Saturday, November 30, 2013

In Which The Little Miss Shops Till I Drop

Today the kids and I went to the mall; Eden wanted to go shopping for me and her little brother.  So Connor and I were banished to the rest of the mall, while she shopped in Target.

For two hours.

I have no idea what she was doing in there; but I figure she probably spent at least half that time in the shoe aisle.  I have never met another human being who can window shop for shoes as long as this kid can.  I'm not a shopper, people, but I have a daughter that could happily live in the mall if they had pull-out beds in those park benches.  I spent about an hour walking around the extremely crowded mall, and the rest of the time on a bench, texting Jeremy to whine about how bored I was.

Connor spent the time carefully waving to every single person that walked by us, but after a while he got fed up with that and started yelling directly into my ear.  Someday my daughter will understand the depths of my love for her, because normally wild horses couldn't drag me out to the shopping mall on a Saturday, let alone the Saturday after the busiest shopping day of the year with Connor in tow.  Connor has a short attention span for shopping, and when he's finished he tends to let me know at top volume.

Anyway, I've informed Jer that next year, he gets to take Eden out Christmas shopping, because he loves shopping even more than I do.  And by loves, I mean hates with a fiery passion in the depths of his soul.  I figure it will give me time to do all of my own shopping, wrapping and decorating while they're out.  And if I'm feeling particularly evil that day, I'm going to tell her that what I really want for Christmas next year is shoes.  I'm not sure they'll ever come home.


Friday, November 29, 2013

In Which We Find A Tree

Today the kiddos and I spent a leisurely morning together, and then after our respite care worker arrived Eden and I headed out to find ourselves a Christmas tree.  This will be her first Christmas home, and I wanted to do things right, so we headed out to one of the U-Cut places in town, grabbed a saw, a kneeling pad and a cart, and after a quick hay ride, trekked out into the lot to find ourselves a tree.

And we found a tree.  Boy howdy did we find a tree.

So we have twelve foot ceilings in our living room, and we needed something tall.  Eden fell in love with this gorgeous ten footer noble fir, which we both agreed was quite the best tree on the lot.  What I quickly discovered, however, as the hand saw bit into the trunk, was that the reason why this gorgeous tree was still standing so close to the beginning of the lot was that it was, to put it delicately, big boned.  It had a trunk that was probably eight inches thick, and I'm pretty sure had a heartwood of solid iron.

Half an hour later, I was drenched in sweat and had made it only about a third of the way through the trunk.  Eden was looking on in increasing concern and making helpful comments like "Mommy, you okay?  You face really red."  Finally after forty minutes or so of sawing away at this thing and getting nowhere I gave up and recruited one of the gentlemen who worked there, who took the tree down with a chainsaw in about forty seconds.  I admit I had a feeling of satisfaction when it keeled over, like the tree had been taunting me or something and had now gotten its just desserts.  I realize how petty and silly it is to want revenge on a tree, but logic has very little to do with many of my impulses.

Anyway, so we hauled it home and one of our neighbors was kind enough to help me get it through the door.  Unfortunately in the drama of getting this massive tree off the lot I'd forgotten to ask them to drill a hole in the bottom for our stand, which is one of the "pin" types often used for trees this size.  So our awesome neighbor came to the rescue again and we drilled our own hole.

So the tree is up now and it's really starting to feel like the holiday season in here.  The house smells wonderful.  But because the bottom of the tree wasn't cut straight across, while it's stable and isn't going anywhere it looks like our tree drank a bit too much eggnog and now has to lean against the wall for support.  This has the same effect that crooked picture frames have on me, and I'm convinced I will go slowly insane over the course of the month.  Oh well.  Eden had a blast, and Connor was enchanted the minute we strung the lights, so I'll be okay.  Given our eccentric family, it's not surprising we have a tree that's a bit eccentric too, right?

I have to go out and get another couple string of lights tomorrow, as four strings wouldn't cover it this year (told you this tree was big boned), and we need to string some more cranberries too, but we at least got the parts of the tree covered that need a ladder.  We'll save putting the ornaments on for when Jer gets home.  I was missing him a lot today; doing Christmas things inevitably makes me think about family, and it's just not the same without him here.

Also I bet he could have cut down the dang tree.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

In Which We Have A Happy Thanksgiving, And I Hope You Did Too

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I did the vast majority of my cooking yesterday, so today was all about relaxing.  No, seriously-- when my neighbor stopped by with a delicious pumpkin pie around noon, he caught me still in my pajamas.  I was dedicated to relaxing today.

