Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Unfortunately since he had the van, there was no way I could pick them up with the Volvo. A family of 6 does not easily (nor legally) fit into a Volvo designed to seat 5. After trying with two different people, Mr. Clean got the van jumped and running and came home. I could finally hug my girl and just breathe in her presence.
After replacing the battery, which needed to be done anyway, we were satisfied that would solve the problem. We were wrong. I drove the van and had no problems, but later when Mr. Clean decided to take the kidlets to the pool, the van was dead again. We jump started it and took it to our local auto shop. Four hundred dollars later, we know we have another problem, but nothing that has to do with the battery. For that diagnosis we have to go to the dreaded dealer. The dollar signs are piling up in the pit of my stomach.
The day went on as usual and we spent A LOT of time just being with the kids and enjoying Xena being home. The "crash" I expected from her never occurred during the day, even though she confided that she never slept on the red-eye from Oregon. She gladly went to bed on East Coast time and slept in until West Coast time this morning. The girl was exhausted! No matter, she is home and that's the best part. Van or no van.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
The plan was to leave at about 16:00 and eat with all the "early birds", after coming home to relax for a while and let Iggy take a nap. At around 15:55 C'sa fell asleep on the family room floor. It had been a long week for everyone! No matter, we would wake her and head out.
I knelt by her and kissed her forehead to wake her gently. She was not budging, not even an eye lash flutter and she felt a little warm. So I kissed her again to see how warm she really felt. After all, she was snuggled in a blanket and sleep always makes my babies warm to the touch. She was warm. Very warm.
I got the ear thermometer, which although is never very accurate, it will get you in the ballpark. Three different readings put her temperature above 103 degrees (about 39 degrees Celsius for all my metric friends). Even taking her temperature did not wake her. She was zonked.
I transferred her to the couch with her pillow and a better blanket remembering how earlier while snuggling with me she insisted she was "freezing". Indulging her, I wrapped her up in a couch blanket and chuckled, "only this child could be cold on an 80 degree day". I'll bet that was when her temperature was coming on. Needless to say, our dining out was not going to happen today.
Mr. Clean and K.Z. decided to go geocaching instead and pick up dinner on the way back while C'sa snoozed. Instead of dining out at a nice family restaurant, we ate Subway subs. Not quite what I was hoping for, but at least I did not have to cook!!
After a looong nap, a dose of Tylenol and a movie C'sa was almost back to her normal self. And hungry. She asked when we were going to go out to eat. She got part of a sub instead.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Although I cannot elaborate much publicly due to privacy issues, I can say that there is a wind of change coming down Iggy's path in life. He will still be in our care during this time and hopefully the "change" will make things permanent.
Pray that we handle all of it well and that it goes smoothly, and I will give more details when I can.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
So here are the "twins" together. The funny part is someone at Sam's Club today thought they really were twins. In majorly dim lighting perhaps...
Mission accomplished, I was back to get K.Z. at the piano teachers house with just minutes to spare. Feeling cocky about my effortless Sam's run with two six month olds I decided to up the ante. I was heading to Target. Since Target carts are of normal size I was only able to fit the babies in one. No place for food, purse, or the like. Thankfully K.Z. is a tall 8 year old and can maneuver a cart with ease, without running into displays and various people. So off went the cart caravan.
My sole reason for going to Target was the amazing cereal sale they had last week and I was hoping it was still going on. While there previously, they had 4 boxes of General Mills cereal on sale for a mere 7 bucks! That's $1.75 a box! The cheapskate in me could not pass it up before but kicked myself for only buying the 4 boxes. This week I was going to stock up. My fear was realized however, when I saw that that particular sale had ended.
The new sale was 3 boxes for 8 bucks on General Mills. Not as appealing. But wait! There was another sign on the shelf. Four boxes of Kellogg's for 7 dollars! Hey, I am not loyal to one brand. You can shamelessly fight for my business and I will switch loyalties as fast as Elizabeth Taylor changed husbands. So I load up the cart, grab a couple of other things and dance to the register. Except at the register my cereal is NOT ringing up at $1.75 a box. I pounce immediately.
"Excuse me, but those are supposed to be $1.75 a box."
18 year old check out boy, "Oh, they are?"
"Yes, there is a sign on the cereal isle shelf indicating that Kellogg's cereal is 4 boxes for 7 dollars."
18 year old check out boy, "Um, oh. Um, well they are not ringing up that way" (you don't say...)
