Friday, March 31, 2017

A split week

Last week was a hard week because I was back at work, but the kids were still on spring break.  I find it to be extremely difficult to get myself to work and to focus on work when we're out of our regular routine at home. 

My first day back was March 21st.  Tuesday.  

I needed a fun and exciting game for my therapy sessions because nobody wanted to be back after break.  We found it in Jeepers Peepers.  Here's the description of the game:
Am I a monkey? A hamburger? An astronaut? How many questions will it take to find out?
That’s the question on everyone’s mind-or glasses-inJeepers PeepersThe "Ask and Answer" Question Game that builds questioning skills, describing skills, categorizing skills, problem solving skills, and more! Have one student put on the glasses. Place a photo card in the Peepers slot without showing it to the student. Have the student face the other players and use the Cue Card to ask yes/no questions to find out what he/she is! Then, have everyone play!

I let the kids pick my cards for me.  All day long they kept picking food for me to guess. This is what I looked like when my supervisor walked into the middle of a therapy session. 

I was so hungry after playing all day. 

Ginger was not amused that she was left alone for the first time in about 11 days. 
I took a screen shot of this on Wednesday the 22nd.  I took no other pictures the whole day.  This low carb bread is the only thing I have to show for that day in our lives.  Pathetic. 

I partially redeem myself by having a picture of the new shoes I wore on Thursday the 23rd.  
Remember when I told you about Elliott's blackhead on his nose?  And how I could not get it out?  Well I bought a new blackhead remover on amazon and it was delivered that day.  

I had very high hopes that this would be the last we saw of this guy.

Ugh.  Look at it.
So never mind how raw and red his skin looks here.  It totally worked with very minimal pain and skin damage and we said bye-bye to this horrid nose bump.  Hopefully for forever. 

His prize was an entire box of popsicles that he got to select at the store.  He picked pomegranate. 

Ginger did not care one bit about the blackhead. 
Spencer was having his friend Julian over to spend the night on Friday the 24th.  I had been telling him all of spring break that he needed to have his disaster of a room picked up before Julian came over.  After two whole days of "working" on it, he called me in for the inspection.  

And this is what I pulled out from under his bed, in his closet, under his desk and dresser and shoved into the corners.
I think he spent two days just organizing the top of his desk.  And he somehow didn't understand that this is exactly the stuff that we wanted him to clean up.  It's not that he hid this stuff thinking we wouldn't see it.  He didn't get that this is why his room was a mess and that THIS is what he needed to clean. 
There were two hours left before Julian arrived when I told Spencer he would not be allowed to play with Julian unless he went through this entire pile and divided it into four sections- trash, recycle, donate and keep.   And then the keep pile had to be put away/organized in an orderly fashion.  And by golly, by the time Julian got here, his room was done. 

I give him eight weeks before we're right back to where we started. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Spring break continues

I am always looking for creative gifts to give my parents for Christmas.  Something that's not a "thing".  Something that is more of an experience or an event.

For Christmas 2016 we gave them a wine tasting for four people at Carlson Creek Vineyard in Willcox. We were also supposed to take them to dinner after.  Then time rolled on and we were getting close to the date that the certificate needed to be used before it expired, so because of when we could all do it (which was Saturday, March 18th), we modified the gift and took them to breakfast first.  But an expensive breakfast.  Not just Denny's.  It was the same place we went for our 15th anniversary breakfast, I just didn't take any pictures this time.  But my mom got a $16 eggs benedict, so I promise you it was a posh breakfast. 

The wine tasting room was in a cute little modified home in downtown Willcox.  You know, the bustling metropolis of Willcox.
(and for those of you that don't know, Willcox is a tiny little town in southern AZ.  There is nothing bustling or metropolitan about it.)

There were two tasters already there when we arrived and several groups of people came and went while we were there.  

I liked their labels

I also liked this wine bottle holder.  If anybody is looking for a gift for me, this will do. 

Their wine tasting selection.  We tried all of them, plus a few more bonuses. 

They had t-shirts for sale.  We should have bought some.  I think they are really cute. 

We ended up buying 20 bottles.

Thirteen for my parents and seven for us. 
And BTW, my brother took the kids for the day.  They went to an indoor jumping trampoline place.

He sent me two proof of life pictures. 

Only of Elliott though.  There was no proof of life for Spencer. 
The next day, on Sunday the 19th, Michael took the kids to his parents house and my mom and I spent most of the day grocery shopping (me), cleaning (her), working out (me) and making dinner (both).  But the only thing I have to show for it is the dessert I made. 
We had nine people over for dinner, you would think there would be more evidence, but nope.  Just some coconut cupcakes. 
Michael left Tucson and drove home on Sunday night, because he had to work on Monday morning. The kids and I didn't leave until late morning on Monday March 20th. 

