Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Doilies from the past

 
The other day I was going through a small box that we have. Inside it are a few items that Kevin’s mother gave us years ago. There are four hand-embroidered handkerchiefs and one knitted glove. His grandmother made them. I’ve never met Kevin’s grandmother. She passed away many years ago. I was looking at these few items that we have of her. They are beautiful. I wondered about the delicate glove. Where was its mate? Did it get lost long ago? Destroyed? Or was it never made? I started thinking about my own grandmother that passed away a little over a year ago. I remember seeing my grandmother sitting at her kitchen table or on her sofa knitting doilies. 
Growing up, my grandmother always gave me doilies for my birthdays and Christmas. My grandmother continued her tradition of doily making and giving until a few years before her death. I have boxes full of doilies and embroidered tablecloths that my grandmother made and gave me. I decided to take out the boxes and go through them. The items inside were beautiful. I spread my grandmother’s work, and Kevin’s grandmother’s work on the floor around me in my living room. I was surrounded by the work of these two women. A strange feeling came over me. I can’t explain it. The best way I can describe it is that I was surrounded by sacredness. So much work went into each of these objects. So much time. I thought about these two women that didn’t have much in common and lived an ocean apart and yet here they were joined by their craft on my living room floor. Yesterday I spent a quiet hour looking through and holding the hand made artwork of two women that are no longer with us. Somehow, looking at these beautifully detailed items created by their own hands, they didn’t feel so far away. In fact, they felt very near to me. I’ve decided that it is time for these works of art to come out of their boxes. Kevin is going to build frames for them. We are going to display our grandmothers’ art on our dining room wall. I’m excited to be able display them for all to see, especially my children. Maybe this will give my children the opportunity to get to know their great grandmothers a little bit and feel close to them.

Friday, September 7, 2012

I love Autumn!

I love this time of year! Oh let's face it, I'm a fan of all the seasons:-) But welcome to Autumn. Cooler weather, changing leaves, comfy clothes and thicker blankets, Mid Autumn moon festival and Halloween. It is a great time of year:-)
So what's new with us? Well I'm still on a high from being in Germany. Even though we've been home a while now, that was an amazing trip. It had been waaaayyy too many years since I had been home again. I can NOT go that long before going back again! I can not! So hopefully we can make it back again in a few years.
School is in full swing again. I can't believe C is in 7th grade this year. It is going to be a tough year for her academically, I can already tell. But we'll just keep plugging along and do the best we can.
I've got the high school covered this year. R is in 10th, J in 11th, and T in 12th! That is mind blowing. T is taking dental assisting at the Tech institute for dual credit. She is loving it so far. Right now she is saying that she likes it more than her CNA classes last year. She finished her Personal Progress over the summer and is really proud of that and I'm proud of her too:-) She'll be 18 in Oct. I can't believe it.
J is so far enjoying school. He is taking a welding class this semester and is loving it so far. He also made the High School swim team! Can you believe that? wow. He's still working part time as a custodian at a nearby Elementary school. I'm a little nervous about how swim practice plus his job will interfere with his homework... but we'll see how it goes. He's really excited about being on the swim team.
R is at the High School now. He had a lot of problems last school year. Hopefully this year will be better. He's enjoying his classes so far. He has been working on his Duty to God booklet and has almost completed the "Teacher" section. I'm proud of him for that. He'll be 16 in January. He's still doing NR. I've also started meditating with him to help him be calm. So far it seems to help. I'm also going to be doing drawing classes with him after school on Fridays. I think he could use a little creative outlet. Hey, and I might as well put that art degree I have to some use right? lol.
C is at the Junior High now, like I said. Honestly I'm terrified. With her developmental delays and physical issues, I'm afraid those teenagers will eat her alive. But she's been doing great so far. They took her out of PE after the first week once they realized how significant her physical issues are. Thank goodness for that. On the surface she seems fine, so many people don't realize what a hard time she actually has. It is not until you spend significant time with her that you realize what her physical disabilities are and how much they do affect her. I was really worried about her PE class, so this is a relief for me. But so far she's liking school and feels really grown up:-) She's still doing her NR program and has a long way to go with that. She's going to be 13 in Oct! Holy Moly batman!

