Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Picture Day

Picture day for these two. They picked their outfits and hair style. Larissa wanted her hair natural and she told me that after dance last night. I told her that she would have to get up early and shower so that I could take all her braids out. She did hop right out of bed and showered so we took her braids out at 6 am this morning.

Next year Emma will by our only kid in elementary school  Looking to the future, the year Benjamin starts kindergarten Emma will be going to middle school. Wonder if we will fill in any of the gap. Surprisingly my husband believes that we will adopt again.

Monday, March 27, 2017

School lunch/orthodontist

Today I had to pick all the kids up from school to take them to the orthodontist. I picked them up at 1 and 1:30 (two different schools). All of them were complaining that they were hungry. They told me that they had cheese sticks, salad and carrots for lunch. I didn't believe them, I thought surely you had something with more substance than that. So I looked on the school website. It stated the same plus a wedge of an apple (the kids told me it was a part of an apple). Who comes up with these menus? Are they made to ensure that kids stay hungry? What exactly do they think that kids will eat as soon as they get home? In many homes I am sure it is junk food. I didn't put "feed the kids" into the tight schedule so they picked up snack food when we stopped by the house to pick up Benjamin and Noah.

The orthodontist has a little play area where Noah and Benjamin played.

Noah kept crawling out of the area and escaping so Benjamin said that he would block his escape.

When Noah got past the first block Benjamin tried a different wasn't very successful.

I got the news that I was expecting. Emma and Michelle will get their braces next. Actually this is Michelle's second set. I sure wish that adoptions would cover braces! Anthony got the good news that next week he will get his braces off, however I am still paying on them until December. Our orthodontist offers a payment program where he doesn't charge any interest. We will be making payments on four sets of braces for a while. Actually, I have changed a vacation that I had hoped to take in 2018 to 2019 because of this.

After the orthodontist I took the kids to Chic fil A where we met my husband. After that we stopped for a sno cone. Not the healthiest of food but at least they weren't hungry when they went to bed.

The Wait

I am curious, how are school lunches in your area?

Saturday, March 25, 2017


Emma is a mess. She dislikes brushing her hair and her teeth. She stains her clothing and often I have to make her change because clean or dirty clothing, it doesn't matter to her. She still has her little diva attitude.

However, in important matters she is growing..... 

She comes to me to do her hair. 

She wants to hold my hand when we are walking. 

She tells me about her day when she gets home from school, ALL about her day.

 She has learned how to self-correct on a lie. 

She has finally taken an interest in babies and caring for them. She is still an early riser and will get Benjamin his breakfast in the morning when he rises early.

She wants me to watch her when she practices her dances.

She is making attempts to eat better (because I told her that her hair is taking forever to grow because she doesn't eat well).

She is able to play for longer times with Larissa without conflict.

She has stopped screaming when things don't go her way.

She is still playing catch-up. Although she is 10, emotionally she is about 8. Holding her back a year in school was the best thing for her. She is comfortable in school and has friends. Her teacher and I have communicated a lot this year to work on her tendency to be a bully with her peers and she has come a long way. She has a great teacher this year who understands her and is firm with her. She doesn't feel sorry for her, she expects certain standards from her. 

Watching her grow is such a joy. It feels like she finally believes that I love her, she finally is comfortable within her family.

It is said that love alone does not heal a child. I believe that. Not all children will heal from early neglect or abuse. However, how will you know until you try. She has been with us for more about 6 years. At what point do you give up? We don't ever give up but that is hard. Some days I feel frustrated, some days I think of giving up. Some days I am just tired. Thankfully, each day starts anew, although we don't always get it right, at least we keep trying.

No, love alone won't heal a child. You need time, patience, forgiveness of yourself when you lose that patience, consistency and lots of prayers. Love does help, although sometimes you have to keep keeping on even when you don't feel the love because that child is worthy.

I will be honest, it took a while for me to love my child. It was hard on the days when she sat and screamed for hours. When she was pushing away and screaming for a different family. Hope kept us going in the hard days. However, along the way love happened.

I can't tell you exactly when, but it happened a while

Friday, March 17, 2017


I took Larissa to the neurologist. The last medication that they had her on was giving her terrible headaches. She has missed a lot of school because of this. She also had some mornings where her seizures were making her throw up. Scary.  The medication wasn't working anyways.

