Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Years Coming and Going

Happy 2009! I hope you all had a terrific and safe New Year. I spent the night celebrating with my patients at the hospital...most of whom had no idea that the New Year had even come upon them. Instead of the usual homeschool/life snippet today, I thought I would recap the year at our lovely home.

Last January, we hired a dog trainer for our new dog named Pete. Pete was a rescue from Boxer Angel Rescue and came to us with some issues. Jeff from Solid K9 training ( continues to work with us and helped us understand
Pete's behavior.

I was busy with the church visioning weekend where we determined our vision and mission statements for our church ( It was a great experience in planning and the event took the whole weekend. Thankfully, I had my fellow church member and friend Maureen to help. Our Small Group Ministry program was in full swing and going well and my group of six women continued to support and uplift me.

Larry continued to act as treasurer for the RI Chapter of the Tourette Syndrome Association and Patrick attended many meetings with other kids who had Tourette's.
The kids all continued with their Sign Language classes at Exeter Library on Thursdays.

March brought more changes for us. Our dog Pete went to spend 3 weeks with the trainer, Larry decided that he needed a new hearing dog after all of these years without one and we traveled to Princeton, Mass to NEADS ( to have his initial interview. Larry was also evaluated by Dr. Duff to see if he would qualify for a Cochlear Implant. Many hearing tests and physical exams followed this appointment before they would schedule the surgery. It had been difficult for Larry as his hearing continued to deteriorate at a rapid rate.

March is the time when Larry's bonus comes in and I ordered all of the kids curriculum for homeschool for the coming year. Whew-that was cumbersome. And for the first time, I involved the kids in what they wanted to study besides the normal subjects. It has been a huge turning point for me to let the kids take charge of their own learning.

May brought the return of our DRE Renee at church, she has been traveling and homeschooling for the year with her two girls. They shared their video slides with us from across the country and we marveled at the hospitality that other UU churches showed them.
Our new above ground pool was installed and it wasn't long before the kids were swimming in the chilly 58 degree water.
I also started my own homeschool group called The Meetinghouse. We started meeting once a week in our empty in law apartment. The group has now grown to over 30 and we've made some remarkable friends. I also ordered some baby chicks in our efforts to become more self sustaining. It would be several weeks before they arrived but in the meantime, Larry tilled me a new huge garden and put up a fence to protect it from the deer. We also purchased two rainbarrels to help water the garden and Larry was busy working with the kids on the chicken coop that was converted from part of our existing barn.

The kids finished up the school year at the end of May and I submitted report cards to the school and filed our letter of intent to homeschool next year. The new superintendent was apparently not aware of homeschooling laws and denied almost every homeschooler their "permission" to homeschool. Many months of negotiations took place until an understanding (in the homeschoolers favor) was reached. All of us were eventually approved.

June found us planting our garden and spending many hours out there with the kids. We planted bottle neck gourds, pumpkins, beefsteak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, eggplant, broccoli, and tons of sunflowers.

Roger Williams Zoo also opened their Flutterby exhibit and the kids and I made several trips there. It was a calming, relaxing place with the most beautiful butterflys.

In July, our eight baby chicks arrived by mail. The kids were so excited and spent the next few weeks taking care of chicks.

Morgan also got two Guinea Pigs for her ninth birthday. It was a momma and a baby named Hazelnut and Oreo.

Larry went in for his Cochlear Implant surgery. He did well but it was a nerve wracking time for me. It would be six long weeks before the implant was activated and whether we would know if the surgery was a success. He was plagued by tinnitus for the entire six weeks while he waited.

The kids had a great time yucking it up with Larry and the phrase, "Can You Hear Me Now" was heard often.

The kids swim lessons continued in August and we made full use of our pool. I celebrated my 40th birthday by getting Lyme disease. The tick that bit me also gave me Erlichiosis and Babesiosis. It was a difficult summer but my church helped us out tremendously by supplying meals when I was unable to cook and visiting when I was feeling down. Larry took much time off from work to help care for the kids and for me.

