Tuesday, November 30, 2010


What a head full of hair! I'll have you know that you gave me some major heartburn.
You also gave us a shock, we had been told you would be a boy. What a pleasant surprise you were.
You made it the closest to the shared December due date you, Jason and Sarah had. 21 years ago today you weighed in at 6 lb 1 oz and were 19 1/8 inches long.
You were the easiest delivery and easiest baby. You slept through the night your first week home, you slept through the night before Jason did.
At 5 weeks old you were holding that head up and looking for places to go.

Beautiful inside and out.

This was shortly after you cut your hair. We both cried because we loved doing up your hair. You didn't realize that it was permanent.

At that age you were into dresses. I had no clue of the tomboy to come.

Ah, the projects we did. You need to spend some time home so I can show you how to sew because I know that one day (not soon) you will be doing the same with your kids. You left home too quickly, I still had so much to show you.

All too soon you were 18! We had a great time in New York City, just you and me. Mmmmm, I'll always remember the best hot apple cider ever!
It even snowed for us.
Before I knew it you were in love and getting married. So young and in such a hurry. You were a beautiful bride.

I am so proud of the woman you have become. Now our relationship is changing into a more adult relationship. It is a relationship I cherish. But, there are days I think of you as that baby in the first picture, it really wasn't so long ago in my mind.
Love you.
August....keep your calender free.
Come with us to the place of your birth.
Get that passport updated, we have made reservations.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Change for the Better, I Hope

What can I say! Do not become a foster parent if you can't stand change.
Yesterday I told John that I was 90% sure that the kids would go home on their court date. He wondered why it wasn't 100%,. Well, nothing is 100% with foster care.
Today I am 50% sure that the kids will go home on their court date. Things have changed. Actually they have changed for the better and I hope the change sticks.
I am sure that the kids will go home at some point, just not sure if this month isn't a little too soon. I think that the biggest factor is that it will be a week before Christmas....who knows what the judge will decide.
So, I will not know if the babies will be here for Christmas until the very last minute. At least shopping for toys for little ones is fun.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


It is hard to believe that 17 years ago Sarah was born. She was born at Scott AFB, we were stationed in St. Louis at the time. She had the same due date in December as Tasha and Jason. Nice of her to come a little early.
She weighed in at a whopping 5lb 15 oz and was 18 inches long. She did not fit into any of her clothing.
When she was born she was so fair that the nurses turned to John and told him that he couldn't deny this child was his!

Jason and Tasha were thrilled to have a baby to play with. You were (are) quite spoiled.

We took this picture with the bunnies because you refused to get your picture taken anywhere else. You cried everywhere we took you. Finally we found the place with the bunnies and you were happy.
You were 5 years old when we finally received a diagnosis of neurofibromatosis. We struggled for years trying to determine what your medical mystery was.

You are such a beautiful child and have such a strong will to achieve so much in life. Some might call it hardheaded.

In spite of the fact that you are now 17 years old, you are still my baby.

You are so very much loved.

It is hard to believe that next year you will be graduating from high school. Soon you will be leaving home and venturing out on your own. I don't think that I am ready for that. It just seems like you have grown up so quickly and it was just yesterday that you were born. What an adventure it has been.

Next year, November 27th, you and me in New York City!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Growing Up

Last night Larissa brought it to our attention that she had TWO loose teeth. I am not ready for my baby to loose any teeth!
After struggling through turkey Larissa allowed me to pull one of them.

Pulling one made the other one real loose.

She tried to pull it herself.

Tasha offered some assistance but Larissa was not too sure. I can't blame her, the last tooth Tasha helped to pull with Joselin's. She tied a string to it and did the door knob thing....the tooth actually came out.

Larissa decided to take the offer of help and Tasha pulled it on the first attempt.

Two very tiny teeth came out today.

My baby is growing up. I wonder how much longer she will let me call her my baby.

Do I Look Calm?

Last night John was stuck in traffic trying to come home so I ventured out to the local pizza joint with the kids.
Only 5 kids; Sarah, Anthony, Larissa and the two foster babies. I guess we were interesting looking because Sarah complained that everyone was staring at us.
We eat out a lot (probably too much, OK, yea, too much) so the kids know how to behave. They also like to eat which helps keep them occupied.
So we sat and ordered our food, visited and then ate when the food came. The kids did really well and we enjoyed our meal.
At the end of our meal a couple came to our table.
The lady asked me if I felt calm right now. I thought it was an odd question, wondered if I was missing something. I told her I felt pretty calm. She said that she noticed that I was calm. She said that she also noticed how well behaved all the kids were considering how many little ones I had. Then she said with GREAT emphasis....."I would be going CRAZY, I don't know how you do it."
Hahahaha, I thought she was going to complain about something and instead she was complementing me. Funny how normal to me is unusual to others.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Making Room for a Tree

You would think that with a 3800 sq ft home we would have lots of room for a Christmas tree. Well, that is not the case. We bought as thin of a tree as possible a few years ago and we still have no room. Part of the problem is little ones and their busy hands.
I was able to clear a small corner in the old family room. The chair that used to sit there is now half way into the doorway.

