All aboard!

I have a whole post written about the horrendous sleep issues Cadet is having due to transitioning to his toddler bed. It is a long one. But, then I realized you’ve probably heard enough about that…don’t most toddlers have issues with that transition?

I’ll leave it with…we’re all suffering from major sleep derivation and having a rough go of it….we are now 7 days in…and it’s not improved that much.

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Instead, I want to talk about some of the amazing changes that are happening in Cadet these days. First of all…HE’S TALKING UP A STORM. Yes. I am screaming that to you. My son, the silent one, is talking almost non-stop these days. And he’s loving it. New words are brought into his vocabulary every day. DrM, his OT, calls it a “word spurt”. It’s really amazing.

He’s just getting to the “conversation” phase of speaking, and it’s really cute. He narrates his days. Yesterday morning went a lot like this, as he looked out the window: “Big truck. Big garbage truck. Green garbage truck. Doggy. Chase (his word for people jogging). Trees. Big trees. Wind. Red car. Mama drive in car? Papa in car? Cadet in car?”

“No, we’re at our house.” Which he knows, but it gives him the chance to have his favorite “convo” with me. He starts off: “My house?” “Yes, your house.” “Papa’s house?” “Yes, Papa’s house.”….and so on down the line until he starts pointing at his toys and saying: “Tunnel’s house?” or “Book’s house?”

His speech therapist, whom we call “Tay”, has been very impressed. She’s having a hard time keeping up with all his progress. Actually, all of his therapists have been a little shocked and very excited about his new skills. And frankly, his ABA therapists are a little baffled as to what to do with him. He’s flying through his programs almost as fast as they can create them. His “programs” are basically “goals” that they want to see him meet. So, we spend a lot of time just trying to get more ideas about how we can help him.

With Cadet’s new vocabulary, suddenly, his world is opening up. He is trying new things, wanting to do more, willing to experiment with his words/body.

To be clear, if you came over, you might still have a hard time understanding him at first or he’d be quiet for a while as he figured out who you were. But, eventually, it’s hard to get him to stop talking (not that I want him to stop). While he’s still generally behind his peers, it’s clear that he has the memory, the drive, and the brain power to learn at an incredible rate. The kiddo is a very hard worker.

Just last evening, I was saying “thank you” to him for handing me something. As he walked away, he said (clear as day) “you’re welcome, mama”. McRuger and I looked at him in disbelief. He’d picked that phrase up and was using it properly. I gave him a huge hug…my boy!

I am savoring every word as if it were his first!

I’ve been keeping MsJ in the loop on his accomplishments, and she couldn’t be more thrilled. I send her snippets of video several times a week. She and I have talked about what a huge step he’s been making.

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I have much to catch you up on: the search for our new babysitter continues, the drought and my garden, our efforts at simplifying, our upcoming anniversary, and our first foray into homschooling!! But, those will have to wait. In the meantime, I hope you all are doing well!

 

 

 

Categories: Cadet, SPD, speech | 6 Comments

So, that was unexpected….

Several months ago, I signed up to go to BlogHer2014. It was happening near my house, my friend Robyn was going, and I was searching for some inspiration for this blog.

For a while now, this blog has been a source of confusion and guilt.

You see, when I started this blog, almost exactly 5 years ago (over 1100 posts so far!!!), I was searching for a community. We were going through infertility treatments and it was scary and shameful. No one in my family knew, our friends didn’t know, and I didn’t have a way of reaching out to others. So, my blog became my soapbox and my confessional. Thanks to Mel and her blog roll, I found a community.

Within months, I had “friends” out there. Women who shared my journey. Women who understood the pain and hope that stood with me during those years. For a while, my blogroll consisted of over 175 blogs that I read and kept up with on a regular basis. I fully participated in the infertility community. And, I loved it. I felt so lucky to have the support of all of you. Heck, I could talk about anything, and I would get support and advice.

But then, we adopted. I wasn’t really part of the infertility community anymore. I wasn’t talking about OPK’s, or BFN’s, or my cervical mucous (that stuff is still gross). Suddenly, I was talking about diapers and feedings and sleepless nights. And my community shifted.

The adoption community was harder to be part of….mostly because I was parenting (which is an incredible and lovely time-sink). But, I followed and commented on blogs, slowly finding bloggers I could identify with. Although, the adoption blogging world was more fractured than the infertility one, I still felt part of a greater community.

Commenters became people who I looked to for advice, dialogue, and community. YOU, my readers, supported me through so much! And over the years, I have come to know you as my confidants. Many of you are friends with me on Facebook, some of us exchange Christmas cards, and even some of you I’ve met with and become actual friends with. In fact, some of my best friends I have found through this blog (I’m looking at you Rose!!).

