Friday, July 29, 2011

Having Fun


Larissa and Anthony had their first snorkeling experience today.  Last port of call and we are heading home.  I do believe that we have all gained a few pounds.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On Vacation

We are having a great vacation.  I would love to load some pictures but the internet at sea is extremely slow.  I guess I shouldn't complain since we do have internet when we are in the middle of nowhere!

This will be my last post until we get back.

Come back Monday if you are curious about our cruise.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Ocean is Huge!

Hello from somewhere in the middle of the ocean.  Security felt about the same as getting on a plane except that when we looked out the window we saw a cruise ship instead of a plane.

This is mainly a picture post since internet is not cheap out in the middle of the ocean.


The older kids are just a few rooms down.

It is nice to have built in babysitters.  Tasha watched the kids while we went to a comedy show.  Sarah is babysitting tonight for another show.

Sarah got her first virgin pina collata.

More to come..........

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Much Needed Vacation

We are visiting with old friends and relaxing in Florida before we head out on our cruise.  You will notice that Joselin is not with us.  She is not able to go for two reasons; she destroyed her paperwork so I wasn't able to get her a passport and she was not around when we booked our cruise.  She is spending the week with her Aunt Cindy.

The ocean is such an interesting place to powerful and beautiful.

You can tell we are visitors by the pictures we take. Locals don't think much of the bird on the truck but we were excited enough to take pictures.

I feel that we do need this vacation.  Sad to say, but we needed this vacation without Joselin.  She came home only because she thought she was pregnant and her boyfriend kicked her out.  She is not pregnant. 

The initial shock of her boyfriend betraying her caused her to rethink some of the things she was doing.  When she first came home she was nice to everyone, was willing to talk with our minister....basically talking the good talk.  Slowly her cracks are showing.  She is getting meaner and meaner to the little ones, stealing from her sisters, slacking on her one chore, getting mouthy, lying, and connecting with too many guys on the internet.  I try to talk to her about her sliding and she will bring up the positive things she has done.....bringing a boy to the house for us to meet (versus meeting him on the sly, but she does meet with other guys on the sly) and being willing to talk with our minister (something she has never done).

So badly I want for her to make some positive life changes for herself.  I want for her to make good choices.  But I have a feeling that she will completely revert right back to her old ways as soon as the effect of her last fiasco has dimmed.  Now she smarter and knows that life is not so easy out there as she thought.  I feel in my gut that she is just saying what she needs to say because she doesn't have another place to go.

The first night she spent with her aunt she had one of her friends pick her and my 17 year old nephew up.  Cindy said they could go out.  However, they did come back until 5 pm the next day. 

Oh geez, I do need this vacation.  I hope that no hurricanes head our way!

I hope that everyone has a great week while I am away.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Busy Days

Summer is going by so fast.  Suddenly I don't feel as though I have enough hours in each day.  I am trying to fit lots of appointments in all of a sudden.  I guess that comes with procrastination.

Sarah saw the geneticist this week.  She was originally diagnosed with neurofibromatosis 12 years ago.  Back then there was no genetic testing available.  At the time she had the bare minimum symptoms to be diagnosed with NF1.  Over the years she has seen many specialists.  She also had annual MRI's for an optic glioma.  Several years ago she developed an allergy to the contrast that is given during the MRI.  The optic glioma didn't change in all the years we had the MRI done.  One technician even suggested that perhaps it was just a thickening of the optic nerve and not an optic glioma.

Well, after Sarah developed the contrast allergy I decided that she would not get any more MRI's unless her eyesight changed rapidly or she developed other symptoms.  We also stopped going to the neurologist and endocrinologist for annual check ups.  They just seemed pointless since nothing new was ever going on.

Since it had been so many years since her diagnosis we (her doctor and I) thought that she should be reevaluated.  So Sarah and I got to visit the geneticist.  Sarah had a group of 4 doctors poking and prodding her.  They said that she definitely has NF1 but it is a less severe case medically.  They do believe that her LD are a result of the NF1.  She has about 10 cafe spots, just a few lisch nodes, couldn't tell if she had freckling in the right spots because she is thoroughly freckled all over.  She also has one small neurofibroma on the sole of her foot.

