Monday, January 30, 2006

Respite Changes Things

Respite of any form causes change. In this case, it has caused my foster son to regress a little, my foster to adopt daughter to whine and cling, and my other foster daughter herself. *lol*

If I had it to do all over again, I'd stick Macie at my parents' house and thumb my nose at my caseworker. She pretty much pushed me to allow Macie to spend the night with one of her birth siblings for the night. It was JUST one night. Well according to the foster mother, Macie did wonderfully and was a joy to be around. But when I picked her up she was very quiet and withdrawn. She wouldn't come to ME when I held out my arms, but wanted my husband. (not a bad thing I guess, but strange.) She was very whiney and cried at the drop of a hat it seemed. It's been two days now since we've been home and she's still not back to herself. :(

B my foster son is even worse. He is rocking much more than usual. He has regressed to peeing on the toilet seat or in his pants, and is extremely whiney as well. He does nothing but whine and tattle on the other kids, or sit in the chair and rock himself. Now B has stayed in respite care before, and he's been ok. Oh sure we have a few issues to deal with, but this time seemed to bother him more than usual. (Oh and Macie and the B stayed in different foster homes for the night.) Or maybe I'm just more sensitive right now?

D seemed to thrive in the foster home. And why shouldn't she? She had 100% of the attention. They held her, sat with her, played with her, interacted with her; and I doubt very seriously that she got in trouble over there. She's such a cute kid and all. And she IS a cute kid... She just needs more attention than I can give her in the day! So every day she is asking me how long until she has a family visit, or when she gets to go back to the other foster family to visit.

Now I personally LOVED the respite day! It really allowed me to relax and enjoy Jenna's gymnastics meet. After the meet we even had enough time to come home, sit on the couch, and watch a movie together! (That would be me and Matt... Jenna went with a friend, and Conner was at grandma's house spending the night.) It was nice to just cuddle and not have to worry about the kids! And honestly Matt and I have only had that two or three times since we started fostering these children.

But to see the changes in my kids...well I know they'll get back to normal soon. They have to right? I just don't like leaving my children with strangers - even if they ARE other foster parents. You just never know what goes on behind the closed doors.

Will I use respite again? Yes, more than likely for B,D, and M. But not for Macie. She's just too little to go to strangers. Since we're adopting Macie she can just stay in the family. Will I use the same respite families we used this past weekend? No I won't. I just don't like the changes in the kids, and I know from past experiences that the more fun the kids have at the respite home, the better their behavior here.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Feeling A Little Guilty

I have to say that I'm feeling a little guilty today. Since we are foster parents, we get one respite day every three months the children are in our care. A respite day is where the agency will PAY for our children to spend the night at another foster family's home to give us a break. Well the policy is that you have to "use it or lose it" yearly - meaning that we have until January 31st to use our last respite day for our children. And we won't get our next respite day until March 1st at the earliest. So we decided to use our respite day for our children today!

My daughter, Jenna, has a gymnastics competition this Saturday at 8:00 in the morning. We have to drive 1.5 hours to get to the gymnastics meet, so we'll have to leave at LEAST by 5:45 am to make it in time! (Cause you know you HAVE to stop for a diet coke if you are going to have to function before the sun comes up.) Jenna only has three more gymnastics competitions this season, so I want to make sure my husband sees at least one more! So we are putting the kids in respite.

They aren't too happy about it. Well that's a lie. The younger three don't really care, but the oldest is really upset. We have never used respite for her before. I usually just keep her with me and take her when I have to go out of town. But for this one time, I'm putting my foot down and putting her in as well. She is very upset, grumbling about going to stay with strangers. And wanting to take ALL her toys, and saying we should just let her go with us. I understand that she's nervous (heck I would be too), but I just really need a break.

For one thing, I'm still really sick. And it takes all my energy to give the kids the care they need. For another, I would just really like to watch Jenna without having to worry about any other children. Selfish? Yes. I'll admit to that.

My mother in law is going to keep Conner for us for the night. He's in his glory. They spoil him rotten and just really have a blast together. So I'm not woried about him.

But Macie.... I'm scared to death to be leaving her. My mom said that she'd keep her for me, but the agency wants us to try putting her in respite care with one of her siblings for the night. They say the respite would just be wasted if we don't use it up. But this is my Macie we're talking about, and I could care less if we use the respite. I just want her getting the best care possible. I'm so tempted to call the agency back and tell them not to worry, that I'll just let her spend the night with my mom...

It's only for one night. I keep telling myself that, but I'm still feeling really guilty about it. I just feel that all these kids are MY kids and the thought of sending them to strangers, even for a night, is unsettling. But they'll probably have a blast, and I know that I need the rest in order to get myself well. I have to remember to take care of me, if I'm going to do justice for these children. But boy is it hard. *Sigh*

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sick of Being Sick

*ugh* You know you're sick when you start wishing you could become a dog and just lay beside the heating vent all day long, and let someone scratch your back for you. That's how I'm feeling today.

