Sunday, March 30, 2014

Transplanting seedlings and some good old fun on the farm.

How is it the weeks just drag by, but the weekends are over in the blink of an eye? I accomplished nothing I set out to accomplish this weekend, but did accomplish a few tasks that I had no intention of even doing this weekend. So that being said... I guess it was a productive weekend?...

Our goal for this weekend was to have a burn. Our ground is very wet so it seemed ideal to do our first burn of the year. Mother Nature saw otherwise, she kept teasing us with wind. It would get windy and then it would stop, sometime on Sunday morning we decided to just put off till next weekend. Wind and fire only amount to one thing, bad news. We have allot to burn, so we really need a full day of no wind to accomplish what we need to accomplish. Hopefully next weekend Mother Nature will play nice.

In the mean time I was able to begin my transplanting.

Our seedlings are sprouting way quicker than I had anticipated. That is great, because I think we are going to have an early start date this year for gardening. I know I am already twitching to get my hands in the dirt. I am already dreaming of warm days, and eating tomatoes just pulled from the vine. Nothing thrills me more than having a freezer full of fruits and vegetables from our own garden. Or a pantry filled with homemade jams, pickles, and applesauce.

A few members of this family decided not to work, but instead play. I can't blame them, being a kid living on a hobby farm must be the best thing ever.

Ademan tore it up in his Fisher Price off road buggy...

LeiLei and I played soccer, which is her new favorite outside game.

JayJay only wanted to ride around with dad on the tractor. It did slow down his production, but thats life with little kids.

The girls helped daddy down in the enchanted forest. I am sure they were on the lookout for trolls... That is all I hear about right now, trolls, troll bridges, all things troll... Life with four year olds makes me scratch my head at times...

Even the neighbors dog came over for some family time... We love you Shep Dog!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. If you did not accomplish what you set out to, guess what... It is o.k... Nobody ever does!

Friday, March 28, 2014

I am a Super Hero who did not have enough Go Gettum Juice this morning

When my alarm clock went off this morning I rose out of bed a person, an individual, a super hero with a list of objectives for the day. I had a plan, I had a mission, I was going to conquer the world. I was going to be productive I was going to feel accomplished... I was in control...

Thirty minutes later, without my Go Gettum Juice or some may say coffee even in my hand, my cape was ripped from my back. I heard it, it was a faint noise almost a squeak followed by little pitter patters. I looked left and right, surely there must be an escape hatch in this house. Before I could even look for it, a little LeiLei was standing before me wearing her brothers pajamas. Darn her for looking so cute and angelic at 6:30 in the morning (o.k. and a bit odd in her brothers pajamas).

I did what any other Wonder Woman, I mean Mom, would do. I pulled my super hero cape to the front and turned it into a mom apron. And so it began, another day started way to early, and without java running through my veins.

I was bummed, but I am a mom. My job is to give my children, myself. I do not need to be a super hero, I need to be a super mom. I need to let go of my wanting to concur the world. I just need to be present for my children. I need to be here, now, and in the moment. Life can wait, laundry can wait, dishes can wait, making a gourmet meal for my family does not have to be a priority. I have yet to hear of the loss of a child from eating one to many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Everything BUT my kids can wait.

This is a world that loves to judge based on accomplishments. For a mom, that can be terrifying. We are at home surviving not accomplishing, or are we? Maybe our accomplishments are not game changers for the rest of the world but they might be game changers for our families. We are teaching these little individuals life coping skills, we are teaching them how to BE loved and how to GIVE love, we are teaching them how to hold their heads high and proceed through life, that is HUGE!

Our accomplishments are not in the form of ribbons and certificates they are in the form of sticky kisses on the cheeks, or goopy hands reaching out to hold yours, their mom, their superhero.

So today I will accomplish whatever I accomplish. I will cherish my time with my sidekicks. I will relish in sticky kisses and goopy hands. Today I will look in the mirror and see the superhero I truly am.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Volvo HDT Conversion... A What? Hubby had allot of explaining to do...

Over the past few years we have really begun to enjoy camping. The addition of three kids, and the passion for travel brought us to the purchase of a fifth wheel. There comes a point when you realize it is way easier to hit the road with three little kids then it is to hit the air, and way more cost effective (even with the cost of fuel).

After a year of towing the fifth wheel with my husbands truck he made the announcement that he did not feel safe pulling that large of a fifth wheel with his truck. I totally agree with him, but that left us with a dilemma. We really were not in the market for a larger truck, and even though we live out in the country, driving a large truck in the city which my husband does daily for work is not exactly fun. My husband than had an idea... Why not purchase a HDT Conversion? I had no idea what he was talking about, so he had allot of explaining to do. HDT stands for Heavy Duty Truck (think of a Semi truck), so this would be a Semi truck converted to haul a Fifth Wheel. I wasn't convinced... He began doing quite a bit of research, and showing me lots and lots of pictures and I slowly came around. I began to see the possibilities. Like the possibility of hauling a Smart Car between the back of the cab of the truck and where the hitch sits for the fifth Wheel. O.K. the Smart Car probably will never happen, but a Quad might!

After numerous conversations we decided to go for it, if we could find one in our price range. Low and behold my hubby found one. Last summer we became the proud owners of a Volvo! and let me tell you, it is sooooooo way cooler than I expected.
 This is going to be one super duper comfortable family traveling down the road.  Let me take you on a tour..
The banquette located behind the Driver and Passanger seats.
The tall cabinet below the two drawers is actually a refrigerator! The empty compartment above the two drawers will hold a microwave.
The tall cabinet behind the Passangers seat is actually the wardrobe, complete with hanging bar. The empty spot above the wardrobe will be the home to a flat screen television that will ba able to slide out. The shiny metal bar behind the wardrobe and next to the banquette is a fold out latter to help you access the bunk bed.
The bunk bed is directly above the banquette. Complete with a safety net. So mom can take a little cat nap while we are crisscrossing the country.

