Sunday, August 24, 2008

Aunt Betty

This is a picture of my Aunt Betty, who passed away on August 9. She lived in Washington, Iowa with my Uncle Owen. She was a lovely lady who always seemed like Grandma to me (my dad's folks died when I was young, I have very few memories of them). Owen and Betty lived on a farm and I loved to visit there when I was a kid. Betty was an amazing cook and was always making sure everybody was taken care of. She and Owen raised 3 beautiful women; Janice, Judy and Jolene and I had the privilege of seeing them all at Betty's funeral.

My brother Tom and I drove together to Iowa for her services. My brother Tony, who lives in Virginia, and his son Tim made the long drive as well (along with my cousin Rick). It was nice to get to see Tony, I hadn't seen him since my mom died 3 1/2 years ago- too long. I did not bring any kids with and it was really nice to get to spend time in conversations with adults, especially my cousins and relatives I had not seen in years. My Uncle Owen has always had a special place in my heart, he is a very friendly man who has a sparkle in his eye and smiles a lot. I was blessed to have some really good time with him remembering his lovely wife. I will treasure my 3 days in Iowa!!!

I returned from Iowa on a Thursday night, and left Friday night after bedtime for Willmar, for my once a year girls weekend. I was bummed out on the timing and was feeling guilty for leaving Michael after I had just returned, but I got over it quickly. Especially when I was water skiing all weekend, it felt great and everyone survived without me.

This past weekend was a busy one as well. The kids and I drove to Albert Lea on Friday to meet Hezekiah's foster grandma, we call her Grandma Von. She lives in northern Iowa and we try to meet her every other year or so. She is a precious woman, I believe she is in her 70's. We have not seen her for over 3 years, and when we got out of the car, she knew each one of my kids names, pronounced them all correctly (which is difficult for most people), and knew which kid was who. That is amazing. We had some great fellowship with her.

When we left Albert Lea, we drove straight to Akila's friends house in the cities. Emma's family offered to take all four of our kids for an overnight to give Michael and I a break. What a blessing!!!! Michael and I went out for dinner, saw Indiana Jones, and worked on tearing our bathroom apart (bathtub tiles have been falling down, turning into major project-ugh). It was a very peaceful and productive 24 hours!!!! Thanks Emma, Rachel, John and Lori!!! The kids had a blast!!!

We picked the kids up from their house to go straight to Dan and Tara's home (Michael's brother) for the summer birthday celebration. Got home after bedtime last night and spent the day today trying to recover from all of the excitement. We are all definitely ready for school to start. I am looking forward to being able to blog more regularly!!

Akila was pretty good today. Bedtime has not been very fun lately though. After I had put her down, she came out and in a very rude and accusatory voice, commanded me to move her fan closer to her cuz she couldn't feel it. It is so hard to remain calm and not go psycho when she speaks like this. Understand, this is after close to 30 minutes of abusive behavior from her, shortly after I leave her room and am so relieved the day is over. 9 days until school starts. Can't wait!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Keeping Busy

Not sure if I have mentioned this, but I am ready for school to start. Kari has a widgit thingie on her blog that counts down to the first day of school, down to the seconds. 27 days to go. Can't wait. I did mention the neighborhood challenges we have had with Akila and they are not getting any better. So needless to say, we are not home much.

I think my husband thinks I'm crazy, on the run all the time. But I can't stand to be home for an entire day. The best thing, is that my best girlfriend, Juli, bought a boat last week, and it came with a slip on Lake Minnetonka. I grew up on a lake boating daily in the summer and have been on the boat 3 times this week with her. Twice with all our kids, she has 4 like I do (although two of them are teenagers, and great helpers). It is a little crazy with all the kids, especially last night. Akila was not cooperating. Not fun.

Akila's 9th birthday was on Tuesday, and I am glad it is over. The two weeks or so leading up to it were getting long, several rages over the fact that "today" was not her birthday and her birthday was taking too long. Tomorrow is the combined birthday party for her and Imani, who's 8th birthday was on June 30. I will really be glad when it is over.

One of the gifts we got Akila is a mannequin head that they use in beauty school. Akila is obsessed with doing hair and those Barbie heads or toy ones, have nasty hair that tangles. This did not cost much more than the toy head, and the hair should last longer. Akila loves it. The bummer, is that it is quite ugly. She doesn't seem to notice though. Check it out:

In two weekends, a mom of one of Akila's friends has offered to take all four of our kids for an overnight. What a blessing. This lady grew up with a mom who did foster care and an adopted brother with FASD, so she really gets it. I am very thankful for her. I know that when Akila goes to her house, she gets it. I have of course not told my kids yet, and I won't until the day of, maybe the day before. A lesson learned.