the older kids (grades 4-6) and having some of the kids tease her (teacher moved her and some of her classmates to the smaller playground at recess and behaviors improved) some boys in the class who were teasing her, the teacher being out for Core classes and having her husband sub (a tall sort of intimidating older gentleman who LGA does not really like).  I didn't know some of this but from Aug to Nov we had real issues and it was so hard.  I was not prepared for it.  But once the teacher was back in the class, playground issues were taken care of, LGA started to take off.  She started to read and make lots of progress on that and writing sentences, doing some math, etc.  I was so happy to see her progress and home life settled down.  Her progress earned her 3 awards yesterday!!!  3!  The child who never got awards got 3!!  And two reading awards with certificates to her favorite buffet (shudder!) place.  I was so proud of her!
Her awards were honorable mention (which is the award they give when kids reach about 70% of their goals, for her I am not sure what % it would be but there must have been a good jump for her) a school pride award and perfect attendance.  Some people on FB have mentioned how did she get perfect attendance, etc.  Well, when you have a special ed kid it's very important for them to have a routine and to be at school, learning.  Some joked I needed a break (well yes, when you have kids that have issues it's nice to have that 6 hours when they are in school to gear up for a possible afternoon that might be tough, dealing with any school issues that come up) and maybe I do.  But I also feel she benefits from her routine being as close to structured as it can be.  I have taken them out when they are truly sick, but she's very rarely sick. I have taken them out for a special event, if we have them, but we don't very often. So perfect attendance for her.  She got two reading awards one last week and one this week.  I couldn't be more proud of this kid. Truly.  She has done so well.  What a way to end the year.  Her behaviors according to the teacher have been great.  She is learning to ignore kids who bother her and that is HUGE.  Wow.  BGA has a hard time with this concept, however is making progress in that regard as well.  Good stuff here, people.  6 yrs in the making!  6 yrs next month we have had the girls.

BGA got two awards but we don't have them as her teacher kept them I guess thinking she might lose them. I text the teacher (long story but we had homework issues so it was easier to text her and find out what homework was needed.  I got to know teacher who was adopting her grandchildren so we talked about the process, etc.) so I asked her what the awards were but she did not tell me.  I know BGA said one was an attendance award and one was a Principal award.  No honorable mention (which is below the honor roll award) so the grades probably slipped a bit.  They will slip next year for middle school as focus and organization is a hard issue for her.  We may need to adjust meds for that.  But I think (and here again I missed BGA's awards assembly and when they announced the principal's award in LGA's assembly I was distracted emailing Dave to tell him what awards LGA got, that I didn't really pay attention to what that award was about, never thinking BGA might get it for her grade) she got the Principal's award, but she couldn't remember either.  BGA goes to her last dance today after school.  Then she will sing Let It Go with the first graders (she really does not want to do this so unless her leadership teacher will play piano and sing with her she's stuck with first graders as teacher says several people want to sing this song) on Monday.  I am proud of her, she's in the kids club (the peer group led by the counselor) and in the leadership group for last semester this year and all of next year. BGA is ending the year on a good note too.  She will have struggles in middle school, and peer issues continue to be something we work on, but she has made progress and that I contribute a lot to the right teacher fit.  The leadership teacher is the teacher she had last year, who while she's a bit whacky in my opinion, she has a good heart and loves BGA a lot.  That's made a difference for her.

So, summer is going to be a challenge with no summer school and the girls are fighting a bit lately and it's gotten a bit more physical, mainly LGA who lashes out a bit more physically and BGA used to take it and now fights back a bit.  I am looking for ideas to keep them busy.  We are looking into activities like swimming and BGA wants to play tennis or basketball.  I have bought some Groupons for roller skating, and a local reptile museum (ewww for me!) and there is the free bowling and $1 movies at Regal Theaters.  There might be some play dates and a trip to the Jelly Belly factory.  But summer is when I truly feel my parenting begins.  They are here 24/7 and I cook/make 3 meals a day, etc.  They are great at doing chores and helping out there so housework took on a whole new meaning.  The OCD for LGA comes in handy because she is an excellent cleaner.  It takes her awhile but it gets done well.  BGA has started complaining about doing chores whereas before she was all into it.  This is the first time in 2 yrs I have really had to plan out the summer.  But as they are older it's a bit more fun taking them places, etc.  We do still face LGA's issues in public, but if I time it right and read her cues I am getting better at redirecting her fits/tantrums in public.  I am optimistic for the summer and sort of dreading middle school for BGA.  But as always we will be involved more than parents probably are, with her teachers and helping her succeed.  Each time we have stepped back and given her responsibility, we have had to get more involved and work together with the teachers.  We feel we will do this for the rest of her school years and we are ok with it.  We have met some great and supportive teachers.

