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Showing posts from 2012

Thankfulness in November

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I see on Facebook that many people are taking time to list one thing they are thankful for each day in the month of November.
I love that idea!So often we are striving for bigger and better that we forget to look around and see what we are already blessed with!

Of course I am thankful for my family, home, jobs, my children, health, my country…. I could go on and on, but I find what is most helpful for me is to each day stop and find what I am thankful for in that moment.  it can be the smallest and most insignificant thing, but in that moment it can be huge!  If I can stop in a chaotic moment all the better!

It's the little bits of thankfulness that make everything else do able!  It's a child sleeping in until 6am.  It's the dog not jumping on a visitor.  It's a fun catalog in the mailbox.  It's a little bit of sunshine through the clouds making me put on my sunglasses.  It's the smiles I get when the kids come home.  It's the cuddles and snuggles.  There are …

"Metal Mouth" has moved in

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When the dentist told me it was time to take Jackson in to the orthodontist to have things checked out I was a bit caught off guard.
In my day, (I sound like I am old stating it that way) you waited until you had all of your permanent teeth and then went through the pain and astigmatism of having braces for years.I was told that this isn’t the way it is done today.They like to take a preventative approach now and start early.
I can understand this.It makes sense that you would want to try to do the least invasive procedures and start with correcting the foundation before correcting the appearance.We are hopeful that by putting in an expander now Jackson’s jaw will be widened allowing for his teeth to go in the correct positions and eliminating the need for braces later on.That would be nice for him and for the pocket book!
At any rate, we have gone into the office four times.The first time Jackson had a brief exam and we saw a slide show explaining what the plan would be.We were then ush…

Doing the Tough Stuff

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Being a foster parent is not always easy, but it is always worth it.

It is so much more then supplying a home and food.  It is more then having case workers come into your home to check up on the child.  It is more then taking the child to visit their biological family at least twice a week.  It is more then collaborating with professionals to meet the needs of the child.  It is more then driving across town to meet with the only doctors in the area who accept the child's insurance.  It is more then finding yourself in unfamiliar situations with strangers.  It is more then accepting the child as is and trying to make the best of their past.

It is opening your heart.  It is accepting a child into your life so fully that you can barely recall what life was like before they came.  It is being mindful of  each and every need that they may have that you have never encountered before and figuring out how to best meet it. 

It can be rocking a screaming child in the middle of the night…

Next I'll Lose My Marbles... or maybe I already have

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Having children can be hectic.
This week I have lost a winter coat and a pair of shoes.
Wait.I personally did not lose these things.They aren’t even my possessions.My children have lost these things.I don’t understand how something like a pair of shoes that I just saw on your feet the day before could now suddenly be gone!Poof!The coat I can understand.It was taken off and left behind.
Given the fact that I can’t keep track of larger items I had a bit of a moment this morning at the orthodontist.Jackson was just fitted for a device to widen his upper jaw.I have to take a teeny tiny little pin and put it in his mouth twice a day to turn the device.The hygienist handed it over to me and I actually laughed.“I have to keep track of this little thing when I have already lost track of a winter coat and a pair of shoes this week!” (and it is only Tuesday!)Thankfully, I was told if I lost it to just call and they could give me another one.I wish now I had asked for an extra right away!Knowing …

Getting Sent to the Principal's Office

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I was asked to stay after a meeting the other day.  Just being asked this filled me with anxiety!  Was I in trouble?

I remember in high school when I was called down to the office over the loud speaker.  I was petrified!  My brain went through a check list of each and everything I had done wrong to prepare myself for what I would face and how I would defend myself! (which I can't even recall now - I think the worst I did in school was make a couple teachers cry... that's an entirely different blog post... and TP houses with friends)

While I was teaching when I received notes or phone calls to go down to the office I did the same thing.  What kind of trouble was I in?

I once received a call from the founder and CEO of It Works! Global and immediately I thought I had done something wrong!

I don't know why my brain works this way.  Not once have I been called into an office, asked to stay after, or gotten a phone call from an figure in authority because of some kind of trouble…

Bear Cave should be re-named the Bat Cave!

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All summer long we had plenty to do each and every weekend, so when we found ourselves with a partially free weekend we decided to fill it with a mini-adventure!  I had been looking through a book about things to do in Michigan and found something that I thought we would all find interesting. Or maybe I just found it interesting and dragged the rest of the family with me...

