Posted in Family

The Ladies Who Lunch

Every so often, as often as we can manage it, my mother, my sister and I get together for lunch. We’ve done this for a long time now, longer than I’ve been driving kids to school because I remember having to work around my sister’s carpooling schedule and that was 8 or 10 years ago! Even though we technically live in the same town, we live in three different ends of it and don’t often see each other. So planning lunches is necessary.

The nature of lunch has change a bit over the years. Where my mother was in her mid 70’s, now she in her mid 80’s. Where my sister had three in high school/middle school, now she had an empty nest and a grandchild to babysit 2x/week. Where I had littles with little problems, now I have four teenagers, some with fairly large problems.

My mother used to actively participate in the conversations. She often now will sit and listen to my sister and I talk. She will be 86 in two months. (My father just turned 87) and it is a little hard to see. Firstly, I am amazingly grateful that I still have two parents. I know this is rare, especially at my age. But it is hard when the conversation turns to “five years from now” and know that my parents will probably not be part of our lives anymore.

Both of them, but especially my mother, are becoming forgetful. She forgets things you said within the conversation you are still having, as well as something said a few months ago. I’ll admit that if I hadn’t seen my sister go through this with her in-laws, I would have gotten fairly exasperated with having to remind my mother. But understanding that Mom just can’t help it has made me gentle, either reminding her or letting it go altogether.

As of now, both of my parents can still do the daily tasks required for life–food prep, eating, self-care, bill paying and what have you. My sister, having walked this road before, has an educated eye on what to look for. I’m slowly catching up. This is one of the reasons we moved back–so that my sister wouldn’t have to carry the burden alone. (And so that we could be there for my MIL, who is in her early 70’s and lives alone.)

I earnestly hope that my girls and I get to be friends and have lunch together when they are old enough. It’s been such a blessing with my sister and mother.

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Posted in Addiction, Family, Health, Kids, Me, Vacation

End of Summer Update

Y’all, I’m sorry. I never mean to disappear over the summer, but it almost always seems to happen.

Looking at a week left until school starts (two seniors, a junior and a sophomore), I’m processing all that has happened over the course of the last 10 weeks. Like the rest of 2018, a lot of it didn’t look like what I had expected. Ethan went to Diller Vacation home, came home and immediately left for a four week program, IDEAL. Laura spent three weeks at Penn State’s Summer Academy. We spent 12 days away from home, 9 of them in Michigan and the others traveling to and from.

That was the expected.

Unexpected, well, that would include a plane ride off the island in Lake Michigan, a transfusion for Catie, a night over in a hotel just the two of us and a plane ride back. (by plane, picture a Cessna, and not a 747!). We still don’t have answers for WHY she is having this bleeding (a period since February except 3 weeks in June). The current course of meds is making it lighter, but has not stopped it. I’m trying to get an appointment at duPont instead of staying at the OB-Gyn’s. While they have been great with me, I’m not thrilled with the level of care with my 15 year old.

Unexpected would also include the death of Ethan’s best friend, the daughter of one of my closest friends. Which, even as I type that, brings tears to my eyes and hurt to my heart. I loved her like a daughter and don’t know how to live life without ever hearing her sweet, soft voice asking for Ethan on the phone. Or to see them, snuggled up on the hammock or a couch, talking and sharing time. If I ever (EVER) tried to picture him actually being romantically involved with someone, it was her. I’m trying to figure out what friendship with her mom will look like when it was our children’s special needs that brought us together. I WILL be her friend. I just don’t want to hurt her.

Unexpected has been my raging-out-of-control addiction. It started before Michigan, so I can’t even blame it on Devon’s death. It certainly helped me avoid grieving, though. And hey, that’s been GREAT. (that facetiousness, people)

Unexpected has been the decision to go forward with another round of SI joint injections on Friday. I’ll be sedated this time around, and have much better expectations of recovery and the pain involved. I flared last time; most likely I’ll flare this time. I have four full days of nothing planned, and then it’s driving the kids back and forth to school. I’ll manage.

