Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December 2012

December was a very busy month.  Amazingly, I was able to get everything done that I wanted even though it seemed like I'd be short on time.  I had a tubal ligation and they checked for uterine cancer on the 10th.  I was out of work for a week; I did a little shopping but a lot of lying on the couch and relaxing.  I got tired very quickly.  We made fatigmon.  I'm glad that although Jason doesn't like to eat the cookies, he enjoys making them.  My grandmother Alma Papamarcos taught my mom (her dil) to make them, my mom taught me and I'm teaching my kids.  They're time intensive but so worth it.

Jason frying the fatigmon

                                                     Jess cutting the dough.
Friends invited Jess and me to the fairy Christmas at the Hedge House, a historic house in Plymouth.  It was a lot of fun and great to see friends we don't get to see very often.  Jess went to kindergarten with Corin in Carver.
 After decorating the tree, Mike posed with Jack.  This is a rare photo opportunity as Mike pretends he doesn't like the cats.
 While I was on  leave for the week, I found that I'd lost the Christmas cards I'd ordered.  I needed to make a new one and decided to include the cats so I had a cat photoshoot.  Any catlover can imagine how that went!  Jack and JJ were very understanding of my limitations and didn't run away since I couldn't have chased them.  They let me put ribbons on them and pose them in different areas.

                                                     Here's one of many shots I didn't use.
Here's the shot we went with.
 Jess was an angel in the pageant.  There originally weren't any angels in the story they were doing (it was about the animals in the manger) but Jess and another little girl wanted to be angels and hadn't gotten to be them last year
Jess and Nana Pat at the Radisson.  We took her to see the pageant and then went to brunch at the Radisson.  Every year they put this sleigh up in the lobby area.

                                             Usually we stay at the Hyatt on Christmas night after visiting Mike's parents.  Mike had to work this year so we decided to go away the weekend before to the Cape Codder instead.  Jess sat on Santa's lap.  He said she looked like a peppermint stick and called her Pepper.
                                     Roasting marshmallows at the Cape Codder.
                                              Wave pool time
Visting the Elms in Newport.  My mom used to take me to Newport all the time.  I love being able to share that experience with Jess.
 We went to Jordan's Furniture to see the Polar Express 4D, the Christmas carol lite show, and the enchanted village.  I went to the enchanted village as a child at Jordan Marsh with my mom.
                                                     Christmas Eve at church
                                                         New Christmas nightgown
                  Since Mike had to work Christmas, we opened the family presents Christmas Eve.
                                                   Jason's favorite snack
                                         Elfie left reindeer food for Jess to sprinkle on the lawn.
                                         Cookies and milk for Santa
                                             Kitties get presents too.
                                           Stockings galore!  Jason said the stocking is his favorite part.
                                               Jason and his IPod
                                              Jess and her hairstyling head.  She wants to learn how to frenchbraid.
Jess was very sad to see Elfie go but he left her an ornament to remember him by until next year.
                                                   Merida's shoes from Brave
  On the way home from Ruth & Chuck's the kids and I detoured through Millis to see the Winter Wonderland.  Their entire farm is set up with lights and Christmas scenes - very cool!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

7 years ago

7 years ago today, my daughter entered the Jinan SWI.  She was in cardiac failure and was brought to the army hospital for surgery.  I think about her birth parents on this day.  Do they wonder where she is?  Do they think she's still alive?  Dr Miller from Tufts Medical Center read over Jess's chart when she first came home and said our little girl had been very, very sick.  Is that why her parents couldn't take care of her?  Our guide had told us that most families don't have insurance and the cost of surgery is prohibitive.  I know that I couldn't afford open heart surgery without the benefit of insurance.  When we were going into adoption, we wanted nothing to do with open adoption.  Now, I would love the chance to tell Jessica's birthparents what an awesome, loving, smart, fun child we have.  I can't help but wonder whether they are thinking of her on this day as well.

An excerpt from a Mothers Day poem by Jennifer Wilson-Pines.   

I am a mother
every second of the day.
My daughter is stitched 
into every fiber of my life.
I love her with an intensity 
that took me by surprise.
Surpassed only by the fear
of losing her.

But she has another mother,
The woman in the mirror,
The shadow, who comes
and goes through invisible doors.

You first felt her stir, roll 
and kick inside you.
The contraction that announced
her impending arrival,
heard the first cry, touched 
the downy fuzz on her head,

And left her.

And I grapple with this,
As she will sooner than I wish.

Can I say I would never do the same?
Judge not?..

Perhaps it was the desperation 
of a mother
who throws her children 
from a burning building.
Hoping and praying 
that someone will catch them.
That they will be safe.
Perhaps, perhaps,
I will never know.

Do you miss her,
wonder at what might have been,
where is she now?

Our daughter is dancing, far away,
dressed in a Cinderella blue gown.
Serving tea to a stuffed turtle,
singing songs of her own invention.
You will never hear her voice.
She will never see your face.

