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2009 in Retrospective(plus decade)

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This was another challenging year for me.

In January, Daniel accepted a permanent position at the job where he'd been on contract for 18 month. He really hated the job and his boss, but with the economic crash, he didn't feel he could refuse a permanent job, esp at that salary. Most days, though, he comes home in a foul mood.

I was not enjoying driving Heron to her three different schools, but at least her grades were doing better. However, we hit a crisis in early spring which left us not talking for a few weeks, and left her determined to move in with my mom as soon as the semester was up.

The boys, meanwhile, were hating school. Raven would wake up every morning, even on Saturdays, crying and begging not to go back to school. Orion was calling from school, hysterical, more often than he had in years. While I loved his home room teacher, many of his academic teachers were a bad fit. For the first time ever, Orion's story about incidents did not match up with one of the teacher's. Another teacher called me at home telling me he was bad and needed to be out of her class. We upped his meds several times trying to cope, and finally Daniel said he would not veto if I chose to home school.

Summer started badly, when i had to put down my 13 yo dog. Heron was a TA at tech camp in Boston, and the boys and I were very excited about starting to home school in the fall. But Heron did not have as good a time at camp as we'd hoped. They worked her very hard and gave her no recognition - even tho she taught one of the classes solo after a teacher went home sick. Also, my chronically ill sister went downhill over the summer.

Home schooling started off well. I was completing a good percent of what I intended to do. I was exhausted, but it felt like pretty good. We had 2 park days a week and the boys were taking drama. But life was not going smoothly.

Heron had returned home at the end of summer, agreeing to stay just one semester to finish up school. Daniel even bought a new-used car so she could drive herself to classes in his old car. However, after she came home, the plans to move in with my mom fell through. Heron also was frustrated with her inability to find a job, and things went down-hill with her long-distance relationship. She ended up in a crisis, spent a few days in the hospital, and had very bad reactions to both meds they tried. She finally got settled in, but its been a rough time.

Home school has continued to go pretty well. I struggle to keep up with two very different boys. Orion does best when I keep him very tightly scheduled. Our curricula have changed several times already, when he finished some of our materials, showed different needs than what some materials were meeting, and destroyed his computer. However, his stress level is much lower. We hope to lower some of his meds soon, despite the fact that his tics are worse than ever. One advantage of home schooling is that there is no one to tease him for his tics!

Raven has calmed down a lot and no longer reacts by screaming ‘no' every time I suggest a school activity. His reading is improving a lot, and we overcame his fear and got through 3-digit addition and subtraction. However, he likes much less scheduling than Orion. Its really hard to be spontaneous with one child while sticking to a tight schedule with the other!

Heron had some great news at the end of the year. A company she had offered to do some volunteer work with has offered her paid freelance design work! This of course did great things for her confidence, and she is starting to look more seriously at applying to 4-year colleges.

Overall, its been a year of changes and challenges, but I have to remember how lucky we are. Physically we are fairly healthy. Financially, we are stable. Emotionally, we aren't fighting and things seem to be calm atm! The overall level of stress is finally coming down again. Lets hope for some stability in 2010!

And the decade:

At the close of the last decade, I was already single, living with a protective order on my soon-to-be ex. I was laid off 2 Augusts in a row, and finally got a great job in Richmond, VA. After rolling my car over on the highway during morning commute, I decided it was high time to move to Richmond. The kids and I moved in to a lovely town house and they made me promise not to change school districts again - this was a good one!

Then I met a man, got pregnant, got married, quit my job, had a baby, and moved 2 miles down the road to a new house. I had a lovely year as a SAHM, but went back to work as a temp when Canadian hubby's green card was delayed. I ended up keeping the job, which turned out to be a wise thing - when our child was 2, hubby changed his mind about marriage. Orion also started getting all sorts of awful dx's around this time. After 6 months of fighting and counseling and lots of crying on my part, he moved out. And 9 months later he moved back in. And Orion went on meds.

Finally I quit work again and got to be a SAHM for the last year before Raven started kindergarten. I discovered our food allergies and changed our eating habits. Then I stayed out of work another year to drive Heron around to three different schools - public high school just wasn't working for her at all. And the rest . . well, you know. 2009.
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