(sorry for only one picture - I have to ask Nikki to send the others, BUT this one is Rich, Austin and Us!!! :)
Sunday, December 23, 2012 @ 1:04 PM
Afternoon J Just us. We finished writing a note to Linda and hopefully that takes some of the bejeebers out of us. We went to bed very tired last night and had then woken up with the kitties this morning at about 6:30 AM, but then fell asleep again. I can hear in the background Rich dipping into the sleeping dust himself. That football game in the background isn’t fooling me! Silly Rich.
After everyone left last night I dropped on the couch and felt all the achy things on my body, but Rich was pretty sure we should help clean-up before getting settled. I know that was a good idea and the place really wasn’t bad … just needed to throw-out some cans and pick-up a few dishes. I was glad that really got done right away. Nikki had tried to help earlier before she left, but we felt strongly she shouldn’t do that – although I appreciated the attempt. My thoughts are with the six of them all needing to move at the same time, she would have to spend her effort there. I do so much love the big family!
Yesterday was the big Christmas party event for our family. There were some things that were very nice and a few things not so nice. I feel very guilty for holding negative feelings and I can’t really blame others for the same if I’m doing that too. While getting ready for the event, we hadn’t been having negative feelings and we’d forgotten about problems that occur when having Maury’s family with Joe’s – although there is just the two of Joe – both him and Cari. Laura’s family being there helped to really smooth out that situation. I know I’m going to hear about the problems from Maury and they are going to relate to just a few things. Without getting negative, Cari didn’t really involve herself in the big group, and she isolated herself with Isa … which then took Isa out of the big group too. The other part of that problem is that Maury and Nikki don’t like to see her babied like she was being done last night because like when she is with her mother – it puts her toward feelings of insecurity and neediness. I think that was the biggest problem, but my kids are very honest they will tell me if there are other problems. Maury being the more vocal of the two.
The bigger group was interested in cards and we were really hoping that kind of magic could happen again. But, without Cari’s interest in a “group thing” then I felt more pressure that Joe should be joining in. When push came to shove other than Joe wanting to isolate more on the computer, he also didn’t want to contribute money to playing Black Jack 21. Not sure if that’s the real name. After finding out he wasn’t using his money for gambling he was ok … and then by the end had won a couple of dollars and he then gave that to a couple of the kids not playing. The bigger game didn’t seem as big as it had been the first time, but after it started – the males dominated the game and I was reminded how much fun it was to have the brothers interacting and I liked the affect that it had on Austin and Ame – though have to admit that Austin wasn’t sure his Uncle Maury was so nice after he’d taken over the dealing of cards. Austin pretty much figured out that Maury was all about personally winning – he’s ok with not, but really does like the competition. He’s pretty much of trying to teach the kids about “going for it.” Maury wouldn’t ever “cheat” someone to win, but he is going to try teaching about how to play games in the real world. Honesty plays big in our family. The boys get their game playing from their father and I think the boys learned some hard lessons for it.
I don’t know what anyone has said about the play-out part before the event. We got most of the living room, and any big picking-up done the day before, then Yesterday morning we wrote a to-do list that was about a page long, but they were smaller easier things. One of the things we forgot was to take the new ice out of the bag, but MOST the things happened and included things like finishing Austin’s tabs, setting the table, and getting the white load done. We’ve just got one load of laundry left – Rich’s better shirts, but other than that we don’t usually get too far behind.
Rich has spent many nights with his Mom and that included Friday night. Fortunately, he was available most of Friday which meant the shopping got done and things happened with the banking and food. Rich is very good at getting out and getting a LOT of things done on time – in one big sweep. With my family it was mostly cards and money, but he got his kids the things too that weren’t being shipped to them directly. He also picked up for his mother, brother, nieces and grandnephew. I’m proud of him this year for including so many. At one point just before dinner, Rich’s daughter had called to say that her grandmother was drunk again and then it became a big thing for Rich to decide whether to go back again. He wanted her to not drink, but she had her household help pick up some booze and deliver it to her. Bottom line was that neither Rich or I wanted to take a chance that something could happen to her because of the drinking. So, he left just after our dinner and got back again at 6 AM yesterday. He took a couple hour nap before getting started, and then we gave him a 20 minute rub-down to get him in the mood for getting up. Hehehe not sure how that works though because he actually likes lying in bed for just a little bit more and more.
After he got up, and got coffee - I read him my to-do list of what had been done and what I needed to do. I think he really appreciated that I was taking care of all the cleaning and setting-up so that allowed him time to concentrate on dinner. I think he had to go out for something – and then ended up one more time because he wanted a bigger cutting board and a good knife – he was thinking of the future, but directly for something to handle the ham. He’s such a hard worker in the kitchen. I think people liked the dinner – there was no complaints … not a lot of positive, but that seems apropos in that it was the same for the gifts. I think that Laura and Mike were the only ones that said a real thank-you for their gifts. Mike actually came and talked to me one-on-one and I felt that was incredibly special.
I would like to think that we don’t do things for the thank yous, but they are still nice to get. The gifts were open at the same time and I couldn’t focus on watching people open the cards. I feel bad that I didn’t get to give more in the gifts. It seems kind of funny, but in general the amounts that we were giving out, we’re about the same as the amounts we were getting back. Well, maybe not quite as much, but fairly close. Maybe the group of us is all at about the same income level Hehehe. Rich took Thom and Duyen’s Christmas cards with him, and he will get stamps when he stopped at the grocery store and then mail them before he gets home. Although they weren’t big gifts I was grateful to have what we did and we really have to say thank-you to our mother for giving us money this year which made the purchases able to happen.
