Monday, April 29, 2013

Grilled Bananas and Fried Oreos

We spent the whole week end at home. Of course we did attend church Sunday morning and Dean worked Saturday morning but other than that we stayed home. Saturday afternoon we got the garden planted. I thought it was to wet but Dean tilled it and it was perfect. Am very glad that job is done. Dean was into trying new recipes this week end. Some recipes got thumbs up and others didn't go over quite so well.

Saturday Dean grilled bananas with brown sugar and honey for dessert. They were ok. I think they would have been better eaten with ice cream.


Sunday evening Dean built a fire in the outdoor grill he built and grilled some ham steaks they were yummy. Even the children liked them and they can be kinda picky about their meat.


We toasted marshmallows for dessert


Afterward we went to check on the neighbors goats as they were gone for the week end. The children had fun feeding them bunches of grass and weeds.


After a gold cart ride Dean grilled oreos. He coated them with pancake batter and fried them in hot oil. They were actually really good. They were the perfect snack for a lazy evening at home.




impatiently waiting .... Dean finally told them to go find something to do until the cookies were ready


The finished product. Try them sometime, they are really good!



Sunday, April 28, 2013

Joseph


We have gotten a few good chuckles out of this little man here of late. This morning James Good shared a humorous little story. Last Sunday while greeting people after church a young fellow came up to where he was standing with another minister and said, "You two talk to long and it makes me tired"! He said parents are not to try to figure out if it was their son who made the comment but I knew instantly it was Joseph. First because it sounded exactly like something he would say and second, Joseph was sitting beside me and gave me this red faced sheepish grin! 

The other week my mom  kept Kiana and Joseph overnite. Joseph asked if they were going to go to church with them. Turns out he didn't want to because of all the farmers. Mom was puzzled and asked a few questions. Joseph said, "You know those farmers that wear those big black hats with the sides turned up!" He is "waking up" and noticing things. We have to be really careful not to laugh to hard when he pipes up with his opinion on a matter he knows nothing about. Gotta love little people!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Birthday Party

Isn't today just gorgeous? I really should pull the weeds around my strawberry plants and in my tea patch. Our garden has been plowed but still isn't tilled. That is ok though cause it is too early to plant ours anyway. The ground is still fairly wet and if we plant to soon it gets very hard and alot of the plants never break through.
  We were able to attend Mrs. Tasha's birthday party yesterday. The preschoolers had a hard time letting the 3rd graders have the first go at all the games. They are used to little people going first. It didn't hurt them to wait and perhaps they learned a little about waiting in line and taking turns.



Explaining the first game. 


Lollipop Ring Toss


For this game they each were given a marshmallow. They were to lick it, stick it to their forehead, run to the rope and back. The first team finished won. 


Flip Flop cake


Third Grade and Mrs. Tasha

We stopped at the grocery store to pick up ice cream prior to the party and a certain child took a box of candy from the register and put it in his pocket. This time it wasn't Braden either. I made the child return the candy and tell the cashier what happened. The child didn't seem very repentant. Very nonchalant. Later in the evening we discovered this has happened before. Where were the parents??? Very humbling.




Friday, April 26, 2013

Thursday Happenings

This Adrenal Fatigue is wreaking havoc with me and my poor family! I thought I was doing pretty well in that I would do light housework in the morning, rest in the afternoon and cope in the evening. The other day Dean kindly but firmly told me that either I get more help or I will be unable to function at all. I don't like having other people seeing all of our "dirt". Some of it is the normal kind and some of it is the residue remaining from the rough beginning's in little peoples lives. Don't get me wrong, I greatly appreciate all the help my various maids have given through the years. They stuck by us through some rough times and saw some dirty dirt. Anyway, I made a few phone calls and Deans cousins daughter has agreed to help us out. As of now Andrea is planning on helping me out three days a week. I wonder if she has any idea what she is getting into. Thankfully this morning is going better than yesterday morning! Here is a glimpse of how the morning went down: Kiana awoke cheerfully enough.... until she saw Luna playing with her doll house. She threw a fit, I told her to stay in her bed until she can be happy, which she refused do so she needed to sit on the steps where I could watch her while I sorted laundry. She was so angry I didn't even try to reason with her while she was in that frame of mind. I told her she needs to stay sitting until she calms down. Meanwhile Joseph was upset because he refused to wear the shirt I laid out for him to put on. I told him he has two options, wear the shirt or keep his pj shirt on. He laid on the floor and kicked n screamed. Braden was doing his strong sitting while waiting for the school van. Just as the van pulled in, he remembered it was his turn to bring show and tell. The van was waiting so he had to leave without it. He walked out with a huge snoot. Kiana was sitting on the steps yelling that she is going to die because she hadn't had any breakfast. Joseph was kicking n screaming, Luna was fussing and I had this fleeting vision of Andrea taking one disbelieving  look and promptly leaving! We got all the issues settled and the day proceeded to go  better there on out!