But, over the past year, my blogroll/reader has shrunk from 175 to about 30…only about 10 of which are updated regularly. I don’t have time to comment much anymore, let alone post, or find new blogs to follow. And I began to feel strange about not blogging more.

And so, I signed up for BlogHer. I needed to think about…actually meditate on… blogging for a while.

To say the BlogHer eventually ended up being at the most inconvenient time is a gross understatement. That weekend was chaotic and challenging. I don’t want to talk about it too much, other than to say that Cadet wasn’t a fan (that’s putting it mildly) of my being gone.

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I wish I could have spent more time at the actual conference. As it was, I was only there for one full day (out of three) and was back and forth the rest of the time (McRuger and Cadet needed me more…).

I attended the Social Media session with Robyn. I learned a lot about how to promote my blog (which I don’t do at all, and have no interest to with this space). But, I got a lot of ideas on how to make my business pop…when I get the time to do that.

I went the “Voices of the Year” reception with Robyn…which had great food and wonderful blog entries for us to read.

I was especially disappointed with the “Special Needs” mini conference. Frankly, it was 3 moderators sharing their story…and then some minimal networking. I didn’t feel I got any special resources or insights. However, I did get to meet a few local (and not-so-local) moms and got to talk about their struggles and joys.

And I got to hear Robyn read her post about Adoption Myths for the OpenMic Night…which was AWESOME!!

I spent a lot of time thinking/mulling/meditating about what I wanted for this blog. And what has become clear is that I this space is not where I want to be focusing right now.

For a while now,  this blog has become an afterthought…a hurried rush to get something/anything out there. No thought, no real planning, and no intention…other than I owe it to my readers. But this sporadic posting isn’t what I want.  I want to be intentional with my writing, and for a reason other than guilt.

I know I don’t want to be that blogger that leaves people hanging. I didn’t just want to leave, because that is kind of messed up (in my view).

Then I read Esperanza‘s post (and her follow-ups)….and I felt jolted. I’m not exactly sure why, other than I have left this blog fallow for huge amounts of time. Was I being an asshole by not writing (that wasn’t what she was saying, but what I was feeling already)? I was writing because I felt guilty. Because I feel like I owe you (my readers) something.  Which I feel strange about. I do feel like blogging is a conversation…and like any conversation there is a good deal of give and take.

But, I don’t talk about infertility anymore…and adoption is pushed to the back in favor of other topics. I want to spend time blogging for my crafting and my homeschooling journey. And when I blog about those, I want to be blogging as me…not as Rain. Can I be honest? I’m tired of being Rain. I know why I chose to be anonymous, I know it was the right choice, but it’s still not easy.

So, I’ve been investigating starting a personal crafting/homeschooling blog….something simply dedicated to those pursuits and tied to my Etsy store. A space for me…not Rain.

This post ended up being a lot less about BlogHer and a lot about this blog….sorry about that. It’s been a chaotic morning, to say the least…training a new therapist and trying to find a new babysitter (still).

 

 

Categories: blogging, thoughts, Writing | 12 Comments

A trip to the farm

Last week Cadet and I were at my parent’s farm. Yes…just days after returning from the Midwest and the Death Trap, Cadet and I made the 6 hour drive to the farm. Originally, it was prompted by my mom’s health…cue quick recap….

****So, my mom has had almost constant sciatica/nerve pain for the last decade. It was exacerbated by her job which required her to be on her feet or driving in cars for hours (she was a social worker). Her doctor told her to take Ad.vil because my mom wasn’t in that much pain. So, basically, she’s been taking “therapeutic” levels of Ad.vil for many years…almost constantly. This, in turn, eroded the lining of my mom’s stomach…causing her more pain and the possible cancer diagnosis.

First her doctor told her she had cancer, then another doctor told her she didn’t, then another doctor (just last week) told her she did…and hence the trip north. In fact, I got that call (“hey, so I might have cancer…again”) while I was at BlogHer…just one day after returning from the Midwest. It kind of derailed me, if I’m being honest.****

After talking to McRuger, and my parents and Bro/Jewel, we all decided that last week was a good time to go. Mom had a doctor’s appointment about her pain and potential cancer. To save you the worry…she doesn’t have cancer (yay!).

It was possibly the worst time to go…for Cadet. He’s a kiddo who likes his rhythm and daily schedule. After almost two weeks of travel and being away, he wasn’t in the best place. But, life happens, and he went with me.

