I have to admit that I am not always consistent with my kids. Sometimes (rarely) when I say no and they whine enough, I give in just to distract them or keep them quiet. We don't have a lot of routines in our days, we don't always get our books read before bed, or our teeth brushed or prayer said if it is realy late.
We don't have our yearly Christmas cookie baking day and we don't do Easter baskets or egg hunts the same way every year. In short, I like to mix it up a little and am not really a girl who always follows the same traditions.
EXCEPT.....The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur, IL. Every year (except one where we went to Black Bart's) we take a 1 1/2 hour drive to the pumpkin patch. We have been going since Amanda was 2. Every. Year.
We have taken friends, respite kids, some years strollers, some years two strollers! last year NO strollers, we have worn shorts some years and winter coats in others. We walk around the puddles, through the maze and eat pumpkin cookies, pumpkin ice cream and kettle corn.
This year was no exception, it was cold and windy and sunny and we had a wonderful time.
I wonder how many more years my kids will still think this is fun? As for me, I will keep going until I am taking my great grandkids. It's our family tradition!
I am so tired today. It was my first day at my new job and after being home for almost 14 months, it was hard to get back into the swing of things. Baby Boy is in daycare for the first time. I have very mixed emotions about this. Ben and Caitlyn will be going to the same center after school starting next week.
Unfortunately, Amanda will be coming home after school by herself. I am not looking forward to the trouble this may cause.
Baby Boy's caseworker came out last week and said that they go back to court in December and if mom has not shown up for visits in all this time, he will move to expedite termination. ( I will believe it when I see it) Discussions have begun on renaming our darling boy
I hope I survive this.
Baby Boy's caseworker came by today for ther monthly visit and let me know that they had court (finally everyone showed up, except mom of course) and the judge said that if she did not visit by the next time they have court they will expedite termination! WOW.
This little fellow is 6 months old! As you can see, he has two little teeth poking through on the bottom. As you can also see, this baby is a chubbers! It is a little different for me to have a chubby baby as my last two are still so very tiny.
This guy can roll over from tummy to back, but cries while he does it. He is not going the other direction yet but we are working on it.
He is loving all his solid foods, even the yucky green veggies and yummy mango and prunes.
He is also working hard a sitting up by himself but leans a bit, hee hee.
He may have to start PT for a little while due to some weakness on his left side but nothing major.
He is almost completely weaned off of his phenobarbital (yay) and has not had any seizures. (Praise God)
He is verbal, loud and I'm working on "momma" and some sign language too.
His birthmother has not seem him in almost a month. If she does not visit on the next scheduled day, she is off the visitation schedule once again. sigh. this is the strangest case. I think the case worker wants to expedite the case, but every time they go to court the DCFS investigator does not show up so they have to reschedule. annoying. Thankfully, in my state, neither the boy nor I have to attend.
I am not sure when or what will happen with this case. I do know I was not expecting to adopt a fourth baby when I decided to renew my foster license, but obviously God had other plans (and a great sense of humor)
ok, there was a little more to it, but not much. It really has been too hot to do anything. The kids are bored, I am bored and we can only go to so many "field trips" to the sporting goods store, Target or the library just to get out of the house.
Fortunately, school starts in a month and the other day we went school supply shopping (just to get out of the house). I almost cried at that total with three kids in school*sigh* I am still looking for a job and hope to be back to work when the kids go back to school.
Bean is growing and doing great. He had an EEG in June and it was normal so the neurologist is having me wean him off the phenobarbital and so far so good. He is up to 15.7 lbs at six months (not bad for a failure to thrive baby) His mom has only visited one time in the past month even after she threw a fit to have her visits reinstated. Court is ... today. Hopefully, someone will call me and let me know how that went. although I am not holding my breath.
Amanda has been taking Zoloft for a while now and I see some improvement, but also some other bad behaviors are coming to light. Ugh.
So far summer has sucked. It has been too hot to do anything, not to mention no money for vacation and having the baby makes just getting up and going a little more difficult. We have done a few fun things,(see pictures above) but I am hoping next summer is better.
