Sunday, September 09, 2012

Shortest Stay So Far

We recently had three foster children come and stay with us for exactly one week.  It was the most unusual circumstance that I've seen so far, as the kids didn't seem to have been in any danger at all, but thankfully the judge did the right thing and sent them right back home...or as fast as it could be done considering it was Labor Day weekend and no one worked Fri through Tuesday.  

These were pretty good kids and we had no major issues.  They were all 3 older than my son, which is only the second time that's happened.  They are 9, 11 and 15 and were in 3 different schools.  Thankfully, school was only in session 3 of the 7 days they were with us!  We enjoyed the long weekend with them, getting to know them, playing games and other normal things.

The big excitement was that it was our county's fair week.  I had already taken DS, and worked my share at the Lions Club's booth when we got these three.  But they hadn't had the chance to go yet, so Friday night, we all went together.  It was a good time for all of them.

The other excitement was that we had water damage and the repair guys showed up on Labor Day to look at things and started tearing walls down on Tuesday.  Look at the mold in this picture!!  Ugh.

Utility room/hallway without walls - icky mold
Thankfully, they got it killed off and the walls are rebuilt now, as well as some other improvements while we were tearing things up :)

Below is the 9 year old's efforts at the day of the week her last morning here, my correct spelling, then her good-bye that afternoon when we found out they were leaving.  Bye-bye!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Making Foster/Adoptive Connections

We have extended our break from foster parenting, and may make it longer due to some other things we have going on and the time and money taking in more kids requires.  In the meantime, we continue being part of our new (reinstated) local foster/adoptive group, the G.C. Foster Care Association. 

If you have a local support group, go to the meetings if at all possible.  If you don't have a local group, consider starting one or traveling to the one closest to your home.  The emotional and other supports your will get (and give) are well worth the effort!  Fostering is a hard road and it often feels like you are walking it alone.  I'm lucky to have a couple of other foster families in my church, and that helps a lot.

 If local or regional groups just aren't an option at all, you can go online for support.  I blogged about my favorite foster/adoptive blogs to go a few months ago.  I have also mentioned a foster care forum when I talked about what every foster parent should know.  Reading and getting to know other foster parents online is a good substitution for real-life support.  You just have to be even more careful not to use real names or identifying information about anyone involved in the situation, especially the children themselves.

Another place that I've been surprised to find some kindred souls is on Pinterest.  I have my own foster/adoptive info & blogs board, and am following several others in that category.  Here are a few of my favorites!

The Dave Thomas Foundation

Then there's Facebook.  Most of the people who use Pinterest or have blogs also have Facebook pages, some even have interactive groups.  I'm not members of these, but here are some I found.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Petition to Protect Young Children

This petition was started by a lady I know personally.  Its called

Revise / establish a law that recognizes and acknowledges emotional trauma in small children

 Please look this over, and sign if you agree!  I'm surprised there isn't already legislation to cover this situation, honestly.  I'm all for parental rights and less government interfering in our daily lives.  However, if a parent abandons a child to another caregiver for a significant length of time, the baby isn't going to know the parent and be attached to the caregiver instead.  Foster kids are often diagnosed with RAD, and abandonment is one of the main reasons.  Even if that parent comes back, the damage to the child's trust has occurred.   (Just my two cents.  I'm not an expert by any means.)

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Updated House Rules

I got tired of looking at the same house rules and decided to do some updating, adding some specifics and making it more positive than last time.  You may remember my previous House Rules.  I liked them, but they weren't very pretty so I've created this free download of our rules .  If you just want to see it, here you go (but the fonts didn't transfer exactly - I'm new to this).

House Rules
     JOY – put Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last.
Speak kindly. No foul language or hurtful words.
Always tell the truth! Report, but don't tattle.
Show respect and earn it.
Obey God, parents and leaders.
Be responsible. Work before play, and chores before meals.
Use nice touches. No hitting, spitting, biting.
No whining or throwing fits. Upset? Breathe deep, cool down, talk.
Clean up after yourself. Every time. Every place.
Include everyone in play. Share .
Turn off the lights, TV, game system, and music when you leave a room.
Toys must stay in the play room or your own room.
No rough play, running or shouting indoors.
Snack only from approved foods.
Eat only in the kitchen unless otherwise instructed.
Read for 30 minutes a day.
Friends can come over after chores are done.
Screen time is limited to 2 hours a day. This includes TV, computer, Wii, DS, PSP and iThings.
Games and movies must be pre-approved and have a rating of E or E10+, and G or PG.
Lights out by 8:30.
Created by For personal use only.


 Aren't they pretty??  Now I need to find a lovely frame...or use one of the cute ideas from Pinterest to get it on the wall!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Is it enough?

Is it enough to just be me?  Am I enough?  A friend and I were talking about this last weekend and discovered that we had both been through a similar struggle and decided that YES, we are enough, regardless of our situations.  Here are my views on this matter.

Is it enough to have just one child?  Is it enough to be a wife and not have any children?  Is it enough to work only in the home, regardless of how many children you have? 

Am I a good enough mom, even though I work outside the home?  Is part-time work enough?  What if I have to work overtime - is that "good enough" for my kids? 

Should I send my kids to day care? To public school?  Private school?  Home school?  Are any of these enough?
 If you are a foster parent - is taking one child at a time enough?  How many is too many if you work outside the home?  If you stay at home?  Is fostering enough or should I adopt?  Is adopting one child enough to make a difference in the world?

Am I pretty enough?  Thin enough?  Happy enough?  Do I have enough electronics or the right cleaning products?  Are we healthy enough?  Strong enough?  Caring enough?  Loving enough?

I could do this all day long, but I think you get the point. The answer to each question will depend on where God has put you and what your goals are...but YOU ARE ENOUGH.

I think men and women both ask "is it enough" and "am I enough" questions, but women tend to take it to another level.  We are all basically insecure, no matter how many other people tell us we are wonderful just the way we are.  This insecurity is not from God. 

I believe we are enough.  We are made by God, in His image.  He saved woman for last, to be the crowning glory of creation.  We are special, and more powerful than we realize.  God knows our purpose - to love Him and to love others.  We need to rest in that purpose, work towards that purpose, live with that purpose.  Everything else is negotiable.

Satan knows all of this too, however, and he knows our weaknesses, like how easy it is to convince us that we aren't enough.  Throughout history, women have been constantly underestimated and restrained, for Satan fears us.  If we were to each realize our full potential as God's daughters, the world would change.  Each time we ask "am I enough" and we don't look to God for the answer, the world will provide us its own answer: "NO".  You need this product, that car, this supplement, that diet, these clothes, that car seat....the list is endless!! Clever marketing convinces us that who we are isn't as important as what have or what we look like.  Don't buy the lie. 