Unexpected has been the washer breaking, the hall bath leaking, another spot on the ceiling today that we have NO idea where’s it coming from, and other financial woes. HOWEVER, unexpected has also been a promotion for my husband FINALLY. He’s been working towards this for several years and it’s amazing and wonderful for him to have the recognition that we as his family have thought he deserved. Yay for my husband!

So, yeah. The unexpected has mostly ruled this summer.

Posted in Church, Family, Friends, Kids

Visits

Sunday after church (more on that below) we spur-of-the-moment had lunch with my sister and brother in law. Living in our old house, quite far from both church and even farther from my sister, would not have encouraged us to do that.

Yesterday the girls and I went over their “aunt’s” house. She’s such a great friend of our family that they call her Aunt Judy and her kids call me Aunt Tina.

Today my brother is coming (unless it rains) and taking the sighted kids (Ethan is at his summer program) to St. Peter’s Village where they will climb all over the rocks/boulders and have a great time (this is the girls and my brother from last month).

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Meanwhile, I’ll be having lunch with two moms of Catie’s friends that I’ve become friends with.

Friday we are heading to our old neighborhood and visiting with their close friends there.

Not having to care for a home and deal with selling sure makes visiting easy!

Regarding the abovementioned Sunday church thing, we visited a church for awhile where my sister attends. We liked it. Then the pastor went on a sabbatical. And then stepped down for stress reasons. Dealing with personal stuff in our lives, as well as the whole house stuff (kitchen last year, selling this year), we took a break. Now we are in a much different place and decided to try it out again. Last year, Ethan needed to wear over-the-hear-sound-blocking headphones to deal with the worship time. This year, he was completely fine. It was WONDERFUL. In some ways (TRAINS!), his autism is somewhat worse than it used to be, but I’m loving how he can handle doctor and dentist appointments, deal with life not going exactly how he expected (although we sometimes have to explain things more than once to get that through), and apparently, being able to ENJOY the worship time instead of withstand it!

Posted in Family, Kids, Me

It’s Only a Season (right?)

I’ve mentioned in past posts (at least I think I have!) that this year I’ve been more overwhelmed than I have been in a long time. Please note the reasons why:

For one daughter, we’ve added counseling sessions (1x/week), Braille lessons (1x/week), med checks (1x/month) to this school year.

For another daughter, we’ve added physical therapy for her knees (2x/week) (for 8 weeks which we are mid-way through)

For a son we’re deep in the middle of robotics (2 evenings/week, 1 weekend day with 3 qualification matches between December and January)

Husband has the same schedule as the above son.

With the cold winter weather we’re taking a break from horseback riding lessons, thank the Good Lord.

My Wednesday morning Bible study will start up again in a few weeks.

Plus we have our normal carpool-in-the-morning-and-afternoon on Tuesdays, Thursdays and every-other-Fridays. Oh, and it’s IEP season again. And the winter art show. And, and, and….

Sometimes I just feel like I can’t take one more thing. Really. I find myself zoning out more–either reading obsessively or bingeing on Netflix or surfing incessantly (do you see a pattern?) and know that I’m trying to find a non-sex-addiction way of pacifying myself.

I try to remember–and freak myself out in the process–that this really is just a season. One of the triplets will get his learners’ permit in August and will be licensed this time next year. So I won’t need to drive him. In about 2.5 years (a crazy short amount of time), two will be graduated and either working full time or off to college. Lord Willing, we are selling our house this year and moving closer to school and work so the drive times to those things will greatly reduce.

It REALLY IS just a season. An insanely busy season.

Posted in Family, Kids, Kitchen Reno, Me, Overbrook

Why I Am OK About Rescheduling

So last week my husband asks how would I feel about changing the date that we start the reno from May 21st to May 28th. How did I feel?? NOT HAPPY. But yeah, I love my husband and the ONLY reason we chose the date we did is because it worked around his work schedule (which is crazy this year because of an audit that he is, essentially, running). And that schedule changed and that week no longer worked. So yeah, I worked through the not happiness and it became fine. Really.

