Wednesday, June 30, 2010

With Hesitation, I Enrolled Sarah in School Today

Doesn't she look thrilled? I can't blame her.

Sarah's school has never called me back so I called them. The guidance counselor told me that they weren't seeing anyone until the middle of July. I mentioned that my daughter had gone to this high school before and she told me to go ahead and come in at any time and she would pull her file.

So we went there today with all our paperwork in hand and successfully enrolled her.

The high school is a nice enough one as far as high schools go. However, Sarah had some bad experiences when she was a freshman there. Basically bullying. Some things happened that still bother me (and Sarah) today.

A group of girls pestered Sarah in class and then taped her when she got annoyed and told them to knock it off. They then took this tape and posted it online. They admitted this to the school principal.....and nothing happened. The tape came off the web but there was no consequence. Do you think that helped resolve the issue?
The bullying continued. I talked to the school and Sarah was terrified to say anything because she thought it would escalate. We tried everything, Sarah tried her best.

Finally one day a girl was bullying Sarah down the hallway. She was following Sarah while Sarah was crying, Sarah even walked past a teacher. The teacher didn't say a word.

My child should not be walking down the hallway crying and have the teacher turn the other way. Something is just not right with that situation. I didn't send her back to school after that incident.

Sarah was a month away from finishing the school year. I got a form from her doctor stating that Sarah needed to be taught homebound because of the bullying. The school allowed Sarah to come to school after hours and get her work. She finished the year out, but it was a miserable freshman year.

Strange, last year she attended high school in Texas and had no problems.

This year I am prepared to homeschool if I need to. You have to be a member of a homeschool organization to homeschool in this state so I am checking them out in case I need to join one. I am looking at online course options.

I think that it is sad that I have to think of pulling my child out of school because of bullies. I guess the bullies win when you do that but I am not going to have my child walking down the hallways of school in tears.

I really hope that this year will be better for Sarah. I want her to have some good memories of high school. However, I am not going to allow it to continue as long as it did the first year. I will be quicker to pull her out if I need to.

What memories do you have of high school? Do they include bullying?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Splash Day

Splash day at VBS. The kids were excited about it all day. We took a trip to WalMart earlier and they wanted to bring their swimsuits and towels. Naturally it started pouring at 4pm and we thought that it might be cancelled. Thankfully it stopped raining at 5:45 pm and stayed dry long enough for the kids to have their fun, then it started raining again. I am hoping it will stop so I can put up my lights tonight. That may not happen.
My kids had no fear of the slide and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Why can't my life just be simple?

We went to VBS today. I took the girls so that they could volunteer and the little ones so they could participate. The little ones had a great time, Sarah was frustrated and Joselin moped the entire time.
They really didn't have it set up well for teenage volunteers. They wanted them to go find people who needed help. That doesn't work well with my shy child. I was doing kitchen detail so I left to go find a spot for Sarah. She found a place to help with the 2-3 year old crowd. It would have been really nice if they had the teenagers more involved.
Joselin just came and found me, sat down and moped. She has perfected the art of moping and I find it very annoying. I told her to go elsewhere since I had work to do and didn't care to watch her.
I think that tomorrow I will just leave Joselin at home. She can't stand to do anything with the church or any volunteer type activities.
I had a good time in the kitchen. I think that because I have so many kids and am so committed to foster care folks expect me to volunteer with the kids. However, I prefer the kitchen, I have kids all day and I enjoy a break.

On the home front I decided to work on my outside lights. I have three sets and none of them are working. First step was to check the outlet, which was fine. Next step was to check the light bulbs. Uh, not so fine.

Have you seen this type of light bulb?

I couldn't find it at Lowe's or WalMart. If either of those places don't sell it then I don't want to deal with it. I looked online and found some for $8.99 plus shipping. Kind of expensive considering I am not sure if that is even the problem. The timer and/or wiring could be the problem.
So, skip that step and see if a new light will work connected to the old wiring. If it did that would mean the light bulbs needed replacing.

Nope, new light on old wiring didn't work.

So, I thought that maybe I could attach old wiring to the new timer. I liked the old timer because it was a basic, came on when it got dark. So simple, I couldn't mess it up.

Well, couldn't do that, the new timer has a funky connection that was attached to the new wiring.