We may want the things we see, and if that's a struggle for you, please consider finding a way to reduce your exposure to advertising (i.e. DVR shows and skip commercials, don't read magazines).

The sources that inspired this post today:

Inspiring post from Finding Joy about being "enough"

Point of Grace - story behind "Good Enough"
Point Of Grace – Good Enough  - song on Spotify

See Jamie Blog, on how some people feel "entitled to children" and her own struggles with this.

If you struggle finding purpose in your life, check out this blog series about the Proverbs 31 woman.  She is inspiring...yet if we look at her as a list to check off, we will fall short and feel even worse about ourselves.  Learn from her, then aspire to be the best "you"you can be...but don't beat yourself up!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Break Time!

Yesterday, my last foster child (of the 6 earlier this year) went home to her biological father.  She was with us for four busy months, and helped me overcome my trepidation about her age group.  Of the three girls I have had, aged 8-10, she has been the most fun and best behaved!  I will miss her but believe that the right thing was done by the state in her case.  For this, I am thankful.
Horseback riding after hiking at Mammoth Cave
She finished out her school year soon after the last post, and I attended the awards ceremony with my own son in tow.  She was so very proud of her two awards!  I was unaware of the awards program until she called me about 30 minutes before it started, but we made it in time.  I enjoyed it, although it did get a bit long, since they did K thru 5th grade all at the same time.
Wading at Otter Creek park, Meade County
Since school was out, we have gone hiking, swimming, and to a museum.  I have let the kids make crafts, read to them, and let them play in the creek.  I showed them how the bushhog on the tractor works and cut a path to the creek to make it easier on us all - the weeds are taller than they are!  We have roasted marshmallows and grilled out.  We went to the playgrounds and stayed home to jump on the trampoline and throw water balloons.  It was all a good time, and I think she'll remember the time with our family fondly.

Pedicure - part of our "girl's night"
Court itself was a trial, so to speak. ;)  She and her 3 younger siblings, who went home to their dad over a month ago, were asked to be there.  I brought my "busy bag of tricks"* and thank goodness I did!  We waited two hours for the case to be called, then another hour for it to be over.  As you can imagine, it was anxious and uncomfortable for everyone, since both bio dads, the bio mom, foster mom, a granny and a step-mom were all there with the kids.  It was very telling that the kids chose to hang out with their dads or me the whole time - bio mom only spoke briefly with Daisy (until she realized her dad was there) and ignored the younger 3 altogether.  She had no chance of getting Daisy back - failed drug tests, home not ready, poor presentation (dress, attitude), and no attachment.  Their social worker said that she had never seen a worse mother than this one, and neither have I.  She still makes me angry; I am so thankful that the fathers both stepped forward to take their children.

Both dads have done a good job communicating with me since visitation began a few months ago, and assure me that I can call or visit anytime.  I really appreciate that, and it makes letting go SO much easier.  I prefer to let them take the lead, however, because I know that its a tough transition for their family, regardless of how excited they are to have them home.  Experience has also taught me that this contact usually isn't for the long term.  Of the fourteen kids we've had in the past 23 months, there are a few I haven't seen in quite some time.  However, I think the fact that I'm keeping contact with them open in some way (email or phone contact with the parent, at minimum; meet-ups at the park at most) says good things about the job I do making the families feel comfortable with me and confident that I have their best interest in mind.  (Biological parents sometimes feel, at least at first, that foster parents are in it to "steal" their kids.)  Many of them are very thankful for the care I've given their kids.  The dad and nanny of the group of 3 mentioned above actually gave me a very sweet card last week!

We are now taking a break from fostering.  Respite is a good thing, but it isn't the same as a true break.  When kids are put in respite, they are still "my" kids and I worry about them and miss them while we are out of town.  Once the kids are removed from care altogether, there is a sense of greater freedom.  We have several trips planned over the next few weeks before school starts (August 1st around here!), and won't be accepting any new placements during that time.  I have stipulated a couple of exceptions to that rule, one being if Goofy happens to come back into care.

* Busy bag or bag of tricks = something to preserve your sanity and keep children out of trouble in kid unfriendly situations (anywhere they have to wait and can't run around).

My bag typically includes several of the following.  What do you  have in yours?
  • coloring and activity books
  • crayons, pencils, pens, markers
  • Hot Wheels, cars
  • small balls (but not bouncy balls)
  • food, drinks, utensils
  • small stuffed animals
  • blankets, towels
  • napkins, utensils
  • electronic devices (Kindle Fire, iThing for movies/games, Nintendo DS)
  • books
Wishing you all a fun and happy summer!

This was a previous post that I failed to complete and upload....OOPS.  It would have been entitled, "School's Out!"

Daisy has completed 3rd grade and is looking forward to starting 4th grade at a new school in a different city, once she is back with Dad.  This ten year old (yes, she repeated an earlier grade) love to learn, but hates school because it bores her.  She loves the social aspect of school, though.  I've had several foster daughters who are "butterflies", but I think Daisy takes the cake!  She's never met a stranger and freely gives hugs to anyone she's ever seen before.

Thursday was the last day of public school, and we ended our home school the same day.  Friday we took a fun day!  We went to Chuck E. Cheese, which was quiet for almost the first hour because birthday parties didn't start early, and that county's schools were still in session.  It was nice!  I went to the Parent Teacher Store and got a few supplies to rearrange our home school area, then we went to a playground to burn some energy.  Finally, we went to an historic train depot which is now a museum.  They had a great time doing a scavenger hunt in the museum, but the highlight was touring the train itself.  I had never been in a mail car or sleeper car before, so I learned a few things, too!  There was also a dining car with kitchen, and the presidential car.  There were a couple not ready for touring yet - the hospital car and the engine itself.  They were allowed to climb on the outside of the caboose.  I would like to go back once all the cars are restored.

My parents are coming to stay for a couple of days, then I think we'll go to Mammoth Cave one day next week, and perhaps the Patton Museum.  Yay for summer trips!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

National Foster Care Awareness Month

I have read some fabulous blogs since the beginning of May, which is National Foster Care Awareness Month.