So, in the end they agreed with our course of action.  They said not to worry about the optic glioma unless her eyesight changes rapidly.  Don't worry about all of the specialists unless she has a new problem crop up.  Don't worry about the neurofibroma unless it starts to grow and causes problems.  They said that they would send us a reminder to come for a recheck in a year but that if we had no new concerns don't bother to come in.  Apparently she has a chance of developing high blood pressure so we should have that checked annually....that one was new to me.

Sarah did well when they were talking about everything.  She has heard it all before and has always known that she could give it to her children.  However, when she came home she looked up neurofibroma and realized that it was a tumor.  She panicked at that point.  I explained to her that it may never grow and typically they are not cancerous.  Apparently having a neurofibroma is not as scary as having a tumor.
I also had Joselin in to see the doctor this week.  She is now officially 18 years old so she had to have a medical statement done for foster care.  Next she has to get fingerprinting done.  Seems like there is always something that has to be done with foster care.

I received a call from an adoption social worker this week.  I asked her my rote question; will my 5 and 7 year old children be safe with your child(ren)?  So far I haven't gotten any further that that.  It still saddens me every time.  I don't know how I will react if I ever get a positive answer to that first question.

Other then that I have been doing laundry, preparing paperwork, making arrangements, prepping the house and pets for our vacation.  Our doctor was kind enough to give us motion sickness patches just in case.  I hope we don't run into any hurricanes.

Tomorrow I will be packing.  I am running out of time so I guess I should get packing.  I did get the suitcases down.  I know....procrastinator.

We also received a package in the mail from  I won a contest on her site and received some books in the mail.  The kids are really enjoying them.  Thanks...

I just realized that I need to cancel the paper and mail.  Oh, and get my oil changed.  Yea, tomorrow will be a busy day.

Have a great night!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mom and Larissa Outing

About a month ago we visited ChicFilA and they were having a drawing for free tickets to a local musical show.  Last week we got a call telling us that we had won two tickets.  Before the show we were given refreshments and a photo opp.

Larissa really enjoyed the show.  After the show we were taken back and Larissa was allowed to ride the car.

She also got to meet the cast......

and collect autographs......

and get hugs.

The entire experience was very positive.  Larissa was very interested in the dancing and paid a lot of attention to the entire performance.  We may go back and watch the next show they produce.

After the show we went to dinner together.  Can you guess where Larissa picked?

She ate a salad, some bread, all of her kids meal and half of mine!  I wonder if she is about to have a growth spurt.

She even picked broccoli and ate all of it. (Here she is eating MY shrimp after eating all of hers)

Over all, it was a lovely date with my youngest daughter.  She was so well behaved and a pleasure to spend company with.  She is growing up so fast!  Ack, too fast!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Revamped Office Space

I finished and I am very happy with my new space.  My old desk was way too small and I had been looking for a corner type desk on Criagslist.  I found one that came with a tall bookshelf and desk chair for $100.  It is solid wood.  The bookshelf went into Anthony's bedroom and the chair is sitting in the garage for now.  The desk came with a hutch but I didn't want to use it because I wanted to face out into the play area.

The back of the desk was supposed to face the wall so it didn't have a finished look to it.  I bought some fabric (on clearance) and velcroed it to the back.  Larissa likes to hide in the corner since it is hollow.  It will become a storage spot for something I am sure.

I bought all the clearance fabric, only 3 yards and I will be able to make some matching pillows for the sectional that sits in the same room.  I often wonder if I should so some window treatments in the room and if they would have had a lot of the clearance fabric I would have bought enough to do some type of window treatment.

I wonder how long I can keep it looking good.  Paperwork typically overwhelms me!

On to the next problem spot......the laundry area.

Friday, July 15, 2011

What I Have Been Up To

My space....what a mess!  EVERYTHING ends up here.  Command central needs a revamp and a bigger desk.

I have been filing, buying a new to me desk off of Craigslist, and attempting to declutter.  I'll be back when I am finished.


So my dear husband calls me this morning.  I know that it is not good because he tells me not to get too upset.  OK, that tells me I should get upset.

Remember not too long ago when all the government was about to shut down?  My husband was considered a non essential employee.  He would have been one of the folks laid off.

Now he is calling me telling me his leave may be cancelled because they had a unexpected big project come up!

Excuse me.....are you non essential or so important that you can't take a vacation with your family?

I thought he retired from the military.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Random Thoughts

We are getting closer to our cruise. 

I am getting more stressed.

