Friday, June 28, 2013

Keep on Trucking

He may have a broken ankle,but A is still cranking out some awesome videos.  I love that he's still trying to be creative even though he can't get on a board.  Check it out!

On other fronts:
--D hit his first home run at baseball practice the other night.  He was thrilled.  It was so cute watching one of his friends run over, jump the fence and retrieve the ball for him.  It's signed, dated, and sitting on his desk.

--We leave for the beach tomorrow.  Mixed feelings about the trip.  Good to be at beach, but it often brings out the worst in the girls.  We'll see.

--I had major meltdown last night trying to keep a handle on everything I have on my plate.  Swim team volunteering is killing me.  I know I need to let it go, but the guilt being slung at me from the girls and the head of the team is driving me insane.

--I think I have to give up my therapist.  K is giving me a hard time about the expense of it since it's not covered by insurance.  Arguing about this was the beginning of the meltdown.

--My mom is not doing well at all.  My dad is convinced it's Parkinson's now.  She fell yesterday.  I feel numb by it all.  I just can't let myself go there yet.  She sees a neurologist on July 11.  My dad is feeling very anxious lately (without admitting it of course) and it driving all of us crazy.  Yesterday he told E she can't go far away for college because K and I aren't going to be able to go to parent's weekend so he'll have to go.  I kept my cool, but felt like dropping a giant expletive in his direction.

--I guess I'm just feeling a bit adrift.  I went to bed feeling awful and woke up feeling awful.  I just can't seem to get a handle of everything and balls are dropping.  I think I need to take a lesson from my awesome rock star A and try to keep on trucking.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Just got back from the ortho...not good news at all.  The ER misdiagnosed the ankle sprain and A's got a fracture.  They put him in a walking cast and I'm currently researching waterproof cast sleeves so he can swim at the beach.

No skating all summer and hopefully he'll be back to playing soccer by middle of August.  Basically his entire summer is shot.

Seriously universe.  Give us a break (no pun).

Monday, June 24, 2013


I am wound so tight tonight.  I can feel the tension from the top of my head through my jaws and into the pit of my stomach.  I'm not really sure why I'm so out of sorts.

On Friday, just minutes before he was to compete in his only skateboarding contest of the year, A landed wrong on one of his signature tricks and sprained his ankle.  He was devastated and seeing him so upset brought tears to my own eyes.  He works so hard at his skating and once we decided he couldn't compete, watching boys skate who aren't even close to him in skill made it even worse.  We took his sock off when we got home to ice it and immediately decided a trip to the ER was in order as his ankle was the size of a grapefruit.  3.5 hours later we left with crutches and a cast with instructions to visit the orthopedist in a few days.  Typical A, he was all doom and gloom at first since we leave for the beach in a week and stay next to a skate park.  By today, he was researching herping spots at the beach and thinking about other fun stuff to do.  We see the ortho in the morning, so I'm hopeful the cast will come off and he'll only have to wear a brace.

CA, KM and the little girls were at the skatefest.  I invited them to come to support A and spend some time together in a neutral place.  It was strange and awful all wrapped into one.  KT told me aunt C was CA's favorite sister and asked was I a sister?  Then CA told A some ridiculous lie about being once being sponsored by a skateboard company.  The cherry on top was CA screeching at MG at one point that was awkward and cringe worthy.  Sigh.  I don't have the words.

I also got to play soccer this weekend in a local tournament.  It was so much fun.  I was out of the house both days for several hours and although kids didn't get fed and a certain 17 year old was mad at me for (God forbid) making her go to the used book sale by herself, it was totally worth it.  My dad even came to my afternoon game on Saturday and the final on Sunday.  I was seriously rusty and out of shape, but had so much fun.  In between games, there were great talks and laughs and doing something I know I do well, with people I like was awesome.  I can barely move today and my feet are killing me because I haven't worn cleats in months.  The pain, though, is a gentle reminder of the old Peg.  Somehow I need to find her more often.

The girls have been an absolute handful all weekend.  When E is hurting she lashes out on all of us, even little L. When M is hurting, she gets manic and difficult and just plain weird. It's often hard to know what is going on with them.  Not enough attention?  Too much attention on A or one of the other boys?  Who knows?  It's like getting slowly beaten to death by marshmallows every day.  The little annoyances aren't that bad individually, but together they are crushing me.  Crushing us. 

The new project at work is also going to be pretty stressful.  Interesting, and maybe even a little fun, but tons of work which makes me really nervous about how I'm going to make everything click at home and in the office.