Me, eyeballing two sleepy babies who have been amazing thus far but could explode any minute, "Can you check?"
This dance continued until another clerk, too lazy to actually go look at the cereal isle, had to involve a third clerk to go and check the sign. And he had to repeat the request into the Target issued, secret service walkie talkie ear piece three times. I was about ready to march myself, two babies, two carts and ten boxes of cereal back to the cereal isle personally, grab the sign and staple it to the clerk's forehead.
Clerk with Target issued, secret service walkie talkie ear piece, "They say it is only on Raisin Bran".
Me, smiling as politely as I could at the time and frantically trying to see the sign in my mind, "I am fairly certain it was on all Kellogg's cereals" (after all, why would I have a cart full of blasted cereal if not!).
Clerk with Target issued, secret service walkie talkie ear piece was not budging and at this point, I was not willing to take everyone back to the cereal isle to re-read the sign myself to prove my point. I had to concede or prove my case, so I told the 18 year old check out boy to take all the cereal off my bill. I would not buy even one, I am way too prideful (and cheap) that way.
So home I went, cereal-less and slightly deflated, but I had bought marshmallows on sale so I guess I will survive. Until the next great adventure (or bargain)...
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Mr. Clean responded with a helpful, "Mommy's leaking."
K.Z. did not hesitate a second and replied, "She needs an oil pan."
The males in my house thought this was hysterical. I am still waiting for chocolate.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
As a child I had a chronically messy room. If I asked my mother any question ("can I go outside?", "can so and so come over?", "can I pick my nose?", etc.), she would simply ask, "Is your room clean?".
Inevitable the answer would be "no", to which she would reply, "Well then, there is your answer".
The once or twice I actually said, "yes" we had to break out the defibrillator as my mother clutched her chest in shock. It was an ugly scene. Fortunately, "yes" was not the norm.
After I got married a strange thing happened which made both my mother and mother-in-law start to stutter in confusion and plan our painful deaths (Mr. Clean was a messy child as well). We became anal about our house. We cleaned it a lot and when it started to get cluttered, we would simply take care of it. Seems logical, right? Then the children came.
We are still picky about the way our house looks, but now we have to settle for dreaming about the way it should look all the time, not just for the 2.8 seconds after we are done until it explodes again. We have started training the children to take on more responsibilities and they are doing well, but there is one room not on the children's chore chart. Mine.
I get up in the morning, shower, get dressed and then leave my room, not to see it again until bedtime. In theory, it should always be perfect as we are never in it. Just like the theory of evolution, this "clean room theory" is laughable. Things just seem to appear in my room. Momma's room is the proverbial "dumping ground". The last thing I want to do after a long day of domestic bliss is to fold and put away the load of towels dumped on my bed, so they get thrown on the chair, not to be heard from again until we run out of clean towels and scramble looking for them.
The girls' Barbies and Polly Pockets get skillfully shoved out of the way by my foot to make a path to walk from the door to the bed, lest I get a Barbie shoe pierced into the bottom of my foot. We still have no clue why the girls' toys are in our room half the time as they never really venture in there (unless I tell them to "put this, that or the other thing on Momma's bed" for me to take care of later, like the towels). I suspect Mr. Clean is secretly playing Polly Pockets, but he will not admit it.
Our dressers seem to be the magnet for everything without a home or purpose in the universe and as much as I love every time C'sa hands me a piece of printer paper with nothing but a misshapen "C" on it and says, "I made this for you", I cannot keep them all. But if I am busted throwing one of her masterpieces away, she looks as if I ripped the head off of her favorite doll (which is probably somewhere under my bed anyway).
So now I feel ten years old again and simply run like a mad woman to shut and padlock my door every time my mother comes over. Or I will not be able to play outside. Or pick my nose. Or whatever.
Does this cycle ever end? Will my master suite (sounds fancier, doesn't it?) ever be the enviable retreat that it is supposed to be according to the snobby designers on HGTV? Will Mr. Clean ever paint it? Will Lassie get help in time to save Timmy from peril in the old abandoned mine? Will Timmy ever get spanked for playing in that stupid mine in the first place? Has Angel lost her mind?
All this and more, next time on, "As the Foster Mommy Pulls Out Her Hair"...
Monday, July 21, 2008
We have visitation at the county courthouse. In a connected building is the Family Services Center, so you are not having to deal with hardened criminals and hardened attorneys in the same hallways as little frightened foster children. There is a four level underground parking garage, which is extremely convenient, as foster parents are allowed to park there.