We headed south to Buchanan, Michigan.  I took note that on the way we crossed over a Wine Trail.  A few years back some of my girlfriends and I were driven by a brave husband down this way to visit some of the wineries.  Now that the colors are in full force, this would be a great time to visit again...  But I digress....

We headed to Buchanan where we found Bear Cave.  Bear Cave is the only cavern in the Great Lakes area.  Along the 40 foot winding stairway that leads visitors through the cave you will see stalactites, petrified leaves, and other peculiar shapes. The metal oxides of native ores color the entire ca…

Bell's Beer Dinner

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I know most of you have heard of wine tasting or going to a dinner and having each entree paired with a different wine, but have you heard of "beer tasting" or "beer dinners"? A few weeks ago Ryan and I went to such an event and were not disappointed.

First, you should know that I am not a beer drinker.  It is not my first choice in a beverage.  I was a little wary that the meal would be a flop for me because of this.  However, I was delightfully surprised!

Each entree was paired with a different beer from Bell's Brewery.  Some of our dishes were even made with the beer in it.  I wish I had saved the menu because the food prepared by the chef at Railside Golf Club was some of the best food I have had and I would have liked to tell you each course and which beer was paired with it!  The dessert was especially scrumptious and unique.  I would choose that dessert over and over again and that is saying a lot since I am a huge dessert consumer!

I do know that the bee…

Parenting for Attachment

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I have been thinking a lot about attachment.

This is probably a term that most of you don't really think about or consider at all ever.  If you are part of the foster or adoption community, it is something that you think about all of the time. Or you went through a time when you did think constantly about it or should have been thinking about it!

Attachment is so important that when you are preparing to adopt there are classes dedicated to just that topic.  There are stacks of books and articles that address the importance of attachment and even therapists whose entire focus is on attachment.

Attachment is not just a connection between two people; it is a bond that involves a desire for regular contact with that person and the experience of distress during separation from that person.  Without appropriate attachment, children can suffer an inability to form lasting, loving relationships. They may lack conscience development and cannot trust. They often grow into distant, manipula…

Wake-up Call!

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I think that sometimes things get placed in your path to challenge you, enlighten you, fulfill you, or just to remind you that you have it good.

As I peeled back my eyelids on Saturday morning and saw the large, red block letters screaming 5:07am at me, I had a moment. 

Only a few weeks ago if a child woke up at an unhealthy hour of the morning I could tell them to get back in bed, go get themselves a piece of fruit or cereal if they were hungry, or go turn on the television downstairs and then I could roll back in my nice and snugly bed for a few more hours of sleep!  Those days feel light years away! 

I can no longer roll over and ignore the noise.  I have to get up, change a diaper, rock a baby, or perhaps be up for the day!  I have always been an early riser, but this is getting a bit on the ridiculous side! 

Yes, I know I could let him fuss and cry until he puts himself back to sleep, but he shares a room with Tyce and so he would then wake Tyce up and I would have two that we…

Let Them Eat Cake!

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Of course with Tyce's birthday we had to have another fantastic cake!

I again contacted Simply Scrumptious Cakes and Bakes and asked if Jen could make us a green dinosaur cake.  Tyce says he doesn't like chocolate so I was forced to ask for a white cake.

Jen had a plan that she said she could show me pictures of if I wanted, but she wanted to surprise us!  I was fine with a surprise!  I have to say that she did not disappoint!  I was even ok with it not being chocolate!

Our dinosaur cake was a fantastic two toned green stegosaurus in 3D!  It was amazing!  Tyce absolutely LOVED it!



Our birthday celebrations are increasingly becoming more and more wild.  It isn't the adults that are the wild ones during these celebrations and it isn't the goodies that cause it, it's the children!  I'm so happy that we are so blessed to have so much family around us!  The cousins look forward to getting together to play and they play hard!!  I love that out of all of the children …

One of the Changes with a New Child in the House...

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Having a toddler has changed a lot of things in our household.  One thing that Ryan noticed quickly was that my attire has now changed. (yes, he does pay attention to these types of details ;))

I can no longer wear necklaces.  After two of them were ripped off of my neck and broken, I gave up trying to keep curious hands and mouths away and now just do without.  I had forgotten about the years I went without any jewelry because I may scratch a child with a ring, get a dangly earring torn out of my ear, or have beads from a necklace end up down a throat!  Right now it just isn't worth accessorizing while I am around Mr. Curiosity aka JJ.

