Friday, December 31, 2010

The new year

My cousin wrote last week about a fast she is going to do starting tomorrow. The 21 day Daniel Fast. It is a fast that Daniel did in the Old Testament for 3 weeks, or 21 days. When I first read about it I saw that he started this fast for 10 days but then ended up doing it for 3 weeks. So, that's what I might do. Start on 1/1/11 and end on 1/11/11.

Basically, the idea is to start the new year by cleansing and renewing. This particular fast is eating vegan and only having water to drink (or soy milk). It means giving up two of my favorite things... coffee and chocolate. I don't even drink regular coffee, but I'm definitely going to miss it. It keeps me warm. It is yummy. But I'll deal.

Anyway, this week has been one of reflection for me. I'm also looking forward. So, this fits right into where I'm at right now. How are you handling the new year?

Happy New Year... :)

Also, I'm reading two new books. One of which is called Adopting the Hurt Child. I'm not reading it because of Lil M or adoption, per se. I'm reading it to keep up on my training hours for fostering. It's good so far and I'll try to post a review when I'm done. What I said about parenting a hurt child differently than a protected child is what they write about. I recognize that the hurting children need a safe place and that normally people don't understand where they are coming from. They see the bad behavior but not the reason behind it. We must look at the hurt child and know that they are NOT coming from the same place we came from. They didn't have relationships like we had growing up. Even when we think our lives were dysfunctional, theirs are 100 TIMES worse. We can't even imagine what they've been through, and frankly, most of us don't want to either. And if we can't make ourselves go there or be conscious of those situations, then we'll always parent from where WE came from. But we must parent from where THEY came from. Meet them where they are. Just like Jesus meets us where we are in our brokenness. That's my $.02 for today. :)

Blessings and Peace.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Quiet after the rush

This week has been quiet after last week's rush to Christmas. This is affording me the opportunity to get caught up on my budget, bills, laundry, etc... I want to go through Lil M's and my clothes and her toys this week and make another trip to the local thrift store. I'd also like to maybe get some quilting done this week... for the first time in many months. Basically, I'd like to stay close to home and get the basics done and rest.

This is a good time to pause and reflect on the year behind us as well as the upcoming year. For me, it was a life-changing year. At the end of 2009 I took my foster placement of the then 17 YO "T". She is a good girl. She's had a tougher life than any child should have to have, and yet she's responsible, capable and respectful to those she cares about. Under the tough talk there is a sweet girl who just wants to be loved. She changed my parenting for the better. She challenged me. I was able to see God's grace in her by the mere fact that she was broken and yet there was always hope.

You can't put or demand the same expectations from a broken child that you can a protected child. Their motives may seem objectionable sometimes, but they are always operating out of a place of "hurt" not health. They didn't necessarily learn the same manners or rules other children do. They were taught to fend for themselves, no matter what, from a very early age. They are taught that you can trust no one. Everyone is out to hurt you or use you. No wonder they lash out. No wonder they don't trust us. No wonder they put walls up.

T left our home Dec 11. Lil M and I both miss her and I pray that she is doing well. I pray for her child, too. And I pray that I've touched her heart like she's touched mine. We had our ups and downs, but frankly we had many more ups than downs. I'm thankful for that, and am hoping that I helped her along her way... and that she remembers us.

As for the coming year, I do wonder what'll come on the fostering front. We'll see. In addition to that, I am working on my Masters program and am hoping to enjoy it.

Lil M will start kindergarten next August, which just amazes me. She is the light of my life. We're having fun right now and Christmas was nice. Not sure what we'll do yet on New Years. We might go see a movie or get one that we like at home. I doubt she'll make it until the ball drops, but this might be the first year to try. :)

Peace.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dad impressed me

This past week has been a bit difficult with T leaving and all. Lil M keeps asking why she left. Mommy did she leave because she was mad at you? Well, yes and no. Me telling her she couldn't go to her BF's house made her mad and she lashed out... and then I responded. What I said to her wasn't untrue, but it was a bit unkind. And it upset her. And I understand that and take full responsibility for it. But she had wanted to be gone the day she got to my house a year ago. I think she lasted this long because she is pregnant and didn't feel like she had a choice.

The thing I find a bit disconcerting is how people have reacted to her leaving. Not everyone, of course, but some people have made comments about how they didn't know how I had handled the situation up to this point ... that no sane person they know would have fostered. Ouch. They didn't say it that way... they said they didn't know anyone who would do what I've done... no sane ones anway. A biting remark, for sure. Though, I do know that's not how it was intended.

But then, there are those who have been more encouraging than I would have even thought. My Dad is one of those. He called me three times yesterday (I only talked to him once), to check up on me/us. That was unexpected and very appreciated. He didn't ask about the situation or about the specifics, he just asked if I was OK. I thought that was very kind of him. It does seem like he knows how to come out of the woodwork and support me when big things are going on, and I appreciate that.

I don't know what the future holds in the way of my fostering. I am licensed and plan to give it another shot. I don't know who or what age or when. But, I do believe that when the time is right, it'll happen.

Peace.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

I ordered our Christmas cards tonight... for those of you who I want to send these... here's a sneak peek. :)


Retro Ornaments Brown Christmas
View the entire collection of cards.


Peace.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Joy

I got Lil M a "meow pillow" today... so we took some fun pics... and got some Christmas pics at the same time. She is my joy.





Peace. And, Merry Christmas!!! :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Can't make them stay

So, my foster daughter has decided to leave. She left Saturday. It is NOT the best thing for her or for the baby... but she is 18 and is allowed. I'm waiting to hear back from my agency about a meeting she agreed to have with them later this week. Then, I'll know if she's gone for good or will be coming back.

I can't say I'm not hugely surprised, even though she said she was going to stay with me until she graduated. But I am sad and dissappointed. I was hoping to be there for the birth of Gabe. I was hoping to help her get through HS and onto college. No idea what will happen with her schooling now. But it is out of my hands.

I think my family and friends will be saddened and surprised, too, if she doesn't come back. I think I'm not the only one who's learned a lot this year, and grown to care for T. I've grown to care for her a great deal and miss her already. And I worry. It's what us Moms do.

Please pray for Lil M's understanding and for T and her situation. And for the next young person that I might foster.

Peace.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Life

Today was my last day of class for this semester. I did my presentation... not quite as well as I wanted to do it, but I got through it. Prof said I should be more confident when I speak about things I know. He's right. I was nervous for some reason... and I was talking about something I know well.

Tonight I'm trying to finish up my final exam. I have two questions completed of the 4... and the other two partly done. My goal is to get them done tonight if possible.

I was going to take a class over Christmas, but it looks like I might not do that now. I thought T would stay with me until at least May, but it seems she might not. She might leave before the baby is even born. It's not been a very good day. Hopefully, I'll have better news to share by the beginning of the week.

I'm not really motivated right now, but I must finish this exam.

Peace.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Counting down

Well, it's about 5.5 weeks, actually, until T delivers. She is excited... I'm nervous. I'm wrapping up this semester at school and T will be out of school for Christmas here soon. She will get to do school from home during her maternity leave. I'm praying and hoping she can keep up with her work so she can graduate and keep her grades up.

Lil M and I had fun dancing last night, reading a book and me braiding her hair. I got her some stuff to start her big girl room... but am thinking I'd like to get her a new bed. So, I've got to make a decision about that... and the timing. She wants a guitar for Christmas, and I might go back to see if they still have any.

I think I need to either start quilting again, or pair down my fabric stash. The reason it comes to mind right now is because I'd like to have the living room a bit more nicely set up for Christmas, and it'd be kind of nice to get that moved out for now. At the same time, I'd like to make Mia another blanket and one for the baby, too. Of course, now I'm involved in school again...

I've been reading Lil M the story of Jesus' birth. She likes the fact that Mary had a baby in her belly... read me the story of Mary with the baby in her belly, Mommy... quite cute. :) Trying to help her learn why Christmas is so important to me vs. the whole Santa hype.

Peace.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Turkey day weekend

Sis made a great Thanksgiving spread this year, as always... and I didn't have to do anything but eat! :) We got to do a little shopping before dinner was done, and then I went out by myself for a little bit. We went through all the ads, which is our tradition, except she got the newspapers for us this year!



I got to take about an hour nap before we braved the crowds. Sis and I got out about 3am and shopped until about noon. We did well, and had fun. :)



T and Lil M made gingerbread cookies on Saturday. And then cupcakes on Sunday. We got the Christmas tree put up (but not decorated yet). We went through Lil M's toys and pulled out some to give away. She even helped. :) I was very proud.

Peace.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dr and such

I changed Lil M's Pediatrician this year. I didn't care for her first Ped and decided that it was time to get her moved to someone else. So, we're now going to a lady who not only had 3 adopted children from China, but who also is the area's leading Dr in Internationally Adopted Children.

