Posted in Change, Family, Job, Me

The End of the Year of Change…or is it?

364 days ago I posted that 2019 was going to beĀ The Year of Change. I was so nervous, which was completely understandable. Standing on the other side of 2019, though, it’s been a crazy roller coaster like I thought it would be, but man, was it a good year!

I took a class on restarting my career

One of the girls did an intensive counseling day program followed by a less-intensive group program.

Laura was diagnosed with Generalized Epilepsy and had three seizures.

Laura and Bennett graduated high school

Ethan did a one week at camp and a three week summer program, all away from home

Catie worked a summer job every day

Catie applied for and got into CPFA, which cemented her career plan to become an actor.

Bennett got his first job and works full time now at Wawa (a regional convenience store)

Laura moved out into my sister’s house and attended her first semester at college, which went better than any of us could have hoped for. She also (ahem, ahem) made DEANS LIST!

I went to counseling for myself, which definitely helped with addiction and other things.

I got a part time job after 18 years away from the corporate world

I started going back to church and am going to attend a “welcome new people, find out more about us” dinner in January with the idea of becoming a member of this church.

Jim and I did marriage counseling, which we are now finishing up. It was tremendous and I highly recommend it.

Jim is changing positions within his company after being in the same department for three years. It will start in January.

Whew! That’s so much change in one year! Especially for me!

But you know what? It really has been SO GOOD! (well, except for the epilepsy!)

As I look into 2020, there’s so much more change ahead–Bennett going to college, Ethan attending the “school to work” program at Overbrook where he’ll leave our house on Monday morning and come home Friday afternoon. Catie being a senior and doing the whole college search and application rigamarole. But where I faced 2019 with fear and trepidation, I am embracing 2020 with wide open arms. I hope you can face your uncertainties the same way!

Joyous New Year, Dear Readers! See you on the flip side!

Posted in Christian, Family, Health, Money

Where Things Stand

I’ve done this off and on over the years and thought it was time for another:

Health: It’s an uphill battle to getting healthy, but I’m working on it. After my last visit to the endocrinologist, whereby she read me the riot act in a polite way, I’ve been eating better and taking my medication again. I get bloodwork in mid-November and see her the week after, so we’ll see if there’s any improvement. Also, I scheduled my first colonoscopy today (November 15th) and got my umpteenth allergy shot, still continuing weekly. Both boys are getting plastic surgery this month to fix some stuff leftover from when they were tiny babies. Hoping for good outcomes for both.

Education: Laura is thriving at college, Catie is slogging through 11th grade much the same way Bennett and Laura did. Ethan is enjoying senior year. Only one IEP this year, and that’s in December. At this stage I’m not fighting about homework anymore, which is a wonderful thing.

Finances: August and September stunk as usual. October is good and November will be even better. My part time job helped pay for the lawyer’s services this month (special needs paperwork/ HIPAA etc signed by the triplets).

Spirit: I’m feeling friendly towards the Holy Spirit these days. Other than a few days ago, I’ve been to church each Sunday since I started back (and that’s going by myself!). I’m thoroughly enjoying it–the music, the messages, seeing Laura and my sister there….I just need to make some friends, which is a little challenging right now. I’m having a hard time keeping up with my existing ones as it is!

Family: Things are pretty good! Jim and have been doing marriage counseling for awhile now, which has been great. Figuring out how to do things differently has been wonderful for us. Catie is settling into CPFA (fine arts school) and is taking choir, acting, ceramics and piano. In other words, utterly different from the plan that Laura followed. I love how different my girls are from each other, but they are both so talented! Ethan still has a special friend.

All in all, things are actually going well for now. I’m continuing to adjust to working part time–figuring out grocery shopping and doing things around work hours instead of during.

Posted in Family

This Week

Besides the regular driving kids to and from school (with or without snow delays)

Monday: L counseling, L annual ophthalmology.

Tuesday: Me “Relaunching Your Career” class, Me counseling first appointment.

Wednesday: Normally scheduled stuff

Thursday: Me help organize a friend’s dining room/school room so both uses can work, C tour of L’s school, Center for Performing and Fine Arts, because she is applying to get in.

Friday: L her Bureau of Blind and Vision Services coordinator comes out to discuss this year and how services will change once she graduates.

Saturday: B SAT, C Aurora concert in Philly

Sunday: E The Song that Never Ends performance in Philly.

Guys, I know in 5 years things will be drastically different, but I can’t imagine what life will look like when I’m not scurrying around like a chicken with my head cut off.

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.

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.