Our kids could not wait to get in it when dad pulled up!!

For a mom that likes to over pack.... Hubby can no longer 'gently' remind me about not overloading the trailer, and tow capacity, blah, blah, blah..... I can now pull a Lucille Ball and bring home a rock from every place we stop at! (The Long Long Trailer).

Hubby has been working on it all winter getting it ready for camping season. We did buy it used so there are definitely some maintenance items on his to do list before we start rollin! I can't wait to keep you posted as we begin our journeys in our new rig!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Disneys, 'Frozen' saved the day, a very challenging day...

Do you ever have one of those days? A day that you have completely planned out and then by noon you are completely derailed? Well that was us yesterday. This is how my day was suppose to go...

10:00 a.m. kids Doctors apt. for a persistent cough that they ALL have
11-11:45 a.m. go to bank, and get kids lunch
11:45 a.m. arrive at Ademans swim therapy for his noon apt.
12-1 p.m. go to the grocery store with both girls
1 p.m. pick up Ademan
1:45 p.m. arrive at home
2:00 p.m. put kids down for quiet time so I can exercise
3:30 p.m. get kids up and play outside
5:00 p.m. start dinner

I soooooo wish it had gone like that. Instead it went something like this...

10 a.m. arrive at our kiddos Doctors office and we only have to wait ten minutes to see our Doctor. She first checks LeiLei and says she does not sound all that bad. Then we move on to JayJay who has some nasal junk and a raging ear infection (did not see the ear infection coming, AT ALL) last but not least little Ademan who is completely gunked out in the nose category. Lets just say every time he sneezes he launches snot rockets.. Enough said... So all three need to start antibiotics. No biggy, I thought...

We proceed to McDonalds to get cheeseburgers for LeiLei and Ademan and chicken nuggets for JayJay. I should have known then and there that something was very wrong. Ademan and LeiLei devoured their cheeseburgers and JayJay just laid her box of nuggets next to her car seat. From there we went and got gas and then off to the Therapy Apt. Every time I looked back at JayJay she just kept looking more and more tired. I felt bad for her but I knew there was no way around not running the errands we needed to run. So we dropped Ademan off and then drove over to Safeway to pick up the kids prescriptions and a few groceries. The poor child was in and out of consciousness the entire time we were there. We finally got our meds and we had to high tail it out of there to go pick up Ademan. Or so I thought... It all happened so quickly... While paying for our groceries JayJay who was sitting in the childs seat of the shopping cart falls forward and starts throwing up. I did catch her so she did not fall out thank goodness. The poor clerk didn't even skip a beat he kept ringing us up while calling for clean up. I stood there holding her head as she continued to vomit, and vomit, and vomit. It was AWFUL... I sooooo was not prepared for that, I didn't even know what to do. While holding her head I was able to call Physical Therapy and tell them that I would get there when I get there to pick up my son but at the moment I was holding a child who was throwing up in Safeway.  I did not even know how to begin to clean up the situation, it was on her legs on her shoes, on my leg, on my shoes and all over the floor. The nice clerk on the other register came running over with towels and bags and she just kept reassuring me that it was going to be o.k. Honestly I wanted to cry... The stress of also knowing your three year old son has not been picked up does not help the situation. Even the lady from the Starbucks kiosk came running over to help. I can only assume that they are moms because who else would brave a strangers vomit to help... I am so thankful for them... I eventually got us cleaned up the best I could and into our car with plastic bags and paper towels for the long ride home. We swung by and picked up Ademan and then drove home.
Around 3:30 I decided it was time to get her to start drinking some water. Her poor little body said otherwise which lead to a costume change for both of us. By that point I was pooped, and so was she.

So I threw in the towel and made a make shift lounge spot just off the kitchen and we all watched Frozen (for the first time). O.K., I soooooooo now have a new favorite Disney movie.. If you have not seen it, it is awesome. It is all about loving yourself whatever your challenges (or disabilities) may be.
At around 6 p.m. I decided to giver her some Tylenol because I thought she was pretty uncomfortable and was starting to feel warm to me. About 30 minutes later we began giving her little sips of Gatorade. Thank goodness, it stayed down. By the time she went to bed last night she was starting to perk up which allowed me to breathe a sigh of relief and pour myself a glass of wine.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I have been doing Weight Watchers for one week, and now its time to weigh in....

 I am going to be completely honest with you on my Weight Watchers journey, numbers and all. I am not going to write a fluffy Weight Watchers post telling you how yummy the meals are and how simple it is to follow (even though it is) like so many Bloggers do. You see I did quite a bit of research before joining Weight Watchers, and I read all kinds of blog posts about Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem and they were all annoyingly light and fluffy. They all raved about the meals, and how they never feel hungry any more, but I was hard pressed to find anything that talked numbers. If I am going to join a weight loss program I want to know that I am going to loose weight. I don't need to go to meetings every other day and sing cumbaya with a bunch of other people who want to loose weight ( I know some people need that, I do not). I only need to be accountable to myself, and if I can not do that... well then, there is a bigger problem.