When I took Lil M on Friday, she had to have 5 immunizations for her 4 year record. As if that wasn't bad enough, she also needed to be tested for her previous immunizations (the ones from China) and some other general blood tests. So, one more needle there. Then, she had a TB test... and another needle. All together, 7 pricks. :( needless to say, it didn't go over too well. But we survived and she didn't have any major issues that night or over the weekend because of it, Thank God.

I got the blood test results back today, and all are normal. Including a test for Lead, anemia and hemoglobin. All normal. Thank God.

Even after all that, Lil M seemed to like the new Dr OK. She even asked me the nurse's name yesterday. So, I guess it wasn't as traumatizing as it seemed Friday!! Thank God. :)

Now onto Thanksgiving week and Black Friday. :D

Peace.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Learning

I wanted to jot down some thoughts about what I've learned while being a Foster Parent. I've been licensed for over a year now, and T has been with me almost a year. I've also provided respite care.

Not all children want to be adopted.

Foster kids think we're broken, too. They have fears about foster care, and know that they are considered outcasts. My most recent respite girl told me that when she went into FC that her parents told her that we were all evil and would hurt her. :( yikes.

The kids I've had don't fully understand my situation. Even they question adoption and why I've become a parent the way I have. Not question in a bad way, but they definitely ask questions.

Part of me thinks that T will stay with me longer than we thought... hopefully, into her first semester of college, even. I say this because someone asked her if she was 18 why didn't she leave... and she said... she doesn't have anywhere else to go. And the way she said it kind of broke my heart. I hate it for her that she hasn't had a stable home-life prior to FC. And even in FC she was with another family before me. And I understand why she might not think it all puppies and roses when she thinks of FC. It really is a double-edged sword.

All I can do is try to be the base of that sword and keep her as close to me as possible. Trying to not let her get hurt on those sharp edges if I can help it. Soften the edges, even, if possible.

My basis of understanding is different from T's. (my family might be a bit dysfunctional, but it is still full-well in tact)

Her basis of understanding is different from Lil M's. (her family is definitely dysfunctional, and she struggles to keep it)

Lil M's basis of understanding is also different, and no less complicated. (her family is me and someone she may never, ever know. she didn't get to keep it, dysfunctional or not. and then, of course, she does have our family... )

I set out to change the world... and instead, it sought out and won a change in me. (seems like there might be a famous quote similar to this thought, but it escapes me - might be "I set out to change the world, and instead it changed me".)

I don't know what it all means. But I do know that fostering is important. Adoption is important. And above all FAMILY is important. They both are good in some ways. They are both painful.

I pray that those families that can be healed before foster or adoption need to occur are able to be healed. I pray that even if they can't be healed prior to FC or adoption, that they be healed someday. I do pray for peace for all their broken hearts... there are just too many.

This is National Adoption Month. Please help our children in any way you can... mentoring, fostering, adopting are all beneficial and there is great need for children everywhere to be supported and loved.

Added... when I said I wanted to change the world, I didn't mean that quite as literally as it sounded. But I do believe that we can be the change we want to see in the world. I also know that even though others don't always understand me, nor me them... that I respect many family types and I pray that other peoples' hearts start opening up to that fact, as well. I am so blessed and at peace with where God would have me in this world. It is my heart song that we love the Lord our God, and our neighbors as ourselves.

Peace.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

rare form

The girls went home this afternoon, and all got back to normal... except T and I haven't been feeling well. Found some medicine she can take, and I got some for the both of us.

Lil M was in extremely rare form today. First, she got in all kinds of trouble all day. She gave the baby candy, she and the baby were 'bouncing' on the bed... she and the baby sat on top of a table where they weren't allowed.... All while the teen mom was in proximity. So much for that. Then, tonight she got more candy knowing she needed to ask first. Needless to say, I was none too happy and she got in trouble again. :(

Now, you're probably thinking... this is typical behavior for a 4 year old. And, most 4 year olds you'd be right. But, Lil M doesn't usually just completely disregard the rules. She is usually pretty easy to correct. Not this weekend. :( Kind of bums me out, actually... 'cause I'm worried this might be a trend, and kind of worried I've not been paying enough attention to her... at the right times.

I have a feeling she was pretty jealous of the baby this weekend. Which, I guess I wanted to learn because we'll have one in the house come January.

Then, on top of it, she kept asking me about the woman whose tummy she was in. Once, I was so cavalier as to believe that not having answers would be OK and that it wouldn't be too hard to explain. Boy, was I wrong. I try to keep it straight forward and in 4 year old language... but, frankly, I don't know what to say.

The teen asked me a lot of questions this weekend, too. This being adoption month makes me think about how lucky I am to have Lil M. But it also makes me realize even more that other people just don't get it. They don't get adoption. What has felt so completely natural to me, is just not seen that way by others. Why aren't you married? Are you infertile? Why didn't you have one of your own?

I get it from both sides. Lil M wants to know whose tummy she was in, and others want to know what's wrong with me. Yeah. Not.

And me, well, I realize that I need to come up with my own answers.

Peace.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mercy

Oh, Lord... what was I thinking??? I got a call today to do respite this weekend... for a 15 YO girl and her 16 month old daughter... egad. That child can SCREAM. I haven't gone to bed yet, because I'm afraid of waking her... she's in a pack-n-play in my room tonight. Please Lord, let her sleep all night.

T wasn't here when it happened... wonder how she would have reacted. She told me she doesn't need parenting classes. Oh really?? Right. Well... don't even get me started.

The two girls will only be here until tomorrow or Sunday at the latest. And God must have known, 'cause my class was canceled for tomorrow!!! WOOHOO. Mommy needs to sleep. I do not feel well. My head is going to explode now... and throat hurts and feel like I'm getting a cold. I hope it passes very quickly.

Lil M and I did get to see Auntie Ellen today!! She is doing very well. I'm so utterly thankful to God for taking such good care of her. We had some Indian food at this little restaurant we like. Yum. Ellen was having some cabin fever and so it was good to get her out of the house for a bit. She got good news today that her test results came back negative. Thank You God. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

So... I plead temporary insanity today... the snot made me do it. ROFL. (ewww, that's so gross, lol)

Man, how soon we forget about the screaming and the baby-proofing!!! It's amazing how quickly after the age of 3 that one forgets all the stuff a baby can get into so quickly! Please pray for my sanity this weekend. And for us when T's baby comes. Lord have mercy. I'm not even sure how that's going to work. I'm concerned that T will be quite overwhelmed... unless, the baby is not a crier... and what are the odds of that?

OMG, and Lil M asked me today... Mommy, did the other woman who had me in her tummy give me a name? What was my name? (not exact words, but pretty close).... um??? WHAT? Noodle on that one y'all.

I have told her in the past she was called by another name, but never in that way before. So, I asked her what she thought she was called... she said something like "leaf" (not exact) ... which made me laugh. I said, I bet she called you Goose... she said no, probably "leaf" (not exact, 'cause my brain is foggy from the snot) ... it was all just so very odd. I didn't expect that level of question until she was much older. This all happened in the 5 minutes it takes to get to her DC in the morning. egad. So, clearly, I need to sit down and go through it again with her... not much more information, just make sure she knows we can talk about it for more than 30 seconds at a time. :)

Peace.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Southern Belle

My little Southern Belle Princess.

Lil M, T and C... southern belle, the good witch and freddy.
The gang's all here.
Peace.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

With This Fall Brings Change

Everything is changing, almost daily, around here. I can hardly keep up!

The biggest change has been the move. Going from my son and I in our own house, to sharing a home with main man and best friend, B, and his three (yes, I said 3) kids. Wow! Not sure what I was thinking... haha, oh and the four dogs...

So, I had a month and a half for this move and really thought that would be plenty enough time to get it all done. With the help of a lot of people and the kids, I was able to get the keys turned in the day before the end of the month. Not too bad, considering how much stuff I have... I gave a full truck load and jeep load to Goodwill and put an unbelievable amount of boxes on the curb, that someone stopped and picked up thankfully! I felt horrible putting all that stuff out there, but we had already made two trips to Goodwill and the muffler on the truck fell off during the second trip, so I decided the rest would have to be put out on the curb. Even after getting rid of so much, there is still way too much! Our two-car garage is completely full and at some point I am going to have to pare that down some more... big fun!

Just before the decision to move, I signed up for classes and am a college student again (can you say "lifer" haha). I don't care if I'm 80 years old, I will get a degree, period. It could seriously take me that long... holy cow! What was I thinking? Obviously I wasn't ;) so now my nights are filled with homework, homework, and yes more homework.

