Sunday, July 30, 2006

off to atlanta

yesterday the girls left for atlanta to stay with the douglas's. they are saints for taking them and we are INCREDIBLY thankful. i have to go to west africa next week and lindsay is out of town for family reunions and stuff. the girls are out of school for the month and it was just going to be impossible for us to care for them. so thank-you douglas's. we will love you forever for this kindest of jestures.

the night before they left was horrible. it is quite personal for the girls, but suffice it to say the magnitude, intensity, and power of the abuse they experienced was revealed (at least in part) and it was troubling. i believe that we have some good help for them and i believe that this time at the douglas's will be awesome.

the girls were super duper excited to go to atlanta and fly on the plane by themselves. their plane was delayed by 2 hours which gave me just enough time to show them all of my magic tricks, help them understand that i couldn't reveal my tricks or i would be kicked out of the alliance, and eat some really nasty chicken (well the girls did) at ranch1. we had a ton of fun at the airport running the opposite way on the moving sidewalk, watching planes and all the fun people watching.

i learned that i had to wait until the dang plane was "airborne" before i could leave. in an effort to insure that i would stick around, the gate guy didn't let the girls board until the very end. i was so frustrated because i was really looking forward to sushi with my friend caroline adn i was already 2 hours late. as they left, i was so glad to be able to get out of the airport that i kinda forgot that they were leaving for so long. i just waved goodbye and turned around. then i remembered and made them come back off the runway (as the door was closing) and give me hugs. i got a little teary. they noticed and kinda laughed. then they left and i got really sad and cried. i was just standing there when the door opened again because the gate guy forgot something. they came out and gave me another hug. jennifer asked why i was crying. and the truth was i didn't really know. paulette guess that it was because i would miss them? i said yes.

i cried all the way home, incredible trouble by the fact that this situation is so sticky and tricky. i love them and want them to be happy. it is clearer and clearer that this current situation -- them living with 2 roommates -- is not sustainable. lindsay and i just can't do this until they are at college. for all the obvious reason and also because they have also been severely traumatized. i guess i got a glimps of what it will feel like when they move away for good.

i came home to a number of messages on my home phone from their mother shelia. she had decided earlier in the afternoon that they were not going to be able to go to atlanta. fortunately sarah was able to convience her to let them go. she apparently changed her mind while i was at the airport and was livid that they were leaving. "i am the mother and though i appreciate what you are doing, they cannot go to atlanta". they had gone already. so i didn't return the call.

i am sure this is going to be awesome.


Monday, July 24, 2006

some days are diamonds, some days are stone

the title of this post is so true. the problem is when you wake up, you don't know what you are going to get. or in this case sometimes, you don't know what you are going to get when you come home.

we have wonderful days where there is love and fun and peace. in fact recently i had to go to atlanta for work and i took the latest flight out possible because the girls were just so dang cute and fun. it was their first day back at school and they both were just glowing. everyone loved their hair and their new shoes. they looked better and each one of their teachers commented that they seems like new people. more confident, happier, etc.

then their are days like today, where everything is a struggle. i had to go to school today because paulette had been benched (kipp's form of in-house suspension). the rules at their school are really really strict and they expected to behave with respect and poise. it is a struggle at times. it has never been required of them except at church and now it is required everywhere.

they love the boundaries, i think it makes them feel safe, but then they resent them. so then they resent us.

also, they are feeling so much anger because of their situation. feeling abandoned, mistreated, abused, etc. and we are easy targets for all that negative stuff too. which in the end makes a day a stone.

stones are more common than diamonds. and such is life i suppose. but i hope that someday we are able to be in a space that is more like Oz with yellowbricks and diamond days.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

penultimate installment of framily vacation frotos.

We may have missed the statute of limitations for posting framily vacation pics, but, if's the final installment of Maine pics:

Jen and Paulette are relative newcomers to the wonderful world of bikes. But that didn't stop them from cruising around Acadia's Carriage Roads. We rented bikes out of a little shop in Southwest Harbor and toodled around for the day. The girls loved it, despite the hills. Riding bikes was--by all accounts--the highlight of the trip.

We rode to a waterfall to refill our water bottles and
ask other cyclists to take too-far-away pictures of us.