Here are our latest pics.  Some more of the grey/white growing out progress as well.  Fun pics and the smiles are wonderful, I love how LGA is smiling these days.  Here's to a fun summer for us.  :-)

Photo: Awards!!

Holding her awards.  SO proud!

LGA took this one of me on my phone.  She asked me to pose and told me what I should do, "Take a bite of ice cream mom."  She's actually very good at taking pics, I think a small camera will be part of her birthday this year.

"I want to take your pic mom, you always take mine."  I wasn't sure when she snapped it, so wasn't smiling, oops.  But she got me in focus and good angles, etc.

Photo: Another view.
About 2 inches of white on top.  Grey in back and middle of hair.  Still liking the blonde though. Who knew??
Photo: New haircut.
New hair cut, didn't have it blown dry, but liking the shorter length and bangs.

She won an award in the weekly raffle.  She got an Elephant Bar restaurant kids meal.  SO happy to use it.

Photo: Happy girl with her reading award to hometown buffet. More about that later.  Family dinner time.  Priceless.  So proud and I love this girl SO much.  Congrats Angel cake!
This was her reading award at the buffet.  She filled her plate high but didn't eat it all.  But she got to do it herself and we talked about not wasting food next trip.  A root beer float with more ice cream than soda filled out her meal. See the Fanta Orange too. Oh well, special occasion.  We don't do soda in our house.

Photo: Sundae she made herself.
She made her own sundae and really enjoyed it, LOL.

Friday, May 9, 2014

My Daughter The Runner.........and Mother's Day 2014

My daughter (BGA) was a runner at the end of last month.  Her school competed in a track and field event with other schools, grades 5-8.  I was really proud of her for competing.  She tried out last year but her grade had to forfeit because they didn't have enough runners.  She was really disappointed (I was too but had hurt my back last year at this time and was in pain for about 3 weeks so was not looking forward to going and sitting out in the heat).  This year she tried out again and made the team.  Here is a brief description of what the event is about:

Do you think you’re the fastest person in (name of town) and you’re between the ages of 9 and 14?  Well, here is your chance to prove yourself . If you have been in the Kennedy Games before, then you probably already know that it consists of track and field events.

The Kennedy Games is a fun day for kids where they can compete with other students from different schools in the area. Every student gets to run an event depending on the number of athletes on your team. There are many different races you can participate in. Just to name a few, there is the 50 yard dash, the 220 yard dash, the 440 yard relay. There are also several field events. 

There are so many different events.  One of the most popular events is the 440 relay.  The 440 relay is a track event where 4 girls/boys run with a baton and pass it on to their teammates. This time a single runner has to run the entire track against other runners from different schools.  If running isn’t for you, then you might want to try-out for the softball throw, soccer kick, or the long jump.
            The Kennedy Games is a chance to show off your running skills by racing against many students from the school district.  This fun day consists of many events that will entertain you and the people in the stands that are watching.  This year it will be a little different, because the races will be separated into two days instead of having all the events on one day.  This is a great and exciting day to participate in.    

So our girl competed in 5 events for her school.  She medaled in all 5!!!  She got 3 bronze and two gold.  One of her gold medals was in the long jump.  I was so proud of her and cheered her on.  LGA came with me as well as the girls' godmother and her step son.  He was probably bored I am sure but he cheered BGA on and I appreciated that.  LGA was bored towards the end as we were there from 7:30-4:45.  Dave had to work but he met us in the parking lot and we all went to dinner together. I thought it was cute that BGA wanted to ride in the truck with Dave so she could tell him all about her day.  

Here are some pics from the day.

With 4 of her medals.  Yes, that's a big pimple on her chin.

BGA is on the far left, look how small she looks compared to the other kids.  

BGA got a lot out of it and was really team oriented and really enjoyed the experience.  I think she wants to run again next year.  I don't know if she will go out for track as she is also interested in tennis and basketball.  This is the first time she has really been interested in any sports.  She has no interest in soccer or baseball but LGA seems to have the baseball interest which makes me (a baseball fan) happy.  I am also happy for BGA's tennis interest and Dave's happy for her basketball interest (and volleyball if she goes for that). 