Now, on top of this, I am also facing huge changes at work. And I sure wish I could say they are good changes, but I can't. Right now I may just be out of a job at the end of the year. I did send my resume to a few places, but haven't had any responses yet. Oh, except for all of the junk in my email box :( Ones that say something to the effect of "we received your resume and you appear to be more qualified than our other candidates ...we have selected you and 5 others out of 100 ...go to this site and complete a credit report, or test, etc." I wonder how many people fall for these?! I could really use some credible leads...

On the home front, C has been doing great. He is handling the move much better than I expected. He loves being in a neighborhood that has kids in it and sidewalks. Now he can ride his bike anytime he wants to =) Of course, with good shall come bad. His father hasn't shown up to visit on Wednesdays or weekends since the middle of September ...don't get me wrong this is not a bad thing for me necessarily, but it is for him. But again, he's handling it much better than I thought he would. Thank God he is not standing at the front door every night, crying his eyes out, looking for his Dad like he did before. So, the new house has given him something to look forward to. He did get a little upset the other day, missing his dad, and we talked about writing him a letter (since he refuses to give us a phone number to reach him at), maybe we'll get that done this weekend... In the meantime, I had a conference with his teacher and he is doing really well there too! Turns out he is a math whiz!! A+ in math, woohoo!! I'm so proud of him =D

The rest of the kids aren't fairing so well... at least not with the changes that have come about with the move, namely me... It was melt-down city around the house the other night... "You're not my mother! You're not family! I don't have to listen to you, I only have to listen to my dad!" and so on... oh yeah, big fun, let me just tell ya! ...slamming doors, stomping, it never ends. The one that bothered me the most was "blood is thicker than water"... well if you know me at all, and my sister, then you know that line means jack shit to either of us. Yes, blood relatives are important to us, don't get me wrong, but we have a relatively small "blood" family and have been blessed with "love" family... you know what I thought of when I heard her say "blood is thicker than water"? A quote by my sister (correct me if I'm wrong and it is someone elses, k?):
Ultimately I want generations after me to know this about the culture of blood and the culture of adoption: That blood is thicker than water, but love can be thicker than blood.


Amen, Sister!
~peace~

Monday, November 1, 2010

Southern Belle princess

My Lil M went as a Southern Belle Princess this year. She wanted a long dress... to the floor, mommy... so, i got her one. :) It was ADORABLE. The only problem was she kept tripping on it, but it was definitely worth it, anyway. I think she'll end up wearing it as a play dress for quite awhile. I'll have to post pics later. Trust me, I have many!

T was a good witch. She looked great in her costume, too. We all went out on Saturday with Sis and kids to trick-or-treat. Then yesterday, Lil M and I went in our own neighborhood for about an hour, 'cause I wasn't feeling so hot (exhausted, headaches, as usual). We had a good time, though. I liked both days... but I do like it when there aren't as many people around, 'cause I hate it when people are up on top of us; crowding isn't fun to me.

But with Sis and fam, we did have pizza and Grampa came, too. :) Sis is all moved and I think once things settle down, she'll be really happy with it. Right now we're just all very busy.

We need to get T registered at the hospital where she'll deliver. We also need to go to appts every 2 weeks now. I can't believe it is November already. Time is just flying. It feels like yesterday when we found out. But alas it isn't and she's due in January.... which is coming quick.

Speaking of November, it is National Adoption Month again, so I will post some thoughts on that soon. :)

Work and school are good. Will be finished up with school by Dec 14. Got quite a bit to do between now and then for that, as well. Oh, and Thanksgiving is this month! ... you know what that means... black friday! :D

Peace.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Class

I'm taking a class this semester toward my masters program. It's going pretty well, so far. I guess at midterm, I have an A- ...and am hoping to make that a solid A by the end of the semester. I also got kudos at work yesterday... which feels great, compared to the crud I went through before.

Yesterday, T read the speech she wrote about me for her class. It made me cry (of course). She said I am a good role model... and that even though I might be late (getting places), I'm always dependable. That was very sweet. I want her to know that I'm dependable. She got a couple dates wrong, but overall, it was a really great speech.

Lil M is quite intuitive and she's doing great. More later.

Peace.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Walk On

Listening to a song right now called Walk On by Susan Ashton. She is one of my faves, and I wish she would put out some new music...

Ok, so this month has been quite busy! T's birthday was the 4th and then the baby shower was the 24th.

I had a project to work on in the past couple of weeks for my class, and we gave a presentation last weekend (a week ago). Then this weekend along with the baby shower, we had a foster conference to go to. It was all day and pretty good, but it was a very long day. We cleaned the house top to bottom... and got the food ready. Thankfully, I had some help from my friend MK who did some shopping for me!!! She's an angel.

Lil M also had her very first-ever sleepover at MK and MK2's house Friday night!! Apparently, it went pretty well. :) I was a little stressed just because of being separated overnight, but there are few people I trust more than MK to hang with Mia, so that quickly dissipated. :)

T's baby shower went well. We are truly, truly blessed to have the family and friends we do. My goal was to show her what support looked like, and I think I achieved that goal. :D We had tons of snacks, T opened baby gifts and then we played (what I affectionately call) stupid baby games. LOL. Actually, they weren't stupid. They were quite fun. We had a token male at the party (Michelle, aka Mike...). He was quite good at the baby games, and won almost all of them!! I got to play, too, 'cause I didn't set up the games at all. And I won the m&ms in the baby bottle.

T's got the baby room almost all set up. We just want to get some letters to paint and hang on the wall with his name.

Lil M is doing great. Last night we went through some letters and phonetics together. At the shower, she played with Auntie Ellen a lot... drawing outside on the patio with chalk and they did great! She also had Ellen pretend to take a nap in her room... where Lil M covered her up and took 'good' care of her. :) It was cute.

We had a great turnout... Dana and Aria; Devi and Tiffany; Mike; Amy with Becky and Eli; Mimi with C and Abbi and Amy; Ellen; MK and MK2 and Benny; Grandma Heaton; Penny and Mary (T's Mom and Gma); Christina, Laura and Lisa (from SAFY); Beth (state); Debbie (T's bus driver); Emily, Sarah and Chelsea (T's friends); Kim (work)...

28 people plus Me, Lil M and T... so 31 of us there! (i hope i didn't forget anyone!)

So, we're hanging in there. Hope you are, too!

Peace.

Friday, October 15, 2010

we're all broken in some way

I had some banter back and forth with a friend of mine today. They were remarking about how my FD has made a mistake and that it was "ignorant" ...and that I'm a saint because I choose to be OK with the situation. Ignorant in that there is a plethora of birth control options and any teenager in their right mind would use them. Well, while not using something could be perceived as ignorant... there are other reasons people don't use them. I don't think those make a person ignorant in their decision. Gullible? Deluded? Hopeful?

We all make mistakes. We all want to be loved. Or are too trusting. Or want to fix someone else's broken-ness. Sometimes the things we do to try to get love, or feel love, don't coincide with what society tells us is right or good. I've made my fair share of mistakes and I will not condemn her for making one. My only issue with her being pregnant is her age and my concern for her finishing school (preferably college). It just makes things a bit more complicated and harder... because she doesn't just have to think of herself now, she has to think of a whole other person and make her goals allign with that fact.

As far as my being a saint. Puulease. I don't think of myself in that way because my thought is... if I'm equally as broken how can i judge my child or another person for being broken, too? I don't think that's fair.

So, while T might not think I'm overly excited about her having a baby, I think she does know that I'm not upset with her. I can be concerned for her and still be excited about the new life. I guess it just tempers my reaction a little bit.

Peace.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

stocking up

As a single Mom of two... I try to economize when and where I can. I like to get extras at the store, so I can make less trips. I do some bulk shopping, but way less than my larger family counterparts.

Some recent examples:

Cereal - cereal has been on sale at my normal store for the past few weeks. We've probably got 8 or more boxes at the house now. We eat quite a bit of cereal, and I like to get it for $2.00 or less a box. Right now, some of it is $1.65 or so a box. I will likely get a couple of more boxes this week, if I can. We eat it for breakfast and snacks.

Frozen meals - i like to get these for $2.00 or less ea., as well. I take these for lunches quite often, and T eats them for after school snack/light meal. Last week I found them for approx $1.68 each if you bought 10. So, I did.

Anyway, those were my two recent finds. I do the same with soups. Got a few for 10 for $10 last week.

On another note, I really like my new job. The role fits well with my personality and the team is fantastic. Lil M is doing well and has her last soccer class/practice tonight for the fall. I think we'll likely do it again in the spring. She seemed to like the basketball camp, too, but does a bit better with the soccer. T is doing well, and we're just moving along...

Peace.

Monday, October 4, 2010

the big day

My foster daughter turns 18 today. When she came to live with us last year, she was adament that she would leave on this day. After a little while, she changed her mind and said she would stay until she graduates. Then she got pregnant and we had a bumpy time there for a bit. She wavered on when she would leave. Then she said she would stay. She plans to stay until she graduates, or until next summer sometime... hopefully, until she gets into college.