So we watched a movie, and strung more cranberries, and played games, and just generally lazed around until our friend from church arrived and it was time to eat our American-Thai fusion Thanksgiving dinner.  The really nice thing about it was that it didn't make you super full, so then it was possible to eat way more dessert than normal.

We played a few rounds of Chicken Foot (a dominoes game that's a Texas staple and which we are bound and determined to introduce to the entire Pacific Northwest, mostly so we have other people to play against) and then called it a night.  All in all it was a lovely day.  Looking around the table, it was easy to see that I have a lot to be thankful for.

I spent the rest of the evening getting out Christmas stuff, since tomorrow we'll be setting up our decorations.   I can't believe it's that time already!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

In Which We Cook All The Things

The kids had a half-day of school today, which I spent picking up a few Christmas presents so I'd have something to wrap and put under the tree on Friday, when we start setting up for the holiday.  Then I picked up Connor, dropped him off at the house to hang out with my mom, and went to the doctor's appointment I was supposed to go to on Monday.

After I had respite care for Connor, and while he hung out in the living room listening to Irish fiddle tunes, drawing on his iPad and charming the nurse, Eden and I spent pretty much the whole rest of the day either cooking or making crafts.  I showed Eden how to string cranberry garlands for the Christmas tree (yet more sneaky fine motor skills therapy) and she worked on that while I tipped the green beans and grated unripe papaya for the som tam.  We're having a nontraditional Thanksgiving dinner this year: som tam (green papaya salad), coconut sticky rice, cranberry-orange relish, a vegetable dish that our friend is bringing and a Japanese-style bourbon pumpkin cake, which is made with mascarpone cheese and a whole bunch of frothy egg whites.  So it's kind of a vegetarian Asian fusion Thanksgiving, which works for me.

My biggest problem today was not wanting to eat all of the food as it came out of the oven instead of waiting for tomorrow.  I'm very proud of the amount of restraint I showed-- particularly when it came to the pumpkin cake.  Of course, it helped that the cake had bubbled over and I was forced to cut off and eat all of the pieces where it had puffed up on our baking stone.

But they totally don't count because they weren't part of the main body of cake anymore, so I can still be all self-congratulatory about not stuffing the entire thing in my face the second it came out of the oven, and also I have the added advantage of knowing the cake turned out beautifully.  Now I just have to keep myself from telling everyone it's terrible and they don't want to eat it so I can have it all myself.

Anyway, I don't have much else to report!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

In Which We Ponder Pomanders

So this morning I dropped Connor off and headed over to the shopping center that my doctor's office is located in, where I sat in a coffee shop for a bit to while away the time before my check-up.  I moseyed on over to the clinic half an hour ahead of the allotted time, only to discover that my appointment had been scheduled for yesterday instead of today.


So apparently while I am obsessed with getting to the childrens' various appointments on time to a point that is borderline unhealthy, I have no compunctions about completely missing my own appointments.  I rescheduled for Wednesday.  Hopefully I'll be able to remember to, you know, actually show up.  I'm sure the doctor and staff whose time I wasted yesterday would probably appreciate that.

Anyway, then I went out and picked up the last odds and ends I needed for Christmas decorating, which will be happening in our house on Friday.  Eden and I will be picking out a tree, stringing the lights on it and making cranberry garlands.  I'll put the house lights up if I have the time too, and we'll put out all our other decorations except for the Christmas tree ornaments.  We're going to wait until Jer's home to put those up, so we'll have something to do together as a family.

After the kids came home, Connor napped while Eden and I made pomanders.  For those of you not familiar with pomanders, basically you take an orange (or in our case, a clementine), poke it full of holes with a skewer and stab a clove into each hole.  Then if you choose to, you can roll it in other spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg.  Somehow the clove-and-spice mixture magically causes the orange to last 8,000 years and also to smell delicious.  I have no idea how this works.

Stabbing cloves into an orange is not only entertaining and strangely mesmerizing work, but it's also sneaky fine motor skills practice.  I'm a huge fan of Sneaky Therapy That We Don't Refer To As Therapy Because It Is Fun.  It was interesting enough work that Eden, the self-purported Hater of All Things Crafty, actually made four of them, and since I'd already made quite a few before she got home we now we have a big bowl of pomanders sitting on the dining room table.  If you buy the cloves in bulk at an Asian foods store this is actually a fairly inexpensive way to make your house smell ridiculously good.

After that it was off to drop Eden at swim practice.  Then Connor and I went out for some quality time at the local bookstore, where we shared a piece of lemon tart while snuggling and reading a book.  It was nice to get a bit of one-on-one time with both the kids today; that doesn't happen very often!


