Friday, January 29, 2010

Ethan's teacher reported to us today that our mischief man was on the playground and ran up to one of the teachers to tell her something. That something was "I like girls!" and then ran off to play again. As big of a flirt as he is, there was never any doubt about that.

Then his teacher wrote. "Your son is quite a character!" Yup! :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Beautiful Act of Kindness

We hit the jackpot when our son Justin met Judy. Not only were we graced with an amazing daughter in law but we had the added good fortune to have her wonderful family joined with ours.

There are not enough superlatives in the English language to describe Judy's parents, Elsa and Florencio as well as her sister Joyce. Suffice it to say that they are family in the best sense of that word.

As an example of what special people that they are, let me offer up the following example:

Late last week, Judy called me and told me that her parents were bringing over a large plant for our front garden on Saturday and she wanted to make sure that I would be home when they got there. I assured her that I would be as I was working from home that day. Saturday morning came and I hear our little Gabby barking her head off. I looked out the front window to find a truck backing up into our front yard and out from the truck pops our new in laws.

You see, Florencio owns a landscaping business and they decided that they were going to surprise us with about 35 plants and small trees and then completely re-landscape our front garden, which was in bad need of a face lift. Well, to say we were blown away by this beautiful act of generosity and kindness is to completely understate how we felt. You could have knocked us over with a feather.

Then, this wonderful couple went to work for the next 4 hours or so and planted, pruned and fertilized our new garden with the help of Katie and Ethan as the fertilizing assistants.

Thank you never seems sufficient when we are graced by such sweetness but since there is not a better way to express it...again, we want to saw thank you Elsa and Florencio! We appreciate you more than you know and love you all very much. We will do our best to nurture the garden as we also nurture our family relationship.

Here are a couple of pics that I took when I picked up my jaw off the floor. I only caught Katie in the act of helping spread the fertilizer with her little canister. They had such a blast helping.

Giving Ethan a run for his money in the mischief department

Katie brought me her Fisher Price camera as the memory was full and she could not take any more pictures or video (Like mother - like daughter.) In case you have never seen one of these kid camera's, it is a real digital camera that takes stills and video. It is very kid friendly and basically indestructible, which is a real plus with the preschool set.

When Katie handed it to me I began deleting pictures and video off of the memory so that she would be back in business. As I did this, I was looking at the pictures one by one, before I actually deleted them. I come across a picture of her standing on top of the very thin headboard rail of Ethan's toddler bed posing for a picture and obviously, Ethan took the pic!! In the picture she looked quite pleased with herself as she was mere inches away from the ceiling and balancing precariously on that one inch rail. I asked her about the pic and she said "Uh Oh, that couldn't have been me!!"

Me thinks the evidence proves otherwise!! What do you think?

Maybe this member of the Dynamic Duo is more mischievous than I gave her credit for.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dr. Mischief

Katie is very under the weather tonight. The change in weather has exacerbated a slight cold into an all out asthma attack. In addition, she is now running a fever and has the stomach issues that normally accompany that condition. Dinner became a bit unappetizing when that complication set in...oy!

We have been trying to keep one half of the dynamic duo quiet and the other half has been really sweet and comforting. The first picture was of E hanging out by KS on the couch, while our fur baby hung out as well to lend a comforting paw.

Later, Katie was lying on the bed next to me relaxing while I was downloading some pics off of my camera when E walked in to "check" Katie out himself. I grabbed my camera and caught the next minute or sweet.

Hopefully, our sweet girl will be on the road to recovery soon. This winter has been really tough with her asthma related illnesses so far. She really deserves a break from all of it and we could use one too.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sweet and Sassy - Our Katie Starr

Friday, January 15, 2010

Seeking help for our sweet girl

I have always been a big believer in seeking assistance for myself or my children when I either do not have the answers or the tools to deal with life's interesting twists and turns. With that said, we have made the decision to speak to a therapist about Katie.