Last night was Pleasant Valley's Spring Program. I thought the children did a wonderful job. I didn't get any pictures of the boys before we left, partly because one son was so anxious he spent the hour before it was time to leave releasing his "big feelings" and partly because we needed to keep moving or risk being late. Braden was really uptight but he put a smile on his face to walk into his classroom and returned my kiss before I left him. He did well despite that deer in the headlights look he gets when he is uptight. Tristan was moaning that his class didn't sing nearly as well as the high school group did. He seemed surprised when I told him third graders aren't expected to sing as well as teens!

Today we are having a birthday party for Tristans teacher. The party is at 12:45. I am to bring the ice cream. The little people don't know we are going or I am sure they couldn't contain their excitement! Dean roasted some special coffee beans and Tristan picked out a special travel mug to add to his teachers gift. It was amusing to watch him try to decide which mug Mrs. Tasha would like best. Luna was so tired of shopping and Tristan just couldn't decide which mug ..... a purple one or a green one??? We shall enjoy these "young years" as they fly by so quickly. In another 9 years he will be 18!!! :0

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

TPR and coffee snobs

Luna's CW just left and I still don't know the results of the court session that was held to terminate parental rights. Amazing how a few short years can change things in the legal world. When we had court for TPR for the other children's parents the judge decided during court and the CW called us that day and told us the outcome. This time the judge said he will take all the information in consideration and review the files before deciding if rights should be terminated. I asked the CW when we will know what the judge decides and she thought possibly by the end of the week. Patience Sandra, patience!

  We are becoming royal coffee snobs around here. Dean just bought a french press and a new coffee grinder. We tried the french press with decaff coffee beans last night and I wasn't impressed. That isn't a fair trial though cause I have never liked the flavor of decaff coffee. Dean will be roasting coffee beans either tonite or tomorrow evening. I hope to get some pictures to share, like I promised I would.




                                                                     

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Adrenal Fatigue

I am spending this beautiful day sitting on the sofa. There is cleaning and outside work that needs to be done but here I sit. No I am not sick, not really anyway. You see I spent to many days doing fun things this week and didn't spend enough time sitting around resting. I have Adrenal Fatigue, something I never knew existed until several weeks ago. I have battled fatigue off and on for years. It began the summer I had three babies to care for. When things got hectic or the stress level got to high I would  spend two or three days on the sofa then I would get back up to power until the next time. Early this year I began to be so weary I couldn't get my groceries without feeling nauseous and so tired my very bones hurt, my emotions were pretty off the wall as well. The doctor did some labs but everything came back clear. I began to think it must be all in my head.... maybe I was going crazy?! One day I made a passing comment about my fatigue in an email to another mom who has a troubled child. She promptly replied and said she knows what is wrong with me. Every human has two adrenal glands and when the body is under stress for extended periods of time those glands are depleted and your body begins to suffer. Head aches, nausea, fatigue, emotions all over the place. That was me alright. Next question, how do I handle this problem? My health will continue to deteriorate unless I take care of myself. That means rest and more rest. Saying no to things that I really want to do, letting my weeds thrive even though I yearn to go pull them and not worrying about what people think of this lazy woman who can't function through a normal day. I thought I was getting over worrying about what people thought about me, guess I still have a ways to go! Anyway, since we have a family get together tonite and I really want to go, I need to stay put.