It doesn't help that in the last few days my SW has been calling me asking me all types of fine detail questions about things that I have never had to have in a homestudy before.  Her supervisor wanted extra details.  Today she called me and told me that the homestudy is finally written but she realized that she doesn't have the letter of recommendations from our friends.  Uh, I know they were sent in February.  Doesn't matter, she can't find them so she needs them resent.  She also had to redo SLED checks because she couldn't find them.  YES, I am getting frustrated by the entire experience.  I would have thought that she would have realized that she was missing the letters of reference earlier.

Today I was on facebook venting about my homestudy and an old friend comes on and asks me how far we live from Clearwater, FL because she is taking a trip there.  Really, I have no idea where Clearwater is but I mentioned I'd be in Tampa next weekend.  A quick look and we realized we'd be real close.  We haven't seen each other since we met in DC in 2005.  So, we are leaving a day early for FL to hook up with old friends.

We leave in a little more then a week and I just made our hotel reservations for Tampa tonight.  Guess that was a good thing since we hadn't planned on going down a day early.  It is funny how technology can keep friends connected.

Tasha decided that she wants to go white water rafting before she deploys.  Naturally the planning falls on me.  I am currently researching for that unexpected trip.  It needs to be one of our cheap trips since I really hadn't budgeted for it.  It will be a weekend trip.

I have been keeping busy trying to declutter (still).  I started on my desk area and got frustrated with it so I moved to the laundry area.  I have made some progress there but my desk area is still a mess.  What do you do with all those little odd and ends?  All the little cords, papers, pieces of stuff.  The super glue, the computer parts, the whatnots?  They are driving me crazy.  They are all piled around my desk and get shuffled from place to place. 

Anyone have a great organization secrets?  I buy organizational stuff and then the baskets and such just get filled up and then I need more baskets.  I wonder if I am a hoarder on a smaller scale.

Foster care doesn't help at all.  We now have double baby stuff.  A lot!  You know, double cribs, double double strollers, single stroller, double car seats, extra booster car seats (may need them), high chair, bumbo seat.....need I mention swings and bassinets and toys?  and toys?  I also have containers of clothing that my kids have outgrown....we just may need them.  I know that as soon as I decide to have a garage sale and get rid of it all then I will get a call for a baby...probably doubled.

That is my life in a nutshell.....a mess.  Everything seems so disorganized right now and so many things undone.  Thus the stress.  Tomorrow I will go clean up some lose ends and make doctor appointments for some kids.  Maybe some things will clear up before school starts back up again. 

The summer is looking shorter and shorter.

I hope that everyone else is enjoying their summer.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Neglect and Pee

Funny, my post of pee seemed to get the most comments!  I appreciate all the suggestions.

I have noticed something in my years of fostering....there is a developmental period for a baby to recognize that dirty diapers are yucky.  Typically they recognize this because parents will change that stinky as soon as it is smelled.  So, what happens when the parent doesn't change that stinky?  When the parent lets the kid run around in it all day?

At some point the child doesn't recognize it as a stinky.  I have seen this.  With the littlest ones (I'd say under 6 months) we notice that they pick up on the idea that they don't like a dirty diaper.  As a matter of fact, they are quite vocal about it.

I don't know what the magical age is but I do feel that it is under 6-9 months old.  We got Anthony at the age of 2 1/2.  He wasn't potty trained.  We thought that we would never get him trained because he really didn't care if his diaper was stinky or not.  If the kid doesn't care what is the motivation?

We received Kiwi a little younger.  She didn't care either.  When Kiwi and her younger sister left after almost 9 months Kiwi still didn't care.  Her younger sister did.  I do believe that the baby will be much easier to potty train then Kiwi will be.  I wish Kiwi's parents lots of luck.

Neglect can lead to all types of issues, things that you really don't think about.  Abuse can also cause pee issues.  There is a benefit to having a stinky bed if you want to keep someone out of your bed.  Pee and other stinkies can be a defense mechanism. 

Who would have thought that pee could be so complicated?

Well, pee happens and so I have decided to let it be.  After his bag of pull ups are gone I am going to tell him he is turning 8 next month so no more pull ups.  If he pees he can get up and clean up his bed.  If he chooses not to then I probably won't notice it until close to bedtime and he can sleep on his mattress protector while I do laundry.

Does anyone know if cruise lines provide mattress protectors.  I wonder if I should take a plastic sheet.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I Need Help

This is a subject I don't normally talk about due to privacy of the offending party.  However, I am at my wits end.  Yes, it is a peeing issue.