Morgan started Soccer in September and had games every Saturday. The kids started back to their schoolwork around the second week of September but since the weather was still so warm we spent a few last dips in the pool.

Larry and I were busy finalizing fundraising efforts for his hearing dog named Stewie. We managed to raise the full amount needed for his hearing dog and decided to go ahead with the planned fundraiser and donate the money raised to the Canines For Combat Vets program thru NEADS. There was much to be done for the fundraiser and my long time friend and fellow adoptive mother Lori B., helped tremendously with planning.

Larry also had his Cochlear Implant activated and it was a huge success in bringing new sounds to him that he never experienced before. Things like dripping water faucets and squeaking sneakers on wet floors were all new to him.

Larry's mom also went in for knee replacement surgery and stayed at a rehab facility for a few weeks getting her strength back.

October was very busy. Our fundraiser went well and we raised several thousand dollars toward the Combat Vets program.

Larry's brother Kevin and his Jazz band provided the entertainment for the fundraiser. Larry's niece Sofia sang and Gabriella played the drums.

Kevin plays an awesome sax.

Lori helped me with the auction table and did an outstanding job of promoting the items.
I was also able to attend the UUA conference in Worcester, Mass with several other church members. It was a wonderful day of faith and fellowship.

Our chickens finally started laying some eggs. They were delicious. The eggs-not the chickens.

Sadly, on October 12th, Larry's mom passed away. It was a difficult time but the family, as always, pulled together.

The last week of October Larry traveled to Princeton, Mass for a weeks training with his new Hearing dog named Stewie. He was gone for the whole week which was really difficult but came home on Halloween in enough time to see the kids in their costumes.

November brought with it some colder weather. I harvested the last of my gourds for drying over the winter. Morgan finished outdoor soccer and started competitive indoor soccer after making it through tryouts.

I gave my first sermon on Organ Donation at our church and did an info table after the service.

I completed my RN credentialing and CPR renewal for work and the kids took some time off from school for Thanksgiving.

I returned to my doctors office as my Lyme disease entered the chronic phase and I was plagued with new and also returning symptoms. Lots of repeat bloodwork didn't show much but my body was not happy.

December brought the joy of the season as I spent lots of time with the kids. Our homeschool group made lots of Christmas ornaments, had a great cookie swap and the mom's got a nice night out at Clayground where we painted ceramics and we celebrated a wonderful Christmas pageant and Christmas Eve Candlelight service with the kids at church.

Larry's Dad came to spend some time with us and we so enjoyed having him here.

I was finally able to see an Infectious Disease Doctor and restarted another course of antibiotics for the Lyme disease. We are contemplating IV therapy to hopefully eradicate this nastiness and get me healthy again.

Larry took some much needed vacation time away from work but managed to get a lot of house repairs done. Our bedroom is now painted (we only stripped the wallpaper off last February so completing this within a year-well not so bad for us).

New Year's Eve we were hit with another snow storm and the kids are happily playing outside in 12 degree weather.

Overall, it was a difficult year but also one that brought many blessings of family, friends, fresh chicken eggs and an abundant garden, healthy, happy, thriving kids, friends, hearing dogs and new hearing, outpouring of support for our fundraiser and a renewed hope with the election of President Obama. We are focusing on the positive aspects of our lives as much as possible and this year for us was all about developing the community of love and sustenance around us. It has all happened, perhaps not in the way we envisioned, but it did happen.

Financially, we continue to struggle as do many others in these hard times. But our home and family provide the haven and respite that is so needed in times of struggle. We continue to provide the best example we can for our children and for ourselves because ultimately, the rest will work itself out. We hope that all of you continue to look for the everyday gifts that are present in your lives despite the trials and turmoils that may come.

Blessings to all for a prosperous, healthy and happy New Year.


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