I have always been a big wearer of jeans.  I love jeans and had just gotten two new pairs when the baby arrived.  The other pairs, that I had, either had holes in the knees, stains from yard work or painting, or were getting to the point of wearing out.  Within a week of wearing my new pair of jeans I noticed the knee areas were looking not as new …

Better Than My Plan! My Baby is Now 5!

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What a month this has been! 
Our household has celebrated three birthdays! (not to mention the unexpected arrival of a baby which is why this blog post is so late in being posted!!)

On Sunday we celebrated my miracle baby turning 5 years old!  Not only was he a child that doctors predicted wouldn't be conceived without surgical intervention, but he was one that just by showing up on his particular birthday, October 29th, created a blessing for the family.

I was three weeks early with Jackson so I didn't expect to go over my due date with Tyce, but I did.  This little guy had me doing everything to coax his arrival!  I went for walks every day, lugged a baby Lola on my back pulling carts through the sand, ate spicy food, had pedicures, and did everything people told me to help get things moving.  After three weeks of false labor every night from 3am to 7am I was ready to have this baby!

God always has a bigger plan that I seem to miss until after the fact!  I can now look back …

Baby Mama

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Yesterday I met JJ's mom.

When we adopted Lola I honestly was a bit relieved that I wouldn't have to figure how to incorporate her birth mom in our lives.  We do talk about her birth mom and look at pictures often.  Lola likes to hear stories about when we went to Guatemala to bring her home and in time if she would like to find her birth mom we will do everything possible to make that happen.  However, right now it is nice not to have to figure out how we would include her birth mom in our day to day lives. (even though I'm sure we would be fine finding a balance)

When the teenage boys were here we didn't have to contend with moms either.  They were only a phone call away, but were not a big part in the lives of the boys.

With being a foster parent of a child born here in the states things are much different when it comes to the birth mom.  When we had our training to be licensed to be a foster parent I didn't pay too much attention to the information about visita…

Partners in Crime! A Toddler and a Dog..

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As I was cleaning up the kitchen after the kids boarded the bus for the day, I looked around and noticed that both the baby and the dog were unaccounted for.


I found the two of them under the dining room table.  Tucker was tearing up a piece of paper with his paws and teeth and JJ was tearing the paper with his little hands.  JJ was giggling like crazy.  They looked like partners in crime.  I swear Tucker appeared to have a sneaky look on his face!  Throughout the morning the two of them have gotten into everything as a pair.  I finally put the dog in his cage and broke up their crime ring!

That got me to thinking that although toddlers and teenagers are similar so are toddlers and dogs!  No wonder they get along so well!

They put everything in their mouths!They will eat food off the floor.They like to rip up and destroy things.The things they aren't supposed to have are the things they go after time and time again.They don't clean up their own messes.Sometimes they need to be p…

Toddler vs. Teenager

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Now that most of our friends and family know we have a toddler in the house, a recurring comment has been about how different it is then having a teenager and probably a lot easier.

At first I was like, Hello?  Have you seen me chase this kid all over the house all day long every day?  Do you realize I have no time alone at all?   But then I was like, Wait?  He doesn't talk back or roll his eyes at me!  Or challenge my authority!  Which is easier???  That's a tough one!  I haven't had too much time to think about it so I thought I would take a minute to ponder...
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Bedtimes can be a struggle for both.  One doesn't obey the rules, but is quiet about it and proceeds to do things that are also against the rules of the house like talk on the phone at 3am.  The other fusses or cries loudly, but is confined and falls asleep without getting into more trouble.  They both can be picky eaters, but I have only seen one throw food on the floor when it isn't what they want.  T…

Now Back to Having a Room without a Baby in it!!

The sweet baby snuggles, the cute little babbles, the shy smiles, the running into your arms just because, the squeals of glee as water splashes by flapping hands, and the smell of baby shampoo are all things I have missed now that the kids are older and out of that stage.  It is enduring and sweet and I love giving this little guy, who I will call JJ (which is not his name), as much as I can give, BUT it is a ton of work!