Anthony and Larissa brought in the tree. (Jason actually brought it down from the garage)

So, my bare tree is standing. I think that this is the earliest it has been up in a long time.

Now we need to find time to decorate it.

I've Taken All I Can Stand!

It wasn't long ago that I swept under these and put them back together. They are driving me crazy!

Ack! Look at what I found when I moved a piece. Uh, I found your missing Consumer Reports dear.

I don't think that my husband would take too kindly to me throwing them out and starting all over. So.........out came my tools

and I screwed three sections together!

So, instead of a 4 piece sectional I now have a two piece sectional. MUCH more doable in my book. Still, I will never buy a sectional again unless it has some way of screwing together. These just have little slots that slide together (and apart).

Now, back to cleaning a spot for the Christmas tree.....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Are you Ready?

I stepped out and it was raining. I thought it was not a good sign. However, there aisles of WalMart were nearly empty except for......

A lot of black pallets. Is that where they get the term "Black Friday" from? I have no intentions of being anywhere near a store on Friday. Seems like they have new deals up until Christmas anyways.

I have some of my Christmas shopping done. Some kids are turning out to be more difficult then others. Seems like it is just not as much fun once they get out of toys..... and more expensive too!

I really don't like how Christmas has become so commercialized. Seems like every Christmas I do less and less decorating. Seems like it just becomes a chore.

One year we had a foster child who couldn't be trusted around the tree so we didn't put any ornaments on it. Larissa brought home an ornament she made in class. It was a cone with an ornament glued on to look like an ice cream cone. I put it on the tree and when we got up the next morning the ornament was hanging on the tree without the cone part.....M had eaten it!

Sigh, I guess I need to get a new Christmas spirit this year.


Is everyone ready for Thanksgiving? I definitely am not! All I have a this moment is a Butterball turkey sitting in the outside fridge.
Tomorrow is really too late and too crowded to go shopping. So, I must venture out tonight. It is the best time for me to go since Sarah can babysit.
Yet, why am I sitting here procrastinating?
I have a list and it is entirely too long. It is amazing how much money we spend on this one meal!
Ugh, I gotta go....anyone want to go for me?
I wonder how many other folks think that night time is the best time to go.
Wish me luck....I am off to Wally World.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Harmful Words

Lately I have noticed the toll that harmful words take. Just yesterday Larissa said that her thighs are too fat. Then last night when I was doing her hair she talked about how ugly her hair is. We have not been able to determine where she is getting these ideas from. I do know that at one time she said a girl at the playground at school said her hair is ugly.
This upsets me. She is a beautiful child. Why at the age of 5 is she already questioning how she looks? Why do kids have to be so mean?
Weesie, your hair is beautiful! Just the way God intended it to be.

Actually, it is not always kids. Tasha was home last weekend and she was telling me about an incident that happened when she was 5 years old at a Girl Scout camp. She was sitting with her friend K when an adult came up to them and said, "K is actually pretty but Tasha just thinks she is". What! Why would an adult say that to my child. Tasha never told me about that until now....17 years later. She still remembers it like it happened yesterday.
Tasha you were more then a pretty girl at 5 years old and you are beautiful today inside and out.

Sometimes the words can be from a parent to their child. For years I held a secret. I thought that I had shared it with all my children but I realize that I had only shared it with Sarah when she was struggling with the bullying. When I was 20 years old I tried to commit suicide.

My parents had divorced and I was struggling. I was in college in a major I didn't want to be in. I wanted to do oceanography and then psychology. My dad was so against those that I put them aside to major in what he wanted. Only problem was in the end what he wanted wasn't what I wanted. I quit. I was weak at the time and confused.

When my dad found out I quit he started calling me night and day. I don't know how many times he told me I would not amount to anything. I was worthless. At the time I thought that my dad was the greatest. We had a good relationship, so I thought. I realize that it was only good when I was doing what he wanted. The harassment continued and I would call it bullying.