To be honest, most of the trip was rather dull. Cadet had a very rough time sleeping (which had a negative impact on me…since he was sleeping with me), but overall, the trip was a normal trip. My dad took a day off of work to hang out with Cadet and me, which was great. The drought is so bad there, that my parents are keeping a trough full of water…for the wildlife! The deer (a long-time nemesis of my father) are so thirsty for water that they are looking dehydrated…which is bad for this early in the summer. The trough and apples that my dad is putting out, drew lots of excitement from Cadet. He was thrilled to see the baby deer and the birds that now frequent my parent’s front lawn.

We had dinner one night with Bro, Jewel, Bug, and Mouse. Jewel cooked a nice dinner of lasagna, bread, salad, and cobbler. Despite my best efforts, Bug and Mouse still completely overwhelm Cadet. They are LOUD children. And by loud, I mean constantly screaming/running/screeching/moving/talking. They are NEVER quiet, unless they are watching TV (which is on near-constantly for the girls). So, Cadet doesn’t really enjoy his cousins that much yet. Combine the noise with more toys than you can fit in my house….and it’s overwhelming for me, let alone my sensory-challenged kiddo.

To be honest, I don’t understand Jewel very much…despite the fact that I’ve known her since kindergarten. She’s one of those people who has to have everything be perfect…no matter what it costs her (Bro is the same way…). To that end, she keeps her house immaculate…no stray socks on the floor, no toys strewn about, no messy fingerprints on the windows. Of course, her mother comes in daily to help keep the “mess” in check. Her mom does all the laundry for the family, takes the girls for close to 15 hours each week (lots of shopping for new toys), and also designed/planted/weeds/waters Jewel’s veggie garden. Plus, Jewel has a team of three housecleaners who come in twice a month for a “deep” clean. I swear, I have never seen a speck of dust in their house. And despite all the help she gets…she’s constantly complaining about how little time she has…because she’s always cleaning. Because she’s always cleaning, and the girls don’t help with that at all, she basically doesn’t spend much time with them. They are entertained by the TV or Jewel’s mom…or by just screaming all the time. I just don’t get it….

But, the best part of the trip was the day my dad brought down my boxes of toys from the attic. My parents have been storing most of my childhood toys and memorabilia from middle/high school in their attic for the last 18 years. They have been “threatening” to have a big cleaning and toss everything for years…but have never done it. When I suggested we get a start with some of my boxes, my dad jumped at the chance.

We brought down 8 boxes that were labeled as mine. I was most excited to see my dolls, since I had quite the collection starting at a young age. My Cabbage Patch Dolls, especially were loved. At one time, I had almost 30 of them, but had pared it down to 19 when I packed them away in high school. I got my first CPK doll in 3rd grade, when they were all the rage…because one of the storage facilities had burned down and they were hard to get. I named her “Betty”, my second was “Mary”, then came “Tom”, and “Jocelyn”….I honestly can’t remember the names of the rest of them. It was surreal to see them again…dolls that (in my mind) had distinct personalities and histories. I gave them each a hug as we unpacked them. And then came the decision about what to do with them….  In the end, I kept my favorite 4 (named above), I gave Bug and Mouse each one, and donated the rest to a local thrift shop.

However, what surprised me the most was my reaction to my “Pound Puppy” stuffed animal. I actually cried when I saw him. I was in tears and I couldn’t stop hugging him. It was like I was reunited with a friend. I don’t quite know why that stuffed animal impacted me so greatly, but he did. Of course, he came home with me!

We also went through lots of things I had forgotten about or never seen: a blanket, hat, and coat my grandma had crocheted for me before she died, clothes I had worn when I was a baby, a tea cup collection from my great-grandmother, a box of vintage doll furniture that had been hand made (we think) for my grandmother, and some play jewelry that I had loved as child.

In the end, most of the stuff was donated. But, it was a great trip down memory lane for me.

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We ended up coming home a day early because Cadet was really struggling with sleep: averaging about 6-7 hours a night (and I was getting about 5 hours a night, which isn’t good). I needed to sleep in my bed, and I needed Cadet to catch up on his sleep…since he also wasn’t napping well. Cadet actually slept for 4 hours on the drive home…and still slept the entire night once we got home.

It’s also nice to be home to our normal routine. This morning, Cadet and I made bread for the week (a Monday ritual), and did some cleaning up (together) of his room and his toys.

I still owe you all a review of BlogHer…soon, I hope!!

 

 

 

Categories: Cadet, Family, Household, travel | 3 Comments

Warm Corn Salad

While at BlogHer, I met Elizabeth…I have read her blog for a while and she’s been a loyal reader of mine. In her most recent post, she’s looking for recipes. So, this post is for her…..