Sometimes being a single mom of four kids sucks. Sometimes dealing with two kids who usually get along but today they fought. all. day. long, sucks. sometimes dealing with a 13 year old with RAD in a rage sucks (ok, that one always sucks). Having to do EVERYTHING myself really sucks. I know I signed up for this and most days I am strong enough to handle it, but today I am weak. I am tired and sad and overwhelmed. This is the first time ever that I have been home with the kids for the summer.
It has only been a month and I am sooooooo ready for them to go back to school and me to go back to work. I miss my schedule, I miss my quiet time, I miss grown up friends. I just can't seem to get anything done. The house is a mess, I think I forgot to comb Caitlyn's hair for two days and the caseworker is coming tomorrow to visit with Baby Boy (who is doing great!) and I haven't vacuumed in. uh..... I don't remember how long.
I am super concerned about the above mentioned 13 year old and how much longer I can take this (seriously at the end of today's rope) lying, stealing, hoarding, ummm shall we say inappropriate dress, language and action. The dr. just started her on Zoloft two weeks ago in addition to everything else. It was a low dose and I have seen no improvement, so today they upped her to double. Scared about those side effects, but hoping something takes away her anger so I don't feel like I have to protect the other children from her.
Worried about my littles. I hate spending so much time indoors, but it is way too hot to be outside for long and all they want to do is play Wii or watch tv. I am trying to be creative and keep them occupied (cheaply since I am unemployed) but I am not a good enough juggler to keep this circus running.
Lucky for me:
Because of theLord’s great lovewe are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Sorry for this downer post, but I am trying to keep it real. someday I hope to look back, read this and praise God I survived.
I am a wimp. Plain and simple, I do not like pain and have a low tolerance for it(good thing I have never experienced childbirth) . But I will endure a lot when it comes to one of these children I did not give birth to.
Today for example. Baby boy had an EEG scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Once all the electrodes were attached (all 25 of them) they wanted him to fall asleep. Like you can make a baby go to sleep on command. After 15 minutes of me laying half on top of this baby so he doesn't pull a plug and giving him a bottle, he is fussy and tired but not sleeping. My leg is trapped between the bed and guard rail, my left arm is growing weary of holding the bottle in an awkward position, and my right arm is going numb from leaning on it. Finally, I told the tech that he is used to going to sleep as I hold him with a pacifier in his mouth. So after some re=positioning, I end up sitting on the bed holding him as he goes to sleep. Now my back is killing me because there is no support for it. I ask the tech how long the test is and she says only 1/2 an hour.
O.K., I am willing to be pinned, sore, tired, aching and numb for that long all for this sweet little boy. I will do whatever it takes. :0)
Today was the last day of school for Ben. Kindergarten is over and now summer begins. He is very excited but finished a little behind so he will be having a tutor come work with him a little each week. He has big plans for this summer including the water park, a vacation, playdates with a friend from school... I hope I can keep up!
Caitlyn finished up with preschool yesterday and if she had her way, she would have started kindergarten today. The girl loves school. Litte momma is such a good girl and a great helper with baby boy (who we now call Bean. long story.)
Amanda finished. not as well or as far as I would have liked or had planned, but there is no point in trying to get her to keep doing school if Ben & Caitlyn are home. It would be one fight after another. She is going to volunteer at the animal shelter this summer about 3 hours a week. really gross, hot, smelly jobs she would never do at home. I hope she makes new friends and learns something. She is definitely headed back to school for 8th grade and I have a meeting set up for a tour with the special ed coordinator (who I really like) I cannot even begin to guess how next year will go. *sigh*
Bean is growing so fast. Visits have been cancelled already since mom has been a no show for four consecutive weeks. If and when she shows up again, they will make arrangements but until then, no bi-weekly trips into town for me. (yay). I found out that he did test positive for one substance at birth and I have no idea how that will affect him, but we will cross that when we get to it. The caseworker told me they have court at the end of the month and she will call me after.... not getting my hopes up.
I am job hunting again. I have enjoyed being home, but now it is time to get back to the grindstone, lol. I have a few leads, but I am just praying that God will put me in the right place and I am not stressing too much.
Until then, I have to think of something to do with four kids every day of summer! Yikes! Let the fun begin.