At some point I started to believe him. I was lost. I didn't know where to go from that point. I was worthless.

One night I took a bunch of pills and alcohol and went to bed figuring that all my problems would be solved. After all, I was worthless so what did it matter.

In the middle of the night my phone rang. I tried to get up and answer it...but couldn't. I fell to the floor because my legs were totally numb. I crawled to the bathroom and threw up then went back to bed. I believe that whoever called me in the middle of the night saved my life.

When I woke up the next afternoon I realized that that was the stupidest thing I had ever done. I also realized that I needed to get away. I joined the Army reserves and left town.

It is not something I would ever do again. However, I do understand how at that moment it all seems hopeless. At that moment it is hard to believe that things will get better. How powerful words are and how much damage they can cause.

I didn't tell anyone what I was planning. Everyone would have been shocked. I also wish that I had been able to talk to some of my friends before and afterwards but I felt too stupid.

My relationship with my dad has never been good since. One day I talked to him about that night and he said, "bullshit, you're lying". I am sure that I am still worthless to him. I am sure that he would consider me a failure. If he knew I was going to school for teaching he would look down on it. His motto was "those that can....do, those that can't....teach".

At that time my dad was a Christian. It took me many years before I was willing to open a Bible. Even then it was because I was attending a Baptist University and I had to study the Bible. I graduated from Wayland Baptist University in 1999. It took me a lot of years to make my way back to school.

I have come to realize that in so many ways I am not worthless. I have learned not to worry so much about what others tell me about myself. Quite frequently their words are worthless. Those negative words no longer have their power over me because I know who I am now. It took me a long time, but knowing who you are is more powerful then all those negative words thrown your way.

So, speak gently to your kids today. Tell them how great they are and how you love them for being themselves.

A Small Vent

Why won't they let little girls be little girls? We went shopping yesterday and I wanted to get Larissa some new dresses. She has made the move from 6X to 7. Do you realize that when you move up to size 7 you move up to adult looking clothing?
We went to Kohl's and we struggled to find any dresses she liked. She did not like the adult looking clothing. She did find one dress she liked. I liked it too..........

Perfect for a 5 year old. Unfortunately it was the only dress we found that she liked.

She was bound and determined to wear it today so I put a white t-shirt with it. It came with a long sleeve polka dotted shirt but it is supposed to get to 79 degrees today. Where is our fall weather?

I really need to make some time to get back to sewing. I see so many cute fabrics at the store these days.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Weekends are Too Short

The weekends seem way too short. John is already back in Augusta and I am back to being a single parent until Wednesday night.
It is very quiet here tonight which is a rare thing. All the kids (including the teenager) and tucked into bed. Larissa is asleep in my bed since I am having her sleep with me when John is gone. She is really struggling with something right now. Saturday morning (about 4 am) she crawled into bed with us, she hasn't done that in a long time.
I got quite a few of my projects done this weekend. I didn't have much time today because of church and shopping.
Sarah's new, old bed has been stripped and I think painted. I will know tomorrow if it needs another coat of paint or not. It was dark by time I finished. I thought that it must have been late but it was only 5:30. I am not liking this daylight savings time stuff.
Stripping this thing took forever. That bed is solid steel and very heavy. I am not sure how old it is but it cost me $40 on Craigslist. That is the same amount I spent on the TV/entertainment center. On each item I gave myself a limit of $50 and I wanted something I could refinish.
I finished painting Sarah's bedroom tonight. That white bed is going to look great against that wall color.
On the school side I finished the observation assignment and the graduate writing assignment for another class. I only have a 10-12 page APA format writing assignment left. It is due on December 6th but I have tow finals that day and don't want to be writing a paper at the same time.
I also have drill in Greensville the weekend before finals so it should be interesting. December 6th will be here REAL soon. I am looking forward to the break. Hopefully I can get some home projects done over the break. I still need to make windows and a door for the playhouse and the list seems to never end.
About church....we are still searching. Our membership is still with our church in San Antonio. The one we went to this weekend is a very contemporary church. Sarah has really liked it in the past but John doesn't like the music. He likes the old hymns. They also don't have many opportunities to attend church. They rely on small groups meetings in the home. That is great if you can get into a group. Last time we attended there we were not able to get into a study group. However, the nursery is very well managed and they don't have any crying kids so Kiwi does very well there.
I mention this because the sermon this morning was on how you see yourself versus how God sees you. How the way we view ourselves often determines how we act. For example, when a thin person sees them self as fat they set themselves up for eating problems. If you say you are a sinner who is saved you act differently then someone what says they are saved and occasionally sin. I can't tell it as well as the minister but it really got me to thinking. How do I see myself today? It is so different then how I saw myself years ago. Which leads me to.....
Words.....they are such powerful things. I think I will leave it for tomorrow, but sometimes words can hurt very badly. Even words from a parent to a child.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

One Project Done

One week ago........