So, that means I am going to have to do new lights, timer and wiring. I hooked up the new wiring to the new timer and added a light and it worked. I have I will do the rest tomorrow in the light.

That seems to be my life lately. No simple fixes. Some, OK, many of my children are dealing with issues that don't have simple fixes. I really wish that I could fix some of their issues. Instead, I have to try different things and find new ways to approach issues.

Some days the light comes on and some days it doesn't.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Transition Day

Sundays are bittersweet around here. We attend church in the mornings and then go to lunch together as a family. We have a great time until we get home and then John starts packing to go back to Augusta. He really doesn't want to go. If he ever won the lottery I know he would quit his job and stay home. Well, I guess we would have to play the lottery first! We have just started this schedule and it already seems to be too long.

However, I know that we have it good. He is only 1 1/2 hours away and can get home quickly if needed. He has a good job and has no concern of losing it. We really can't complain. Actually, since we started living this split lifestyle I have been amazed at how many families are living this way out of necessity. I know that we aren't the only family that is living separated, but it still doesn't make it fun.

Well, enough of the whining.

Tasha was in town for my birthday and we got to spend some quality time together. We went to World Market to buy a gift for her husband. He will be back in a few weeks from Afghanistan and she has been busy preparing for his homecoming.

While we were there I found this little tee pee. Yea, I know that it won't last long. Typically I am lucky to get a few weeks out of one of these little playhouses. However, the kids really seem to enjoy them and I haven't been able to do much with the outside playhouse. It has been too hot to work on it, it would be too hot to play inside for long anyways.

Two of my little ones checking it out.
There is just something about this picture that I love. I can see the love that Tasha has for Larissa in it. My oldest and youngest daughters have a special bond.

The weather has been oppressively hot all week and we have been needing rain terribly. Naturally we got rain just when we went to the ice cream social at church.

We sat in the car for a little bit to see if it would blow didn't.

Don't they look excited? Actually they were all intent on eating their ice cream.

Tomorrow VBS starts at the church we have been attending. The girls and I are volunteering and the little ones will be attending. What better way to try out a church then to volunteer at it.
It should be an exciting week and maybe we just might get something accomplished, or maybe not.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I Do Believe I Gained 10 lbs Today

Yes, I gained some weight today, it was worth it! John made me a German Chocolate cake.....from scratch.

Tasha put on the frosting.

Larissa helped.........

and sat by ready with her plate.

Ohhhh, it is so good.

I also did Larissa's hair today. She had been looking rather ragged. We actually cheated today. I had her put on her swimsuit and we washed her hair outside and then I put in the conditioner and let her run around and play with it in her hair. I don't know if it was the extra time in her hair or the new product, but it was easier to comb out today.

Tasha was around today so I gave her a little instruction in hair care. The idea of leaving moisturizer in the hair was new to Tasha.
If something were to happen to my husband and I, Tasha and David will be raising the kids. I think that Tasha and David would have a learning curve but would do great. However, I know that they wish us a long and healthy life.
I think that I need to go get me just a little sliver of that cake.

Friday, June 25, 2010

What! I am how old?

My birthday always seems to shock me. I don't really remember most days how old I am. Mainly I figure out how old my husband is and subtract 5 years, it seems to work pretty well.

Today I am 47 years old, funny I don't feel that old. Birthdays really don't bother me, 20, 30, 40, doesn't matter. Inside I feel young so that number doesn't really matter to me.

Gray hairs don't bother me, I have no interest in coloring my hair. Wrinkles are going to stay because they are mine and add character.

Actually, I feel quite young.......I thought that I was 47 earlier in the year until my kids told me I was only 46.

Tasha came to town to help celebrate so we had a nice group at O'Charlies. I had to laugh when the waiter asked if there would be separate checks and I told him that they were all my kids.
Such a blessing for my birthday.
Tomorrow John is going to make me a homemade German Chocolate cake, I may gain a few pounds, more of me to love.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Too Much Idle Time

Give a boy a shell and a little idle time.....................
and he will give you a little art. Uh, unfortunately on the furniture!

I am not sure what these are.........shells maybe?

However, I can definately tell that he can write his numbers up to 11.

