Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My 100th post!

It has been several months since my last update and so much changes daily that you cannot imagine the difference by now. I apologize for the delay in the posting but my old faithful hamster wheel of a computer finally crashed and it was nephew bailed me out with restoring my new laptop that had been shelved due to a virus with extra malice thrown in. He fixed me up so good though, that I have had to learn many new tricks of google chrome to get around and it has been slow going. I am grateful that by default someone can keep me in the game of communication. Anyhow here I am. Back at the keys with fun updates galore!

I remember recently when the kids came home and had to come up with a little project to underscore the value of 100 since it had been 100 days since the beginning of the school year. Last year for Evan was my favorite idea--we glued 100 googly eyes on a tee shirt. I tell you this because it best illustrates what I look like after 100 posts of Marina saving us:)

Marina is in love with school. Her teachers report that since the Christmas break Marina has hit the learning patch hard, and has really begun to shine in unexpected ways. For one, she can almost write her whole name by herself. She can sing the abc song. She has taken over the discipline of the classroom, often seeing what the teachers do not, and putting the child into the sad seat for their misdeeds. Seriously, I have it on good resources that these children stay where she puts them. I have heard the bossy side of Marina, and some days I stay where she puts me as well:) I made her a number wheel this past weekend since she was home sick with strep throat and needed something creative to do....I cut out a cardboard circle, divided it pie shaped into 10 pieces and wrote the numbers 1-10 in each marked of slice--making correlating clothes pins with the same numbers on them I wanted to see how many she could match up...she was polite. And quietly did them over and over, never missing a single one. She visually knows her numbers...she knows them on her fingers. She has the shortest little fingers anyway and when she signs "I love you" it is not without meaning based on the effort she has to put in to fold them the right way. She has lost 3 front teeth and in the beginning shock of that look, it made my eyes water to see her try to eat an made Evan downright cry because she lost them first. Boys are very competitive but seriously??? Anyhow Marina has fallen head over heels in love with me and I can't say I feel any differently. She never stops amazing me. She wants to spend her time in the kitchen cooking with me, and I know she is probably learning her fractions as we do that. At the very least she can prep foods with some of the best I ever hired when I worked the restaurant field. She also has one of the silliest sense of humors of anyone I know. I laugh so much at her and she does not mind, rather it encourages her. Last night I went to check on her in the tub and she was sitting there patiently waiting with a big green bucket over her head. When I started laughing, she gave me the thumbs up with one hand and a parade wave with the other, never taking the bucket off to see my face. She is adored at school and when I drop her off in the morning, her friends Mary and Candance come running across the room squealing like jr. high girls and throw themselves all over Marina...yes EVERY day....these are the same girls she puts in time out when they misbehave!! But order must be maintained. Unfortunately, Evan does not always get the note that Marina wants to be in charge, so home life is a little more conflicting. And yet, yesterday when Evan stayed out an extra day from school because he could not shake the fever that went with his strep throat, he clock watched like crazy for Marina to get off the bus so he could play with her. Seriously I think the biggest issue is the language barrier. It is hard to see her as old as she can mentally think, when she cannot speak very well and sounds like a baby, and is small in stature. The i-pad has been helpful and she can navigate that thing better than I can and now shoots her angry birds in the right direction. She has several language and speech programs on there and she finds them and practices on her own. She has an insatiable hunger for challenge, which is awesome, most of the time.

Evan has been doing much much better in school. He recently went through a tough phase of crying and separation anxiety that was heart breaking. It has taken months but we are finally in front of that issue I think. His grades are wonderful but he has yet to find a friend that he can really bond with. I took him to New York City this past weekend for a short journey where it was just me and him and we had a blast...until we both realized we were coming down with strep...then it was a very long journey to LaGuardia on the crosstown uptown bus, and a long drive home from Charlotte when we landed. I hope we can do it again when he feels better because we had a great great time. We bought strawberries and bananas for one man who was sleeping in a doorway and we talked so much about life and choices people sometimes lose control of. We took subways and ate large triangles of NYC pizza and went to the Hershey store and the M&M store, and did you know Toys R Us has a ferris wheel in it?? Somehow between FAO Schwartz and Toys R Us I got out of the whole extravaganza for 50 dollars total...including Marina's gifts that Evan chose for her. WHEW! That was amazing! The museum of Natural History was our original destination but he did not feel well enough to do that when we woke up on Saturday morning. Evan has so many talents I am looking forward to seeing how they unfold. He is a whiz at art and building things and techy things, and never needs directions for the hard stuff...just do not give him 2 verbal directives in the same sentence or he gets man-itis and falls apart. It reminds me of the dog Doug in UP,....hey, there's a squirrel!:) ...right in the middle of heading to put on shoes. It's ok. When we are one on one, that is not so much an issue. I have decided to home school Evan next year for second grade using the Abeka program. He is so much fun to work with and I plan on using the airline benefits I have to really learn the things we need to cover. I simply cannot wait to do several day trips to DC and study the Capital. He is one that will really benefit from homeschooling and he is really psyched up about it. He loves that one on one learning time and I hope that by finding a good co-op of students he will bond better with friends in quality rather than the quantity of 24 in his class now.He is also a Cub scout and we LOVE that his pack is so amazing. (Marina has turned out to be a find boy scout as well, never missing a meeting and staying at attention through the flag ceremony!) I would not home school Marina for a million dollars....I could not keep up with her!! (see the fact that it took me longer to make number wheel than for her to work it--it has been that way since day 1). I am hoping to move into a part time permanent position at the airport that has opened up in customer service. It will give me more time with my family this summer for sure. I will still have plenty of time to homeschool since I am assuming the hours will be very a.m. I should know today if I was chosen. If I do not get it and stay vacation relief, then I have most of the fall and spring off from work anyway. I have also taken a job merchandising the Kuerig coffee maker. I don't even know how much I make an hour, and it did not matter once I found out I got one of the machines:) For the most part I make my own hours which is the second best part of the job! ( I was kidding, I do know how much I make:)
Tully is back home from Pennsylvania and life has settled back down and I am really grateful. I was pretty mad at him when he was gone and I was pretty mad at him when he came home. Oh the joys of being together 20 years is that the longer you are together sometimes the worse communication turns out:) I have found that prayer changes things though. And I think mostly all those prayers changed me. Now I am really happy he is here and is working at construction for now, and I am looking forward to getting our team in the right order. Mostly where Marina is not pulling the cart or trying to run over Evan. Marina has trouble realizing she can love 2 parents simultaneously and Tully gets the short end of the stick. I think some of that stems from him being gone alot of last summer and I did so much with only the kids when they were not with Mayfield and Holli or Forest. Tully puts in a great amount of effort on her and the return is a little sketchy some days and wide open other days. He will do fine in the long run though I feel confident! He is crazy over these kids and that is what counts the most.