Her neurologist said he wanted to try Lamictal.  He said that there is a problem with a rash so it has to be introduced very slowly. Then he said that since it will take up to 6 weeks to get to full dosage he wanted to try another medication while she was on the low dosage. That medication is klonopin. I was skeptical about introducing two different medications at the same time, seemed like if she had a problem you wouldn't know which medication it was.

This morning I was sitting at Fort Jackson in the pharmacy and decided to look up these medications. I typically do before I give them to her. The rash he told me about, well he didn't tell me that it could land her in the hospital, disfigure her or that it could even be fatal. Yes, the percentage is small but when I see a reaction could be fatal I am not keen on starting it. The doctor forgot to sign that script so I couldn't fill it anyways.

The klonopin had the usual depression/suicidal thoughts reaction. I don't expect a good outcome. She either has crying/depression or headaches when that is the possible reaction.

I am so frustrated. These medications seem worse than the seizures she is having. The only reason we are still trying to find something is because she has them every night, all night and the lack of sleep affects her in so many ways.

My morning routine is to wake her up and watch her. Half (if not more) of the time she starts to have a seizure. I then stand there and watch her and wait for the seizure to stop (they are very brief). Once the seizure is over I wake her up again. Most of the time she is drowsy but fine. Sometimes she wakes up with a huge headache and I send her back to bed. Rarely she wakes up throwing up and I send her back to bed. When she goes back to bed I don't see her until about noon. This is the routine both on medications and off.

I am looking at other options. I don't like all this trying of medications, she hasn't ever reacted well to any of them. I think that one that she tolerated at all was depakote. Only problem with that is it became ineffective over time. I am looking at some places upstate that do different testing to see if she has a chemical imbalance in something. I am looking at a different neurologist team in Charleston. I think I am going back to our regular doctor and ask her opinion. I am even open to trying a little CBD oil.

Frustrating! Anyone dealing with nocturnal seizures? Epilepsy in general? What are your experiences?

Thursday, March 16, 2017


Larissa had a vocabulary parade project due Wednesday. Because of her time spent in her regular classroom, her absences and her teacher absences I wasn't able to communicate with the teacher until Monday to confirm that Larissa was doing a cell. Larissa was under the impression that she couldn't do a cell because someone else in the class was doing it.

Monday we discussed what she wanted to do, paper, paint, cardboard, sew....the options are limitless.  Larissa decided that she wanted to sew. She had a neurologist appointment on Tuesday in Columbia so we left early to visit Hobby Lobby for some supplies. We had a vague plan.

We came home with supplies and actually never used the foam board.

Larissa picked her colors, pinned, cut, sewed and made the labels. 

She also had dance in the middle of it.

I helped with some of the more difficult sewing parts, direction, adding thread and general guidance.

I have a sewing area set up in the garage, the other kids were playing while we worked.

Larissa had never sewn before. She had asked me to show her and we just never made the time. I think it is time to get some type of patterns and show her how to work with patterns. (I typically just wing it without patterns)

At first she was very leery of that needle.

But she got more comfortable as the evening went on.

Completed a mitochondria.

As sewed and stuffed different parts we decided that we didn't need to use the stiff foam board (Actually that would make it harder to transport on the bus.) Instead we stuffed it and sewed it onto an apron to wear in the parade. She did a great job and a large portion of it was done by her.

It is very well sewn and will not come apart. It has the feel of a small comforter.

Tomorrow I will write about the very frustrating neurologist visit.

Sunday, March 12, 2017


I have one child who is trying to battle me for control so today we had a family discussion to make sure that we are all on the same page.  Quite simply I am not going to battle for control. I told the kids that I can not force them to do anything. I can not force them to respect me, the house, to do their chores, to follow our house rules, to tell the truth,....I can not force them to do anything. However, it is my job as a parent to give them consequences for their actions. I try for natural consequences when I can. I explained that as long as they live in our house they have to follow our rules.

Why? Why teach this? Why tell them that I can't control them?