Prior to having kids, I was a fitness trainer. Not a nutritionist, a fitness trainer. There is a huge difference. As a fitness trainer I had a basic understanding on nutrition. As a fitness trainer who was also teaching group fit classes I could eat anything I wanted and never gained weight. It was awesome... Those days are over. My weight gain was slow at first because I was still exercising (at home) but by the time child number three arrived my elliptical trainer became a toy for the kids, and my weights are now door stops. By the time I started researching a diet plan I was 25lbs heavier than I was with only one child. I could not believe this had happened to me. I so badly wanted to blame the weight gain on my age, a slower metabolism, maybe my thyroid was out of whack the list went on, all things that really could play a role in weight gain. The last thing I wanted to do was admit that I had become fat because I could not control what I was putting in my mouth. I was doing what so many other moms do, I was eating all day long without even realizing it. Make the kids a PB&J and then lick off the knives before I put them in the sink, make the kids chicken nuggets, and take a bite first to make sure they are not too hot, I was doing little actions like that ALL day long, on top of eating my three meals a day. I did it, I made myself fat, technically obese. This is where the fitness trainer comes in, I do numbers. So I know that I was obese, people would argue with me that I am not obese, and even worse not a single Doctor said anything to me about my weight. I knew I had a BMI (Body Mass Index) higher than 30, and that meant I was no longer over weight, I was obese. The sad thing is, nobody cared, not even my Doctors.

Something inside of me had finally had enough. I could not go on like this I was ashamed of myself and I needed to be an example for my three kiddos. I decided to go with Weight Watchers because I figured I could feed my hubby the same meals, but just make his portions larger. He is very active during the day, so he needs way more calories than I. Even though he needs the calories I knew it would be good for him if I were to start cooking healthier. Some of the other Diet Plans would have had me eating a different meal than my family, and I do not have the time to cook three toddler meals, a meal for myself and a meal for my hubby every few hours. So Weight Watchers it was. I chose their online program which was $58 for three months. I do everything online from tracking how much water I am drinking to my weekly weigh ins. At first I was not sure I would be diligent with all of the tracking but it has become habit now to quickly log in and check off my boxes.

So lets get to the good stuff. I am one week into their Simple Start program which is how you begin. They have you do Simple Start for the first two weeks. Simple Start is super easy they give you a list of options for every meal and you go from there. You can eat unlimited fruits and veggies, so at 10 a.m. when I think I am hungry I eat a banana or apple and then at 3 p.m. when I again think I am hungry I have a shake or just more fruit. Do you like how I say I think I am hungry, my stomach is not growling, it is just my head messing with me. I start to get the munchies, I just want to eat, but my body really isn't hungry. After those two weeks you transition over to traditional point counting. When I joined I typed in all of my numbers and they computed that at my first weigh in I should be down 5%. Does not seem like a lot when you see 5%, right? Well for me that was a total of 9lbs. I was suppose to be down 9lbs at the end of the first week. The only thing that went through my head was, Not Possible. Well guess what...

Starting weigh in on March 19 = 175 lbs
1st weigh in on March 25 = 167 lbs

I missed it by one pound, and I am shocked! I did not think I would loose 8lbs in one week, but I did. I chose not to exercise this past week because I wanted to really get a feel for the diet. This week I will start incorporating exercise now that I have a feel for how my body is taking to this new way of eating. My new goal weight which they gave me is 157.5. Let me also share with you that I am 5'9" so my ultimate goal weight is around 145 lbs would I love to be 140 lbs? Absolutely, but that is a very hard weight for me to maintain and anything under that is just to thin for my large bone structure. So I have come to the realization that I need to be thankful at 145 lbs, especially after this weight gain that I have experienced. As a fitness trainer I know my weight loss will begin to slow down and that is o.k. Slow and steady wins the race! Don't worry, I will post next week no matter what the results are. Truthfully I will be happy with a 2-3 lb weight loss. Lets keep our fingers crossed! I will also share with you a bit more about how the Simple Start plan works, and what I have been eating. Until then lets hope that nobody holds me down and waves Dove Dark Chocolate in front of me...

Monday, March 24, 2014

Grunter and HeeHaw had a great weekend, oh and so did we!

We had such a beautiful Spring weekend, the kind of weekend that you do not want to end. We tried to spend the entire weekend outside just soaking up the sun. Here on the farm, or as I like to call it 'Lazy Acres' even our animals were in on the enjoying the sun theme for the weekend.

I love life on the farm. I must admit we are only a few minutes from a pretty big city and any real farmer would probably laugh at me for even calling this a farm. That being said I love living the 'city~farm' life. How many people can say they can be at the symphony or fine dining twenty minutes after they leave their home. Then come back home to goats and pigs, I love it!!!

Our piggies which we have had for about a year have made themselves at home. Grunter and Pigglet are quite good friends.

Actually this weekend we discovered that Grunter and our little Pygmy Goat HeeHaw are quite good buddies.

We (hubby mostly) spent the weekend mulching goat poop and tilling my garden. We mulch our goat poop to throw into our garden soil. It is not glamorous but what it does to the garden is pure magic. It is like gold around here! 

I did do a bit of work and next weekend will be my reward for the work I did. I spent my time making a gigantic burn pile. Next weekend will be having the bonfire of all bonfires. Even with all of the commotion around here my animals were unfazed.

I hope you had an energizing Spring weekend, like we did!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Today I am taking some time for myself

You may remember a few posts back I declared that I was going to start taking some time for myself. Well today I am getting my hair done and for the first time in over a year I will be off to the hair salon without a headache or a cold. I can not tell you how excited I am. For the last year if not longer every time I have gone to the salon it has been with either a pocket full of tissues because of the bubonic plague that my children continue to pass around or with a purse full of Extra Strength Tylenol due to a pounding migraine. I almost do not know what to do with myself. I feel like skipping the entire way there!

I might even look for a little more mischief to get into while I am out! Sorry hubs I might be gone a bit longer than normal. Good thing the weather is nice, he and the kids can play outside while I am gone. But no stepping on my Buttercups!!! I don't know if that is what they are actually called but they are my favorite natural flower that pop up all over our property at the very beginning of Spring. I can't even tell you how much they make me smile.
I hope you have a carefree, first Saturday in Spring kind of a day!

