Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Making a "Fairy Skirt" or making a tutu

MLyons wants to be a purple fairy for Halloween.  She had a bunch of other ideas but came back to this one.  I decided that I could probably make something...

so I went to Hancock Fabrics and bought tulle

and I came home and made a pattern

paper bag pattern

To make a circle skirt pattern I simply considered what I needed the circumference to be based on my daughter's waist (I should have based it on her hips) and cut a string to half that length (the radius if you remember your geometry) allowing and extra inch, and then tied the string to a pencil and drew 1/4 of a circle with the end of the string in the corner of a 90 degree angle.  Which means, pick a corner of your paper, put the end of the string not attached to the pencil in the corner, and then draw an arch with the pencil at the end of the string.  Then you measure out from the waist line to create the other side of the skirt pattern.  I've made it sound much more complicated than it is.

I cut out three layers of tulle.  One in dark purple, one in lavender, and one white one with glittery dots all over it.  Sewed the ends together to create a circle and then did a loose gathering stitch along the top edge.
If you need help with gathering check out a tutorial, here is one to get you started:

At this point I decided I was going to need a liner, because tulle against the legs is itchy and because it was so transparent the colors were not showing properly.


This is a dress my mother made for one of my sister's to wear in the High School Musical, I think the sister was a chorus girl in "West Side Story."  At any rate, my sister wore it some 20 years ago and it has been a "play dress up" dress ever since.  As my mother has 4 granddaughters and three of them live in my house the dress ended up here.  I didn't think it would be missed and the color was perfect.  So I cut off the bodice and cut out the zipper and used the skirt straight off the dress.

I'm doing this sort in an "as I go" manner so now I'm thinking about a waist.  I had intended to cut a 3 inch strip of fabric, fold it over, and have a 1 inch tube through which to pull elastic.  I went to the fabric store but didn't see a fabric that would work for my purposes and budget.  So I cut into the bodice of the dress.  In the end, the waist is tight along my daughters upper leg/ hips and sits low on her hips once on, so I ended up not threaded any elastic through.

finished skirt

I purposefully cut the tulle and lining to different lengths as I really like that look.  To add the ribbon I first sewed the unfolded waist to the skirt top.  Then I hand sewed the ribbon in place.  Then I folded the waist and hand sewed it to the inside of the skirt.  Again, if you aren't used to sewing like this you may want to look up a tutorial on elastic waists.  

I think details make all the difference

Once the waist was in place I hand stitched these little decorative flowers to the top of the ribbon.

ready for ballet

The week before Halloween, Miss Adelle at Virginia Regional Ballet allows her students to wear their costumes to dance class.
sharing with

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Get riled about something that MATTERS

I had intended to post about something else today (making a Halloween Costume) but there is something I need to get off my chest first.

I was totally unprepared for, and completely shocked by, the judgmental attitude I've been the subject of because I bought a puppy instead of rescuing a dog.

People have had a bit to say about this.

And I want to holler at them- PEOPLE FIRST.
People first.  I have a full house of kids and I cannot bring in an animal with unknown behavioral issues, puppies take up enough time for sure, but I have rescued dogs in the past and they can take up more.  Not to mention risk of aggression toward my 3 yr old and 6 yr old.  And for the love of pete, I'm doing something nice! I'm fostering a puppy for a friend of mine who frankly needs a dog!

But more importantly, please don't get all high and mighty with me about this.  The only people in my opinion who have the RIGHT to get high and mighty with me are foster parents *of children.*

So please consider:
Foster 2 Forever here is a particularly enlightening post "Why We fought for our Foster Child"
or Stare if You Must which I find humbling every time I visit
or Rage Against the Minivan (they aren't foster parents but holy cow does this woman make you THINK) cut your teeth on this post: Where is the Mommy War for the Motherless Child?

there, get wound up about all that.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The morning routine

This morning was "a morning" and then some.
I got the elementary school aged kids up at their usual 7 AM.  Our bus stop is 7:45.  45 minutes is plenty of time to get dressed and eat breakfast.  K catches the high school bus at 6:30.  After she left I did something totally out of the ordinary.  I brought coffee and 1/2 a grapefruit for each of us on a tray and got back into bed and had coffee with my husband and watched CNN.  Little grown up moments like this seem to never happen.  But I paid for it.

