Guatemalan Sisters

Friday, February 12, 2010

Has It Really Been That Long????

I am ashamed. I am embarrassed. Seriously.....seriously embarrassed. It's been so long since I posted. Of course, this means that life has been busy and I haven't spent too much time. I do have a Facebook page so perhaps that's been part of it. Perhaps it's a work thing.....those of you who know me well know that I enjoy my work so tend to work a lot.

Life is good, though 2009 has definitely brought some changes. We're in CT and enjoying the area. I've mastered the art of snow shoveling and can now do my driveway on my own in about 1.5 hours. OK, so it's a big driveway and it snows here a lot. This winter has been kinder than last year. While the winters are cold and snowy, the spring, summer and falls are beautiful. Stunning I might suggest. We live on about 2 acres of trees and I'm enjoying the area and our space. With a few exceptions, I do find that people are not overly inclusive to new people here. We are making friends but it seems to be hard to get to "know" people.

I'm single again, or single as of last March. The short story is that it was my decision and the right decision for me and my girls.

The girls are all doing well. Devin has finished college (yeah!) and is busy looking for her first full time post college job. She's looking here in CT and back in the NW. Taylor is back in the NW and seems to torture my soul at times. She's doing well though and her baby boy Jayke (dog) is wonderful. The youngest three are doing very well here in CT. Jayden is making friends at school and is doing well in 4th grade. Rowan and Riley are in 1st grade and also doing well. I LOVE the small class sizes and the teachers are very very good.

Life at Chemtura is actually good. My company filed for Chapter 11 protection and my life has been all about bankruptcy since our filing last March. (Perhaps that's why I'm not overly excited about blogging when I finish my work at night?) 12 months after our filing, I have to say that I love our team and the direction our CEO is taking the company. He's good, really really good and that's what we needed. I'm anxious to begin focusing on the stuff I'm good at it and less on bankruptcy and that's happening now.

I miss my Mom, daughter, friends and family back in the NW big time. I am thankful every day for the beautiful girls I have and love our daily adventure.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sucking at Timeliness

Hello All,

So I really suck at the regular blogging thing. I'm sorry but life after the move has been busy with kids, work, orienting ourselves to the Connecticut and big kids coming and going. I can't believe it's already past Christmas! Here's a quick rundown of our lives here in CT:

Little Kids - Are all doing well here in CT. They love their new school and teachers but miss their KinderCare friends in Vancouver. Jayden had some good friends there and misses them. However, her 3rd grade teacher, Lori Hernandez is stellar. Rowan and Riley are enjoying kindergarten and are torturing classmates and teachers periodically with their twinness. (Seems they do some of that odd twin stuff now and then - feel each others pain, know what the other is thinking, etc.) They have experienced their first big snow here in CT and loved it. Seems our driveway is a perfect ski and sled run for the entire household. I caught them snowboarding with their sleds so I suspect I need to give them real snowboards soon. They're growing fast and it's hard to believe how tall they're getting.

Turns out there is a little boy Rowan and Riley's age named Zeke who is also adopted from Guatemala. I've seen him but have yet to connect with his parents.

Big Kids: Taylor lasted here in CT untill mid-November and has now moved back to Vancouver. She's working at Jack in the Box again and seems to be doing OK. We all miss her and her puppy Jayke. Seems I grew rather attached to Mr. Pee Machine. However, you gotta let them grow up and leave sometime. :) Devin is home for Christmas break and the girls are grabbing as much time as they can with her. Her boyfriend arrives tonight so they are quite excited to see him.

Other Family News: My sister-in-law Julie lost her mother unexpectedly this month so many prayers to her and her family. My Mom is visiting us for the holidays and has come down with one of the colds running through the house. She's having a tough time fighting it and I feel bad she has come all this way only to be sick. :(

General Stuff: My new job is good but the economy definitely sucks. This will make job security tough for everyone and we had to let about 20% of our workforce go this past few weeks. Not great stuff. Our team is strong though and we have some good projects ahead of us for 2009. My thoughts and prayers to everyone as they struggle through the issues this economy is laying before us. Retirees who have lost significant balances of their retirement savings, employees who have lost jobs or are worreid about job loss, non-profits who are drawing in less donations, just about everyone needs hope and prayer these days. Let's hope 2009 and Obama can bring in a new direction.

I will post photos soon but still haven't figured out what's wrong with my main PC. Devin has promised to show me how to post from my laptop before she heads back to school.

Happy holidays to each of you and may 2009 bring you joy and closeness with those you love.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Ark Has Found Land!

