Monday, October 31, 2011

A First

For the first time since coming to our home our youngest child Dimples did not ask for food every 5-10 minutes today.  We have had to keep to very strict meal and snack times because the girls literally ask for food all day long, even after they just ate.  So, they have breakfast when they wake up, snack at 10 am, lunch at noon, snack at 3 and dinner around 5:30-6 pm. 

Dimples will get up with the school kids and eat breakfast at 6:30 am.  Starting at 7 am she was asking to eat again at least every 10 minutes.  Imagine my surprise today when I looked at the clock and realized that it was 10:30 and she hadn't asked for food all morning.  I was shocked.  I announced it was snack time and she got all excited.  It was nice to be able to offer it versus being hounded for it.  I guess she has finally figured out that all that food in the pantry is for eating (and mom goes to Walmart for more at least every other day).  Sometimes improvements happen that way, sneak up on you.

(Of course, you know that I just jinxed myself and tomorrow she will be back to asking for food all day.)

No Halloween pictures this year.  I had class so the 2 teenagers took the 4 younger ones out Trick or Treating.  They took pictures but didn't think to take any of Anthony and Larissa separate from the new little ones.  So, I can't post on facebook or my blog.  Oh well, I have them on my computer and maybe can share one day.

The kids got a good stash of candy so I am sure the dentist will be pleased.  Actually, I do need to get Dimples in to one since she cracked a large portion of her front tooth off today.  I assume that they will need to pull the rest since there isn't much left.

I did a lot of school work today and nothing else got accomplished.  No laundry or chores got done by me.  Thankfully Sarah cooked dinner and did the dishes.  She is a true blessing to me and I don't think that I would be able to go to school if she didn't help out as much as she does.

It is after midnight here and the house is so quiet.  As much as I enjoy it I realize I must head to bed. 

Nite all.

Just One More

Not one more more person to coordinate with.

When we first started foster care we took in sibling groups or individual children from one family.  It made it easier to deal with visitations, GAL (guardian ad litem) and SW.  It may not seem like a big deal but believe me, it can get complicated with more.

At this time we have basically two separate foster placements, a teen and two sibling girls.  We are dealing with 2 foster care social workers, 2 GAL, 2 sets of court dates, potentially 2 different visitation dates (teen hasn't had any so far), as well as 2 adoption workers, one who is local and the girls original adoption worker from their county.  All the people in that equation have to do monthly visits.  Then quarterly we get a visit from the county licensing worker.  It can get crazy at times.  I am thankful that I do not work outside of the home and can schedule all the visits.  With the girls I also have the complication of having to take them to the nearest big city for visitation.  The October visit was cancelled but we have one scheduled for November.

When we decided to get our adoption homestudy we hoped that we would get placement of kids who already had TPR (termination of parental rights).  However, that did not happen so our kids are a legal risk case.  They do not have TPR but because of the number of  placements they have had they wanted them moved to an adoption resource.  Actually, their last placement was supposed to be an adoptive home but it disrupted.  That home had biological children but had never fostered.  They were overwhelmed by the behaviors of children who have not had stability for 2 years.  We are their 7th placement since coming into care.  With that many moves how can you honestly expect kids to not have issues.

It is hard to tell children that they are not moving when you realize that they do not have TPR yet.  True, they believe that TPR will happen.  However, we know how fickle the court system can be.  Our case is not even headed to a TPR hearing yet, they have a court date this week to change the status to TPR.  It has been our experience that they will actually change it to concurrent TPR and reunification.  They never really want to get rid of the reunification aspect until TPR has been granted.  Once the case changes then they have 60 days to submit for TPR, then there will be another court hearing.  With Anthony and Larissa it took 3 years to get TPR.  Our current girls have been in care for 2 years now.  I have a feeling that it is going to be another long road to get this adoption completed.

Our teen has also asked to be adopted.  Will there be time for that to happen?  Honestly, I would be surprised, the system is not that quick.  But, I am calling her GAL today to talk about it.  My teen hasn't even had one visit since coming into care.  True, she can stay in care until she is 21 but kids need a home to call when life gets tough.....even when they are 30.

