Thursday, July 28, 2011

Back to School Night - FD age 6

Back-to-school night is an oft anticipated time for many children...and equally dreaded by the rest.  I always looked forward to school - or at least the shopping involved. To this day, I just love fresh notebooks, clean index cards, brand-new pens, crayons, markers, etc.  Its like they represent the hope of what could be - endless possibilities.  New beginnings often make me feel that way.

Tonight was FD's night.  She was excited to go since she is a very sociable and affectionate little girl.  We sat in assembly and listened to rules (well, I listened and she leaned, laid and otherwise wallowed on me).  Then everyone was off to their classrooms.  Ms. Tracy is her 1st grade teacher and seems sweet.  There is a teacher's aide, and about 25 kids in the class.  I am thankful that her desk is front and center in the room and hopeful that she will get the attention and discipline she needs.  While she was only at this school for one month at the end of kindergarten, she recognized several faces and hugged a couple of friends.  More of the kids knew her name than she knew theirs...maybe a sign of blooming popularity?  To top it all of, each child got a bag of (mostly stale) popcorn.  She loved it :)

Meanwhile, my DS, who would have been in a different 1st grade class from FD, got to stay home with FS and his daddy.  He was perfectly content in doing so, and has been telling everyone in sight that he is staying home for school this year and that mommy is his teacher.  Great!  On the other hand, he is under the mistaken impression that he will only work for 20 minutes a day...or maybe 40.  I've attempted to dissuade him from that notion, but maybe it will only seem that long to him and that would be fantastic!

FS's back-to-school night for preschool at Head Start will be next Thursday night, and he is on the side of the fence with those dreading it.  His teacher, Ms. C.  is nice and came by last week for the required home visit.  He said he liked her, but that he does not want to go to school.  I keep telling him its not a choice.  At least he is looking forward to riding the big yellow bus!

Today we went clothes shopping as well, in order to use the back-to-school clothing vouchers that the state gives foster children.  $50 doesn't go far, even at K-Mart!  Luckily, they didn't really need much and had fun picking out a few new things.  I'm saving up the monthly clothing allowance for when the seasons change - I can spend it anywhere, instead of just the very short list allowed with the vouchers.

FD naturally put on every piece of clothing she could when we got home from shopping - headband, dress, tights and some cute brown and pink boots.  I said that was fine, but she couldn't go out in the 100 degree heat without changing.  So then she put on the other shirt (pink with Justin Bieber on it!) she hadn't worn yet with not-new capris, and kept wearing the boots, LOL.  Girls and their shoes - it starts young :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

IT IS HOT! a garden story

It is hot - a real scorcher.  Central Kentucky is under heat advisory warnings from 11am today (Wednesday) until Saturday night.  Its not yet noon and 91 degrees with the humidity sky-rocketing.  I do hope a drought isn't to follow....and here's why.

Last year, we had an *extremely* wet spring , complete with flooding.  Praise God we had the drainage ditch re-dug before the rains hit or our yard would be non-existant.  The county even put a tile in to take the water across our drive (technically, a county road, but no one else lives on our side of it) so it can flow easily into the valley to the creek without taking all our gravel with it.  The creek rose, time and time again, and covered the bridge (only way out for us and about 6 other homes) for a few hours. 

Before the deluge, I did plant the garden (early April) .  While it has good drainage and nothing was lost, the plants got used to a wet ground.  I'm told this makes them less hardy, and it appears to be true.

Then the rains stopped coming and the sun heated up the earth.  And the plants got dry and we tried to water.  Then our well rain dry and we quit watering the plants...and quit flushing the toilets and everything else non-essential.  Then my DH came up with a plan, and used our new (to us) pick-up truck to hold HUGE tanks which he took to the city water plant and paid mere quarters to fill it up.  He had to get a larger hose to easily transfer the water, but it worked!  He made several trips one day to jump-start things, then weekly refills until the rains came again.  It was quite an experience and we learned a lot.

We learned that corn and tomatoes need more water than a seasonal drought provides, as do most other vegetables.  No surprise there.  We learned that cucumbers do GREAT no matter how much water they get. :)
I learned what potato bugs look like and how devastating they are to the plants...but if you dig up the potatoes before the leaves wither, you can still get some food out of them.  And Sevin works wonders, even though I do my best to limit the chemicals I use in the garden.

