Monthly Archives: March 2009

Winner! And Thanks all around

I never win anything.

But a few weeks ago Jennifer was running a contest and…….. I won! (And all I had to do was leave a comment on her post! It couldn’t have been easier! No skill involved!)

She featured jewelry designed and made by Lisa Leonard, and two winners won a gift certificate. You really need to check out her stuff. Really.

I don’t typically spend a lot of money on jewelry, so winning a prize where I could buy some originally created jewelery, customized for me, was a dream come true. I perused Lisa’s site every day for almost 2 weeks, trying to decide what to order. I really couldn’t decide. Go ahead – think about which one you would order. Tough, huh?

Anyway, I finally decided (sort of – more on that in a minute), and my personal creation came today.

So beautifully packaged, with a simple raffia bow and tag:

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Taking off the lid to find a Lisa Leonard card:

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Took the card off to see which design Lisa had chosen (I couldn’t decide between two, and basically had her pick one for me). Here it is:

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It consists of two silver open circles, with my kids’ names stamped, one name on each circle, with a pearl accent. I cannot even tell you how much I love this! My photos don’t do it justice. Even the gorgeous photos on Lisa’s site don’t come close to matching how beautiful, how touching, my very own necklace is in real life. Maybe I feel it is so beautiful because it features the names of my own children. Probably this has a lot to do with it. So think how beautiful you will think it is with your children’s names (or initials).

Thank you Jennifer for running the contest. Thank you Random.org for picking the number associated with my comment. But most of all, thank you Lisa, for this beautiful, one-of-a-kind, necklace that I will wear and cherish forever.

We’re Talking Summer

As you can see, we still have snow on the ground at our house:

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Despite this, it was opening day at the ice cream stand near our house. Every other spring we’ve lived here they’ve opened the first weekend in March. Now, I believe in eating ice cream all year round, but I have always said I wish they would open later in the spring, and stay open later in the fall (they have always closed the weekend after Labor Day, which is way too early for me!). This year, when the first March weekend came and went without an opening, I wasn’t too surprised. It was definitely still winter around here, and I decided the owners had seen the wisdom in holding off. But last weekend, the first weekend of spring, I was really expecting it. Yet it didn’t happen. There was talk in our neighborhood that the owner had been having health issues and may not open at all this season. Say what??

Fortunately, by Tuesday there was a handwritten sign out front saying “Open Saturday, 11-9”, and all was right in the world again. I promised the girls we would go.

Today dawned foggy and grey, but turned sunny by noonish. And we made a trip for ice cream.

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The kids couldn’t resist wearing flip flops:

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And we weren’t the only ones enjoying a cool, sweet treat:

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Cue the band – summer is really on its way. I am ready.

A Day Late Doesn’t Mean a Dollar Short

This has been a rough week for me, technologically speaking.  I lost Internet at home inexplicably sometime while we were out on Sunday afternoon, and didn’t get it back till Monday afternoon. Comcast sent three technicians in three different trucks to my house to deal with it. No, it wasn’t that complicated, but somehow they got their wires crossed which accounted for two of them; I dont’ remember why the third guy was there. Regardless, they did something different than what I have been doing most every day for two years, which is unplug my modem and router to “reset” them. Yes, I do this nearly everyday. But whatever they did – threw salt over their left shoulder beforehand, perhaps, it worked. They concluded the visit by suggesting I replace my now ancient (3+ years) modem and router with newer models, and this I will do.

Then yesterday morning, Tuesday, I got up and fired up my MacBook Pro as usual and…..nothing. It would not boot up. At all. It would do the pretty little Apple chime, show me some gears, and then go to a grey/blue screen. Using my work computer, Google and I got to be very cozy regarding Mac issues, and I finally got to see that Linux underpinning I’ve heard so much about. Unfortunately, I was not able to make any progress using any of the suggestions I found. I asked a co-worker who I know to be Mac-versed (we are a PC shop at work) and he offered a few things, but none of them worked either. I was getting a little stressed out – all my photos are on that thing, my music, not to mention all my bookmarks! I have an external hard drive but it’s been far too long since I’ve used it to back anything up. We have to learn lessons the hard way, don’t we?

