Monday, March 31, 2014

Court Day

It is court day for our foster baby.  An aunt stepped forward and was getting a homestudy done.  From my sources I have learned that it is not likely that he will go there at this time. We will know more after court this afternoon.  Here you either have court in the morning or in the afternoon.  Either way, you are not guaranteed a time.  When you get to court there is a room full of people and you sit and wait for your case to be called.  Seems like every time we have gone we have always been near the end.

Until then, we see if we will be cuddling with Little Man a little longer.

Sunday, March 30, 2014


Yesterday we headed to Columbia to watch the circus. We had a big crowd; Joselin, Sarah and friend, our 4 littles, my moms caregiver and her grandchild, John and I plus the foster baby.We had a great time and the baby slept through most of it.

(The elephants are my favorite)

After the circus I took some of my older kids (I guess they could be called adults) to our favorite restaurant, San Jose.

We were able to get everyone to the circus for a pretty good price using free tickets, Chick Fil A tickets and a military discount. We had some free tickets from requesting a baby free ticket from Ringling Bros Circus.  When we adopted Joselin we weren't able to get her a free tickets.  However, they have now added adopted children within the past 12 months to their availability.  If you have a child under 12 months or have adopted within the past 12 months, go get a free ticket.  Somewhere in my paperwork I still have Sarah's free ticket from 20 years ago.

Friday, March 28, 2014


I haven't been writing because I don't really know what to write.  It isn't that there isn't anything to write about, I just don't know exactly how I should share.  Anyone want to know the stress of taking in a family of four?  Should I even write about it.  It overwhelms our family and house right now. 

Life is really complicated right now.

Finances are stretched very tight right now.  We now have 14 mouths we are feeding.  Grocery shopping happens about every day.  I worry about money.  Several times a week we are filling up the cars gas tanks.  They have a job in Columbia, not close.  Since we only have one car to spare that car goes back and forth to town twice a day.  Today the car stopped and we aren't sure why.  I don't have the extra money for car repairs right now.

Since we cancelled our Alaska trip we decided to put some of that money into our patio.  Someone quoted us $3400 to put one in which is way out of our budget so we are doing it on our own.  I ordered the wood and it will be delivered next Wednesday.  Do we take the money for our planned yard improvements into supporting this family?  I have already cut back on what we had planned.

They came with what they could take on the bus.  They don't have a car.  The boys don't have any toys except for skateboards that they carried.  Anthony has enough clothing that we were able to get them dressed pretty well.

It isn't just the finances.  It is also the loss of the structure that my kids so need to maintain.  No other way to put it, the boys don't respect us or our house.  It is a struggle for me because my few plants that I do have coming in are getting destroyed.  The rocks that got thrown into the pool made me angry.  Every day it is something new.

Yet, we invited them.  The boys need stability.  I take a deep breath and practice patience every day.  I learn humility as I realize how blessed we are.  We are working closer to find a balance so that all the kids have the same level of expectations.  I try not to worry about money too much and work with what we have.

Yes, life is complicated right now and I am feeling to need to get back to blogging.  It is hard when I feel like every post would sound like I am complaining.  I don't want to be that way.  I would love to be more positive at this time, I am just not feeling it.  Perhaps it would help if spring would actually arrive!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Our Day

March 2nd

March 24th

George has been very busy eating and growing.  He is a sweet puppy, all puppy.  He is currently at the stage where he chews on everything he can find.

Today the weather was beautiful so Larissa and I decided to do some work in this area.  (Note, our entire backyard is in serious need of work.)

Larissa was most excited by the pink flamingo!

If anyone has any suggestions for the best options for covering our sand please let me know!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


My camera battery is dead so I don't have many pictures. I need to find the charger and take care of that.

Larissa loves on the baby.

It is not swimming time yet.  However we had a few warm days and Larissa insisted on going swimming.  We let her....she didn't last long.

Emma said she was going swimming too but never made it past her toes.  (No, they didn't throw her in!)

Larissa and I have been working on a project.  She is learning all about measuring, chop saws, and tools.

A lot has been going on and I have been spotty in posting.  Have I forgotten something? Any questions?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Strike That

I really need to learn how to say no.  The 17 year old that I mentioned in the previous post was a respite placement until Monday.  I said no.  Today we had DSS at our house to do a quarterly visit and to meet the people who were coming over to fingerprint my mom.  The entire time she was here the social worker was talking about how she doesn't have a place for the teen and that the foster mom has already left town.  After a while we folded and said to bring her over.  We have an extra bed, actually an entire extra bedroom at this time. 

They know that we are full.  They had no one who was willing to take a teenager.  No one.  So far she has been no problem for us. As a respite care placement we probably won't.

There are lots of struggles happening at this time with our kids.  Anthony has decided that he can wander the halls and peak into Sarah's bedroom.  This has become a big issue so we have moved him to the closet which we have decided to call the Harry Potter Room.  It is right outside of our bedroom so there is no longer any roaming of the halls and peaking in on his sister.