Kevin had I have been trying to finish some projects around the house before winter hits. The under side of a couple of spots on our roof overhangs needed to be finished and Kevin has been working on that. We wanted to replace a pergola built by the previous owners on the front of our house but that just isn't happening right now so the kids and I painted it white instead. It looks a little better now. Of course I'm always working on our garden. This summer Kevin and I put in driplines and then put them all on timers. Why didn't we do that before? It has been great! I highly recommend doing that! There are tons of youtube videos on dripline installation if you want to put in your own driplines. Home depot had everything we needed. So do it! You'll be glad you did:-) (Isn't this the part where Home depot pays me for the free plug I just gave them?.... I wish! lol!)
Kevin and I also keep getting the impression that we need to finish our garage space. The previous owners of our house did crazy stuff to it. They turned the back porch into an addition that was totally useless and had zero insulation. So after buying the house we had to almost completely redo it. It's great now. It was a long, strange, useless room. Now the back half is another bedroom and the front part is a small den... I'm sitting in there now:-) But like I said, we finished that several years ago. But we've left the biggest pain undone. They took the one car attached garage and closed it off to make it another room. BUT they did crazy stuff, they walled the garage door into the front for example- how nuts is that? And with the door sealed they just built some useless closets that take up a lot of space but at the same time can't hold much for storage. Then they put carpet down and called it a room. So it is this strange- "not a garage" but can't be used as a real room space either. We would have to completely gut it and tear out the front "wall" (to remove the garage door that's been left inside) to finish that room. It is such a big job we've never done it. It wouldn't be that expensive to do it, we would just need a small army of helpers to get it done. So we've just been letting it sit. But like I said, we keep getting the feeling that we need to finish it. We'd like to divide the room in half and add a fifth bedroom and have the other half be Kevin's office. Plus it would be nice to have a large storage closet that we could actually use! It is that fifth bedroom we keep feeling like we need.... hm... what's that all about?! We keep teasing T that she'll get married right out of high school and have to live at home with her unemployed husband (Heaven please let that not be true lol!). The boys have to share a room right now, maybe that isn't going to work for much longer or something. Or... maybe there's another child coming to us? hmmm... crazier things have happened...  so who knows. Right now we're just figuring out how to go about finishing that space and adding another bedroom.
Well that's what we've been up to. The end of this month is the Mid-Autumn Moon festival. C and T look forward to this Holiday all year:-) Mooncakes and lot's of homemade Vietnamese and Chinese food! Yum!
To celebrate this wonderful time of year and the Autumn season, I highly recommend the Children's book called "Wild Child" written by Lynn Plourde. It is one of our favorites!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Germany update emails to family