On a final note I am happy to report that Evan lost 3 teeth recently and life is good for him again, except it makes my eyes water to see him try to eat apples.

Once a long time ago, when my life was full of loss and sorrow, I found a verse from John 16:20 "I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy." I all but mocked God and dared Him to make me smile while it was obvious my best days were behind me. He so lovingly showed me I was wrong. My heart breaks when I think that Caylyn is not here to play with Marina and Evan and me and Tully ...but with Cay here, there would be no Marina in our lives, and perhaps Marina most likely would be sitting medicated in an institution this very day. Now I know for sure that my children are all doing well, Caylyn most of all. This is one of the benefits of being a believer in the promises of God. I know that I know, and for sure Cay is not only alright, but doing far better than the rest of us. I also know for sure that I will see her again. There is only One God who speaks to the heart, and I am humbly grateful that I took His hand. It changed everything about who I am and who I will become in the life journey of walking to His voice. Never perfect, but enjoying the lifelong process of watching my children come to hear His voice as well, and knowing that the ringing of laughter in these happy silly children was His gift for my sorrow. There is healing in that joy. And when the moon is nothing but a sliver in the sky, I see Caylyn smiling too.


  1. For Pete's sake!! I'm sitting here with a bad bad cold and cough and can't barely breathe and then you go and post THAT POST and now I am a weepy pitiful mess with stuff pouring out of my eyes AND nose. Unfair!! Warn me next time you are going to go and bless my socks off with posts like that so I can have tissues handy to weep into instead of having to use my sleeves. For Pete's Sake!!

    I love seeing Marina pictures. I love knowing that God is still healing hearts at your house. I love knowing that you are Tully are still standing after 20 years and some pretty life-shattering blows sent your way. We too are celebrating our 20th. God is good. Even in the worst of times - He is good because it is He who carries us through.

  2. Me too!! Thanks Cathy!! Seriously, it is so amazing to read about all the things that are going on for you all! God is GOOD and Calyn is smiling so brightly!

  3. I am SO glad to read your update(s)! I've missed you, thought of you all often, but have not been very good at the email thing lately. Welcome back!

    Evan and Marina have grown and changed so much, as is amply illustrated by both their photos and your wonderful stories and descriptions. What different personalities they possess - different, but complementary. Marina sounds as if she's blowing the socks off of all expectations, while Evan is a sensitive, observant child with great creative and artistic abilities. What treasures they are!

    My 91 year old uncle down the road from you is quite ill - I'd considered a quick trip to see him next month and will surely connect with you if that should still happen, but it seems unlikely at present. However, things are changing from day to day, and his family hopes to bring him home with Hospice help this week, so just maybe...will keep you posted.

    Have you ever taken the children over to Diamond Hill near Antreville? It's an amethyst/smoky quartz surface "mine" not far from you that sounds fascinating. Might be a good spring-time trip: you can keep what you find and the price is very reasonable. I hope to go there someday, if I ever get back to SC. It sounds like a place kids would really enjoy: what's more fun than digging in the dirt and finding crystals?

    Of course, like Ancient Rome's famous Cornelia, you already have your precious "jewels"!

    Thanks again for the very welcome updates -

    Susan in Ky
    Cousin to 2 from EE

  4. I am glad you are still young enough to keep up with everyone and stay so busy! I am not that young any more. :-)

    Congrats on your decision to homeschool. I am finishing up my homeschooling career after 10 1/2 years. Our son will be graduating from high school this spring. My one unsolicited advice is don't get too hung up on any one particular curriculum. It may take a bit of trail & error to find what works best for Evan and that may be a combination of different curriculum.

    Our homeschooled son is our baby who brought much joy into our lives after the death of our daughter. Our older children have brought us much delight too but it was having a new baby, then toddler in the house that offered a new distraction for our grief. I never knew I could hurt so much until Elizabeth died and I certainly never thought the horrible raw pain would ebb. I still miss her every day but we have found a "new normal" and are able to live our lives & enjoy all our children. Our little girl would be an adult now. I can't even image what see would be like now.

    Good luck with all your adventures. Enjoy homeschooling.

    Your sister in grief
    (and old locker buddy),
    Catherine C