I went to Lowe's and got a can of paint and some shelving. After painting the walls I realized that whoever had painted it last time had really run over onto the cabinets. I REALLY wasn't in the mood to do cabinets and trim work. I also knew that if I didn't do it now I wouldn't ever get to it and it would bother me all the time. So, I told myself that if I had the white paint then I would do the cabinets and trim.
Naturally I did have the white paint on hand.

Paint job done, ready for the shelving. We went back and forth over how to design the space. Ideally the cabinets would have come out and I would have had a clean slate to work with. However, I didn't feel up to the task.

Funny, I actually really like this color and I picked it out very quickly. Normally I agonize over colors. I figured it was a closet so the color is not too critical.

I originally was going to add some built-in shelving designed by myself. However, after looking at the wire shelving at Lowe's I decided to go with that.

You will notice some spackling in spots. My stud finder went on the fritz. After drilling some holes and not finding any studs I realized that the stud finder thought that there were studs 3 inches apart. That went into the trash and I went in search of a different stud finder.

You need to realize that as a military family we have two (sometimes three) of many things. When you move and boxes are not unpacked yet (or you have no clue where it is) you have a tendency to buy duplicate (well, at least we do). I am currently down to only one stud finder, thankfully it does work.

Well, it is finished at this point.

What do you think?

I still have some space for other shelving or baskets. I am waiting to see how the space evolves before I add more. It is kind of empty now but that won't last long.
Now I think I may do a little painting in Sarah's room before I sit down to work on one of my assignments.
(Thanks to the hubby for watching the kids while I work on my projects. Also for being the muscle man and cutting down my shelving for me. Love ya)

Weekend Objectives

I have been patching up the closet in preparation for a paint job. I hope to get a lot done on the closet this weekend so I can get some stuff out of my bedroom.
It has required a lot of patching, sanding and cleaning up.

I also need to work on Sarah's room. Tasha helped me paint some, where there wasn't furniture...we were in a lazy mood. I need to move furniture and shelving and paint the rest.

This is the color she picked. The picture color is actually pretty accurate.

I am also stripping a bed I bought for her on Craigslist. It is a very old iron bed, weights a ton. I hope that it is salvageable because her I ordered her a full size mattress and it should come in next week.
Last night I was up until 1:30 am, I took and online quiz and finished my paper for my classroom observation. I need to tackle two other papers. One of them is in APA format and has to be at least 10 pages. This semester will be over on December 6th when I have two of my finals. Too fast!
I hear the kids barking like dogs and toys being thrown everywhere.....I dread looking into the play area. Ahhh, the baby is fussing so I'm off. Lets see what I can actually get done!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Foster Care

Yesterday our foster children had visitation. They visit with their parents and other siblings one hour every other week. We also got confirmation that they anticipate that the kids will go home on their court date in December. The parents have worked their plan.
Normally this would make me happy. It is unusual for us to actually see parents work their plan. However, this is a strange case. The parents have worked their plan but the initial reason for the kids coming into care has not been resolved. I expect that they will be in care again.
There are 4 siblings. Three of them have no attachments.......to anyone. The baby has an attachment....to us. It is hard. You want to help them to have attachments but then wonder what the separation will be like for them, especially the babies.
The baby cried yesterday when the social worker took her away for visitation. It gave me flashbacks to when they had to peel a screaming, crying Larissa off my neck for her visitation. Sigh, the baby had tears rolling down her chubby cheeks. What will it be like for her to return to a home where none of the kids have developed attachments?
I forgot to warn Anthony and Larissa that the kids would be at visitation when they got home. They walked in the door and asked if the kids were gone. I assured them that I would let them know when the kids were going home. Sometimes I wonder if kids coming and going is actually bad for Anthony and Larissa. They seem to understand the concept. However, lately I have been thinking of doing just one more adoption and then not fostering anymore.
I just don't know. Some days being a foster parent is really hard. Some days I would love to just sleep in, be lazy, go to the movies without coordinating child care. However, I really feel that good foster homes are needed. I feel that we meet the need.
It would be easier to say, let someone else do it.
But, the things we would have missed out on.....
In the end we need to ask, why not me?