27 June 2012

Summer work and play

It takes me several days to get over jet lag when coming home. Going ahead in time doesn't bother me but coming back gets me every time.  It took me about 5 days to get used to being on NC time again. Spain was 6 hours ahead so I would be exhausted by 8 pm but up by 5 am.

I'm so thankful for an amazing trip, wonderful friends, and so many new experiences.

Hiked to the top of Rock of Gibraltar in the UK.

Hung out with wild monkeys.

Watched the sun set (at close to 10 pm) on the oldest continuously inhabited city in south western Europe.          
Visited the ancient Roman city and coliseum of Italica.

Toured the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, Cathedral of St. Mary in Seville.

It's even more gorgeous at night.

Sergio, Shawn, me and Bruno in the Royal Palace. Sergio and Shawn went to college together and he now lives in Seville. He tirelessly took us around Seville as our personal tour guide. Bruno works with Shawn at the base.

Saw the largest wooden structure in the world.

Shopped on the famous canopied streets where Burgos are sold everywhere.
As awesome as it is to get away and do so many fun things, it's always amazing to come home to your children. Nothing compares. 

Ahhhh. So while I was away it became summer. It's hard to get used to the absence of people entering and exiting my home at all hours of the day.

No more:
  •  physical therapist
  • occupational therapist
  • speech therapist
  • preschool teacher
  • vision therapist.

It's just us. Some days it's really nice.

Occasionally our aid comes in to give me a few hours here and there.

But for the most part it's just us.

We can still utilize private therapy once a week at the clinic an hour away. But we have a month off right now for scheduling conflicts.

Liam doesn't qualify for therapy from the school during the summer. He didn't show any loss of skills over last summer break, which is the determination on whether he would have gotten any this year.

I am hoping to get a lot accomplished with him on my own.
  •  A larger vocabulary base using pictures and a felt board.
  • Better consistancy using his iPad for communication.
  • He already knows the colors of the rainbow but want to add additional colors
  • Counting
  • Opposites
Here's to hoping I can get my act together and get it done.  =)

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12 June 2012

New experiences with old friends

Shawn gets to go to some fun places for his job. Mostly they are all in the states but he's had to travel abroad before. This time he had to go to Spain and I knew I wanted to tag along if it was timed right. It's not every day, or decade, that a trip like this comes along! My mom was more than willing to stay with all four kids so I could go.

So here we are! In the Andalucia territory of southern Spain. Mostly hanging out in the ancient cities of Seville and El Puerto de Santa Maria. We are hoping to head to the Rock of Gibraltar this weekend which is right off the coast but owned by Great Britain.

If you ever get the chance to travel to another country, you should! It's worth every penny. It's an amazing experience to see, feel and hear how a different culture than yours lives.

We landed in Madrid with a short flight from there into Seville. Lucky for us, Shawn's old college buddy lives there. After checking in he took us on a wonderful tour through the streets of 'Sevilla' where we got to relish in the old cobbled city streets that run here and there and everywhere getting narrower and narrower the more you explored. The later it got the more alive the streets became! It's Old Town is the largest in Spain and third largest in Europe compared only to Venice and Genoa.

Sergio was tireless in his desire to share Seville with us. We got a picture and flavor of Sevilla that would never have happened without him. For instance:

  • Spanish here is pronounced differently. It ain't your Mexican Spanish we hear in the states. 
  • Gypsies will walk the street holding rosemary sprigs. They will hand it to you and when you take it they will read your palm, your future, and then want money from you for doing so.

  •  Parts of Star Wars was filmed in the Plaza de Espana. Episode 4.
  • You don't pay the street musicians. Only a foreigner would do that.
This man was passionate.

  • You do not take your unfinished food home with you from a restaurant. If you don't eat it all, you leave it behind. Lots of good food gets wasted.
  • If you don't finish all your food, you just might be approached by someone who asks if they can finish it off for you. Twice we had strangers come to our table and take our unfinished food. One man and lady sat down as we were standing up.
  • The people here in old Catholic Spain are very, very religious. They have a procession during Holy Week where they carry a life like statue of La Macarena (which translates to Our Hope and refers to Mary) around on what is essentially a moving portable stage carried by men hidden underneath. The procession lasts for 12 hours. It starts at midnight and ends at noon. 
  • Mary isn't the only virgin they venerate. They have hundreds of virgins with festivals, statues, and parades.

