Friday, June 27, 2014

Dear Maria, week 3

Friday, 6/20...
Well, today was our last day of VBS. We survived another year. I got some hysterical video of Jack dancing. Krystina lead the music, and did a nice job!, and during parts of the songs she would tell the kids to use their favorite dance moves...well, Jack took her very seriously and developed this kind of charging move. Here's some pictures, but they don't do it justice...

It was crazy hair/shoe/hat day. I'm afraid I didn't do it justice,,,usually you are in charge of that. I ran out of time. Shocking, I know. So, we settled for wearing our slippers, see??

All except for Henry. One of his slippers was missing. So he wore a helmet from the dress up trunk instead.

I am WORN OUT. But it was a fun week. I had some good help in our group, and all the kids had fun. Even Mary had fun in the nursery. Here she is with a car,,she says, "Vroom! Vroom, honk!" really loudly!lol

Saturday, 6/21...
Just a Saturday at home...some cleaning, but never enough. Grocery shopping...I took Tess and Henry along and we got happy hour afterwards. Long overdue baths. pizza and movie night...we are watching How To Train Your Dragon, because that's the movie we missed last Tuesday. I forgot to tell you, we got your letter yesterday! It was so good to hear from you! I will try to remember to include Meme's address too. Her birthday is July 13th, if you get a chance to write her. How are your meds holding up? Spending money? It will be time to send your allowance when I mail this letter. Let me know if you need anything!

Mary Claire is talking more and more! She is very negative, which is all very two-ish. She says, "No,I not...Don't...uh-uh...stop..." lol. She copies everything she sees and hears from the older kids. Yesterday they all went running out to the backyard pool, and Jack said, "Last one there's a rotten egg!", and Mary jumped up and went running after them yelling, "EGG, EGG, EGG!"

Tess loved your little note for her. She was mad at me a little for ripping the envelope when I opened it though. So I told her that I would open your next letter very carefully so I could give her a nicer envelope to keep her note in.

Oh! Meme has a new puppy! I will tell her to write to you and send a picture so you can see him while he is still tiny. I still haven't seen him in person yet. We have been trying to go to the lake with them since Father's Day, but first we were sick, and now they are sick...

Sunday, 6/22...We went to Latin mass today. jack was in rare form. His mass behavior is just getting worse and worse, no matter which mass we go to. It was the feast of Corpus Christi, so there was a procession after, and don't you know he was just THRILLED about THAT! We packed our bathing suits and food and such and drove out to the lake right after mass. It was a great day, but very crowded. I won't go on a weekend again!

The high note was when we were loading up. It was so crowded, and we were trying to load up and keep eyes on all the kids and Jack said he just Absolutely Had to Go to the Bathroom. Right Now. Well, dad was down on the beach gathering stuff and keeping and eye on Tess and Henry who were still swimming.And I was putting stuff in the van and needed to stay with Mary who was already in her car seat. I could just barely see the bathrooms from the van. So I did something I rarely do.I let him go to the bathroom alone. I was very uncomfortable about it, I worry about his safety in public bathrooms, so I was watching anxiously when I caught site of him walking down the hill to the van...with no swim trunks on. Uh huh. Well, he had a rash guard on, thank God, which kinda sorta covered almost everything, but it was pretty obvious he had nothing on underneath. And I just laid my head on the van and sighed. cuz what are you gonna do? He had his trunks in his hand. They had gotten twisted up and he couldn't get them straight. Goodness.

Monday, 6/23...mostly a day at home working on STUFF. Tess had dance, her last class of the year. I almost didn't go. It was a struggle getting out the door for many reasons, not the least of which was that Henry and Mary had fallen asleep, and it was pouring buckets. There was an accident on the highway, and we got there seriously late. Like, stupidly late. But it was her last class,so I wanted her to be able to go and say goodbye and all. Well, she fell asleep in the van on the way and got all weird when I woke her up to go in, and she wouldn't dance or anything, just sat on the chair sucking her fingers. So. That was the last day. And that's when I decided we aren't going back until she really wants to do it, you know?