We are going to Germany this summer. It has been years since I have been back! I am so excited. I can't wait to see family and friends that I haven't seen in so long. I also can't wait to share with my children where I grew up. We will be traveling with my parents and my sister. I have been counting down the weeks! I started sending email updates, a sort of countdown, to my family. I decided to paste them in here:-) Enjoy the silliness:-)
"Week 10
This is just an email to announce that we are leaving in 10 weeks for Germany (well technically on Monday it will be 10 weeks to the day we leave, I'm a few days early)! I've decided to do a weekly countdown! This week's German word is Flusspferd. It means Hippopotamus (although technically I think it means river horse, but whatever. You get the idea.) It is my favorite German word, so I thought it was fitting to start this countdown off with.
Whoo hoo! Flusspferd! (see doesn't that just roll off of the tongue?)
Love and Schnitzel with lemon wedges,
Anita
Flusspferd!"
"Week 9
It is now 9 weeks until we leave! Whoo hoo!!! For this week's German word of the week I 
decided to borrow one of Mom's favorite words: Kaasloabi (meaning little cheese loaves.) 
Kaasloabi! It sounds like a wimpy war cry haha! I will storm Neuschwanstein screaming 
"Kaasloabi!" A fitting war cry for the crazy king's palace eh?  Mom and dad are coming over 
today to make our trip itinerary. Mom has made appointments to meet with people, so she's 
going to share those dates and we'll figure out when we can fit in the other stuff we want to 
do inbetween all of that. Yea! Kaasloabi!
Love and cheese on bakery bread rolls,
Anita"
"Week 8
So, I just had to get really excited because we will be leaving for Germany in 8 weeks! I can 
now say "We will be leaving for Germany next month." Whoo hoo! Here's the German word 
of the week. In honor of my sister, I have chosen her favorite word... Schluempfe. Have the 
rest of you been stumped? Schluempfe. It is the German word for SMURF! hahahahaha! 
As in "We're going to have a Schluempfey time while we are there." "Schnitzel is 
Schluempfealicious."
In other related news...
Mom told me that she just found out from the Ks that Oma's house is about to go up for 
sale!!! Quick! Someone freaking win the lottery! I've got it all worked out... the house we 
rented for our trip, I found it on an international vacation home rental website/agency. 
There are several companies that rent homes for vacations. See, we buy Oma's house. 
We list it with these agencies and we rent it out as a vacation home (cute 200 year old 
converted farm house in a picturesque village within short driving distance of Munich and 
other Bavarian sites.. etc) We get CK to let the people in and check the place over when they 
check out (to make sure all is in order) and of course we give her a cut of the rental fee for 
keeping an eye on it for us. The money we make would help pay for the taxes, upkeep, or 
whatever we would have to pay. Then Mom and Dad are retired. They could visit every year 
and stay for months if they wanted to! They've got tons of friends, and family... it would be 
awesome. And of course the rest of us could visit whenever we wanted also. See? Isn't that 
an awesome plan?  I think so too. So... let's win the lottery!!! Or do we have a rich uncle 
that we don't know about? Anyone want to donate the funds? Dang. Seriously, I would give 
anything to be able to buy our family's home back...
Have a Schluempfey day,
Anita"
"Week 7
Today is the 7 week mark for our trip to Germany. Holy Cow that's less that two months!
Whoo hoo! It is just me or is this going by really fast?! I expected it to take forever, but 
suddenly the time is flying by! So in honor of our trip I give you the German word of the 
week.... Bauchvergnügen. Okay truth be told, I made up that word hahahaha! I made up this 
word years ago when VW was using their Fahrvergnügen advertising campaign. I'll translate 
my fancy word. Bauchvergnügen: Stomach enjoyment, or the joy of having a stomach. How 
does one use this word? Well, say you're sitting in a cafe eating a bowl of hazelnut Italian 
icecream...."oooooo Bauchvergnügen!" For Father's day I'm making a cheesecake for Kevin,
"yummmmmmm Bauchvergnügen!" Got it? Okay good, I now expect all of you to add this 
word to your regular vocabulary.
Love and Bauchvergnügen,
Anita"
"Oops Just kidding Week 6! 
Let's change the German word of the week to: Hoppla= Oops! All of this time I have been 
wrong about our trip's time frame! I was counting Mondays. Including yesterday, in 7 
Mondays we will be on a plane to Germany. But Mom and Dad pointed out to me today, 
that if I'm counting WEEKS...well, it is in fact 6 weeks until we leave for Germany. Hoppla!! 
I thought it was going by fast before, but now a week has been taken from me! Holy Moly 
Hoppla Batman! I wonder what Batman is in German? I think technically he is still referred to
by his American name, Batman, but still... I have no idea what the German word for "Bat" is.... 
hmmm, I think I'll google it real quick. I'll be right back.... okay, I'm back. I actually did know 
what the German word for bat was, I had just forgotten but after reading it all came back 
(I'm amazed at how much German that is still buried somewhere deep in my head noodles 
after all of these years away....) Anyway...
Holy Moly Hoppla Fledermausmann!!!! We're leaving for Germany in 6 weeks! (I think 
Fledermaus just won as the German word of the week... it is way too much fun to say.)
Love and Fledermaus cuteness,
Anita"

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spring time! And I'm a slacker with the blog

 
Happy Spring! I know I haven’t been keeping up with my blog. We’ve been busy… with what? Just life. This last Semester Kevin went to school full time. I don’t think he’ll be doing that again. All of those classes plus work… it was just too much. But there’s only two more weeks left of the semester. He made it! He’s on waiting lists for two classes this summer, plus he’ll be teaching a class. 

T is doing as great as ever. She’s had a really tough school year too. I’ve never seen a teenager study so hard. But all of her studies are paying off. With the duel credit classes that she was taking at both the Tech school and the community college, I’m truly amazed. She’s also really working hard on her Personal Progress Booklet. She’s hoping to be completely finished by the end of the summer. When school is over I think we’ll sign her up for private swimming lessons again. Then she’ll be a senior next year. I’ll be glad when she’s finished with high school.