We are getting ready to finish off the school year and then BGA heads to middle school (where did the time go???).  I know it will be harder for her to focus and get organized so we may need to adjust some meds and look at tutors for her.  She starts out slow at the school year and then when we get involved with the teachers and get her back on track she pulls her grades way up.  But middle school is a whole other cup of tea.  I am not sure how that will go.  

LGA is doing well.  Not sure if she will attend summer school or not.  Last year the summer school teacher (who LGA had at her first school as a pull out resource teacher, which is what she is doing at this school as well) let the kids play and have a lot of fun.  With special needs kids it is sometimes about having fun, but the purpose of them going is to keep up with what they have learned so they don't regress (as LGA did).  LGA had to go back and re-learn stuff that she knew at the end of the school year.  SO LGA's teacher said she was not sure if she'd recommend summer school this year so I have no idea if LGA will go or not.  It was sort of a mixed bag.  BGA loved the time alone with me and LGA was jealous of it.  If no summer school I need to sign them up for some summer activities this year.  We skipped last year and the year before my mom passed away and we were in S CA half the summer.  This year we need to get signed up for some stuff.  

Mother's Day is always a mixed holiday for me as well.  The first few years the girls were home it was a hard holiday for all of us.  No one really made an effort (Dave would do it from the kids TO me, not anything from him to me, as he claimed that I was the mom and the girls were my kids so they should give me something) and I usually have to say what I'd like to have (ie hints) and then sometimes I get it sometimes I don't.  But this year the kids are excited about it.  However, it's just the girls and I as Dave has to work all weekend (apparently some loads got missed for that 'barter' store that his company distributes for, so both office managers have to work.  He could have gotten stuck with nights but I am glad he didn't).  So the girls and I need to decide what we are going to do.  I have different feelings of MD as my mom passed away during the weekend of MD 2 yrs ago.  It's sort of a hard time for me and I found myself getting a bit depressed this week.  The weather didn't help as it was cooler and cloudy and dreary and I just was in a funk. I have sort of pulled myself out of it, but it was hard to do.  I really wanted to stay in bed and watch tv or sleep.  But with Dave working longer hours and having two energetic kids I could not do that.  I decided that we will do something, I just need to figure out what that will be. BGA was sick with a mild cold during the week and now either LGA has allergies (a possibility as it's been windy all week) or she's getting a cold.  I am really hoping it does not travel any further in the house.  So not sure what our plans are for MD but I am trying to remember my mother and also enjoy the girls' excitement over celebrating it with me as well.  There were so many years that they didn't want to celebrate it and acted out, that I need to enjoy that they do want to celebrate this year.   I think we will have fun as we usually do.  I think some haircuts for the girls are in order as well as maybe a movie and lunch.  I would do mani/pedis but they pick the polish off and I'm just not willing to spend the money to do that when they are just going to peel off the polish.  So we'll figure something else out and maybe a family dinner as well.  

I hope those of you celebrating with your families have a great weekend. For those who are not a mother yet I hope your time comes soon.  And for those of you missing your mother this holiday I wish for you peace and fond memories of times past to help you through the day.  I know I have some fond memories of times past with my own mother.  

Pretty proud of my girl and her track meet.  It was fun to attend an event like that as a parent.  I have never really done that before and it was a nice experience.  I wonder what other activities she will want to do in the future?  All I know is I will be rooting her on from the sidelines.  :-)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Hi.......Still Here........

I haven't decided what to do for a new blog and I don't have time to work on it yet, so I'll stay here for a bit.

Here are two new pics from Wed's hair appt.  I have close to 2 inches of white on top with darker grey on the sides and rest of my hair.  Weird. I had my hair lightened a bit with more of an ash color as it was getting brassy (which it will do)  and warmer blonde which is nice, but I wanted a bit more toned down color. I hope this is the end of the highlights for awhile.  I am now using a shampoo (Rusk Brilliance in the purple bottle, if you are grey and want to spiff up your hair a bit) for grey and blonde highlighted hair which will keep the 'yellow' color at bay.