Monday, November 25, 2013

In Which I Try And Start Yet Another Project Because Evidently I Don't Have Enough To Do With My Time

So today after I dropped off the kids off at school, my mom and I took a trip up to Seattle to visit a huge architectural salvage place.  I was looking for a way to build a nice looking desk for my bedroom that would fit both computers (once Jer gets home we'll have two), and also have more room for files.  Currently I only have one nice, neat file drawer in my desk, and then a huge pile of file boxes stacked in the corner of the room with all the other various insurance and adoption and whatnot papers in them.  Since I don't think I'm going to find anything ready-made or custom built in my budget that will work, I need to make my own desk/work table.

It's a really long space-- 103 inches-- and I thought the salvage place might have a counter or a slab that would work well for the top of the desk.  We saw a few things that would have been really cool.  For example, they had a huge beautiful piece of hand-cut, inch-and-a-half thick tempered glass that was exactly the right size and was really reasonably priced, but it just wouldn't be practical in the space as it weighed something like 400 pounds.  Not only would I have serious trouble getting it into my house, but if I managed to drop it the thing would probably make a glorious hole straight through our floor.

So that was a no-go.  We browsed through long aisles of doors and iron gates, lingered on a scaffolding top for a while but determined it was too narrow to sit on top of a filing cabinet, and then finally ran out of time and had to go pick up the kids.

I didn't find anything today, but I'm not in a hurry.  Jer and I can make things work if we need to, so I've got time to find something that will really work in our space and isn't going to break my floor or empty my wallet.  I'll keep looking!


Sunday, November 24, 2013

In Which We Have ALL The Thanksgivings

So Connor finally went down at three in the morning yesterday.  Then he spent all of today telling me he was really, really tired.  You and me both, little guy.  So this will be short tonight, because I'm headed to bed the second the night nurse is here!

We had another super busy day today; church and practice for the church play and stomping around in the church attic looking for the costumes for said church play (we still haven't found the angels-- how the heck did five angel costumes go missing in an attic the size of my bathroom?) and then cooking in preparation for our pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving celebration.  We're actually having three Thanksgivings this year, between the big church potluck and the one with my parents and the one we're doing at home on the actual day.  Basically the entire month of November is just an excuse for me to cook massive amounts of food.

Speaking of which, it's going to be a tiny Thanksgiving for us on the actual day this year, and I'd love the excuse to cook way more food than I can currently justify.  So if anyone's in the area and looking for a place to celebrate the holiday, come to my house.  Seriously.  Just shoot me an e-mail.  The more, the merrier.

Anyway, so we hung out with my parents for a while and ate delicious things, and then we watched a bit of football and chatted, and then we headed for home.

So overall it was a pretty good day, though probably a bunch of other stuff happened and I don't even remember it because I'm so tired.  Whee!


Saturday, November 23, 2013

In Which Connor Stays Awake And We Try Some Down Home Cooking

It's nearly one in the morning right now; looks like Connor's seriously considering pulling an all-nighter.  It doesn't happen as often as it used to anymore, but it does still happen.  Unfortunately it's the weekend for our night nurse too, so it looks like I may need quite a bit of coffee in the morning.

Connor spent some quality time with the grandparents today while Eden and I went out for a while.  We ate some lunch and then tooled around the mall for a couple of hours.  It was fun getting the chance to spend a little bit of time with my girl, even if we did have to go into every shoe store known to mankind.  This kid loves looking at shoes.

After that we swung by and picked up Connor.  After his quiet time, we piled back into the car and headed for the grocery store, where I picked up the ingredients for the jambalaya I planned on making tonight, as well as fixings for the pumpkin pie and the green beans I was making for tomorrow.  We're having a slightly early Thanksgiving celebration with my parents this year, which was nice because it meant I didn't have to fight my way down the aisles like I would have if I'd been doing this shopping the day before the real Thanksgiving.

Anyway, Eden and I cooked a big ol' pot of jambalaya together tonight.  She's really interested in cooking, but I think she was fed up with the whole mess after about fifteen minutes of stirring the pot.  Basically in jambalaya (at least the kind I make) you end up stirring everything for about half an hour total before you stick the pot in the oven and bake it.  "Why we not get the kind in the box?" she asked.  "It easy."  Luckily she changed her mind and decided it was worth all the stirring after she tried it.  She's developing quite a taste for Cajun and Creole food; I think it's all the seafood and spice that she appreciates.  Oh, and the sausage-- the kid is in love with andouille.  We've got plenty of leftovers (it's pretty impossible to make a small batch of jambalaya) so it's a good thing she likes it!