My young son pees the bed about every night.  I put pullups on him.  They don't work!  I have tried many brands and he pees through them and onto his bed.  He wears a pull up every night and will leave the wet ones in every corner of his bedroom unless directed to throw them away every day.

Yes, I limit fluids after dinner and have tried getting him out of bed and into the bathroom before I go to bed (after midnight).  I have bought more plastic covers then I can count (he tears them after awhile).  I have bought plastic sheets that the elderly or sick typically use (he moves them around so they are useless).

I have tried to give him ownership.  Bought extra sheets and have told him to change his bedding when he has an accident.  He will not.  He will sleep in his pee for days on end if you don't check his sheet daily.  I have given that over to my dear husband.  He will sleep on the floor unless you tell him specifically to put a sheet back on.  He has slept on the floor and peed on the wood floors and I can't get the odor out.

I have talked to his doctor and she isn't concerned.  She says that he is still within the age where this is normal (he will be 8 next month).  

I am surprised that his mattress hasn't fallen apart given all the bleach I have poured on it.  I don't see a reason to replace it since he hasn't slowed down.

I am tired of doing laundry.  I don't understand how the odor doesn't bother him.  I wish he would change his sheet himself and take care of the issue.  Naturally, I will be delighted the day he stops peeing the bed!

Any suggestions out there on how to deal with this issue?  Any routines someone can suggest?  I am contemplating having him change his sheet every day, dry or not.  Not sure....oh, I just plain don't know what do to at this time.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Foster Care versus Straight Adoption

We are licensed to foster and now have a homestudy to adopt.  Currently we do not have any foster children or any adoptive hopefuls.

After seriously looking at straight adoption from foster care I am beginning to think that we will not be able to do it.  As a foster parent placements are not too difficult to decide.  They call you and really don't have a lot of information to give.  Unless the child is moving from another foster home they probably don't know how the child behaves.  In all of our cases they give us a name, age and a little information about why they are coming into care.  Based on that information we make the decision whether to accept the child or not.

It was easier when we didn't have little ones in the home.  We felt safe taking kids up to a certain age knowing that our teenagers could take care of themselves.  Now we have two younger kids and I worry about taking in older kids.  So far we have only been asked to foster little ones so it has been fine.

Now we are looking at adoptions and the history and behaviors of the children are well known.  For the most part we have had honest answers when we ask about behaviors.  Since we do have younger children there are certain behaviors that we can not take.  One of them being sexual issues.  I don't care for my children to become victims in their own home.  Yes, we have had to say no to children for that reason.  Obviously we can't take kids when they say the child can not be left alone in a room with a male.  Also, some of the children are not a fit for our family because the child needs to be the youngest in the home. 

We are not as concerned with developmental delays or even certain mental illnesses.  We are trying to avoid a child with RAD but expect all children in foster care to have some level of attachment issues.  Obviously the children will have the effects of abuse and/or neglect.  We have seen how much neglect has harmed our two youngest.  Socially Anthony is still struggling today and he came to us at the age of 2 1/2.

We had assumed that we would do one more adoption and then get out of foster care.  However, I am seriously beginning to think that an adoption is not going to happen.  At this time there are no children that meet our criteria on the SC adoption photolisting site.  Keep in mind we are willing to take siblings, with delays, with some attachment issues, with some mental illness (depends on behaviors), with some physical issues (not wheelchair bound since our house wouldn't accommodate the child) and still we can't be matched. 

I see all these ads about how there are so many children needing adopted in foster care.  However, it seems like a majority of them can not be in a home with younger children.  I am sure that there are many exceptions, I just haven't been able to find them doing a vigilant search.

So, we sit here offering our home......and it sits empty.

It saddens me.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What a mess!

I spent my day shuffling around my clutter.  I did end up throwing away 2 bags of random toys.  That is hard to do when the kids are watching your every move!

Yes, that is some of my china on that top shelf.  With the dining room converted into a bedroom all my china has been sitting around.  I figured it would get dusty up there but not much danger of getting broken.

The kids computer desk.......

I took some of the wood left over from Larissa's bed build and made a shelving area for the printers.  It needs a little trim work and painted but does the job.

Tomorrow I will work on my desk area.  It is in really bad shape.  My computer desk is really not big enough for all the work that happens there.  I also have the quarterly visit for foster care.