Tuesday, 6/24...The day I lost my mind. I'm not even kidding. The kids have been pretty much having a free for all since we finished schedule or anything, and as usual it starts getting a little Lord of the Flies around here. Have you read that yet? Remind me to put it on your list, you will love it. Anyway, I took them to see Kung Fu panda at the movie theater,

and then after that they literally spent the entire day running around making each other scream on purpose all day long. Just, feral children, really. So, I got ticked off and realized I needed to take some control back. I sat down with some postits and made a little schedule...kinda like our school schedule, but much looser, no times or anything...more like an order of events, really. I gave them time twice a day to help mom with chores, time for crafts, read alouds, some fun stuff, little screen time, etc. And it is working fabulously! Big difference. Of course, many days we have something fun to go and do and so we don't do everything on the board, but at least there is plenty there for when we are home. Jack calls it the "slavery board". ha!

Wednesday, 6/25...We were at home all day and tried out the new schedule, and it was lovely. I did have an evening class. Me! I sat in your room and had an adobe class! It was a parent's version of the health class you will be taking in the fall...great stuff. To take this two hour class while dad was at work, I fed them dinner early, set them up with a movie, and hoped for the best. I had to come out a couple of times, but it wasn't too bad. Well, afterwards I found out that Jack had hacked up the edge of the counter with a butter knife. A butter knife!Also, he cut the clothes off of Tess's Boo doll. Enter next destructo phase.

Thursday, 6/26...Today we went to the library. I haven't told you about the library shows, you know those Thursday afternoon shows they do? The first week was a juggling show..and today's show was a Didgeridoo show. It was pretty good. They were getting pretty distracted at times, and it felt like the guy was trying to teach them about everything, you know? Like, save the planet, don't be a bully, and eat fruits and vegetables...dude, it's an hour long show, pick a topic already! But the music was cool, and overall it was very fun.

Friday,6/27...I'm supposed to mail this today! But you called last night and needed some things, so I will send it tomorrow after I go to the store. We have been taking it easy today. Dad has been working horribly long hours,,,he is really fried. They have hired some more help, so once they are trained and working hopefully that will get better. Oh! Dad found two little robin fledgelings in the yard, right under the bathroom window near the air conditioner. There was a third dead one nearby, and so of course we were worried about Jesse or the cats finding them. So, dad nailed that birdhouse onto the pine tree by the bathroom window for them. Well, it was too small. We left the front open and kind of put them in there, but they are very active and they fell out. So,then we got a small box and duct taped it to the tree, see?

See the birdie there in the corner? He's in front of the duct tape so he is kinda hard to see. The other guy is in there too. You can see them from the bathroom window. The mom has been coming by to feed them. So far they haven't gotten out. Eventually they will I guess, and we will just have to hope they learn to fly quickly. They are very cute, and very LOUD. Henry loves them. He also is really into collecting bugs lately...

Henry's bug house.

Well, that's it for this week! We managed to get Tess back into another swim lesson, and this time it is paid for too, and it is the same session that Jack is in. So, it actually worked out well. It will be a lot easier to have them go on the same mornings. Next week, more of the same, but also the Fourth of July on Friday already! A meatless fourth of July? Yikes! I'm curious to know if ya'll stay meatless on the fourth, lol. We will be. We debated doing another penance, but you know, I really like to save that for when I have no choice, like when we are eating with other people or something. It doesn't seem like much of a penance when you ditch it when it gets hard! Still...the Fourth with no ribs...seems unAmerican...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Dear Maria, week 2...sort of...

Hello! I am writing week 2 but I haven't mailed week 1 yet! haha! Well, see, I sent a letter a week ago with your shoes and stuff, and then also I never managed to get the week 1 letter printed off! I am out of colored ink and wanted to just print it at the library. We are going to the library this afternoon,so I can print it then. And I figure it works out well to mail it on a Thursday...we will be leaving for familyland ourselves on a Friday morning, so this way we can just mail our last letter right before we leave.

So, week 2...well, we managed to get Jack mostly well again. He is still coughing a lot, especially when he is running around, but that is to be expected for a while. Sunday was Father's Day...I was hoping you might have gotten to call home. Dad had to work, but we had brunch and all before he left. We gave him concert tickets and the kids colored cards and such, and we packed him some goodies in his lunch bag.

Mary was so cute...she worked for a long time on her picture!

I had a major Mom Fail on Monday. I took Tess for her swimming lessons and she was not on the list. She was on a waiting list, remember, and they called and said they could get her in the session that started on Monday. I didn't realize that that wasn't . confirmed until I paid for the class...I thought I could just pay on the first day, not that I had to make another trip to the rec center to drop off a check. So, she didn't get to start after all. It was very disappointing. She is still on the waiting list, and hopefully she gets in another session.