We were going to put Emma and Michelle upstairs in a bedroom together.  Emma cried over that decision and stated that she didn't want to share a room with Michelle.  Given the facial bruising that Michelle had recently given her we decided that we wouldn't room them together.  However we had nowhere to put Michelle.  After brainstorming we decided to put Michelle in with grandma.  Yes, that is right, she is sharing with grandma.  I thought that Michelle would have a fit over that but she didn't.  So far they seem to be doing well together.

Emma has pulled herself out of her behavioral downward spiral but Anthony and Michelle have escalated with their behaviors.  I received a call from Michelle's teacher about a lot of attention seeking behaviors she does at school.  It has become a problem and is actually pushing kids away.

John and I went out of town on Friday to attend a foster parent conference.  We were gone one night.  Sarah was at home as well as Kim (friend) and Charlotte (my moms caregiver).  The night before we left Larissa was up most of the night dealing with anxiety.  While we were gone she was whinny.  Michelle and Anthony acted out terribly.  John and I had planned on taking a cruise in Alaska, we had it paid for and everything.  However, this one night out made us realize that the kids are just not ready for us to be gone for any period of time.  It is something that John has really wanted to do but we aren't in the right place to do so.  Our plans for the next summer (2015) continue since it includes taking the kids.  We are working on passports for everyone since we plan on going to Canada.  Major road trip and I hope that everything works out so that we can do that.

Calls, calls and more calls

As a foster parent you just never know what to expect.  We decided that we wouldn't take any placements so naturally the phone rings and rings.  We were asked to take a newborn, 4 year old and 17 year old, all separate placements.  Every time I said we were full.  In the end we did take the newborn since it is supposed to be a short term placement.  Sarah and I went to the hospital and had to take medication and infant CPR classes so we could take the baby from the NICU.

When we got to the hospital at the time we were told to be there the mother was there holding her baby. This has been the hardest placement for me.  Having a crying mother hand you her newborn is so hard. I really felt for her. I couldn't imagine going to the hospital to have a baby and then leaving the hospital without my baby because it was in care.  This is our first placement that came directly from the hospital.

We are not supposed to have him for long. We are enjoying him and he is getting lots of cuddling and love while here.  I am also walking around tired most of the time!  I am too old to have a newborn.  He is now sleeping 3-4 hour stretches at night so things are looking up. 

Next  Lots of struggles at this time.  Lots of room changes.

Monday, March 17, 2014


Life has been super crazy around here.  Tonight I will post a long, boring, how our life is going post.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Our Table

Our Table Full of Blessings

Our table is used every night. 

Many stories are told at our table.

Many blessings are spoken at our table.

Our plates, silverware and cups are not fancy.

It is amazing how our table expands to fit everyone.

We do not eat our meals on TV trays staring at the television.

We eat our meals in the company of each other sharing lives each day.

Sometimes it is the only time during the day when everyone comes together. 

You are welcome to come and join us in a meal at our table and share blessings with us.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Mission Trip

Two years ago Sarah went on a mission trip to Italy with Teen Missions International and the same summer I went on a mission trip to Guatemala hosted by Dr. Hugo Gomez with Global CHE Enterprises, .

It was a rough summer.  Sarah was thinking that she would like to do mission work before going on her trip.  She came back deciding that she no longer had that interest.  She was bullied the entire time by one girl.  For some reason she was expected to just take it and was treated as though she was wrong for saying something about it.  One time another team member spoke up about it and was given a consequence for it.  I don't understand why they had such a "blame the victim" mentality but it made it possible for this girl to bully her the entire time.

I enjoyed my mission trip to Guatemala and really connected with some of the kids there.  One girl in particular touched my heart and I wanted to go back this year to show the older girls how to sew rag dolls and give my little one a rag doll.  This is the last year that the team is going to this village.

I had planned on going and taking Sarah with me.  She really needs a more positive mission experience.  However, the funds I had to partially fund the trip are gone so I am now trying to ensure that Sarah gets to go.  We were going to have to do some fundraising to begin with, just not so much.  We are about to start some fundraising but I think that we will only be able to fund Sarah.  She can't sew so will not be able to teach sewing.  However, she can give my little one a rag doll.

I am not good at fundraising.  If anyone has ideas let me know.  In a few weeks I will be selling copies of one of my paintings.  Locally we plan on having a garage sale.  I also plan on upcycling some furniture and selling that.  If anyone is interested in sending a donation please email me.  We were given an address where donations could be sent.  I am working on a letter for donation at this time.

Please pray for Sarah and this mission trip.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Life is an Exciting Adventure

In a few hours I will be heading to Columbia to pick up some friends from the bus station.  A family of four, two boys 9 and 10 years old.  Friends having a hard time with nowhere to go.  I sent money saved for a mission trip for bus tickets.  They will arrive with what they could take on the bus and they will be staying with us until they can get back on their feet.

