Monday, August 11, 2014

Brain Break

So Gina and I have booth been off the grid for the most part this summer.  While I focused on parenting and health nonsense, Gina's whole life has been on hold.  I'll let her tell her own story but I will say that it has a happy ending.

For now, we both need a brain break.  But we will return shortly...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Too Tired

This has been an exhausting week.  In the last five minutes, I pulled Tomass into the house for punching his brother's broken and still healing shoulder, attempted to put him in a time out and got kicked, punched and given the bird...

But I do want to take a minute to thank Rachel Nieman, friend and partner at COPE, for bringing us a beautiful dinner last night (which has turned into lunch today as well.)  Holy crap, a little goes a long way.

Thank you for your kindness!  Last night, instead of cooking and cleaning up - I read a few chapters in a mystery novel.  Ahhhhhh....

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Original Poem - A Prayer for Gina

It's been a while since you've heard from Regina.  She's all tied up in a legal fight that may change the fate of her entire family and her energies are fully directed towards this hope that a handful of lawyers, a judge and people with deep pockets but little remorse, will do the right f-ing thing.

I'm not particularly religious but I do believe that directing your thoughts and energy someone's way can make a difference, even if it simply provokes a kindness.  If you have a moment, think about her. And send your most passionate prayers towards Regina and her incredible family.

Battle Cry

To you whose smile is wide
and open
Towards the physical drain of every day slopping up,
hanging in, wiping and feeding,
washing and comforting,
as if they are still infants.
Though it should never have ended up
that they might need you in this way
after so long.

To you whose patience,
and stalwart persistence,
pushing against a riptide of business and greed,
should bring a kind of ease

If not justice. 

-by Juliet Bond

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Being Thankful

I know, I know.  I sound all Pollyanna for writing this and some people may be sick of my waxing on about peace and love and generosity but F-You.  I'm grateful.

I'm grateful for this opportunity to love a whole bunch of difficult kids.

I'm grateful to get through every day without screaming, dissolving into tears or turning on my own family.

I'm grateful to my friends who surrounded us at an outdoor concert this week, gave us hugs and were just there.

I'm grateful to my daughter, who my mother referred to as the "Latvian Summer Camp Director."

And I'm grateful to my son Casey who is rolling with this chaos during the day, even as he crawls into bed with us at night.

Last, I'm grateful to Kevin.  Taking on three Latvian orphans was neither his idea nor his preference but he's done it two summers in a row now.  He hugs those kids every day.  He makes them meals and reassures Tomass that he will be back every day when Tomass panics, looks at me and asks, "Dadi darbu?"

Is Dadi going to work?

Thank you to everyone supporting us through this summer.  Your presence in our lives, a joke here and there, a shared meal or a kind word of encouragement are more important than you could ever know.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sunday Reading Suggestion

I struggled with this one.  Tease by Amanda Maciel was a challenging book.  The main character was wholly unlikeable.  She'd bullied a girl into suicide - along with her even more mean best friend - and felt no repentance.  Throughout the book, I kept waiting for it to hit her, the realization that she'd been cruel beyond anything most kids engage in.  But even in the end, I didn't feel like the punch to her gut was hard enough.

The book description says that it has a "strong anti-bullying theme" but maybe it wasn't strong enough.


Friday, July 4, 2014

Friday (not original) Poem

Like I said, im noguris.

So today I share a poem that I relate to because I can't.  I just can't be creative.  There is dinner to make, vacuuming and laundry, planning activities, showers to encourage, and an endless sea of clothes to put away and counters to wipe.

Recall the Carousel

Recall the carousel. Its round and round.
Its pink lights blinking off and on.
The children’s faces painted garish colors against
an institutional wall. And the genetics. The
We won’t be here too long  ...    Do not step off  ...
The carousel? Do you recall? As if
we were our own young parents suffering again
after so many hundreds of hours of bliss.
And even the startling fact that
what had always been feared might come to pass:
A familiar sweater in a garbage can.
A surgeon bent over our baby, wearing a mask.
But surely you recall
how happily and for how long
we watched our pretty hostages go round.
They waved at us too many times to count.
Their dancing foals. Their lacquered mares. Even
a blue-eyed hunting hound
was still allowed back then.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

im noguris

I'm tired.

It's a good tired.  This tired comes from a place of absolute concentration on one, specific thing...parenting.

I like this.  It's unusual for me to focus in this way.  In my real life, I teach, write, volunteer, coordinate non-profit services, schedule community conversations, serve on three boards and balance a marriage and parenting.

Right now - just the parenting.

The kids are doing well with a few hiccups here and there.  Tomass was great for the first five days but yesterday we all had flashbacks to last summer.  At bedtime, he was tip-toeing across the edge of the bannister while imitating the, "who-ha-ha-ha" laugh from old vampire movies.  He'd hidden the ipad under his butt when he finally got into bed and, after Kevin took it away, he shot off into the girl's room to steal an old Fanta from under Mairita's bed.  An orange filled-with-corn-syrup-and-sugar Fanta. Yeah, that's what he needed.

Mairita and Lilly are adjusting to one another.  It turns out, the addition of Lasma (Mairita's best friend who is being hosted by our friends Chris and Nancy) has thrown a wrench in the fragile bond that Lilly and Mairita achieved last summer.  Lasma is threatened by Lilly.  She drags Mairita off and they whisper and giggle while Lilly escapes to her room to Facetime with her friends or listen to boy bands. Lilly's not hurt.   She'd rather not try, which is bugging me.  I want my daughter to care more abut Marita's feelings and understand her fear of rejection.  So yesterday, I took Lilly and Mairita to the mall, gave them each twenty bucks and copped a squat on a bench (occasionally nodding off in front of complete strangers.) The girls shopped together, helping one another to choose matching wallets and fashionable tops.  When we got home, they split off into different rooms and Mairita wrote in her journal while Lilly listened to music. Small victories are still victories, right?

Toms is his usual, sweet self.  He helps with Tomass, plays enthusiastically with Casey and finds joy in most of the activities we plan.

This week, Chris suggested that we all pile into our mini-van and drive to a farm to go strawberry picking.  For us, this is a novel, fun activity.  But for the Latvian kids, it was business as usual.   They live on a farm...

Still, Toms and Mairita filled boxes of strawberries so fast that today we will be making jam and yesterday I whipped up four strawberry pies.

So im noguris.  But it's all good.  It's all really good.