Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

My oldest daughter came for Christmas and another is coming for the New Year! I'm so happy, since I miss being near all my kids and grand kids. We've been living her for a year, and the only thing I regret is that I had to leave so many family members and friends behind.

I'm home most of the time and have to figure out how to get more human interaction. One of the things I've been doing is taking Brewster to the dog park. He loves to play and I get a chance to socialize. And you think dog parks are the places are only for dogs to socialize.

Brewster has his favorite friends. I found it harder to find someone who can relate to my life than Brewster. What do I have in common with a woman who is upset because she had to comfort her teen who got a B+ in a math test and may not get into her preferred college? I had teens that were good in school too, but I was too distracted by the kids that were struggling to be that involved. And now? I'm happy if my kids stay in school. Grades are way down there in the things to worry about category.

I went to the dog park today with my oldest daughter. I met a woman there that has a couple of teens that were adopted. We started out chatting about dogs and then she mentioned her fifteen year old daughter had some special needs. My ears perked up. I asked, "Where does your daughter go to school?" It was the same school my daughter attends. We tested each other out with little things about our kids, and found out we speak the same language. We both know about fetal alcohol, the special ed system, the acting out. She understands the fear of getting a call in the middle of the night from the police or hospital when you think your child is safe in bed. She even said I had a good attitude with all that's happened. Yay! A kindred spirit!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Back to Writing

It's been about two months since my last post. I had meant to write sooner and more often, but life has a way of getting in the way. Sometimes I didn't think I had anything exciting to write about. Nothing could be as exciting as the last few years we lived in California. Blogging was a way to cope with extremely stressful situations, and my life is definitely boring compared to a year ago. Of course there are always little bumps in the road of life, and I've had plenty of these. But the bumps this year are fairly normal. It's really nice to have the typical concern for your teenagers, not the real fear for their lives type of concern. It's so nice to live in a small town with no gang pressures. Everyone knows everyone else so we often find out things that would have gone unnoticed in a city. As the teens slowly open up about what their life was like before, I am more and more thankful that we moved when we did. I knew it was bad, but it really was worse than I had imagined.

As I look back the past couple of months, I realize that I should have written down things as they have happened. I forget easily, and writing is good for my soul. I can just list a few of the things the past few months.

We've had visitors the past two months. A couple from our church in California spent a few days in our home. A good friend from California came and we had a restful time. I had a friend from my high school come with her teenaged son as they couch surfed the World. She taught me how to felt and to spin wool. I got some wool from Buy Nothing Bainbridge just before she came, so the timing was just right. Jim's parents came for the first time since the bathroom remodel, and one of my daughters came this past weekend. I love having friends and family come! It's really helped me to adjust to a new home. Of course I always miss them when they leave. We also had a couple and their daughter stay with us for a few days. They were strangers to us at first, but they were awesome guests. The woman was a doctor and they needed to stay in a place near Seattle to visit another daughter who was ill. It's good to have the ability to have guests.

We finished staining the back deck, hauled wood, and moved furniture and boxes. I found out just how painful a back injury could be and how it can sneak up on you when you are doing something simple, like driving to Oregon to visit relatives. I was spoiled by takeout adult food for a few days as Hubby took care of me when I could hardly stand. I take Brewster to the dog park a few times a week and shuttle the kids to and from school. And because life is settling down, I am considering going back to school to become a medical assistant.  I'm excited for the next season of life.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Putting up the Harvest

In between family visiting (Yay!) and getting the teens ready for school, we've been putting up the harvest from the island.

I got some free wool that I've been cleaning. I'm hoping to clean, card, spin, and knit something by hand. More on that later.

We've crabbed.

I loved going out in the canoe to put out crab pots. It was a nice way to connect with Hubby. Though I got tired of picking out the crab to seal and freeze, I never got tired of paddling to the mouth of Blakely Harbor with my man.

I also picked lots of blackberries and some apples and canned them. 

Even yesterday, the day before school, I made 21 jars of jam from wild blackberries I picked in our neighborhood. No, I'm not super mom. My house looks like a wreck right now with all the canning supplies and back to school supplies strewn around the kitchen and dining room. But with all the anxiety around the start of school, I needed to do something to find my happy place. Making things makes me happy. 

We even harvested a bit of honey! Hubby brought four frames home and we got twelve small bottles of honey and a bit of comb. 

We also have the extractor in our dining room.

Boy, do I have a job to do getting things cleaned up for visitors next week!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

New Granddaughter!

I have a new granddaughter!