I don't know where I'm going with this post.  Maybe I thought typing the words on the screen would take away the pressure.  I think it's coming off more like a bit of a pity party.  Is it possible to love your life and want to change it all at the same time?

Monday, June 17, 2013

In the Moment

Today was our first real day of summer vacation.

I decided when I went to bed last night that I needed a refresh after a tense weekend of too many activities and a holiday that on one hand needs to be celebrated, but on the other hand is done with a whisper and sensitivity to those missing the reason for the holiday.  Needless to say, it was a rough one around these parts.

I decided we'd do an afternoon hike to a local regional park which is one of A's favorites.

Within minutes of leaving the parking lot, I could feel the worries and tension leaving all of us.  The start of the trail is a dried up creek bed that winds it's way down to the river.  The hike down consisted of the kids alternating between skipping ahead, stopping to investigate something or laughing with each other.

I found myself trying to stop and live in those exact moments.  Notice everything and just be...

A's enthusiasm in his search for lizards and amphibians.

L's non-stop conversation and insistence that he wait for me so I wouldn't "be lonely."

M acting like a kid and not worrying about life.

D running ahead as our scout and yelling happily to A when he saw a skink.

The sun filtering through the leaves and the sounds of the rushing water.

Giggles from the kids.

I loved today.  I love how much fun the kids had without computers, play dates, practices, or the TV. I loved being with A and doing something he truly loves and how easily his knowledge and enthusiasm drew the other kids in. I loved how L pointed out all of the cicadas, millipedes and beetles for me and telling to me how much he wants to be an entomologist because he wants to be like his big brother, but not EXACTLY like his brother.

As we walked back up to the car, we all decided that next time we're going to pack a picnic lunch and stay longer.  They decided that the little cousins should come too.  I love how they all wanted to do it again soon,  and wanted to share it with their cousins.

The afternoon was topped off with some ice cream at our favorite local joint in the quaint town near the park.  It was a great afternoon and I look forward to more like it this summer.  We certainly all needed it.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Little Black Dress

I've got a thing with clothes.  I'm not in any way a fashionista, but I gain comfort and confidence from certain outfits or items.

My day-to-day mom outfit usually consists of sweats or shorts and a variety of nike or addidas, dryfit, short sleeve or long sleeve tees.  Despite my rare ability to exercise or play soccer, my inner athlete is reflected in my wardrobe.  That, and the fact that my husband pretty much gets me the same thing every holiday.

Today I had a meeting with a new client for a kick-off meeting for my new project.  13 years of Catholic school and daily uniforms has resulted in my need to put on my professional clothes if I'm going to an important work related event.  I haven't really had to interact with a client in the past few years, so I was a bit out of sorts late last night trying to figure out what I was going to wear.  The pickings were certainly limited by what was clean and what needed ironing.  I found a suit jacket that I've always liked, but the accompanying pants were wrinkled and I was too tired to make the effort.

A little black dress hangs in the back of my closet.  It's a simple, Ann Taylor number with cap sleeves.  It's hung there on its hanger for over three and a half years.  It often catches my eye and propels me back to that first and last time I wore that dress.  Jeanne and Mike's funeral.  For some reason I've never been able to  wear it again, despite multiple opportunities.  It's always seemed like an untouchable object or a portkey from Harry Potter that would magically transport me back to that day.

I made a quick decision last night in my exhaustion that this dress would be perfect with the suit jacket.  Clean lines and professional, it would be perfect.  With slight hesitation,  I pulled off my tee shirt and pulled the dress over my head.  It still fit even though I've lost a lot of weight in the last few years. I put on that jacket and, as suspected, the combo worked great.

When we were little, my favorite game to play with my sisters was what we called "big business."  Jeanne would set up a desk in the basement and from what I remember the game centered around taking notes, answering pretend phones and filling out "business" forms that we created.  As adults, my sisters and I have joked when one of us was in our "big business" mode.

I decided that rather than look at that dress and think that it was going to sink me in my grief for my sister, this little black dress was going to carry her with me today.  I don't know why today was the day.  Maybe it was because I was just too tired and being practical outweighed the feelings associated with the dress.  Maybe the rawness of my grief is softening.  Maybe I just needed my big sister today and that dress was the closest thing I could get.

Whatever the reason, I'm glad I wore it.  It gave me comfort and confidence in the stress of the day.  I think I'll wear it again.

Friday, June 7, 2013


Sometimes  I wish I could just freeze time.  Let's face it, most of the time I wish I could turn back time and go to easier times with no tragedies, pain, or grief marking our family landscape.

