Still not communicating with Janice. This is no big loss. My friend Nita Davis legally adopted me a while back, and she's an awesome amazing woman. I've gone so far as to have my birth certificate amended as is done with infant adoptions. It cost me $250 and was worth every penny. And y'all would LOVE my Mama Nita!
The kids came home after that school year ended. They are pretty awesome most of the time, and incredibly frustrating the rest of the time. Sean's issues are resolving, as we have this amazing friend at church, Sally, who is a licensed teen counselor who has been giving him therapy GRATIS, just because she loves our family and wants the best for the boy. I no longer homeschool them, which has done wonders for the tension levels around here. They're all doing pretty well in school (Evan is a straight A student and at the top of his middle school's honor roll, Ian is As and Bs, and Sean is mostly As and Bs but currently flunking US History because he doesn't believe in homework). Evan has been self-teaching himself to play the trumpet and is coming along remarkably well. Ian is getting very deeply into programming, and Sean is programming some and goofing off a lot (sixteen, the ultimate goof off age). They're all happy and healthy.
Our daughter Amy graduated high school with the highest GPA in her class (PROUD Mommy!), got her driver's license, and is now a college student. Our son Andy also graduated with many awards and huzzahs and is also in college. Our daughter Bonnie is dealing with some health issues, and making a life for her youngest daughter Lexi and herself.
We are no longer Catholic, as you all already know. A priest who breaks the seal of the confessional is not something I can handle well. We joined the Ponder United Methodist Church. Sam went from being agnostic to a firm and deep belief in Christ, which makes me very happy. Eternity hanging out with him will be wonderful!
Our church family is astonishing. I have not found a single person in that church whom I wouldn't be happy to have in my living room. They are a nice, warm, accepting and loving bunch of people, as Amaebi can attest. Our pastor Rocky is amazing and very supportive as well, and I cannot praise him and his wife Jackie enough.
Sam and I are currently leading the adult Sunday school class, teaching on the book of Esther. It's a great study, and Sam is really hitting a groove. I am praying that this will show him that YES, he CAN teach, and teach well!
I've become fairly heavily addicted to Facebook, where I have gotten back into contact with many old friends and met some wonderful new ones. One of the friends I've reconnected with is Gerda, an old friend I met right around the time I became pregnant with Amy. So, like, twenty years ago. Gerda was then and is now a very devout Christian woman. When we first met, I was deep in the throes of paganism and new-agey stuff. Gerda never shoved her faith down my throat, but was a quiet and serene example of what a true Christian is. We lost contact after a few years, in part due to my not being able to afford a phone, and in part to her moving further away, but I never forgot her. I was excited to meet up with her again and tell her that I am now a follower of Jesus. Our friendship is blossoming more beautifully every day, and she is helping me deepen my faith and trust in God.
It's no big secret that Sam and I renewed our wedding vows in a church wedding this past summer. Much of the preceding year was spent in the planning of it, which was a lot of fun. Amaebi came down from Wyoming or Colorado or someplace like that (geographical locations of friends NOT my strong suit!) and co-officiated with Rocky, and that was just the awesome. Amy was my maid of honor, Sean the best man, the other three boys were ushers, and my three best friends here in TX, Stacey, Kris, and Tori were my bridesmaids. Deinos, a very long time friend, gave me away. It was beautiful and a day I will never forget, made possible by many loving friends and family members.
Sam will be completing his doctorate in math within the next two years, then the job search begins for him. Work-wise, I'm not doing much, although I am starting to knit like a fiend, and am working on building up a stockpile of hat/scarf/fingerless mitten sets to sell on Etsy starting in the fall. I continue to sculpt in polymer clay, when my hands can deal with the hard and often painful work of conditioning the clay to make it pliable, and I am working on a new book, detailing my spiritual journey.
We had to put our dog Bear down this fall. He had become very aggressive and erratic, and we couldn't keep risking small kids or other animals being attacked. Sean was heartbroken, but a real trooper, insisting on being there at the vet for the whole thing because "He's my DOG, Ma, I can't abandon him now!" I was so proud of him. We now have two new dogs, Molly (a chihuahua) and Sid (a corgi). Sid is most definitely Sean's dog, (or is it that Sean is Sid's boy?) and Molly thinks the sun rises and sets over Sam's head. And Sam is GAGA over Molly as well.
It's been a good three years, over all. I hope the next three are even better!