We will not be able to take any foster children for a while.  We are still working on our adoption homestudy.  We have delays in that area.  We can't get my moms fingerprints because we can't get her ID.  We can't get her ID because we need a copy of her marriage license and neither her nor my dad can tell me when OR where they got married.  Perhaps our homestudy will get completed about the time our friends are ready to leave.

I have concerns.  Financially, different parenting styles, thirteen people in our home.  It shall be an exciting adventure. 

Say a prayer for us.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Curious George

Dogs....we have not done well. Cats....we do great. We currently have 4 cats in our house. We love cats and cats love us.

Dogs....we love but have really struggled with.  The last dog we had I loved.  Problem was he went out the cat door and ran the neighborhood often.  We couldn't stop the behavior and we couldn't lock the cat door with four cats.  We live close to a busy road and after seeing one of our neighbors dogs dead on the side of the road we realized that we had to find our cat door loving dog a new, safer home.

We have actually had some dogs that we loved dearly.  one was Bingo.  After paying for knee surgery he blew out his other knee before the first one healed.  He was in so much pain that we had to put him to sleep.  I cried that day and stayed away from dogs for a long time.

Then we tried dogs again.  Unfortunately we just got mutts or whatever dogs people were trying to get rid of.  This didn't work so we said we wouldn't do any more dogs.  A dog is a long term commitment and we weren't living up to that.  Out dogs did find other homes.

Recently my husband said that it was time to think about a dog again.  However, this time we needed to get a lab mix like Bingo was.  We started searching for a lab mix puppy.  We didn't want a dog mill puppy.  We wanted a puppy that came from a family.  It is amazing how much people want for mixed puppies on Craigslist and how many pitts are at the animal shelter.

Finally I found a puppy about an hour away.  The mommy is an Australian Shepard and the dad a Lab.  We went and got Curious George.....

We are committed to keeping this puppy as a member of our family.  I plan on posting a picture of him the first of each month so everyone can see his growth.  I don't think he will fit in that cart too long.

If you can't see the tail it is because he doesn't have one.  He only has his first set of shots so is only allowed in our backyard.  He is also getting crate trained and seems to be very bright.

His original name was simply George.  However, on the first evening home he got a little too curious and ended up in the pool, thus he is now Curious George.

Monday, March 3, 2014


Emma is sporting a big bruise on her face courtesy of her sister Michelle.  Apparently she has no problem with kicking someone in the face when she is mad.  She also doesn't appreciate that she is on total loss of privileges until that bruise is completely gone.  That means that she missed Chick Fil A tonight and she is hoping for quick healing because we are going skating on Saturday.

I really don't think that Michelle will do that again.  Every time someone asks Emma what happened she tells the truth.  On Sunday at church Michelle actually looked embarrassed.

Adding to her embarrassment, today I went to the school and told them that Michelle needed to tell a girl that she bullied on the bus that she was sorry.  The school thought it was a great idea and was glad to add detention during recess.  Michelle wasn't too pleased.

Emma bullies in a certain way and I know that a lack of self esteem is often the cause but in her case I actually don't see it.  I think that hers is really a lack of empathy for others.  She is coming along in attachment but isn't where she needs to be.  This is something we are consciously working on.

With Michelle I really think that her bullying is a problem with her self esteem.  She has a need for attention but seeks it by being the clown or extremely annoying.  She annoys all of her older siblings and pushes them away with her behaviors. 

Emma doesn't remember all the moves and she didn't have much of an emotional investment in each family.  Michelle is different.  She remembers every home and worked hard to stay.  She was the "good girl" trying to appease everyone so that she wouldn't get moved again.  When she came here it was the same way in the beginning.  She came saying she loved us which we knew wasn't possible. 

She took each move as a rejection.  There was so much rejection in her short life.  Even after 2 years in our home she still feels that rejection.  She suffers from self esteem issues and serious jealousy problems.  These combined make it hard for her siblings to bond with her.  When I put Larissa and Michelle together alone they can play well together.  When others are added Michelle doesn't do well and the fun deteriorates into fighting.  All three of the other kids can be playing well and then as soon a Michelle joins them there is a problem. 

We are working on her self esteem issues but with her behaviors sometimes it is hard.  Still, every day is a new day and a new opportunity for moving forward.

Emma has cycled around to a pleasant child.  When she goes through her tantrumming period she is so angry.  She constantly tells me that she wants a new home.  Recently she has started saying that she wants a new home whenever she doesn't get her way or gets corrected in any way.  The other day I told her that I was tired of hearing that because she is stuck and can't go anywhere.  She is a part of our family and she is just saying that to try and hurt.  I really am tired of hearing it.

As we pass out of this period with Emma I feel as though we have passed a test.  It feels as though she wants to make sure that we won't send her away.  Part of her believes it is possible.

There is a lot happening in our household right much that I haven't taken the time to post.  Tomorrow morning I will continue.