Monday, October 29, 2012


The weather here was fantastic over the weekend. The kids played outside for quite a bit of it. They played and they occasionally fought.  There was a time that they spent more time running in to tattle than actually playing.  However, over time they have learned to play more than tattle.  The girls have now been in our home a year.

A year of stability.

A year of reclaiming their childhood.

A year of learning how to be a part of a family.

A year of learning trust.

There are still issues to overcome but they are much smaller then they were a year ago.
These kids don't know it but they have a gift, they have a gift of their childhood.  They have many years in which to play and make childhood memories.  They don't have to worry if there will be food on the table or appropriate clothing to wear. (It took Michelle 9 months to finally say that she was full after a meal.)
They still have many years to build sibling bonds and learn appropriate relationships.

I grew up protected.  I thought that every child was free to play and enjoy their childhood. 
Now I know that is not true, to have a healthy childhood is a gift.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Tasha was supposed to come home on Saturday. we got a call on Friday from Tasha telling us that she was just told to pack up because she was flying out!

So we hurried and made some welcome home signs....

We were at the airport at midnight waiting...

We practiced how to hold the signs......

And we welcomed Tasha home.  It sure was a long year and we are so happy to have her home safe and sound.

She shopped on the internet while she was away so she had lots of boxes to go through.  My house presently looks like a tornado went through it since she can't take stuff upstairs unless it is hung up in the closet.

I got a kinder egg, I haven't had one in a while.  I have to laugh at this picture, I have blue fingernail polish on.  The fact that I painted nails seemed to shock many of my children.  I don't wear make-up and rarely paint my nails. 

Tasha is planning on enrolling in college next semester.  She has been trying to go to school for a while now and always seems delayed for one reason or another.  She has some credit but not enough.  She wants to be a psychologist so she has lots of schooling ahead of  her. 

(Thanks to Pam who came along and took our family photo, one shot and she did great!)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Still Here!

I am still here......very, very busy.

Can't seem to resolve anything.  Got a letter in the mail letting me know that my moms labs had a problem so I had the pleasure of trying to find the right person to see what the problem was.  Five people later I did get a hold of someone who had the answers, he antibiotics needed to be changed.

Adoptions called and said that our physicals are now out of date.  So all of us need to get physicals done before we can proceed with adoption.  Several of us had then yesterday and some will today.  Friday John and I have to go have our TB test read and I think we will be done with that.

I have been fighting with medicaid for my mom.  South Carolina will not give her medicaid until I can prove that she no longer has it in Texas.  I have called Texas and after getting the run around they said that they would send a letter.  Twice I have called....twice they have NOT sent the letter.

Now long term care calls to see if we are still interested.  We signed up for long term in home care over 6 months ago and have been sitting on their list.  We have to have medicaid to get the help.  Long term care is where they offer 14 hours of weekly in home care.  We have been paying for some in home care and could really use the help more often.  I am not sure what will happen since we are stuck with medicaid.  I hope that they don't put us on the bottom of their list again!

My school has been overwhelming me.  I have two online classes that I try and ignore but that just doesn't help.  I have a big crunch the first week in November.  I have things due in both classes and a major comp exam.  If I don't pass the comp exam then I can't student teach next semester.  The next opportunity to take the test is in May.  I am working on my classes now and next week will study for the comp.

Good news....Tasha is in Texas.  She is supposed to be flying home this weekend.  We are looking forward to having her home.  The upstairs is still torn up and I am not sure where we stand with the bed bugs.  I think we are waiting to see if any eggs hatch.  No new bites on the teen lately.

Soccer wraps up next Monday and I am so glad about that!  Trying to keep track of their uniforms is a full time job around here.

No pictures....because I sat my camera down somewhere and now I can't find it.  It is killing me because I have stuff I want to take pictures of!  I must have something for Tasha's homecoming this weekend.

Well, off to study.  I'll be back to normal programming soon.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gas Leak

Well, last week was a total bust and this week isn't proving to be must better.