But Bitsy didn't get out of bed.  (Bitsy is in Kindergarten.)
I went back up to find her in the yoga "child pose" head in the pillow, legs tucked up under her, behind in the air.
I said something along the lines of "Bitsy you have school.  Lets get dressed" and pulled her pull up off of her (pull ups are their own post) and handed her a turtle neck, and some panties and went to the closet for her jumper.  There are two ways this morning is going to go right now, 1.) Bitsy will rally and get going.  She loves school.  She has a best friend.  Her teacher rocks.  or 2.)  She is going to resist every step of the way.
I step back to the bed with her jumper and note that Bitsy has chosen option 2.  She has her head in the turtleneck (its a mock neck, not a real turtle, and a hand me down, not tight!) and is flailing her arms and whimpering in a mock attempt at not being able to get her shirt on.
This reminds me of a post I recently read on "Rage Against the Minivan" about what the author, Kristen, calls "Purposeful Pokiness"  whatever you want to call Bitsy's behavior it relates to this Pokiness that Kristen's son pulls.  Completely.  And to whatever you want to call what Dragon has been doing since he was 3.  He's 10 now and showing signs that he'll out grow it, but I remain skeptical, hopeful yes, but for goodness sakes people lets be realistic.
I do manage to successfully get Bitsy into her school clothes and find her shoes and I go back downstairs to continue packing lunches and overseeing breakfast.
And I call up the stairs 5 minutes later.  "Bitsy! MLyons! Girls you are taking a long time and you need to eat!"
And eventually I find Bitsy by the front door, moaning and whimpering, fingers in her mouth.  "Bitsy is something wrong?"
no answer.
"Bitsy, if something is wrong maybe I can help."
no answer.
"Okay Bitsy, if nothing is wrong then take your fingers out of your mouth and come on.  You need to eat."
I get Bitsy to the table and pour some cereal.  
She stares at it still whimpering.  At this point I realize we will not make it to the bus stop.
Dear God Almighty - let me get this kid to school today!
I am down at her level.  I'm talking in my preschool mom voice.  "Bitsy, I cannot take you to school without breakfast.  In 5 minutes the bus will come.  We are going to miss it.  If you eat then we might be able to catch it at MLyon's friend's stop and then you can sit with your best friend.  But I need you to eat honey."
More whimpering.
And then finally she has eaten her breakfast.  I ask her to get her backpack.  It is in her room.  As slow as humanly possible she gets her backpack.  Now she needs a sweater.  It is 8:10 AM.  School starts at 8:30.  I get the 4 kids loaded into the car and Bitsy is crying.
"Bitsy what is wrong?"
"I have to go to the bathroom."
"Okay." and I unbuckle her and send her in to the use the bathroom.  As slow as humanly possible.
Thankfully my husband is home.  He is not part of our morning routine but at this moment he magically appears and I say to him, "I need a really big, strong hug *right now*" and he wraps me in a bear hug and I squeeze until I'm calm enough to focus on breathing.

We get Bitsy back into the car.  On the way to school Bitsy asks if she is going to ride the bus.  Um no.  I try to explain in a neutral voice that the bus comes on time.  And when people don't get out of bed, and don't get dressed, and don't eat their breakfast then they will not be able to get to the bus.  The bus will come and they will not be ready.  It is against the rules for the bus to wait.

I arrive at school at 8:28.  Dragon gets out of the car.  MLyons gets out of the car.  Bitsy just sits there.  
couple more big breaths and I get her out of the car and on her way into the school.  Silently I say a prayer of gratitude that she is in school and not at home today.  And then I say a prayer for her teacher.