Connor spent the time we were cooking hanging out on his rocking horse.  He's borrowing a full-sized hobby horse from his therapy center-- one of the kind you don't see made any more because kids kept getting their fingers caught in the springs-- that's been modified to provide extra support.  Not only is it great practice in torso control for the little guy, but he also absolutely loves it.  It's difficult to find toys that will motivate him to work hard in physical therapy, so this is a sneaky but effective way to get him to do some work.  He seems to be feeling a lot better and was pretty perky today.

Now if I can just get him to go to sleep!


Friday, November 22, 2013

In Which Connor's Ticker Looks Good And I Get Some Respite

So Connor had his cardiology appointment this morning, which went well.  His heart looks about the same, which is always nice to hear, and he did well at the appointment, which the exception of the seizure he had shortly before.  As a result we now know the entire current pediatrician team of Madigan.  While they were all very nice, I sort of wish we'd skipped that part.  Connor was fine, and as it goes this seizure was a short one, but they're never particularly fun.

I got a phone call while I was at Madigan; the respite care worker who was supposed to be starting today ended up unavailable and so the home health agency wasn't going to be able to staff any hours for me until January.  I was, needless to say, pretty disappointed about that.  Luckily the staffing agency had another respite care worker who could work with him in the meantime-- and possible permanently if we get along well.

So we met with our new respite care worker, and she's very sweet.  She came and watched Connor for pretty much the whole afternoon, so I got the chance to get a lot done around the house.  We're not exactly sure what the schedule's going to be like for the next month, but we'll figure it out.  I'm so excited to have the help again!  She doesn't have quite the same flexibility in her schedule that the home health agency was going to provide and I'm not sure when we'll be seeing her again, but I'm so, SO glad that I'll finally be getting the chance to have a break!

So tomorrow the respite care worker was going to becoming all day and Eden and I were going to have a special outing together, but unfortunately that's not going to happen.  However, my parents were gracious enough to step in and offer to watch the little guy for a while so the little miss and I can still have a few hours of quality time.  I'm not entirely sure what we'll be doing yet, but I'm sure it will be fun!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

In Which Connor Is A Sickykin

I kept Connor home from school today as he wasn't feeling at all well; he dozed upright in his chair all through our morning routine and even the car ride to drop Eden off.  So I brought him back home and put him to bed, where he slept for around three hours.  Then he perked up a little bit and I brought him out into the living room, where he watched the Broadway productions of both Phantom of The Opera and Les Mis-- both highly appropriate movies for a seven year old.  Oh well; he loves the music.

With the exception of a brief break for tea with my mother after she popped by to say hello and choir practice in the evening, I spent pretty much the whole day cleaning and belting out the lyrics to the musicals.  Connor seemed to be okay with my top-volume version of "Do You Hear The People Sing?" but the cats were extremely unimpressed.  I'm pretty sure Cricket thought I was dying in some horribly agonizing fashion.

Tomorrow the little guy has a cardiology appointment; I hope he feels up to going!  I have to schedule those things quite a bit in advance, and we need a renewal of the kid's heart medication.  We also have our first respite care session tomorrow, and it would be nice if the little guy was feeling up to meeting somebody new.  I'll be sticking around the house this first time anyway as it will be a new nurse, but I would imagine things will go much more smoothly if Connor isn't feeling crabby because he's sick.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

In Which I Buy Tree Trimmings And Connor Runs Out Of Steam

I took the opportunity today while the kids were in school to go out and pick up some of my Christmas trimmings for this year.  This will be Eden's first Christmas home, and I want to do it right!  Of course, it made me want to put up all of my decorations now, and it's still too early.  This will be Eden's first Thanksgiving too, and I should probably wait until she's experienced all of the holidays before I start skipping over them.

Connor had a bit of a rough day; he didn't have any seizures, but he threw up all of his meals at school and at physical therapy he did an amazingly realistic impression of a sack of potatoes.  Not only did the kid not attempt to work on any of his normal exercises, but he was actively trying to lie down every time we sat him up.  He spent the entire trip back home alternating between signing "tired" and "sad," and when I gave in and put him down around five in the evening he was out in less than five minutes.  Part of it may just be the season; we're getting into the time when it's dark outside at a depressingly early hour, and goodness knows it always makes me want to hibernate.  I hope he's not coming down with something; maybe it was just one of those days.