Tuesday we were supposed to go the Malco movie again...but we didn't make that either. Dad had worked very late and I just didn't have the heart to wake him up. The kids didn't really realize they were missing out on anything. We just filled up the giant wading pool instead and they have been happily playing in that.

And also, popsicles. Lots of them.

Wednesday, yesterday, VBS started! I am Jack's group leader of course. We have a big group of kids this year, twenty kids in Jack's group alone. Tess is with the kindergarten group, and Henry with the preschoolers. Mary Claire is in the nursery. Here's a couple of pictures!

Like Tess' braids? She loves them. She was annoyed that she got a green tshirt though, because green is not a girl's color, she says. I told her no one got pink shirts, and all the kindergarteners have to wear green...I don't think she really believed me until she got there. The theme this year is Weird Animals.

Henry had an unexpected attack of shyness when we arrived and didn't want to stay with his group. He spent the opening songs curled up in a ball on the floor. But once things got underway he was ok. He is excited about going back tonight. Tess of course had a lot of fun. Mary even handled the nursery ok. Jack, however, is having a hard time. He gets very weepy and upset during the opening and closing songs, he gets irritated whenever we have to wait for anything, and he keeps doing things that annoy the other kids,,,getting in their space or showing know the drill.

Jack being annoyed.
Today is Thursday...we are going to the library for a family performance...jugglers! That's at 2. Then we will come briefly back home and go back out for VBS.

Ok, closing up this letter so we can get out of here. We are missing you and hope to hear from you soon! I'm sure this has been a tiring week for you, the first Fest. We love you lots!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Dear Maria, week 1

Dear Maria,

Today is Pentecost Sunday. You called and asked me to send your sneakers as soon as possible because you needed them to work in the stables. There will be a surprise inside. Tess and Henry got to work making you presents today. Henry made you a bracelet and a picture. Actually, he made part of the picture and told me what to draw for the rest. Tess wrote you a letter and made you a Valentine. In June. I asked her what her letter said, and she started singing the words to the My Little pony theme song,,,so make of that what you will. Tess was still running a fever, so I went to Pentecost mass all by myself. Dad went to LifeTeen mass with Jack. He said that they did the intentions in several different languages, read by different poeple of course, and Ms. Krystina read one in Swahili. Msgr. did one in Latin. We agreed that if you had been home you could have done the Latin one! We had a white and red dinner...white chicken with red pepper "tongues of fire", white rice, and 12 fruits fruit salad. Strawberry cake for dessert. The top had a bigger cross on it, but then some little booger got to the cake and picked the berries off. Ahem.

Oh, and we had little white powdered donuts for breakfast. Jack said they were the "best donuts ever."

And, just like that, it's Friday, June 13th. Not so good with the daily writing this week, eh? I've been having trouble getting pictures from phone to blog, most annoying. And also there has been so little to tell you. Everyone has been sick. The End. Jack's asthma started acting up badly this afternoon and so I ended up taking him to the after hours clinic, and he has pneumonia! weekend now involves Trying to Keep Jack out of the Hospital. He has to have nebulizer treatments every four hours around the clock, so dad and I are taking turns getting up tonight. He is on a strong antibiotic, and steroids, which he of course threw up like he does...but the antibiotic stayed down. He got lots of attention at the clinic. First, he was hacking and carrying on like a 70year old chain smoker. Then, he threw up all over the waiting room floor. And when this woman came to clean it up he said, "I'm very sorry I threw up all over the precious floor." haha!He was very chatty with the nurses and kept saying, "Have you ever been to Bangladesh? Do you know why sharks have gills? Do you know what the capital of Ecuador is?" They were cracking up. But it all got very serious when the doctor decided he had pneumonia. We are to go the ER tonight if he gets to breathing too fast and hard. And if he's not a lot better by tomorrow afternoon we are to go back to the clinic.

Oh! And Mary Claire had her shots today, too. Looks to be a looonngg night, lol.

Other than all the excitement at the clinics today, we have had long slow days of trying to get everyone well again. We missed the Tuesday movies and a trip to the lake because someone was always sick. I told you we would pay for our healthy winter! Jack did go to the library for a presentation on Albert Einstein. Dad took him, and said he handled it very well! So that was never know how he will handle things like that. But he does better and better. Even autistic kids grow up.