But today is the big day. I'm wondering how things will be after today. If she gets mad at me will she just pick up and leave one day? Or have we built enough of a relationship that she'll have enough sense to stay even if something like that happens? I pray it is the latter.


From my perspective, it's kind of hard to believe she's been with me since December, almost 10 months now. I can say that time has truly flown by. 10 months ago, I was afraid of what might happen and how I'd manage to actually be a Foster Parent. I didn't know if I could do it. Would she get along with Lil M? Would Lil M be OK... and like her? What would our lives look like, and would it be OK?

It's kind of odd, I went through all the classes and have adopted, so I thought I knew how it might feel bringing another person into the house, into our family. I didn't realize I'd start with a teenager. And I didn't realize how it might make me feel to have someone new in the house that wasn't a baby.

I quickly got over any fears I had (though, it didn't feel quick at the time), and just allowed myself to act and treat her as a parent would. I set minimal rules at first, and then modified those through the first few months. She wouldn't agree, but I have tried to give her the freedom of a teenager, while staying consistent with specific things (like being home at a certain time, asking permission and such).

She has made a few choices that will lead her down a slightly different path than I thought she might go, but she's still on target to graduate and to get into college. But along the way, she'll need to learn how to be a Mom on her own, as well. She's shown responsibility and I know she wants to succeed. I pray that she gives me the opportunity to continue to be her "Mommy". As I've told her many times... I'm in this for a relationship, not a title. I would be very happy if she continues to stay with us for as long as she wants, provided she follows the plan and rules we've agreed to. I don't say that to be 'conditional', only to say that she is an adult as of today and she can make other choices that could impact her living with us. Though, I don't have huge fear for that. Just need to be honest about how I feel. I will continue to show her love and mercy and think that Lil M would be sad if she wasn't with us. She has grown to be a part of our family, and even if she leaves, we won't stop loving her.

I pray that I will be writing another similar post about this next October. I hope she is with us that long. She wants me to be the baby's Mommaw, and that's what I will be. We'll have a shower for her this month, and I'm getting excited about that.

Who would have known all this would happen in 10 months of knowing her... she has made me a better Mom, because I listen a little closer to her and Lil M's needs. We have invited her family to her birthday and baby shower. We got the chance to go to T's nephew's birthday last week, too. I hope that we can join forces to help T succeed. That would be wonderful.

The funny thing is... it seems like she's been with us for a lot longer than she has. We have a nice little family and I am so thankful to God for that.

Peace.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

birthday

T's birthday is tomorrow. We're gonna go to dinner and have cake. I think it'll be nice. She is way excited. She said today that she wishes I didn't have to work tomorrow, 'cause she wanted to spend the day with me. I thought that was sweet. (especially after last week when she said to someone that i wasn't 'even her real mom'.... of course, i do know that is a normal teenage thing to say and that means, i hope, that she does actually feel something towards me.) I hope things don't change too much and she still realizes that I want to help her.

Anyway, I'm kind of excited that it is her birthday and will post pics, I'm sure!

Peace.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

fall birthdays, farms

We had a nice weekend. We got some shopping done for T's birthday... gotta still find her something fun that she doesn't know about, but not sure what to get yet. Also, need to get the dinner planned. Would like to have some family there to celebrate.

Yesterday, we attempted to go to the Autumn Moon Festival at a local farm. We missed the Chinese festival part, but still got to hang out at the farm and play a bit. Lil M roasted a hot dog for T, and she got to swing on the big, long swing, castle, with the sand box, and the water crank thing that did duckie races. T and her BF liked the pig race. I had fun, too, just being with all of them.

Today, we were supposed to go to another farm, to see Alpacas, but I accidentally fell asleep...and then we had T's nephew's birthday party to attend (which I didn't know about until today... actually, I don't think she did either, or she would have mentioned it last night when I told her about the alpacas.) I wonder why her sis didn't mention it before... oh well. We went to that this afternoon. It was pretty good. T's sister and her kiddos seem to like Lil M and me... there were other people there who didn't know us, and that was a little awkward for me, but I got over it. I was glad T could be there with her family for a bit.

We got Baby Shower invitations today... gotta get those out this week. October looks to be somewhat busy for us! Gotta find Halloween costumes for the kids, too.

It's time to get some rest before another week starts... liking how September is turning out, even though it was stressful at the beginning. Praying the good stays for awhile.

Lil M is doing well. She's really liking the dress-up play this year... today, we got her a little summer dress on sale and she wore it to bed. She also had me tie a cape around her... usually, she wears these things with her crown and princess shoes, too. I'm glad she likes that type of play... helps with imagination.

T is doing well... she needs to bring two grades up, but otherwise, she's moving forward with her senior year. She is going to start studying for the ACT again really soon (hopefully, this week), and we've been talking about college again. :)

As for me... well, praying for peace, as usual. :)

Peace.

Peace.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

All things new

Sitting here eating lunch and thinking about recent changes... I started back to school for my master's degree, which I think I've mentioned... but I'm enjoying it so far. Actually, the odd thing is that they are sort of behind the times in this one class, and so it'll be interesting to follow their guidlines for the homework. I've already talked to the Prof about that.

Working at a new place as of last week, which was my choice. I was at the last place for 2 years and it was great until we got new management. I tried to wait it out, but just couldn't. So far, I think I've made the right decision and am much happier already. :D It does mean a little more of a commute and away time from Lil M, but I'm happier... so that is good. Lil M is fine, so far. T is with BF a lot... so, she hardly notices. LOL. Actually, I get home at the same time, just leave earlier in the AM.

I'll try to get pics posted of Lil M at basketball camp and her soccer soon. She seemed to enjoy the bball camp. :)

That's all for now...

Peace.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

masters

I'm watching Fringe tonight. It's an odd but good show. :)

Let's see... started new work this month. Praying it goes well. I like it, so far. It's going to be a big project and I'm excited about that. A bit scared, 'cause they have some lofty goals, but I hope I can help temper those a little and get them where they need to be.

Lil M is enjoying playing dress up a lot recently. She even wore a dress to bed tonight, just because she could. T is 22 weeks pregnant and still only gaining in her belly. They are both doing well.

I started back to school this semester. It's a systems analysis class and it's OK, so far. I've got a pretty good grip on it, but need to do a bit of reading before Saturday's class. I'm kind of glad to get my Master's actually. I know I don't need it, but I think it's good.

Oh, and JA and PNJ are still stalking our online activities. God they are sad and pathetic. She had the audacity to say something about how Sis looks, when she looks rode hard and put away wet as they say. And he's an alcoholic. I guess they are jealous of us, and that's why they keep stalking us. Pathetic. Really.

On the positive, I'm so thankful to God that we've made it this far. I pray for healing and continued growth.

Peace.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Long weekend

I'm so thankful for long weekends. I would have to say I might even like them more than several days off at a time... ok, maybe it's tied. :) Time off is time off.

This weekend it is gorgeous out. My allergies have been rough, but the weather makes up for that. It's so cool out right now that I can justify making some chocolate hazelnut (decaf) coffee tonight... yum.

Lil M seems to like her new soccer program. I think it's a little intimidating for the littler kiddos, but she is doing well. I think she will like it more and more as this season goes along. I wonder what she'll like more in the long run, dancing or soccer. She likes the basketball camp 'cause Chase has done it two years now. This'll be her second year to do the toddler one, as well.

She moved up to the Explorer room at her daycare center. She seems to like it. It's her last room before going to kindergarten next year.

T is doing alright, too. She is 5 months pregnant and showing now. Her BF proposed to her last night, OMG. But she seems to be happy about it, of course. Who knows what will happen... I just hope she will stay here until she graduates.

I took my favorite ring to be checked today and found out that a diamond is loose. It is my absolute favorite piece and so I can't wait to have it fixed.

Lil M had a fabulous birthday weekend last weekend. She has so many friends and our family came out to celebrate with us. I can't believe she is FOUR years old now!!! Very blessed.

Happy Labor Day weekend, all.

Peace.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Happy Birthday baby



My baby is 4 years old today! I can't believe how fast time flies... it was just yesterday that we came home and got to know each other. It was just yesterday that she was 3 and we were having a monkey party...

It has been a very wonderful year and I am looking forward to my big girl getting bigger and stronger and smarter each day! :)

On another note, I want to send up a little prayer of thanksgiving to Lil M's first mother. May the Lord's blessings shine down on her today, too.

Peace.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

One of those...

weeks, i guess...

Here's the breakdown.
1. AC unit went out needing to be replaced (lots and lots of money)
2. Broken camera (that i left on the top of the car, yes i'm an idiot)
3. Tax bill (that i miscalculated 2 years ago... due to sleep deprivation)
4. Washing machine went out (oh great... more money!!)