Last night I had my family for an early Mothers Day celebration. Lisa and Shari helped with snack so I really didn't have to do much. Around 9:00 I heard a loud crack and the lights went out. A fuse blew on the transformer down by the road. Thankfully Dean believes in having good flash lights on hand so we soon had light. Our neighbor offered us the use of his generator but PP&L said they would be out to fix the fuse in 30 minutes so we prepared for bed in the dark. Of course, we forgot to turn the light switches off so when the electric came on again it woke us up. Made me thankful for electricity!



Our snack



I went shopping with Julia on Thursday. Mom met me at the Lancaster Walmart and took the children. They brought them back last night. Was good to see them again. Mom hadn't told Kiana and Joseph that they were bringing them back cause she knew they wouldn't be very happy. They weren't! Kiana came in the door and promptly burst into tears! She wasn't finished playing at grandma's house! Luna refused to look at me for awhile. I believe she was a little upset that I left her. It didn't take her long to warm up though and today she is back to her normal self.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Back To Normal

Life at our house is back to normal. One part of me is happy to have all my "babies" in my care once more and another part cries for the peace and tranquility that has vanished. I picked Braden up at Miss Kelli yesterday afternoon. I had planned to get him on Monday so he could go to school on Tuesday but due to some bad choices he had to stay another day to repay Miss Kelli by doing some extra jobs. He hates going to her house because he knows he cannot fool her with his sweet smile and big brown eyes. Braden told Miss Kelli that he will try harder to do a good job on her chores than he will when working for mom! The nerve. As much as I try not to let these comments hurt, they do. Last night Braden had therapy. As usual before seeing Braden, Miss Laura spent time talking to me and asking how our week went. She said I should be hurt by those nasty comments from Braden but at the same time I must not take them to heart. I never knew a child could cause such a roller coaster of emotions. While talking over the happenings of the past week I mentioned that I am thankful my heart still hurts when Braden has to suffer due to the choices he makes in life. It assures me that I still have a little heart left. When dealing with RAD, you dare not wear your heart on your sleeve but you must show just the right amount of love and only when appropriate. My heart/emotions feel like they are being tossed all over and are never in the right place at the right time. I keep reminding myself to let go and let God. My humanness keeps getting in the way though and trying to fix this child. God keeps reminding me I cannot fix him, I can only enable him to desire to fix himself.

On another note, we have begun giving our younger children Omega 3. Anyone else out there give that for ADD and ADHD? Can it make a difference in a matter of days or are we so hopeful we see progress when there really isn't any? I picked up a bottle of Omega 3 at the pharmacy never looking to see what size the pills were. They are these large gel tabs. Dean thought Kiana and Joseph should be able to swallow them besides the gel gets soft so they can't choke. Kiana gagged and coughed and carried on then suddenly she swallowed it. Her eyes about popped out of her head in a tone of disbelief she said, "I swallowed it!" Joseph was another story. He can and does swallow his food without chewing. Pills are obviously in a different category cause he promptly swallowed the water and chewed the pill. Poor boy was shuddering! If Joseph shuddered over the taste it was bad cause he can eat pretty much anything.

Tomorrow I am going fabric shopping with a friend. Julia and I had this shopping trip planned for several weeks as we couldn't seem to coordinate our schedules at the time. My mom is going to take the three little ones and keep them overnight. Friday evening my family is coming over so she will bring them back then. I am looking forward to the break but I am going to miss my little people! Especially Luna. She is at such a fun age. Tristan locks his bedroom door to keep little people out, to open the door he sticks a knife in the keyhole and unlocks it. The other day Luna wanted in his room so she pushed a chair to my silverware drawer, got a knife and proceeded to try unlocking the door. She is into everything! Today she has her next to last visit with her birth mom, Monday is TPR then there is to be one final visit to say good bye. I hate those final visits! In the two adoptions we have had one mom came for the final visit and sobbed on my shoulder when it was time to go and the other mom didn't come. It is nice to have closure but when you are carrying away a mothers child, one she will most likely never see again...that hurts, bad!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Parks and Ministering Angels

Last night we took Braden to Miss Kelli in Pine Grove PA. on the way home we stopped at Myerstown Park. Miss Kelli lives almost an hour away and the children were not to impressed with the idea of spending their evening riding in the Explorer, the prospect of some playtime at the park cheered them a little.