I did learn something today....if you turn on your heater and head to bed make sure it is actually heating first.  The weather here has been great but kind of cool in the evenings.  I turned on the heat because of my mom who is always cold.  When I got up in the morning I thought that the heater hadn't come on.  I noticed it was blowing but didn't think on it much in the morning rush.  I did think it odd that it was blowing cold air.

I went a did errands and then around noon Sarah came in the front door and said that it smelled like gas and she could hear hissing.  Immediately I knew that the heater was blowing cold air because the gas was leaking out.  The side and front of our house smelled of gas.  I turned off the heater and it stopped hissing.  I dread seeing our next gas bill!  I am thankful that nothing happened.  I can't imagine what would have happened if someone had come by and lit a cigarette or something.  The heater repairman will be out tomorrow.  We will not be turning on the heat tonight.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sign of Insanity?

Today I had lunch with my husband.

I told him that I had a meeting at the school on the 18th.

He asks me if it is the 18th of November.

I said no, the 18th of October.

He tells me that it is the 18th.

Dang.....missed the meeting.  Not because I didn't know that I had a meeting on the 18th but because I didn't know it was the 18th. 

Is that a sign of Insanity?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Life at the ER

This morning I got up early to complete the preparations for the exterminators and to get my mom ready to take to her doctors appointment.  I was stressing and time seemed so short.

I took my mom to the bathroom to give her a shower and did my usual lift, pivot and put in the shower seat.  Only one problem.....she didn't stand.  Normally she will stand and help some with the pivot.  Today she couldn't stand and complained that her hip was hurting.  I was left standing there holding up my not too light mom.  My back will take a while to recover.

Her inability to help with the standing meant that there was no way for me to get her into the car.  I need her to help some to get her up, turned, and slid into the seat.  It is harder to get someone into a car seat then into a wheelchair because of the angle involved.  We had exterminators on the way and with my mom complaining of hip pain I decided to call and have an ambulance take her to the hospital.  I wanted her hip x-rayed to rule out some type of break.  Thus, my day at the ER started.

John waited for the exterminators while I went to the ER.  Over time she did go off for an x-ray.  In true ER fashion we had a nice, long, quiet wait. Finally we got the results back and she did not have a break.  Apparently she has arthritis of the spine.  I told the doctor that my biggest concern was my inability to get her into the car because she can't stand.  I explained that she was going to the doctors for her leg pain and UTI issues as well as medication refills.  I had to cancel the appointment because I couldn't get her there.  They decided to try to give her pain medications to see if it would help her to stand.

At this point John came and relieved me so I could go eat and pick Sarah up from college and grab the other 5 kids as they got off the bus (they couldn't go into the house).  While I was gone they tried to help my mom to stand and she couldn't.  The doctor talked to my husband and said that there wasn't any reason to admit her unless we were looking to put her into a nursing home.  John told the doctor that we just wanted her treated. 

They did check for a UTI and started her on antibiotics.  They also called our doctor about getting her in home nursing and therapy.  They wanted her doctor to come over to the ER after she got off.  Problem with that is her shift ended at 7pm (our doctors office hours are 7 to 7, I love it).  It was close to 4 pm at this point. (In order to get these services the patients doctor has to physically see them.)  Our doctor did offer to do a car visit if we could get her to the office.  The doctor at the ER said they would get her into the car if we could get her out at home.  For some reason, getting her out is easier for me then getting her in.

John took the kids to McDonalds while I waited for my mom to be released so I could take her to our family doctor.  By 5 we were loaded up and heading over to the doctors office.  She was waiting for me and came out to my car.  She called in refills, called in a pain medication and put in for home nursing and therapy.  She pulled me to the side and asked me how we were doing.  I told her that I was frustrated with my inability to get her medical care but we are actually doing well otherwise.  We have hired someone to come in twice a week to give me a break.  She says that we aren't the first ones that she did car visits for and that she thought it was crazy to have to see a patient to get in home nursing.  Typically someone needs in home nursing because leaving home is difficult.

It was a long day but I did get everything accomplished for my mom even if it wasn't the way I had planned.  I have to say that the doctor at the ER was very helpful and really tried to help my mom and us.  He told both my husband and I that he had to commend us for taking care of my mom, he sees people at the ER trying to dump their elderly parents all the time. I can only imagine what all he sees.  My mom cried several times and frequently said that she was ready to go home.  As we were driving over to the doctors office she told me that she thought that she wasn't going to go back home.