I liked also being able to give some quilting things … It wasn’t a very blustery exchange, but I think people will like the gifts - I don’t know what they will do with them, but we added the options so they could use them for wall hanging or for blanket. I hope I did good with that … didn’t seem like too much a big deal. Again, I don’t think I need all that, but it was hard to read the situation as to how people felt toward them because there wasn’t much reaction. In my heart of hearts I think they are appreciated and I’m going to feel good about them. Never able to do enough for the people you love. I know you know that feeling.
I wasn’t so sure that I liked how things settled out with the dining arrangements. Laura was able to settle Austin down away from the adult group, but then Jade and Jasmine needed to bring in chairs and then competed for adult attention so there wasn’t as much adult to adult interaction. I think for the distance between Maury and Joe’s family over the last several years, that it went pretty well. Having a neutral part – with Laura and Mike helped, although I’m sure Joe and Maury will always be cordial – it’s just that sometimes they get things stuck in their heads and then there is the propensity to distance themselves from conversation. I was really glad when Joe decided to join the group.
I think Austin was watching the way people interacted and how people were betting. It surprised him that Joe could take such big chances with his money, but Joe pretty much went into it feeling that he was either going bust quickly or would win big. He turned out winning as mentioned before. What really made the game this time – both Maury and Mike had brought chips and thought it better to do that than money, but especially nice to keep the kids focused, Mike had brought $2 bills and they made it so that whoever had $3 of chips would receive a $2 bill, and if they had $4 of chips, they would receive 2 - $2 bills. That seemed to work out well. None of the kids became big betters, but Joe playing the game and taking more risk encouraged the others to do so as well which turned out to be a fun thing to have done.
I think the game was more lively when Maury had taken his turn dealing, but it’s because Maury is more interested in setting up good competition, especially between the individuals and the bank. There was also a side-conversation happening especially between Mike with Laura and Austin. Basically, Mike was giving betting advice to the other two, but when they went on their own, they were able to be a little more innovative with their betting. Austin came down to saying that whatever Mike told him he was going to do the opposite. It might have been Maury saying – teasing that Mike was playing the house which was not necessarily in the players benefit. I know that Mike was really trying to help out, but it seemed the cards were falling against his logic. It was a fun interaction to watch.
We did try to get across with the women especially that the money that we’d given them – although small was to go to them and not their kids. They are a tough audience there. I wanted to make sure they understood that their kids had gotten money too – so they had to do something special for themselves. The guys got a little more – in a gift card to take their families out to eat. I hoped that was going to happen. I know Mike said something special as to where he was going to take Laura and Austin. When it came to the 2013 dinner arrangements with the kids – we found some liked McDonald’s, some liked other fast food chains, and that some would like someplace different. We’re really sure that’s going to happen, I just have to be pro-conscious about getting some times down where things work out for all. I’m so looking forward to that and it seems the best really of the gifts we were given. I’m so looking forward to getting to know each of the kids independently. I have no problem with taking Austin out with Laura until we get more used to each other, but we’re thinking here that Laura has special needs in handling some of Austin’s disability.
I think we had said something previously about Austin being pushed to leave his game after someone had said it had been the last picture and he declared she was breaking the rule. I admire that kind of thinking in him. I know things like that get a little pushed in black and white thinking, but we are only able to guess whether that is more the Asperger’s or even more like being his father’s son. Thom always regarded the rules very seriously too. I think we were closer to being Thom’s mom and had tried harder to prevent the thinking, but that hadn’t been realistic for Thom. I think Laura is doing a good job and trying to help Austin be more flexible, but we were also glad when Nikki taking pictures and us being in the picture was able to think out loud – yes, it was us that had broken the rule – just made. I felt just as happy to have Austin in the picture as not smiling, because it stood for me him standing up for himself.
There’s not a one of these kids that I don’t just love and love. Each has his or her own particularities, and even though there is a big disconnect between Joe and Maury’s the stronger part of them I believe likes to be together. Maybe not Cari, but I don’t think even she appreciates the boys had always been strong with one another as brothers. Thom not being here wasn’t a big problem and didn’t really come up, but we’d had thoughts of him during the event. I think it would have been hard for him to sit down at the adult table with so many at the table, but I’ve seen him “work” a table too. He’s just so funny … he also would have added to the card game with the others … Thom has a way of grandstanding a bit too that sometimes put his brothers off, but sometimes they all roll with it and it’s so hysterical to watch. I’m thinking as long as Mike and Thom get a long and I hope for Austin’s sake they always do – that Mike could have a good time with the three brothers too. When Maury wasn’t as reserved as he was last night – like before – the first time with Mike and Laura – it just seemed the Mike and Maury got a long so well – and because they are both with kids, it seems they are both able to appreciate those extra dynamics and work with those involved. Mike would probably be the gentler of the two, but he holds a strong line in reasoning things out that I don’t think much gets past him. Maybe everyone was a little more on guard last night.
I had fun being me, but we’re not the type of mother/grandmother that likes to be the center of attention. It was a little problem when I thought we really did need to say something to the whole group in making sure the kids understood the dinner arrangements, but it was hard to get feedback, so we’re not sure if we were making ourselves clear – and it seemed like a negative in trying to get everyone’s attention, because by then there were more things going on like we’d just finished dessert and everyone had gifts and there were a group watching a few play the computer game Joe had set-up.
Thinking we’ll have to figure anything else past this on another day, because this entry had stopped for SOME reason – God only knows and now it is Tuesday, Christmas morning and we’re going to want to do that one – a new entry. *Smiling faces!*