And so I related to Kristen's post about her son.  And I have seen posts like this on the pages of others with adopted children and fostered children.  And I am not sure it is a behavior noted only in these kids,  how many children of single parents, or children with deployed parents, or children from "normal" (and what does that mean in modern day USA?) families display these kind of behaviors?  And like Kristen I wonder what to tell the school.  Do you tell the teacher that this is regular behavior?  The principal and I had a talk when she had an issue with Dragon and he lied to her, repeatedly, about it.  She started angry, and "wanting me to know" and I wanted to laugh at her.  Yeah I know.  He steals and lies about it every damn day.

There are people who judge me daily as I handle this nonsense better or worse on any given day.  I find that I am angry with those people and not the least bit interested in their opinions.  I also find that there are therapist who have been the children in these situations who advocate all kinds of impractical options.  "Sit down.  Cuddle.  Hug.  Take at time out with your child."  Do those therapists not understand that there are other children who need to go to school?  Do they not understand that there are other children, in this house, getting up and dressed and ready *on time* who deserve my time and cuddles too?  I cannot reward this ridiculous behavior no matter what need is driving it.

So if you are a parent to adopted kids - who exhibit these behaviors - and you have other kids in your house - I ask you to let me know what has worked for you.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Reading Blanket - quick and easy

On Tuesday, in between Monday and Little Hawk's hospital visit and Wednesday and breaking her arm, MLyons worked a quick project in after ballet.

Her sister has been working on a quilt and MLyons wanted to do a "sewing project."  I took her to the store a week ago to pick out some fat quarters but while I was there I noticed the fleece was on a really good sale (actually all of Hancock Fabrics seems to be on a really good sale right now) and I picked some up.

cutting it in 1/2 to make 2 blankets
photo49, a fleece reading blanket is a quick easy craft, but one that she'll actually use
adding fringe
voila! reading blanket!

It really bothers me when we make crafts just to be busy but they end up getting thrown out, so when I can think of something to do that will get used I get really excited.  MLyons is 7 and I supervised her using the sewing scissors but this is something she can do on her own.

Henry - an adoption story asking to happen

This was in my email inbox last night.

via Rainbow Kids
(Rainbow Kids is a website for  Adoption Information, International Adoptions, Special Needs Adoption, Adoption Articles and Waiting Child Photolistings. I subscribe to their newsletter for awesome articles about parenting & adoption)

Please watch his videos!
In all my years of working in adoption, I have never seen anything like this. Meet Henry...literally.  Henry asked a family visiting his orphanage to film him. He knows kids are getting adopted and he wants an American family. He set up "scenes" to showcase his English speaking ability, art work, studies, etc. His orphanage reports that this boy is so good, and so full of love for everyone.  Henry is the first child that I know of who is self-advocating. He has until June of 2013 to be adopted. Please watch Henry's videos and share them. Help his dream come true!
Contact Children's House International for more information

and this too

even after our crazy week I am pulled by this young man who is actively asking to be part of a family!  I am at my limit and do not want my family to fall into being a "group home" but if I can pass on his story to someone who might be able to act I would be so happy to do so.

 updated on October 28th

today I saw this in my email inbox from Rainbow Kids: I Found My Miracle! Last week's newsletter featured the Amazing Henry, a boy who self-advocated by making his own video about how much he wanted to find a family. Our readers shared his story over and over again, and we have now been told by his representing agency that a qualified family is moving forward with his adoption. I am so thankful to all of you for caring about this young man. Thank you.

 *So glad for Henry! So glad!*

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sandy's Cheesecake

Yesterday on our way in for x-rays I asked MLyons if a special desert would be a good idea.  She was scared to see the doctor and I was trying to take her mind off of things.  Never one to miss an opportunity, MLyons sweetly asked if we could have cheesecake.  I promptly agreed.  By the time we got home last night I didn't have time to make one so I made it today while she was at school.