Hopefully he'll feel better tomorrow!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

In Which Many Many Things Happen

Well today was eventful!  I dropped the kids off for school and then spent the morning filling out paperwork in preparation for my intake meeting with our new respite care home health agency.  Even with filling out all the paperwork in advance, our meeting ended up being nearly two hours long.  I'll also probably be talking by phone with our assigned nurse tomorrow, and I'll be doing an orientation with her on Friday.  It's amazing how large an instructional manual I need for my kid; Connor's a complicated little guy.

I'm really excited to be starting up respite again, though; it's going to be great to not only have some occasional alone time in the evenings (while Eden's at swim practice) but also to be able to spend some one-on-one time with the Little Miss as well.  We're going to have our first outing this Saturday, and I think we'll have a pretty good time.  Connor will still be getting his Mommy-and-Boy time with me during Eden's swim practices where I don't have respite care, so I think this will work out well and the kids will both be getting some balanced time.

After my meeting I made a quick stop at Eden's school, ran back home and ate lunch, and then I was off to pick up Connor.  The oxygen equipment technician was waiting outside our door when we got back to do some routine maintenance on Connor's condenser.  Then I helped Eden with her homework while Connor had his quiet time.  Then we were off to the store, and then there was dinner to make and more homework and our nightly reading time and Connor's medications and bedtime for Connor and then Eden and then I kind of collapsed in a little heap in my easy chair and didn't move until it was time to let the night nurse in.  It was a busy day.

Eden's reading time, by the way, is probably the best thing in the universe.  Her English teacher wrote home saying the kids needed to be reading out loud for twenty minutes every school night.  We sort of neglected to tell Eden that it was only school nights the kids were required to be doing this, so we read twenty minutes every night.  Eden used to grumble and groan about this, but now she actually asks to do her reading time.  Of course, it might have something to do with the fact that she can't play on the iPad until her reading is done, but hey-- whatever works, right?  Anyway, not only is her reading seriously improving, but the twenty minutes of reading is basically an excuse for her to have my undivided attention the entire time, and get a little bit of snuggling in with my girl as well.  Right now the reading is very much a collaborative project; she still needs help with every third or fourth word in a sentence.  So we have to sit close together so that we can both see the book, which is great for that bonding and attachment that is so important to any adoption.

It's also a fantastic opportunity to introduce various pop culture references, slang, idioms, etc. that she'll run into over her middle school and high school years.  We've worked our way through four books now, that have slowly upped in vocabulary and maturity level.  We started out with a collection of For Better or Worse, worked our way through Amelia Bedelia Means Business, and then tackled Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life.  Currently we're reading Awkward, which is a book about a high school girl whose embarrassing video goes viral on the Internet.

Though it's true that because the books contain language and phrases that are popular in teen culture it can get a bit awkward sometimes (ever tried explaining the phrase "that's what she said" to a kid with a limited English vocabulary?) talking about the characters in the books is a great way to have conversations about a lot of topics that most teenagers are familiar with but that are new to Eden.  They also provide opportunities to talk about some of the cultural differences between American and Thai teens, and to draw parallels between the experiences the characters have with what we encounter in our daily lives.  We've probably got a few more weeks to go before this book is finished, but if anyone has any recommendations for what we might tackle next, I'm all ears.

Not that I need any excuse to read more books.  Oh well.


Monday, November 18, 2013

In Which The Little Guy Is Under The Weather And Eden Holds Her Own

Last night Connor stayed up until two thirty in the morning, so it's not surprising that he was a bit groggy when I dropped him off for school.  Apparently he perked up quite a bit once he got there though, and he was fairly cheery until Eden's physical therapy appointment this evening, where he started throwing up and then conked out on one of the mats for the whole hour.  I think he might be coming down with yet another bug; it is rather the season for them.  I had to wake him up when it was time to go home, and once I put him to bed he was out like a light.  Poor little guy.  He's not running a fever though and he didn't have any seizures, so we'll see how he feels in the morning.

So I was sitting there at while Connor snoozed away watching Eden balance on a wobble board while she threw a basketball back and forth with her physical therapist, and I was awestruck by just how far she's come in the past eleven months.  When she got here, walking more than a few hundred yards was exhausting, stairs were a serious challenge, and something like balancing on a wobble board seemed completely out of reach.  She's not only running and jumping and balancing on that board like a pro; she's also standing so much taller, with her shoulders back and her head held high.  It's absolutely amazing how much of a difference it makes; I love seeing the evidence of the confident, self-assured young woman she's becoming in the way she carries herself.  That's my girl!