It started with Minnie at FosterAdoption, letting me know that this is a special month and all the ways that people can get involved without actually becoming foster parents.  This led me on a blog search to learn even more about foster care.  I have found some great ones, most recently Percolated Paradox, written by a woman who aged out of the foster care system after 42 placements. FOURTY-TWO!  (the graphic below was created by her)

I have pinned many foster/adoptive blogs on Pinterest.  Here are some of my favorites:

Foster Parenting Adventures
I Was a Foster Kid
Standing on His Promise

Here's wishing you a great month and greater awareness of the foster care system in the USA.

Medication Drama

Last post, I talked about how court was delayed for Daisy.  The new date is in mid-June and the recommendation is still to send her to her dad and step-mom's home in a different city.  So, I have four more weeks with this fun little girl!

After her initial disappointment and anger over her half-siblings being moved, she has been great.  Her moodiness has decreased.  Her eating and sleeping habits haven't changed since she's been here, which I take as a good sign (no depression).

I have seen her siblings once, and will get to see them another few minutes next week before/after their visitation with their bio mom.  When I saw them, they were smiling and seemed happy and healthy.  I got to meet their "nanny", who is helping to meet their needs while their dad works.  She told me thank you for taking care of her kids.  Always nice to hear.  The bio mom, on the other hand, saw her kids hugging me as she left the CPS building, and was glaring something awful!

The only drama lately has been with Daisy's ADHD medication.  We have a thief for a neighbor and pills have gone missing more than once.  I recently figured out who it was, and am so disappointed in this person.  What sort of person steals medication from a ten-year old girl who can't function in school without it??!!?!  The addicted sort, it seems :(  My husband and I have learned quite a bit about ADHD medications in the last year or so; several kinds are considered Class 2 narcotics.  Isn't that crazy?  Legal crack.  Apparently, when you speed up a child who already is hyperactive, it actually slows them down.  Because they are class 2, prescriptions aren't refillable, and we have to call the doctor each month and physically go in and pick up the script and take it to the pharmacy.  If its more than 2 days before the last date, you can't get it refilled.  So timing is everything!  Having 5 or 10 pills go missing once or twice a month really wrecks havoc with this timing.  I'm thankful the CASA and social workers are working with me on this, and we will be able to get what she needs to finish out the school year.

I haven't gotten to see Goofy at all since he left.  I made sure the social worker gave his dad my number, but there has been no contact.  I'm disappointed in that, but understand.  His birthday was last week, and since I already had the gift bought, I wrapped it and dropped it off at his dad's workplace.  I really wish I could have seen him open it!  I know he's loving that Lightning McQueen RC least, he is if his dad gave it to him.

When school gets out for Daisy, I'm planning on continuing a light summer learning schedule with my own son and taking field trips with both of them.  I'm sending them both to a science day camp locally and enrolling them in Summer Reading at the library.  We'll go to the science museum in Louisville, Patton's museum, and maybe the Creation Museum.  Once she moves in with her dad, we will be able to travel out of state and we WILL travel before accepting any more children.  This mama needs a break!

Monday, April 23, 2012

From Overcapacity to One

Since February, I've had six kids in the house.  A number I never imagine I would have, since local policy states that five is the limit, and that includes biological children under 18 years of age.  The exception was made because I already had my son and one foster child when they needed placement for four siblings...and I was the only place in the county who could (or would) take them.  I didn't want them to have to switch schools, so took the plunge.
It was a busy few months, but now they are heading home.  The boy (Goofy) I had since January went home last week, to his dad, on a trial basis.  This means that the court retains custody for a predetermined period of time (usually six months) to see if the parent can remain appropriate for that child.  Before moving him, I was asked if I would be willing to take him back should the need arise.  I have been asked that several times before, but so far the parents have managed well enough.  I'm glad to have other children in his school so I can hear how he is doing, and so far the reports have been good.

Three more went home to their dad today.  This was a different situation from what I've seen before - parents were divorcing and had been separated when the kids were removed from the mother.  Dad found out and worked hard to get them back, through the CPS office.  Before family court was held to determine whether the kids would go to him or stay in care, divorce court was held (last week, same day that Goofy was removed).  That judge awarded him sole custody of his three children, but it took several more days for the order to be signed.  So, I packed them all up, sent the stuff to dad's during their weekend visitation, and hoped that word would come soon.  I got the call today, so off they went!

I still have their half-sister, and she isn't happy about it.  Daisy has turned 10 while in my care, and has gone from believing that her dad never loved her and didn't want anything to do with her (lies from her mother) to knowing that he does love her and want her...and getting weekend visitation with him!  Its a great change, and she is looking forward to it.  However, she is short-sighted and can only see that her siblings are where they want to be and she is not.  Family court was supposed to have been this week, but has been postponed, so she does have a legitimate reason to be upset.  I do hope it is only delayed a week, not a month or two, but you never can tell.

I am planning on taking a break of a few weeks after Daisy leaves in order to travel a bit and enjoy my own family without the extra noise-makers around :)  I must say, tonight has been awfully quiet!

What Foster Parents (Should) Know

You know going into foster parenting that you will not be told everything (privacy laws).  Perhaps little to nothing, if you don't learn what questions to ask.  Still, you hope that you will get a social worker who is good at communicating, not only with judges, lawyers and parents, but with you, the foster parent.

Sometimes, you do.  Sometimes, you don't.

I have had six social workers in the last 2 years for 14 children.  I have only had one child whose worker changed while I had him, which beat the odds.   (It is, unfortunately, normal to have several workers during the year or two that a child is "in care".)   I have not had any issues with any of these workers, beyond communication issues.  But really, what else is there?  The child's worker doesn't do paperwork with me (except the ONE that actually invited me to the initial planning meeting, which I'm always supposed to be at).  They are supposed to visit the child in my home once a month - and all but one has been faithful to do that.  Beyond those things, communication is all there actually is.

Below is what I've learned from experience, and most likely doesn't match the handbook, located here (scroll down and click on the Resource Parent Handbook to download the pdf).

What are foster parents supposed to be told?  This probably varies by state.

Medical and mental health history of the child (this is spotty, at best, and usually nothing)

Social worker's name, phone number, and email (not always the one who brings the children to your home - I've had times where I don't know who the worker is until the next day)

Who the bio parents are and the status of their goals/treatment plan towards reunification
(we are not normally told what the goals are, nor details on why the child was removed - but we are allowed to know how long it may take to reach the goals and if they are working on them or not)

When/where visitation is, and any changes  (and we *should* have input on the scheduling)

Any school issues and where they attend school (usually better luck asking the school directly what problems there may be, once you have a form in your hand saying the kids are now living with you)

Any past abuse and behavioral problems and what's been done about them (you have to ask)

Any upcoming appointments that will need to be kept and/or scheduled

If a relative is found, who it is, where they live, and status of that home (not suitable, pending, approved)

Court dates and times, purpose of the court and any results.  Also, whether or not the child(ren) should be present.