Joseph climbed to the top of the jungle gym and panicked. Don't go by his smile, the poor boy was so scared he couldn't move. 


Luna climbed up the steps and went down the little slide over and over again. This morning I asked her if  she had fun and she said, "Whee, plops!" Her vocabulary is pretty limited so she has to use the few words she has to explain herself!


Miss Kiana bounced from one thing to the next.


Tristan was bored with the "boring" playground equipment so Dean pitched balls so he could practice batting.

While I was standing around watching the children play a lady came up to me and asked if Luna is adopted. I explained that we are hoping we can in the near future. The lady who's name was Missy, said she was adopted herself and she and her husband hoped to adopt someday as well. She was adopted at 12 years of age and has a relationship with her birth mom. She tells her mom that even though she made many mistakes she still has the opportunity to accept Christ and turn her life around. She harbors no bitterness towards her mom even though she went through many horrors most of us know nothing about. She blessed us and asked if she may pray for Braden. I was so encouraged to hear her share how she over came her circumstances and is now living in victory. With God all things are possible! While driving to the park we had been listening to a story about angels who come to us in the form of other humans and minister to us as we go about our daily lives. I wonder if Missy realized she was an angel who ministered to me! May you be richly blessed Missy! 



Friday, April 12, 2013

Rainy Days

I am thankful for the rain but I sure miss the warm sunshine. Tristan was a grump this morning. Everyone irritated him and he irritated everyone around him. After numerous reminders to speak kindly I asked him what was wrong. His response? "It's dreary outside". He had high hopes of being able to play baseball at recess and was feeling rather let down by all the rain. Joseph thought he could wear a coat and go outside to play even if it was pouring rain. I said no, so he tried next best and wondered if he could just run out to the shop and get his coat, he wouldn't even stay out to play. Sorry sonny, not this time!

I have been finding some really good deals at Goodwill here of late. Just this week I found a tote half full of the small Lego's. Tristan has several sets he received for gifts. Those Lego's bothered Kiana and Joseph to no end. Playing with them was a special treat, one that Tristan didn't grant very often. Now they have Lego's of their own.Thus far they have spent hours building things. I usually have to ask what the finished project is because it bears little resemblance to the real thing. I shouldn't talk though, I built an airplane for Joseph and he told me it looks kinda funny.



Joseph made an airplane..... with a house on the side of it.


Kiana's stash. How do you teach a child to share?


 I wanted to take some pictures of Luna but she refused to sit. Since she loves to imitate, I had the bright idea of snapping some quick pics of the other children, then praising them. She sat, alright and posed beautifully....with her finger up her nose!

Mr. Braden. Please continue to pray for him and us as we strive to show love in the face of anger, anxiety and tantrums. While doing photo albums I noticed I don't have many pictures of this little man. Poor boy has spent so much of his life locked away inside himself that we don't have many opportunities to take spontaneous pictures. I must make a conscious effort to get him to pose in his happier moments. 


I have some good pictures of Luna but we are not supposed to post pictures of foster children so I shall refrain. I do have a few pictures on here that show Luna somewhere among the objects being photographed. I decided to let those be for now. If all goes as planned we have one more weekly visit with mom and a final visit to say good bye then we are done! Yippee! At the same time, I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think of Luna's birth mom. Life isn't fair!

Tonite is Pleasant Valleys Pulled pork and all you can eat salad bar fundraiser supper. The chefs were hard at work when I dropped the school children off this morning. Come out and join us if you want a delicious meal. Everything is by donation and I doubt they would turn you away cause you don't have tickets. 

This is my last day of driving school children. I haven't counted the remaining weeks of school but I am really hoping my turn doesn't come around again. Bring on summer vacation.....I think! As much as I will enjoy having the boys home all day every day we will all need to adjust to a new schedule and adjusting is something this household struggles with. It is lunch time and what shall we have sandwiches or cereal? I think this would be a good cereal day. Don't gasp my children love it and appear to be  healthy and growing so bring on the cereal!




Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What foster parents wish other people knew


I saw this on a friends FB page and took the liberty to post it here as it does a wonderful job of explaining things from a foster parents point of view.
This essay is a little different than most of my stuff. It is the result of a collaborative discussion on a foster parenting list I’m a part of by a group of foster parents.  I’ve paraphrased and borrowed and added some things of my own, but this is truly collaborative piece, and meant to be shared.  I do NOT have to get credit for it.  So if you’d like to circulate it, use it in a training, distribute it at foster-awareness day, hang it on the wall, run it somewhere else, give it out to prospective foster parents, whatever, go right ahead.  This is a freebie to all! I care much more than people know this than that I get credit – and most of the credit goes to a lot of other wonderful people who want to remain anonymous, most of them wiser and more experienced than I.
1. We’re not Freakin’ Saints.  We are doing this because it needs doing, we love kids, this is our thing.  Some of us hope to expand our families this way, some of us do it for the pleasure of having laughing young voices around, some of us are pushed into it by the children of family or friends needing care, some of us grew up around formal or informal fostering – but all of us are doing it for our own reasons BECAUSE WE LOVE IT and/or LOVE THE KIDS and WE ARE THE LUCKY ONES – we get to have these great kids in our lives.
We hate being told we must be saints or angels, because we’re doing something really ordinary and normal – that is, taking care of kids in need.  If some children showed up dirty and hungry and needing a safe place on your doorstep, you’d care for them too – we just signed up to be the doorstep they arrive at.   The idea of sainthood makes it impossible for ordinary people to do this – and the truth is the world needs more ordinary, human foster parents.   This also stinks because if we’re saints and angels, we can’t ever be jerks or human or need help, and that’s bad, because sometimes this is hard.
2. WATCH WHAT YOU SAY AROUND THE KIDS!!!!!! I can’t emphasize this enough, and everyone is continually stunned by the things people will ask in the hearing of children, from “Oh, is their Mom an addict?” or “Well, they aren’t your REAL kids are they” or “Are you going to adopt them?” or whatever.  Not only is that stuff private, but it is HORRIBLE for the kids to hear people speculating about their families whom they love, or their future.    Didn’t anyone ever explain to you that you never say anything bad about anyone’s mother (or father) EVER?  Don’t assume you know what’s going on, and don’t ask personal questions – we can’t tell you anyway.
3. Don’t act surprised that they are nice, smart, loving, well-behaved kids. One of the corollaries of #1 is that there tends to be an implied assumption that foster kids are flawed – we must be saints because NO ONE ELSE would take these damaged, horrible kids.  Well, kids in foster care have endured a lot of trauma, and sometimes that does come with behavioral challenges, but many of the brightest, nicest, best behaved, kindest and most loving children I’ve ever met are foster kids.  They aren’t second best kids, they aren’t homicidal maniacs, and because while they are here they are MINE, they are the BEST KIDS IN THE WORLD, and yes, it does tick me off when you act surprised they are smart, sweet and loving.
4. Don’t hate on their parents.  Especially don’t do it in front of the kids, but you aren’t on my side when you are talking trash either.
Nobody chooses to be born mentally ill.  No one gets addicted to drugs on purpose.  Nobody chooses to be born developmentally delayed, to never have lived in a stable family so you don’t know how to replicate it. Abusive and neglectful parents often love their kids and do the best they can, and a lot of them CAN do better if they get help and support, which is what part of this is about.  Even if they can’t, it doesn’t make things better for you to rush to judgement.
It is much easier to think of birth parents as monsters, because then YOU could never be like THEM, but truly, birth parents are just people with big problems.   Birth and Foster parents often work really hard to have positive relationships with each other, so it doesn’t help me to have you speculating about them.
5. The kids aren’t grateful to us, and it is nuts to expect them to be, or to feel lucky that they are with us.  They were taken from everything they knew and had to give up parents, siblings, pets, extended family, neighborhood, toys, everything that was normal to them.  No one asked them whether they wanted to come into care.
YOU have complex feelings and ambivalence about a lot of things, even if it seems like those things are good for you or for the best.  Don’t assume our kids don’t have those feelings, or that moving into our home is happily-ever-after for them.  Don’t tell them how lucky they are or how they should feel.