We currently have 7 children, hopefully you will get to see us grow to 9, by some miracle even to 10.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Project is Brewing

This is my old family room.  It was too small for our family so we added on a 500 sq ft living space off to the right of it.  This room comes directly off of the kitchen.  Our old dining room comes off of the kitchen too.  However, it is now Anthony's bedroom because he had to be downstairs.  The only other bedroom downstairs is the master bedroom and I am not giving that up!  I guess that the formal living room could have been used as a bedroom but I don't think that my husband would be too happy about giving up his hideaway.

My project for the next few weeks is to make this space into a dining room.  Why?  Because we have 9 people living in this house and we don't all fit in the breakfast nook in the kitchen. 

Tasha is coming home for Thanksgiving so that gives me the push to work on this project.  Also, I bought an old scuffed up dining room set off of Craigslist and it would be nice to get it out of the garage (as though we would actually part a car in there).

The dining room set only came with 5 chairs so I plan on building a bench seat for one side.  It works well in the breakfast nook so hopefully it will work out here.  You can fit a lot of little ones on a bench seat.

I don't have much of a budget so my wished for wood floors will have to wait.  That room needs wood floors because all of the traffic flow in the house goes through that room and thus the carpet is never clean enough.

I am giving myself a budget of $100 for this project since the main furniture has already been bought.  A large part of the budget will be on the bench seat.

We shall see if I can do it with school and kids. 

Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Yellow Ribbon Ceremony

Today we headed 3 hours north to North Carolina for our daughter Tasha's Yellow Ribbon Ceremony.  We left the two new little ones with my friend Pam.  Typically I don't like to leave kids behind but we really felt that the long ride and military tradition of hurry up and wait would not be a good bonding situation.

We did receive a nice meal courtesy of the military. 

In traditional fashion, the 2 pm ceremony was at 3 pm.  We stood around and waited for 1 1/2 hours, not too efficient.  Larissa spent part of the wait wrapped up in her coat on the ground.  At least she wasn't running around at that moment.

My soldier is in that crowd.

When we got out it was cold and windy!  What a change in the weather.

Tasha heads to Texas for her final training and will get to fly home for a few days for Thanksgiving.  She will be playing in the sand for Christmas.  I will miss her terribly.

Friday, October 28, 2011

It is 7 in the Morning

It is 7 in the morning and already I am a mean mommy

.......and  I am the best mommy in the world.

I think I actually fall somewhere in the middle.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Difficult Behaviors

Ever wonder when I say we are dealing with difficult behaviors with kids what I really mean?

Today was dance day.  I got the girls dressed and there on time.  There is a class of younger kids before my girls class.  When they finish they will open the door and the class will come out as the teacher hands out suckers to each child as they give her a curtsy.  The class that goes in is supposed to wait for the previous class to exit.  Last week C would not wait even though I called her back. 

This week, upon hearing that the class was finishing up, C went up to the closed door and yelled (yes, loudly), "it is about time you finished, we are waiting" in a very rude tone.  I told her to come and sit next to me.  She stood there by the door and ignored me.  I told her that if she did not sit next to me then she would not be going to class, she would be going home with me.  She now knows me well enough to know that I meant it so she came and sat next to me.  Quietly for her ears only I told her that she was being very rude to yell that into the door and if she did it again any week then she would be going home.  I made her sit next to me until her class was ready to go in.

Will she test me?  Probably.  Would she have gone home with me if she hadn't come to sit with me?  Absolutely.  How many times a day am I tested in this way?  More then I can count.

It is exhausting.  I know that I cannot let anything slide.  I must always show that I am in charge.  I do not believe that these girls have ever had a parent that point blank told them that they are in charge.  Just the other day she was mocking me and I had her come inside.  I told her that I do not allow my children to disrespect me.  She is now my child and she will not disrespect me.  Later she did apologize to me.  But, I have no doubt that she will continue to test me.  But, like I said, it gets exhausting.

Tonight I was really tired and I know that it is from always having to be "in charge".  It really goes against my nature, I am very laid back.  BUT, I do not allow disrespect.  Not just to me but to teachers or other adults they come in contact with.  I do believe that they will learn.  Already the bedtime screams have diminished as long as I am here to put them to bed.  I also know that it will take a lot of consistency on my part to make that happen.

So, tonight I will recharge my batteries.


