Sunday, July 24, 2016


We had dinner with my dad, his wife Cheryl and my brother Scott and his wife Patty. It was an interesting meal. I think that I may understand why my dads wife is the one who always talks to me on the phone. I may be wrong but it really seemed that she was working hard to keep my dad looking good. My dad didn't recognize my brother, I don't know if he would have recognized me if Cheryl hadn't greeted me first. She was wispering into his ear a lot of seemed to keep him going along socially. My dad spike very few words to me and most of my connversation was with his wife. She asked the questions and showed me pictures of their granddaughter (almost a year old and I didn't know anything about her).

I didn't get many pictures because they took off right after we ate. I got a few pictures when we were waiting to be seated. Sarah and Benjamin didn't get any pictures with him.

My gut tells me that he has some level of dementia. At one point my dad went to the restroom and I asked Cheryl how he was doing. She told me great. I sat back and thought that it is a shame that she can't talk to me. That she has worked so may years at pushing us away so that "their" kids would be front and center. What they have both missed out on. Relationships with us and their grandchildren.  Their grandchild is almost one, their great grandchild will soon be two. What a beautiful child they are missing out on. Cheryl missed the boat. She thought that there wasn't enough room for love for all the children. She thought that having more kids around lessened the love for each child. She has it all wrong. Love does not have limits. Love has no boundaries. You can love deeply one child or 11 children. What a great opportunity they have missed out on.

Michelle was fascinated by my dad but sadly I don't think he said one word to her. She remembers having a grandfather before she came into care.

I wish that my children had an opportunity to have a relationship with a grandfather but that just isn't going to happen. There was a time that I was mad about how my dad rejected us for his wife and new family. This trip was good for me in that I see that I no longer have that anger at my dad or Cheryl. I guess that time has helped. What do I feel? Acceptance, sadness, awareness that my dads time is short and I will not be a part of that journey.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Texas Trip

We drove to Atlanta the day before we were to fly out to avoid traffic and make sure we were at the airport on time. We went to visit the World of Coca Cola.

The next morning we went to hang out at the airport. We were flying Southwest and they do not have assigned seating, we had to be there in time to be seated after the A ticket holders.

For many of my kids this was their first flight. The only issue we had the entire time was when Michelle decided that everyone needed to hear her music and she blared it throughout the plane. .
I hadn't thought of sharing that little bit of airplane etiquette. Benjamin liked flying and didn't give us any trouble on the plane.

We landed and I called my dad and left a message. His wife called back and said to pick a restaurant and they would meet us. I asked if she had any idea of family friendly restaurants in the area. She said no. Then she said to pick something and let her know.

We met with our niece and her two kids for dinner and I called my brother who lives in the area for dinner ideas. I also asked him to come along. He hasn't seen our dad since the last time I saw him either. Probably about 8 years ago. They live less than an hour apart.

Our rental car. I like the interior but not all the blind spots.
I can't see out the back because of the design.

We went to be tourists today.

Benjamin said, "He's got lots of bandaids mum!"

Larissa wondered how anyone fits in there.

After a few museums we wee hungry and had to get some BBQ.

It was very good.

We came back to the hotel to let the kids swim and relax until we head out to eat at Gringos. Tomorrow we are heading to San Antonio.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

July Birthdays

We celebrated our July birthdays before we take off for vacation. Joselin and Michelle shared the day. We went to lunch at Chili's at Michelle's request and had homemade country fried steak for Joselin's dinner. 

They were both happy.

Michelle's new glasses came in, she can see again.

One sibling that Joselin can stand next to, I wonder when Michelle will get taller than her. It will happen, Joselin is only 4'9".

Chocolate on chocolate cake. It is nice to see sincere, happy faces on both of them.

Happy birthday girls, I hope this year brings you great growth and happiness.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Catching Up

It has been a very busy week. We had a painting party for kids and parents and painted giraffes. We had a packed house. Parents are enoying doing an indoor activity with their children. Actually we are having growing pains. We are maxed out for table space and fill them on these days.

Then on Monday our Art Camp started. We were very busy the entire week.

Pigs tail holder

Benjamin woke up one morning and said he was coming to the studio to paint.
I brought him and let him paint, I wonder if he will be a leftie like me. None of my kids are.

He showed all the kids how to clean up.

We decided to show the kids how to make paracord bracelets this time around. We have some kids doing more than one art camp so we are chinging each one up a little.

It was exciting watching them learning a new skill and their excitement when they realized that they could do it.

Our upcycling project was a kaleidoscope made from a Pringles can.

We used plastic packaging that is normally thrown out as well.

They came out very interesting.

We survived the week and then had a bake sale Saturday morning. Our youth minister Jack is blind but has tried on some electronic glasses that allow him to see. Great, except insurance doesn't cover them and they cost $15,000. No one has been doing any fund raising so I stepped up to do some even though I have no idea what I am doing. We raised almost $700 that day.

Saturday evening we had a Flamingo painting party. During the party the owner of this strip center came by and offered me the front store, it is twice the size and twice the price. I decided to go for it even though the cost worries me. Also, the place is a mess and that will be more expense for me. And time as well, which I don't have.

Today was a complete down day. We went to church, grabbed some snocones and just relaxed. It is Joselin's birthday today but we are going to celebrate tomorrow since she is working in town this weekend.

I am doing laundry and then start the packing process. Some of my kids had already packed but we are going to have to redo it. They are used to road trips, not plane trips. A couple of the kids are scared to fly, they have never flown before.

We get back next week and I have a few days before we have a fund raising painting for Jack (yes, a jack rabbit) and a birthday party. Then the following Monday we have Art Camp again. I don't know how I got so overscheduled! I have had people ask me to do more camps but I just don't have the time or energy. With each camp we do different activities and we adjust them according to the kids that come. We evaluate them the first day and determine what modifications we have to make. The kids love it and grow so much during the week. We have several kids who sign up for the next camp mid-week. Our August camp is full.

While I am gone Tasha is going to paint her octopus painting.

I don't know when I will have time to move shop and make modifications that I need. Stressing a little over here!