The consequence was to keep him busy and out of trouble......he got to pick up the play area.
On the good news front Larissa had a speech evaluation today. I was pleasantly surprised with how much she responded to the tester. She has finally reached the point where she will answer questions directed to her. She started out in a high pitch voice and as she got comfortable her tone changed to her normal little self.
Two years ago when we really started early interventions we were really worried. At that point she wouldn't even talk to us if someone else was in the room. Eventually she reached the point where she would whisper to us. Then she learned to just ignore that someone was in the room and talk to us.
I have seen slow progression and it has really shown me the positive effects of early interventions. I believe that at some point she won't even be labeled with selective mutism. Perhaps a little quiet and shy and that is OK.
So, overall it was a good day, great testing and the play area got cleaned.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Joselin's Homecoming

We went back to the Columbia airport today. We made it through the crowd in the garage heading to the is seriously that clean.

This gentleman had an interesting carry on bag......

We sat around in the rocking chairs.

Then Larissa complained of a stomach ache. I am not sure if she is coming down with something, was anxious or overtired. She had a rough night last night and finally went to sleep in a pair of my pj's.
Finally, she had to have some serious lap time with momma.

The plane arrived on time.........

Joselin was happy to be home.

We had to have lunch at her favorite place.....San Jose. Thankfully, Larissa was feeling better.

Joselin says that she is so happy to be home. She says that she never realized until she left that this felt like home to her. She says that you don't really appreciate your family until they are gone.
Reentry was the journey begins anew.


In two hours we will be leaving for the airport to pick up Joselin. Uh, I hope that she will be there. She has to change flights in Atlanta and says she is too old for an escort. This is her second flight alone so she should be fine. However, there is a small part of my mommy me that worries (OK maybe a little bigger then small). We have flown with her several times so she knows the routine.

I realized that I blogged a lot yesterday. I guess I must be anxious. Do you blog more when you are anxious?

I did receive a call from speech this morning and Larissa has approval and an appointment tomorrow. I received a call from Larissa's neurologist in San Antonio and he mailed me her CD with her EEG yesterday. I really like that neurologist, he wants me to call him after she sees the neurologist here to see what they are doing for her.

Yesterday, we got a little kiddie pool because of the heat and unfortunately there are no pictures of Anthony. He had bad timing lying to me, right before Sarah offered to take them out and set up the pool. Consequences just are not fun.

Larissa had a great time practicing putting her face in the water.

Gabby is doing well. Wonder if she should have called her stubby.
Getting big and ferocious.

Now, 1 hour 50 minutes until we leave for the airport.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Loss of Siblings

Today we ran into C. He is Larissa and Anthony's older biological brother. We ran into him at Kentucky Fried Chicken, actually I should say he ran to them. He literally came running across the parking lot calling to them.

C is older, he has more memories of my two littles. Anthony seems to remember C from the three years of visitation, Larissa not so much. I know that their older brother D took care of them at times. I would imagine that C did as well.

When my two came into foster care the older brothers were already in care. They have a different father then my two so no attempt was made to place them together. We did offer to take C but he was in a home that was interested in adopting him.

All four of these kids have a younger sibling who came into care while we were in Texas. She was placed in a medically fragile home.....different father yet again.

Five siblings placed in four different homes. Such a loss for these kids.

We do what we can. We are open to meetings and share pictures. However, I know that isn't the same as living in the same home and sharing life experiences.

Joselin has also lost a sibling. She has a younger brother who was placed for adoption in a different hogar making it impossible for them to be adopted together. I am not sure why their birthmother chose to do that because she told Joselin that they would be adopted together. That was a terrible betrayal for Joselin. She can't understand it of seem to forgive her mother for it.

Joselin thought of that brother as her child. She was given the responsibility of taking care of him. She carried him on her hip and tended to all his needs while her mother was gone. That loss has ripped a huge hole in her heart.

We did find her brother, he was adopted by a family up north. We have swapped pictures and she has provided them with a lot of information about his early 18 months. However, she yearns for him. I think that the loss of her brother has been one of the biggest impediments to Joselin's healing.

So, what do I do? I can't give her brother back to her. At this point all I can do is keep the lines of communication open and one day when they are older they can determine where their relationship will go.

Maybe one day we will take a trip up north.........

Two Steps Back, One Step Forward

Well, I received two calls today. Not two calls I wanted!