Can I just say that going blonde has been really interesting?  I was blonde back in my mid 30's for the first time and have added blonde highlights over the years, but this is the first time since 1996 -97 that I am really really blonde.  It's weird because older men follow me around (this is concerning me frankly and I don't like it) as an older man in Target did today.  He even came to the same checkout as I did.  I saw him scanning the parking lot as I got in my car (I ran with the bags as I didn't get a cart so had to run fast).  This never happened to me before I went blonde.  I see men in cars that are in the opposite direction noticeably looking over at the older woman with blonde hair till they realize it's a 50 yr old woman and then they look away. I have seen people I know stop dead in conversation when they see me if they haven't seen me after I went blonde (AIWB).   It's a weird feeling and I am sure when I go grey it will feel the same.  The other question I got when I was in the salon the first time was, "Why are you doing this you are young?"  Said by a senior stylist.  I gave all the reasons I gave previously, and she said "you know I wanted to do that but the other (senior as my stylist in her 40's is the youngest one there) ladies talked me out of it."  I told her to go for it. It's liberating.  I don't know how else to explain it other than it makes you feel free of the hair dye trap.  I hated that after 2 weeks I had noticeable re-growth and I am tired after all these years of going the dye route.

SO here are two pics of the recent color (also a trim. It's shorter which I didn't want but my stylist trimmed the back up so it's all one length straight across).

Sorry for the selfies, but it's hard to take a pic when you are short with short arms, LOL.

So how about an update on the girls?  I am sure any of you out there reading would like to hear an update on them.

They have been busy.

BGA totally turned her grades around after they did a 6th grade slip.  She has had some peer issues and some bullying which I did allude to and won't go over here, but we got her into a peer counseling group at school and I think it will help her.  She is also in the leadership group for end of year this year and next year.  She really enjoys it.  She also goes to the after school science program, on site girl scouts (with LGA) and then has had tutoring one day a week.  That's the busiest we have ever been. She got an honorable honor roll mention (not quite honor roll but the next grade level down which we were VERY happy about).  I think she is one of those kids that we have to get involved, get the teacher on board, and then she picks up her grades.  This is the 2nd year we have tried hands off and her grades slipped so we had to get involved. Dave feels we will always need to be involved with her teachers.  I'm ok with that.  I have gotten to know some great teachers.  This weekend BGA will represent her school at the school wide track meet.  She will run the 50 yd dash and 200 yd "run" she called it.  She also wants to play basketball next year.  She is well rounded I think. I never expected that for her when she first came home. How much progress she has made is amazing to me!  She is fully going through the 'teen' stage even though she's not 13 yet (till end of year) but that's to be expected.  It's so hard to hear the attitude come flying out of her mouth at times but it is the age. She also thinks she's right all the time even if she has no idea what the subject is. I can't say ANYTHING about that one because I remember being the same way, convinced I was right and everyone else was wrong.  LOL. Her compassion amazes me though.  When I went for her award ceremony, her teacher from last year approached me and told me that BGA had taken a card and had all the kids sign it.  The teacher had lost her cousin unexpectedly and BGA had some cards my aunt and uncle gave the girls when we were at my mom's summer of 2012 to clear out her place.  They had stickers, cards, etc.  I guess BGA took a card to school and had all the kids sign it.  It was sure nice to hear the teacher sing her praises and it made me very proud.  I hope this side of her continues.  She was not like this in fact she was rather rude when she came home.  SO this is huge progress and growth.

LGA had a rough year initially when school started.  She's still in Special Ed Day class and she was with the older kids (adjusted 4th grade so with kids 4-6 grades) and having lots of issues.  Her teacher was out learning the common core so LGA had a sub. I really wondered if we were headed in the mood disorder meds direction however, in Nov the teacher was back in the classroom and some of the kids in her class needed to go play on the smaller playground so after I complained of some issues they moved LGA and some of the other kids to the smaller playground and LGA settled down quite a bit.  She's grown tall and is close to height to her sister, they weigh the same (BGA is tall and thinner but LGA has caught up to her) and wear the same size in tops, most pants and shoes.  No more passing stuff from BGA to LGA anymore.

LGA is learning to read and reads on about a 1-2 grade level.  She's doing some math and has taken an interest in baseball (Yay!!!).  She does still have melts and tantrums but I am learning her triggers as I have stated in previous posts so for the most part we are doing ok.  She loves cats and we did get the kitten back in Nov.  That cat loves me (because of course I take care of her, however BGA does the litter boxes) and LGA so that's a good thing.  LGA has a love hate relationship with her friend K and they either get along or they fight.  But she seems to have a friend so that's a good thing.   She loves her Furby which drives me insane some days but does provide some good laughs "Wakey, wakey, eggs and cakey!" it says sometimes which has become a popular saying to wake the girls up in the morning.  LOL.