By the way, there is no point comparing my home to the one they grew up in.  Both homes most likely have things the children like and dislike about them.    The truth is if every kid only got the best home, Angelina and Brad would have all the children, and the rest of us would have none.
6. No, we’re not making any money on it.  We don’t get paid – we get a portion of the child’s expenses reimbursed, and that money is only for the child and does NOT cover everything.   I get about 56 cents an hour reimbursed, and  I get annoyed when you imply I’m too stupid to realized I’d make tons more money flipping burgers.
Saying this in front of the kids also REALLY hurts them – all of a sudden, kids who are being loved and learning to trust worry that you are only doing this because of their pittance.  So just shut up about the money already, and about the friend of a friend you know who kept the kids in cages and did it just for the money and made millions.
7. When you say “I could never do that” as if we’re heartless or insensitive, because we can/have to give the kids back to their parents or to extended family, it stings.
Letting kids go IS really hard, but someone has to do it.  Not all kids in care come from irredeemable families.  Not everyone in a birth family is bad – in fact, many kin and parents are heroic, making unimaginable sacrifices to get their families back together through impossible odds.  Yes, it is hard to let kids we love go, and yes, we love them, and yes, it hurts like hell, but the reality is that because something is hard doesn’t make it bad, and you aren’t heartless if you can endure pain for the greater good of your children.  You are just a regular old parent when you put your children’s interests ahead of your own.
8.  No, they aren’t ours yet.  And they won’t be on Thursday either, or next Friday, or the week after.  Foster care adoption TAKES A LONG TIME.  For the first year MINIMUM the goal is always for kids to return to their parents.  It can take even longer than that. Even if we hope to adopt, things could change, and it is just like any long journey – it isn’t helpful to ask “Are we there yet” every five minutes.
9. Most kids will go home or to family, rather than being adopted.    Most foster cases don’t go to adoption.  Not every foster parent wants to adopt.  And not every foster family that wants to adopt will be adopting/wants to adopt every kid.
It is NOT appropriate for you to raise the possibility of adoption just because you know they are a foster family.  It is ESPECIALLY not appropriate for you to raise this issue in front of the kids.  The kids may be going to home or to kin.  It may not be an adoptive match.  The family may not be able to adopt now.  They may be foster-only.  Not all older children want or choose to be adopted, and after a certain age, they are allowed to decide.  Family building is private and none of everyone’s business.  They’ll let you know when you  need to know something.
10. If we’re struggling – and all of us struggle sometimes – it isn’t helpful to say we should just “give them back” or remind us we brought it on ourselves.  ALL parents pretty much brought their situation on themselves whether they give birth or foster, but once you are a parent, you deal with what you’ve got no matter what. “I told you so” is never helpful.  This is especially true when the kids have disabilities or when they go home.  Yes, we knew that could happen.  That doesn’t make it any easier.
11.  Foster kids are not “fake kids,” and we’re not babysitters – they are all my “REAL kids.”  Some of them may stay forever.  Some of them may go and come back.  Some of them may leave and we’ll never see them again.  But that’s life, isn’t it?  Sometimes people in YOUR life go away, too, and they don’t stop being an important part of your life or being loved and missed.  How they come into my family or for how long is not the point.  While they are here they are my children’s REAL brothers and sisters, my REAL sons and daughters.  We love them entirely, treat them the way we do all our kids, and never, ever forget them when they leave.   Don’t pretend the kids were never here.  Let foster parents talk about the kids they miss.  Don’t assume that kids are interchangeable – one baby is not the same as the next, and just because there will be more kids later doesn’t make it any easier now.
12. Fostering is HARD.  Take how hard you think it will be and multiply it by 10, and you are beginning to get the idea. Exhausting, gutwrenching and stressful as heck.  That said, it is also GREAT, and mostly utterly worth it.  It is like Tom Hanks’ character in _League of Their Own_ says about baseball: “It is supposed to be hard.  If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it.  The hard is what makes it great.”
13.  You don’t have to be a foster parent to HELP support kids and families in crisis.  If you want to foster, GREAT – the world needs more foster families.  But we also need OTHER kinds of help.

