Well, I can't imagine catching up with entries here when I'm so behind! I'll try to recap a bit though.
December was the BEST December we have ever had! The college group from church "adopted" the boys and I and brought us a live tree complete with unbreakable ornaments, lights, skirt, everything... just after Thanksgiving. We have NEVER had a tree up the whole month of December. Usually it was put up Christmas eve and no earlier than a week before Christmas. So this year, the boys and I got to enjoy a tree for the whole month! I loved waking up and plugging in the lights first thing every morning. If I were home, I left lights on all day! And I was very thankful for the unbreakable ornaments since Marvin took the tree down completely within 24 hours of it being up. Thankfully, it was a pretty easy fix and the only time it went down! I have to admit though, I really missed getting to see all my ornaments collected over the years. I have many blown glass ornaments which I would no longer have if I had put anything like that on the tree this year with 3 young cats! Sam reminded me that we didn't have a tree last year and that made me sad because I remember so little about last Christmas. However, it made this year's tree even more special and because it was given to us with love, it will always be amongst the best trees ever in 'our' history.
That same day as the tree delivery, I was given a card informing me that we were being 'adopted' to receive the 12 days of Christmas meaning, every day for the 12 days of Christmas, a gift was delivered to us! AND, the mysterious card from the anonymous giver(s) gave me money to buy gifts for my boys! We received many, many gifts this year, even some from anonymous donors or long lost friends. We were blessed abundantly and so beautifully. It was the best Christmas season ever! The 12 days of Christmas givers were revealed on the 12th day of Christmas when our last gift was delivered by 3 young boys singing "on the 12th day of Christmas...." A sweet group of brothers and sisters from church, some of whom I really don't even know other than names, were the amazing gift givers. And to top it off, this Sunday, the women of the group have planned a luncheon for me... JUST ME!!! I feel so overwhelmed, honored, and loved! The men of the group are taking my boys for lunch and helping them build and launch rockets in the park! I still can't even take all of this in. God has profoundly loved us through this season that could have been so devastatingly hard with it being the first with our family not being together and the first without my step-dad.
During the holiday break, I did fun things with the boys and they enjoyed their time off school. However, this week has been refreshing to me having them back in school. I've hiked 4 days and did yoga one so I've got my routine going a bit. Next week other things start back for me so I will, once again, be limited to my exercise time. However, I still have yoga on Tuesday mornings and have been hiking with a new friend this week so she and I have planned mountain hikes for Thursday and Friday. The other days, I have early appts. or work to be at so I can't go.
A few weeks ago, my computer died. I finally got it picked up this week complete with a new hard drive (Thank you, God, for Apple Care) but I still can't get it running. I spent 45 minutes on the phone with a tech yesterday and still can't get it to work right so I gave up. I'm still borrowing my boys computer and when my frustration level goes down a bit, I'll be going back to the Apple store next week for help... unless some kind soul has pity on me who happens to be a computer guru familiar with a Mac. I'm having to set everything up on it again from scratch. I thought I got things transferred from my Time Capsule but nothing is showing up... trouble setting up the e-mail account again, etc... ARGHHHHHhhhhh
This past month was also one of getting a diagnosis for Sam that he is Highly Functioning Autistic. The Dr. said he was a really difficult case to diagnose because many of the very obvious signs of Autism aren't there. However, now that I've begun reading up on it, I see Sam so much more clearly now. He makes sense to me in a new way. Things that I just thought were quirky things about him all make perfect sense now. I'm even finding that some things I never really noticed before but see now and realize, "Oh, this has been there all along! I never realized it!" He is, however, very highly functioning with his biggest hurdle being in social settings. He's still doing really well in school. He's very, very smart. And I think because I've been able to hand pick his teachers each year, he is adjusting well in a normal classroom setting. This year, he seems more comfortable in the group and his teacher said he's doing really well working in groups this year, etc... But I think going into a classroom where he knew almost all the kids has made a big difference. Also having a teacher who is very structured but a very laid back personality and fun has really been a blessing. I will be choosing his teacher next year even more carefully although Sam already told me who he wants.. and this man would also be probably my first choice because I know the kind of man he is. He's the kind of man who has taken my youngest, Max, under his wing and picks him up to go skateboarding every other Friday after school. He doesn't just watch Max, he boards with him! Mike has been skateboarding for over 20 years! He also is the kind of man who took both my boys Christmas shopping and let them choose their own gifts! (and he really went overboard!) He's kind, patient, gentle, caring, and fun. There's also another teacher, a woman, who really impressed me when I met her in her classroom last year. I'm sure it will come down to those two. Now that I know of Sam's autism, I will have to approach the teachers on a different level when choosing for 5th grade.... even though a lot of my reasons for why I've chosen his teachers in the past have been based on things I already know about Sam which were actually signs of his autism but I just didn't know it.
Both boys just brought home report cards and Sam, as always, is doing extremely well. Max had his best quarter this quarter. Having him on meds for his ADHD have made a HUGE difference!
On the art front, well... I'm in a rut. I feel discouraged. I feel like I'm floundering and need to refocus and gain direction. I feel there isn't enough of me to do what needs to be done. I feel frustrated and scared. I'm trying to take things a day at a time but it is hard. I deeply want to teach and sell my artwork for a living but I can't seem to get going. Teaching once a week to the home school kids has been great. But I can't pay bills on a 4 day a month job! Cutting hair has been incredibly slow. I need to find a regular job for stable income but not having funds for after school care creates a huge problem. Max gets out at 1:50 every day and Sam 2:30. If I could find something part time that doesn't require phones (due to my hearing impairment).... Or if I could get some art classes booked around town and teach even a couple of weekends a month, it would be huge! I'm continuing my Friday art class teaching, which I really enjoy. If I could get another group of home school kids on a regular basis, that would be great. I also have a couple of places in town that I want to take some of my work in for sale. Now that the kids are back in school, I have to get moving on this. Then, I need time to make stuff to sell! And I need to take care of my kids... there just isn't enough of me and enough time to do everything I need to do. Yet, I will trust in God.. He is my strength. He continues to provide and care for me. He knows my path. I just need to trust and keep walking forward. Ahh... but it isn't easy. And that's the truth. Balance... it's a funny thing... something I can't ever seem to find.
Well, I need to get showered and on with my day. I've been in a MAJOR clean out mode and reorganizing. Still have some things to put away and a sewing project waiting for me with a deadline of Monday.
I'll try to be better about posting! I think I'm on Facebook too much! LOL!