I’m going to skip ahead a bit to keep this somewhat cohesive (whoops, too late!). Today I brought the Mac into work so the co-worker could take a look at it. He had no idea what to do, but he and Google are also pretty close and he knows a bit more than I about Linux. About 6 hours after he started (between doing his real job, mind you), he fixed it! Something to with the Cache file in the Library. Whatever. He sent me the article he found the solution in, and I’ll have to read it a few more times before I can make hide nor hair out of it, but bottom line is, I’m writing this on my Mac! And co-worker is getting homemade chocolate chip cookies tomorrow as a thank you.

But this was supposed to be a post about parenting. I just had to explain why I didn’t write about this yesterday. It was because I had no computer. Got that?

Seven years ago, on March 24, 2002, I met my daughter for the first time and became a mom.

Krystal has been more excited than usual about this day this year. She’s been talking about it for weeks, changing her mind about how she wants to celebrate it time and time again. She finally decided on dinner at a Chinese restaurant in town, and she wanted to invite one of her old teachers (who is currently Belle’s teacher, and occasionally babysits for me) along. So that’s what we did. When I picked her up after school she said she’d been the recipient of lots of attention all day, and this would be because she told everyone that it was her anniversary. Really, apparently most of the school knew. I was  pretty amazed at how vocal she was about it, but it also tickled me that she put such an emphasis on the day. At least this year. I am well aware that there may come a day when she wants it to fade into the background. But for now, we’ll shout it loud.

I gave her a book she’d been asking for, and the teacher surprised her with 7 roses, one for each year we’ve been a family. Is it any wonder Krystal wanted to include her in our special day?

This is the two of us at dinner last night, and this photo would have more impact if I could post the one in a similar pose that was taken the night we met. That will take a bit more doing, as I have some computer issues in the way (and I’m sure you don’t want me to bore you with that story!), so for now you’ll have to content yourself with present day.

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Krystal – I am blessed every day to be your mom and I’m so happy we are a family.

Big Sister, Little Sister

This is something I wrote on June 26, 2006, just three weeks after adopting Belle. It’s one of my favorite pieces, and given that Belle is now the same age Krystal was when I wrote it, I thought I’d revisit it. This was originally posted on the blog I kept for family members during the adoption trip itself, so this is it’s first “public” appearance. Maybe I’ll do a follow-up on how things have changed since then in a few days. Or maybe not. Either way, here you go!

Sometimes you get a glimmer of something extra in a person you thought you knew as well as you know yourself.

I always saw my daughter Krystal as a little girl. When I imagined a sibling in our family, I still saw her as the youngest sister. Our friends nearly all have kids her age or older, and she just seemed to fit as the youngest child. Of course, with adoption you can arrange so your youngest child stays that way, but I didn’t want to do this. I wanted to adopt a younger child, for many reasons, hardly any of which had anything to do with Krystal.

Adding Belle to our family has been, is, and will continue to be a transition for all of us, probably for awhile. Belle is a gift all on her own, but the added dimension she has brought out in her older sister is a gift for me too. By no means do I intend to say Krystal is having an easy time being the big sister. In fact, she is probably having the toughest time of the three of us adjusting to all the changes. But because of her new role in our family I am seeing things in Krystal I didn’t know were there. Within hours of meeting Belle she was making her laugh, and she continues to take on this job with relish. If Belle is cranky, Krystal will take it upon herself to do something to snap her out of it. She is generous, offering up the first turn on the swing. She has happily passed on toys, and enjoys playing Mama with her when I need a few minutes to get something done.

Of course, Krystal has also said she wishes it were just she and me again, that she’s not sure she likes having a sister after all. I’ve said I understand her feeling, and that she’s allowed to feel that way. But Belle is a part of our family now forever, just like she is. When I baby Belle, Krystal wants to be babied too. She has said she wishes she were little like Belle again. And then I remind her of all she can do that Belle can’t, and she turns content to be herself again.

Suddenly, my little five year old seems like a big five year old. Maybe I appreciate all she can do for herself now that I have someone younger and smaller who needs my help with so many things. Maybe she was a big kid all along, and it was me who needed a little kid to be able to see it. But maybe shedding some of the little kid stuff has allowed that new, green, raw big kid stuff to show through. Though my patience is being tested in new ways everyday right now, my heart is overflowing with love for my two girls – Krystal who I have known and loved for over four years and who I get to see new things in, and Belle who I have only just met but who peels away a new piece of herself everyday, showing me the beauty within. What a ride.