You can:
- . Treat foster parents with a new placement the way you would a family that had a baby– it is JUST as exhausting and stressful.  If you can offer to cook dinner, help out with the other kids, or lend a hand in some way, it would be most welcome.
- . Offer up your children’s outgrown stuff to pass on – foster parents who do short-term fostering send a lot of stuff home with the kids, and often could use more.  Alternatively, many communities have a foster care closet or donation center that would be grateful for your pass-downs in good condition.
- . Be an honorary grandparent, aunt or uncle.  Kids need as many people in their lives as possible, and relationships that say “you are special.”
- . Become a respite provider, taking foster children for a week or a weekend so their parents can go away or take a break.
- . Offer to babysit.  Foster parents have lives, plus they have to go to meetings and trainings, and could definitely use the help.
- . Be a big brother, sister or mentor to older foster kids.  Preteens and Teens need help imagining a future for themselves – be that help.
- . Be an extra pair of hands when foster families go somewhere challenging - offer to come along to the amusement park, to church, to the playground.  A big family or one with special needs may really appreciate just an extra adult or a mother’s helper along.
- . Support local anti-poverty programs with your time and money.  These are the resources that will hopefully keep my kids fed and safe in their communities when they go home.
- . If you’ve got extra, someone else can probably use it.   Lots of foster families don’t have a lot of spare money for activities – offering your old hockey equipment or the use of your swim membership  is a wonderful gift.
- . Make programs for kids friendly to kids with disabilities and challenges.  You may not have thought about how hard it is to bring a disabled or behaviorally challenged kid to Sunday school, the pool, the local kids movie night – but think about it now, and encourage inclusion.
- . Teach your children from the beginning to be welcoming, inclusive, kind and non-judgemental,  Teach them the value of having friends from different neighborhoods, communities, cultures, races and levels of ability.  Make it clear that bullying, unkindness and exclusion are NEVER EVER ok.
- . Welcome foster parents and their family into your community warmly, and ASK them what they need, and what you can do.
13. Reach out to families in your community that are struggling – maybe you can help so that the children don’t ever have to come into foster care, or to make it easier if they do.  Some families really need a ride, a sitter, some emotional support, some connection to local resources.  Lack of community ties is a HUGE risk factor for children coming into care, so make the attempt.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring is finally here!

I love spring!

....I am dreaming of planting flowers, lots n lots of flowers. I always feel this way in the spring. I picture the flowers in my mind and write down quantities and what kinds of flowers I want then I go to the greenhouse and totally change my mind. I grab a little of this and a little of that. When I come home I try to remember which flowers  I wanted to put where and till it is all said and done nothing looks like I envisioned it would! These are the flowers we took to BCCYS for their Mothers Day plant sale/fundraiser in 2011. Dean takes one of PaulB's trucks over to Wengers Greenhouse where there are people waiting to help load plants. Then it is off to the courthouse where they unload the flowers and get things set up for the sale the next day. The flowers sell for a ridiculous price. This year the sale is on Ascension Day so I won't bother signing up to help out.


Last night we got to see this little guy again. Granted he looks alot older than this. Jacob is Joseph and Bradens bio brother and I still claim a teeny part of him as mine! Jacob has a special place in my boys' hearts and in ours as well!

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MOTHERS DAY 2009 ..... little people grow so quickly!

























I am in the mood to redecorate my house. I don't like when I get this way as I tend to be dissatisfied with all my blessings. We need to redo the bathroom as the tub is leaking and the floor gets softer as more water leaks out. I am leaning towards painting it gray and white with red or black accents. I want to really like the finished product because it will be a long time till it gets repainted. Have to see what Dean thinks, he usually doesn't care but sometimes has some good ideas. Also want to do some painting in the hall. The children have this habit of running their hands along the wall as they walk. Thus there are constantly dirty marks on the walls. I always said we should paint it the color of the dirt around here so no one can see how dirty the walls really are but when it comes down to it, I really don't want to do that!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

choices


“There is a world full of broken, enslaved, sick, demonized, people who are beyond the help of all humanistic power, and their only hope is heaven’s intervention. Guess who’s called to be heaven’s intervention? We are.” 