J is doing pretty well. I always need to push him pretty hard when it comes to school but he’s making it! He’s was bumped up to honors History this last semester. It has been tough on him but it has been a good experience for him. I glad he had that opportunity. It still amazes me that that even happened. I remember spending years just trying to get him to learn to read! It’s a miracle. He also recently found, applied for and interviewed at a job all by himself! Again, no small miracle! And what do you know? He got the job! Yesterday was his first day. I can’t believe it. It is a part time custodial job at a nearby elementary school. He’ll work a couple of hours after school every day and then 19 hours a week during the summer. He’ll be doing everything from janitorial work to some landscaping. I’m so proud of him. Neurological Reorganization therapy truly has changed his life. I don’t know if I’ll ever stop being in awe of the changes in him. Every time he makes these positive and very NORMAL strides forward it is all I can do from breaking down in tears of joy. He’ll be 17 in month.

R is struggling a bit these days. He had a big setback a few months ago that retriggered some issues. So we’ve been doing a lot of back peddling with him. He regressed behaviorally but I think he’s coming out of it again. I wonder when he’ll graduate from NR therapy? It seems that it doesn’t take much to set him back. He internalizes things so much. This time it was some issues with a friend that caused this regression and the downward spiral in his behavior. He needs to learn how to deal with stress or sadness and not fall apart. J used to be the same way and he was so much worse that R. So I still have hope for R. We will keep plugging along with his therapy. And like I said, he seems to be coming out of it a little bit. It’ll be good when school is over. He’ll be at the high school next year. I hope being closer to his brother and sister will help him.

C is doing great. I can’t believe the improvement in her coordination and muscle control. She can now voluntarily turn her hands at the wrist, instead of just at the elbow. She almost has complete control of her legs. She still needs some fine-tuning, especially with her feet. (tell her to put down her heel and she’ll put down her toes first and not quite figure out how to get her heel down, but that is getting better.) She still struggles the most with her hands. But everything has shown huge improvement! Again, it is her NR therapy that has made these changes for her. She still struggles with language processing. This summer we will have had her for three years! I can’t believe it. But her English is still very very behind. She should be starting 7th grade next year. We’re stressing about that. I’m not sure what to do. She’s so far behind in school, I don’t know if the junior high will even be able to handle her. Plus I’m afraid those junior high school kids will eat her alive! We need to make an appointment with the school counselors and she what they have to say. She’s just as cheerful as ever though. She’s started going to Young Women activities on Tuesdays and loves that. I’ve also starting working on her Personal Progress booklet with her. It is very slow going because it requires so much explanation but she’s loving it. She’s going to girl’s camp for the first time this year! She’s so excited! I’m glad that T will be there with her.

As for me, I’ve been trying desperately trying to get into shape. So far all of my efforts seem to be for nothing LOL. We recently got a treadmill and I’ve been loving it. I can already feel a difference. Hopefully I’ll start seeing a change soon also. I’ve already started working on the garden. I’ve transplanted several plants, shrubs etc. I love my garden. I had to hand-pollinate my squash last year. So this year I planted some more plants near the vegetable beds that I know the bees love. We get so many bees in the front yard. It is amazing to see all of the variety of bees, but the honeybees are our favorite. I’ve read so much about the bees disappearing so it gives us joy to see them finding our yard. We don’t use any pesticides. We fertilize with our own compost. So maybe that’s why our plants are so yummy to them:-) They especially love some of our flowering herbs. So I divided some of those plants and put them in the backyard next to our vegetable beds back there. Hopefully I’ve encouraged Mother Nature to do the pollinating this year. The vegetables in the front yard were amazing last year, we couldn’t keep up with it all. So hopefully encouraging them to come into the backyard will help those vegetables too.

The kids are counting down the days until summer vacation. So am I. We’re going to Germany this summer. I can’t wait to visit family, friends and old stomping grounds. It has been too many years since I’ve been back. Well, I need to go pick up the kids from school. The sun is shining, my flowers are beginning to bloom, the kids are doing great, life is good:-)