Friday, March 21, 2014

We have been struggling for quite some time... Homeschool, private school, or public school?

We have been struggling for quite some time. We have a decision that needs to be made and for many this is not a hard decision to make. For us, it is.

We are struggling with where to send our kids to school. Ultimately we would love to send all of our kids to private school but with tuition ranging from $12,000 on up to $20,000 a year (for all 3 kiddos) well, we just can not do it. We have discussed the possibility of homeschooling. I just don't know enough about it yet to make a good sound decision. That leaves us with the public school system. The school district that we fall into does have decent schools...But... I have two MAJOR hangups with it. First it will take just a bit over thirty minutes to get to the school from my house. So one hour there and back, and at twice a day I will be sitting in a car for two hours every day shuttling kids back and forth to school. Second, we are a mixed race family, and I have to factor that into whatever school they ultimately attend. Sad that in this day and age I have to think about it, but I do. I have to make sure my kiddos feel safe and loved with their peers, and at that school I without a doubt can not guarantee there safety.

I did come across a really cool hidden gem of a school about 15 minutes from our home. This school is Kindergarten through Sixth grade, and the interesting part is that it is its own school district. How often does a school district only have one school? Almost like being in Little House On The Prairie. This morning I took a tour of the school and fell madly in love with it. We are talking about a school that has no more than 50 children amongst all of those grades. The teachers all wanted to meet me, everyone was just so caring. At first I was worried about the fact that each grade only has a handful of kids. My thought was that they would not quite get the social skills that a child needs. I was then informed of all of their outings in the public and now I think that these kids probably come out ahead with their social skills. On top of that I will not have to dread the yearly back to school shopping that most parents do. They pretty much supply the kids with everything. I mean we are talking about the purchase of 2 items every year a backpack and a binder. Crazy, right?! Because it is a small school they also allow the children to do appropriate levels of school work. So you could have a third grader doing second grade English and fifth grade Math. The teachers also have way more freedom. For example when I was there today the third grade class was having a conversation about the missing Malaysian Jet. The teacher then decided to scrap her lesson plan and they dove into a project involving this missing jet. The kids were so excited to share their theories, and the teacher just rolled with it. I thought that was so cool, and showed me how professional she was to scrap a lesson plan and come up with an new one on the spot. Well I could go on and on but I will not.

I went ahead and started the Petition process today for the school year of 2015/2016. I cant believe I had to start this early, but I did. We are officially first on the list to get in. Now we sit back and keep our fingers crossed. Not really, I still have to come up with a plan B just in case we do not get in. Something tells me plan B will involve homeschooling. So if any of you out there have homeschooling information to share, I would love to hear it!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Its Spring and we are sprouting!

In honor of the start of Spring, lets talk seeds.

For the first time in four years I have had helpers with my seed starts for my garden. The past two years I was a bit lazy (lazy meaning I had 3 kids age 3 and under) which left me zero time for starting plants from seeds so I purchased mature plants from the store. We live in an area that around October all but my strawberries die in my garden. That can make gardening expensive. When you are at the mercy of acquiring new plants every year you learn quickly how to be a seed starter.

Quite often with kids you envision projects going quite differently than they actually turn out. I always see my kiddos as these little angels that can do no wrong during these activities. I see a mommy that is ear to ear smiles talking so sweetly to her children. I see children who follow directions, I see a mommy that is not becoming irritated.  I see my kids saying things like, "mommy what shall we do next?" I see a mommy saying, " Oh I love how you wait for me to give you your next step, thank you oh so much for practicing your patience".  Ya well, it doesn't usually go down like that. O.K. wait, it NEVER goes down like that. This time it was not so horrible, we still had a few moments, but I think since they thought they were doing a 'mommy' task it made them feel pretty special.

We first started with our Jiffy Pods which the kids thought were so exciting.

They start as these flat disks which you then add water too.

Within a few minutes they pop up ready to have seeds placed in them. This year the majority of our seeds came from Territorial Seed Company, and the rest are a combo of Burpee and Ferry~Morse.

I wish I had pictures of my girls placing the seeds in them, but God only gave me two hands. So when it came time to plant, the camera had to be set down in order to help my girls grasp the seeds and make sure they placed them in the appropriate rows. I am sure I will find a few surprises when they start to sprout!

It has been about two weeks since we started our plantings and we are starting to sprout!

I decided to purchase a small Greenhouse (Flowerhouse) that I could place in my home. I figured if it were right in front of me, I could pretty much guarantee that my seeds would be watered. If it were outside.... Well lets just say, out of sight out of mind.

Every morning my girls run over to it, and check on their baby plants. I must admit that I am just as excited as them. I think in another year or two when my kids are a bit bigger, I will upgrade to a permanent outdoor greenhouse, complete with heat lamps. But for now for now we will enjoy our indoor greenhouse that will hopefully help supply us with fresh vegetables all summer long.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A HUGE update to my previous 'March, I could take it or leave it post'. Thanks to our Behavioral Therapist for my A Ha moment today.

I dont have many 'A Ha' moments, but when I do.....

This is an extremely personnel post and quite honestly I hope I am doing the right thing by putting it out there. Since the name of my Blog is Where Do We Go From Here, Life After You Adopt Your Foster Child, it is my responsibility to share this with you.

Today we had our Behavioral Therapy appointment and I was not expecting today's conversation with the Therapist to go the way that it did. For the first time, I had a moment during the session. We have not been there in a few weeks due to scheduling conflicts and illness, and during that time many concerns had started to pop up with my kiddos. I made sure that I had my list so that I could be prepared and not forget anything while I was there.