I have absolutely no energy. In fact, every time I stand up to go and "do" something I get all light headed and have to sit back down. It's much nicer sitting in this computer chair than trying to walk anywhere else in this house.

I've been sick for about three days now. Started off with just a runny nose, developed into a nasty sore throat, then a lot of coughing, then no voice, then major headaches, and now on to stomach cramps and fatigue. Let me tell you, it's not very fun.

Especially when the kiddos and hubby still think that I'm their personal slave. Get me a drink. I want a snack. Sre you EVER going to cook? Honey we have no clean dishes. Where is my clean underwear? Mom I don't have any socks! *ugh*

All I want is to lay in my bed or in the hot bathtub and just veg. I don't want to talk, I don't want to think. I may read a book, but mostly I want to just lay there. And honestly, that's all I have been doing. The house is trashed, the kids are pretty much fending for themselves, and I'm trying to get my energy back up. My husband is great about keeping an eye on the kids when he is home, and he'll feed them dinner (if he can find clean pans). But he's feeling under the weather too.

So here I am, sitting here at my computer, staring at the heating vent and wishing, just for this moment, that I was a dog and could curl up by the hot air and fall asleep to the petting of my master. *ahh* That's the life...

Monday, January 23, 2006

She's So Good!

My daughter is amazing! She was just moved up to Level 4 gymnastics this year. Level 4 is the first competing level - it goes up to Levels 10 or 11 I believe. Anyways, she just started competing this year.

Jenna wasn't chosen for the pre-team gymnastics program when she was younger, partly because she was so hyper! So she had to go through Levels 1-3 before getting on the team. As a result, she didn't have the flexibility or muscles built up like the pre-team gymnastics girls, and she really struggled in the beginning. She only had to practice 1 hour a week for levels 1-3 and she practices 6.5 hours for level 4!

So anyways, Jenna has been in about six or seven gymnastics meets this year. She has done remarkably well for her first year; but there was still a lot of room for improvements. She was scoring in the high 7's to high mid 8's. (on a 10 point scale).

Well yesterday she had a gymnastics meet down in Indianapolis, and she ROCKED! She was absolutely awesome! She got her first 9 (9.175!) on Bars and got the second place medal for her age level!! She got an 8.9 on vault and placed 8th, and in the All Around competition (where they total everybody's scores and the top 15 get awards, she scored 9th in her age group!! How cool is that?

She has just gotten so dang good in the last few months, and I am so proud of her! There is no way I could ever do half the skills that she can do (nor would I want too) but I love to sit and watch her do it! I don't know how long she'll stick with gymnastics, but however long she does, I'll always be there cheering her on!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Note To Self:

Note to self...NEVER tell a six year old they are going to be in t-ball until the DAY BEFORE t-ball is supposed to start. I made the mistake of telling my son and foster daughter that I was signing them up for t-ball. Now every day they ask me if they get to go to t-ball today.

Now I patiently have explained over, and over, and over again that it is winter time. That they do not play t-ball in winter. That we are just signing them up so the coaches can find out how many boys and girls will be playing. How we have to wait until the grass is really green, how the sun has to be shining and warm outside, and how we have to wait for Winter to go away, then Spring to come, then school to end, then Summer to start before they can play t-ball.

But I have to admit, Mother Nature isn't helping me out any. Who would have thought that in January, of all months, that we'd have 55 degree days? And that the grass outside would be turning green again? And that the sun would be shining brightly? It's no wonder my kids are confused!

So I'm having to listen several times a day to them whining about how they want to be in t-ball and how it IS summer time now. Lord I'd pray for patience, but I'm really not sure I have the will-power to deal with the many ways God would use to teach it to me!

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Tree Is Down!

I DID get the Christmas tree down last night - no thanks to Matt (Ok, so that's not fair...he DID take all the Christmas ornaments down BY HIMSELF, AND put them away in the tote. I think I was either taking a bath or watching tv while he slaved away.) We were sitting in the great room trying to watch tv (do NOT rent Bad News Bears btw...every other word is cussing! We ended up turning it off and watching School of Life) with the kids.

So anyways, here I am sitting there trying to enjoy the movie, but my eyes keep drifting over to the eyesore of my Christmas tree. I find myself constantly shaking me head in disgust and telling Matt it needs to come down. He had already gotten all the ornaments off which just left the garland, Christmas lights, and tree branches to take down.

Matt just rolls his eyes and says he'll do it later, that he's not in the mood to mess with it. Well DUH! If we were in the mood to do it it'd be done!! But that didn't change that fact that it was the 19th of January and we were still looking at it!