Really?! Is it so hard to see your baby 2 times a week for 1 hour? When you live within walking distance? When you confirm 1/2 hour before scheduled visit? When you know he is changing in the blink of an eye and he is the most adorable child?
Grrrrr. Can you tell I am upset? I have been transporting Baby Boy for visits to the agency(since I am not working right now) It helps them out since they are short on time and resources. Sometimes I take Caitlyn with me and we go downtown for a walk or to Starbucks, just to kill some time.
For the past two weeks, mom has been a no show. I am wasting time and gas driving 20 minutes to get to his visit
Now, part of me says "yeah" because visit days are rough for kids in foster care and rough days for them make rough days for me. Also, in that deep down part of me where we don't visit, I think the more she doesn't show, the more chance I will get to keep him forever. You see, I am falling a little bit in love with this sweet boy.
But, I also feel for this girl. She has an amazing little man and she will regret not knowing him. I want her to get her act together for her sake ( and sometimes his) but if history is any evidence, this will not happen. Baby boy has a beautiful 2 year old sister that has been in care for most of her young life and is now on the adoption track. sigh.
Back in August when I left my job, I had a few goals in mind.. I wanted to finish my degree, homeschool Amanda, take more foster kids, get more involved with In His Hands Orphan and Adoption Ministry, and take on various projects around the house.
Here is what I have actually done:
Finished my degree! woo hoo! finally after 28 years I have my Bachelor's degree. :0)
Homeschooled Amanda...sort of. This has been by far the most difficult thing to do. I will not dwell on the guilt and regret I have on what we did not get done and just be thankful that she and I both barely survived the ordeal.
Got 1 new foster baby after 8 months of bugging the agency every other week letting them know I was home and available. They didn't even call me for respite!
painted Ben's room and put up bunk beds. painted the sunroom to turn it into Caitlyn's room. rearranged bedrooms and furniture more times than I can count.
Here is what I learned:
I'm pretty smart, work well under pressure, and I'm very glad I am done.
I am not a good homeschooler....and neither is Amanda. It is too hard to fight with her everyday and watch over her every minute to make sure she isn't cheating, stalling or playing solitaire when she is supposed to be working.
I am too old for babies.... lol. Baby Boy is really a dream baby. He eats well, sleeps well and is oh. so. adorable. But, after not having a baby, baby for 5 years it is hard to get back into the swing of things.
I want to go back to work. I miss dressing up and wearing make-up and talking to grown-ups who don't argue with me all day.
I have really enjoyed being home for Ben and Caitlyn and spending time with them, getting them on the bus, and being home on holidays. I will miss them (mostly, lol)
So, what's next? Well, now I look for a job. It would be nice if I could time it to stay home for the summer, but I think I need to be realistic and I know it will take a while to find the right job. Besides, Ben told me the other day. "Mom, when you get a new job keep this one. I like going to day care."
I like having four kids. Does that make me crazy? Yes, I am a single mom. I go to a lot of appointments for the kids by myself. When I go somewhere, like the grocery store, I take 2 or 3 of them with me. People do give me strange looks and I get the usual comments "you have your hands full" and if the people know me even a little bit and know I am a foster parent, I get the ever-popular "I could never do it". I have started answering them, "well, you know, I've learned in foster care IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU" .
Anyway, tonight I was picking up Ben from church and I had baby boy with me. Someone who knows me very well and is a huge supporter of adoption and knows I have been a foster parent for 12 years was actually surprised when I said yes I would adopt baby boy if the case went that way. I believe her exact words were "wow, 4 kids" (she and her husband have 6). did she really think that after caring for this little angel for 1-2 or more years in foster care I would just hand him over to someone else to adopt? She does not know me as well as I thought. (oh, and she mentioned my age which really ticked me off, like I'm too old for a baby, which ok, I have thought too, but she didn't have to say it out loud. :0)
I still have 2 spots open in my license and by golly if the agency called me again, I might just say yes to another one! (if they are potty trained! , LOL) so, yes I guess I am crazy.