Since we needed to have an adult conversation the kids went off to the play room and we went to her adult room. I began by telling her that Ademan has begun to bite his nails, his speech (only while at home) has deteriorated it almost borders on a mumble, and his overall demeanor is not nearly as happy as before. Then I moved onto JayJay who has been wetting her bed, she is now telling us she is terrified of monsters, and she is showing us quite a bit of defiance. Last but not least LeiLei in the past three days has also begun to wet her bed, as well as her brothers bed, and last night we discovered that she is also peeing on the floor in her room (in a specific spot). Allot of this started around the time that I got sick with Laryngitis. Unfortunately while I was voiceless it was not smooth sailing in this home. I was tired and frustrated and just not fun to be around. On top of that what little voice I had was very ugly sounding and almost 'attacking' sounding.

So back to my 'A Ha' moment. While I was talking she was flipping back through her previous notes to try and come up with something. That is when the bombshell was dropped. We started seeing the Therapist about a month after LeiLeis birthday. Initially we started going because LeiLei was non compliant close to 80% of the time. By December she had improved immensely thanks to our Therapist. Then in December we spiked back up in the form of anger and violence. January and February were pretty good and now (March) we have the issue of peeing. O.K. just follow me on this one.... Imagine placing all of those events on a graph.. Now lets start a new graph titled LeiLeis Timeline of her first year of life. The first dot would be September when she was born. The second dot would be around the Holidays when she left her Biological mom and went to live with her Aunt. The third dot would be around March when she came to live with us. Now combine the two graphs... All of her outbursts are occurring exactly when she had traumatic events in the first year of her life. Now lets try it with JayJay... Back in January is when we decided to have JayJay start seeing the Therapist as well, o.k. JayJay was born in January. Complete defiance this month, March ( I mean game changer type of defiance) well March is also the month she left our care when she was a baby (court ordered). Same phenomenon as LeiLei... Ademan, has had many women in his life that have played the role of mom. So earlier this month when I had no voice and I was not acting like my normal self he probably went into protect / shut down mode. he was probably gearing up for everything to change yet again. During the first year of life we can't express ourselves by talking. So our other senses really kick in. We will correlate smells and sights with experiences. The best example of this is when you experience a loss of a loved one. Always in the month of the anniversary of their passing you are not quite yourself. As an adult you are aware what month they passed away in so when that month comes up you start to think and anticipate the actual date. Many times you aren't even aware what is happening but as the actual date approaches you start to develop a bad mood or fall into a funk. Then you look at the calendar and immediately you realise that are hovering around the anniversary date of a loved one that you lost. Well for little ones they associates sights, smells and sounds with life experiences. For example seasons, Spring and Winter, what the weather was doing at the time of the event. What were the smells? What were the sounds?

Here is what is amazing. I don't know if you remember but not that long ago I wrote a post titled, March I could take it or leave it. I had all of these reasons for not liking March, but I now realize that they were excuses for not liking March. The real reason I have a hard time in March is because I have experienced the loss of a child in the month of March as well as the arrival of a child in the month of March. So now I am stuck in this pattern of not liking March, because I don't know how to deal with March.. Needless to say, the moment when we put these pieces together today in her office, I broke down. Even my laryngitis (which is quite often a stress induced illness) can be chalked up to all of this.

So Where Do We Go From Here? Well we now need to make the month of March our 'Just Because' month. Meaning we need to relax a bit more in the month of March, and incorporate some special activities that create love and security. Since four out of the five of us now have an issue with the month of March, we will have to be extra careful, tender, loving, compassionate and forgiving with each other. I am so grateful that we were able to put two and two together today. Hopefully we can start to heal.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Now accepting nominations for Biggest Meltdown of 2014

Well it finally happened. It was four years in the making but it finally happened. My kids outdid themselves on this one. I wish someone had recorded it, because I am sure I would laugh at it..... now.... So before I tell you who should be nominated in the category of Biggest Melt Down Of 2014, let me go back a few days.
So last Friday our Behavioral Therapist sent her assistant out to the kids school for an observation. I was so totally excited about this. I thought this would be a great way for them to observe my girls without me around. I had such hopes of getting to the bottom of some of my girls triggers. I had a secret joy in this, it is like a Police Officer catching a criminal in the act. As a mom of three kids I rarely witness the actual incidents that lead to the catastrophic melt downs around here. All I see is the after math which is usually a lot of tears, sometimes yelling, and occasionally a bit of violence. Imagine my surprise... I was walking in to pick my girls up from school  and I ran into the assistant in the hallway. She was so eager to tell me that the girls had behaved really well. I am pretty sure I muttered the words, "whose girls?"... Are you kidding me?!?! She then went on to say that there had not been any incidents while she was there observing. I mean don't get me wrong, I am glad that my girls were good at school, but really? She thought that maybe in a few weeks she would go out and observe again. She also reassured me that she would use that days observations as a base line for what their 'good behavior' looks like.

O.k. fast forward to Monday. I needed to mail a package but with three kids in tow I had no desire to go into the Post Office. I thought the better alternative was to hit a grocery store that has a Post Office annex inside. The kids and I got out of the car and proceeded to the front door. At this grocery store they have one of those coin operated childrens ride on toys just to the left of the door. I told the kids that if they were good I would let them ride on it, on the way out. We proceeded into the store and handled our business. Whats fair is fair, so on the way out we headed towards the ride on toy. Granted it is a super cute fire truck and in the passenger seat is Ernie. The best part, is that it is free. They are donated by the fire department. To my horror there was an out of order sign hanging on it. I am sure I immediately had the deer in the headlights look. It is not like I promised one kid that they could ride on it, I promised three kids that they could ride on it. I knew there would be no escaping it, somebody was not going to be pleased about this.