Several years ago, McRuger and I were stumped. We needed a salad for our Thanksgiving dinner, but didn’t want a boring green salad. After checking out our fridge/freezer, my eyes landed on a bag of frozen corn. I thought that I could do something with that. Over the years, I perfected my recipe and made it for various sized crowds. With only 5 main ingredients (which are stapes in my house), it’s a simple, go-to recipe that you can use year-round.

Please note, that this recipe is easily doubled or tripled. It is best served warm, but leftovers can be heated in the microwave/stove.

 

Warm Corn Salad

1 bag frozen sweet corn (I use super sweet bi-color corn)

1 fresh jalapeño

2 slices uncooked bacon

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey (can also use agave syrup)

Salt and pepper to taste

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Cut the slices of bacon in to small pieces (julienne). Sprinkle them in a cold pan and render the fat out, until the pieces are crispy. Remove the bacon pieces and drain them on a paper towel. Reserve a tablespoon of the bacon fat.

While your bacon is cooking, stem and deseed your jalapeño. Dice the jalapeño very fine (or a brunoise, if you are a foodie like me…).

Heat your skillet and bacon fat to a medium/low temperature. Sauté the jalapeño until they are just tender. They shouldn’t be brown or get crispy, just soften them.

Once the jalapeño has softened, turn the heat up to medium, and add the corn to the pan. Let the corn get coated with the grease. Cook the corn until heated and starting to sizzle.

Add the vinegar and honey and stir. Be sure to keep your face away from the pan when you add the vinegar.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve warm, topped with the crispy bacon bits.

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Variations: Adding fresh, diced tomatoes can be a great addition. A perfect summer addition!

 

Enjoy!

Categories: food | 2 Comments

Returning from the “death trap”…

We were gone for 8 days, but it feels like longer. It was a really long 8 days. We went to visit McRuger’s family in the Midwest for a family reunion. First of all, there were a lot of great moments. I loved getting to know my nephews and nieces more, especially now that they are older. They were a HUGE help with Cadet. We had some fun family activities and I got to teach a few folks about felting. And it was wonderful to see Cadet making deeper connections with McRuger’s family.

However, there were a lot of “downsides”. So, McRuger’s parents own a lake (several actually) and a lake house. That sounds mighty glamorous, doesn’t it? Yeah…not so much. The lake house (or unfinished cabin) was lovingly dubbed “the death trap”. In the five years since I was last at “the death trap”, the cabin has remained pretty much the same. It’s like camping, indoors, with LOTS of construction equipment. So, there was a good deal of work we had to do to make sure Cadet didn’t kill himself. Plus, the lake had some sort of oil slick…and smelled like death…so we didn’t get to swim.

There were lots of tension between some of McRuger’s family members. It seemed like every day there was some new issue to be worked out.  MIL fighting with BIL. SIL fighting with her husband. It made for some very tense meals. But, McRuger’s family doesn’t just “visit” each other….they live together. Lots of sibling rivalry, a good deal of miscommunication, and just a dash of unresolved issues….I’ll leave it to your imagination how much fun that was.

Toss in 90F heat, 70% humidity, and lots of VERY LARGE bugs and it was just what the doctor ordered…NOT.  Oh, and I’m pretty sure that my doctor would not be pleased with the typical diet of McRuger’s family: “juice” (aka Crysta.l Lit.e), sausage, potatoes, bacon, eggs, and a good deal of highly processed cheese. You know how when you eat breakfast and you have toast with your eggs? Yeah…no…they serve pancakes or (more commonly) biscuits and gravy. When it was my turn to make dinner, I made lentil loaf with a green salad…people liked it after they heaped on the salsa and sour cream. Every time I cooked, I made something with a vegetable: sweet potato hash, warm corn salad, or sautéed kale.

How did Cadet do? Well, it was rough for him at various points. He did fantastically during the plane ride out. I was really impressed. He was calm and curious. He got a little fussy toward the end, but it was a 4-hour flight, and he’s not used to sitting down that much. We had packed him his own little “carry on” (a fabric lunch box with treats, new small toys, stickers, and animal flash cards). Cadet loved his “suitcase”, and carried it everywhere.

While we were there, Cadet did pretty well. After the first few days, we had to instruct McRuger’s family about how to read some of Cadet’s cues, but they did pretty well. Sleeping was the main issue. Cadet, who normally sleeping in his own room, wasn’t about to sleep in a strange room. He only wanted to sleep with me. McRuger and I were sleeping on a double-sized bed (we’re bigger people….and it was tight), so I didn’t really have room to accommodate Cadet. In the end, Cadet and I shared the double bed, and McRuger slept on the floor on an old crib mattress. We all suffered from a good deal of sleep deprivation.