~Jeremy Riddle

Trying to explain why one should make good choices versus bad ones that hurt others. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Our week

I am on my first of two weeks of driving school children. We have a big white Chevy van that we own with 3 other families. Each family drives for two weeks before cleaning it, washing it, filling it with gas and passing it onto the next family. I enjoy driving as I find out a bit more about what is going on at school. Till the two weeks are up though, I am always ready to hand it on to the next person. Tristan enjoys when I drive, he thought perhaps I could offer to drive all the time. Sorry pal!
  Yesterday Luna had a three hour visit with her mom. Usually she has a two hour visit weekly but we skipped last week due to our cabin plans so now we are going to have two 3 hour visits to make up for the missed visit. Luna's visits are usually from 4-6 pm. Deans mom has begun coming over and staying with the children till Dean comes home from work. That way I don't have to try to find something to do that keeps four children happy till the visit is finished. Yesterday I did some shopping then spent an hour or so reading and watching the people as they walked up and down the street. People watching can be quite entertaining!



One of the men that works for PaulB got these MEALS READY TO EAT.  They are what the people in the military eat. Dean got one out of curiosity. It was awful!


Everything was included even a package of powdered drink mix to add to water and a special cardboard thing  that you put the meat and Mac n Cheese into and it heated the food.




This is the heated beef patty covered with BBQ sauce. No wanted more than one bite, not even Joseph who is known for eating pretty much anything.  

I don't have any appointments or visits today so I hope to have a slower day. Best of all it is Friday! I love the slower pace of the evening, no rushing people off to bed cause they have school in the morning. In fact, I let them stay up later in hopes that they will sleep in! Sunday we have our semi annual foster/adoption get together at Overlys Grove. I am to take a finger food along. Would like to make something special since I just brought chips last time! 

Enjoy the sunshine!


Monday, April 1, 2013

our week end

We are struggling to get back into the normal routines after spending a long week end at the cabin with friends. We left home Thursday evening and arrived home again around 8:30 pm last night. The troops were all glad to be home again, including mom and dad! We rented Deans uncle Marks cabin. It was the first time we were there but if Tristan has any say in the matter we will be going again. The cabin sits on app 100 acres and there are golf cart trails all around the cabin. Tristan and his friend Ben, each had a golf cart so we didn't see much of them, except for the times they had to let their rides sit and cool down.


The golf carts were a muddy mess. There was snow and mud everywhere and what is more fun than splashing through puddles?


Tristan and Ben returning from a ride through the woods


Saturday evening the men and older boys went to town for some gas. The ladies helped the rest of the children make these hats from Styrofoam bowls and plates.


Had Mountain Pies for supper on Friday evening.



Our home for a few days.


We had a bit of drama Saturday afternoon. Thankfully I wasn't aware of it until everything was over. The older boys went on a golf cart ride through the woods and Joseph wanted to go along but since they were not allowed to have passengers on the trail, they told Joseph he has to stay back. Joseph got cross and followed them. Of course he couldn't keep up. Awhile later Dean discovered Joseph was missing. After asking around, he found out that no one had seen him since the boys told him he may not ride with them. Dean hopped on a golf cart and began zooming up n down trails. He was ready to call for the other men to help search when he found Joseph trudging along a trail. Dean asked Joseph where the cabin is and Joseph admitted that he didn't know. That evening Joseph threw a major tantrum. He only has those fits when something is really bothering him. I held him and left him scream while Luna made herself at home digging through our suitcases. All the while my mind was wondering what the other ladies were thinking. Joseph finally admitted that he was really scared when he was lost and that is how he feels when he thinks of how his birth mommy didn't care for him. He thought we might go home and never find him. Poor boy! I had to cry over his loss and pain. We sat and had a good cry together. Let no one ever say you can't create a bond through tears because I have proof you can! After a few more hugs and kisses I tucked him into bed and he fell into an exhausted sleep. 
On Saturday the girls and ladies did a bit of shopping then went out for coffee. The coffee stop was one of the high lights of the weekend for me. There isn't much I enjoy more than sipping coffee and chatting with other moms.