Finally, after two months, I feel like I have found my footing. Autumn came in like a tornado with our scheduled stretched thinner than it ever has been before. The addition of another family member and all the appointments and obligations that come with that, in addition to deciding to go back to school to start working towards my degree, coupled with two boys in football,
Well, I never thought we’d be able to manage the chaos…
But life is balancing and we have found our new “normal.” Routines are established and I no longer feel as though I am sinking beneath the waves, which is why there has been a renewed influx of action on the blog. Football season has come to a close and I finally have found the missing moments needed to write and it is so good to be back.
Blogging is my lifeline. It is my therapy. It is the selfish indulgence that grounds me and gives me clarity, and I have missed it.
Here are some of the moments lived this last month.
“Exercising our Right to Vote!”
November 6th was Brandon’s 17th birthday as well as being election day! Miss Molly, having turned 18 this year, was able to exercise her right to have a voice and vote in her first election.
I was so proud of her. She took this responsibility seriously and spent hours researching the different candidates running for various offices, taking notes, making pro/con lists about their platforms, and then choosing the candidates that best reflected her beliefs. For her one-on-one time last week, I was able to join her as she researched candidates and we were able to have a meaningful discussion about how to choose a candidate. As a result of her example and effort I found myself walking into the voting booth better informed that I probably ever have been in past elections.
Grace, Molly and I went to vote together. What a special experience it was for me to exercise the blessed right to have a voice, with my two daughters.
“Big Bessie Bit the Dust”
Our big, beautiful 12 passenger van began to show distinct signs of a slipping transmission. Rather than wait for the inevitable, we decided to bite the bullet and begin vehicle shopping, something that is considered a dream evening for Ozzie and a living nightmare for me.
The death of Bessie required us to reevaluate our needs and priorities in a vehicle. As much as I love the space Bessie afforded us, She was killing us in gas consumption. It was finally decided that with the amount of driving I do weekly and the impending winter, that we would sacrifice room to stretch out for all wheel drive and improved gas mileage.
I let Toby take on the car search, with Brandon’s help, happy to remain at home and avoid the wheeling and dealing that comes with car shopping. I assured him that all I needed was a car with an engine, a radio, and a cup holder, and the gift of NOT having to pick out the car would ensure I was grateful for WHATEVER vehicle he brought home.
On a Friday evening after school, Toby and Brandon headed to Ohio to chase down a deal Toby found online. The vehicle was 3 years old, had only 9,000 miles, all wheel drive, got 20 miles to the gallon (compared to Big Bessie’s 10 miles/gallon), and it was an 8 seater. It sounded perfect and it was…
Meet our newest addition…name still to be decided! 🙂
“A Spooky Date with Tyler”
A few weeks before Halloween I received an invitation to join some of Tyler’s buddies from church and their mothers for a mother/son date to Freddy’s Haunts.
“Freddy’s haunts is a family owned and operated haunted trail that was originally opened in 1993 under the name skull mountain haunted trail.
We are an immersive, all enclosed haunted trail that is filled with the monsters from your worst nightmares. Our old-school haunted trail operates rain or moonshine with an enclosed waiting area so that you don’t have to endure the elements along with your worst fears.”
I had my reservations, given Tyler’s history of heightened fearfulness and my history of being a weenie, but Tyler begged to go and I thought it sounded like it could be an awesome bonding opportunity for Tyler and I, as well as a fun memory made with friends. I was glad our friends suggested it because I would have never considered it on my own, but it ended up being a blast!
I think next year we will try to talk the entire family into braving Freddy’s!
“Flying High…Drone Style!”
Rusty has been having a blast with his 17th birthday gift…
A high-flyin’ drone!
Our acreage makes for a perfect flying zone. With each flight Rusty gets stronger and stronger in his skills as a drone pilot and it is fun watching the footage of what he catches on film as the drone flies high above our heads.
As a family we dressed at the gang from Peter Pan for Halloween, but Grace also had a Halloween party to attend, independently, with her YSA group. Feeling that her Halloween costume wasn’t strong enough to stand alone, apart from the rest of Peter Pan’s crew, she began exploring options for a second Halloween costume.
She and two girlfriends ended up creating their own group costume and going as the three witches from the classic Halloween flick, ” Hocus Pocus.”
Grace dove into the family dress-up box of past Halloween costumes and emerged as Winifred Sanders:
This past month we had the opportunity to capture the beautiful faces of some of our favorite seniors on film. Following Molly’s senior photo shoot we were asked by a few of Molly’s friends if we could take their senior photos as well. October provided the perfect backdrop and Grace, Molly and I have had fun playing “photographers” to these beautiful girls. At one photo shoot Molly couldn’t help but jump in front of the camera for some pictures with one of her best buddies!
“Saying Farewell to Family Based Therapy”
Well, after nine months of weekly visits, our family based team is saying “good-bye.” Family Based therapy was put in place when Ozzie exited residential care, as an extra layer of support for his transition home. We were blessed with two awesome ladies as our “team.” They quickly became part of our life as they spent hours in our home and many hours sitting beside me in the ER when Ozzie was in crisis.
For nine months their primary objective was to work with our family on goals of increased safety and sibling connection, while our trauma therapist focused on EMDR therapy with Ozzie. This double layer of therapeutic care proved to be just the ticket and we have seen great growth in Ozzie these last 9 months.
Yesterday was our final session. It was with mixed feelings we closed out our file and said good-bye to these gals with a pizza party and celebratory gifts. They have been so good to us and this final session was no different. They brought the family pizza and gifted the kids with their own game of, “Whoonu,”
A game that became a favorite in our therapy sessions!
They also generously gifted me with a gift certificate for a massage at a local spa with a reminder to continue making self care a priority.
What a blessing Lisa and Val have been to our family. I have come to realize, through this challenging walk of adopting kids from hard places, that angels do walk the earth today, and many are simply known as “therapists.”