Today L graduated from kindergarten.  My baby is growing up and there isn't anyone else to follow in his footsteps.  It was the another one of my "lasts" as a mommy.  Sniff.  Sniff.  He told me all week not to cry.  I didn't (much) least not in front of him.  He is just so freaking cute right now that sometimes I just want him to stay six.

Receiving his completion certificate.

Mommy and graduate.

Siblings got to leave class to come to the our family cousins count too :)

L being silly with his Aunt C.

My boys.
Such a sweet boy is our L.  Funny, smart and those big brown eyes get me every time.   I can't wait to watch him grow up...just as long as it doesn't go too fast.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Crossing the Line

I had a really annoying conversation with C this morning that has stuck with me as the day has gone on.  It reiterated once more to me that while K and I have the respsonsibility of taking care of these two girls and put up with all of their crap, at the same time trying to give our boys the life we wanted for them, nobody in our family really sees us as full parents to the girls.

I get this.  Sorta.

Backstory is required on this one.  So, last week E got her SAT scores back and they are really good (2230 good).  This with her grades, extracurriculars and overall story, opens doors to lots of choices for her for college.  Pretty much anywhere she wants to go.  She is still talking about the Naval Academy, but we don't want her to go there and since she is way behind on the application process, I don't really think she wants to go there, but has this glossed over image of what being in the Navy will be like. Her dad was a Navy pilot briefly and I suspect she thinks this will honor his memory in some way.  If she eventually wants to join the Navy, we can't stop her, but I don't think she has the emotional maturity at this time to make a career decision.  There are tons of other reasons why I don't want her to go to Navy, but that's the biggie. 

C and I were discussing this and as the conversation turned to some of the other schools she's looking at (Northwestern, Princeton, Bucknell, William and Mary) I made the big mistake of mentioning the cost of some of these out-of-state schools and whether or not $62K per year is worth it, when she can go to W&M (in-state school) and get a great education AND swim there (which is what she wants to do).  I also don't think E really wants to be too far from home.  Too far away from her family (her immediate family, her sisters, or the rest of the gang).  Her issues with attachment make this especially true.

The line then got crossed over. C told me that SHE didn't think E would be enjoy William and Mary despite how much we loved it.  I mentioned that some of the Ivy League schools are really expensive and while we're looking into all the financial aid stuff, she also wouldn't be able to swim there.  She said, "Peggy you need to get over this William and Mary thing.  I really don't think she'll do well there. I want a fresh start for her and going to the same place we went doesn't do that."

She went on to lecture me how Jeanne and Mike had the plan for swimming to pay her way through school, but since money isn't an option any more she should go to the best academic school which will set her up for life (i.e., the Harvards, etc.).  I said that E wants to swim in college.  She wants the whole package, academics and swimming, which W&M and Bucknell will give her.  I also explained that K is looking in to all of the finance aspect of this to make sure she has all of these options (scholarships, financial aid, etc.) and we would never keep her from going where she wants, but at this point we're still in the preliminary stages.  There are still tons of schools out there we need to investigate.

It wasn't really what she said that bothered me, but the tone of her voice.  Her attitude that she could "tell" me what I "had" to do without the pretense of friendly advice or "in my opinion" tones. I know she loves E and wants what is best for her, but she crossed the line and I actually think she knows it.  I was talking to her about E and college choices as a way to share and vent a little.  She certainly wouldn't talk to me in that manner if it was one of the boys.  What was hard too, was that she also made statements like "it's her decision not yours and when she turns 18 you have no more say."  Of course it's E's decision, but as her parents now we want to help her make the right decision and just because we adopted her later in her childhood doesn't mean that we don't get a say or that we don't care like we would with the other kids.  Moreover, we don't stop being her parents when she turns 18.  We don't stop being her family.

The underlying feeling from the conversation was that in her eyes we aren't E's parents.  It struck me as funny since she complains all the time that CA is just acting as a caregiver for the little girls, but at the same time in her heart merely sees K and I as caregivers for the big girls.  I know there are confusing feelings since they tried to parent them and gave up.  They chose not to parent these kids.  I don't want to discount her feelings.  I wanted to scream into the phone, however, "keep those feelings to yourself!  This isn't helping me!!" At the end, I felt that C's aunt relationship E trumps our sister relationship.  I know it's more complicated than that, but in the aftermath of a pretty uncomfortable conversation, that's how I feel.

I'll stay on my side of the line and won't call her out on it. I'll contiue to do the best I can for all of our kids. C definitely has some stuff to sort out with regards to the girls and the accident.  I wish it didn't have to sometimes be at my emotional expense.