She is neither you or me.
She is the third way,
already crafting her own story.
You gave her life,
I give her a future.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My heart hurts

My heart hurts

I'm not a crier.  I don't like to cry and I don't do it often.  But I feel like I've cried more in the past couple of weeks than I have since my mom went into the nursing home.  Nine days ago a 14 year old boy was killed in our town.  Sitting in Michaels parking lot while Jess listened to the end of a song, I was looking at facebook on my phone.  A local friend commented that there were helicopters flying over her neighborhood.  When I got home, I asked Jason if he'd heard anything and he said no.  A few minutes later, he was on facebook and told me a boy had been killed in a hit and run while he was on his dirtbike.  Dirtbikes are a common sight around here.  Kids ride the powerlines and scare the heck out of me cutting across the street from one side of the powerline to the other.  I thought the child had been killed by a car while on his dirtbike but that wasn't how it happened.  He was out with his little brother and his dad dirtbiking on the powerlines when he went around a corner and a man hit him head on while riding his own dirtbike.  The man said he'd go for help (I'm guessing they don't carry cellphones when they're riding so they don't get broken because apparently no one had one).  The man never came back.  That's who the helicopters were looking for.  He was found hours later at a hospital seeking help for his minor wounds.  That's what I don't understand.  Why didn't he send help?  Would the child be alive if he had?  I don't know.  That's just it.... no one can know because this 40 year old man who hit a 14 year old boy head on and said he'd get help, didn't.  They held a memorial ride for the boy a week later and I said to Jason that I don't think if I was that mom I could let my younger child ride a dirtbike again.  Jason said that the kid loves it so of course he's still riding.  Jason can't understand of course; he's a kid.  He doesn't know what its like to look at the picture of a young teen and then at your own young teen the same age and think "What if it were him?  What if it were my baby?"

Then, the following Friday, a crazed gunman went into Sandy Hook Elementary and killed children, teachers, and a principal.  So then, I'm looking at my little 7 year old and thinking "Oh God, what if something happened to her?"

These two events hit me hard.  My cousin blogged about how things hit you differently once you have children and that's exactly it.  Before having children, horrific events or tragedies would make me sad of course but it wasn't the same.  Once you have children, you put yourself in the parents' place and realize it could be your child.  I see a facebook post about James and I picture Jason in his place and I can't breathe.  I hear a news story about the children of Sandy Hook and the thought of life without Jessica stops my heart.  I was home the Monday after the Sandy Hook tragedy and I put Jess on the bus in the morning.  As she stepped on, I had the desire to stop her and say "You know what? You're going to stay home with Mommy today."  Jason doesn't dirtbike like James did but he does participate in dangerous sports - he loves to wrestle and is on the high school team; he just got certified in scuba diving this fall and he and his friends have airsoft wars.  All potentially dangerous activities.  But, as much as packing up and moving my family to a remote island somewhere where nothing bad ever happens, I know that's not reality and I have to let them live their lives.  I know some people think I'm overdoing it by making sure either Mike or I are at every one of Jason's wrestling meets.  After all, the bus takes him there and back; he can't ride with us and they tend to be long, boring and, if they're on a weekday, late.   But, God forbid that something happen to my boy, I want one of his parents to be there with him.  I don't want him hurt and alone.  Is that really so unreasonable?

I saw this video about Sandy Hook and while it made me cry, I thought it was beautiful.  It's from the show, The Voice.  I saw it on the last online post I opened about Sandy Hook.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Pumpkins and Halloween

I love October.  I love Halloween, the beginning of fall, and pumpkin patches.  Jess and I went to a local farm and got lost in their corn maze.  Sauchuk Farm has the BEST apple cider and cider donuts.  We spent a few hours there between the corn maze, the jumping pillow, buying pumpkins, and taking a wagon ride.  When it came to trick or treating this year, we went to Haunted Hallways at Jess's school, the mall, and the neighborhood.  I always laugh when people say their kids can't make up their minds what they want to be right up until Halloween.  Jess decides in February what to be the following October because for the past few years, my friend has bought her costumes for me when she did her annual trip to Disney World.  Her parents worked there and she got a great deal on them.  Her parents have left WDW so not sure what we'll be doing next year. Although.....Jess is talking about being Merida next year so I'll need to keep an eye out for a sale.  Haunted Hallways was fun.  We used to go to this event with Jason when he was little.  People decorate the school and the kids trick or treat as they walk through the halls.  On Halloween, we started off at the mall where Jess saw a friend from her kindergarten class last year.  We spent about an hour going from store to store getting candy, stickers, and advertisements.  Jess's bag got a hole in it which we didn't realize until I saw the trail of candy we were leaving.  A stop at Target, a princess gift bag, and we were good to go again.  We headed home and hit the neighborhood.  An hour and a half later, Jess was one tuckered out princess.