But first Ginger had to take a nap wedged into a very uncomfortable position. 
My mom is currently on a trip to Ireland and Wales with two of her cousins, so the day we drove back home she asked me to go to Scottsdale to buy some euros and pounds for her.  She had waited until it was too late and there was nowhere in Tucson to buy the amount she wanted.  Plus I got her a prepaid debit card loaded with both euros and pounds and there are only two places in AZ to get one. 

Since we had to drive to Scottsdale to go to the bank that would do it, I took the kids to The Sugar Bowl (a historic restaurant) in Scottsdale for lunch.  Every time I go there I'm disappointed in the food.  I think it's too expensive.  I think they are charging based on nostalgia.  Personal opinion. 

Spencer wanted a picture of his burger with his burger shirt. 

The ice cream was really good. 

It wasn't until the evening on Monday the 20th that I finally realized/remembered we had never taken Elliott's monthly picture on the 16th.  It's my biggest picture fail to date. 

We took some in the hallway just in case I wasn't able to edit the picture of him with Max that was actually taken on the 16th.  But I was able to, so these are just happy bonuses. 

And the next day, on Tuesday the 21st I said goodbye and went back to work.  But that's another post for another time.  Hopefully tomorrow.   But more likely in an entire week. HA!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

In Memoriam

Last Thursday, March 16th, we had my Aunt Karen's memorial service in Tucson.

I spent all morning practicing my speech.  Right before we left I filled my dad's flask with some vodka and tucked it into my purse. 
Family picture before we left to go to church.  

I can't remember if I mentioned it before, but all of the family wore dog clothes and accessories in her honor. 

My Uncle Terry brought their dog, Gus, to the church.  He was very well behaved. 

When we got to the church I went into the bathroom and drank the flask of vodka.  If anybody had seen me they would have thought that I had a serious drinking problem. Then I avoided contact and eye contact with everyone and went and sat in the front pew.  My reading was the first reading, so after the priest made his welcoming statement I went up to the podium.  

This is what I read.  My aunt read this at their wedding in 1971.  You will now know why I needed a shot of vodka before reading this. 

From The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams, 1922

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?" 

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real." 

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit. "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt." "Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?" 

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."  And “once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always.”

I had researched a lot of tips on reading at a funeral without crying uncontrollably, and I am happy to report that I made it through the whole thing without breaking down. I made Michael stand in the back so when I looked up I could look just at him.  I seriously didn't even know who was there until it ended. And the advantage of going first was that I was done and then I could lose it.  Which I pretty much did.

Family picture after we got home. 

Pictures of  all the dog clothes/accessories (I didn't get everybody). 

I ordered my uncle's shirt for him.  It also had a little dog paw on the back under the collar. 
Then I took pictures of the memorial "stuff".

The program from the ceremony.  Edited a bit for privacy.

Posters with pictures of her

There were 132 people at the church (my uncle asked Michael to count) and about 90 people came to a reception at my parent's house after.  The house and yard were packed, so all I got a picture of was part of the dessert buffet. 
My friend Elisa came to both the ceremony and the reception and brought her family to the reception.  Elliott and her son Max are almost exactly a year apart in age and they are finally starting to play with each other.   

They were sitting at the island talking to each other, but I took the picture just as they both started to climb down. 
Elisa and I were pleased to see their blossoming friendship (we've been friends since the day I was born), so I asked them to pose for a picture. 
It turned out to be a great, great. GREAT idea because I totally, 100% forgot to take Elliott's monthly picture.  It's the first time in his life I forgot to do it on the 16th.  And I seriously didn't remember until the 20th.  It's not like I took one just one day late.

So, I cropped this picture to see if it would work.   It would, but you can see Max's arm.

So, a bit of editing....
And we've got a monthly picture!

5 years- 3 months

Elliott made a lot of friends that night.  I don't even know who this is. 

This is my cousin Zach.  He's two months older than me and lives in Seattle. 

After everyone left we took some family pictures under the Laugh banner (that was used at my aunt and uncle's wedding).

The hip thing is an inside joke with me and Nick.  It's not even worth explaining.  It's been going on for, like, 24 years and nobody else gets it.  

On Friday, St. Patrick's Day, my uncle had everybody come over to his house for lunch and conversation. 

We tried to take a St. Patrick's Day family picture.  

This was too shady. 

This was OK, but neither kid is looking. 

Shady and looking.  We'll take it. 

The hair bow I was wearing that day. 
My uncle had asked me prior to coming over that day if I wanted to look through my aunt's cookbooks and take any of them.  I did take a few, but this is the only one I really wanted.  And I got it. 

It's my grandmother's cookbook.
I don't care about any of the recipes that are in the actual cookbook, but my grandmother wrote all of her recipes in the margins and blank spaces.  

This is a family heirloom.  It has ALL of the recipes I associate with my grandmother. 

Including this cookie recipe that I called my aunt to get in December.  
After we left that day and went back to my parent's house we put the kids to bed early and then we put ourselves to bed early.  We were all exhausted because mourning is hard work.