Almost all of us are settled into the hotel in Connecticut and we'll likely be residing here until mid-week. The trip to Connecticut was a bit more stressful than I had hoped. Picture this:

We arrive at the Portland airport almost 4 hours early so we have enough time to check in 9 bags, 5 passengers, 3 hermit crabs, 2 very scared cats and 1 unsure puppy. We were the second in line when they opened the United desk for the day. The United airlines folks then proceeded to shuffle us from one person or one line to another. (I think the real story is that no one wanted to take the time to check all of us in.) We barely made our plane because of all the shuffling. I was not a happy mom. We flew through Chicago and then ran into storm problems and got delayed almost two hours. We finally arrived and it took a stretch limo and town car to get us from the airport to our hotel due to the pet carriers and luggage.

The pets are doing OK at the hotel. Apollo spends most of her time snoozing and sleeping on my bed. (This isn't new behavior on her part. Sleeping is a major life activity for her.) Erte is stalking everything in the room and comes out of hiding a bit more each day. She's taking to hanging closer to the hotel room door and is becoming more curious about what might be on the other side of the door. Right now Erte has decided sleeping with the youngest three members of the house is the place to be. Jayke, the pit bull puppy, is generally happy go lucky and is fine most of the time. He's kind of part dog, part chicken and so is pretty jumpy about noises. The room that sits next to his has a small dog next door and it keeps barking at him through the locked adjoining door. :( Poor Jayke. We found a nice dog park today that has open space and a small creek to play in. Rowan and Riley weren't too excited about the dog park because the dogs like to lick their faces and jump on them. I guess they're just the right height for dog kisses.

The good news is that the youngest three members of my house were great travelers and were not a source of stress at any point in our trip. They have done well at the hotel, especially since they have access to a swimming pool. Jayden is turning into a major fish and Rowan and Riley are following suit it seems.

I work tomorrow so big sister Taylor is on duty with the youngest three. They have a day of swimming, lunch, Hannah Montana and dog walks planned for the day. Our furniture arrives at the Connecticut house Tuesday morning so we'll be unpacking starting Tuesday. (Yeah!) I can't wait to eat something from my kitchen and sleep in my bed. And keep in mind the only reason I have a kitchen is that they come with the rest of the house. :)

We did sneak away for a day after the house was packed up and spend the day with my brother's family who were on the Oregon coast. It was great seeing them all, though there were several missing family members. They have all become such great adults.

I will say leaving the Northwest was harder than I thought it would be. It didn't help that everyone was telling me that my Mom was crying a lot about the move. You never want to hear that you're making your Mom cry. I'm hoping she'll come visit us soon. It's also hard to leave friends and family members that are so close by.

Devin will be out next weekend for the summer. She's my point person with the house in Vancouver as the wood floors are being redone and the carpets cleaned. Dan will arrive Wednesday night for a number of job interviews Thursday through Tuesday. Hopefully he'll land a job here soon and join us here.

I hope everyone has a great 4th of July. We're going to try to find something fun to do here. This area seems to have a ton of amusement parks so we plan to find something with water to play in.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Photos As Promised!

The first photo says everything about their personalities!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Where Do I Start?????

Hi Everyone,

I have been a very bad blogger but life has been all about finding a new job, finding a new house and as of tomorrow, starting that new job. Here's the latest:

The Job: After many interviews and discussions with various employers, I have accepted a position with Chemtura as the Director of Compensation & Benefits in Middlebury Connecticut. Yes...that means our household is moving from Vancouver Washington to Connecticut. (Hey it's only about 3,000 miles!) I am VERY excited about the company, the people who I'll work with and value I know I can bring to their business. The people I've met have been great and are committed to the business and the employees of the company. The team of people that make up the compensation and benefit group are equally as committed and very simply, good people. As an HR professional, I can't ask for anything else.

The Girls: All of my girls will be joining me in Connecticut. The youngest three have no choice but they are very excited about the move. They are very impatient with me because of all the travel I've had to do over the past 3-4 months. However, they can't wait for the actual move. Their biggest challenges was learning how to say "Connecticut." :) It has a few too many C's and T's for there mouths it seems. Taylor will also be joining us and will be helping me out with child care over the summer months and will enroll in college for the Fall. Taylor is bringing her pitbull puppy Jayke with her as well. Devin will spend part of summer with us, her senior year at Pacific in Forest Grove and will then take a year off before law school. I'm hoping she ends up in the Connecticut area but she's factoring in her boyfriend's school choice as well.

Taylor has to have her tonsils taken out about 2 weeks ago and had a miserable time of it. On one of our house hunting trips to Connecticut, I realized she had a very serious case of sleep apnea. Seriously, it's bad. I took her to an ENT and her said her tonsils were bigger than golf balls and encased in scar tissue. We also discovered she has problems with the pain and anesthesia meds they used and she stopped breathing. She earned herself an overnight stay at the hospital, with this Mom insisting on spending the night with her. She's doing better but has had tough few weeks. What is most interesting is that her voice is several octives higher and she's finally sleeping. She's likely beginning to sleep well for the first time in 3-4 years. Pretty scary.