In other news, tomorrow I have my intake appointment for the home health care company who will be doing our respite care!  I am so unbelievably excited about this-- I did a happy dance around the house for about five minutes after I got the phone call.  Working with two different companies for respite care and night nursing may be a bit complicated, but I am really, really ready to have my respite care back so I'll make it work.

Anyway, it's late and I need to be up a bit early to get some extra cleaning done.  Tomorrow's another busy day!


Sunday, November 17, 2013

In Which We Do Our Best To Balance

We had a super, super busy day today!  We had church, and then while Eden practiced for the Christmas play, Connor and I ran home and made some asparagus for a potluck, which happened right after practice was over.  We stayed until nearly three in the afternoon, and then went home so the Little Miss could finish some work on a school project.  Then we headed out to get her a new backpack, since the holes in her old one have gotten two big to cover with duct tape.  This is her third backpack this year; the kid's hard on the things!  Hopefully this one will be sturdy enough to last her a while.

Connor had two seizures today but otherwise seemed to be feeling pretty well.  I think these were probably of the 'every two weeks or so I must have a seizure' variety; I swear he schedules the things.  If he starts getting sick we'll know otherwise, but so far so good.

We had to choose between going to the potluck and going to the annual Loi Krathong celebration at the local wat.  I let Eden decide what she wanted to do this year, and she opted to go to the potluck since it was indoors and it was raining and very cold outside (the festival is held outdoors).  I suggested that we have our own celebration at home if she didn't want to go to the festival, but she said she would rather not.  It's been tough trying to balance activities with the Thai community here with the other many things Eden has going on; I want to make sure she has those connections, but I also don't want to force that sort of thing on her and right now she's not all that interested.

I think right now she's more concerned with fitting into our immediate community, and she's put making connections with other Thai Americans on the back burner.  I suspect she sees being Thai as being 'different' from most of the people around her, and she wants to focus on blending in as much as possible.  I hope, however, that she'll eventually want to take part in events with the the Thai community again.  I won't push her, but I'll keep presenting opportunities and letting her know that our whole family enjoys participating in Thai cultural events and holidays.  We'll be traveling back to Thailand in a couple of years to visit; maybe that will spark an interest for her again.

She's retaining all of her Thai with no trouble though, which is a very good thing.  We want her to be able to travel between Thailand and America and feel like she can fit in wherever she is, and language is such a fundamental part of that process.  I've read so many essays about how many internationally adopted children who lose their native language later feel that they don't fit well in either America or the country of their birth, and while there's no way that we can completely avoid this issue we'd like to make sure Eden is as comfortable as possible balancing between her birth country and her new nation.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

In Which It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas Already, Which Is Kind of Nuts

Today Connor and I had a bit of a slow start; after I gave him his morning meds I went back to bed and we both slept in a while.  It felt really strange not needing to get up and get the day started!  I finally dragged myself out of bed and woke Connor up, and we puttered around the house a bit before heading over to my parents' house for lunch.  I love having them so close by now; it's great to be able to spend so much time with them!

Then my mom and I went out and did a bit of what turned into early Christmas shopping, which wasn't our original intent.  Christmas definitely sneaked up on me this year; it doesn't seem like we should be anywhere close to December yet!  I'm totally not ready and I hadn't even started thinking about presents or decorations, but from the way the stores were decked out you'd think the holiday was next week.  What the heck happened to Thanksgiving in the retail world, anyway?  I'm pretty sure that stuff was all on the shelves before Halloween.  The mall had the 50 foot tall Christmas trees up already, which Connor was excited by, though he didn't demand we get them as presents for all our relatives this year.  I guess the kid is growing up and he's too cool to demand giant Christmas trees as presents.  I kind of miss it-- can't believe how big he's getting.  Can you believe he'll be eight next year?  That's crazy talk, people.

Eden spent the whole day out at her retreat and didn't get back until around nine in the evening.  She told me "I had a good time, but I really really happy to see my bed!"  She was in her pajamas fifteen minutes after she got home, and in bed five minutes after that-- I've never seen the kid get ready for sleeping so quickly or enthusiastically.  Evidently the retreat was fun but also exhausting.  She said she'd definitely like to go back sometime, which was great to hear.  I think they do a summer camp as well, so that might be a really good option for her next year.

I'm so glad she enjoyed herself, and I'm really proud of her for handling being away from home so well.  Trusting that we'll still be here when she returns is a huge step for her, and I think a hallmark of growing maturity and understanding that our family is not a temporary stop for her, but a permanent home.  Hooray for our girl!