What paperwork should we receive?

"111a", which is signed by a supervisor and a worker and the foster parent, stating the child's name, social security number, birth-date and relevant information, as well as the TWIST number (assigned by the state and used in court/for billing)

Copy of the court's judgement (allowed but not usually received)

Copy of SS card, birth certificate

Medical authorization form or letters to show the doctor/dentist/optomitrist/psychologist before treatment

Copy of medical card(s)

Medical history, especially major surgeries, allergies and pediatrician's information

Passport (medical) Binder, in which the above information should be stored so it can follow the child wherever he may go

What other things should the foster parents get?

clothing and shoes for the child, if available

medications and applicable instructions

anything else the child needs - special toys, books, blankets...anything.

In my opinion, we should also get the parents' full names, phone numbers (if calls will be allowed), and how wary we should be of interacting with them.  This matters to me, as I am in a small town and inevitably will see them out in public at one time or another, or at least during visitation drop-offs.

Have questions about foster parenting and want to know more?  This is the forum for the National Foster Parent Association.

Friday, March 23, 2012

I'm the Lucky One

I saw a comment on LT's blog that struck a chord with me.  Here are my rambling thoughts for the day...

People are always telling me how much they admire what I do, that I'm amazing, an angel, that they couldn't do it.  I don't think that fostering is for everyone *at all* but I think it must just scare some that actually could do it.  Yes, its work, but so is my own son...and they are worth it for the same reasons.  They were created by God and are worthy of His love and ours.  They were created to know and love Him, and to know and love people.  When I know and love them, then I am doing what God created me to do.  If I can teach them to know God and love people, then they will be ready to face this world when they leave my home.  I hope.

I don't do this consistently or perfectly, but it is the goal I keep in mind.  I fail most every day - I lose my temper.  I may say something I regret, I may slam a door, I may give myself a time-out...or I may stuff it and bottle it up inside for a while.  Its a work in progress.

Therefore, I am not any more amazing than the next person, who faces their own struggles each day.  We each have our own mountains to climb, and each one of these children tries me, tests me and helps me grow into the person I am becoming.  I do the same for them, helping them face their problems and grow up a little bit more.  I feel blessed and lucky to be able to do this for them.  Perhaps that is the reason I have a hard time understanding why people think I'm so great!  I'm the lucky one.

---end rambling---and on to what's happening---

Spring, and a little of summer, have been hanging around the past few weeks, and we have all been enjoying the beautiful weather.  I had a week without my husband (another business trip), and survived, so I know that I can handle these 6 kids just fine, without being a miracle worker and without much help, other than them being in school for 4 days.  I did had a friend join us last Friday for a fun day in Bowling Green - it would have been incredibly stressful to attempt it alone!  I took them to Chuck E. Cheese and to see The Lorax, then to a playground before a storm drove us back home.  Most of them had never been to Chuck E. Cheese, or a movie theater, so it was a big day!!  They had a fantastic time, and all except Minnie managed to stay awake through the movie.

Today was the home visit from the preschool teachers, and it went well.  The kids were hyped up from being inside today (boo, more rain!) and so excited to show their teachers their toys in the playroom.  We talked a bit about the issues that those 3 little ones have, and a little about their family situations.  The sun came out while they were here, so thankfully they've gotten to play some outside and have some quiet time as well.  When the older ones get off the bus, I'm going to try and keep them all outside until supper! 

I have been setting dental and medical appointments and think they are all lined up.  The social worker has set the mental health evaluation for spring break, and I'm glad to get that started.  I've been doing my own research and have an alphabet of acronyms that may be applied to them, so we'll see which ones I'm right about!  I really hope therapy will help them come through the experience well, instead of having to go to medications.

One more week until spring break means I have 4 full days with just one child at home to accomplish any errands I need to run the following 10 days.  Wish me luck!

Friday, March 09, 2012

Meet the Teachers

This week I decided to be proactive about learning more about these kids, since I have the feeling they may be here a while.  Of course, I could be totally wrong about that, too!

I was told they had IEPs, which are individual education plans, by the social workers.  All but the oldest child did.  I called the school to see about getting copies of the IEPs, and about possibly increasing the number of times Goofy gets his speech therapy.  Instead, the school counselor ended up saying I could request a progress meeting, so we did!  (It was great timing, since report cards were coming home that day.)  I got to meet all the teachers for the 5 kids, plus one of the two speech therapists.  It was a wonderful meeting, as I could tell how much each one of them truly loved these kids in my care.

I'll list just a few of the gems we discovered that day. 

Daisy was held back in second grade, but swears up and down it was first grade.  Either way, good to know.  She is now in the highest available math class for her grade, and almost highest in reading and is doing very well, especially now that she gets enough rest each night. She should finish out third grade strongly.

Donald has not yet been held back, and his teacher didn't think her superiors would allow that to happen this year.  I don't normally want kids held back, but he has already been labeled as MMR (mild mental retardation) and been getting special services.  I was thinking if we could get the label stripped off and simply let him try the whole year again, it might improve his self-esteem by being treated "normally."  Both the regular classroom teacher and special education teacher raved about his improvements this school year.  He started out so far behind, but is now almost finished with the first of the 1st grade readers (1 of 5 - the rest of his grade is starting the fifth reader now).   The improvement in the 3 weeks he has been with me have been amazing, they told me.  They were very excited that he might actually test out of special services when that time comes up again.

Mickey has likewise shown huge improvements, and his teacher was full of pride (I think they said he was borderline MMR at the beginning of the school year).  He is most definitely ready to start kindergarten in the fall.  He will likely continue with speech for a while.

Minnie will have another year of preschool, and continue with speech and occupational therapies, as well as working on her communication and socialization skills.  The only goal set for her this school year that she hasn't met yet is to be out of pull-ups completely.  And if you've read my other posts, you know just how hard we are trying to meet that one!  For my own sanity, if nothing else. :)

Goofy unfortunately will not be "ready" for kindergarten, but has to go anyway because of his age (and because he's in foster care I can't home school him...and not sure I'd want to try in any case).  The only letter he can recognize is the one his name starts with.  He did get the colors right, and a few of the shapes, though, so perhaps its not hopeless.  They also can't increase the frequency of his speech therapy until he moves from "the trailers" into the main school building next year because this therapist travels from school to school and is only physically there twice a week.  The teachers and counselor were in agreement to increase it for the next school year, though, as well as in sending home some things for me to work with him on.  He is the hardest to understand of any 3-5 year old I've ever known, and very slow and methodical in his self-care.  Crazy fast when he tries to play and talk, but slow for most other things.  He's an interesting child, and challenging.