Photos: I promise to post photos when I get back in Vancouver. I'm in Connecticut right now and start work tomorrow.

I'm incredibly thankful for many people in my life. They've been loving, supportive and the bedrock I've needed. My Mom, Dan, Teri, Edward, Toni, my girls...these past few months would have been impossible without each of you. And thanks to the people I've met along the way on my new journey these past few months - Cathy Sutherland, Karen Hall, Mike Landis, Alison Sparks, and others.

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Happy February

Hi All,

So a ton has happened since I last posted. However, I still haven't figured out my photo posting problem but it looks like I'll have time now to resolve it without my oldest daughter's help. After 8.5 years with KinderCare/Knowledge Learning Corporation, my position has been eliminated and I've been laid off. As of February 1st, I'm officially looking for a job. In many ways, I'm sad to leave my co-workers and this great group of friends I've made over the past years. I can't say enough good things about so many people.....I will miss you all. I wish the organization and the leadership only the best. Make great things happen. The children you serve and the employees who will look to you for leadership deserve only the best.

In other ways, it's all good. The hours I've worked over the past years have taken their toll on my children and on me. It's time to refocus my life on something other than work. The downside of my work life these past years is that the excessive hours I've worked have taken time away from my youngest three. Those days are past. They will likely be very tired of me very quickly. :) I know my older two are already worried I'm going to start painting rooms. (They're right.) My faith is strong and I know that this path I'm taking has been set for a reason. I simply need to open my eyes, ask good questions, make thoughtful decisions and trust.

I've been interviewing nationally and have decided I must look outside of the Pacific Northwest. It's not my first choice, but there is very limited opportunity at my level in the Portland market. Portland does not have any other corporate headquarters and since I want the top compensation/benefits and HRIS job in a large company, I'll have to take the step and move. My Mom is on board with the decision and has said she'll visit us, so we can do this`.

I was in Dallas TX the week before last and Grand Rapids MI last week. I really liked the locations and jobs with both companies. I am also hoping to make a trip to Charlotte NC in the near future.

Last week's interview trip came with a bout of flu like I haven't had in near memory. The worst part was that it started the day of the interview, came to head on my flight out of Grand Rapids and I seriously thought I was going to die when I got stuck in Houston overnight due to tornado weather, delays and with limited hotel space. I would have likely shared a room with a stranger if they had clean clothes, a bed, 7-up and soda crackers. I was able to find a motel, but I'll spare you the horrible details. I did discover that you could shampoo a t-shirt and pants while still wearing them standing in the shower. Not something I care to repeat in this lifetime.

I am hoping to find a similar job with a large company who has interesting work or challenges ahead. I want to be able to raise the girls in a community that has other Guatemalan adoptees and a Latino community that is active and supportive. Ideally the community would be one flight away from Portland Oregon so my Mom can visit us regularly. Not sure what we'd do without her!

The youngest three are quite excited about the potential for a move. Jayden is torn between a "pool job" (some place warm where we could have a pool) or a "snow job" (some place that regularly gets snow.)

In kid news:

Devin: She is back at school for the 2nd half of her junior year. She had a long holiday break and we enjoyed having her around. She worked in my office for a few weeks as well.

Taylor: My 19 year old "ran away" to Hawaii but came home after a week. We were all very happy to have her change her mind about living in Hawaii for an extended period of time and have enjoyed having her here at home. She has returned to work at Jack in the Box as well.

Jayden: She is looking forward to her 8th birthday in April but can't wait for Valentines Day. She's been busy picking out specific Valentines for each of her friends at school and at KinderCare. She is also doing much better with her reading these days. With extra Mom time, I'm hopeful we'll close some gaps by the end of the school year. She LOVES math and her teacher this year so that has really helped.

Rowan: My little "wild child" is doing well. She does have pink eye right now but even that doesn't seem to phase her. It does mean that she got Mom all to herself today and that was a bit of a bonus I think. She still loves KinderCare but loves Ms. Susanna most of all. Moving would mean no more Ms. Susanna and that would be the hardest part of all.

Riley: Riley started speech therapy this Fall and we have seen some improvements. Now it's a matter of slowing her down a bit on the tough letters (G's, K's, C's) and correcting her a bit. Riley loves Ms. Susanna and Ms. Mary.

We are all following the Guatemalan adoption news with heavy hearts these days. There are still so many children and now many children "stuck" in limbo. I am so thankful to see each child come home, get out of PGN or registered these days. Any movement is good movement but as I write that, I find that even difficult to accept.