On top of money stress, which will be worked out, Thank God... there's work stress and T stress...

on a positive note, Lil M turns 4 on Friday! :D I ordered her a Little Mermaid cake to go with the decorations... she got her first soccer ball and cleats today... and starts soccer on Wednesday. Wait, that's more money... but it's a good spending one.

We should find out Wed what T is having.

Tomorrow, Lil M goes for her 4 year check-up and shots. Killing two birds with one stone (foster license update and immunization records for school). I think I found her a Chinese-American Dentist that we're going to see in a few weeks. Am trying to find her a Chinese-American Ped too, but not sure if I have yet or not.

Why? 'Cause, I figure they might have a little more heritage knowledge than other doctors... and I think it would be nice for Lil M to see familiar facial characteristics in some adults and other people... just an idea. who knows.

Next up... wanting to get her into Chinese school.... if i can. oh and still haven't registered her for basketball camp.

wow, we could be busy this fall. that is if i can get the finances under control.

Peace.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Life

I've been asked to link to a blog called Adoption Experiences. I hope you will go out and see what other folks are writing about their lives and adoption. Oh, and I was asked if they could put my blog is on their site now, too. :) How nice is that?!

Last night, T was at her BF's house and she started having sharp stomach pains. So bad that she was doubled over, in fact. So, I had him bring her home immediately and I took her straight to the ER. They did a CBC blood panel and a urine test and checked for the baby's heartbeat (not in that order). We did hear the baby's heartbeat (130 bpm) and it kick, thank God. Everything came back normal, but they did give her Tylen*l and something else to help her stomach relax a little. Seems like everything is OK for now. They weren't sure why it was happening though. When I read about it online, several places said that it was likely her uterus growing. So, let's see.

Lil M is doing well. I'm excited for her birthday party next week. I still can't believe she'll be 4 years old and that she came home to me over 3 years ago now!!! Amazing. :D

Peace.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Last week

I haven't written in awhile... last week was a bit crazy for us. Monday, I took Manna (17 yo cat) to the Vet to get her meds refilled and blood work done. She's lost another pound... and is down to 4lbs 8oz. :( Gotta concentrate on her... Otherwise, the Vet said she looks great... her coat looks good and she is doing alright other than the weight loss. Does have a little heart murmur, but that's due to the thyroid/weight condition.

Wednesday, we went to T's 17 week Midwife visit... we heard the baby's heartbeat (150 bpm) and it kick and push away from the monitor... kind of neat. Lil M went with us. I've been struggling with headaches for 3 weeks or more and didn't feel too great, so I stayed home after that. Took a nap, and then T wanted to get some things done while we didn't have Lil M... (birthday stuff), so I agreed. We had a pretty good afternoon, until we got home and the AC was out. :( bah. Oh, and the three of us had a fun dinner with Auntie Ellen... it was great seeing her.

So, when we got home, I tried to get ahold of the people I've used before for HVAC issues... and their line was busy. So, I finally got someone else from a different place to come out first thing Thursday morning. My AC was fried. :( It needed to be replaced. So, Thursday, I got estimates from a couple of places... and went with the one who could come out on Friday to install a new one.

Friday, the HVAC place installed the AC portion of the new system, but they need to come back and finish the heat part later. I need to call them this week to find out approximately when they can do that. But we had AC by Friday night! Yahoo!!! Of course, it took hours for the temperature in the house to come down to a reasonable degree, but it felt great. The downstairs was so humid that the carpet bubbled up... and I was worried, but after a couple of days with the AC and the dehumidifier running it went back to normal, Thank God.

Saturday, we all laid around the house being completely lazy after not having AC in the house for 3 days... we were tired! Man, heat can wear you out. Yesterday, we went to the baseball game, and sweated some more... but it was a good day. Mimi and Chase came to hang with us.

So, there you have it. I ended up with a new heat pump system because mine was 26 years old and I knew that if I didn't go ahead and replace the whole thing that something might happen later this year or next requiring the heat portion to be replaced. This way, the whole thing is new, and hopefully will last us well until we find a new house in the district I want when Lil M gets to big-girl school. :)

Peace.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Fur friends

I haven't written about the animals in the family for awhile... Maggi will be 4 this November, just like Lil M will be 4 next month. Skippy is likely about a year older-ish than Maggi. Both are well. Maggi has more hair than any dog I've ever seen!! LOL. She's gorgeous, I think, but I don't brush her coat or take care of it nearly like I should. Last week I hosed her down, literally, and have now brushed her two full times... a small office type trash can full of hair!! I think we should collect it and weave it like lambs wool or alpacas. ;-) Ok, or maybe not. She's still a firecracker and barks an inordinate amount, but she's such a sweet dog. Skippy is just as skittish as ever.

Manna, my 17 year old cat has gotten even more rambunctious in her old age... opening the cabinet to root through the trash...and sitting guard in front of the refrigerator and sink... lest one of us opens the fridge, cabinet or the pantry for food...that she can scam. Bless her, she has a thyroid condition and could eat a cow and not gain any weight... funny, Manna eating cow. ;-) Ok, maybe a chicken.

Lil M loves them all, and particularly likes to chase Maggi around. She likes to pet Manna and pick her up (yikes... Manna's pretty frail)... and sit on Skippy or Maggi at will.

I have good animals.

Then there is Eisenswine. He's T's guinea pig. Enough said.

Peace.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Vision Test, linked post

Please go check out this blog post. I wholeheartedly concur with her.

A Vision Test, by Amie Sexton

When your adopted minority child looks in the mirror he/she sees black, brown, peach, yellow, tan, etc. skin looking back. For that child to hear us say that our love is “colorblind” can be far more hurtful than any of us would dream. What we mean is that our love for them transcends color and ethnicity. But what they often hear is “I don’t see part of you.” We so desperately want to affirm our children in the security of our unconditional love that we miss the point. What if Tara came to me tomorrow and said, “Amie, I’m going to overlook the fact that you are a red-headed freckle factory and continue loving you anyway”? Besides how completely ironic that would be given our shared features, it would also hurt me deeply because the very nature of such a statement implies that my traits are unbecoming and undesirable and something to be overlooked in order to find me acceptable. Our children want to be accepted because of who they are –inside and out- not in spite of it.

Love that overlooks is belittling. Love that acknowledges is accepting.

Peace.

indian in another life perhaps

See, I love curry. I love Indian food... and, shockingly, I'm also moderately good at making it at home, yippee for me. :) Of course, no one else I know (except Ellen) would attempt to make Indian food at home, for the most part. Me, I like beans, lentils/dal, and all kinds of curried veggies.

Tonight I made a great cauliflower/potato curry with basmati rice. YUM. It wasn't perfect, but it was definitely good enough for a 2nd bowl. hehe. :D

Perhaps I was Indian in another life? Naaah. ;-)

Recipe

3 medium potatoes,
fresh head of cauliflower broken up 2" florets,
1 can of chicken broth,
1.5 tsp curry, 1 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp ground coriander,
dash celery seed,
1/4 tsp all spice, pepper, salt,
half onion coarsley chopped,
1/4 tsp onion powder and garlic powder.

coarse chop potatoes (2" cubes), put in spices and chicken broth into cooker. cook 3 minute, quick release (taste test and see how the spicing is coming along... modify if necessary)

after opening, add broken cauliflower on top of potatoes, 1 cup of water, and onion. cook 3 more minutes, quick release. Add red pepper to taste... mild, add none, medium add 1/8tsp or so.

Then i put it in the slower cooker mode for 2 hours to marry the flavors better, but that was because i didn't have the amounts right during the PC part. should be better next time.


Oh, and I'm in love with a machine... my Pressure Cooker, that is. :) Speedy little devil! LOL I'm loving the options I have now to cook fun meals quickly .... that taste half way decent to divine.

Now, if I could only figure out some GOOD homemade Chinese food... easy, quick, authentic... that's my next goal.

Peace.

Friday, July 23, 2010

wax not so eloquently

Last night I could.not.sleep. Perhaps, it was due to the fact that I went to bed early the night before and slept all night...

I've started reading yet another new book, ha, that has do to with Parenting... and this one is about Parenting Transracially Adopted Children from 1 year to 18 years of life... This is after I just finished reading the Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control... both of which have similar, albeit not the same, perspective on children and their behaviors after coming into a family via foster or adoption... they both discuss brain development in-utero and with each subsequent move from first mom to orphanage (many caregivers) or foster parent to final placement (in the case of adoption) and how this impacts even our youngest adopted children.

This particular book looks at this development, or lack thereof, in specific parts of the brain and encourages parents to be proactive in their actions with their children, at first and throughout their development. To be detectives to try to sleuth out what might be going on emotionally with our children before they react... so we don't have to 'react'. We can be proactive.