What quickly unfolded, no seasoned vet (mommy) could have been prepared for. All three kids sat on it, each taking their own turn. Each pretended that they were driving it and made the appropriate noises. I kept thinking o.k. maybe we will be o.k.... HA! Ademan was the last on the toy. I decided to just pick him up and carry him back to the car. JayJay and LeiLei began walking by my side towards the car. We were about six to seven steps off of the curb when it happened. Right smack in the middle of traffic. My darling little JayJay decided at that moment that she was thoroughly upset about the machine being out of order. In the blink of an eye she collapsed to the floor and began throwing a tantrum. I mean legs kicking, and she was screaming type of tantrum. Which immediately set off Ademan who was still in my arms. So I now had one on the floor flipping around like a fish out of water and another in my arms looking like he was practicing the breast stroke. The next two minutes are a bit foggy for me, but it went a little something like this. I urged JayJay to get off the ground. When she did not comply I grabbed her by the shoulder and yanked her up. Ademan was now down by my waist (I looked like a football player carrying a football, except my football was practicing the breast stroke and screaming). My hand was still firmly planted on JayJays shoulder when I kindly (or not so kindly) told her to start walking to the car.  At this point cars were stopped and staring at us, actually everyone in the parking lot was staring at us, and I was just trying to breathe in and out. As if that was not bad enough, somehow when JayJay stood up and took that first step forward she somehow stepped on her sisters foot/shoe and her sisters shoe then went flying in the air landing cars away. Now if you know LeiLei you know that it is odd things that set her off and when she gets set off she practically shuts down. Lets just say we can now add flying shoes to the list of things that set this poor child off. Now I have a swimming football at my waist, a daughter that is at my side screaming either because of the ride being broken or the fact that my finger nails were firmly planted in her shoulder, and my other daughter now standing about four feet away from us stuffing her entire fist in her mouth (Don't ask, haven't figured out why she does that when she is upset) with only one shoe on. I was able to get us out of the main lane and into the lane where our car was, after quickly retrieving  a certain someones shoe. I think we were about four cars into the lane when I had had it. I put Ademan on the floor between his sisters, and looked them all in their eyes and said, "what do you want mommy to do? Do you want mommy to stand here and cry with you?"  I may have even mock cried, o.k. I did and it felt kind of good. It was either that or scream! The gentleman who was next to my car loading in his groceries, looked back at me and laughed, and said "Cant say I have ever heard a mom say that before". I think I stunned my kids long enough to at least get them in the car. I am not sure what I found more appalling... My kids behavior, the fact that nobody tried to help, or the 60 year old grandma with her two grand kids that shot me the most disapproving look ever. She even placed her hands on the backs of her grand kids and pushed them to walk around us by at least 15' like we were a bunch of foaming at the mouth rabid dogs and she was afraid her 'perfect' grand babies might get bit.

So I must nominate my entire group for Biggest Meltdown of 2014....

and yet just a few days prior they were perfect at school. Well isn't that just peachy!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

We have an Open Adoption with JayJay and Ademans Biological Mom, and March is our visit month

Honesty and openness are good for everyone, and really it is the key to a good adoption. Kids that are adopted are filled with questions. Who are they? where did they come from? Do they have other Biological siblings? They may even fantasize about their Birth Parents (think Cinderella and Prince Charming). So having an Open Adoption really helps answer those questions. I firmly believe that an open adoption is the key to a successful adoption. How 'open' to make the adoption agreement is very personal. For us we do two visits every year as well as two letters with pictures. March and September are our scheduled months for JayJay and Ademan to visit with their biological mom. December and June are our letter months.
Starting at the beginning of the visitation month I become filled with anxiety, and the anxiety does not go away until either we have the visit or the month ends and we did not hear from her.

The way we have it set up is that she is to telephone the Family Therapist and arrange for the visit. The Therapist then calls us and we set the date, then the Therapist calls her back and confirms that the time and date work with her (Bio Moms) schedule. Not everyone chooses to go the route of the Therapist. Some people feel comfortable enough to just meet at a park. We thought it would be better for everyone to have a neutral third party at the visits to assist with those hard 'moments'. Oh and in case you were wondering, yes we pay for these sessions. We are contractually bound to these two visits, and technically so is she. What that means is, if we go MIA for two visits she could technically contact her public defender to find out why we are not showing up. (Which we would never do). She is also bound to this agreement. So if she does not show up for two consecutive visits then we can make the agreement null and void.

With every passing day that my phone does not ring I start to worry. Maybe we will not hear from her, is she o.k.? is she safe? has she moved on? It is not that I am emotionally bound to this woman. But as a compassionate person I would hate to think that the Biological Mother of two of my children is not doing well. I would hate to think that for her sake, and my childrens.

So now we sit and wait for another 18 days.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

This momma needs to climb back up the ladder, and start taking care of herself

I have been struggling with this post. For days I have been tossing it back and forth as to whether or not I should write it. Actually writing it is the easy part, it is whether or not I should publish it that I a had been struggling with. Then I dug deep and thought about why I am even writing this Blog, and I came up with two answers. The first being, I want to spread the word about Foster Care and Foster Parenting. As most of you have figured out I am passionate about this topic. The second being, I want moms to feel like they are not alone. Being a mom is hard, and I think we have gone away from the days of supporting each other as women and moms. But guess what, we are all in this together! Which is why I am opening up in this post. I hope this helps many women find comfort in knowing that they are not alone.

I have come to a breaking point. I have completely let myself go, and now it is time to rebuild. You see, I am no longer physically fit, I have found a way to justify eating garbage food, I am an emotional mess, I have become paranoid in my thinking feeling I am on the verge of a heart attack at all times, my stomach feels like their is an ulcer the size of Texas in it, my headaches never seem to go away, I am completely wound up at all times ready to bark at anyone that gives me just cause, I worry about every little thing which does not allow me to enjoy anything, my parenting has become sub par. My list could go on, but I think you get the point. I have never felt so awful. I am ashamed of myself. 