Sandy Nelken's Cheesecake, as handed down to me through Mama Jo and then by Mary:

one graham cracker crust, cooked and cooled to room temperature

1 lb cream cheese
2 eggs
3/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp vanilla
 preheat oven to 350
beat the above together for 20 minutes
pour into crust and bake for 20 minutes
cool to room temperature

1 pt sour cream
2 tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla
preheat oven to 400
beat the above together for 10 minutes
pour over previous layer and bake for 5 minutes
cool to room temperature
refrigerate keep chilled or it will get soupy

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's only Wednesday

Sunday we were at Busch Gardens with our friends.  Around noon my husband found me in Dragon Land with the littles, gave us all kisses good bye and left to catch a flight to Las Vegas NV for a trade show.

Monday Little Hawk's cough had started to sound particularly rough and around noon he fell asleep while I was on the phone talking to the early intervention specialist about his speech delay.  A little while later he woke up for the bathroom and then of his own accord went back to bed.  My son has never done this in the 18 months I've known him.  I went to check on him and he was hot to the touch so I gave him a dose of Motrin and thought little of it.  K had a field hockey game after school so the younger ones piled into the car with us and we picked up her teammate Anna and dropped them off at the field.  We arrived home around 5 and I put a groggy Little Hawk on the couch and turned on the oven to make potatoes.  Shortly there after I looked over at Little Hawk and his arms was jerking, not wildly but something was odd.  I went to check on him and his lips were turning purple, his arms and legs were jerking, his mouth was foaming and he was making an odd clicking sound.  I asked MLyons to bring me my cell phone and I dialed 911.
The cell phone says the call lasted 6 minutes.  It felt like lifetimes.  Medics arrived- Tiger was in the kitchen with the dogs.  Dragon, MLyons and Bitsy were all kind of flitting about.  I was holding Little Hawk.  I laid him down on the couch and the medics got straight to work while asking me questions.
I cannot say enough about the James City County 1st responders.
They were wonderful.  They were calm, knowledgeable and took control of the situation immediately.
Once they set to work on Little Hawk I started dialing numbers in between answering questions.  I tried my mother.  I tried my mother-in-law.  No answer.  The medic who seemed to be in charge of managing me let me know that we would be going to the hospital.  Did I want to put all the kids in the minivan and follow them? {Can you imagine Bitsy in the ER? Flitting about like a princess - absolutely positive it was all about her?- or MLyons who can't go to a sibling doctor appointment without having her nose right up in their business the whole time? Dear God no.  Let me try one more number.}  My friend Laura answered her phone.  She'd seen the emergency vehicles as we live on the same street.  "What happened?" I answered with "I have to go in the ambulance with Little Hawk.  Can you stay with the other kids?"  And she responded with "I am on my way."
I have never ridden in an ambulance before.  As they were strapping Little Hawk in and trying to start an IV (they weren't able to) the medic who was in charge of mom management said "so you have 5 kids and you've never been in an ambulance before?"
"six." I corrected.  "and no."
He smiled.  "well I have 3 and we've ridden in this thing plenty of times.  You are doing pretty good."
If I wasn't so wound up I would have instantly developed a crush on this guy.

Little Hawk started coming to in the ambulance.  He started fussing and then fighting the restraints and honestly I have never been so happy to see him upset.  I figured if he had enough energy to be pissed he was going to be fine.

Once there the medic carried Little Hawk to his hospital bed and the nurse BreAnn got us checked in quickly and started an IV, took some blood, ordered some tests and ordered a Tylenol suppository as Little Hawk was running out of steam and falling back asleep.  In the course of discussion I learned you can buy Tylenol suppositories over the counter.  WHAT!?!  If only I'd known.  I used to literally sit on Dragon and force his mouth open to administer any kind of drug to him.  But I digress.

After a chest x-ray, a flu swab, a strep swab, an RSV swab, we were waiting on urine.  But Little Hawk wasn't giving us anything.  So around 11 they discharged us.