This is sort of similar to the other book... the approach is similar, but the underlying reasons behind 'why' we should be proactive are different. The BCL&C book specifically directs all actions to two base feelings... Love or Fear. This book hasn't really spelled out the fear part as much, yet, but it does touch on it. It tries to get you to look at things the way our CHILDREN see them...

So far, I am really enjoying this book, too. But it didn't help me sleep, lol. It actually made me think of when we came home and the first year when I didn't know how to react to Lil M's crying... like at dinner, if she wouldn't eat or something... I'd get upset. Mommy wasn't always so nice... and I'm sure that didn't help her in some ways... but, so far, we're doing really great, and now that she can talk (and talk and talk and talk)... our communication is good.

I wonder how many parents, though, don't realize the affect they, themselves, can have on their child's brain development? Especially, after their child comes to them traumatized from something/someone else... or multiple someone elses...

We need to be a refuge for our children's hearts and souls ...and brains. We need to help them heal.

What I personally suggest is (and believe you mean, I do not have all the answers):

1. LET GO of the expectations of how they *should* behave or should be the first few months (even years) home. Be open-minded.

2. Start slow. Figure out your routine. This might be wildly different than what the child has experienced before. Be gentle.

3. Focus on THEM and where they are RIGHT NOW. Don't worry about them getting up to speed age-wise. Focus on meeting every single one of their needs right here and right now. Just meet their need. Even if this child is older... stop all extraneous activities outside the home for awhile. Stay in. Focus on them. Watch them. See how they are reacting to you and the rest of the family. And be proactive... show them the routine. Show them a calm, consistent parent. Maybe they've never had that before. They may struggle with that concept. Be patient.

4. Don't let life pull you too far away. Make sure you have ample family time every single day... Cancel appointments. Slow down at work (or take time off, or make sure you are off time at a decent time each and every day.) Do everything for your child... feed them, bathe them, dress them, cuddle them. Get on the floor and play with them. When you get on their level, you aren't as threatening. Be on their level.

5. Make sure you are your child's *everything* as long as possible. Some people say don't let others feed your child or change them for one month after coming home. It was a rarity for me to let others feed or change Lil M even at almost 2 years... (besides the daycare). I tried to be number one ALL THE TIME... to reinforce that I AM MOMMY. She knows this... but to think that only after one month that she'd really believe that I'm Mommy... well, I wasn't so convinced. So, I say think that you should go with your gut. Be his/her most important person.

The biggest thing that encouraged me through these readings is to parent in Love. That, is of course, a no brainer... but, If you consciously parent out of love, responding to their needs and issues feels different. It doesn't feel as much like a chore or a 'have to'... it's a 'get to'!! (not that i have ever, ever thought that about parenting Lil M or even T. i love that i 'get to' parent!!!) .... I"m just saying that I don't think that all parents remember that during the tough times.

Oh, and one other reminder I had... we as parents of traumatized children should try our best (this one is hard) to NOT take things personally when our child acts out or lashes out at us. They are processing a previous hurt... and you are the one there. Try to identify with them. Bring them closer and stay calm. It's not about us. It is about them, and their hurts. In order to help fix the hurts (later), we have to try to understand them first... and to do that we have to put down our own preconceived notions and LISTEN to them... just listen. meet them where they are at... and sympathize with their pain. hold them... or cry with them... sit with them. When they are going through the pain, we must listen. Later, when they are calm,.... we can try to help them through it.

Enough with the waxing. ;-)

Peace.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

RADically Challenged: great video

Found this on another great blog... this is a GREAT little video. Goes along with what I wrote about earlier about parenting through behaviors/fears.


--------------------RADically Challenged-------------------: Sometimes you just need to laugh! I love this woma...: "I love this woman! Last week Mr. J was in an oppositional defiant mode. He wasn't listening or responding to daddy and having a break down...."



Peace.

WFMW - Beyond Consequences

There's a great book called "Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control". It talks about there being two states of emotion that under gird everything we do: Love and Fear.

When our children act out in anger, defiance and other negative ways... they are doing so out of FEAR. We need to meet our children where they are at, and parent them through Love. This means that instead of always giving a consequence for a behavior we need to look at WHY the behavior is occurring and see if we can meet our child in their pain.

Look past their behavior and see their fear.

For example, my foster daughter can't handle being yelled at. It immediately sends her into a stressed state that I can see. And, then she starts to get angry, really angry... I haven't yelled at her pretty much the entire time she's been with me, but I did see someone else yell at her and her response wasn't pretty. The thing is, that she was reacting out of fear. What this means is that instead of getting mad at her for reacting like she did, I stayed calm and just walked with her. I stayed beside her and spoke softly and calmly.

If your child is fighting you to go to bed at night, for example... maybe they are afraid of the dark. Did you ask them? Maybe they are afraid you won't be there in the morning. You should reassure them. Maybe where they were before you always had the door closed and that memory alone causes them fear... This is instead of giving them a consequence for not listening to you or yelling at them. Try it to see if maybe there is something ELSE going on instead of just being defiant. You just might be surprised to see that there is.

When our children are in a state of fear, we need to be in a state of calm. The calmer person can help the stressed person calm down. Don't worry about talking during the actual situation... try to diffuse it. Then, LATER once they are calm... ask them about it.

This works for Lil M and I, too. If she gets upset, she won't talk. She freezes. I can see 'that' look in her eye... she's shut down for the moment. So, I do what I can to stay calm (which I am not perfect at) and after a few minutes she will calm down. After an hour or more, sometimes I can get her to tell me what the problem was. It's a work in progress.

But I do know that this works for me. It's much better than always getting riled up and giving consequences. Sometimes Mommy needs to walk away and give herself a time-out. Or sometimes Mommy needs to bring the child CLOSER to her for a time-in.

The most important thing is to parent out of Love.

Also, sometimes, we have our own fears that are brought up by the behaviors of our children. Think about that. Maybe something happened to you when you were a child and now every time they scream in the shower you immediately get mad. Why? We need to deal with our own fears so we can help our children through theirs. I love this book and looking at parenting from that place has been good for me and our family, I think.

Go here to see what works for other families.

Peace.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Figuring it out...

Today, T came to me and said... what are you going to do with Lil M when I go into labor? I said... we will figure something out. I'll call my dear friends E or MK or Sis... she's like... well, you've GOT to be there!

... ah, a good moment. :) I pray that continues. I want her to want me to be there. I want to be there, too.

So, I said, of course I'll be there... we will figure it out! :)

Yesterday, she realized we'll need two car seats... and won't be able to have anyone else really ride in the car. I hope these types of conversations really means she wants to stay after the baby comes. I pray she finishes high school and goes on to college.

She and her BF had a somewhat rough time yesterday...and so she didn't call him today. I told her I was proud of her for that (I think it was a responsible reaction to his behavior). She also didn't want to go to her home visit this weekend... We got a little shopping done yesterday and only went to the grocery for a few things today. We were going to dinner with our friends tonight, but when I walked in the door a migraine came on extremely fast. That sucked. So, we stayed in...

Lil M has been very lovey this weekend... I can't believe she'll be 4 next month!! Gotta figure out what to do for her birthday. The only birthday we've celebrated this summer was my own (and Sis', of course)... gotta get everyone else settled. :) It's been a bit of a strange summer for our little family....

But, we're figuring it out... so far. Still praying for us all. :D And by that, I'm including my friends/family who also are having difficulties with health, jobs and family issues... Please, Lord, Please...

Peace.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Kitchen and Camp



My new kitchen love is my electronic Pressure Cooker. I've cooked in it 3 times now, and I love it. I've made

red beans and rice - turned out perfect
a whole chicken 3.3 lbs and it turned out great too
curried chickpeas and potatoes with basmati rice and green peas

I'm really liking this new toy. It's electronic, and it cooks super speedy. I think this will help me get some more good, healthy meals on the table this summer... unlike the slow cooker counterpart, the pressure cooker can cook a whole meal in a jif and i don't have to have it all planned out in the morning. :D

The red beans were kidney beans that had NOT been soaked. They were perfect in 40 minutes. The chickpeas were partly soaked and were perfect in about 25 minutes. I love my beans...what I did like just as well, though, was the chicken! It was cooked in 36 minutes (was just a tiny bit of ice still on it, but 99% defrosted). Apparently, you can cook frozen chicken breasts (not a whole frozen chicken) in it... which, I'm going to have to try. I have some other Indian dishes I'm anxious to make now, too. Oh, and hummus. :)

Better yet, it keeps the kitchen cool.

I got Sis turned onto it, too. :D I have a feeling this is going to be a very well used kitchen gadget in my kitchen from now on...I hope so, anyway.

In other news, T and Lil M and I went walking around the mall today. Got T some shoes for school and a couple of rings for her piercings... we also got her a band (not a bella band, but something similar) to go around her belly so she can still wear her pants for awhile longer. I'm a bit hesitant to buy too many shorts, since she'll be biggest when it's colder out.