She is home.

She is currently tucked in bed with 2 warm cookies Sarah made tonight.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Work Never Ends

Well,  on a positive note.......we got the carpet pulled up ahead of schedule.

Tomorrow we get our house poisoned and will be broke for the rest of the month.  Today I ordered some mattress encasements and spent about $200 for the pleasure.  Researching on the Internet I feel that we need to steam as well.  Hopefully, I will find one that is affordable.

I itch all the time and don't have any bites.  It is like when your kids get lice and you itch in sympathy.  The teen is the only one with any bites and she only has a few.  Nothing like the massive bites I see online.

Tomorrow I will be taking my mom to the doctor. Please say a prayer for us!  She is becoming less mobile and I worry about getting her in and out of the car.  John has to stay home and wait for the exterminators.

Long day and lots to do tomorrow.

Good night everyone....don't let the bed bugs bite!

Bed Bugs

This little bug is a bed bug. It was found in our teens bedroom! Yesterday was not a good day as I called an exterminator and panicked.  We have a lot of work to do before Wednesday when they come to poison our house.  Yes, I wanted to cry.

The bugs are mainly in the teens room but have just recently travelled across the hallway to Sarah's bedroom.  The exterminator estimates that they came in the summer.  The summer was a rough time for our teen.  She had some friends over but also went to some places she wasn't supposed to.  We may never know how she got them.  It is scary to think that having someone spend the night can have such consequences.

The initial exterminator fee.....$1300 to treat upstairs and the couches.  I just purchased a new couch instead of one from Craigslist because I was afraid of getting bed bugs and now I have to pay to have it exterminated.  We have three kids with birthdays in November and then Christmas coming up, this is going to really hurt our budget. 

So yesterday it started.  We bagged up clothing and today have a lot of work.  The carpet has to be pulled away from the walls, everything vacuumed, outlets removed, everything has to be pulled away from the wall and everything has to be gone through.  John is going to start early but I have to do some school work.  I have some assignments due and will spend the morning doing them.

The expense started last night as John and the teen went to the laundromat.  After spending a $100 there all the clothing from those areas went to the garage.

It is going to be a long day.  We have a lot to due and the expense is already stressing because there are no guarantees that this will solve the problem.  From what I read there really isn't a good way to get rid of bedbugs.  Yes, I want to cry!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Day Trip

On Saturday I took a day trip with Sarah, Joselin and a friend.  We went to the Pumpkin Festival in Pumpkintown, SC. 

We did a little shopping.  I found one tent where "Papa Joe" was selling his wooden candle bowls.  I thought that his process was very interesting.  I love good woodwork.....

So I bought a piece.

Of course, we ate good food too.
Kettle corn... 

Turkey legs and naturally funnel cake.  Sarah even picked up some fried Oreo's.  She says that they were very good, I wouldn't know, she ate them while I shopped for a few minutes.

We also listened to the live bands.

And watched some kids try to climb the greased pole.  They hadn't made it when we left.

We wore the teens out.

It was a very nice day.  the weather was great and I really enjoyed watching Sarah and Joselin getting along after so many years of conflict.  Joselin has really grown up a lot.  We did talk about how she left.  She said that when she left she felt that we didn't care what happened to her.  I explained to her that I followed her through facebook and I told her where all she had gone.  She said that I couldn't because she blocked me on facebook.  I reminded her that I used to sneak on their My Space's with fake persona's and I also have them on facebook.  I am her friend through another person.  She laughed and said that she should have known.  I told her that if I had felt that needed rescuing that I would have done so.  She seemed happy to hear that.

She talked about receiving my monthly messages through facebook and that at first she was too mad to read them.  But, slowly she did read them.  Slowly, her heart longed for contact with her family again.  She also realized that we weren't her enemy, that we did accept her as our child.  She finally accepted us as her family.

I can only assume that prayer and perseverance led to the change.  My friend also noticed the change in Joselin.  There is much more happiness then ever before.  Much more peace. 