Anyone else have problems with clutter control?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sick Kid at the Zoo......Maybe

We went to the zoo today.  We took some extra kids with us and I met up with a friend and her kids.  We don't typically socialize outside of our little group too often.  It sure was nice to meet up with another adult!

Larissa had a great time.

Anthony didn't.  He spent most of the time dramatically telling me he was sick but he couldn't tell me in what way.  I finally put him in the stroller so we could move past the benches. 

Anthony doesn't do heat well.  If he breaks a sweat he does not react well to it.  We really hadn't done much before he got sick.  Some walking around, it was hot and humid even at 9 am.  However, not enough to cause his symptoms.  I struggled with the idea that he was either sick or he wanted the attention. 

Later we were in the aquarium area (for the A/C) and he made the quickest recovery.  He was running around and getting the other kids to follow him.  Even when we stepped back into the muggy Tropical Rainforest area he maintained his recovery.

He was fine the rest of the day.

So, what do you think?  Ill with a quick recovery or attention seeking?  I wonder how he will do at our planned water park excursion. 

Tomorrow we are staying home to clean house.  Wish me luck!

Edited to add that I really thought he was attention seeking. His symptoms didn't match any illness I know of and they came so quickly and then left quickly when it was played out.  If the combat medic in me had really thought he had a heat injury I would have left.  His heat issue is why he is not involved in any outdoor sport.

Monday, July 4, 2011


I haven't posted in the last few days because I have been lazy.  Yep, I am lazy. Some days more than others.

We have been busy.....doing summer.  Eating, swimming, going to church, watching Tangled over and over (and over and over).  We got out over the weekend to watch Poppers Penguins and went to clearance sales. Yea, we aren't very exciting.

I truly need to answer some emails and get to the post office and bank.  I did make the kids a dentist appointment for tomorrow so I did do something on my list. 

In a few weeks we are heading off on a cruise.  We have been trying to decide what shore excursions to do.  Since we have never done a cruise before this is all new to us.  We did sign up to go snorkeling.  We don't care to afford many of the expensive excursions, they can sure add up quickly for a group our size.  We will be going to Mexico, Belize and a few other places.....anyone gone and have some suggestions for what to see?  or what to pack?

I have also been trying to decide how to rearrange the house.  It is quite possible that my mom may stay with us for a little while so I need to do some shuffling.  I also need to do some ramps. I am not sure how to do that in the house on the tile (2 steps).

 I am also contemplating doing a family closet.  Anyone have one?  I am thinking of building a spot for our recycling stuff too........

I guess I have been doing more thinking then doing lately.  Thinking is hard work.

In the morning we are going to the zoo (if it doesn't rain).  Good distraction for thinking.

Now I am off to listen to the fireworks.  Yep, too lazy to go anywhere.  We grilled hamburgers, ate apple pie and watermelon and then went swimming.  That was the extent of our 4th.  It is great to have the freedom to celebrate this day in whatever way we chose.

Happy 4th of July to everyone.

Friday, July 1, 2011


It is late and I should be in bed.  However, I can't sleep.

I am restless.  I feel as though my life is going to shift.  How........I could not tell you.

I look online at photolistings of children.  Children who do not have parents.  Children who have been so hurt in their short lives that that they really don't function well within a typical family atmosphere.  They do not trust, they do not love.  For the sake of my children and family I cannot bring them into my home.  However, I also know that even though we can take precautions there are no guarantees that we won't bring a child into our home with reactive attachment disorder.

I watch a man cry for what he has lost.  Yet, I know that he is not capable of raising his children.  I know that they have an opportunity to break the cycle of neglect because they are being raised in my home.  I know that even that may not be enough to break it.  There are no guarantees......but there is hope.

I watch a daughter struggle with the grief of knowing that her mother gave her up for adoption at the age of 10.  Only she knows all of the truths of that situation.  Eight years later she is still struggling to accept her situation. Still struggling to forgive and move forward.  Until she can move forward she is stuck in that pain of betrayal that she feels.

So much pain.

I feel so restless.  I am not settled within myself and I don't know why.  My life is good.  I sit here at my computer and I know that the electricity will stay on, the A/C will come on and the pantry is full.  I sometimes feel as though I do not have any right to complain.  Yet, I do.  I complain about the messy kids, the unmatched socks, the grass that won't grow and every other little annoyance in life.  I guess that is human nature.

Yes, I am restless.  I think that change is heading my way. 

I hope that it is a good change.