However, Cadet got to do lots of new things and learned new words. Some of his favorites were: feeding the donkeys, riding on the pontoon boat, watching the corn wave in the wind, going over the train tracks, and tickling everyone’s chin. He also got lots of time to play and explore with his cousins….they cried when they hugged him goodbye!

The journey home was ROUGH. I mean….ROUGH! Cadet woke at 3:45 the morning of our flight home and refused to go back to sleep. After an hour of trying everything to get him back to sleep, McRuger and I decided to make a mad dash for the airport and try to get an earlier flight home via standby. We literally had 40 minutes to pack, drive (20 minutes), and return our rental car. Thankfully, everything went smoothly (although it was tense)…and we got the last three tickets on the flight. I got to hand it to Virg.in Americ.a….they were amazing to deal with. And on the actual flight, Cadet was a nightmare. I’ve never seen him so dysregulated before. He was exhausted…and so were we. After a good deal of screaming, he finally slept the last hour of the flight.

So, we got home on Thursday morning…and on Friday I was at BlogHer (which is another post).

I’ll leave you with Cadet’s impressions of the trip. When I asked him what we saw in State X…he said: “Corn, big corn”.

Categories: Other Stuff | Tags: | 4 Comments

Waldorf Workshop

So, my workshop on Waldorf homeschooling/life was wonderful. The first few days I was fighting a small cold, but even that didn’t stop me from feeling so good about what I was learning.

Every day we started off with some songs, a few discussions, and then a craft before a break. Then, some more discussions, a few more songs, and then a parting blessing. There were nine women (students) and two teachers. Our teachers were awesome. Both have been Waldorf teachers for over 20 years, and are very passionate about providing children an unencumbered/simple youth.

What I especially appreciated about these teachers, was how they taught Waldorf pedagogy. Both of them said over and over how important it was for the mothers (or homeschooling/primary parent) to feel nurtured and supported. If a certain Waldorf philosophy doesn’t fit in with where your family is…then work around it. They weren’t dogmatic about anything. They helped me understand that this lifestyle isn’t “all or nothing”, and just putting into practice some of the principles can make a huge difference.

So, what did we work on? We talked about our family rhythm and how to make it less stressful. We talked about the challenges of walking away from traditional cultural values and education. We talked about how to nurture ourselves, before we nurture anyone else. We talked about how to pass our values on to our children, despite our mass culture pulling at them. We discussed how to support and feel supported by our partners. We discussed family challenges and possible solutions. And, we became a circle of women who felt connected by the time the week was over. I made some new friends!

As for crafts, we made wreaths of culinary herbs, candles out of organic beeswax, dolls for our children, felted birds and butterflies, made candle holders from pear wood, and organic cleaning supplies.

I came away each day feeling uplifted, nurtured, and empowered! It was so powerful being in a room of women who share similar beliefs and goals. Some were more “Waldorf” than others, but all of us were working toward a similar goal.

Our teachers gave us tons of resources every day. Articles, academic studies, books, scientific research, and even some great poems and songs.

I walked away feeling more informed and passionate about homeschooling. I also feel like I have made some connections that will be important in the future.

 

Categories: Cadet, feelings, Homeschool, McRuger, Motherhood, thoughts | 3 Comments

Sending a message…

For a while now, I’ve been unhappy with Cadet’s preschool program. Between the billing issues, the inconsistent schedules of his aides, and a strong movement toward indoor play (rather than outdoor play)…I’ve been strongly considering pulling him out.

Originally, we enrolled him because we needed help. Cadet needed help. His language skills, specifically, needed help. And this school, run by experts, provided that help. Plus, they were really close to our house…an added bonus!

Today, I got the confirmation I needed that he needs to be pulled out of the program. I got an e-mail this morning from the preschool director, asking to speak to me before I picked up Cadet. I thought it was about billing, because it’s always about billing. But, that’s not what she wanted to talk to me about.

Over the course of 20 minutes, she laid out the huge changes that will be happening to Cadet’s class. Changes that I can’t even fathom why they are doing it. The changes include mixing the larger kindergarten class with the smaller preschool class. That means that Cadet’s class of 4 will skyrocket to a class of 20. They are eliminating the one-on-one aides from the room, instead doing “pull out sessions” for therapy sessions. Most of the neuro-typical kids will be asked to leave. Fees will increase, despite the pulling back of support. Some of these changes have prompted several of the teachers (including the preschool director) to find employment elsewhere. They are pulling out their children (two of whom happen to be Cadet’s best friends at school).