The whole meeting made me feel fantastic about having these kids - every teacher was thankful I was able to take all the siblings, and two called me an angel.  I would like to say that I am totally NOT an angel, but its nice to know that some see me that way, LOL.

Other than school news, D, D, M & M will soon start visitation with their father on opposite weeks from their mom.  I hope it goes well....and wonder if I'll meet him.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Visitation for Four and More

The past week or so has been a bit of a roller-coaster.  I finally got to the doctor and drank lots of cough medicine and luckily it didn't run out but a day or so before the anitbiotics really started working.  I'm feeling much better now, but last Monday was awful!  I'm so glad to finally be working at more than 75% and looking forward to being back to 100%.

I had to take Goofy to the doctor Tuesday, and he had a round of antibiotics as well.  The surprise was that he should have been on allergy medication this whole time (nearly 2 months now) and no one told me!  No wonder his nose was always running and he got sick from the constant congestion.  Oops....  he's all better now, and I'm glad to not be helping him blow his nose anymore.

Donald caught the stomach virus that's going around our community, and I think little Mickey had a touch of it, and Daisy may have a bit of an ouchy tummy this afternoon.  I sure hope those two don't get it full-blown like Donald, because it was *disgusting*!!  I'm guessing it was the same strain my own son and I had about a month ago, since we're doing fine.

DH + 3 kids + 2 dogs = fun exercise time in beautiful February weather
In between Goofy and Donald's illnesses was the weekend.  My parents came down and met all the new kids, and a good time was had by all.  It was a little crazy and a lot loud, especially since my dad brought his beagle and his foster dog along.  (Foster dog, Lily, was a chihuahua/Jack Russell mix and very skittish, but not nippy.)

Yesterday afternoon, Donald said he was feeling well enough to have his first visit with his mom.  I doubt he would have said otherwise, even if he was in the middle of hanging over the toilet.  Anyway, Donald, DS and I went to the bus stop and picked up the others and headed straight to social services.  Their mom was already in a visit room and the social worker met us promptly (hooray!).  The kids were SO excited!  Goofy, DS and I headed to Wal-Mart to spend our time shopping before heading back.  Again, the social worker had the kids ready to go, so I have not yet met mom.

I won't lie - I'm extremely curious about her, but a little nervous about actually meeting her.  Its so hard to know what to expect because I don't know how much of what the kids say is true, what's exaggerated, and what's completely made up.  I was told the visit went well by the social worker and CASA worker, and the kids played a lot and didn't do a lot of real talking with mom.  CASA worker was a bit surprised by that, but in my experience, that's what usually happens.  The kids get real excited, hugs and kisses, then play until the visits about over, then more hugs and kisses.  More talking goes on when they get a bit older, I think, but these are 4, 5, 6 and 9 (but all "behind" in one way or another).

Now I also was able to speak briefly with Goofy's sw while I was picking up the other kids, and unfortunately, there was no good news.  The aunt and mamaw that live together have been trying to get approved (the same mamaw who wouldn't keep him so he came into foster care).  I thought things were going along well, and the aunt had said the home visit was this week.  The sw did agree with the home visit, but it is more of a formality before the rejection is final.  I was very disappointed and broken-hearted for him last night.  I won't tell him until its final, of course....and hopefully the sw will tell him so I won't have to be the bad guy!

This was another first for me - both the not-meeting Minnie, Mickey, Donald and Daisy's mom for the visit, and for Goofy's relative not being approved.  The sw said she didn't know what would happen with Goofy.  His mom can't have him, dad doesn't want him/can't have him, and this aunt was his only hope :(  Its too early to say they will change the goal to adoption, but it is a possibility now.  So, so sad.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Loads and Loads of...

Laundry.  8 people in the house equals mountains of it.  I figure I do 3 loads a day on average now IF no one wets the bed.

People who have kids of their own typically have a year or two between adding more kids & laundry.  Its a gradual adjustment, and the older kids eventually take on some of those responsibilities.  For foster parents, its like a bomb dropping.  Going from our biological family of 3 to adding 5 more kids, ages 9 and under is a big deal.  This is especially true when 3 of them are preschoolers who have been neglected and often have "accidents".  I rinse out at least 3 pairs of underwear a day!  However, I am *determined* that they will all be using the toilet reliably an a few weeks. I think they can, I think they can....

Dishes.  It is easier to share this task, as it is clear-cut and not as time-intensive as laundry.  Mickey and Donald (names changed to Disney characters) are excited to share the task of loading the dishwasher, and my own son unloads it and puts away the stuff he can reach.  We each clear our own plates and I put away leftovers.  So far, this is working well.  Daisy and Minnie are in charge of setting the table.  I can say that these kids are thrilled to be helping out, and very glad to be at my house - especially Daisy, who at 9, was in charge of "everything" at her mom's house.  Take that with a grain of salt, because she is not the best at telling the truth!

Homework.  Donald and Daisy have homework each day, which requires me to listen to them read and sign papers and planners, while the others excitedly shout at me about what they drew or painted at school.  Afternoon chaos!  I am grateful that they are in the habit of doing homework immediately after school, though, because I've had some where its been an argument every day.

I found out this week that Donald is considered delayed enough to be in special ed. classes at school, and has a pretty low IQ.  He wants badly to learn, and I am doing my best to give him opportunities to do so!  I am glad the school counselor called to let me know his situation.  I hope to be able to read his IEP (Individual Educational Plan) next week, along with each of the others.  Maybe that will help me better  understand where they are so I can help them move forward...

The school is also trying to get the kids in counseling.  They had started the process before they even came into foster care, and have been concerned for them for quite some time.  I love how caring most of the staff at our schools are, and hope  the worker cooperates and gets them in therapy soon.  I was glad to hear that the kids seem much happier at school now, as well.

Visitation for them will start in the next couple of weeks, and it will be interesting to see how they react to seeing their mother again.  They rarely mention her at all (maybe twice a day between all 4 of them, and some days not at all), and never have asked to see her, but if I ask Minnie (the youngest) if she misses mom, she says yes.  Daisy has said she hopes to live with me until she's 18!  Granted, we are still in the honeymoon period, but its clear they are all happy to be here, and, so far, I'm happy they are here as well.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


First of all, let me tell you that I have separated the homeschooling part of my blog out from the rest of this, which has pretty much turned into being about  foster parenting and other miscellaneous parts of my life.  If you want to follow the homeschooling journey, hop on over to Windy Hill Home School!