Well, that's the short update for now (as short as I can be).  I will let you all know where I land if I start a new blog.

Hope you are all enjoying the spring weather (rainy and cold here then supposed to get into the 90's by next week, gotta love spring!).  Have a good weekend everyone.  :-)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

So I Haven't Quite Gone Yet..............But..........Changes..........

I have been thinking about.  There's so much to talk about.

Anybody here???  Tap, Tap???  This thing on???  Oh, hi there.  You are here, those few readers who were reading this blog.

I am still thinking I will work up another blog, but haven't decided on a name.  Here's why I am thinking this, and feel free to weigh in (PLEASE???) and let me know what you think.

Back in January, my stylist had to be out for a hysterectomy op.  That meant that I was not going to be able to get my hair dyed till maybe March. I could  (A) go to a new stylist for a couple of months, or (B) grow my hair out to (drum roll here!!!)  GREY OR WHITE, whichever it is my hair has on this here head.  So, you know what I chose right?  I chose grey/white.  So from January 9th to March 12th, I left my hair alone.  No cut, no dye, zip.  I bought hats.  Seriously, I bought hats.  I have colored my hair since I was 18.  Highlights because I had a white streak (yes, a bit similar but not as noticeable as Stacey London's from WNTW). Then at 29 I was told that my hair was past the stage of highlights so it was time to go to PERMANENT color.  I didn't want to take that commitment (every 5 or 6 weeks) so I let it go grey/silver, at 29.  I couldn't hack it and I hated the color it was.  Granted I was a bit on the heavier side weight wise and I didn't feel pretty about my hair at all.  So permanent hair color and I began a relationship that was to last until I turned 50.  A 21 yr relationship with hair color.

This year or maybe sometime last year, my hair began to resist hair dye.  It would be 2 weeks past hair color and I'd see a half an inch of white roots show up.  My hair began to itch and burn from the color (I have heard this happens).  I began to get tired of trying to cover up the 1/2 inch white roots from my double crown in the back.  I began to get irritated that at 2 weeks I had roots.

I began looking at pictures of Helen Mirren on Pinterest.  YES, I did.  Here's one.

Now my husband, who has gone grey/white himself, likes this picture and this style of hair cut.  He told me that it's just hair and I could go back to coloring if I didn't like it, but it was up to me if I wanted to color or go grey.  You know what the choice was, what it had to be.

So hats and I (mainly newsboy caps because they seemed to look ok on me) and I got to know each other very well till I could get in to see my stylist.  We talked via text about what to do so she could plan to get me in and take time to do my hair.  I couldn't get in till March 12, 9 weeks after my last color. I was dying, I tell you.  I hated the 'skunk' look that I saw appearing as white along with the light brown I had.  But come March 12, I saw my stylist and we agreed to highlight and low light my hair from past the white roots to the end of my hair.  I thought this will help it blend till the grey/white grows out.   Here's what my hair looked like post blonde highlights.  Excuse the blotchiness and tired eyes.  I was having an allergic reaction to something, not sure what it is but I am thinking some sort of artificial dyes.  Anyway, here are the pics from the first highlight/low light session.

And if you want to see a shot of what I looked like before the highlights, here's from last Sept, LGA and I at my cousin's wedding.

Brown and quite a bit shorter.

Some more weight has come off as well. I am not trying to lose it, it's just been watching what I eat, etc.  I need to incorporate more exercise in my routine as well.  The batteries died on my scale so I have no clue what I weigh or how much I have lost all I know is I am almost down one pants size and top size.

So here's what my hair is looking like now.

Sorry I don't have a better one, it's hard to take selfies when you are on your own.  There is quite a bit more white in it now.  