I feel that we wouldn't be at this place today if I hadn't sent those monthly messages month after month with no reply.  To continue to reach out when you feel there is little hope is hard.  To continue to reach out is what we moms do out of love for our children. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012


I have been absent lately because I have been so busy with life in general. We are still doing soccer.  I really think that if I had known that they had two games a week I wouldn't have signed them up.  A majority of the games are on Tuesday and Thursday so we have been skipping church on Wednesday because the kids aren't used to be out past 7pm on school nights.

Michelle is my most aggressive soccer player.  She even got to be goalie. I did keep Emma out of the dirt one game with the promise of McDonald's afterwards for everyone who stays out of the dirt.  These games always fall within our normal meal time, another frustration for us.  I guess we are just set in our ways.

Michelle has her top front teeth pulled long before she came to our home and her new ones still haven't come in.  Larissa recently lost her top teeth and already has one in and another following.  Anyone out there have this issue.  I wonder how long it will take her to get her top teeth.

When we need to redo Larissa's hair but haven't made the time, this headband is great!

Emma is doing great in school, both academically and socially.  What a change! Still no bangs.

Anthony brought his grades up and got these shoes as a reward.

These shoes are 2 weeks old, Emma wears them out as fast as she gets them.

For improvement in her area Larissa got to go to the movies.  Wow, we hadn't been to the big city movies in a while and I see why, $50 to get us all in and a little more then that for popcorn and sodas. We went to go see Hotel Transylvania.

Couches normally last for 5 years around here however this last one only survived 4 years.  The recliner is broken and the couch is losing its integrity.

Don't let this cleanliness deceive you, when I pulled out the old sectional there was all kinds of stuff behind it.  I was not a nice mommy at the moment.  Typically I will sweep it all into one pile and tell the kids to take what they want otherwise it all gets thrown away.

I know, I said no more sectionals and then we went out and got a sectional.  This one is different.  each piece is so huge that it doesn't move around much because it is heavy.  It barely fit into the space but it will fit a lot of kids.  Rule one.....the pillows need to stay on the couch.  I didn't realize how many pillows this sectional came with!

We kept some parts of the old sectional and put round the kids table.  They love it and we hope that Roxie will stay off of the new one.  We can hope.  We are trying very hard to keep her off of the new couch.

It is big, Sarah laying down doesn't cover the short side....

If you ever come for a visit and we don't have any ice cream....this is why!  Don't let that face deceive you.

and have a great day!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Unemployment Sucks

When we made the decision for John to quit his job last February we had no idea that he would still be unemployed 10 months later.  He did a short stint with the Veterans Program which amounted to nothing.  Actually, it cost us money to pay for his dry cleaning and gas to get there.  The tiny stipend he received wasn't worth the effort when they told him that they had no openings to hire him then didn't train him like they said they would do.  They just enjoyed the free labor and used him as a receptionist.

We do not receive unemployment or any other government aid such as food stamps.  We knew that we could afford for John to be out of work and made that decision.  We also knew that we would have to cut back on our expenses.  If you have noticed we have not been travelling.  Although I can't completely blame the lack of money (although that is a huge factor).  We also can't travel as a family because of my mom.  Obviously she can't be left alone.  We knew that we could afford for John to be off of work until I finished school.  I should graduate in May and hopefully find a teaching job for the following August. 

Although that is nice it doesn't solve John's unemployment status, he is starting to go stir crazy.  The job market in our area is really not good.  Jason finally got a job but had to move to Charleston to do so.  The housing market has really not changed much since we last tried to sell our house before so selling the house and moving is not really an option.  We are throwing around the idea of broadening his job search and just renting while keeping the house here.  The home will be paid off by retirement and it is a good size home for family to come home to.

If we move out of state that would mean that we would never do the last adoption like we had planned.  It would also mean maintaining two homes and moving the kids around.  Also, I would need to recertify in whatever state we landed in.  Then, there is my mom who I believe will be in a nursing home before too long.

John has also rolled around the idea of going back to school for his masters.  He has looked at programs and different schools.  He just doesn't feel a burning desire to write all those papers he sees me writing, ha, I can't blame him.