Because when they leave my house they will still have rules that they will have to follow.  They will still have to respect others. When they are adults they will have a lot of rules to follow. If they chose to be late for work all the time they won't have a job. If they don't pay their bills they won't have electricity or will get evicted. When they don't follow the laws they could end up in jail where they will have even less freedoms. Becoming an adult doesn't mean that you are suddenly free to do whatever you want, it actually means that you have more areas in your life in which you have rules and the consequences for breaking those rules can be quite severe. I will not be there to force them to make the right decision.

So I told them that they are in control of their own actions. They are free to make whatever choices they want to make. However, it is my job to teach them that their choices have consequences. Positive actions will have positive consequences and negative choices will have negative consequences.

I would hope that they would chose to make positive choices. I know that they will make mistakes and they will learn from their mistakes, that is life. But, if you are going around purposely doing things to anger me then you are wasting your time and energy.

Why would I tell them that I can't control their actions? Because I can't and I can feel that one child is seriously testing this. Stupid things. Shoes in the kitchen...there is no reason for shoes in the kitchen. The kitchen is in the center of the house, not near any outside doors or bedrooms. It is not a logical place for anyone to kick off their shoes. There are no chairs in there to sit on and kick off your shoes. I have one child who likes to put her shoes in the kitchen. I told everyone a while back that any shoes in the kitchen will simply go in the trash. Two pairs of shoes have gone in the trash in the last week. Yesterday I noticed this child out playing in her dress shoes, I told her that if she trashed her dress shoes that I would not be replacing them. Her choice. She came in and started searching for shoes to change into, she found an old pair but I know that she is missing two pairs. She won't mention them but I haven't had any shoes in the kitchen for two days now.

Seriously, I don't have time for battling for control. I don't have time for these games. I can't control their actions, I can only control my responses.


A few days ago Benjamin was running around nakie and today it snowed. Thus is the weather in South Carolina!

All our azaleas are in full bloom so I wonder what that will do with our spring bloom. Our weather has been stranger than usual lately.

Larissa is off to a birthday party today. She was so excited, they went off to one of those jump places. This girl L was allowed to invite one girl and chose to take Larissa. Kids, so hard to watch all of their ups and downs sometimes. Larissa and this L were friends in class. A new girl R came into their class and promptly made friends with L and told her not to talk or play with Larissa. I had several days of crying from Larissa. She couldn't understand why L would suddenly turn on her. Ahh, girls.  After about 2 weeks L decided that R wasn't very nice and she started playing with Larissa again. It was a good week for Larissa, her friend came back to play with her and the boy who was annoying her on the playground told her that he had a crush on her and that she was nice and pretty. I would not care to go back to the 5th grade!

Sometimes it is hard as a parent to listen to all the drama at school. When do you intervene and when do you stay back? What do you tell your kids to do in these situations? Is it a race issue? The above situation with Larissa could have been thought as that, R is white. However, I have seen that type of behavior many times among my kids. I seen seen Emma herself try this type of manipulation. 

In this situation I told Larissa to concentrate on other relationships in the class and we talked about those. I also told her that if she gets to talk to L alone to tell her that she missed playing with her, don't get mad, don't accuse. I was hopeful that L would tire of R's bossiness and go back to playing with Larissa. The day after Larissa talked to her, L came back to play. When Larissa told me about it I told her that if R wanted to play with them to allow her to do so, don't act like R. Friday Larissa came home to tell me that they were all playing together at recess. Then I hear about the club where you tell each other your secrets.....ugh, no don't. Then comes the warning about telling your secrets to people and how to develop trust.

Parenting is tough.

Saturday, March 11, 2017


Benjamin pulled up a "chair" to talk with granny.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Paperwork Submitted

Today we had a visit from our social worker. She completed all of our paperwork and this afternoon she submitted it to the state for completion. We will see how long that process takes.

Things have changed since we fostered last. They now work in regions. When we fostered before a large majority of our foster kids came from our county. Now they have regions so we can receive calls from several counties surrounding us. We are in a small rural area but are right next to Columbia. From what I have been told a lot of our county foster parents receive calls from Columbia. I think that this process was a way of finding more homes for kids coming out of the larger area.

But with that can come complications. Visitation for one. When it was in our county DSS was about 15 minutes away from me. I always transported. Now visitation could be an hour away. I would have to think about transporting that far away, especially if visitation is at a time when my kids get home from school.