How did my family react???  Well, let's just say the girls were less than thrilled with my going grey.  LGA in particular, pointed to pics of my long brown hair (when the girls first came home) and said, "MOMMY!!!  Please go back to brown!!!"  Evidently one of her more snarky classmates was teasing her.  I know she was because as LGA got off the bus I could hear K (I don't know what issues K has mostly learning I believe, but she and LGA lock horns quite a bit) saying, "I like your hair"  then giggles of laughter from the bus. I just played it off and shouted, "K thanks!"  And ignored her.  Hubby hates blonde hair.  He has NEVER been a fan and has told me never to go blonde.  When I explained that I had to, to go grey (even though from the blogs I read - and there are blogs and even a grey hair forum out there - it's a no-no to do it this way.  You are supposed to get through the 'skunk' stage, but I can't do it.  Just can't.  So I am choosing to blend) he was ok with it.  BGA didn't say much but looked dismayed when I pointed out an older woman with grey/white hair and said that is what my hair would look like.  

Fast forward 6 weeks and even I am used to it. I felt at first it was too much and I didn't like it.  But now I am used to it.  I have changed clothing, jewelry colors to reflect (and luckily I had most of the colors in my wardrobe just had to donate the 'warmer' colors and stick with the 'jewel' tones) it.  Make up had to be changed as well.  Everything changed.  Even shampoo (did you know there is shampoo out there that brightens grey or even blonde highlighted hair??? I didn't till I found some). I asked Dave what he thought of it on Sun night and he said he liked it.  When I told the girls I'd be going in this week to get it changed up a bit (it's a bit yellow, which I expected) they said "NO!  We like it as it is."  I don't know if that's true or not but I told them, "sometimes you have to be open to new styles and changing your hair.  Dye is bugging me and I want to change it.  It's only hair and it can be changed back."  Now they are asking me to get colored highlights in my hair.  A friend suggested peacock blue.  Dave was not on board but the girls are.  SO maybe this summer we three girls will have colored highlighted hair.  Who knows?  Have hair, can change it up if we want.

The point of this blog post was............thinking of starting a new blog to reflect my new hair, the process and the emotional part of it (yes, it is very emotional, more so than I ever thought it would be).  Anyone interested in following along?  There are blogs out there about women (some of them in their 30's) who have gone/are going grey (Google it, seriously that's how I found it) and embracing it.  

Weigh in..............I'm curious if anyone would follow along.  If not, well, then here is a short update of what's been going on with me lately.  There are updates about the girls too, which I will post later.

Hi blogland...........if you are still checking here or reading give me a shout out.  I know some of you lurk. Just shout out that you are reading.  Would appreciate it.........

Buh-bye for now..........

Thursday, January 30, 2014

I Am Thinking It's Time To Go.........

I have written a blog for going on 6 yrs now.  I am thinking it's time to close up the blog and move on.

I read quite a few blogs and I really enjoy reading what others are doing, cooking, crafts, the Mormon mommy blogs, etc.  But I don't feel as an adoption blog (or our adventures, which as of late have been pretty boring and non existent) that I am where I was 6 yrs ago, parenting wise.  There are issues, as there will be with a special needs child who is FASD, but I feel as LGA grows the needs become a bit more complex and not ones I want to share here.  BGA is 12, going to be 13 this year and I just don't feel that I want to share her space here either.  I will ponder my options for a few days, I might even decide to set up a blog centered more on lighter issues, other than adoption.  I know this blog was weighted down for a few years as we struggled to understand LGA's FASD issues and sometimes I was frustrated.  I have a bit more support (although not as much as I wish I had) in dealing with her behaviors, but I know for a long time it probably seemed that I was whining or complaining a lot about what we were going through. I don't know as though it really inspired anyone, so I think for now I will take a blog break, or I will shut this one down and possibly start a new one, that can focus on things I am interested in, that may or may not include the girls.  I have been lucky to chronicle the girls' early years with us, but almost 6 yrs in, I am ready to move on a bit.  We aren't having any real adventures as of late, so I feel sort of stinted in writing about our life as a family of 4 because it is not the same as it was when I started this blog.

So to those of you who faithfully read this blog and left comments, I truly appreciate it.  You have offered support and advice when I needed it and for that I am grateful.  I hope you will check back soon and maybe there will be a different link to a blog more tailored to the lighthearted, along with some posts about the girls.  If any of you have any ideas of what you'd like to read from me, let me know.  Would you be too bored if I added jewelry, recipes, etc., along with some blog posts about the girls when I want to share some good stuff they are doing (and they are doing good stuff this year)?  Let me know, dear readers and I will consider it.

Again, thank yhou for being here during our aoptino journey.  It's meant more than you know to share it all with you