Friday, November 15, 2013

In Which All's Quiet On The Home Front

Eden is off at her church retreat today!  Since we don't have night nursing on the weekends, the house seems really quiet right now with just me and Connor home.  Connor went to sleep on time (hooray!), so I puttered around a bit and then took a long bath and soaked for a while.  That's the one advantage of not having the teenager home-- no competition for the bathroom with a tub in it.  But otherwise I'm kind of missing my girl, and I hope she's having better weather up at the campsite than we're having down here.  It's kind of stormy and rainy at the moment.  I want her to have a good time, and I can't imagine camping in forty degree windy, stormy weather would qualify.

I got some good news today; I checked my e-mail this evening and got a message from our regional care coordinator that our respite care might finally be happening again soon!  I haven't had respite care during the day since May, so I am more than ready for it to start up again.  My parents have been fantastic about watching the kids, but it will be really nice to have some additional support.

Otherwise, not much happened today.  Sometimes quiet days are pretty nice!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

In Which Cricket Attempts To Shrink And Connor's Chair Gets A Tune Up

Seriously, cat.  This is not going to work.
Today Connor went to school sans wheelchair-- I had to take it in for repairs.  Recently it developed this annoying habit where the brakes spontaneously deploy every ten to fifteen feet with this huge clang.  This, as you might imagine, has been driving me absolutely up the wall, not to mention that it's been seriously impeding getting places in any kind of a hurry.

It's complicated by the fact that while the brakes slowed the chair down, the wheel treads have worn down enough that they didn't actually stop the chair if it's on any kind of an incline at all.  Since large portions of the streets in the Pacific Northwest run down steep hills that end in things like major traffic intersections or you know, the ocean, this had the potential to be really exciting.  So I made an appointment and took it in.

So I spent an hour and a half or so tootling around in Gig Harbor while the repairs were done, and I'm now happy to say that Connor has a chair that goes when it's supposed to go and stops when it's supposed to stop-- sans the giant clanging noise.  Hooray!  It's amazing what a difference a simple tune-up of equipment can make; I didn't realize just how annoying the problem was until I wasn't dealing with it anymore.  Connor seems to enjoy the smoother, quieter ride too.

Eden leaves for her first ever church retreat tomorrow, which is pretty exciting.  It will be the first time she's slept away from home without me there, so she's a bit nervous about it.  I think she'll have a pretty great time once she gets out there though; she'll know quite a few people and it's only for one night.  I think it's a good way to ease into getting used to some independence, and I think it might make her more open to the idea of a summer camp some time in the future.  I have some really fond memories of the camps I attended as a kid, and I'd love for her to have some similar experiences.

It's been getting colder here, and the cats have started spending as much time as they can on laps or burrowed under warm laundry as I'm folding it.  I have seasonal lap cats-- they condescend to sit on me only in the winter time, probably because they think I make a good heating pad.  Then they get really huffy every time I want to move because my legs have fallen asleep or something.

We had a pint sized wool-lined bed we'd bought for Eden's guinea pigs a while back that they didn't care for, so I washed it in anticipation of putting it away.  It was sitting out on the couch for all of five minutes before it became Cricket's new favorite happy place-- despite the fact that it's about three times too small for her to fit inside.  I ended up buying her a more appropriately sized snuggly cat bed so she wouldn't look so pathetic and could fit her entire body inside the thing, but I had to stick the guinea pig bed inside it because otherwise she completely ignored it.  Every once in a while I take it out and wash it and she waits by the dryer until it's done and she can attempt to stuff her entire body into the thing again.  I think she's convinced that if she tries hard enough, someday she'll fit.

Crazy cat.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

In Which I Spend Way Too Much Time Decorating

Connor had a seizure (he's still getting over that cold) before school today and so I let him take a short nap on my bed while I got ready for the day.  We'd been back there for about ten minutes when I became aware of a smell filtering through the bedroom door.  This was not a pleasant smell.  It was more of a Something Is Very, Very Burned And Or Possibly In Flames Right Now kind of odor.

So this morning Eden discovered that if you put those vegetarian buffalo wings in the microwave and they are not hot after two minutes, which is the heating time on the package, it is not a good idea to put them in on high for six more minutes unless you prefer your fake chicken wings hot enough that they are actively on fire when you take them out.  Thankfully there was no harm done except for the fact that the veggie wings had to be put out in the sink and were inedible lumps of charcoal and my entire kitchen is now heavily perfumed in Eau De Charred Soy.  Yum.  Any suggestions on how to get the smell out of the microwave?