  •  Bullfighting is not a sport. It's an art. The bull is a special species that would actually die out if weren't for the art of bullfighting because it is so expensive to maintain them. They are bred aggressive and come form an ancient line of Moorish bulls from the Iberian Peninsula. Once the bull is killed every part of it is used. They even use the tail to make a stew. Not one bit of it is wasted.
  • They don't have enough money here. The antiquities abound but they are unable to do archeological research because there is no money to do so. They know where things are but it lies uncovered in the soil. Once such dig is located outside a palace, Real Alcazar and it lies in limbo.

  • They don't eat dinner here until 8 or 9 pm or later. The restaurants aren't even open at what we consider normal dinner time.  Our first day here we were weary from our 20 hours of travel and were ready for dinner early, about 4:30, and showed up in a local bar where he politely told us his kitchen was closed until 8.
    Sergio said it isn't abnormal to come in at 11 for dinner!

This is 11 at night and the streets are full.

  • Cooked spinach with chick peas is a common authentic dish. It is really good!
  •  Oh, and I learned this one on my own....if you are in a foreign airport and start taking pictures, they will stop you and ask for your camera. It was Rylie's camera so I fumbled around nervous trying to find the play button. Once I showed him that I wasn't taking security photos and I was just in love with the ceiling, he let me go. =)

Sergio, Shawn, me and Bruno in the Real Alcazar in Seville, Spain. 

04 June 2012

No longer coping.

A friend posted on Facebook a while back something that really got me thinking.

Her post: just realized I have not cried about J one single day in the last 4 mos. I was at my worst about the middle of his life when the "wait and see" was starting to play out and apparent that my fears of his severity were true. But man, I thought I would never come out of those days but now I even have days where I like having a kiddo that is so different. It isn't all roses and sunshine...it's a lot of work & I'm sure I'll still have bad moments...but what doesn't kill you does make you stronger. 

I realized after reading her post that I was right there in those shoes with her. She's way ahead of me though because her child is much younger than Liam.  I've just now gotten to where she is.

I can honestly say that for the first time, these last few months have had me not experiencing any of the depression and fear that comes with this life we now lead with Liam.  

We aren't just coping anymore. We are living.

It's hard to put into words how much, fear, depression, anger, resentment, and sadness takes over at random moments when you are dealing with a new normal like ours. It will just hit you. I could go weeks at a time feeling happy and okay with life but then I would all of a sudden have two to three days, even a week, of depression over how much work this is and how many issues Liam has. I would get down and stay down. And the overwhelming issues he faces, we face, would cloud all of my thoughts. But eventually I would snap out of it and be back to myself again. Not letting on to anyone around me of what was going through me.

It's been encouraging for me now to realize that I have made it through the worst parts. It isn't all 'roses and sunshine' and sometimes I still have bad days. But they could be much worse. I could be bitter. And I could be making my kids life hell because of my inability to move on.

I do have issues that crop up that I don't know I will ever be able to get over. Certain situations can bring instant anxiety and I flee from them. I'm assuming that's a form of PTSD. But at least I don't dwell on them like I used to.

I have never gotten angry with God over what we have gone through. It's just not in me to be that way to Him. I have questioned. Believe me...I have.  But I haven't gotten an answer. And I have doubted greatly His plan with Liam many, many times. But God always brings me back to the point that He created Liam in the first place and He chose to give him a life here with us instead of taking him home with Brady. And for that I am forever grateful. No matter how difficult things are, knowing Liam now and living a crazy life with him here has been such a beautiful blessing, even when I haven't always seen it as such.

It's been such a slow healing process for me. If someone had told me it would take 4 years for me to get to the point I'm at now I would have thought them crazy. I would have said I was fine years ago. And I doubt I'll ever be 'over it'. But I am finally enjoying every minute of it.

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