Tasha is home for two days before she ships off for her final training.  We will head up to North Carolina on Saturday for her yellow ribbon ceremony.  She wanted to do pumpkins, so we did pumpkins.

Do you know how hard it is to cut circles with a knife?  I was sitting there trying to cut a circle and thought a dremel tool would be great.  I few more attempts at cutting that circle made me head to the garage.....

It worked great.  I think it may be our tool of choice for many other Halloweens to come.  It wasn't a dremel but a bigger tool.  My cabinet is marked Zip....I don't remember what it is called but I bought it a few years ago and it comes in handy for those odd jobs.

I have class on Halloween so I will rely on Sarah to get the kids ready.  These evening classes really are annoying.  I wish that they had classes during the day.

Anyone else doing pumpkins?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Are You Prepared?

To receive a child from a burn clinic?  Who cries to be held 24 hours a day?

To receive a child who will scream to your face "no" every day?

To receive a child without knowing any history of allergies and so you sit at the dinner table one day watching that child turn beet red because they do in fact have some food allergies?

To receive a child who has never formed an attachment with anyone?  Who turns from your touch?

To receive a child who is so developmentally behind he appears to have an intellectual disability...even though he does not?

To receive a child who smells, has lice and is sickly....even though you don't know who their doctor is or have a medicaid card?

To receive a child who can and will climb your bookshelves, take food from your pantry in the middle of the night and pee anywhere they please?

To receive a child who acts out sexually....even as a toddler?

To receive a child who is terrified of the bath?

To receive a child who will not sleep unless they can see that you are with them?

To receive a child who challenges you in every way?

We have received all of these children.  Some of these children we have even been blessed to be able to adopt. 

Be prepared.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lets Talk .....Expenses

Let me tell you, the last few months have been brutal money wise.  End of August we received our teen K, along with $100.  Honestly, for a teen needing a wardrobe $100 doesn't even begin to cover that expense.  We do get a subsidy eventually.  Since we received her at the end of the month that means that the middle of September we received a partial payment and then in the middle of September we finally received a full payment of $400.  I didn't know that teens get more then little ones.  Still with that $400 we have to cover everything, even car insurance and cell phone when that comes around.

Then the end of September we received our little 2 year old.  We got the same $100 to purchase her clothing.  The difficulty with that was the weather was changing so she needed both warm and cold weather clothing.  Just after we purchased that she was moved so we could receive the new kids.

The two girls came from another county with different rules.  No $100 but with lots of clothing.  A big problem with that is that most of it is useless.  C came from an adoptive placement with no underwear and very little clothing that fit.  Both of the girls shoes that they were wearing had holes in the toes.  In their boxes of stuff there were two pairs of black tennis shoes.  Their SW told me that those came from the foster home and the girls never liked them.  True, they don't wear them.  The middle of November we will receive a partial subsidy payment (for their age a total payment is $332).  Finally in December we will receive a total payment.

The weekend before they came we bought some nice furniture from Craigslist.  All furniture and necessary items such as car seats are purchased by the foster home in this state.  Then after they came we had to buy clothing, shoes and school supplies.  Soon we need to get winter coats and more clothing as I realize that most of what they came with is useless.

Yes, I did enroll them in dance.  For the first time I put out on my facebook that I needed dance items.  Affording two sets of jazz, tap and ballet shoes was not in the budget.  I had a foster parent come to me with the shoes.  Wow, that was a first.  I am used to giving, not receiving.  I made their bags for a few dollars.  The dance instructor let them come to dance but isn't charging for them until November with no registration fee.  It is amazing how that all worked out.  Such a blessing.

Asking for things for my foster/adoptive kids is not something that I typically do.  I feel that we made the decision to do this and the responsibility is on us.  Why is it so hard for me to ask for help? 

We did take a trip to the fair.  They were allowing military and military retirees in for free along with all kids under the age of 10.  We got into the fair for $20.  I told all the kids before we left that we were going to eat and look at the animals, not riding the rides.  They took that well and ate well!  You gotta have priorities.

So, why am I discussing expenses?  For those looking at foster care be prepared.  If you can find big items at garage sales or Craigslist go that route.  It is easier to get over a period of time versus after you get the call for kids.  Don't be surprised if you are taking care of the kids and meeting all their needs long before you receive any reimbursement.  I know that most states receive a larger subsidy then we do, but with $332/month you are (well, we aren't) making money as some are keen to think.