Second, I didn't have much time to be sad over losing the baby.  I threw myself into a Pinterest project over the weekend.  I took the Ambleside Online booklists and made them into Pinterest boards by year (grade level).  Then I went a little crazy, making a board for all the school subjects and more.  If you are interested in seeing educational resources, check out my boards here.

Last of all, let me tell you about the new kids.  I got a call Wednesday for a sibling group of four!  I wasn't certain about this one - partly because I have never had so many before (and am now technically over the limit set by DCBS), and partially because of how difficult they sounded to handle, and the fact that I'm not over my cough yet.  I was told there ages (4, 5, 6, & 9), that one has ADHD and is medicated, and that together they are a handful.  Oooh, sign me up! LOL...but the only other home they could find was two counties away.  I hate to see the kids have to switch schools, and they really didn't want to break up the sibling groups, so we said yes.

I'm glad we did.  They are no worse, and some better, than others we've had.  They are excited to be here and are settling in pretty well.  The youngest, we'll call her Minnie, "has trouble sleeping," I was told.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but that first night Minnie screamed & cried for several hours, slept a while and then had something resembling a night terror.  Everyone else slept fine!  Night two was a big improvement.  She didn't fuss going to bed, and then just had a 20 minute terror at 1am.  Last night she didn't cry at all and slept the whole time!  Nap time today was better, too, and she slept over 2 hours.  I really don't think her problem is sleeping :)

All the new kids go to the same school as the boy we've had 6 weeks now - we'll call him All-Boy.  Unfortunately, it is out of our district.  We worked it out for the preschoolers to ride the bus to that school and back home again, but now that some are older, the bus can only get them to school.  I will have to take a chunk of every  afternoon (from 2:30-3 or so) to pick them all up.  I am thankful that its just one school I have to pick up from this time, though, and its actually the closest one to us.  Yeah, don't ask me why its not in our district!

All-Boy and the 5 year old, Mickey, are in the same class!  They gave each other a hug when they arrived at our home.  There was *much* excitement the first night!  They are bunk bed buddies, and older brother, Donald, is in the third bed in the boys' room.  The girls, Minnie and Daisy, are in the other room.

I haven't met the bio-mom, and not sure when that will happen.  There are 2 dads, as usual, and the man they call Daddy isn't anyone's dad.  For all of that, they are good kids.  I'm thinking this will be a stay of 4-6 months - just a gut feeling.  I reserve the right to revise my estimate after meeting the other adults in their lives. :)

So far, they are eating well, playing well, and very active.  Thank goodness for bikes and a trampoline!  There could be snow this weekend, and there's no school Monday anyway (President's Day), so I'm really hoping we don't get cabin fever.  This is the second time I've gotten a house full just before a 4-day weekend.  DH says its Murphy's Law following us around.  I just think someone is out to make sure I get to know these kids SUPER well before they go back to school!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Gone, Baby, Gone

I love that song by Martina McBride, Wrong Baby Wrong.  It seems appropriate today, although I'm singing the Gone, Baby, Gone verse.  Around 11am, I checked my phone because I had gotten a text message a little bit earlier.  I noticed I had a missed call and voice mail as well, from 8:45am.  Have I mentioned how AT&T doesn't work well here?  I get VM and texts sometimes the NEXT DAY.  Ridiculous!!

Anyway, the voice mail was from the DCBS and it was the boys' worker, saying that she had talked to the judge this morning and the baby was going home!  Today.  Instead of a visit at noon, I was to pack his things and bring it all. So, that was a big surprise, since the grandparents had told me they had to wait for court on March 7th.  Turns out the judge either forgot to sign, or signed the wrong paper TWO weeks ago, and he should have gone back then!!!

The grandparents were overjoyed, and I was sad.  Very sad.  He is the  youngest child I've fostered, and I expected it would be harder to let him go.  I was right :(  He woke up from his nap, I put him in the high chair for a snack while I packed his clothes, toys, diapers, toiletries, snacks and sippy cups.  We all drove to the DCBS office and told him goodbye.  The 4 year old was happy to have a room to himself again, and I must admit I won't miss the stinky diapers!

I would have had him one month tomorrow.  He turned 15 months old while he was here.  He had about 5 teeth come in, and all his front teeth finished coming through as well.  He got me up early most mornings and chased me around all day.  He made messes, rearranged things constantly and liked to push buttons, open and shut drawers and doors.  He was cute as a button, with curly red hair and chubby cheeks.  I'll miss the little guy.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Homemade Baby Wipes

Pinterest is as inspiring as it is addicting!  You can find me here.

I joined because of the sheer number of my Facebook friends who were inviting me (peer pressure! LOL), and at first, I totally didn't get the big deal.  At all.  But every once in a while, I would go back and look again, and eventually I figured it out.  I'm really not usually slow to catch on, but this images-only was confusing to me :)

Anyway,  I have been loving the great (and cheap or free) ideas I've seen and have put several into action, such as the cereal-box trashcan for the mini-van.  I even added my own twist by storing the roll of garbage bags inside the canister.

As I mentioned before, I am trying to get healthier in 2012 and that includes to take more baby-steps in getting the remainder of the chemicals out of the house.  So first - baby wipes!  I ran out today, and knew my Melaleuca Wellness Guide had a fact, it has 3!  I sorta mixed them up into my own concoction, but it seems to work and smells really fresh.
I totally can't figure out how to rotate, sorry!  New computer ;)
First, I took a roll of paper towels and cut it in half.  This was by far the hardest part!  I didn't realize how tough the cardboard in the middle would be to hack through.  Next step was to pull the cardboard tube out - had to use the knife for that, too.

I took a large bowl and mixed the solution, including 2 1/2 cups warm water, a capful of Sol-u-Mel, a capful of Renew Bath Oil, and a spash of Tough & Tender,  and stirred it well.  Then I simply put the cut end of the paper towels into the solution and let it sit.  In 20 minutes or less, it soaked all the way to the top, and there was still liquid left over (I think because of the variance in the size of paper towel rolls, and the fact that I used 3/4 of one).  I squeezed the excess out gently and placed into the wipe box, but decided to go ahead and pull the  wipes apart, since they of course wouldn't nicely pull out one by one in that sort of container.