There’s more stuff, but those are the big ones for me.

This afternoon, his case manager had an in-home session with Cadet. She and I spent the first hour talking about what she would do in our position. She was whole-heartedly against keeping him enrolled, go so far as to say that it could be detrimental to the progress he’s made.

What’s odd about the timing of this, is that earlier this week we had Cadet’s year review. None of this information was given. It was “business as usual” sort of meeting.

So, here we are…now it’s just a matter of pulling him out of the preschool. Hopefully, we can keep some of his in-home aide hours. And while it won’t impact OT or Speech, it’s going to be a big shift.

Part of me feels this was the Universe’s way of telling me to start getting ready to homeschool. While we may try to find a part-time (small) pre-school program or playgroup to get him some social time (which he enjoys), I think it’s time to start “walking the walk”.

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This whole week has been an anxious one for me, and I’m not exactly sure why. Stress headaches, some dizzy spells, low energy, fears that every twinge is some disease, and an inability to handle everyday issues in the calmest manner. McRuger has been blissfully supportive and very generous with his time.

The news about Cadet’s school only made everything worse. I feel like I’m drowning with all the potential directions our life can go. Every time I try to sleep, I feel like I am washed over with just too many thoughts.

Thankfully, Cadet has been a joy this week…and McRuger a great help. I’m hopeful that I can get over this with a nice, relaxing weekend.

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Of course, adding to the stress/excitement is the month of July and all of the stuff we have happening. First, I’m attending a Waldorf-inspired conference for a week. The conference days are short (9-12), but it’s in a town an hour away…so lots of traveling and learning.

Then, just 3 days after the conference ends, we leave to visit McRuger’s family in the midwest. We’ll be gone for almost 2 weeks.

And then, the day after we get back from that…I’m going to BlogHer 2014. Yes! It’s not too far from where I live, and one of my bloggy/IRL friends is going with me! Are you getting excited Robyn?

Those are just the “bigger” events. We also have several smaller events to attend (BBQ, gatherings, and a festival).

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But, I’ve almost forgot about the most exciting news. So, when I used to be a teacher, I would often take students on immersion trips to sister schools. One of those sister-schools was in an area of our country I love. It’s a very small school, very rural. When I visited with my students, I fell in love with the people and area. They only have about 100 kids in their school. This year, I heard that they were looking for teachers/volunteers. I talked it over with McRuger, and we decided to see what kind of help we could give them.

I spoke to the principal. He was intrigued and glad to hear from me. After chatting about the weather, our gardens, and the state of his school…we got down to brass tacks. He’d like me to be a mentor-teacher to his staff (as I have MUCH more experience than they do). This is on a volunteer position, of course, but a very awesome opportunity. Since the school is several states away, it would mean visiting occasionally, and providing online/phone support to the teachers. The principal has also asked if McRuger could help with some of their tech needs (which, of course, he will). All that’s left is for the principal to call some of my references (a formality, since he knows all of them). Once that’s done, then I’ll start planning on how best I can help these young teachers.

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So, lots of things happening here. Doesn’t leave much time for the World Cup, gardening, or crafting. What are you all doing? How is your summer going?

Categories: Anxiety/Worry, Cadet, Choices, Homeschool, McRuger | 6 Comments

Bean Glop Recipe…

For one of my readers…

 

 Bean Glop (or Lentil “Loaf”)

This recipe can easily be doubled!

1 cup brown/common lentils

2 cups water

1 bay leaf (optional)

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1 cup finely chopped onion

1 clove garlic (minced)

1 tablespoon olive oil (or any oil you have on hand)

1 small can of sliced black olives (drained)

1 large can (28 ounces) of unsalted diced tomatoes

1 small can of diced green chilies

2 teaspoons of ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt (if using salted canned tomatoes, reduce salt to taste)

Ground pepper to taste

*******

1.5 cups grated Jack cheese (feel free to increase or decrease cheese amounts)

2 cups plain tortilla chips (slightly crushed)

2 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Put lentils, bay leaf, and water into a sauce pan and simmer (covered) until the lentils are just tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, sauté onion and garlic in the oil until translucent (not browned). Stir in olives, tomatoes, chilies, cumin, and salt. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until some of the tomato juice has started to evaporate. Turn heat off.

Check the lentils. If they are tender, remove the bay leaf and drain off any remaining liquid.

Combine the lentils and onion mixture. Spread into a 9×9 baking dish. Top with the crushed tortilla chips and then the cheese.

Bake, uncovered, until the casserole is heated through (should be slightly bubbling around the sides) and the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Once the casserole is out of the oven, top with the parsley or cilantro.