And this whole presidential election thing really has my mind baffled. I won't vote for Hillary because I figure if she's willing to accept weak morale character from her own husband, what would she be willing to accept from her cabinet or employees. And Obama, he's like 11 years old when it comes to the world of politics. The Republican offerings aren't exciting me either. I guess I'm going to have a ton of time on my hands to figure out who I should really support. :)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to pop on and wish everyone a great New Year. I'm having photo posting difficulties but hope to resolve that in the next day or so. When I do, I'll post some photos of my GROWING girls.

The past few months have been busy with holiday activities, playing, work and generally enjoying life. Here's a quick update on each of my girls:

Devin and Taylor: These are my oldest daughters and they are now 21 and 19.5 years old respectively. Devin is busy with college and has a long winter break. She's working during the break and so that keeps her busy as well. She will be my travel partner in about a week and a half to Paris and London so we are both looking forward to that trip. Taylor is on her way to Maui to live and work for a while. It's been very hard to watch her make this decision and she'll head out next week. As her Mom, I'm not very excited about this move but I'm learning she's the kind of person that has to learn about life her own way. Ughh...I have to try very hard to set my controlling nature aside with this child. I'm hoping she finds her way soon. I won't be able to keep up with the gray hair at this rate.

Jayden: She is now 7.5 years old and I can't believe how tall she's getting. She's suddenly grown about 100 inches and is all leg. Yikes! I wasn't quite ready for this one. She's a beautiful girl (I know I'm biased!) and loves 2nd grade. She's lost 5 teeth this fall and is currently missing her two front teeth and a bottom tooth. She tells me she's tired of people asking her if she wants her two front teeth for Christmas! She's growing her hair and her bangs out as well. She loves playing with her little sisters and the three of them know every song and verse on High School Musical II. Seriously....they do. She is planning on moving into Taylor's room when Taylor moves out so I've got some redecorating ahead of me.

Riley: Riley is doing very well and loves KinderCare and her friends there. She and her twin sister Rowan and continued to bond and have more moments of pure silliness between them that only they seem to understand. I still can't understand why we can't go to the mall without the two of them ending up on the floor wrestling and giggling. OK, it's funny once in a while but EVERY TIME we go? Today they played bumper cars with the shoe department employee stools at Nordstroms. Riley started speech therapy this past month because she has some letter sounds that don't quite work yet. G's, K's and C's are the toughest and she's already showing improvement. Having little to eat in her first few years or limited chewing has impacted her tongue and throat muscle development and therefore, her ability to say letters that start with the base of her tongue/top of her throat. Who knew!! This was another reminder of how far she's come. This is the child who coined the phrase "I don't like your face" when she's mad at me.

Rowan: This child is officially my "pill." Seriously, I love this child to death but she has a way of "poking" at her sisters just for the conflict. She's so much like Taylor sometimes it's almost funny. She puts Barbie dolls and other toys in the frige to surprise me and will definitely be my dare devil. I love this girl so much. She's funny, likes to play practical jokes and has a serious side. She loves to read books next to me when I end up working on my laptop or just sit and cuddle.

Funniest Twin Moment in Recent Memory: Rowan and Riley were arguing with each other about something. Riley says to Rowan, "You're ugly!" and Rowan simply rolls her eyes and retorts, "We're twins Riley. I look just like you." (In a very exasperated tone.) Riley comments back, "I don't care, you're still ugly." I did stop laughing long enough to correct the behavior but it was funny.

As I mentioned earlier, Devin and I are traveling to Paris and London in about a week and a half. I am very excited about the trip and time with just Devin. I did invite Taylor but I guess the call of the Hawaiian Islands is greater than another great trek through two European cities with mom. (My older two girls still have nightmares about the long treks through Rome I made them take with me in 2005.)

We've added three new families members to our house. A friend gave the girls hermit crabs for Christmas - without asking me first. They are still a friend so they have been forgiven. Riley's was named Sponge Bob because he had a shell painted like Sponge Bob, Rowan's was the same size and ended up being named "UnBob" and Jayden's is quite large so she's named hers "Big Bob." We lost Sponge Bob to the claws of Big Bob so we replaced him today with "White Bob." (Named after his white shell.) As you can see, there is definitely a naming theme going on.

I have continued to follow the legal news and individual family news relative to Guatemalan adoptions. It's so good to see these children come home. Welcome home Valentina, Vancouver WA needed another Guatemalan princess. Congrats to Ellie and Candy and I hope to hear that your sons are home soon. Many good wishes to Ginger...I have enjoyed keeping up with you and Maya this holiday season. You are all my heros for your frequently and timely blogs. I wish I could keep up with you but the girls, work and the day to day activities of life keep me too busy.

Congrats to my brother Don his engagement to Lisa. Best wishes to Lisa as well and welcome to the family.

I do wish everyone a spectacular New Year. May 2008 bring you much happiness and joy.