We were soo busy yesterday. In the morning we had to go shopping for a birthday present for one of Caitlyn's friends party that afternoon! Yes, I took three kids with me. Then yesterday afternoon, I took all 4 kids to the mall! Because that is where the birthday party was at build-a-bear. Wow, that was exhausting. I did manage to get some cute pictures of the kids in green. Baby boy is doing just fine, he is pretty easy so far other than he is still getting up at 12, 3 and 6 for a bottle. I am a night owl, but even I am getting tired. :-) He had a checkup on Friday and his 2 month shots. I had to take him to the free clinic (which I don't like) but I may try to switch him to a different doctor in a few months. This week he sees the infectious disease doctor on Wednesday and the case worker is trying to get the WIC stuff switched over.
I found out a little bit more from the caseworker when she came over Friday afternoon. Baby boy has a 2 year old sister who has been in foster care most of her young life and her foster mom and I are going to set up sibling visits on our own. Caseworker also asked me if I would transport for visits (which I have never done before because I have always been working) I said I would, and hope I am ready for all that brings.
I really like this caseworker. She is nice and couldn't wait to hold the little man, and she is also realistic about the situation with mom. of course, the goal is to reunite,( and I support that if it's the right thing) but she did actually casually mention as she was leaving that "after years in foster care" would I be willing to adopt him. Depressing and exciting all in one sentence. oh, and of course I said yes. LOL.
Today was finally the day. After waiting over a week, the hospital finally released baby boy. He will be two months old on Friday. The caseworker(she's new and I like her!) and I had an appointment to meet at 9 am at the hospital and caseworker requested that mom not be there. So of course she was. Once we got up to the room and I realized she was in the room with the investigator, I stopped, backed up and waited in the hall. This was going to be hard enough for her without me stepping on her toes (and probably being a target for her anger) Well, there was lots of crying... then some yelling... then throwing of things... an then finally security was called. In the mean time, I am awkwardly standing by the nurses station with my diaper bag and car seat just smiling uncomfortably and waiting.
The nurses decided to get baby boy dressed and mom refused to give them any of his clothes she had with her. Hmmm, good thing I had some in the diaper bag I brought. While they dressed him, it was agreed that I should go pull my car around to the front door and leave with baby before mom left the hospital room. Only it didn't quite work out that way. As I am going down one elevator, mom is going down the other (she must have been walking behind me in the hall) and I was wondering what the screaming was all about that I heard. Once I got outside, I saw mom and security guard go out a different door.
The hand off from the nurses went fine and baby and I made our way home. Later in the afternoon, the caseworker and I went shopping for "stuff" he needs. They are doing it differently now, it used to be I would get reimbursed for beginning essential supplies but now the caseworker meets you with the credit card and the tax exempt card and pays for everything. I have to say we had fun! (it's always more fun spending someone else's money) He is the sweetest thing. He is only 8lbs but he has gained 4lbs in the month he was in the hospital! I can't imagine how tiny he was. Right now he is sleeping on my bed as I type. The kids are so cute with him. Ben was singing to him and rocking him tonight and Amanda can't get enough of him. It has been so long since we had a placement, let alone a baby, I think it might take some time to get used to things, but we are ready.
sigh. well, baby boy did not get to come today. he is doing well they tell me, but the doctors want to keep him in the hospital until next Tuesday to get more antibiotics into him. Finally found out why he has been in the hospital and why he had the MRI. He had meningitis! Scary. He will have been in the hospital for 4 weeks once I get to bring him home. Praying for his healing. I wish I could go up to the hospital and visit and rock him, but I am only the foster mom (note the sarcasm). Oh, well all in God's timing. :-)
I suppose it's better over all since my Caitlyn has been sick for the past 3 days with a fever and terrible cough. I took her to prompt care and they said, "looks like allergies to me" really! Are you people nuts! I know I'm just the mom, but even I know better than that. If she is not better by Friday, I am taking her to our regular dr.
I truly, honestly believe this to be true. After re-reading my post from yesterday I realized how negative I sounded. Yes, Amanda is difficult. But, she is a child of God and he can change her, I know he can. I pray constantly for her and for wisdom in raising her and to change me to maybe not set my expectations too high and be merciful and forgiving to her. JUST LIKE HE IS TO ME. Being her mother has taught me soooooo many things. When I get irritated with her when she does the same thing over and over again and she knows it is wrong, I realized that I am just like her.