Serve with rice and a nice salad.

The leftovers are great on top of toast with some fresh tomatoes!

 

Categories: food | 5 Comments

An unexpected trip…

Over the past few months, I have been increasingly concerned about my mom’s health. It seemed like when we talked, she was always scheduling a doctor’s appointment or about to go to an appointment. I even talked to Bro about it, but he hadn’t noticed anything. I asked mom about it when she visited earlier this month, she said that she was having some stomach issues and that “everything was ok”.

Turns out, that wasn’t exactly the truth. She actually had been told by one of her doctors that she had stomach cancer. Cancer.

So late last week, I packed up and off to the farm Cadet and I went. Mostly to get some answers that just can’t be gotten over the phone.

Once I got there, my father and I went on a long walk with Cadet. I started asking some questions, and my dad started talking. While they are still waiting on a few biopsies, her doctor is fairly optimistic that she doesn’t have stomach cancer. The original diagnosis came from her GP, not a specialist. And her GP wasn’t qualified to read the MRI, but gave her a “cancer” diagnosis anyway (?!?!?!?!?!). Once my dad found out about this (mom kept him in the dark for several weeks), he contacted a family friend who is an influential doctor in the area, and got mom into see some specialists.  Despite the waiting game for a few of the biopsies, we do know more about what’s going on with her stomach.  She does have is a very weakened and impaired stomach lining, after years of taking “therapeutic levels” of Ad.vil for her leg/hip pain.

What this all means is that mom can no longer take oral medications, no longer eat most foods she loves, and she is in near-constant pain from her stomach, legs, and hips. So, it’s not great…but it’s (hopefully) not cancer.

I had many conversations with both my parents about how I want to be kept in the loop. I don’t care if it adds stress to my life (what they were worried about, and why they didn’t tell me). My mom and I had a few heart-to-heart conversations about what she wants to happen if things do go badly. She’s really worried about my father, and how he’ll handle being without her. My dad and I talked about similar things, and he’s adamant that he wants “go” first, but knows that he’s in generally better health than my mom.

Due to the fact that my mom (as a former social worker) has always worked around dying people, these conversations aren’t really morbid for her. She’s a big proponent of talking about death and dying WAY before it becomes a reality.

In the end, we all agreed that we need to communicate better, and keep each other informed!

*********

So, besides the death and dying and cancer conversations, it was a really good trip. Cadet had a fabulous time! We went to the river and threw rocks (too cold to swim). We hiked. We played with the chickens. We saw lots of cows, dogs, turkeys (wild), llamas, and horses. I brought up Cadet’s bike, and he spent hours riding it around my parent’s property…learning about hills and going “fast”. We spent time in the hammock, enjoying the sun and wind. He learned some new words, gained some new skills, and actually slept well.

My parents had a party for the summer solstice, and Cadet and I were invited. It’s the first party my parents have had (and I’ve been in the area for) in over 15 years. My parents used to throw great parties when I was a kid. Wild, music-filled, amazing parties. They turned one of their barns into a dance hall one year, and we had night after night of dancing. Another barn was turned into a haunted house for the kids (LOTS OF FUN). We had “walking parties” in the neighborhood. And there was always TONS of music playing. Slowly, my mom has been bringing parties back….

So, it was interesting to be part of these parties as an adult. The solstice party was small (only 8 people), but lots of fun. Singing, dirty jokes, hats, poems, food, and (of course) great conversations. Everyone was enamored with Cadet, and refreshingly open with their questions about why he was so quiet. It was a perfect gathering to celebrate the longest day of the year.

********

Despite some meltdowns during the drive…and one monstrous diaper issue on the way home…I’m calling the trip a total success. I know it sounds strange to say that when my mom might be facing cancer, but I’m glad we all talked about it. I think we’re in a better place moving forward. Now, we just wait for more results….everyone cross your fingers!!

Categories: Celebrations, doctors, Family, health | 6 Comments

Let’s just do a re-cap….

So, yeah…it’s been a very long and very difficult few weeks here. And because writing it all out would take WAY more time than I currently have…bullet-points is the way to go!