My Wild Irish Girl

Krystal before she left for school this morning:

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She had a major tantrum last night, which seeped over to this morning a bit, over the lack of a suitable green shirt. The one she is wearing is a size 4 and the sleeves are short, so I told her to push them up her arms a little, and she had to wear a T-shirt underneath since it didn’t quite cover her tummy. I thought she looked smashing. Fortunately, once I drew the shamrock on her cheek, she agreed.

(Belle had a “Green Day” celebration at her school and came home with her own shamrocked cheek, green hair and nails, just so you know she wasn’t left out of the fun.)

Angry All the Time

Tim McGraw sings a song called “Angry All the Time”. It’s about a marriage that has reached its breaking point, and the song’s tune has always made me feel sad and wistful. The title, if not the lyrics, seems to apply to me lately, in particular this past weekend.

“Mom, can I have an apple?” is enough to send me over the edge. This is not good.

Belle is a very active child who still does not know boundaries. She will grab at anything within her sight, within her reach. She is five years old. I don’t think she should need to be so highly supervised every bloody second of the day. I have had to put the dog out of limits to her on many occasions as she simply will not stop getting in her face, waving scarves (or anything else, really) around, which causes Tessie to chase her (of course) and then screeches when the inevitable happens. She exhibits highly inappropriate behavior, some of which can send me into a rage in seconds. She takes glee in seeing someone else hurt or in trouble, and likes to do and say inappropriate things to her sister, the neighborhood kids, or friends who come to visit. Some examples are: deliberately spitting on someone else’s food, saying a word like “stupid” over and over and over and over, mooning, all followed by that infuriating gleeful laugh and I sometimes just want to throw her through the window.

Krystal has turned into an 8 year old teenager overnight, and the massive attitude is driving me mad. Nothing is ever her fault, and she has to be reminded to do simple things multiple times before she takes action. She also seems to have some sort of odd “opening disability”. She cannot open a tube of toothpaste, a package of crackers, a bottle of water, without assistance. Worse, she doesn’t even try. This is closely related to her “can’t find anything” syndrome. Just last night we were doing baths and she needed to comb her hair. She said, “Can I go get your comb? I can’t find ours.” And her comb was right there, under the headband that she couldn’t be bothered to move.

I am stressed. I need a break.

I don’t want to feel so angry all the time.

Off the Hook!

The phone I use for work, an old Blackberry, died last weekend. I first noticed it wasn’t acting quite right when the emails stopped coming in. That’s happened from time to time in the 3+ years I’ve owned this phone, so I did what I always did, and popped the battery out and then back in to “reset” it, or whatever. No change. Also, the battery was draining in hours versus days. Oh, and the worst of all was that I was unable to make or receive calls on it. Pretty much renders any phone useless.

So Monday morning at work I ordered a new one – I had my choice of three models, and finally settled on the Blackberry World Edition (Red).

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Pretty, no?

I worked all week without a cell phone, and I learned that even though I don’t use my phone all that  much, I missed it terribly. I have a daily 9 am meeting which I am sometimes still in the car for, so I was accustomed to calling in from the road when necessary. Au contraire this week! I also stopped wearing a watch years ago when I began carrying a pager, and then cell phone, and I missed not having the correct time on me. I was also used to looking at it after hours to deal with any critical emails (it’s hooked up to my work email) and my schedule to remind myself of upcoming meetings. Additionally I also felt a teensy bit panicked along the lines of “But what if something happens to me on the way to pick up the kids?” and having no way to get in touch with anyone (of course it’s not like we don’t live in a pretty populated area, and for sure someone would see me and call it in if anything were to happen).

So the new phone arrived yesterday and when I picked the girls up they were so very excited. Krystal insisted on showing the other kids at the after school program and declared it “Sick!” and “Off the hook!” (gee, I hope not!) (also, when did I get so old?)  And while it does look cool, my employer blocks most of the fun features, so it’s really pretty utilitarian in the end. Not that I am complaining, since I don’t pay for it and am allowed to use it for personal use.

Now to start incorporating these new hip phrases into conversation!