Heading into the corn maze at Sauchuk Farm

Jumping pillow at Sauchuk Farm

Heading with Mike through the entrance at Haunted Hallways

Jess and her friends at Haunted Hallways.  Her friend, Sadie, was also Rapunzel but wore the wig.  I didn't bother with the wig because I knew Jess wouldn't want to wear it.  In our house, the rule is if you ask me to buy it, you have to wear it so Jess decided she didn't want me to buy it.  

Jess with the pumpkin she picked out.

Scooping out the insides
She wanted a scary pumpkin.  Here's she's poking out the pieces I cut.
Last year, a squirrel stole her little pumpkin out of her big pumpkin's mouth.  She's hoping they'll do it again.  Last year, she wasn't so happy that the squirrel did that.

I made chicken pot pie the night before Halloween and instead of a regular top crust, I cut out pumpkin shapes with a cookie cutter and used a knife to cut jackolantern faces.  All we had  to do when I got home from work on Halloween was put it in the oven to warm up and we were ready for a night of trick or treating.

We use a woodstove a lot when the weather gets cold.  You can often find a cat hanging out on top of the wood and enjoying the warmth from the stove.

My little princess.  She didn't want to wear a long sleeve shirt under her dress so went with a sweater instead.  

Trick or treating at the mall.

Trick or treating at a family from church.

The princess's loot

One tuckered out princess

Monday, October 08, 2012

Playing catchup again

I always have good intentions of keeping my blog up to date but I never seem to find the time.  Here's the psat couple of months in our lives.

Jess's 7th Birthday

We got a bounce house for Jess's birthday party and invited about 20 kids from the neighborhood, church, and last year's kindergarten.  Jess wanted a Tangled theme.  When the kids were leaving, one neighborhood boy proclaimed it the "Best party ever!"  That definitely made it worth all the work!
The invites I made.  The white scratches are because this is the photo I used to show it on another site and I didn't want my address out there.  

Jess ready to go down the slide in the bounce house.

Blowing out the candles on the adult cake.  The kids had cupcakes to frost and decorate with sugar eyes I made to make them look like Pascal.

Pinata.  Mike scored it so it would break easier. Now that Jess is older, we need to stop doing that.  Only a couple kids got a turn before it burst.  

My Pascal blowers - aren't they cute?

Paintbox favors.  Rapunzel loved to paint so I thought these were cute.  I took advantage of the back to school sales.

Sun cookies.  One of the symbols in the Tangled movie was the sun.

Jess with her Tangled braid.  We'd taken pics of each kid wearing the crown and braid.

September 2012

Jason and Jordan at Plymouth North High School's Homecoming

Jess has Bieber fever!

Jess and her schultuete.  I read about this German tradition on line and thought it'd be cute to do.  Traditionally they're filled with school supplies.  I filled the kids' with candy although Jess did get some new pencils.

Jason and his schultuete

Jess ready to go to first grade

First time taking the bus to school

Apple picking

My cats have shoe fetishes.  No shoe is safe from being slept, scratched or nibbled on.

Jess and Auntie Jen after riding Codzilla.  The ride was Jess's birthday present from Auntie Jen.  She had a blast!

Jess's favorite food is mac and cheese so when we came across this sculpture in Boston, we couldn't pass up the photo op.

Annual cardiology checkup.  Her ekg was fine but the echo machine broke down so we have to go back in the spring.  We asked if there are any restrictions - roller coasters, etc and Dr. Rhodes said no restrictions at all.  Yeah!

Jess and I went to the PawSox with our church.  It was Jess's first baseball game.  PawSox lost but we had a good time.

Camel ride at the Marshfield Fair.  We took Jason and his girlfriend, Jordan, to the fair for his birthday.  I got them the ride bracelets which is SO much cheaper than paying for rides individually.

We went to see the Golden Dragon Acrobats at the South Shore Music Circus.  They are amazing!

Birthday, July 4 and the beach

Jason and Jess at Long Beach. 

Jason's birthday.  What does every 14 year old boy want?  A rotating waffle iron, of course!

Using his waffle iron

4th of July

Fun at Long Beach

The Cruise

In July we went on a cruise to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.  We had a blast.  Lots of eating, walking around town, and relaxing. We had to unplug since cellphones and internet are ridiculously expensive onboard.  That was amazingly freeing.  We visited a Titanic exhibit, Jason and I went to a towel folding demo, I went to a cooking demo. The shows were awesome.  All in all, a very good time.

                                             The family with the Captain.
                                                Jess and her favorite soup - strawberry
                                                Our ship
                                             Sitting on the dock in Halifax
                                                    The view from our porthole
                                                     Magician and assistant - that was an excellent show!
                                                      Jason and Jess at the Citadel
                                Jess in her cubbyhole.  She'd pull the curtains and have her own space.
Jason coming down the waterslide