It would also mean that if the kid is school age there is no way they can stay in their school. Kind of sad for the child and even more disruptive for them. It also means that there isn't a good relationship with the child's social worker. I have heard a lot of complaints about lack of communication. I enjoyed the relationships I had with our local DSS. This shall be interesting.

We also changed our age, we are accepting ages 0 to 8. I just can't see taking in another 10ish year old into our group of 10-13 year old's. I think it would be too much drama, competition and such. Trying to prevent problems. I also told her that we would only take one family group. I don't want one child from one family and a child from a different family. She said we would receive those calls if we put down two. So we put down 1 and she wrote that we would take siblings in the notes. I say all this knowing that I will receive calls out of my age range.

All these social worker visits makes me realize that my moms social worker and the one who enjoyed butting in haven't contacted me at all since we got back from vacation.The one who liked to interfere cancelled our diapers and wipes. We asked her to not cancel the Boost but she did. Yes, my mom is out of her Boosts so I am buying them. I feel that I need to send that bill to someone.

Please pray for my mom. She is having a rough time. Sometimes her medications help and sometimes they don't. It is so hard to watch her cry and there is not much I can do about it. She cried for her mom, that she can't walk and can't get up. She will call for me and want me to help her get up. That isn't going to happen. Most of the time I end up distracting her with sweets, often times it works. Right now she is into those orange popsicle with ice cream in the middle. I was ice cream sandwiches before. While you are at it, please say a prayer for me too!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

No Fear

For now I have finished my work on Anthony's mural. I need to get back to painting the rest of the walls. I also need to take a closet unit out of this room and put it in Emma and Michelle's room. Friday I go to DSS and start on a mural in the visitation room.

The fisherman pulling from above and the monster pulling from below, who wins? This design came to me in a dream, strange isn't it.

Tomorrow we have our final visit from the social worker completing our license and then we wait for the state to do their job. Our social worker tells me that it only takes about a week to get the license if all is in order. I guess I will know soon enough!

Monday, March 6, 2017


The fire inspector showed up to reinspect. I wasn't aware that she was coming! I had gotten the fire alarm in the mail and had set it up, I just hadn't put it up yet. The door is now in place and the electrical outlet that was broken was replaced with a metal one (two different outlets in one spot and I think that pressure from them broke that last one).

She gave me a moment to find a screwdriver and put it up then she tested it to make sure it communicated with all the other ones. Thankfully it was easy to set up, the instructions were actually easy to follow and I didn't have to resort to you tube when we first installed them.

So now we are down to the last of our training hours. We had to do 28 training hours. Tomorrow we will get the last 2 hours that we need.

I have started painting the room for Anthony but it is slow going. It doesn't help that I decided that I needed to do something about a crack in the wall......paint a mural on it.

Sometimes the help slows things down a bit.....

Can you guess where the crack is?

It is a work in progress. I carve out about 30 minutes a day to work on it.

Anthony is loving it. Emma asked for monsters in her room too. 

Benjamin is 3

Warning...picture overload

The day before his party I made Benjamin's birthday cake. I got the idea off of Pinterest but didn't have the smaller circle pans so the dimensions are off a bit.  Benjamin didn't care, he was excited about his cake. He couldn't go to bed and got up early. I had put his cake in the fridge in the garage and he woke up bright and early telling me his cake was cold. We took it out to warm up for him.

We had a small party and included some painting.

Yes, that is a bite mark.

I loved this party. Benjamin was old enough to know that we were celebrating him. He was so happy all day and behaved so well. He loved everything about his day.

Yes, he is eating out of a doggie dish. 

It was new and he ate breakfast out of it today, he cleaned it himself.

He got a few gifts and loved all of them. I think that his favorite was a camera. Vaida helped him with the unwrapping and he shared some of his toys with her. I love their relationship.

Marshall got into the cake and ice cream.

Benjamin's painting. There are paint brushes stuck to it, we left them.

Larissa took a very long time on hers and she did a great job.

Noah slept through most of the celebration but he did enjoy eating out afterwards. He is an eater!

It is hard to believe that our little short term placement baby is now 3, he is growing up so fast.

If you call my house, he most likely will answer the phone. 

Happy birthday to my little sweet one.