So I get my fanny off the couch, huffing and puffing and making a LOT of noise, head over to the evil tree and start attempting to take the garland off. I don't know WHAT my husband was thinking when he wrapped it around the tree, but I swear to you that the stuff was NOT wanting to be taken down! I think I ruined half the garland by jerking at it! But I finally managed to get it all off by myself (much to my cat's delight!)

Now on to the Christmas lights. *lol* Yeah right. Those were NOT coming down, at least not with my tiny arms trying to unwrap them. But I found a GREAT way to take them down! I started taking off the Christmas branches...WITH the lights still attached. The lights stayed somewhat in place, and the branch slipped easily out! And it was a little satisfying to see the lights tumble to the ground when the last tree branch got out of the way.

I started out really trying to put the branches away, but the tote Matt gave me was WAY too small for the branches (or so I thought) so I ended up just piling them in willy nilly. I had a beautiful tree sculpture when I was finished. It stood at least three two feet above the tote opening! Matt of course didn't appreciate it.

When he realized what I had done there was a lot of head shaking and sighing. Apparently when you take the tree apart with the lights still on, you cause a mess for the person who has to wind up all the lights. He said it's going to be a tangled mess. But it was so satisfying to see the lights all jumbled together at the base of the Christmas tree!

He made the girls redo the tree branches, and lo and behold, those two little traitors managed to get all the branches to fit inside that tiny tote! They always like to prove how much better they are than me. *hehe* And I have no problem letting them think that!

So now I'm sitting here at the computer and when I look into the great room I see the tree base, some jumbled lights at the base, and three huge totes just waiting to be put in the attic. Wonder how long it'll be before THOSE go away? It would be fun to hide easter eggs on the tree base!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I Want A Baby

As I have posted many times before, I'm a mommy and foster mommy to six children. Well I don't have enough kids. I want a BABY. Not a toddler, not a school-ager - I want a baby baby. One small enough to keep me up in the middle of the night and one I can mold into a miniature version of myself.

But I don't think I'm going to get my wish. Yes I have the room in my house for another child - barely. *hehe* Actually my husband would say we don't have the room. We live in a three bedroom (four now that we turned our front room into a bedroom) house out in the country. But we have a huge great room and our bedroom is nice size. We could easily fit a baby crib in there and still have room to move around.

I just don't think my social worker is going to give me another baby with the children I have in my home right now. We aren't sure exactly what is wrong with B my four year old foster son. He definately has PTSD, Communications Disorder, and some type of Neurological Disorder. He is definately a handful, and I find myself wanting to pull my hair out more often than not! But he can be super sweet too. Then there is D, my five year old foster daughter. She also has PTSD and Attachment Disorder. She is constantly THERE - you know? So with all these issues, my social worker doesn't really want to give me another baby. But I still WANT one. And she promised me if I put walls up in the front room that she'd get me one. Well the walls are up, but still no baby.

We can't have a baby on our own. My husband had cancer in high school and can't have children. Well we have a 3% chance of getting pregnant through invertro fertilization; BUT we have an 80% chance of miscarry due to fractured dna. *Sigh* And I'm willing to take that chance to have a baby, but Matt just isn't there yet. Plus we really don't have the $10,000 it would cost to TRY...

And I'd love to adopt again, but I don't want to go out of the states to do it. And again, I don't have the $14,000 it would cost to adopt. But I really really want another baby.

I have friends who think I'm absolutely crazy to want more children. They say aren't six kids enough? But they aren't! For one, three of the children in my home are just long term foster care. They aren't adoptable. And there is just something about holding a little one that makes me crave it...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

My Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day

My gosh, you guys wouldn't BELIEVE the day I am having! It's gloomy and rainy here today which is not helping my mood at all. I've walked around my house for the last several hours trying to think of something fun and positive to write about. Unfortunately, it's not going to happen. I'm too upset.

You see. We just paid to have our septic system cleaned out either last week or the week before. And today, while I was attempting to do laundry, my sink started to gurgle, and knowing that is NEVER a good sign, I run to the bathrooms. Sure enough, the bathtubs are filling up with nasty gooey water, and the toilets are overflowing onto the floor. Realizing that my washing machine is still running, I race back acrossed the house and turn it off, halfway through the cycle. But it's not the septic people's problem. We have a broken field tile under our house that just floods everything from the crawl space to the septic...

So now I have a stinky house, sudsy laundry - that will probably mildrew *ugh*, a dishwasher full of dishes waiting to be washed, and a houseful of tattling children. Did I mention that I'm stranded here? Yup, that's right.

My husband's car is not working right, so he had to take it to the shop last night to be checked out. Since he didn't have his own car, he took mine to work this morning. Normally this wouldn't bother me; but having such a nasty smelling house (not even candles can help!!) is really making me want to cry! Oh, and it's going to cost us over $300 to have his car repaired. Oh the joys of being a grown up.