By this time the Tylenol and fluids had kicked in and Little Hawk was looking almost normal.
photo43, Little Hawk in the hospital after a febrile seizure, this is several hours after being in the hospital
about 3 1/2 hours after arriving in the ER

Tuesday was sort of a blur.  My oldest was still awake when we arrived home from the ER close to midnight.  She was trying to finish Latin homework and had a test the next day in Geometry...  I finally got her to bed and told her she was sleeping in the next day.  Cassi, a family friend, drove all the kids into school Tuesday morning, they were about an hour late, but they needed the sleep!  Sometime around noon I went upstairs and realized Sparky, the lizard, was dead.  He'd been sick a lot lately and kept flipping over on his back unable to flip back over.  He was on his back, under his carpet, on top of his heating pad.  I think he may have gotten too hot.  When K arrived home after Field Hockey practice I made her aware of it.  I think we are all so tired and emotionally drained that it is a little hard to get into our heads.  Before bedtime my sweet girl removes Sparky from his terrarium, wraps him in paper and puts him in the outside freezer until we can lay him to rest properly.

Also on Tuesday my friend Mara stopped by to see if I needed her to sit with Little Hawk so I could get a shower, but Cassi had beat her to it.  And later my friend Heather came over with dinner, which was awesome because I was crashing.  I am grateful for my friends.

Wednesday I over sleep and so does K.  At 6:40 I wake up the entire house, get them all dressed and load them all up to take K to the High School.  School starts at 7:15 AM, we got her there by 7:40.  The elementary school bus stop is at 7:45 so we'd missed that too but we drove to another stop on the route and hung out with friends there.  I was home by 8:10.  Tiger catches the Junior High bus at 7:30 and I left him home and told him to kennel Molly when he left.  Yeah.  So much for that.  Molly pulled out toilet paper and chewed on it and unrolled it, she found yarn and dragged that around, she found a box of sandwich bags and pulled them all out and left them all over the hall and kitchen and the icing on the cake, she has figured out that she can stand on her back legs with her front legs in the toilet bowl and splash water all over the place.  This is what I came home to.  It did cross my mind to drive on over to the Junior High and pull Tiger out of class and bring him home to clean up this mess.  But I refrained.
Around 12:30 I receive a phone call from the Elementary School.  MLyons has fallen off the outside monkey bars and hurt her elbow.  The nurse thinks she may need an xray.
Cassi has again stopped by so I dispatch her to fetch MLyons and I get myself and Little Hawk ready to go to the doctor.

photo44, MLyons - the school nurse wrapped her up in a splint after she fell off the bars at school
the nurse has her in a splint

Little Hawk is scheduled to see his regular doctor for a follow up after Monday's hoopla, so I take MLyons to the orthopedics office and send Cassi to the pediatrician with Little Hawk.  The xrays show no broken bones but there is fluid which makes the PA suspicious.  He wants her elbow immobilized for 2 weeks and suggests a splint or a cast.  I choose the cast.

photo45, neon yellow!
bright yellow!

So we left the orthopedic office and went to the pediatrician to meet Little Hawk and Cassi.  Here Little Hawk is diagnosed with Hand Foot Mouth disease as well as an ear infection.  Yay.  He is prescribed amoxiciallan.  When we stop by CVS they have not received it yet and cannot find the prescription in their system.  I give them our information.  When I arrive home I see a voicemail from CVS asking me to call them about the prescription.  I call.  I am told they cannot find it.  I explain that they called me.  I am told again they cannot find it.  Now I'm getting a little short- I explain that my pediatrician sent it via his computer while I was in his office about an hour ago, that I stopped by and physically spoke to someone and gave them my information, and that I am returning a phone call from this number. Now she gets short with me, but finally hands me off to someone else.  We start all over.  And finally she finds the prescription and says it will be ready in 15 minutes.  When I arrive they want the insurance information again.  And when she receives the error again she calls in for help and hears a message asking her to try again after 11 pm.  Hmmm.  The pharmacist hangs up and says "this is Anthem's problem not ours and not yours.  I am going to give you 1/2 of the prescription so you can get your little boy started.  We will try again in the morning.  Call us before you come out so you don't have to wait." Wow.
By this time it is almost 7 p.m.  I warm up Vans waffles and Morning Star veggie sausages for dinner.  Put the gang to bed at 8.  Bitsy is upstairs playing doll house and not in her pjs when I come to tuck them in.  She gets sent to the basement for a little while.  Then I send her back upstairs to try again.  I hear her banging.  She is repeatedly throwing herself against the bed.  Seriously?  5 minutes later Tiger comes downstairs.  "Mom, Little Hawk is licking me."  Since last week Little Hawk bit him, and broke skin, I understand that Tiger is jumpy and besides, licking is just gross.  Currently Little Hawk is banished to my bedroom screaming his head off.