This past week was the straw that broke the camels back. I came down with Laryngitis, which put me into a bit of a depression. I finally threw my arms up in the air and said, "I can't go on like this"... I have fallen into a pattern that many women fall into. That of putting your childrens needs above your own. By now you know that my children have quite a few needs. We have three different types of Therapists and an army of Doctors. The amount of appointments in any given week that we go to, is just craziness. There are things in my life that I know I can not change. Like JayJay and her battle with Mono. Until she is well we are going to continue to have some challenging days. Like Sammie our beloved 10 year old dog who is in the last chapter of her life. Every day is a new challenge for her and for us, but since she is still happy and showing love we will continue to cater to her needs. Like LeiLei who is about to have toe surgery, and dealing with the daily tears because she is uncomfortable. Like Ademan who is 2 going on 3, and very good at it... Enough said.

What I can change is where I place myself on this ladder. I will not always get top billing, nor should I. But I need to make it a priority to not be at the bottom. If I am not taking care of myself, am I really taking care of anyone else? It is not a matter of going through the motions of mommy hood, it is about being in the moment emotionally, physically, and mentally with my family. If I am not healthy, my family will suffer. I need to find a way to implement a little bit of 'me' time every day.

So now it is time to pick myself up and rebuild. I am not expecting to reemerge the way I was before children.. Nor would I want to. These past four years have opened my eyes and I would not trade that for anything. But, I do plan on coming back healthier, happier, stronger, and a bit more carefree. I want to be around for a long time which means it is time to stop this train before it wrecks. Time to start exercising, eating better, taking time away from the kids every once in awhile without feeling guilty, and figuring out how to slip a date night in with the hubby every now and then. I know it will not be easy, if it were I would not be in the position that I am in now. I will have set backs, I will become frustrated, but I have to do this. I also know that I can not do it alone. 

Here is my plan of attack... I plan on joining Weight Watchers to help me with my weight loss. I think I need to be held accountable for what I am putting in my body. I also think that it will be a good way to not alienate myself from my family at meal time. I don't want to be on a diet that will require me to make one meal for family and a separate meal for myself. As for fitness, I recently purchased a Zumba pack from Costco and I love it. It has felt so great to move again. I did not realize how tight and stiff my body had become over the past few years. I also (when the weather warms up) look forward to getting out on my bike with my hubby. I am going to force myself to at least once a month do something that requires me to leave my home without my kids. I will break down and find a babysitter so that I can have a date night with my husband. Our last date night was in December, its now March, that is ridiculous.

So from now on when I think about eating that white chocolate KitKat thirty minutes after eating my lunch, or find a way to justify skipping my work-out session for the day so I can get caught up on laundry, or decide that I need to stay home with my kids because someone has a runny nose as opposed to going out for coffee with a girlfriend, I will remind myself that without me taking care of myself, I am also not taking care of my family. This will lead to sub par parenting, and I probably will not live a long healthy life. I need to be an example for my kiddos. I want to live a long life and watch my kiddos grow up to become great examples. I also want to be a better wife to my poor hubby who puts up with my cranky, craziness. I want to have more fun, I want to be more present, and I want to be a more patient less cranky momma!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lets talk Types of Foster Care

I know, understand, and appreciate that Foster Parenting is not for everyone. Ten years age I would not have thought it was for me, as a matter of fact I had absolutely NO interest in it. As we age we evolve and for me that evolution made me a Foster Parent. I am quite often asked about my family, and how it came to be.

As soon as I say we became Foster Parents with the hopes of Adoption I am quite often told that they too have thought about Fostering but decided against it because they cant handle the thought of losing a child. Meaning they don't think they are strong enough to parent a child that is not there own, and then have the child either return to the birth parent or be placed in another suitable home. The reality, is that does happen, it happened to us. I did not think I was strong enough to handle it, but somehow I did. So I understand that fear. That is when I usually go into my schpeel about the different types of Foster Parenting.

So lets talk about the various ways you could be a Foster Parent...

Respite Care - The short term care of a Foster Child, which allows the Foster Parent to take a break. Respite Care is usually very short, a matter of hours, or days. You are kind of like a state approved babysitter for Foster Parents.

Emergency Care - Sometimes a child needs to be removed from their home immediately. Doing Emergency care means you will take a child with almost no notice. If a suitable home is not found this placement can become more permanent.

Short Term Care - This type of care occurs when it is fully expected that the children will return home within a short period of time. That could be a few weeks or it could be a few months. The birth parents will be very active in meeting the requirements that will bring their children home.

Traditional Care - This is usually for children who are taken from there home, but with the thought of reunification. The thought is that the child will spend less than 18 months in Foster Care.

Therapeutic Care - This is for the children that are medically fragile or might have severe emotional issues. This is generally a longer placement and quite often become a permanent placement.

Long Term Care - generally this is for the child that stays in Foster Care until they age out. There are many ways that this can happen. Sometimes families decide to long term foster a child if they think the child will require a lot of support and the families will want to be able to access the support. A good example would be medically fragile kiddos. Another reason for long term foster care could be the result of the child. You could have an older child come into Foster Care that does not want to be adopted.

Foster to Adopt- now this really seems to differ from state to state.  The basis of Foster to Adopt is that you will accept a Foster Child with the hopes of adoption. 

Foster Care really varies from state to state. Not all states have every category I listed, but most do they may just have a different name. It does get a bit confusing at times when you are talking to other Foster Parents in different states. I personally think every state should have the same common language. Depending on where you live their might be additional types of Foster Care that you can provide.