I'm so happy I was able to visit her! I drove over fifteen hours to San Jose in one day, rested a day, and drove the rest of the way to San Diego. Then, after staying about a week and a half, I reversed the drive. I had a hurt foot and kid problems, but I'd do anything to see that little girl and her big brother!

I spent much of my time entertaining Grandson. He broke his collarbone while I was there. He milked the extra attention all he could. But it isn't everyday that Grandma could spoil him!

I love those little ones!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

So is This What Trauma Feels Like?

I read this blog post this morning and can't stop tearing up.

Maybe it's because I spent half the night in the emergency room with one teen and only getting four hours of interrupted sleep after we got home. I am still sleep deprived and exhausted from driving from San Diego to the Seattle area after visiting my new granddaughter and family and from the pain of a badly bruised foot. Maybe it's because I found out last night why the other teen has been detached and acting strangely lately. But maybe, just maybe, the tears are flowing because what this woman wrote hits home. Maybe I've been affected by trauma more than I have thought. 

I had time to slow down and think on the long drive home. What is wrong with me? I've been increasingly numb, sad, or worrying about what will happen next. I used to be more genuinely and intensely loving, truly spiritual, and more able to trust that even if things look bad now there is hope that things will turn around for the good soon. I'm not like that anymore.

I go through the motions. I still can function pretty well, at least I think I can. There are times that I feel glimpses of hope, love, peace, and joy. If you act a certain way, the feelings often follow. Want to feel love for your child? Act loving. Want to have a good marriage? Treat your spouse like you already have a good marriage. Tired of a messy house? Set a timer and clean it. Sometimes pushing through despite emotions helps to bring what you want in life.

But my emotional weirdness is a bit concerning to me. I am having a hard time making friends in our new place because I don't have the emotional energy to make the kind of friendships I need. I'm afraid I'll just fall apart and scare people away. I also think I'm hyper vigilant about what horrible situations will happen next with the kids. The teen years of kids with past trauma, fetal alcohol exposure, attachment difficulties, and psychological challenges can be grueling. Any hint of trouble brings images of the worst case scenario. I kept startling awake the night before my over fifteen hour drive the other day because I kept thinking about something happening with my son. It didn't, of course. But other things did happen. And then others. 

I often wondered what trauma felt like to the kids. I think I know now.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Bloedel Reserve

Our island has many beautiful areas, and one of the best is the Bloedel Reserve.

Hubby and I went there today after church.

Today I was amazed by the beautiful bird songs in the forest,

And in the meadow.

I love it here!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Finding Rest in the Midst of Busyness

There has been a lot going on lately.

We are putting in a new bathroom on the lower floor so that guests, especially our parents, don't have to trudge upstairs in the middle of the night when staying here. There are workers coming in all day, making lots of noise and dust. It will be so good when it is done! We are on day five of a two week project. Well, the contractor said eight days, but rarely are things like this on time. 

We've had a lot of appointments lately. I won't go into detail, but they've been emotionally draining, at least for me. I still need to find a dentist and make eye appointments, but I'm getting there.

We still haven't had a week when one child or another is sick or has to leave school early for an appointment. But the school psychologist saw me pick up Ms. D from school yesterday, told me how she's heard such good things about Ms. D, and thanked me for bringing her to Bainbridge High! I can't tell you how good that feels! Sometimes I fear that people will resent us for bringing a bit of chaos into their nice, tidy lives. Instead of dreading the extra work we have added, people are welcoming us. What a relief!

There are school events, projects, and homework that all need time in the evenings and weekends. One nice thing I miss about homeschooling is that you make your own schedule, and not have to try to fit in the school's calendar. But right now, for our family, the school is a better choice. So we run here and there, get these materials, find that outfit, and get the kids to work on their homework. 

In the midst of all this and more, I've been trying to find rest. 

Hubby and I took the canoe out on the water last week. We saw bald eagles roosting, terns diving, and enjoyed beautiful views of Seattle and the bay.

Sunday afternoon, Hubby and I went to the art museum on Bainbridge and took a tour of some of the road ends on the island. Later this week I came back to one of them and took this picture while walking with Brewster. It is so beautiful here!

I take Brewster for walks. We found a beach that the locals take their dogs to play, run, and swim.

Hubby and I spend a little time each day gardening. There is nothing like working in the soil to relieve stress!

I've been trying to be more deliberate in finding rest. It is so tempting to run, run, run until I collapse. But I realize that I need to pace myself, to stay healthy for the long haul. So each day I do something to slow the rhythm of my life.