Last, but not least, here are a couple of pics from basketball camp.




Peace.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

13th week

T had her 2nd doctor appt this morning, with the Nurse Midwife... she is 13 weeks and 4 days along today. We listened to the little heartbeat that went 170 bpm. T is O positive. We need to find out what Scrunch is...

T seems excited some days. She doesn't seem as stressed as I think she should be, lol. She and Scrunch hope the baby is a boy. I keep telling her it could be a girl. We'll find out in about 8 more weeks.

I asked her today how she was going to deal with the baby screaming. She said that it might bother her when she has to get up in the morning. I asked her if she wanted me to help her, and she said she doesn't expect me to get up in the middle of the night with the baby. We shall see.

My prayer is that she stays with me until she graduates next June. The baby is due in January. It's going to be somewhat rough, I'm afraid... but I pray she finishes school and goes onto college like we've talked about. I'm trying to work on those seeds...

It's been nice having Chase here this week. He's doing well, so far. I can't believe it is Wednesday already!!! He was so excited to go to the library last night. We might go again tomorrow. I'd like to do something for his missed birthday... haven't figured out what yet.

Peace.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Stuff

Things here have been fairly uneventful this past week... T has been good, and we're getting along well right now. Lil M is great and she's slept with me a couple of nights this week... Nephew is here for the week to go to basketball camp and he seems excited.

Let's see... I put a twin bed in Lil M's room so they could share a room this week. I got my room cleaned up (i'm notorious for putting my clothes ON the dresser and not hanging them up, so they are all hung up and put away!)... all beds changed and made. T helped by cleaning the bathroom, Eisenswine's bed and vacuuming... we all pitched in on laundry (well, not nephew, he wasn't here yet).

I made turkey burgers and turkey hotdogs on the grill the night before last and that's what we had for dinner last night, too. Tonight is Lil M's dance class, so we'll wing it. Maybe leftover spaghetti. I need to get the chicken cooked... maybe after dance class, even if it is for tomorrow.

T has a Dr. appt this week. Then we'll see how often she actually needs to go. That morning will be interesting... early. egad. But it's got to be done.

My friend Ellen is doing better and I hope that continues. My other friend MK had a birthday on Friday... so, we need to celebrate with her this week!!

Peace.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

4th of July and Dance class

We had a very nice 4th of July weekend (except for the part that my friend was in the hospital), and I hope that you did, too. My friend Ellen is out of the hospital now, thank God. And I pray that she continues to feel better. I'm praying for you Ellen and the decision you might need to make.

On Saturday evening, while T was at her BF's house, Lil M and I went to a neighboring town to walk around and see their fireworks. They were running a little late, so we didn't really stay for the show, but we did have strawberry "ice cream" (really crushed ice slushy thing where you put the syrup on yourself, and we did have strawberry, but Lil M called it ice cream). She and I really enjoyed that part. :) And our time together...

Sunday, T had a family visit, which she chose to cut a little short. Meanwhile, I went and picked up her friend Jessica who was spending the night with us over the 4th. She is also a foster and it gave her FM a night of respite. :) After that, we all just hung out for a bit and then got ourselves ready for the big fireworks.

T got ALL dressed up in red, white and blue. She wore a red shirt, jean shorts and white shoes... with blue and red beads and blue and white ribbons in her hair. Even glittered her face... and Lil M's and Jessica's. :) Lil M had red shorts on with a white shirt and i had a red shirt and jean shorts... Jessica also wore a red shirt. T wore her hair in pigtails! Lil M and I just wore ours up normal.

We went to see the local outdoor symphony play... and they had some 'family fun time' scheduled before the concert and fireworks. Lil M and T got their faces painted... along with my nephew!! They painted a 'fireworks' on their faces and Lil M and C also got a flag. We did temporary tattoos, coloring, making instruments... even Sis and I got temporary tattoos.

At the concert were other friends of mine/ours, too... the MK's and their family came... we also saw Carol and her daughter, too!! I had a great time. :)

We listened to the concert, which was nice. But it was very, very hot out...so we had lots of water and pop to drink...and snacks. Once the sun went down it was much better! After the concert, they did a fireworks show...that was AMAZING. It was right over us and the fireworks were so close they were enormous!!! Best fireworks I've seen in years! So, it made all the heat worth it. :)

Lil M loved the fireworks. She did cover MY ears, though, when it got loud... She doesn't really like loud stuff like that, but she's protective of Mommy... she did really great. :)

Monday, we did a TON of laundry and cleaning to get caught up. Then, we went to Lil M's first-ever dance class. This class has ballet, tumbling and tap dancing. It is a 4-5 YO class, and yes i know she is 3. But she turns 4 next month (wow!)... and they said she could do this one. She's in it with her friend MK2. They both did so well and are certifiably CUTE! MK2 has had dance class before, and was just rocking it! (well, except when she was bummed she didn't have her tap shoes yet) I love how bold and body-assured she is, and she's really good at it, too! I'm hoping Lil M learns some of that. :)

We lucked out that we were able to get some used ballet shoes for free... and the tap shoes from MK. MK wasn't so lucky in finding tap shoes for MK2... but she will. :)

So, again, other than the hospital scare (and, man, did i pray!!!) ... the weekend was a success. I loved spending the time with my family, friends and the girls.

Peace.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Calmer

For the past week or so, the home-front has been fairly calm. Thank God. Work, however, has been stressful... and so, I've been focusing on that. We had a fairly quiet weekend in anticipation of my nephew coming to stay for this week. Then his father did a crappy thing and kept him when he wasn't supposed to have him in the first place. So, nephew doesn't get to go to football camp. :(

T went to her first Dr appt on the 14th and she was fine. She is due somewhere around Jan 17 or 19th. I think she was glad I went with her to her appt... and I hope that she continues to want me there. Frankly, if it were me... I wouldn't want to go alone. She does have BF, but he won't be at all of the appts... After saying for a couple of weeks she wanted to leave as soon as she turns 18, she has calmed down and seems more like her normal self... she even asked to move Lil M's baby bed into her room, so I let her. I think it gave her a little sense of control.

Lil M is doing well... she's been a little more moody the past couple of weeks, but I don't know if that's typical toddler-ish stuff, or a little leftover from my trip. Either way, she's mostly excellent, as usual. :D

We all went grocery shopping tonight. They are both big helpers when we do that. We went to breakfast on Sunday morning and then did a little shopping that day, too. Oh, and I set up my sewing 'area' in the living room. Kind of a nice feeling to have that set up again. :)

Still praying about/for work. Mine and everyone else's. Definitely a stressful time.

Peace.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

family day!!!

Happy, Happy, Happy 3 year family day anniversary to me and my Lil M (technically, it is the 19th now..)



Yeah!!!


Peace.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Update

Things here are going ok, but it's been a pretty stressful week. Lil M and I are doing well. She's glad Mommy's home. T is even doing a bit better... though, it didn't appear that way when I first picked her up from respite. Praying things continue in a good way there.

I've had laryngitis most of the week, along with a cough. So, today I'm going to the Dr to see if she thinks it warrants antibiotics or not.

Things at work feel shaky and I'm hoping that also starts to get better soon.

Prayers welcome... :)

Peace.

Monday, June 14, 2010

back to it

Back to work today, and the real world! I don't think Lil M took a nap today, as she was clingy and kind of cranky tonight... but we got through it. She's sleeping in my bed again tonight. I'm ok with that, since I was gone for a week. That's got to feel really long to a 3 year old, don't ya think?

We got to have dinner with our very good friends the MK's... and that was nice!! I actually almost felt like myself afterward. I'm going to try to get some rest tonight. Please pray I do.

I talked to the foster mom who has T right now... and asked her for one more day. She was OK with that. She is apparently having trouble with her teen, too. We're going through eerily (sans pregnancy) the same issues. Sadly, that is comforting to me!! (sorry Toni! lol) I send the agency a note today and asked what the options are for teens during the day. Obviously, not many. :( So, when she gets back, she's looking for a job. If she can't find one... then, I guess I'll have to make a decision. I think what really disturbed me was the fact that two boys showed up yesterday with no phone call or anything... that means (to me) that she's had boys over when I'm not here... or they would know better.

Anyway, the day was fairly long... but OK. Glad to be winding down now. :)

Peace.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

home

I had a long, but good week away at a conference this past week, as y'all know. I didn't have a whole lot of time to soul-search, so I'm still feeling quite stressed, overwhelmed about the T situation. Right before I left, all she seemed to want to do was get herself in trouble.

Today, I got the sweetest email from a fellow SMBC and friend. The nicest part for me was that she wasn't judgmental because I'm feeling like giving up. She said she'd pray for me and the situation. And that she tells her own daughter that when something is hard they can still do it.