If I can get my pictures to cooperate, I will mail this tomorrow when I go to the grocery store. I hope you got your package. It was supposed to arrive by today. You got an Ipsy bag today, and your books came in the mail. I will mail them with this letter. I know the first Fest starts tomorrow, right? It's so weird to think of you doing all the Fest stuff there while we are here! Making dance night...the Fatima processions...we are so looking forward to it! The kids keep asking when we are going. They just don't get why you are already there and we are not! We all miss you, and I'll start another letter this weekend. Busy week ahead, if everyone stays well enough...Tess starts swimming lessons, and there is VBS too!

Update before I print and mail...Jack is doing much better. Still sick, but not in danger of going to the ER anymore. Yay!

Dear Maria, an introduction

This was originally written on June 7th. I have been having terrible trouble uploading pictures from my camera!

Today, Maria has left us for Catholic Familyland. I have written before about our vacations there. Well, this summer she is working there as a member of their service corp. Today, I put my baby on a plane and sent her to Ohio for TWO WHOLE MONTHS. And, I didn't even cry. Until I was in the parking lot and saw her plane flying away.

Okay, so it was probably not her actual plane. I have no way of knowing. Remember the good old days when you could walk your loved ones to the actual gate and watch their plane fly away? No, instead I had to leave her at the security check. Sigh. But, it *could have been* her plane, and that made her seem so far away all of a sudden. This feels big, you know? A big step. Not even a first step. See this picture?

This is from a post way back in 2008, when she actually left me for the first time, the first time she went somewhere besides her grandparents' house, the first time she had Entire Life Experiences that I was in no way a part of. And of course, there have been many more since then. But this is the biggest. So, I am nauseous, a bit, and will probably stay that way until I know she has been picked up at the airport and is with Trusted People. There she will stay until we take our own vacation at Familyland again in August,,,then she will come home with us.

So, this post is the first in a series I am going to do every week. See, Maria is really very close to her sibs. She is Second Mom around here...or as Jack calls her, Mom Junior. And they adore her. I know she was conflicted about missing a whole summer of their lives...VBS, Father's Day, fireworks, trips to the lake... And we have so much we want to share with her. But she will have no cell phone, no internet,,,she will get to call sometimes, but mostly we will communicate by writing snail mail. I thought a neat way to keep her informed of all the crazy around here as well as blog more often would be to make a weekly sort of journal entry, complete with pictures, print it all off, and mail it to her. Hopefully she will send us newsy letters *back* too.

So I will work on this entry nightly all week an post on the weekend. I also have a couple of birthday posts in the works. In the meantime, there's this bit of oddness. After I dropped Maria off at the security gate, I wandered around the airport, getting a scone and coffee, finding a bathroom, texting back and forth with Maria as she found her gate and such...I was reluctant to leave until she was boarded. While wandering I found the chapel.

This is it, I guess. A bench? I thought I'd see a generic nondenominational deal like they have in the hospitals, but this was all I found, a bench and some funeral flowers. There were several locked doors, maybe they opened up to something else? Anyway, across from these benches were several bookshelves, all at kind of right angles with each other. There were various religious books and bibles, and something struck me as so weird, I couldn't help taking a few's what I found...

Two protestant Bibles, actually, there was one on a small table by the door. This was very expected...this is Tulsa airport, right in the Bible belt.

One Catholic Bible.

Two Books of Mormon. Book of Mormons? Mormii?

A Talmud, in Hebrew, and what looks like the equivalent of our missals...I don't know what Jews call these...they look like daily prayer books

Two AA books..

Some kind of Tibetan prayer book...this actually looked the most interesting to me, because it was both unfamiliar and yet still in English!

And EIGHT Korans, all in Arabic! Wow!

Complete with prayer rugs!

Aaaanyway,,,if you are a Muslim traveling through Tulsa, Oklahoma, looking for a place to read the Koran, in Arabic,,,,airport got you covered. prayer rug and all.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Tour de Parque, the final day

Well, I kind of left this hanging a bit...
The six and final day was kind of just a serendipitous add on. Jack had a baseball game that Saturday, and his baseball field just happens to have a park next door. We always visit after his games.

Jack plays baseball with Miracle League, a league for special needs, fittingly, the park next to it is designed especially with special needs kids in mind. It is a neat place!
unfortunately my pictures did not really turn out well at all. Go see pictures of this park here at this blog, she has some great ones! You can just, you know, imagine my crew on the equipment, lol...

I have a backlog of birthday posts to get up. Now that we are pretty much done with our school year, I hoe to have those up quickly!