So, I used the leftover liquid, added a bit to it and used the other half of the paper towels to make a second batch.  And I was stumped as to what to do with it, since the direction recommended reusing a store bought handi-wipe container like what I have in the van (but it wasn't empty yet).  I remembered the cereal box containers, and knew I had another one, so I got it out.  It worked perfectly!  Yes, its larger than needed, but the paper towels could stand upright and be pulled from the center and ripped off as needed.

So there you have it!  A healthy and somewhat Pinterest inspired project.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

2 down, 2 to go

Boys.  God love 'em.  They are rowdy, rambunctious, sweet, cuddly, messy, loud, hungry, loving, open, outdoorsy, messy and more.  Yeah, I know I said messy twice, LOL.

This past week a couple of the boys' families had court (Wednesdays around here), and the recommendation by social workers was for them to go home.  I was told that the worker didn't know what to expect - had no "feeling" on it like one sometimes gets - but they did end up going home.  They were very excited - boys, moms and dads - and the house was crazy because they arrived at the same time and we had to sort what went to which car!  We hugged, and DS made the 14 year old a drawing of them having ice cream cones together.  The 14 year old proceeded to pick on me, which his sister (adult) thought was funny.  I get the feeling

Its always a little empty-feeling when they leave, but this time we still have 2 other foster boys to keep us busy.  The 4 year old is missing the 2 that left, which I haven't had to deal with before, but thankfully our DS (now 7) is a pretty good playmate.

We hit a snag Thursday afternoon when the stomach bug caught me, then DS.  So yesterday (Friday) was a day of recovery (no homeschool) and visitation hour for the foster boys.  Today I'm still taking it easy, but trying to disinfect the house so DH doesn't catch that evil virus.  I'm pretty sure the foster boys already had it and it just hit them a bit differently, and being younger, they got over it faster.

Their visitations went well.  One got to visit aunt and grandmother, and its the aunt that is trying to get custody. She had adjudication Wednesday, and I still don't know how it went, but hopefully progress is being made in that direction.  The other met with both grandparents (that have pretty much raised him so far), and to my surprise his dad was also there.  First time I've seen a parent for this one.  From what the grandfather said, court will be March 7th to determine where he goes.  I hope to get confirmation of all that I hear from the families from the social worker, but if not, I tend to believe the families.  They gain nothing by lying to me, that I can see.  The problem I usually run into with fully trusting what they say is that they listen to what is said to them with hopeful, optimistic ears, and often don't hear the "ifs" and "maybes" that make all the difference in the world.  Especially when repeated inaccurately in front of a child - and usually they don't realize it until its too late. 

Monday, January 16, 2012


Wow, what a week this has been.  I fully expected to have several weeks rest after my last foster kids left before getting any phone calls.  I was SO wrong!

Just 16 days after the 9 and 13 year olds left, I got the first call of the week.  A 4 year old boy came to join us Saturday night, and my DS and he had some good times Sunday.  Monday I figured out what I needed to about his preschool and got the bus situation squared away.

Monday night I took the boys to Cloverbuds, where they learned about New Year's Resolutions and made little time capsules.  While we were there, I got a respite call for 2 more boys, ages 4 and 14.  I said, Sure!  So before we came home, they were with us.

Tuesday and Wednesday I washed their clothes and got to know them a bit.  This 4 year old is not in preschool and so is with me all day while I homeschool Luke.  It worked out well, though, since he isn't a morning person and pretty much stayed out of the way and quiet while we did school work.

Wednesday night during my handbell rehearsal, I got another call, this time for a baby!  This was the first time we've had one under 2, and has required a lot of extra work.  We had to get out the crib, stroller, dishes, bibs, toys and clothes from the barn and wash everything.  And then put the crib together.  And put the harness back in one of our car seats.  That didn't' get done until today, but luckily the DCBS let us keep a loaner so we could get everyone to church and back in one piece. 

This big 14 month old definitely has his own personality.  I can already tell he's pretty smart and its going to get him into a lot of trouble! 

From the sound of it, the only boy we will have for a significant length of time will be the first 4 year old, but we will see!  We will have them all for at least the rest of January, but after that its up to the judge.

Supervised visits start tomorrow for 2 of them, and the other 2 will be on Friday.  I'm glad we can arrange it so I don't have to make 4 separate trips (none of these kids has the same parents or last name).

I feel good about how things have gone so far...especially with a 4 day weekend thrown in!  We had snow Friday, so school was cancelled, and today was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  I really think boys are just easier all around than girls are!  The only things stressing me out are all the appointments I need to get set for these kids, and the baby who is teething and cranky.  I am thankful that he is now going to sleep pretty easily in his crib, although its not without loud objections.  All the baby stuff that I have to do with him does seem easier this time around, even though its been 6 years since my son was this small.  Its all coming back to me now....

FIVE boys.  And its not nearly as bad as it sounds! Please pray for each of them, as they miss their Mommies and Mamaws and Nanas, and for me as I try to fill those roles.

The Juice Fast

I successfully did a juice fast for a whole week!  Okay, maybe I cheated a *little*, but I did drink fresh juices for a week :)

The day before the fast I ate only fruit, veggies and nuts.  Then I followed the recipes from Get Healthy Through Fasting and Detox (by Dr. Colbert) faithfully for the first 3 days or so, before realizing that some of them just didn't taste good so I doctored them up a little.  When it came to the end of the fast, I was planning on breaking it over 3 days like the book suggests, but we got several new foster kids and I had to start cooking so that went out the window!

My weight loss was 9 pounds, and while I probably won't keep that off unless I get serious about doing a regular T-Tapp routine, it was a great start to a healthy year.

My husband did the fast with me, which made it much easier to stick to (thanks, honey!).  Of course, being a man, he lost more weight faster than I did.  And will probably keep it off without exercise!

My new weight maintenance plan is to eat when the baby eats, which means I eat mostly what he eats, and slowly since I have to feed him between bites :)  

I still plan on doing a full 21 day fast later this year, perhaps the first week of summer.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Getting Healthy in 2012

One thing that I love about the other moms using Ambleside Online for homeschooling is that they are so down-to-earth and willing to share about just about everything (using the yahoo groups).  Time and time again, the Amble Ramble group gets on the subject of more natural, eco-friendly or healthier living.  So often, in fact, that a couple months ago they spun off into a separate yahoo group just for that topic!  Its open to all, so join us here.

