Activites in Spring 2014

We've been rather quiet on our blog lately. What have we been up to?

Kyra and I have been making plans for our trip to Costa Rica in August. We've booked flights and hotel rooms, planned our activities, and purchased equipment for the trip. It's going to be a lot of fun. Luca is going to be staying with Nana, and it sounds like he'll be going to some camps. I'm sure he'll have a blast!

We welcomed our friends, Nick and Elspeth, to the neighborhood. They bought a house down the street, and we helped them move in. It's really great to have them in the neighborhood, although they might get sick of us dropping by randomly!

We've been doing a lot of home improvement activities. We scheduled painters for the house, cleaned up our the landscaping in the back yard (a big project, still in progress!), and had all sorts of maintenance work completed. It's finally mowing season, too.

Back in April we went to an event called "Moon Over Monona", where amateur astromers had their telescopes set up to view the full moon, Jupiter, and other celestial objects. It was fun to get Luca out to see these, and I'm sure he appreciated staying up a little later than usual. I think we have pictures, but I'll have to post them another time.

We took a trip to the Twin Cities to visit our nieces, Lilliana and Dalila. We had a lot of fun going swimming and seeing the girls. We got them a game for the Playstation 3 called Flower, which is really great for little kids. The controls are very intuitive for them, since it is simply about rotating the controller and pushing any button to move forward. It's a great game for kids.

Kyra and I got to go out for a movie a week or two ago. We saw the Grand Budapest Hotel, which was a great flick with a story in a story in a story (in a story?... depending on how you look at it). It was fun to spend an evening out with Kyra. It had really been too long.

We had a tour of Luca's new elementary school. It's exciting that he'll be going to kindergarten soon! It's likely that I'll be walking him to school every day, so that will be an interesting change from our current dynamic, with Kyra taking him to pre-school, where she works. We won't know as much of the ins-and-outs of the school, and that will present a challenge based on our current expectations.

We have some other news too, but we'll have to wait for another time. Keep in touch!

Kudos

In the recent Foster Forum newsletter for foster parents in our county, the following was written about us:

Kudos to Kyra and Chris ... for providing a loving and stable home for your foster [child] for the last year and a half. The time and energy you put into maintaining a relationship with [the birth parent] was a great asset in the reunification process and helped make the child's transition home successful. Thank you!
You're welcome!

Goodbye, Little One

The last few weeks have been really hard for our family. We found out our foster child, who has been with us for a year and a half, would be suddenly transitioning back to the birth family, and last evening after dinner, we said goodbye.

All three of us were quite distraught after the child left, me especially. It's been so long - nearly every morning and evening I would help the child get ready for school and for bed. Getting dressed, bath time, reading books, singing songs. I just fell apart.

Surprisingly, Luca was quite consoling, even though he was quite sad, too. He said, we can still video chat, and maybe one day we can visit. I'm so proud of him when he consoles someone, it's very emotionally mature for a 5-year-old.

One bit of good news is that we have a good relationship with the birth family, and we hope to keep in touch. We'll definitely be writing letters and sending gifts. The child will always, always be a part of our family, and our love will continue.

I really want to thank everyone who has been supportive of us: our dear friends, Elspeth and Nick, Carla and Dan; my sister, Megan; my mom, Teresa; Kyra's coworkers, especially Sara and Mallory; and the foster child's preschool teachers, April and Michael. You've all helped us keep it together. Thank you.

Welcome Logan



My cousin Ashley had her first child, Logan, on Tuesday. Welcome to the family Logan!

Conerea

I played with Lego building blocks as a young boy, and I created a whole little world out of them. Luca has been building with Legos more often recently, so it got me thinking about my childhood Lego kingdom. Here is one of the few pictures I have of the kingdom:



I built the kingdom on top of a large piece of plywood on top of a smaller table underneath, and covered it with a sheet on which I colored in grass and water. I also had a shelf behind it where there was a town up in the mountains. There were several towers, including one large "rainbow" tower, partially seen in the picture in the back, just to the left. There were two main castles, two tower-like entrances, cannon ramparts, a boat, an airship (a flying boat with helicopter wings on the top mast - inspired by Final Fantasy), a dock, a tournament ground, a throne, and even a sword in a stone!

I had several odd parts received from my cousin. He had tired of his Legos, so his mom gave me a box full of parts. Included were two moon landscapes, with hills and craters, one of which is in the foreground of the picture. I decided they would be sand dunes. I received parts that are no longer made - like faucets, space ship parts, and blocks with old Lego space logos.

I based many of the people on video game characters, including many Final Fantasy games, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, and other Super Nintendo and Game Boy games. Unfortunately, I had decided that I should be more creative and make more of my own characters (I did have a few), and I disassembled all the creative combinations I had come up with to imitate the game characters. By then, I was older and moving on to new activities, so I never returned to finish it.

The name of this place was also based on a video game location. In Final Fantasy (the first one), there is a kingdom named Coneria. It was actually mistranslated or misspelled, and it should have been Cornelia. In the game, Coneria seemed to be a central place where people would congregate. It was literally in the middle of the map of the world, and it appeared massive. It seemed like just the place to be, so I named my kingdom Conerea, changing the penultimate letter (as if that would mask where I got it!).

As I played in this kingdom, I developed many stories. There was a big war with two wizards who gradually hypnotized all the residents and turned them against each other. There is a entire mythology about the world and the spirits that inhabit it. In High School, I wrote a short story about a conflict between two countries set in this world.

Eventually, I want to clean up my old Legos and let Luca play with him, and I hope he has just as much fun and just as many imaginative stories as I did.