After I got the kids off to school (and then returned to Eden's school with a new outfit as her old shirt apparently smelled rather strongly of burnt veggie wings) my dad came by and we got to work hanging the wall sconces I bought for the master bedroom a few weeks ago.  Apparently what happens when I don't write for five months is I spend all that time and energy redecorating instead.  I've been slowly but steadily redoing our bedroom to make it more functional and welcoming, and I've pretty much got it the way I want it now.  Since Jer hasn't been home I've been making all of the decorating decisions, so the room is quite a bit more feminine than it probably would have been otherwise, but I think he'll probably be able to live with it.

Wall Sconces of Glory
So now I have a shag rug in there, and a super comfy zebra print chair, and a whole station with an electric kettle for tea and hot cocoa and a nice little plate with various kinds of chocolate on it, and lots of books, and plants (my bedroom is a cat free zone, which is why my plants are not all little chewed nubs) and my computer, too.  I'm currently wrapped up in my super fuzzy throw, sipping hot cocoa and stuffing my face full of Andes Mints while I'm typing, and since there's a bathroom back here as well I'm seriously wondering why I even need the rest of the house.  I guess I would eventually die of scurvy or something if I never came out of my room again, but it would take a while.  I've got a lot of chocolate back here.

Squids Make All Spices Taste Better
So anyway, Dad and I put up the wall sconces, and then I stood around for a little bit being proud of them and trying to figure out how to work every conversation I have for the next week around to wall sconces so I can talk about them, and then I got a phone call from Connor's school because his g-tube had accidentally been yanked out during a transfer and they needed me to come put a new one in so I had to stop daydreaming.  Hey, it happens.

After that we went to PT, where Connor tried out a new walker, and then we came home to find a package on the doorstep with my new food-safe tins I ordered to put all my spices in (told you I had the redecorating bug).  I spent Connor's entire nap time hanging my spice rack (two Gamble bottle crates hung vertically on the outside of my pantry wall) and transferring over all my spices to their new containers.  Then I hung a gilded squid over the whole mess, because squids are awesome.  See?

So now I can find all my spices, which will be really, really nice; this arrangement is a vast improvement over their previous corner cabinet home.  The rest of my house may look terrible (with the exception of the bedroom wall sconces, which look awesome) and there's a rather odd lingering smell of burnt buffalo spices throughout the whole place, but at least I'll be able to find my za'atar when I need it!


In Which I Sort Of Explain

Hello, friends.  It's been a long, long time.

So it's been nearly a year since I started this whole Parenting-A-Teenager journey, and let me just say that adopting an older child is every bit as much an extreme sport as roller derby.  The last few months have been. . . intense.  We've had a lot going on around here, and shortly after I wrote my last post things exploded and it became evident that it would be best if I took a hiatus from the Internet entirely until it settled down around here a bit.  So I just sort of walked away from it, and I stopped checking my e-mail and Facebook and everything because everybody wanted to know why I wasn't blogging and I couldn't figure out how to answer that question without sharing way more information than would be appropriate or healthy for our girl.  Sorry about that, everyone.

After a few months of intensive counseling multiple times a week we've made some significant progress, and I'm feeling comfortable with the idea of starting to write about my family again. I want to make it clear that we have zero regrets about the choice we made to pursue Eden's adoption and we're still fully committed to her (and should hopefully be finalizing next month!).  We'll be continuing to help her grow and heal over the next few years as she forges on towards adulthood.  I won't be going into any more detail about the last few months to protect her privacy, but I'll just say that it's been an extremely difficult period for all parties involved and leave it at that.

So a quick update on the rest of the family:

Connor's doing wonderfully and is as adorable as ever.  The kid's been working in a walker and that was going well for a while, but he now seems to have lost interest in it so we're taking a break.  He's getting over a cold at the moment, and is currently snoring and snortling away like a little pug dog in his room.  He's on the mend and felt much better today though, so he spent a large portion of his time amusing himself by asking to snuggle with me and then blowing his nose on my shirt.  Ah, the joys of motherhood.

Jer's doing well at Physician's Assistant school and is nearly done with his classroom time.  He's been gone seventeen months now and I am so, so ready for him to be home.  Unfortunately he'll be stationed in California for his year of clinicals so I'll be continuing my sort-of single parenthood for a while yet, but we hope he'll be doing at least a few of his rotations up this way, so we should see a lot more of him.  I've been checking train schedules for the line that runs down the California cost, and we're making plans to have some fun adventures together.

So anyway, here I am again-- thanks for being patient with me.  We'll be returning to our regularly scheduled programming of daily blogging now.  Huzzah!


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