I have learned so much over the past 10 years or so about healthy living.  I converted my home to Melaleuca products in 2007- for cleaning, for toiletries, for vitamins, supplements and snack.  I truly love this eco-friendly, long-lasting, affordable products!  (Yes, I can sign you up as a preferred customer :)  I trust that the air inside of my home is NOT more toxic than polluted outside air, thanks to Melaleuca, unlike most American homes.

Around that time, I also starting reading Dr. Mercola's newsletter, which is crammed full of great information.  I also like Dr. Axe and his newsletter and videos. 

In 2009 I was introduced to the value of essential oils.  I signed on with Young Living (and yes, I can enroll you there, too :) and have learned some about the various ways to use the oils, but still have a LOT to learn about them.  YouTube has a plethora of videos by Young Living distributors and is a great way to find out more.

In 2010, I joined the Ambleside yahoo groups and my mind has been filled to the brim with new (to me) ideas.  Going shampoo-less (which is called "no poo" LOL), using only vinegar and baking soda for just about everything, growing all your own food, making clothes and much more.  Then they got on the subject of juicing and recommended some resources to learn more.  I watched Food, Inc, which confirmed my choice to buy organic whenever possible.  Then I watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, a documentary about the power of juicing your foods.  (Still on my watch list - Forks Over Knives and Food Matters)

My DH was on board with trying a juice fast!  So, we borrowed a juicer, bought a book recommended by a friend, and are trying it out this week!  The book is "Get Healthy Through Detox and Fasting" and has the when's, how's and why's of juicing and fasting answered, along with recipes and daily scripture to help you through it.  If you can't get the book, try tips and recipes from here.

Following Dr. Colbert's plan for the juice fast (which he actually recommends only after the 21 day Daniel fast, which we aren't doing at this time), I ate only fruits and vegetables yesterday and today I learned to use a juicer.  Not hard, but it can get messy if you aren't careful!  I'm hoping to feel great by the end of the week...but right now I'm hungry, light-headed and have a headache.  Like I posted on Facebook - isn't detox and fasting fun?

Other than starting the year with a juice fast, here are my goals.  Get my cholesterol out of the danger zone - meaning I want no chance of being put on medication.  Do whatever else I need to do to not have non-alcoholic fatty liver.  My doctor said it won't be an issue for many more years, but who wants that hanging over their head?!  Get my weight down and stabilized.  Have more energy.  Lots more.  Beat the sugar addiction and learn how to eat (and cook) in a healthy (and satisfying) way.

I'm not going to kid myself and think that I can accomplish all of these things in just one year -it took my over 30 to get in this shape, after all.  But baby-steps will get me there.  After all, I've had a successful garden for a couple of years and learned how to make bread and several other things.  In addition to learning how to homeschool and deal with foster children.  Yes, its been a learnin' 2 years.

100th Post!

Wow, its hard to believe I've posted 100 blogs already!  Granted, it hasn't been on a regular basis or about a consistent subject like it needs to be to get a good follow-ship...but I have enjoyed it and that's what matters.  Its interesting to go back and read what struck my interest at different points in my life.  And if anyone is wondering, yes, I am still a Ron and Rand Paul fan!

So, onto my life at the moment.  We have started back home schooling after the winter break, and Monday was tough.  But I was patient and consistent and I won the battle :)

We are continuing with the same subjects, with just a few changes.  We hit our ceiling pretty fast with the ocarina, so turned to piano when I got a free 2 months on KinderBach.  When that ran out, I found Piano Lessons 4 Children and used it to transition to our full-sized keyboard from the miniature that sufficed to learn the keys.  DS enjoyed playing Jingle Bells over the holidays for everyone.  Also, we are about done going through Salsa episodes for Spanish, so I just found a great deal on LiveMocha so we will be incorporating that as well, although it is geared towards older children and adults.

We completed "A Child's Garden of Verses" and have moved on to "When We Were Very Young" for poetry - usually one poem a day, plus memorization of a favorite.  In phonics, we have finished all 8 advanced books on Progressive Phonics and are now working and reviewing our way through the Tanglewood reading program (click under "Really Reading" and download pdf) and using some free Scholastic worksheets for reading that I found.  For math, I am continuing to use the worksheets from Funnix Math, but when my old laptop died, the program went with it!  To keep us on track, I am supplementing with Scholastic worksheets and math games from softschools.  I love how their games are broken up by grade and lesson, and they offer free worksheets as well.

For history, geography and literature, we are continuing to read Our Island Story, Parables of Nature, the Bible, Shakespeare, Fifty Famous Stories Retold, fairy tales, Aesop's Fables, d'Aulaire books (next up: George Washington) and Paddle to the Sea.  For science, we are bird watching, reading the Handbook of Nature Study and the Burgess Bird Book (love to use this resource with the reading), and spending time outside whenever possible.  Unfortunately, most of our outdoor time is spent on the trampoline instead of calmly investigating nature, but I'll take what I can get.  Now that is has turned cold (quite suddenly, I might add), I'm going to look into better winter clothing again so we can get back out there!

Copywork is getting easier for him - he will now write entire sentences without throwing a fit, although the way he holds his pencil still makes me cringe and he refuses to try a different grip.  We are copying phrases, poems, and Bible verses that I create using WorksheetWorks.  Speaking of which - we have memorized quite a few!  Not quite the one a week I was hoping for, probably about half of that, but its way more than he was learning before (zero), so I am pleased.

In other news, we have started our juice fast and I'm feeling a little strange but not too bad yet!  Watch for a separate post about how we are trying to be healthier in 2012!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year!

We rang in 2012 with a new Uno game, which DS just learned to play, and a never-ending game of Star Wars Monopoly last night.  We called it a draw about 12:30 and sent the 7 year old to bed :)  It was his latest night ever!

This has been one of the better holiday seasons for me.  Our foster kids went to a relative placement on December 22nd, so I didn't have to worry about coordinating schedules.  There was no snow to mess up travel plans, and no one got sick.  We ate, laughed, read, watched movies, played games and shopped from Christmas Eve until today.

Tomorrow is back to school, taking down Christmas decorations, and starting the process of reorganizing the playroom.  I think its time to take out the toddler toys and make room for all the big boy toys (mostly Legos and games) so we don't feel cramped.  I like having a LOT of open space in the playroom for those long winter days.

January 1 is also Charlotte Mason's birthday, whose educational philosophy is in agreement with mine. Here is a great quote from her:

"The question is not,––how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education––but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?"

As we launch fully into the year before us, may you each be blessed....and recognize it.  May you have just enough and be exactly where God wants you.  May you love and be loved in return.