Dec 31, 2011

2011 round up

Here is this year's version of the quiz I have done in the past.......


What books and/or magazines did I read this year?
I read every book in the house during the power outage.  I read The Help, which seemed to be all the rage.  It was good.  Not sure I still get all of the extreme hype, but I enjoyed it.  I also found a book that relates to some things I have been through.  It was like a lightbulb going off.

What movies and/or tv shows did I watch this year?
Tons of reality garbage.  Obsessed with Real Police Women of..., Hoarders, Intervention, Real Housewives.  Lots of disaster television out there.  I find it all super fascinating.  I always think about how people got to be the way they are.  Most of it stems from the same place.

What special days did I celebrate and how?
Gosh - none really stick out in my mind.  I don't think this was a very celebratory kind of year.

What gifts did I give and/or receive?
I think sometimes the only gift I have to give is myself.  I have received some thoughtful gifts - kind words of thanks and appreciation are my favorite.

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?
I have been to the hospital more times this year than ever in my life I think.  Pain unlike any pain I have ever experienced in my life.  At the end of my rope I pushed to find answers.  I think I sorta have some now, but we shall see.  I hate being at the doctors' as much as it would take to be well.  It could become my part time job if I let it.  My normal is not normal, and I deserve to feel better than I do I think.

What fun things did I do with my friends and/or family?
Camping.  Beach.  NYC.  Friday night wine dinners.  Sitting outside and talking.  New Farmington.

What new foods, recipes or restaurants did I try this year?
I honestly cannot think of a single new food or restaurant.  Is that strange?

What special or unusual purchases did I make?
A new cat.  A MacBook Pro!  <3  

What were this year's disappointments?
I feel insignificant.  A lot.  I feel lonely.  A lot.  I get let down.  A lot.  My expectations are unrealistic.  For who I am.

What were my accomplishments this year?
I hate this question.  I am not good at recognizing my accomplishments or receiving praise.  I became a foster parent.  I am making a difference for two children who need it.  It came at a cost, but it is the right thing to do.

Anything else noteworthy to record?
I am scared to death.  Of everything.

Dec 15, 2011

lights out

We have been living in some sort of insane twisted weather system over the last year.  Starting in January we got record high snow levels.  Snow banks were as tall as houses for weeks on end.  From there we have experienced a tornado, earthquake, hurricane, and then ended with a freak fall snowstorm that took down every tree and power line in the state.

Outside of being on the lookout for locusts and the plague, we have suffered three extended power outages, the last of which was eleven days.  Eleven.  ELEVEN.  I am generally a person with a strong ability to make do, but that was truly a test of my patience and faith.  I am not ashamed to say that many a tear was shed.  It was actually a brilliant example of how my relationship with DH works.  I start to break down and he keeps me strong, then he slips away while I build him up.  And somehow, together, we make it all work and triumph in the end.

During that time we did our cooking on our camp stove or ate out if we could (many local restaurants were closed).  It was just part of what made the time so tiresome.  We saved as much food as we could from the refrigerator and freezer, but there was certainly a high degree of loss there.  What we did keep we pretty much just stuck out in the snow to keep cold.

We stayed in mittens and coats most of the time, and huddled together in the living room where our only source of heat, the fireplace, was located.  That was the big difference in this power outage from the ones that came before it - the cold.  I was wishing back the outage where my sleep was interrupted by not having on the fan.  Sleeping huddled on the floor in my winter coat was much much worse.

Since everyone in the area was sadly in the same situation, there was a strong sense of community that could be felt.  Shelters opened up immediately to provide people with a warm place to sleep, to get a warm shower, to get water if needed.  The radio station that we pulled in on our battery powered radio had opened up the phone lines so people could ask questions or share information like where to find a generator, where restaurants were open, which gas stations still had gas and the shortest lines.  Neighbors were out working together to clear the streets and make the neighborhood safe.

I read every book in my house while the kids broke out the board games.  It wasn't that hard to give up the televisions, computers, and phones.  Our local cell tower was out for the first few days, and after that service was still spotty.  It wasn't necessarily the worst thing to be unplugged for a little while.  It was somewhat of a relief to experience a bit of radio silence.

In the end, although I would never ever opt to go through such a thing again, we survived.  And maybe, somehow, we are even a little better and a little stronger for it.

Dec 12, 2011

christmas magic

The first month of being a foster parent is much like the first month with a newborn baby.  It is a hazy, sleepless, exhausting blur that you are not really meant to remember clearly so that you will actually consider doing this crazy thing again someday.  I swear I didn't think I was going to make it, and the redeeming moments of the process were few and far between.

Lately though, and with some time and trust and familiarity and growth and stability, the challenges have started to lessen and the rewards have begun to grow.

I tend towards being a Christmas obsessed freak, and these two new little ones have never seen a Christmas the likes of which I put on.  Their excitement of it is so enlightening.  There is a constant state of wonderment around it all.  Each decoration I put out is greeted with happy squeals and each event we think of is cheerfully attended.

I understand that children come in to foster care under unfortunate circumstances, but it is just unacceptable to not know who Rudolph is.  Or the words to any Christmas carols.  There is just entirely too many songs to learn and television to watch before the 25th!  :)

Every time a new Amazon box lands on the doorstep, Miss B gets so giddy.  "Is that for me?!  What is it? I'm gonna shake it!" followed by lots of happy giggles.  One of my love languages is most definitely gifts, and I derive so much delight from finding the right gift for a person as an expression of my love for them.  To have an equally excited recipient just makes the whole process that much more enjoyable for me.

The shrieks of joy when they caught the first glimpse of the Christmas train was absolutely incredible.  A couple minutes into our ride Mr B cries out "I'm so EXCITED!!!!"  It made an otherwise ordinary event so special.  Being able to talk to Santa, seeing lights as we drive down the street, choosing and cutting down a Christmas tree - it all is met with wonder and joy.

I am honored to be able to share these experiences with them.  Their happiness each day is all the reward I need for what we are doing.  There is nothing like getting to see Christmas magic through the eyes of these children.  What a blessing this has been.