If you are considering Fostering I urge you to talk to others who are active Foster Parents. I also urge you to pray about it. It was the best thing we have ever done. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Calling all Foster Parents, here is a College Scholarship for the College bound in your life...

My kiddos are pretty young, but the day will come when I will be searching high and low for scholarships for them. I stumbled across this one and thought I would share it with you.  I thought it was super cool because it is open not only to Foster Children, but also adopted youth, and biological children of Foster Parents. The parent or adult must be a member of NFPA (National Foster Parent Association). The deadline is March 14 so you will have to hustle to get this one in, but for the possibility of a $500 scholarship I am sure you can move quick! Good luck!!!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Its March and if you know me I could take it or leave it... but I will keep myself busy with Jiffy Peat Soil Pellets

I am so completely ready for Spring to arrive. We have had a pretty mild winter but that being said I am tired of the snow, the rain, the cold, the wind, and the gloom. I have the winter Blahs... I am ready for camping, flip flops, gardening, soaking up the sun, and did I mention flip flops? I know its coming but I always struggle in the month of March, its always a hard month for me. The few random snow showers we receive in March usually leave me standing at my living room window muttering the words, I hate you snow. March is that weird in between month where we haven't warmed up enough to not wear a jacket but it is no longer bitterly cold. You just end up somewhere in the middle in limbo land, or as I like to call it a time waster of a month. I am frustrated because I cant get outside and do anything due to the ground still being frozen, or way to muddy (just depending on the year, this year will be mud).  I don't feel inspired to do anything inside because, well I don't really know why, I just don't.
Last year March resulted in the purchase of new cushions for our patio set. Bright yellow I might add! It was just the pick me up that I needed. Isn't the Internet wonderful... There was snow on the ground and I was inside ordering patio cushions that were not even in the stores yet. Thank you and Better Homes & Gardens!
This year I decided on a new portable greenhouse for all of my seed starts. I have the seeds, and I have the trays all I needed was a little something to put them in. I also scored on a large box of Jiffy Peat Soil Pellets. I figured this would be a fun way to get my kids involved. They are going to love watching these guys pop up, and then putting the seeds in them. I will take lots of pictures to share with you, when we start this project!

It is also usually around this time that I jump on the scale and realize that I have wintered up, meaning I have tacked on a few extra pounds over the winter. Unfortunately this year was a few more than just a few. Time to get serious and get rid of that extra 15-20lbs that found me this winter. I am contemplating joining a weight loss program, maybe Weight Watchers? I know I can handle the fitness part, to me that is actually the fun part. It is the eating healthy part that I struggle with. You are probably scratching your head thinking if fitness is fun for her, why did she gain weight? Simple, we have had non stop illness in this home since last September. I do not think one day has gone by where somebody was not sick. I don't know if any of you have experienced six months of constant illness, but you come close to throwing your arms up in the air and saying I give up! I was tired and run down therefor I became lazy yes I said it, lazy. I just need an extra little push, and it might be a way to get my entire family back on track as far as eating healthy. I will keep you posted!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

I am The Queen of No Fun

I have been a bit quiet on here lately, well that is because I have been a bit quiet in general lately. I have come down with something that has attacked my voice. I am on day three of no voice, and let me tell you I am so completely annoyed. I will probably run down to an Urgent Care (my Doctors off cant get me in until April, don't ask I am livid over that development) today to make sure it is nothing serious. I have very rarely lost my voice in the past, and when I did it was only for an evening or a day at the most. Let me tell you, it is a bit unnerving to have no voice for days on end.

So to say that I have been the Queen of No Fun lately, would be an understatement. My poor kids are probably ready to trade me in. Let me also say this, they are taking advantage of the situation. The attitudes and NoNo's are a bit out of control. They are very aware that mommy cant talk and they are working it. I do feel a bit bad, because they are also suffering from Cabin Fever. We have had two days of sunshine, and all of our snow has melted so they really want to get out, but the loss of my voice has also sucked away my energy. Enough said...

I know the Lord will not give you more than you can handle, but boy oh boy. We are also dealing with our Sammie dog who had a breakthrough seizure during the middle of the night on Sunday. The Veterinarian thought we should wait a few days before we adjust her medication in case it was a random seizure. Unfortunately I think we are going to have to up her dose. Since the seizure on Sunday, she has had multiple loss of limb episodes which is so hard to watch.

To say that this has been a great week would be a far cry from the truth. I am ready for it to be over, and I am ready to be on the road to recovery.

Monday, March 3, 2014

JOANNE FLUKE Blackberry Pie Murder Party!! Thanks again House Party!

Well Mother Nature tried to put a damper on my Joanne Fluke, Blackberry Pie Murder, House Party... A few of my friends decided that enough is enough Mother Nature.. Not even temperatures in the negatives with blowing snow was going to keep them home. As the day went on and the cancellations started coming in, I started to get bummed. That being said, driving in blowing snow is just plain yucky, and I get it. There is no reason to put yourself in danger, not even for Red Velvet Cupcakes or Blackberry Pie.

Those that came indulged on Strawberry Chicken Salad, Ham Rolls with Pickled Asparagus,and a Cheese Tray for dinner.

For dessert it was Red Velvet Cupcakes, Blackberry Cupcakes, Blackberry Pie, Chocolate Chip Cookies and Chocolate Orange Crisps.

Oh and don't forget the amazing Blackberry Pie Martini!!

Everyone went home with a little something...

One lucky person went home with this little gift!

Thanks again House Party for the opportunity to throw this fun party.

 Next time Mother Nature, you are NOT invited!! My friends are definitely excited to dive into a new series of books. Joanne Fluke was new to everyone, and she definitely left a good taste in everyones' mouth!