And then it became so much better than fine because this, THIS my friends, is my week:

Sunday: Jim and Neighbor uninstall sliding glass door, frame in extra wall space and install new “full glass” (which ISN’T FULL GLASS) door. In between, fiddle with PC that we have had to install new hard drive on and therefore reload every freaking thing including thousands of updates onto. And yes, I ended that with a preposition.

Monday: Fiddle with PC more. Make menu, grocery list, add coupon software, print coupons, get gas, grocery shop, unload, lunch, rant about kids’ cyber school software program giving error codes at the end of the progress check and then rejoice at the rescheduled progress check, realize a chipmunk is in our house and try FOR HOURS to try and catch it. Pick up neighbor child from bus stop. Neighbor mother try to catch chipmunk. Fail. Make dinner, take Bennett to robotics, go to bed.

Tuesday: Carpool run to CPFA (Laura) and USP (Catie). Finally get Quicken to work on PC. Gather three trash bags’ worth of laundry and go to laundromat for 1 hr 5 minutes ($17) and catch up rather quickly. 🙂 Lunch for Bennett and me. Go to CPFA, get Laura, drop Bennett and Laura off for Algebra Keystones. Go to paint store and get paint for kitchen. Go to Entemann’s outlet and get donuts as a special treat for kids this week. Pick up Laura and Bennett and go home.Get home only to realize that 1) chipmunk is still in house and 2) dogs are VERY aware of this fact and have torn apart various parts of our house trying to get at it. When Jim gets home we finally join forces, use a crabbing net that I didn’t know we owned and catch the darn thing. Out it goes.

Wednesday (plans only at this point): Home in morning (put away all that laundry, maybe?) Leave at 12 for USP (Catie drama rehearsal) and Biology Keystones. Go to Lowes and get flooring that is finally in. Drop off library book, but don’t get sucked into vortex of library. Pick up all children from those at 4 plus car pool kid, drive home. Get Ethan from neighbor’s house. Dinner. Collapse.

Thursday:  USP and CPFA, home by 8:30 or so. Actually home a lot of the day! Leave at 3:15 to get to CPFA’s Spring Art Show (Nana pick up Laura so she doesn’t have to drive all the way home and then turn around to go back to school). Admire my daughter’s talent. Leave by 5, grab dinner and then head to Overbrook School for the Blind for Ethan’s Spring Concert. Meanwhile, Catie is performing in her drama, which we will miss tonight. Carpool family will drive her home. Spring Concert usually ends around 8:30, and it’s about 1 1/4 hours from home, so it’s a late night.

Friday: USP for Catie and carpool girl. Drive to headquarters of PALCS for Laura to finish Algebra. Home unknown time. Dinner of some sort, leave and meet Jim and Nana at USP for drama at 6:30.

Saturday: Thank goodness NOT starting kitchen reno!

Posted in Change, Church, Family, Holiday, Kitchen Reno

Christmas Time Is Here…

If you read that title in the Charlie Brown chorus singing it, you are not alone!

It’s a strange holiday season. We’re having ups and downs and weird weather and I’m left feeling a little muddled.

I have a beautiful, gorgeous perfect little brand new niece. She was born 2 weeks LATE on December 3rd. I got to hold her today. So little! So sweet! The newest-born baby I’ve held since my own. So very, very weird to look at my teenagers and shake my head at the fact that they, too, were once that small and sweet.

We visited for a third time a new church. While we were in a bit of a rush on the way out (to go and see aforementioned baby), it was still a lovely service. The pastor preached on Luke 2. Never, ever an easy passage simply because everyone (even those who only do church once or twice a year) has heard messages on it forEVER. How to put a new spin on it? He managed! I’m tentatively hopeful about this church–it feels like home already, and I like the people. They are SO friendly! We’re going to continue to visit for the time being, so that’s great.

On the not-so-great front, which I have been fairly silent about, my sister has breast cancer. Originally it was thought she could get a mastectomy and be done, but the pathology report was much more severe and now 12 weeks of chemo is in her future. As is her daughter’s wedding on April 8. My heart hurts for her, and I’m scared. I love my sister and don’t want this journey for her. She is facing it with grace and faith, but doesn’t really want to do it, either.