This year I tried to prepare for the worse.  The spring rains were earlier this year so I didn't plant until the worst was over, and did a bit of evening watering until regular rains starting coming again.  We are in the dry season again, but there have been plentiful thunderstorms to keep the ground wet enough.  I am really just hoping the heat wave doesn't bring the growth to a halt. The problems I have this year include some other strange beetle-type pest that Sevin sent away and tons of weeds. Thank goodness for landscaping material!  This is the first year I've tried using it and it did the trick, keeping growth down on weeds while seeds and young plants got a good head start.  Since I injured myself and can't do what's needed, the weeds still make it look like a jungle, but the plants don't seem to be suffering at all.  So far, so good!

I will try to edit this post soon and add pictures of last year versus this year.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Its Been a Year of Foster Parenting

July 13, 2010 - the day we got our first call!  Of course, we accepted the placement of those two half-siblings, and you can go back and read about that time in other posts.  I don't regret a day of foster parenting, although there have been multiple challenges - personality conflicts, rule challengers, health issues, no time for hubby, no time for myself...just to name a few.  But challenges are temporary and God helps us overcome.

We have had our current foster children, ages 6 and 4, for 2.5 months.  They are still sweet and cute as can be, and get along well with our son, also age 6.  I have been doing some catch-up schooling with the girl (FD), mostly reading and math.  Not daily, but a few times a week.  As a group, we have been doing Bible stories and Spanish videos, which is fun - lots of singing and sometimes I can get them to dance, LOL.  I think their favorite is "Father Abraham", since it has all those motions with it.  With my son, he's a bit more reluctant to do the reading and math, even though he's further along than FD is.  They were a bit more gung-ho about "playing school" at the beginning of the summer, and when they were in the library summer reading program, than they are now, but we'll hang in there, even if its at a slower pace as "real" school looms closer.

So what have we done with the kids?  Swimming, cookouts, firefly catching.  Fishing, nature walks, making potholders.  Watercolor painting, glitter markers and crayon creations.  Play-dough, stamping and stickering up things.  Imaginative play - "dogs", "king and queen", "pets", "mario and luigi", "star wars" and more.  Daily computer games (30 min. per 6 year old).  A movie or tv show most days while I work on dinner.  Going to church and VBS.  Playing in the sprinkler, catching frogs, crickets and grasshoppers.  Picking blackberries, watching the garden grow.  Climbing rocks, swinging on the tire swing, making s'mores.  Going to every park in the county multiple times.  We also went to the TN Aquarium in Chattanooga, and I would like to go to the Creation Museum, Mammoth Cave, Children's Science Museum in Louisville and more, but I'm afraid time will run out on us now.  Next week the plan is Library Day Camp in the mornings and the United Methodist Church for VBS in the evenings.  Then only 1 full week will be left before public school starts!

I think so far its been a good summer.  I've only heard "I'm bored" about twice, and after cleaning the toilets, that stopped *grin*.  Now that the Wii is back in working order as of last weekend (was hit by lightning in April), I'm sure it will be getting its fair share of use as well.  Can't say that we've missed it like I thought we would!  Now I need to look into getting Just Dance (after my ribs heal) so we can really have some family fun with it :)

Happy Foster Parent Anniversary to us!

Monday, July 11, 2011

On the mend....again

This has not been the healthiest time of my life.  Since my last post, where I wasn't feeling too great, things went downhill.  I went to the ER on Sunday, stayed in the hospital almost 3 days, and never really determined where the infection was.  So, I had a lot of antibiotics, and by Thursday was feeling pretty well.  I proceeded to go on my trip to Tennessee to visit family on Friday (instead of Thursday as planned).  We all went swimming Friday afternoon and had a great time.  Then it was bath time and I slipped and hurt myself, badly, on the edge of the jacuzzi tub (wooden framed).  OUCH.  OUCH.  OUCH.  I refused to return to the hospital, knowing that all they could say was stay still and rest so your ribs can heal.

Did I stay still?  No.  We went to Chattanooga to see extended family, took the kids to the aquarium (they all loved it!), saw the fireworks in Collegedale, TN and then went back to Cookeville where my parents lovingly entertained the kids so I could rest.  Thank goodness!  We headed back home a day later than planned so I would be able to drive safely (i.e. turn the wheel without too much pain).

I have been to the chiropractor multiple times since coming home, and the pain is moving around.  Hard to say if its improving or not!  I finally got to the medical doctor today for a follow-up, and will call to see how the blood work turned out tomorrow.  If my white blood cell count isn't close to normal, I don't know what they'll try next.  On top of all of that, I caught a cold a few days ago, but of course its too painful to cough or sneeze so I've been stuffing it, LOL.  Now the doc has put me on 10 more days of antibiotics for the congestion - think he saw something in my ear and throat.  Yay. (By the way, I'm a sarcastic person in real life...I know that doesn't always come through loud and clear online :)

So there's my pity party.  Welcome to it :)  And we're done.  Moving on...