I think it is time to hit the liquor cabinet.

I hope the trade show is going well.
I hope they sell a lot.
I hope Friday at 5 pm, when my husband is supposed to land back in Virginia, comes really soon.

Teen Bedroom Makeover - Update

K's room has been on hold since school started.  Field Hockey and Latin III have taken priority.  However, last weekend we had guests and in getting the room ready to be the guest room we pulled it together enough to be able to see the progress.

For "before" check here.

teen bedroom makeover, started redoing this room from hot pink little girl's room, to calm teen room over the summer

The walls used to be pink, now they are "Likeable Sand" by Sherwin Williams, SW 6058
The desk we had.  The curtains I had bought for the master bedroom in our previous home and they didn't work in this house so they were put away for 6 years.  The head board on the bed had belonged to my husband's grandmother.  The desk belonged to my husband's business partner and we've had it in the room for a few years.  The purple batik cover she has thrown over the comforter I bought eons ago.  Over the years it has been a blanket on the beach and at soccer games.

started redoing this room from hot pink little girl's room, to calm teen room over the summer - the desk, rocker, and headboard are all "hand me downs" from various family members

From the other side.  The lamp is doing kind of a weird thing there in the corner!  The bedside table goes with the head board.  The lamp was also a hand me down from the same grandmother.  The rocker we got from a school auction.  The wooden desk is a Jeffersonian replica that my dad bought for $50 at a moving sale in Monterey when I was in 3rd grade!

started redoing this room from hot pink little girl's room, to calm teen room over the summer

She uses the Jefferson desk for her more personal stuff and the other desk is for homework.
We still need to find a few pictures for the walls and some rugs.

It has been fun to see her environment better reflect who she is.  It has also been fun to pull pieces out of the attic and from other rooms in the house and enjoy a "new room" with out having had to purchase furniture.  In fact we only bought paint, and a few small accessories.  Which is pretty neat when you think about it.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fall decorating in the yard

I was driving back from the Marina last week and passed this lovely fall landscaping, so I pulled over for a better look.
photo35, neighborhood yards ready for fall
neighborhood fall decorating
photo36, Kingsmill Fall Landscaping
I really loved these flowers, the pots, the hay bales, and the pumpkins
They did such a nice job tucking those pumpkins into their landscaping!
A day or two later Little Hawk and I went to Home Depot and came home with some fall plants and some pumpkins and hay bales:

that "fairy tale pumpkin" is almost pink!
I spent just a little bit of time outside today. It was lovely out and so good for me to dig in the dirt a bit!
there is something fascinating about white pumpkins

 They are calling for a steady drop in temperature tonight to a low in the 40s, so I thought I had better get the plants into the ground.
Molly got a hold of this one!
photo34, October 2012, Molly of Toynton Labs chewing on pumpkins
Molly chewing up the pumpkins!

I am linking up with Beverly's Pink Saturday.  This week we are celebrating Fall and sharing pumpkins however you'll also find lots of fun pinks too.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Chasing my tail in circles...

back to school with an IEP - it seems to take forever!  School has been in session for 4 weeks and I'm still tracking down case managers, having meetings, talking to teachers...

