It's been awhile since I've posted on here. Thankfully, for me, that means life has been busy and full of normal things. The kids are back in school now. They are happy to be there! They think they had the most boring summer ever. And they did. I told them when school got out in May that it wasn't my job to be their entertainment committee for the summer. I meant it, too.
Personally, though, I thought it was our best summer yet! No one had to go to respite. No one except dad was hospitalized. Dad had an emergency appendectomy and a partially ruptured appendix. So he got to spend a few days in the hospital. Meh...that didn't even make the radar screen of stressful events for either of us, though. He was super bummed that he had to miss the big launch of a HUGE project he'd been working hard on at work, but oh well. He's fine now, people at work still love him and even sent him flowers while he was in the hospital, and life is back to normal. We'll all take a week in the regular hospital over 1 day in the psych ward!!
I have been kept very busy with what I think I remember most normal people kind of doing. Well, sort of. Much of my time has been spent planning and preparing for our upcoming retreat. I'm super excited about this one. We've doubled in size, we have a wonderful, eclectic, energetic mix of alumni and newbies coming from all over the USA and Canada, and we filled our place well beyond capacity. Moving our retreat to the fall was definitely the right thing to do! It's been pretty humbling to realize that we could have filled it 3 times over had we had the space to do to. The need for these retreats for our moms of trauma is still so great!
Aside from that, we've made a few other significant changes in our household. My kids are finally healing and stabilizing. It's been almost a year since we've had any major issues and backslides. I don't declare them healed as there is still plenty of evidence that we're still working on that process. But they've come a LONG way! In a strange twist of fate, we discovered they were also now ready for a family pet to enter our life. We had what for all intents and purposes appear to be a protected desert tortoise wander into our yard this summer. Even the state people thought it was a desert tortoise when they first saw it. They had to pull in several biologists and consult several sources to make sure they made the correct identification.
The problem is that they're not native to this area. It's much too cold in the winter here for them. Seeings how it's a federal offense to possess one without a permit, we needed to make sure we knew what it was before we either got a permit, released it to a zoo, or even tried to find it's owners. Had it been a protected animal being held without a permit, it's "owners" would have been facing some jail time! It's also illegal to release them back into the wild after they've been in captivity. So, we couldn't do anything except babysit it until the state identified it. After much to do, it turns out it was a greek tortoise that belongs to some neighbors on the hillside above us. They found him wandering on a trail a few years ago and did exactly the same thing we did. Needless to say, this isn't the first time the state had seen him or had to identify him. Except they got to keep him because he's not a protected species and there was no way to find his previous owner.
In the process of babysitting him, though, we all pretty much fell in love with the thing...even daddy did! And I did. That's even more amazing! I'm not really a pet person. But, there was no denying the positive impact it had on our kids. They were fascinated by it and really got into learning how to take care of it. We were all very sad the day we had to return him to his owners. But alas, we also discovered that we'd finally found a suitable pet for our family, even though we had no idea we were even looking for one. After a couple months more research, we finally settled on a type of tortoise and a reputable place to obtain them from. And then our family grew by two! Who knew that two little shelled creatures...reptiles even...would be just what our family needed? I'm in the process of building a grand enclosure for the little guys. And when I say grand, I mean grand...and I hope we can get it down the stairs!
In the midst of all that, we also sold the old family hauler we bought when our daughter started kindergarten and we began the process of international adoption and acquired a new family hauler. That came with it's own set of grief and loss and wondering why we couldn't keep the old one and get a new one, too. They're finally getting used to the new one, though. Car shopping is a total pain in the arse, though, and we are ALL glad it's finally over...especially because it came with it's own brand of drama!