So what I am saying could get interesting or John could find a local job.  Hard to say but right now it is a big issue that we are dealing with.  Please say a prayer as we look at our options.

Sometimes being an adult just sucks.  We don't have the answers all the time and sometimes we are just flying by the seat of our pants. 

How is the employment outlook in your neck of the woods?

Thursday, October 4, 2012


The last two weeks we have been working quite extensively with Anthony on his studying.  I am talking about hours of studying that should only take maybe 30 minutes.  It has made me rethink about what we are dealing with.

While we were living in Texas it was determined that Anthony had moderate expressive and receptive language delays. (If you haven't been reading long, Anthony was not spoken to at all until he came into care at the age of 2 1/2 and we dealt with a lot of language issues.) 

Just the next year we moved to South Carolina and at the end of the school year they tested him and said that he was fine with his expressive and receptive language and no longer needed services. I remember at the time thinking that was a pretty amazing difference from moderate to no problems in one year.

Now that I have been working with him I can see that he still has severe receptive delays. Working hours to get him to understand a few facts is a struggle.  We have been saying that he is unmotivated, lazy and defiant.  Although he does have some of those issues, I haven't seen those in the last week when he has been trying to maintain the good grades he achieved the week before.

This little line in this written piece caught my attention:

"Inconsistent performances are one of the most common characteristics of

auditory and/or language processing difficulties, so individuals may often be

perceived as unmotivated, lazy, over-dependent, pragmatically awkward, or


Ahhh, I feel that is describing Anthony.

Of course all of this came to me this afternoon when I decided to lay down for a minute.  No rest for the weary. 

I called Anthony's teacher to talk to her about this. First I asked her how his med changes were working. She said that she could see a difference in him both with the ADHD and mood changes. She was amazed at how much his grades have improved. I told her that they were hard won as we have studied for hours to get them. I also told her that he had to be retaught everything and then the facts were repeated over and over. Then we made cards. Then we went over them again. After the first week when he got good grades I could see that he was trying to get more. He appeared unmotivated and lazy but was in fact struggling to understand. I told her that he had been Dx'd with receptive language disorder in TX and then it was dismissed when we moved here. I also told her that I wanted to revisit it and that I would bring it up in our next meeting we have scheduled. Then I asked her to watch to see if she sees times where she might think he doesn't understand, times when she might have thought he was being defiant or lazy and unmotivated. There was silence and then she had an aha moment. She said that when put that way she has seen where she gives the class instruction and he just sits there like she didn't say anything. She has to go up to him and repeat herself to him.  She is going to watch from a different point of view and document for me.
Then I decided to look for his testing in Texas and South Carolina.  Funny, the testing was sitting right on top of some papers waiting to be filed.  (Yes, my filing is that far behind).  Now I just need to find that scrap piece of paper where I wrote downt he time for our next meeting and I am set.
In my heart I feel that this is part of his problem.  I have to wonder if his lack of motivation is because he just doesn't understand.  Either way, it is something I feel that I need to investigate further.
Yes, my kids make me constantly rethinking things. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Sometimes life is so busy, so fast, so stressful that I forget to see the moments. Those small things that happen every day, those small things that should be noticed and cherished. If I don't slow down I don't see them. They are what keep me sane on those days when I should be going insane.

Some of my moments from this week..........

John and I went to a movie last weekend.  Larissa had gotten an ice cream machine and I had told her that we would make some.  It took me forever to remember to buy cream and then we were out of ice.  I finally had everything together and told her that we would make some when I got back from the movies (we do the cheaper afternoon movies).

When we got back the kids were eating ice cream.  Sarah had decided to make ice cream with them.  Ooops, she had to borrow sugar from the neighbors.  She also made a point to take pictures for me.  She knows that I like to photograph everything.  Not only did Sarah help with the ice cream but she also took pictures that she knows I love. 

A big moment, Tasha's stuff is arriving from the Middle East.  A sure sign that she will soon follow.

I could hear the kids in my moms room and went to check on them........

Sarah with a screwdriver, putting her license plate on her car.  They seem to grow up so fast.

What moments have you had this week?