  1. Cadet has been going through some sort of sleep regression. It started about 3 weeks ago. Staying up until 1am or waking at 3 am…for days on end. The lack of sleep caused us all to get some sort of cold/sinus thing. It wasn’t fun. I’m just now feeling back to my normal energy levels…after almost two weeks. Over the past week, we thought it had faded…but on Monday night he stayed awake until 3am. Yes. I ended up driving him in the car until he passed out. And last night he was up from 1-4am.
  2. Despite his lack of sleep, Cadet has been learning new things. He’s putting two words together very well. He’s starting to understand the concept of how his words can impact what I do…and he’s started telling me (frequently) what to do: “up, move, outside” or “sit, lay down, snuggle”. Of course, it’s all in Cadet-ese, but it’s very cute. On Tuesday, we went to the beach and Cadet had a great time. He calls it the “ocean”, which in Cadet-ese sounds like “oh sh!t”. McRuger and I find that endlessly hysterical. I’ve been trying to get it on video!
  3. My BIL/SIL and Snail (my niece) were staying with us for almost a week. It was very difficult. VERY!! BIL/SIL are having a rough patch in their marriage, so it was tension-city in our home. Lots of fighting (them) and lots of hiding (us). The tension in the house was so hard to handle, that most of the time I ended up cranky at the end of the day…BIL/SIL fought almost constantly, and SIL vented to me. In her vents, SIL also talked a lot about how things are going in the bigger family circle, and it shed some light on a few things. McRuger’s extended family is going through some rough times: medical problems, legal problems, money troubles, and just general unhappiness. It’s why this family reunion has become such a hot-button topic.
  4. McRuger’s cousin’s wedding was a total disaster for us. It was a 3.5 hour drive to get there, and another 3.5 hours to come back. Since Cadet doesn’t do well in hotels, we decided to do it all in one day. Cadet was so dysregulated by the time we got to the wedding that we ended up not actually seeing much of the wedding at all (cue meltdown right as the bride was coming down the aisle). We spend a little time with the family, paid our respects to the bride and groom…and then left ASAP. Cadet was freaked out by all the people, new sights, and not having his normal schedule. He was getting to the place where he couldn’t look at us. Not good. Cadet didn’t sleep in the car, screamed most of the last hour home, and it took him close to a full 24 hours to get regulated again. We’re going to think long and hard before doing something like that again.
  5. The one bright spot over that week was seeing how Cadet interacted with Snail. BTW, I’m calling her Snail because she just learned to walk and moves slowly. But, anyway, Cadet is in love with Snail. He treated her (mostly) very gently and kindly. I was worried about him tackling her or getting aggressive with his toys, but those concerns didn’t come to fruition. Yes, a few times he gave her a rough hug and tried to pull her down, but overall he was wonderful. It was remarkably lovely to see how they interacted.
  6. Last week, McRuger was away on business. So, my mom came to visit. It was lovely having her here and we got a few projects done. She caught me up on all the gossip and news from my hometown. And, in a small town, there’s always lots of news and gossip. The greatest moment was when my mom whipped out the family cookbook to give to me. It’s one that my Grams wrote up before my grandfather died, and it has a ton of recipes that Grams (and other family members) loved. But, most importantly, it had a recipe for Bean Glop. Yes, that’s the family name for it. My Aunt E used to make it, and I’ve been wanting to introduce McRuger to it. Bean Glop is a loose lentil loaf made with onions, peppers, tomatoes, cumin, and, of course, lentils. It’s amazingly good. I made it for McRuger, and he was in awe…it really is that good!
  7. I’ve been talking with MsJ about once a week, and texting a few times a week. She’s, amazingly enough, doing quite well. She’s in good spirits and about half way through her current pregnancy. Her 2nd oldest son (Cadet’s half brother) just graduated from high school and will be signing his contract to go into the Navy this week. We sent him a little money to be able to celebrate or get any supplies he may need. MsJ was really touched that we thought to do that. She and I have been talking quite a bit about adoption. I feel like she’s processing her emotions about Cadet’s adoption, both positive and negative. Some of it’s hard to hear, but I know it’s healthy for her to have someone to talk to.
  8. Father’s Day is looking to be relatively quiet here. It’s one of the few weekends where very little is happening for our family this summer. McRuger picked out a new pocket knife as his gift, and we plan on spending the day enjoying the quiet.
  9. Our babysitter, Tulip, who has been with us for a year just found a full-time job. Which means, I need to start the search for Cadet’s new baby-sitter. I hate this. It’s so time-consuming and nerve-wracking. Tulip and I automatically hit it off, it just was right for her to work with us. Now, I’m starting at square-one. I asked Tulip for advice, which was helpful, but she had no recommendations…as all of her babysitting friends already had jobs. So, the search begins…
  10. I have been working very hard to get my Etsy shop up and running after my vacation. I have several really cute things, which makes me very excited to see if they will sell. My mom did some work with me while she was here, and we’ve come up with some new ideas/designs.

Well, that’s about all from here. How have you all been?

Categories: Cadet, Celebrations, Family, feelings, health, sleep | 3 Comments

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