I'll admit, this has become hard for me. I'm not an "experienced parent of a teenager". I'm not a pro. I'm not sure I'm even good at this. I just wanted to parent - to expand my family...which doesn't feel like it's really happened here. I can give stability and that's about all at this moment. I'm having a hard time being encouraging or even think encouraging thoughts right now. It is unfortunate, yes. But the thing is, no one else is walking in my shoes. And I don't feel like I have a huge amount of support I need.

Yes, my friends and family are amazing. They are encouraging and have my back. But none of us has done this before. And I *know* logically the reasons (possibly) behind some of T's actions... but then that sticky thing called emotion gets in the way. And I haven't been dealing with it all as well as I should be able to. I'm not perfect. I'm not a saint. I'm not a god. I'm just an ordinary human being who was/is trying to help in some way. And it is hard. Maybe too hard?

Part of my issue is that I feel like I have stress coming from all sides... work and home. And, when I started all this, I only had home stress... not work stress, too. And I desperately need my job and to keep a roof over our heads. Work is hard right now. It just is. So, if I can't get this emotional crap under control... I might need to take a break. But then I read C's email. And she said that she tells her daughter that they can do 'hard'... and that I'm an inspiration (which makes me want to cry, because I don't feel very inspirational at all).

What I do feel like is that people thought I was crazy for starting this foster stuff. And now that I"m having a tough time, they act like it is just easy-peazy... that I should just be able to walk right through it with no difficulty. I can hear their disappointment. Well, it wasn't easy to start and it isn't easy to be in it either. (for the record, I asked for a younger child...)

Just now, two boys showed up unannounced at the door asking for T. Which sort of makes me angry... because, that means they probably come over when I'm not here (which is like rule number 1 at my house - no one in the house when I'm gone). Oh well. She's a teen, right? I should have expected all this, right? I shouldn't let it get to me, right? Well, I'm a human being... and feeling like a failure. Right or wrong, that's how I feel. Her actions don't reflect on me, because she wasn't with me for the first 17 years.

But the problem is that she rejects me daily. I'm having a hard time separating her behaviors and what they stem from (in her past), and her rejection of me and our little family. She doesn't want to be here. I know that. And logically, I understand. This is a vent... and I'm trying to work through the feelings part. They've taken over. It's just much easier when I can be logical about all of it and not let the feelings get in the way. The problem is... then I'd be a robot.

As I've mentioned before... before you judge me for my feelings, perhaps you should try to walk in my shoes. Otherwise, could you please send up a prayer and send me some good vibes... maybe I'll be able to get through this. If not... well, I tried.

On top of it, I was gone for a week. I had a lot of emotions dealing with that. All is well with Lil M. It is good to be home and we seem to be OK (except she's not been giving me as much eye contact, but she does seem to want to be with me a lot, which is good). The conference was amazing. I learned a little and got to generally be my techie self... which is what I need to find more of - myself. That was a good lesson this week. I need to figure out how to balance things better when it comes to being Lil M's Mommy... T's foster-mom, and my own self - a Woman with a career and life of my own... Some things I can do are ... get a sitter once every couple of weeks and have some "me" time. Use the respite care for T, that's what it's designed for (I hadn't because I wanted to use some days for this long week away)... start taking classes again or study for a certification. Oh, and run.

I am used to having a lot of goals, and lately I feel like I'm just sitting behind the 8 ball. I feel like I have no control. So, I think I need to sit down and make a list of more goals for myself. And myself alone. Take back some control and not just be 'reactive'. I think this is all more important now more than ever... especially since I've been so stressed. Control what I can, let the rest go, right?

Maybe I'll try to write some goals down tonight.

Peace.

Friday, June 4, 2010

first trip

I leave for my first business trip away from home this weekend, since being home with Lil M 3 years ago. Tonight is my last night with her for a few days. This is killing me. Wow. :( Now, she will be in the next best hands... my Sis. I have absolutely no worries there. I'm sure they'll have fun. But, I don't like being away from her. Let's see how this goes.

On the other hand... it'll be good to get away from the other stressors ... too many to name.

I'm mostly packed, and will double-check everything in the morning. T is going to respite care and so Sis won't have to worry about her for a few days. Though, she might get her early next week, we'll see. Personally, I think it would be best if only Lil M stays with Sis this time around...

T has said more than once lately she's leaving when she's 18. Right this moment, feeling as stressed as I am... I feel like that might just work out ok (for me, selfishly)... but I have no idea how she'll make it through everything if she does. So, feel free to send up prayers for my sanity, clear judgment, and T and her decisions.

Mostly... I need some prayers for this week and for Lil M and I. I love that girl with all my heart, and can't stand to be away. I hope she has fun, but misses me, too.

Peace.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

keeping on

Still having a bit of a tough time around here. T got suspended for the last day of school and has pierced her eyebrow. I told her to take it out and she refused. She is currently grounded. And I'm frustrated.

On a positive note, Lil M is doing well. She and I went to see a movie the other day, by ourselves, which was nice. I took Tuesday off so that we could spend the day together, but now T is not in school. I don't know what we'll do now. Probably stay home, since T is pretty well locked down right now (not allowed to go anywhere or see BF for at least 2 weeks). She'll be that way for awhile, especially since she refuses to take out her new piercing. Which is just irritating because a) she did it herself and could get an infection... affecting the baby, since she is also pregnant and b) she did it after i told her she shouldn't since she's supposed to get a job.

Speaking of her getting a job, i have no idea how that's going to work now. But, if she doesn't find something, she'll have to go somewhere else. She can't stay here all day by herself every day for 3 months. I won't allow it.

Anyway, I'm just trying to go ahead and get some things done around here and spend quality time with Lil M (since T won't come out of her room... her choice, not mine).

I don't see this getting better for awhile, if at all. I'm guessing she is feeling overwhelmed from the pregnancy, though, she won't admit it. I do not feel like I'm helping or doing anything positive right now, either. Frankly, I'm disappointed and need some time to process, I guess. I started this process to try to build a relationship with a child... then I accepted a teen... and hoped that would still happen. Right now, it doesn't feel like it is. I'm trying to contend with 17 years of history that I know nothing about, and clearly can't fix. So, prayers are welcome...

Peace.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

interesting

We went to T's choral concert last weekend. There, I met a family who had clearly adopted from China. 4 children, and one on the way from the Ukraine. What was interesting was that the Mom looked at me and said "is she adopted", referring, obviously, to Lil M. well... yes, she was adopted (as an adoptive parent herself, I was surprised she said it that way, but whatever).

She said... Where's she from? Guatemala??

Uh. No. She's Chinese. (me thinking... duh, can't you tell?! lol)

Really?? She doesn't look Chinese!

Well... she is. To which I decided to tell her about where Lil M was from... and could see the woman zone out. If I had 4 kids sitting with me, I'd probably zone out, too.

You see, Lil M doesn't have the traditional Han features. Which is totally ok, 'cause she's beautiful just the way she is. The thing I wonder, though, ...is where do people really think she's from? Most people don't come right out and ask.

Then the dad came to sit down, and he must have told me and Lil M how beautiful she was about 15 times. It was all very interesting...

Peace.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Better

I had a rough few days there, trying to come to terms with my foster daughter's new situation. But this week has felt better. We'll get through it all. I'm thankful for all the encouragement that I've received from my friends and family.

Sis and I have our birthdays tomorrow. Looks like we won't be spending it together this year, as she's taking nephew to the movies. I'm going with T and Lil M to dinner with some friends. It's sort of sad we won't be having dinner together. But I think dinner will be nice. Glad I double-checked the reservation today, 'cause they had it down for the wrong day.

Big giant piece of cheesecake here I come. :)

Peace.

PS. we did get to spend our birthday together and had a GREAT time!! there were 15 of us at dinner and most everything went well. it rained cats and dogs on the way over... but we all made it and had that big giant piece of cheesecake at the end!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Some days

Some days I just wonder what the hell to do with everything. This past week when T's anger got the best of her, we had to deal with all that. Now... well, she and the boyfriend might have gotten themselves into a situation that isn't really good for either of them right now.

So, I'm having a little poor pity me talk in my own head. Knowing full well that I need to just get over it and help her move forward with all this the best way possible. And to be as supportive as I can.

Days like today being a foster parent are really tough... emotionally. I can't change the decisions she makes and I can't seem to help her make better ones (that's how I feel today)... and I'm going to be honest, some moments I feel like why am I doing this? (i didn't sign up for this, i wanted to foster-to-adopt, remember?) Why not just give up... but then I realize that she needs someone to help her through, even if I don't agree or understand why she's making the decisions she's making.

They say being brave isn't doing something without fear... it is moving forward in spite of it. So, move forward I shall try.

I'm sure this will all work out and be OK, and most of it is only indirectly really affecting me (so far). I just need to process it all.

Then, on top of it... my Kaz option doesn't seem to be a real option now.

Peace.