How many times have I struggled with the same sin over and over again only to come crawling before throne begging for forgiveness? And he forgives me, just like that. :-)
So yes, raising this child is a challenge (and that's an understatement) but maybe, just maybe God is trying to teach me (and her) a little something important and refine us to be more like he knows we can be.
I just realized that my last post was on Amanda's 13th birthday. I cannot believe she is a teenager! and boy o boy is she acting like one (or at least what she thinks a teenager should act like) She has been beyond defiant, rude, verbally abusive to me (calling names), writing on her body with pens and sharpie's (and sometimes purposely hard enough to cut the skin, she thinks she is tattooing herself), refusing to do schoolwork, lying about just about everything and just being an all around nightmare. I have talked to her therapist about it with out much help. This week I called my sister to come and get her so we could both get a little respite. She will be back in 4 days. I am going to enjoy all 4 of them. Of course I will be busy cleaning and disinfecting her room, and basically taking away everything she owns except her bed, a blanket and some clothes. She is coming back essentially on lockdown until she can earn back something. Praying continually for some change in her.
On a brighter note, I got a call today about a baby. He is still in the hospital right now very sick, but they wanted to arrange placement asap. I said yes, but we will see if this one actually goes through. Stay tuned
very soon, I will post some more pictures. :-)
If there is one thing that is true around this house it is that things change... often. January was a pretty sucky month. I was drained and tired and bored. I waited and waited and nothing I wanted to happen actually happened. No new kids, no great breakthrough with my darling homeschooled child, nothing. So when February rolled around, I felt the need for a CHANGE! So once again I am painting a new room. I am turning the sunroom/playroom into Caitlyn's bedroom. It is going from barn red to sunny yellow, new curtains for the 8 windows that are in there. Then Amanda is moving back upstairs and I am moving back upstairs, and my mom is going back downstairs. Amanda's room might get painted again too, I haven't decided if I will be that motivated.
Right now the house is a mess, there is a ladder in the sunroom waiting for me to touch up some yellow paint, the dining room chairs and table have been turned into a safari tent with a sheet and all the stuffed (jungle) animals are in a pile next to the piano.
My ice maker isn't making ice, my dryer doesn't put off hot air and my furnace stopped working twice last week. This is my life. :-)
So far today I have been to the bank (it was closed), took B for a haircut(had to take C along too), got B new snow boots (and a little chocolate for mama), played in the snow (well, I stood out there and watched) loaded the dishwasher, and now I am finally sitting down to start my homework for class on Monday. (ok, I got sidetracked here)
It has been a hard week for me. I did not get as much done as I would have liked. Amanda did not get as much schoolwork done as I would have liked (at this rate, she'll be going until July). Things are not going as planned in the daycare/I need some income area and I hurt my knee using the Wii. oh. yeah. and it snowed and turned really cold.
On the bright side, and yes, there is always a bright side. I found some new curriculum I want to try and I think Amanda will like it too. My sister came to visit for a few days and took Amanda off my hands one afternoon so I got some alone time while the other two were at school. I also got my laptop back from the PC Dr. after they rid me of all the virus and everything was still there on the hard drive (yippee)
I also got a foster care call this week. My agency is back on rotation! Their transition is almost complete and they can start placing again. the call was for one of two boys. One was 4 and had some pretty severe behavior problems the other was 8 and is a specialized placement. I said no. I just don't think that either would be a good fit and I have never had a specialized placement before. At least I am still on their radar. I thanked her for calling and told her to keep calling and I would decide on a case by case basis. I also asked about the three from a month ago and she said that she has checked and was told DCFS hasn't completed the investigation. I cannot tell you how mad this makes me and I can only pray that those children are safe until DCFS gets around to checking up on them!!!!!
I am confident the next week will be better (the power of positive thinking)
I'm a very busy mommy of three beautiful adopted children. My big girl, my little man and princess monkeybutt are my world. Adoption has become my passion and I do whatever I can to be an advocate for foster children and adopted children. I love my family and we are loving God, loving each other and making life up as we go along!