Kimberly and Paulette couldn't resist going in.

Paulette, the butterfly whisperer.

About the time that Jen's gears and my brakes went out, we made it to Jordan Pond House, where we talked the wait staff into serving us dinner despite the fact that our wallets were three miles away in our car. (Surprisingly, the "Just charge it to our campsite...." line actually worked.) We went hog wild, ordering lobster rolls, crab cakes, shrimp salads, Jordan Pond House's famous popovers, blueberry crisp and blueberry ice cream. The damages: $100. Pretty much the same as all our other meals (think hot dogs over an open flame) put together.

I'm not sure what the girls enjoyed most: the view, the food, or the "tall and handsome" waiters. (I realize in this picture Jen looks like she's not really enjoying anything. )

That's better. One big happy framily.

Unfortunately, we had such a fun time at dinner that we lost track of time and missed the last bus to our car. Fortunately, a helpful Acadia National Park Volunteer named Thor (truly) gave Kimberly a ride to the Uplander and she came back to pick us up. The girls used the last 30 minutes to ride around the Jordan Pond House parking lot--which they enjoyed as much as the carriage roads, and maybe even more (no hills).

On the way home, we stopped to get our feet wet in the harbor.

Well, Paulette and Jennifer got their feet wet.

Kimberly and I watched from the shore.

Later, we stopped to watch the sun set.

I'm not really sure what the girls are doing in this picture, but they sure look cute doing it.

Back at camp, the lovefest continued with the four of us giggling and girltalking in Paulette and Jennifer's tent until someone who will remain nameless stunk it up so bad we had to call it a night.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Rocky Mountain Climb x2

On Wednesday around noon Kimberly, Jennifer, Lindsay, and myself went on the most amazing hike I had ever been on. We climbed two of the most mammoth and hardest mountains in all of Acadia Park. We climbed Door Mountain, and Cadilac Mountain (Hello!! Can you say major hurting legs and booty’s!!)

"Major hurting legs! And bootys!"

The first mountain we climbed was door mountain. The first mountain was pretty good, there was a lot of climbing stairs. After climbing about 500 stairs we started to climb down for about 3 minutes. (THAT WAS HEAVEN!!!!) then back to the uphill we stopped a few times to get something to eat or drink.

We stopped one time because we saw a rock stream. we decided to get water because we were pretty low. Jennifer was scared because in order to get over to the rock stream you had to get over a big gap. Kimberly decided to go first to show Jennifer that it wasn’t hard. It was pretty funny because her words didn’t back her up. kimberly jumped over the gap and made it, took a sip of water and tried to come back without falling. she almost made it, but not quite. the minute she hopped off of the ledge she landed and slipped(OUCH!!!!) we wanted to ask if she was ok, but we couldn’t beat our laughs.

After that happened we continued on our quest to victory. After about one hour and thirty minutes of climbing and stopping and whining we finally reached the top.

I was so realived that we had reached the top of one mountain, when I heard that we had another mountain to climb that was taller than the one we had just finished I wanted to cry and scream like a two year old.

I told kimberly that I was tired and that I was hungry and that my legs were hurting. Well she didn’t care. she said that the only way to get back down was to go the same way that we came. of course she won the battle because I didn’t want to go back down by myself, so we ended up climbing the 2nd mountain.

to climb the second mountain, we actually had to scale down the first.
these pictures don't really do the incline justice.

The 2nd mountain was taller but didn’t take as long it only took about 60 minutes (THANK GOODNESS!!!!!) after about 60 minutes of hiking we finally made it to the top of the 2nd mountain.

(note from lindsay: i can't find any pictures of us at the summit of cadillac mountain, but it was kind of a let down anyway, since the summit was swarming with people who had driven to the top. )

we were so tired that we didn’t want to go back down the hiking way--we wanted to catch the bus. We went to a rangers station and found out that we had to hike halfway back down the mountain but on a different trail than what we came up on. The ranger said it would take about an hour--just when I thought that the hiking was over something went BAM!!!!! another hike (by that time I was like HUH!?) we walked forever. I could see and hear the cars on the road a few times but after that nothing, nothing but god’s beautiful creations.
God's Beautiful Creations

After about an hour and 30 MINUTES we made it to the bus stop, met a nice family and drove home, and by "home" I mean the mosquitoes' home.