The kitchen planning continues. We received the first draft of the plan from the designers, but it had some errors in it (missing a soffit, forgot to figure in the new door), so I’m getting the 2nd draft tomorrow. What I saw that was correct I really liked. A LOT. We still have a lot of conversations and decisions about specifics ahead of us, but having the design in hand will be a good foundation.

In Southeastern PA, typically, it would be in the 30’s and 40’s now. Probably not snow, although on occasion it would be, but it’s heading towards winter and it will be feeling like it. Not this year, though. Today was 71 when we visited the baby in Philadelphia. Weird! It doesn’t FEEL like Christmas!

With the baby and my sister’s treatments going on, planning is up in the air. Now, any of you who have read me know, without a doubt, that I am not only Planner Extraordinaire, but also that I like things written down in pen on the calendar. Nothing is in pen. Not even in pencil. I have not one clue what is going on. And I’ve just got to suck it up and deal with it! 🙂

This week coming up is the beginning of the Great Fudge Making. This year (as was last) I’m making 12 pounds of fudge for gifts. Yes, 12 POUNDS. That’s 24 containers. Work, but so worth it!

Thanks for dropping by. I hope your holidays are peaceful, joyous and healthy.

Posted in 7 Quick Takes, Addiction, Counseling, Family, Recipe

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. Screech! It’s past the middle of September! How did we get here?? We’re finishing up the third week of cyber school and I’m STILL trying to get some semblance of routine with driving, home facilitating with school and housework. Oh, and laundry. I’ve had to re-wash laundry 4 times this week because I kept forgetting about it. And I can’t even blame it on the washer–it’s on the same floor I’m on practically all day (not in the basement, where I forgot about it all the time).

2. On a more serious note, I had an intake evaluation for counseling this week. Deep breath. Boy, was I nervous! I have done counseling off and on for more than 20 years for all sorts of things: family relationships, addiction, marriage, etc. However, it’s been awhile since I’ve done it. Talking about any of my issues, especially addiction, is difficult. But I had reached the point where, honestly, what I’m doing is just not working anymore. So I think a professional’s opinion and input would be rather helpful at getting me past where I’m stuck. (which I will cover in a future post, I promise!)

3. This was a banner week in my extended family. My parents celebrated their SIXTIETH wedding anniversary. SIX ZERO, people! That’s amazing! According to Google, without which I would be completely lost, it’s their Diamond anniversary. Way to Go Mom and Dad!

Also in my extended family, my sister and brother in law celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary. On the same day. I remember being so happy for my sister at her wedding. We adored (and continue to adore!) the man she chose to spend the rest of her life with. May they one day celebrate their 60th too!

4. I had a neighbor over for coffee this morning. While that doesn’t sound like much, we’ve been in the same neighborhood for 6 years or so, have children the same age and are even both believers. And this is the first time we sat down to chat. Ever. So yeah, I’m looking forward to more coffee talks with her. Women friends ROCK.

5. I made these Fish Tacos this week. YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM!! One of the best things I’ve had in a long time. I love when what I make at home is restaurant-good! Mine weren’t QUITE this picturesque, but they were delicious!

6. The girls and I watched the 2nd half of Singin’ in the Rain this week. a) they both loved it b) they want to watch the rest of it c) I wonder if I can translate that to seeing OTHER wonderful musicals? Because there are so many out there!

7. My mother in law contacted me for the person I used for Connor’s gravestone 13 years ago (for her mother’s marker). I knew exactly where the information was (notebook from that time period) and she was still in business. My MIL remembered that we said how wonderful she was and wanted to use her as well. I think that people who work in the “death industry” (for lack of a better phrase!) tend to be extra-nice. I’m sure there are jerks. And maybe the people we worked with were jerks to others–maybe they were extra nice because it was the death of a baby. I don’t know. But everyone was SO kind to us and I’m glad that at least one of them is getting more business because of that.

For those of you who follow my posts, I just wanted to give you a quick shout out. It kind of freaks me out that people do that. So Hello! Thank you! I appreciate you! Feel free to comment! 🙂