Today pulling in I saw a sign that said, "Garage elevators are out of order". I was not even sure how to process that information in my brain as I found a spot to park. Two 6 month olds, two diaper bags, one stroller and no elevator. Stairs were obviously out of the question, yet the easiest solution. I had to simply walk out of the garage.
It would not have been that difficult of a task if I wasn't parked on the lowest level (four levels below ground) and the garage did not have a ridiculously steep decline at the entrance to get down into it. I had to walk up that behemoth pushing the stroller. Tack on a 90 degree day and you can just imagine my beet red face and labored breathing. The garage was like a sauna. No cool underground parking in this building; just hot, stuffy concrete.
After sweating through security and dropping off the babies I finally got to sit down and cool off. Praise God for county funded air conditioning. I probably should not complain about my county taxes so much now.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Tia came last night and her foster mom fed her and put her to bed to try and help the transition from her house to ours for the week. She is a little behind Iggy in development (only simple things like growth and sleeping, nothing mental or serious), but seems to be adapting well to a new schedule and household. She is a very pleasant baby.
So far she and Iggy have been fascinated with one another as they sit playing in dueling Exersaucers and hang out on the floor together. She did not sleep very well last night, but it was nothing horrible and I got a good 5 hour stretch of sleep (of course when you go to bed at 2 am on your own accord, it's hard to blame it entirely on the baby). Tonight I plan to cuddle in my bad after the kidlets are all tucked in and see when she wakes next. Maybe this week I can get her on a good enough routine to have her sleeping through the night before her foster parents get back. Hmmmm.... a challenge.
It is now 4 hours later and the babies took a 3 hour afternoon nap simultaneously! Hopefully I can keep them up and occupied until bedtime and forgo Iggy's normal early evening snooze. He would go right back to sleep at bedtime, but I am not sure about Tia.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
I have never been able to do this. If my kids are going to be farmed out because I need to do something or in case of an emergency, they are going together. All, or in groups of two if need be. I want to treat each child in my house equally, so if I need time with a natural child, then that child and I will get out together and leave the rest of the clan.
There are real reasons to use respite however, I do not want to make it sound bad. It is a good system. So we will be offering respite to another foster family at the end of the week. They have two teenage sons whom they want to take to South Carolina and a foster daughter who hates being in the car, even on short trips. So she is coming to hang out with us.
Here is the catch. She is two days younger than Iggy making her also 6 months old, so if I fall off the face of the earth you will know what happened. The babies took over and I petered out from exhaustion! I will have the older kids send out an S.O.S.
Pray for us, I think I have officially lost my mind...
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
As a vocalist I have a huge range of musical tastes and as a lot of vocalists and musicians, I would listen more to what I most closely identified as "my sound", things I could sing or tweak to my abilities. Back when my vocal chords got a lot more stage time I would do the traditional vocal warm ups, but then break loose with a little Lena Horne or (gasp!) Dwight Yoakam. I am best at singing the blues and gospel, but can also throw down a little country as well. Just don't tell anyone.
So the iPod selection this time is a Yoakam song. It brings me back to the late great '90s and it's a great song "to boot"...
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
"Thanks again for yours (prayers). The doctor has gotten the report back from Hopkins that I have been cleared of the tumor and do NOT need radiation. I'll be getting a check up now every 3-4 months, but I am so happy and relieved. We just got back from a trip to Colorado and the beautiful mountains did us a world of good."
Thank you for praying for her!
We did it. We are finally (almost) free from the evil, wicked Verizon (okay, so they're not that bad, but I am almost free nonetheless, and it sounds more dramatic)!!
We decided to go with a cable based internet and cable "package" that would jack up our cable/internet budget, but would allow for us to get a VoIP telephone, CHEAP.
My father-in-law, the brilliant man that he is, has been using ViaTalk for quite a while now and really has good things to say about them.
Currently ViaTalk is having a "buy one/get one" kind of sale. You pay for service for one year and they will give you another year for free. Basically my unlimited local and long distance service that now runs me $65 a month with Verizon will be reduced to an average of $8.00 a month for two years and then about $16.00 a month thereafter (because I paid upfront for the service) with ViaTalk. Plus, I will get a ton of extras that Verizon did not offer.
Here is the bone brain part of my story. I got my adapter in the mail today to hook up my new fandangled phone service and realized I am missing one big component. A router. Ugh. I never even thought about the fact I would need one, so I need to get my cheapskate hat on and find the best deal I can on a wireless router.