Tiger got squared away within the first two weeks of school.  His case manager at Berkeley Middle School was on it- sent home a letter which Tiger kept in his bag for several days (is he the only kid that stinks at facilitating parent/teacher communication? just email me!)- and we had a meeting to go over his IEP and make some changes.  It helped that Tiger told his English teacher "I have an IEP and you can't grade my spelling on a test" which isn't entirely true, it was a vocabulary test and Tiger is expected to spell his vocabulary words correctly.  But the statement prompted his English teacher to contact both Tiger's dad, and the case manager, and helped us get things squared away.

K is in her first year at Jamestown High School and there things got muddy.  Her teachers seem to have been aware of her IEP but it apparently states that she gets extra time on tests.  So graded classwork - which she wasn't finishing - was a problem.  Latin 3 moves a quite a clip and there are at least 2 graded in class quizes/assignments a week and K was pulling F's as they weren't finished.  I talked to the counselor Monday, the case manager Tuesday, K spoke to the case manager Tuesday and her teacher Wednesday and then the case manager followed up.  But it is week 4 into a 9 week marking period.  Even if she pulls 100s on every subsequent assignment As to equal number of Fs average out to a C.  Which isn't a true reflection of what she knows.  As she stays up until 11 pm regularly doing homework, it isn't a true reflection of her effort either.

And we have Bitsy.  Who seems to have gotten lost in the system!  Bitsy receiver her IEP while in preschool and it should follow her to elementary school.  I know in the past that I don't hear about extra stuff like band or gifted programs until October so maybe her services wouldn't start til then either?  So I waited to call.  I called and spoke to the Vice Principal who was beside herself.  No, she said, Bitsy should have begun to receive services the second week of school until the week before the last week of school.  She wants to know who dropped the ball.  But in the meantime, she assured me, Bitsy will begin services IMMEDIATELY and she will make sure she gets make up time for the 4 weeks she missed.  You go Ms. Thompson!

I asked another mom whose kids have IEPs if she feels like it takes until the 3rd week in October to get all the "back to school stuff" squared away.  She rolled her eyes and said, "people have no idea!"

Molly - October 10

photo26, Molly of Toynton Labs, she knows her sit stays! Good Girl! Molly is working on her sit - stay, she can hold it for about 3 seconds! But she is trying! Good Girl Molly

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Groom's Cake

This was the Groom's Cake:


Cake by CourtHouse Cake Company

which I'm sharing with Blue Monday

Wedding Weekend!

With Congratulations to Shelby and Mark!

Friday night Tim & I were off to a fabulous dinner hosted by the groom's family.  It was wonderful to see everyone and then the toasts and roasts began and we laughed and laughed!  Tim said several times, Mark's family is so much fun.  And they are.

Dinner was hosted at the William and Mary Alumni House
which I've never been in before
a front parlor maybe?
lovely dining room

with some cousins and my aunt

Saturday began with brunch at my mothers. 

always a pretty table at mom's
feeding the ducks on mom's dock
The wedding was at 5 with the ceremony on the golf tee which sounded odd but the view was lovely. 

and then we walked back to the Ford's Colony Country Club for the reception. (On Friday my Uncle informed me that some walking would be involved.  So I wore street flats out to the ceremony carrying my stilettos and then once we'd arrived at the reception I switched shoes! Having rolled my ankle last winter and still having trouble, I didn't want to walk too far in those shoes. But I didn't have very many options that would work with my dress either.  And then of course the dancing started and off I went in 3 inch stilettos without ankle straps like is was no big deal.  Ah, the power of good music!)

Mom and Mike
bride and groom
It was especially fun for my Irish-Catholic paternal family to be part of a Jewish wedding.  The groom told my husband at one point that it was the most Anglo-American almost Jewish wedding ever!  But it was great fun.  One of my cousins is now on a mission to make sure everyone else marries Jewish men so we can continue to celebrate with these traditions.  My husband said, "or we could just have the band play the song, and hoist them into the air, and then when someone asks "whose Jewish?" we'd all just shrug."  Nobody means that disrespectfully, we just really had fun.