Oh my, JJ is on the go.  He is way busier then my other three were, or at least from what I remember!  I know that Tyce used to dig out dirt from the plants, but he also would sit on my lap for at least 10 seconds.  This little one will only sit still if he is eating or very tired!  And to think that yesterday I got a call asking us to take another boy only a month younger then JJ!  (Thankfully, I have a fantastic friend that is also a foster parent that I called and told about the situation who is taking him!)  This is very very rare as you rarely see children this…

How Could I Have Forgotten All Things Toddler???

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I had forgotten how time consuming toddlers can be!  This little guy is all over the place!  I take it as a good sign that he is adjusting well that he has opened every drawer and cupboard, climbed in the dog cage, tried to climb the stairs 100 times, played in the dog's water, found all of the curtains to be fun hiding places, checked out all of the books and magazines he can reach, and sat in the toy bin instead of playing with the toys!  All typical toddler behavior...

I wanted to bring in the hoses today and put them away for the winter, but then I realized that a simple small task like that would either require me to bundle him up and bring him with me in a stroller so he would be confined to one spot (which I have already discovered he does NOT like), wait for nap time (which is also a no no at this time), or wait until another adult was around to watch him!  With my kids being older I have taken for granted already all of the actual freedom I had!

It's ok though!  The …

One Call...

I hate it when an unknown number calls and they don't leave a message.  I am much too curious to be able to handle not knowing who is trying to get in touch with me especially when they call multiple times in a short time frame late at night!

While I was at a Girl Scout Training - yes, I have become a Girl Scout for the first time at the age of 37 - but more about that later...  While I was at training, I had my phone on vibrate so I knew that calls were coming in over and over again from an unfamiliar number.  They didn't leave a message and it was driving me crazy because I couldn't answer the call during the meeting!

When the meeting was finally finished the number popped up again, but this time I was able to answer the call.  It's amazing how things can change that quickly for a person.  You can answer a phone call and things can get all topsy-turvy!  Thankfully, the call was not a distressing one about family or friends.  It was a call to ask if we would take a ba…

Cakes and Pies! Cakes and Pies!!

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I have a huge sweet tooth!  I have actually declared dessert before dinner only because I wanted something sweet!   When we go to conferences there are times I will visit the dessert table before the others to be sure I am not too full to partake in the treats!  I also am guilty of hiding sweets in the house from everyone so I can indulge once in awhile.  (because all of that sugar is definitely not good for the children!)


So I know my sweets!

Lola just had her 6th birthday and each year I let the kids pick out what kind of birthday cake they would like to have.  It used to be that my brother in law would make all of the cakes for the kids and he even made my wedding cake.  I have to be completely honest and say that I almost cried when he told me he didn't have time to make cakes any more.  Nothing compares to his cakes!  Some of those store bought cakes have frosting that is hard and just much too sweet.  If you try to eat all of the frosting on your piece you begin to bounce of…

Taking up Golf....

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This past summer I thought I would join "high society" and take up golf.

I bought clubs on craigslist, got hand-me-down outfits from my mom, and signed up for lessons at the club down the street!  I was ready to go!!

I would just like to say that I think golf is one of the most frustrating sports of all time!  I had times where I had more patches of mud on my legs from hitting the ground then balls I had actually hit! (and it was a dry dry summer!)  No wonder one of the most important aspects of the sport (or so I have been told by more then one person) is drinking alcohol!  How would it be fun otherwise!

It wasn't all frustration however, I did have some fun golfing with girl friends and my mom.  I prefer to play where we take the best ball or where I get to take "do-overs"!  Those are proper ways to play right?

I think my biggest problem was the lessons.  I know absolutely NOTHING about golf!  I knew what a tee was, a club, and that all the ladies wore cute ou…

The State of Dogs

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I guess I am on a roll about dogs here lately!  Being a dog owner myself, one of the things I am appreciated more and more in California is how dog friendly of a state they are!

Restaurants have open deck areas where dogs are allowed, many hotels allow dogs, and there are a ton of beaches that allow them as well.I know that not everyone likes dogs and some people don’t train them all that well, but don’t you think that if I could bring my dog everywhere with me I would be more apt to train him and have more opportunities to do so?
It’s just a thought.I like my little guy and would love to have him hang out with me all day and I know that if he did he would be a better dog for it and I may be a calmer person as well! J