When all else fails, read the instructions...
Monday, July 14, 2008
Upon their arrival their foster daughter (who we know) complained that the couple had fought "all the way there". Their youngest children seemed to stress them out easily and they took it out on one another. Afterward she griped to another guest about her husband.
I am not the perfect wife. I get the occasional bee in my bonnet and have to smash it, and I can flare up like a greasy grill (we have one, it can be spectacular). Mr. Clean has gotten mad a time or two, but it is rare. However, watching this couple gave me the distinct impression that this was their status quo. They seemed miserable in one another's company. That is what made me sad.
I can honestly say that life with Mr. Clean is pretty easy and stress free. We tend to balance each other out when it comes to sour moods and we have a great time together. I thoroughly enjoy his company and have a lot of respect for him. We laugh a lot and just have fun. But there are "those days", and when they happen we work very hard to work it out and not drag out a tiff and make it last the day (or worse). Our marriage is simply worth the effort.
I am not trying to be sanctimonious or self righteous. I do not have all the answers and goof life up quite a bit, but I have seen many marriages in my own family on rocky ground or fail outright and I am determined that will not happen with mine. I think that has a lot to do with how I choose to act daily and the attitude I choose to have. I cannot control Mr. Clean's actions and thankfully, I would not change many anyway, but I can control mine and as long as I act accordingly, I hope my marriage will continue to be as sweet as it has been thus far.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
He did say that there was the obligatory "mean kid" in his cabin that made fun of him in the beginning, but it obviously did not bother him too much since he could not remember what the kid teased him about. It just thrills me to send my kid to a Christian camp and he gets picked on when he normally does not experience such silliness. Such is life, I know it can happen anywhere, you just hope that they will be insulated a little at a church camp. As we taught him, he just ignored the kid and it stopped.
It hit me this morning that from this point on with my kids, it is going to get emotionally harder (for me!). When they are little guys the emotion is different. Now that they are branching out and growing older, they are going to deal with things that I cannot control, things that they will have to manage on their own; just like the camp kid.
K.Z. is a great boy but has done his share of being mean to his friends and has had his feeling tramped on by friends as well (I am not sure he always understood that he was hurting feelings by the things he said, but I am certain there were times he knew full well what he was doing also). It is hard to hear about either way, as you never want your kids to deal with or cause strife, but it is crucial that they learn to handle the different situations that pop up.
I just want to always be able to fix it, but I also want a competent boy who is not always looking to his Mommy to handle all his problems. It's hard to have to give up that role...
Saturday, July 12, 2008
The claim? The references to homosexuality being a sin violates his constitutional rights and has caused him emotional distress.
His hope? A 70 million dollar payout.
The likelihood? Not a chance, but it does not surprise me that he is trying. Read the short article here.
Friday, July 11, 2008
I was little in the 70's and 80's when Johnny Cash was really popular. But back then he was popular with a certain demographic and it was not as wide spread as his popularity is now. Mr. Clean had never listened to him as a kid, nor did his parents. But we did.
My parents could best be described back then as "hippie bikers". They were not granola eating, tree hugging hippies, but were not Hell's Angels either. They fell in the middle. They also were not believers at the time. So the music they listened to was never censored for my little ears; but in their defense, if it was played on the radio, it should be fine. Right?
I knew the words to Cash's "A Boy Named Sue" by the time I was three or four and sang them with conviction. I also knew the words to "Man Eater", by Hall and Oates and found out exactly what Cyndi Lauper meant in "She-Bop" at the ripe old age of 9 when it was released (read the lyrics and you will too, and might be quite taken back; it's not the silly little nonsense song many thought it was).
Johnny has a renewed place in our family's vast musical collection and Mr. Clean has dusted off many of my Johnny Cash cds as well as gotten his own, but "A Boy Named Sue" does not get any air time when the children are around. Thankfully Mr. Cash later became a believer and released many songs appropriate for a different audience.
Pay attention to what your children listen to, as it will stay with them for a very long time. I can still recite every word to quite a few "Top 40" hits played by the ever so faithful Casey Kasem and Dick Clark. Most of them had no redeeming quality whatsoever, yet the words will still pop into my brain from time to time 20 years later.
On an aside, for a little nostalgia, check out this Sesame Street clip with Johnny Cash and Oscar the Grouch. No politically correct children's shows for my generation! Thank goodness...