I have learned that there are people willing to help if you only ask.  Sometimes I need to let others help. 

.......and, yes, we have more people staring now!  So, Stare if You Must.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The State Fair

We went to the fair to consume large quantities of unhealthy food.

Even the sugar left on the plate after the 4 funnel cakes were gone was not safe.

Corn dogs and hot fries were consumed by all.

Sarah forgot that she didn't like to have her picture taken.

When we got to the big bins of candy we allowed each child to get all the candy that they could hold.

There were eight of us, that was a lot of candy.

We did see some animals but were disappointed that the petting area has become a lot less of a petting area.  It was more of a "see the animals behind the cage" type of thing.  The zoo would be better for that.

After some cotton candy the kids fell into a sugar induced coma for the ride home.

The day went well, the weather was great and we got there before the big crowds showed up. 
The little one didn't have a tantrum until we were driving home and she couldn't get her coat off. 
She fell asleep 5 minutes later. 

Sorry, can't show the other pictures I took.  I look forward to the day when I don't have to think about which pictures I can post.  Oh, and our teen told her SW yesterday that she wanted to be adopted.  Since her case is so new I wonder if that could happen....they move slowly here and I had told her that I didn't  know if they could get TPR and adoption before she turned 18.  The next year could be very interesting.

Have a good night, I am off to study.  I have not been a good student the last few weeks.

Friday, October 21, 2011

How I Made My Jean Bag (for Jessica)

First step is to select your jeans. Our Goodwill has $1 days so I went there to get my jeans. I probably had some sitting in my give away pile I could have used but I wanted some with some type of embellishment on them.  I used size 14 because it seems like the size needed to hold dance shoes. Baby jeans would make a cute small bag whereas some adult jeans could make a duffel bag.  (Warning, I did not do any measuring in this project)

Cut the legs off.

Sew along the bottom and then don't sew the corner like this.........

If you do then you can cut it off and then turn it and sew the corner from the other angle.  This gives it a boxy bottom.  Trim the excess.

Then cut a long strip of jean leg for the handle to whatever length you want.  Attach it to the inside of the sides of your bag.

Take whatever fabric you want and hand measure how wide it needs to be to fit inside the bag.  I little wider is better then a little shorter.  I had one that ended up with about an extra inch of fabric.  Sew yourself a casing on top for the clothesline....or whatever you use for the rope to close.

Sew the fabric inside the top edge of the bag.  Make sure that when you flip the fabric up it will have the right side facing out. I started in the middle back and then if I have extra fabric left over I just gather it there.

Don't do what I did and make the fabric too long.  If you do you can trim it and make another pocket for your rope.

I then flipped the fabric out and top stitched it.

It gave it a more finished look inside.  I didn't line the jean area.

I simply cut a slit in the casing and added the clothesline. I guess you could do it the right way and not sew your fabric all the way up and leave an opening for the robe to go.  However, I am lazy and just cut a all the bags.

Super simple, super cheap bag made in 30 minutes. (I used clothesline because it was the cheapest option)

Thursday, October 20, 2011


 Three pairs of $1 jeans from Goodwill

 With the legs cut off.

 And some Tinkerbell fabric added to the top.

 Were made into dance bags today.

 Three dance bags.

Just imagine trying to find jazz, tap and ballet shoes for three kids.  Their shoes will stay in their bags and be put away until the next dance lesson.

Hopefully one day soon I will be able to share a picture of all the girls with you.

For now......

In the end only two girls made it to dance today.  We are dealing with quite a lot of defiance in our household.  One particular girl was quite a pistol today.  On more then one occasion I told her to take her dance tights off because dance was too far away and she would get them dirty.  I went to go help the girls get ready for dance and realized that this one little one had her dance clothing back on (she snuck it off the table I had put it on) and had written all over her tights with markers.  I took one look at her and told her calmly that obviously she had decided that she did not want to go to dance today.  Her screaming fit did not change my mind. 

Sure, I could have gone and dug up more tights and changed her.  However, I thought that not attending dance because she wrote all over her tights was a good natural consequence. 

Yes, the defiance does get weary but we are in for the long haul.

Going to bed, have a great night.