Larissa was scheduled for speech tomorrow, problem is the doctor office didn't put in to Tricare for permission. So, although they referred it, I can't go until they request it from Tricare.

Second call came from Larissa's neurologist. They want her to do her EEG again. I stated that she had one done not too long ago. They won't see her without a CD of that EEG. Thankfully Nurse Betty in San Antonio is a life saver again and is going to have a CD sent to me. Of course, it may take up to two weeks to get it.

So, we are going for an oil change to make my husband happy and then some retail therapy for myself (at Wallyworld).

Maybe things will improve today.

Quiet Morning

Normally I post at night after the kids have gone to bed. In the mornings I normally go do yard work before the kids get up. However, after yesterdays headache I am taking a break this morning.

I sit here in my strangely quiet house and it feels odd. I can't imagine how I would do with no kids to fill the house with noise. They are such a joy to me and when they are acting up I need to remember that.

Ha, speaking of acting up kids, Anthony is now moved downstairs so we now have only girls upstairs. We have to decide what ages of children we are willing to accept as foster parents. When Sarah was the youngest it was easy, we were open to kids a few years younger then her. Now that I have two little ones, it is not so easy. I have an empty bedroom and FROG upstairs so I can take anyone to fill it. However, because of issues with even young boys we are thinking that for the safety of our kids we can take girls or very young boys (under the age of 2).

My day is ahead of me and I am not sure what I plan on doing with it. I am frustrated with the number of things that I need to do but never get responses to. I was supposed to hear from Larissa's school last week and never did. Sarah's school said they would call 2 or 3 days later and it has been more then a week. I need to call today to see if the doctors office has received my kids medical files yet. I need to make several appointments. I called the neurologist office and never received a response. If others would only do what they say then I might just get something accomplished.

I think I might make my husband happy and go get an oil change done on my car today. I have needed to do it for several weeks and I am not sure why I have such a difficult time getting it done. Most of the time when I think about it, the place is closed. So, I will put that on my list for today. Hmmm, hopefully I will remember to actually do it!

I need to get our cars registered here as well. That means that I have to go pay personal property tax on each vehicle (yuck) as well as registration and title transfer. Sounds like an expensive job so I don't know if I am feeling like doing it today. It entails going to two different places to get the job done.

Tomorrow we will be picking Joselin up at the airport. She sounds excited to be coming home and the kids are ready for her to be back. I am ready for her to be back as well. I have missed her.

Well, the house is too quiet, I think I may go do just a little yard work this morning. We will see what this day brings.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Slow Day to a Helping Hand

I spent most of my day in bed. I woke up with a terrible headache. One of those types that makes you nauseated if you stand up. I guess it is a migraine. I am just glad that I don't really get them very often and that I had a teenager on hand to watch the little ones.

I received some mail from the Medicaid office wanting copies of the kids shot records. Seemed like an odd request to me. I took them up this afternoon along with some paperwork for DSS for our foster care licensing.

I wasn't up to cooking dinner so I took the kids out. We went to Target afterwards to get some new hair products for Larissa. Her hair is changing and I am not happy with her current products. I have found some that I want to order online but in the mean time I wanted to try something new.

Cindy called me while I was there and I told her that I was looking for Larissa some different hair products. I actually had a lady come up to me and ask me if she could help me, she heard me talking on my cell phone.

I told her that I was always willing to take suggestions. She said that she was very hesitant to say anything to me but thought she would try. She told me that the world is changing and that she was happy to see our colorful family.

I really don't mind if someone gives me advice on hair care. I am always willing to learn something new. I try to keep Larissa's hair up, I really care. Don't assume that I don't care when she is having a bad hair day.

I really don't care if folks stare at us either, I know that for the most part they are curious.

I don't mind if they ask questions either.

What I do mind is when they choose to say negative things to us in front of my children.

Yes, that has happened. We have been accused of taking our children from their culture and how they won't be raised right. Well, I'm not sure what my children's specific culture would be, my little ones are black, Puerto Rican and white. I hope she doesn't want me to raise them to be in jail like their dad. Honestly, I think of them as Americans.

Ah, but I am not naive. I know that there are things that they need to learn as black children in America. I know that they will have difficulties and will be judged based on their skin tone. They need to be prepared for that.

Sometimes it is hard because I don't see their skin tone, I see my children.

I wish that the rest of the world did too.