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Since I cannot seem to nail down K.Z., and Xena is 3000 miles away this month, I would say that concludes this school year. Technically we school year round but we have to have an official stop and start to our year per the "great" Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. So I have declared that our school year runs from July 1st until June 30th. I guess this school year is starting with some serious vacation time!
Xena finished her Kindergarten work and was on to some of her 1st grade curriculum by late April. K.Z. still has some lingering 2 grade Language Arts and Math to finish, but I think that is going to count as "review" for the beginning of 3rd grade.
We are sticking with the tried and true this year. Story Of The World for history and geography, Singapore for math for both kids, First Language Lessons for Xena to begin and the new 3rd grade edition for K.Z. to continue. Spelling will be Spelling Workout for both of them (at different levels) and we are trying a new Science curriculum this year, BJU Press. The other subjects will also be covered, Bible, handwriting, reading, etc. with a myriad of different living books and classics.
C'sa still declares that she is too "little" to "do school", but I intend to teach her to read with Teach Your Child to Read In 100 Easy Lessons. I do not plan to start her officially in Kindergarten, as she would not be enrolled in a private or public school due to her birth date, but I just may slowly go through the motions anyway. I think she may surprise herself with what she can do.
I always get giddy at the thought of a brand new school year and the new things the kids will be learning and reading. Now if only I had students!
"No?!", I exclaimed. "But don't you love your brother and sister too?"
"Well yeah, " she retorted as a matter of fact, "but I don' t miss them..."
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Yesterday I dropped K.Z. off at camp. Overnight camp. The kind where you sleep overnight and are not allowed to come home to hug your Mommy. And your Mommy misses you. Even after only 5 hours.
This is K.Z.'s first time going off to a traditional "sleep away" camp. He has camped overnight without us before, but it was one night with family friends and he could have called home to say goodnight should the need arise. That selfish little thing had no need that time.
This camp is a whopping twenty minutes from our house and he is there with his good friend and it is a strong Christian camp ran by the church at which he attends AWANA and he has lots of junk food with him and he really was excited to go, and his Mommy misses him.
Frankly I thought that having my oldest two kids away at the same time would be a bit of a break. C'sa and Iggy get a lot more Momma time and I would be able to take a deep breath. Not so much.
I am not worried about the kids at all. Both of them are in good hands with believers who have the same scruples that we have. I am getting more one on one time with the little ones, but my house is incomplete. Big pieces of this family's puzzle are missing and it is odd.
One of the 8,532,487,003 reasons I chose to homeschool is the fact that I like my kids and I genuinely enjoy spending a lot of time all together (no worries, I love them too, but I really, truly, like them). Having them educated at home affords tons of family time that is so very fleeting. I love the fact that they are having these adventures, which I think are important, but it leaves a strange dynamic in the house. I believe it is referred to as "quiet". It is bizarre.
Off to tend to the two I have left!
Monday, July 7, 2008
Friday, July 4, 2008
Let our children know what an amazing country of which they are a part. They will take our pride to the next generation...
Thursday, July 3, 2008
This came as a bit of a relief as I got the call while I was in a hotel room in Albany, NY, prepping to take Xena to the airport to meet my in-laws. Xena has gone to Oregon for 26 days. I personally am trying not to hyperventilate.
Xena will have a blast with my in-laws, sister and brother in-law and her cousins and was excited for the opportunity to go, but as the Mom, my heart aches every time I see her empty bed (well technically it is not empty as K.Z. decided to bunk in there with C'sa), or hear K.Z. exclaim absentmindedly, "I will go and tell the girls!"
I took the opportunity to spend a couple exclusive days with Xena before she left, including our "girls trip" to Albany where we got to swim, give one another manicures and go out to eat at extravagant places like... Boston Market (don't laugh, she thought it was cool). I also got to escort her to the gate as she waited with her Nan and Pop to board the flight that would whisk my baby 3000 miles away from me.
I swear to you, I tried my hardest not to cry, but when her little face got down and she asked, "why can't you come with me?", it was all I could do to not wail. I kept my composure, but my eyes did leak quite a bit. Minutes later she was fine and in line anxious to get on the plane while I was a wreck. I did not cry again, but I did stay and watch until the plane pushed back from the terminal. You never know, she may have ran off the plane for just one more hug, and I had to be there to get it (enter sappy music here), lest her heart be broken.
Okay, back to reality. Twenty five more days until my girl comes back. I just hope I do not break my neck jumping over furniture, small children and dogs each and every time the phone rings. It might be her...