Katie has been struggling mightily since her grandfather passed away this past September during the time when her father was so ill and then operated on shortly after his own father's death. Since that tumultuous time in our lives, Katie has struggled with sadness and a bit of anxiety as it relates to illness and potential loss of any of her loved ones. When one of us is ill (and even has the slightest complaint) she is hyper-vigilant in her level of concern and worry. She will ask continuously whether we are OK or are feeling better. In addition, when Grandma is around, Katie will bring up how much she misses Grandpa and then let out a long and very sad wail. She will even bring him up out of the blue and then respond the same way. She is becoming a bit more obsessed with controlling her surroundings and I do not want it to lead to OCD which is as painful to watch as it is to live.

I know in my heart that she is more vulnerable than most due to her early losses and her three sets of caregivers in her first year of life, culminating with being adopted in her sleep and waking up in a strangers (us) hotel room. What a nightmare for any child!! I feel that she does not feel completely safe that the bottom will not drop out again. I hate to see her suffering this way so we contacted a child psychologist that we met when she spoke to our FCC Chapter about psychological implications, as they regard to adopted children.

Adding some complication to all this is that I have gone back to work outside of the home 30 hours per week and this past week has been very tough on her. She asks her daddy for me dozens of times a day while I am gone and is very needy right now. She is not sleeping well and has been waking us up nightly crying in her sleep about missing mommy and where is mommy??

I have had one session with the therapist and to sum it up, she feels that this past year of business closure, Marc's illness and Al's death has been just about as traumatic in some ways as Katie's first year. No matter how much that we tried to shield the children from the worry and pain, there was really no way that they would not feel the vibes. The therapist says that children key into these emotions like animals. They do not need to hear anything to know that something is very wrong. She has given me some tools to deal with it and would like to see us a couple of more times to see how Katie relates to me and then to me and Marc to determine her level of good attachment.

Nature vs Nurture comes into play with our children in such a big way. Ethan had a very difficult time of it as well, being so ill and neglected for the first two and a half years of his life. Somehow though, he is much more able to let things roll of his back. He is quite resilient. Katie's personality is much more complex and it really is WHO SHE IS. She can think through any new situation ad nauseum and it only serves to be more painful for her. I really do not think that aspect of her personality has much to do with her nurture. I think this may be her, so we will have to help her work through issues in as painless a way as possible.

I am happy that we are being proactive with this so that we can give Katie the best chance possible to live in a more peaceful state. I know that we do alot "RIGHT" at home but I also know that there is no way that we can really understand the feelings that live inside our daughter's sweet head and heart. This really hurts us so much. She is such a wonderful, loving, empathetic, smart and beautiful child. I hope to be able to add peaceful to that list of superlatives soon.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

A beautiful wedding weekend

Sorry it took me so long to post but it was a whirlwind of a weekend and I have been trying to catch up ever since. I have even started a 30 hour a week job in addition to selling Real Estate so now you know where I have been.

Happiness was the theme of the wedding weekend and I still tear up when I think about all of the joy that we experienced watching our son marry the love of his life. I have never seen him happier...never! That does this mama's heart good!

The emotion was immense for me and unforgettable.

After all of the emotion we partied like it was 1999! Such fun!

I will post a few pics and then I will post more as they trickle in.

Also, the professional photographer put up some teaser photos on her blog that you can check out here!

Katie getting primped before taking on her duty as flower girl.

Nana helping her get ready.

My sister, my BIL Steve and my awesome nephew Sam!

Sis with the mischief man, all decked out in his tux to be the ring bearer

The DD like a mini bride and groom

I walked Justin down the you can well imagine it was difficult not to break out in the ugly cry

Here is the New Mr and in love!

Our pic with all of the grandparents

Judy and her beautiful family

All of my children

My family

Beautiful picture of my parents and my sister and family

Monogram backdrop to the mother/son dance


Our dear friends Shannon and Al...Peanut is coming :)

Cutting the cake

More to come soon!