-- paulette

Monday, July 10, 2006

fRamily vacation (installment 3)

after all the fun in bar harbor we drove nervously to to seawall campground...we had heard that they would be full, but decided that we should just try it out...and too our luck there was room.

we knew that we were getting in when we saw this luna moth...

I had never seen one, but the young women of our church had decided that it would be their “bug” during girls camp. I will let paulette explain the miracle of the luna moth…but we saw this moth as an act of God telling us we had come to the right place…

this is the view up from our tent

we stopped to see the seawall

we found sea snails

and kelp.
I nerded out and gave a pretty detailed lesson on marine ecology
and biology (which I actually know little about)

we felt pride in the enormity of our vehicle
(it actually got pretty good gas mileage all things considered)

we got lobster rolls

and hotdogs

we went to experience the rising tide
(it was the first time for the girls)

they kinda freaked out

we went back to our happy A8 campsite (which we determined was the best in all of seawall) and ate a delicious dinner of fried fish and tinfoiled veggies (which we had purchased from the farm that the college of the atlantic runs…delish…

we slept well!

though for some very disappointing reason we never took pictures of our awesome campsite.

so off to bed again, but hopefully i can get day 3 up tomorrow....

Sunday, July 09, 2006

the fRamily vacation (#2)

we just returned from our maine adventure. where we had no access to cell phones, blackberries, or the worldwide web. it was a welcome break and returning is a bit depressing, but i believe we will all survive.

maine is an amazing state. we all want to go back. thank-you teddy roosevelt for having the foresight to create the national parks system. acadia national park is one of the most beautiful places on earth and i am sure if it were not for the parks system it would be overrun with vacation homes. i am in love.

because it would be very difficult to record the entire trip in a blog...i will be really brief and give a quick narrative with lots of photos.

it was magnificent. we had a couple of major discipline problems, but those were overcome and i think we all returned with more love in our hearts.

in the minivan on the way to the airport
(we had so much stuff we had to get a taxi, none of our friends had enough room to take us)

enthusiastically experiencing an airport for the first time
(it made airport time 1000x's more fun!)

the girls were very excited to fly, but also a bit worried
we had to wait on the runway for awhile and i think the anxiety started getting to jen
once aloft she asked if we were going to be above the clouds, and was so thrilled to see the tops of clouds.
once above the clouds she postulated:
"maybe if we get high enough we can see Jesus"

we arrived in boston starving
we rented a white chevy uplander and drove straight to the north end for some delicious sandwiches at milo's

we wanted to make haste so we drove and ate...
i ended up wearing a good portion of my sandwiches
but it was amazing

before we knew it we were in maine
(jen got camera shy and we were in no mood to wait)

we drove to freeport, me and stopped at the original ll bean store
we had forgotten a number of pieces of vital camping equipotent
(and we would realize all week more and more of the things we forgot)
we bought me a headlamp, lindsay a pillow, and a couple of bookmarks for friends

jen was wigglin' her bum....
and then we had to get ice-cream too (thanks to amanda & todd!)

our friend mimi (who lives in NYC) made us an amazing cd which brought tears to all of our eyes as we drove through the beautiful countryside of maine listening to handel's "ombra mai fu" by aria

we all wanted lobster so we stopped and tried it out...

we later realized that we prefer scallops...but when in maine...

we stayed in a totally random hotel near ellsworth maine the first night.
woke up andlearned that there was a blueberry pancake breakfast in
celebration of the 4th of July

just before breakfast the girls heard their first bagpipes...

one of these guys aksed if the girls were from africa
the girls wanted to know why he would ask such a crazy thing
we did too...

pancake assembly line

please note all the festive attire
i wish these bites could be bigger

this is soooooooo yummy

after breakfast we walked around the town fair where you could watch karate guys split wood in half with bare hands or dunk a lobster in a tub of water (a human lobster that is)

(are they scary or funny, we never decided)

then we watched the parade
paulette was a little too cool for the parade, but once the candy started flowin' we were in business
there were lots of these kind of guys

but only one of these

oh and a elvis impersonating postman

i am too tired to finish up the 4th...there shall be more soon.