I love looking through my blog, years back, and reading stories and looking at photos I would have otherwise likely forgotten.
Here are some of the things that I should have blogged when they happened, in the past month of two:
Even though dreadfully ill, Hatfield and I managed to rally and we rang in the New Year 2013 as a family. (And ooooo. . look! A ZOMBIE family at that! Even Instagram couldn't get rid of those Walking Dead Eyes.)
Our friend Sara and her boy Ethan throw THE BEST New Year's Eve Dance Parties ev-ah.
We just couldn't bring ourselves to miss it (especially me. 8 consecutive days in bed, sick, and I was ready to be shipped off the the looney bin. I didn't need that party for my physical health. I needed it for my mental health.)
Shortly after New Years,
Lordy Lordy Look Who Turned 40!
I think that saying is terribly cheezy, but the Mister loves it.
I think RIP gravestone over-the-hill cakes are tres cheezy, but the Mister loves them.
I think plaid and faux fur unabomber hats are just about the cheeziest, but guess what? The Mister loves them.
SO, the Mister got a whole lot of LORDY LORDY coming at him, and his VERY OWN GRAVESTONE cake, which he ate in his VERY OWN PLAID AND FAUX FUR UNABOMBER HAT, all because We Love the Mister.
He looks pretty fine for 40, don't you think?
Then, after the cradle robber turned 40, his baby girl bride turned 38.The family made me a TOTALLY AWESOME garden cake, complete with a Kit-Kat-and-Oreo-Cookie garden bed bearing fondant carrots and egglplant.
We celebrated that evening with take-out Chinese food, cake, and a Just Dance party. Here is my brother's girl, my brother, my sister and Keenan, watching the dancing action. My sister is the lush holding up the wine next to her young, impressionable nephew (Pbbbbttthhhh! Ha! Just kidding! About the lush part! I love to tease my sister!)
My super cute friend Jenny trying to beat Paloma's score (And for the record, she didn't. My girl Paloma kicked her a$$! Sorry to call you out publicly, Jenny. I'm a competitive Dance Mom like that, but you already know that. But I did say that you are super cute, and you are.)
After my birthday, the snow arrived. And with it, the discovery that although the girl looks islander, acts islander, and dresses (just) like (her dad) an islander,
Sacre bleu! Her blood runs on the Tundra side of things (the picture reads: I love snow). My genetic material does live on, after all. Who knew!?!
And last but not least, Look! Look!
I finished the damn fantastic Harry Potter Socks for my girl Hatfield!
The self-striping yarn from Holiday Yarns turned out wonky (which is the fault of the yarn company and whatever yahoo they had dye it), but who cares, because ding dong these wicked socks are done! And I'm trying to be a very good knitting mum and NOT go around shrieking things like,
"Oh my God! Put some slippers on! You're going to wear out holes in those socks!"
Because I may or may not have scared Atticus into never wearing his handknit socks again. At least not without a lot of coaxing/pleading/reassuring that his neurotic mother will not be angry if there is a hole in them.
And it only took me what. . 9 months? 10? 311 days? But who's counting? (not me!)
So the Mister needed yet another video for work. No contest this time (and no, he did NOT win the contest last time-- instead he got in trouble with the legal department at work, lol! Insert "Corporate Powers vs. Creativity"joke of your choosing here.)
This time he had to create a powerpoint or video introducing himself and his life to his team at work (a lot of territory rearranging was done, so there's a bunch of new teammates, and everyone was given the assignment to introduce themselves.)
Given that he's one for theatrics (in a good way), the Mister began with a very, VERY boring powerpoint presentation. "My name is Cliff. I was born on the island of Guam. I went to college here. I married my wife Sarah." yada yada.
He gets to the part about his hobbies: "My hobbies fishing, kayaking, watching MMA, and whatever my kids want me to do. My kids are creative. My kids like to dance. I like to dance. Here, let me show you."
Then it switches over to this:
Whatever would we do without our Hattie Lou?
Well, be as boring as Cliff's initial video, for starters.
I took January off of writing, both from the blog and from the books (one to edit, one that is still be written.) We've had some changes in our home and a new sort of day is emerging.
Those first few months at home after we put all five children in school were invaluable. I wrote 2 books! I cleaned up the house! I slept and walked and, most importantly, began to heal from the summer's emotional exhaustion and slowly got back my game for this journey called Parenting Traumatized/Attachment-Challenged Children.
But as time wore on, I realized that I now had an opportunity to begin to develop Me. Not me as Mom or me as Wife or me as Housekeeper/Pinterest Follower. But Me as a person who has something to give to society in general. Me as a person who can contribute to our household and help out with extras like a family trip to a waterpark or driver's ed for a certain teen-ager or a second car (we only own my van- the Mister's company provides his car) or upcoming college expenses.
It was time to take on a part-time job.
I began a part-time job with the Green Bay school district. I work as a
noon hour supervisor/paraprofessional support at a local elementary
school. The pay is great, the hours are perfect and I will never have a childcare conflict because my kids' school operates from the same calendar.
I love it. I work with the K-1st-2nd grades, which are my favorite ages for
children as everything is exciting and new and wondrous for them.
The school I work at is considered one of Green Bay's "inner city" school (which I find amusing, since "city" is still a stretch for our town, in my mind.) Yet many of the factors support this claim: 90% of our families live below poverty level, 96% qualify for free lunch, white children are smallest percentage racially in this school, which is certainly not the average in our midwestern home.
Not to toot my own horn, but I am good at this work. Being an adoptive mother of older children, living with trauma issues and attachment disorders and all sorts of accompanying destructive behaviors has been great training. I have an awareness now that I certainly did not have when I had bio children only at home. I can see through the behaviors and see the child in each of these children because I've had to do this with my own two sons.
Admittedly, this is far easier to do at my job- I am only with these children several hours a day. I get breaks and weekends off. There are other adults and teachers and layers of rules, authority, activities. I am doing this in the capacity of employee and not Mother, and that makes a huge difference.
I am happy to go to work each day and have my own identity there. Not as Mom or Cliff's wife but as me. With my own skill set that I bring to the table, which is valued there. It's a new thing for me, and I really like it.
So for me, January was about getting healthy after that terrible flu and adjusting to my new schedule. About giving myself the time and space to just adjust and be and not put too much on myself that all has to be perfect or seamless.
I work 3 hours a day. I have mornings at home and I finish work just in time to swing through and collect our youngest 4 from their elementary school.
I used to cook dinner between 1 and 2:30 each day before getting the kids, and since I am at work those house, the crockpot is now fired up 3 to 4 days a week, as we go from school to dance and music lesson schedules most weekday afternoons.
The kids each had an extra chore added to their chore list, and the Mister is stepping up and helping out in the kitchen more. And I am letting him (and letting him do it his way), instead of shooing him away.
Overall, it's been a great and smooth transition. But still we have days where I have dropped the ball on something or realize that I didn't take something else into account and messiness ensues. Those days kind of suck, but it's just a day and I can learn and move on.
And, I still have some major stuff to figure out. Like when to write. Or seriously hit my reading list. Or watch those cable series the Mister and I are so addicted to. Or keeping my telomeres from looking like stubbed-out cigarette butts.
But that's what life is about, isn't it? Figuring it all out while enjoying the ride.