Tuesday, December 23, 2014

It's been a great year! Thanks for being a part of it.

 Facebook, I tell ya.  They know how to do it...sometimes.  Well, here's my year in review, with commentary, of course, and some shitty parts thrown in there for fun too.  And pictures you probably haven't seen because they've been on my camera since I took them.  I'll actually start with the bad.  And end with the good.  So, you leave here feeling all warm and fuzzy.

A few things have happened this year that have absolutely sucked.  Some are not as bad as others, but I'll begin in February. 

Claire turned 12.  I don't like throwing her birthday parties because she usually cries and/or throws hissy fits about things not going her way.  I hate watching it.  I also hate watching her friends rally behind her and pick her up and generally treat her like a princess, which she probably plans from the start.  Dumb.  But I agreed this year, again, saying that it would be her last, especially her last WITH PRESENTS!  Enough already.  She invited boys (four of them) this year and everyone was going to stay outside sledding and skating, which was all fine and dandy.  UNTIL the drama started.  Her boyfriend at the time was (and still is) a very nice young man.  He's had a crush on Claire since I can remember.  His parents came in to meet me when they dropped him off; they were super nice and totally down to earth.  He got her an Alex and Ani bracelet, which (you know) says something.  And then, AND THEN, Claire has to tell another boy while they were out skating that she doesn't really like her boyfriend anymore.  What?  Say what?  You did what?  Who are you?  And so, of course, that boy tells her boyfriend and it isn't until he leaves the party and goes home and gets on his Ipod that she TEXTS him that she doesn't want to go out anymore.  I realize she's 12 and navigating the murky swamp of "dating" but geez girl, you know right from wrong!!

On to other shitty news:
Besides the boys NOT winning a soccer game this last fall (and me taking the brunt of the blame because I was their coach), the other catastrophic event that happened was that Timmy decided he wanted to move out of his bedroom. 

The guest room isn't quite Timmy's yet.  Not until the septic goes in over at the shop so the guest room can move out to Paul Bunyan's Mother-in-law space.

 But for now he's moved 1/2 the clothes, 1/2 the Nerf guns, 1/2 the posters, and his hockey awards.

 And my heart is broken.

 They still get along swimmingly.


But the move is definitely a sign that they are needing their own identities and space and friends and space and whaaaaa.....they don't need each other any more.

And the last two very tragic events were the loss of Bee and Bozie.  I've never spoken about Bozie on this here blog but she arrived a month before Bee died.  She was listed as a English Bulldog mix on Petfinder.  Paul Bunyan has always wanted an English Bulldog and a brindle.  So there.  She was going to be IT!

She and Bee played fantastically.  For one month, they wrestled and wrestled some more and then kissed.  There was only one fight between them.  Bozie showed signs of fear aggression the moment she arrived.  However, the moment Bee died she really started to growl and scare anyone who came to the door.  She snapped at the kids and bit Paul Bunyan.  I knew it wasn't the right fit, so mourning the loss of Bee I had to drive Bozie down to Connecticut one week later to surrender her to a rescue that was partnered with the one I adopted her from in Arkansas.  This place seemed horrible though.  It was a converted gas station with just windows and cement and dog kennels.  I cried the whole way home.  I was grateful my mother was there to drive- I wouldn't have been able to do it.  I had to convince myself that I had done the right thing and that we were just the transport for her to get to her forever home.  She was adopted not soon after I brought her to CT.  So, I have to believe she is where she's supposed to be.  She was labeled, after all was said and done, a Mountain Cur- a dog bred to protect.

The loss of Bee will mar most of the good things that happened to our family in 2014.  I will never forget the sight of those reverse lights from my neighbor's car.  I just knew.  I knew she'd be laying down in the back of it. 

I feel her loss in so many ways.

She was a fantastic dog and I'm sad that her ONE fault was the thing that killed her.  Well, that and she liked to bark at us if she was bored.

But she taught us some valuable lessons- ones I hope we can remember when we bring our IV(Y) home on the 2nd.  Our fourth black lab, with all of her love, will bring us some cheer for the New Year.  And dog hair.  And poop to clean up.  And sharp puppy teeth.  And wet dog smell.  And, and, new puppy smell, too.

Okay, well that transitions us into the good.  There's a bunch.  More than I can or want to document here.  But the highlights are:

Despite Claire's strong finish and 5th place at States, Claire decided to quit gymnastics to pursue other interests.  Here was one of them:

Can you say, "Happy Mum"?  So fun to watch her.  Well, I shouldn't say that.  Let's be honest here.  It sucked to watch her play.  But I enjoyed seeing her have fun with the team.  And I was grateful that she was on a team!  Without gymnastics and the pressure to be there all year long, many hours a week, Claire has freed herself up to be present at camp all summer and not feel guilty, to try a fall sport, and to commit herself to theater.  She is happy to announce that she got the part of Tiger Lily in this year's production of Peter Pan.  And now I'm starting to sound like a Christmas letter.

I found this shot of her dressed up for her FIRST EVER HALLOWEEN!

She's a fucking pissed of Native American, eh?  I'm not sure Tiger Lily is that mad.

We'll keep the Christmas letter theme going.

In April, the family took their very first "vacation" without having either set of Grandparents pay for them.  We took the train to NYC for two nights.  

 Everyone wanted to shop, except Mom, so that's all we pretty much did.

In June, the boys graduated from 4th grade.

They miss their teacher tremendously.  She was like another mother to them and now they actually have sit and get shit done at school.  They hate it.  However, it was a special night.

They were very lucky to have the experience they did at this little elementary school.  It's a special place.  Here they are with their Kindergarten teacher- their class was her last year (40th!).

In other news:

Auggie got up on water skis this summer!  On his very first attempt!  What a stud.

And, once again, Paul Bunyan amazes us all with his building prowess.  He, and his brother from another mother Jon, put up the post and beam frame for a brand new Sugar Shack this past summer. 

I still get amazed at his ability to dream and DO anything and everything he puts his mind to.  1,000 
taps are on target for Spring of 2015.   

And last, but not least, the biggest thing to happen to me this year was my decision to quit drinking.  I didn't want to make this blog about my sobriety and I won't now but I have to say it's probably the best decision I've made for myself since I decided to start washing my face with oil-free face wash.  It's been something I've been proud of.  I don't know what in my make-up mixes with booze and creates a raging, mean, mommy but something has changed in my blood that, when mixed with fermented liquid, boils up and over the threshold.  I cried for three weeks at the loss of my daily dose, but in hindsight it was probably something I should have quit a long long time ago.  I'm giving myself a pat on the back for my courage.  Because it ain't easy folks.

Here I am with my Mom having my first Mexican meal without a margarita.  Bummer dude.  But righteous at the same time.  There's more to life than beer.  And there's no self love at the bottom of a bottle.  It took me a long time to realize this.

Here's hoping we can continue to learn from our ways in 2015!