The whole wedding was very much about family and it was beautiful and very hard.  During the ceremony the pastor who said "Marriage isn't about faith. Christian marriages succeed and Christian marriages fail, Jewish marriages succeed and Jewish marriages fail, pick a religion and you'll find success and failure.  Marriage is about how the married people act.  And you can't do it alone.  You have a wonderful family and friends, lean on them when things are hard."  It took a lot not to cry.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Anderson-Wright in Portsmouth VA

In August I traveled to Portsmouth with my mother twice, once for a biopsy result and the second time for a full day in the hospital for a more comprehensive biopsy... the details are hers.  However, on the first day, after her appointment we went for a brief shopping expedition.

We found Anderson-Wright Rooms and Gardens.
What a fabulous place to visit!

This place completely captures the imagination doesn't it?  What a gem!  The owner, Bill Schlaht lives above the store and you can read more about the actual business in this article from 2011 here


In this room full of wonderful accessories I found this little piece that was one of the inspiration pieces for redoing Kat's bedroom.

butterflies on coffee ice cream, perfect 
 linking this post to A Southern Day Dreamer's Outdoor Wednesday

Monday, October 1, 2012

Full Circle - Big Brothers Big Sisters

Have you ever wondered if you were the "right person?" or if it was "the right time in your life" to get involved in someone else's life?

In 1996 my husband and I were newly weds and we had just moved from Virginia to Wisconsin.  (We got married in January, finished the honeymoon with a second interview at a job and house hunting, accepted the job and bought a house in Feb with help from grandparents, moved at the end of Feb, started his new job in March (?) )

That summer we decided to apply to Big Brothers Big Sisters and get involved.  The social worker suggested we be a "Big Couple" and said that usually they'll match up a couple with a boy as they have more need for mentors with boys.  Fine.  My husband was interested in an older kid and so the social worker asked us if we'd be interested in the 12/13 year old range as these kids were "aging out."

We were matched with *H* who was 13 and liked soccer.  Perfect.  Even more perfect was that he is a little introverted.  I am too.  Once we got to know one another we could comfortably be in each others space without feeling a need to talk if we didn't want to.  Again, perfect.

So what does a big couple do?  Well we started off pretty basic.  Once a week we'd pick him up and either go out for dinner or have him over.  Because he was quiet and I'm quiet we started to go to movies too.  And then we all kind of got over the initial weirdness and by the end of the year he was hanging out at my house.  He'd come over to play computer games "Command and Conquer" was a big one, do yard work with my husband, they built a deck, he'd play with my dogs.  My husband coached H's soccer team in the spring.  And then the following year my husband started travel so H would call and ask if he could come to my house to do his homework, or to bake cookies, he was just a kid who needed a place to go hang out.  My husband saved up his travel points and H and I flew to NYC to visit for a weekend.

And then I had a baby and we moved.

But we stayed in touch.  My husband still traveled a lot so once a year we sent *H* a plane ticket.  And  a couple of times he came out for the summer.  And he hung with a tough crowd in High School and made decisions that we didn't approve of and we told him so, but he was still welcome to come out and hang out.  I think it was a good lesson for us, people don't always do what you want but you don't cut them off.

And because of that over the years *H* has called to talk to us about stuff, how to invest money, which car to buy, or just to talk.

*H* is 28 now.  He is my daughter Bitsy's godfather.  He was out to visit this summer for 5 weeks as he recently left the military and was in between jobs.  He is a great young man.  He helps around the house, is funny with my kids, was hilarious at "apples to apples" trying to help my 7 year old with her vocabulary.  He helped drop off and pick up kids from sports and activities and went to watch all of Tiger's soccer games.

My kids love him.  They don't really understand the relationship and we kind of just say "oh dad coached H's soccer team and we all got along really well and sort of adopted each other."  Tiger said, "you now, he's too cool to be an Uncle.  Can he be our big brother?"

Full circle.

So if you are wondering?  Will it matter?  Is it the right time?

Just do it.

It will matter.

More than you know.