It's one of those days when I wish I was a child again and could just curl up on my dad's lap and watch tv with him. No having a care in the world, and knowing that any problems I had could be solved with just a little kiss to make it all better.

Monday, January 16, 2006

A Good Book, Bath, and Children

There is nothing I love more than to be drawn into the lives of the main characters in my favorite books! As long as I can remember I've had a love of reading. Oh I wasn't a world class student by any means! In fact, until I was a junior in high school I was happy just to get C's and occassionally B's or A's. But that didn't stop me from reading.

Actually I think my love for reading my have caused my low grades! Once I start a book, it is Very hard for me to put it down until it is finished. So if I started a book during the school week, my homework came second to figuring out what was going to happen next in the story! Once I realized how addicted to reading I was, I began to limit how much I would read during the school year - especially around major testing weeks. I noticed a big difference in my test scores during the times I wasn't reading a good book. But boy did I miss the books!

I've always had this gift of tuning out the world when I read. You can be standing right next to me talking, and if my face is in a book, I won't hear a word you are saying. (That gift has since grown to tuning out my children's voices when they are fighting or being really loud - drives my husband nuts!) But there is something about a good book that just takes my full attention.

My favorite books to read are Christian fiction, but I also love romance, popular best sellers, and an occassional horror novel! So far I haven't really found any sci-fi or fantasy novels that can hold my attention (sorry hubby); but put anything else in my hands and I'll probably read it. I love Lori Copeland's old romance novels, Karen Kingsbury's Christian Fiction, Dean Koontz's horror, and Lorna Landvik's Bestseller. *hehe*

That's the book I'm currently reading - Lorna Landvik's "Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons". I don't know why I pick this book. I think I was just browsing the book aisle at Kroger's while my daughter was at gymnastics and the title just jumped out at me. It's a really good book too! Kind of predictable but then are most novels now adays!

Even when I don't have a book to read, stories are constantly running through my head. Sometimes I am transported back to a story that I've recently read, others I make up my own stories. I have to say that I have one WILD imagination! If I only had a little extra time I'd attempt to write my own novel. Alas, procrastination is my downfall! Still, that doesn't stop the stories from lulling me to sleep each night.

Friends and relatives get a kick out of the fact that I take two hour baths (or longer) all the time. But honestly, I have a very understanding and loving husband who knows I need a break, and so while he helps out with the kids; I get my down time! So how, you may ask, do I stay in the tub so long? Easily. I lounge with my hands out of the water with a good book, and my feet propped up on the other side half of the bath. (If I left them in they'd itch like crazy when I got out - learned that from experience!) And once I actually start reading, I lose all sense of time. It's usually the screams of my husband; or the constant interruptions from my children that let me know when I've been in too long.

But I have to say that my favorite time to read is when my oldest daughter joins me in my bed. We'll curl up together on the pillows and just read. Sometimes we'll stop and talk about what's going on in her life, or she'll ask me to read a few pages of her book that she thought were really good! Or - like the time I was reading a Sister Chick Book and was laughing so hard that I had tears rolling down my cheeks, she'll grab MY book to see what is so funny! We don't do this very often though. Jenna doesn't love books like I do, so sometimes it's like pulling teeth the get her to want to read at all! And then there are the other children. If I let one kid in my bed, I have to let them all...and sometimes I just don't feel like that - you know?

But my prayer is that all of my children when grow to have a love of reading if not as strong as mine; then one that will at least occassionally allow them to escape reality and live in the lives of the characters for a short while.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Nothing Like Giving Warning

There is nothing more frustrating to me than having a social worker call me at the last minute and want to come out to see my children. For the most part, my normal social worker from the private agency is wonderful and doesn't do this. However, sometimes we have to have county social workers come and do a face to face visit with the kids.

I am by no means a good housekeeper. I try my best to keep up with the laundry, dishes, and picking up the toys on a daily basis...usually; but the dusting and mopping, and toilet cleaning, and bathtub cleaning *shudder*.. well... it gets put on the back burner until it gets to the point where I can't stand it. And since I have such a large family, it takes a while for that to happen!

Now my children help a lot with the picking up. The older two gather the trash the younger ones feed the animals for us, and all of them have to pick up the laundry and toys around the house. It's also up to them to keep their rooms tidy. (Although I have to go in usually and redo it after they leave for school). So you'd think that with all this help we'd be able to keep the house nice looking right? Wrong!!!

It seems that while I'm busy cleaning one room, the children will be in another making an even bigger mess!! The only time my house is really nice looking is when they are all in bed or at school...and then only if I have enough energy to straighten up!

So anyways, back to my original topic. As you have read, I'm not a clean freak. So when I know that social workers are coming for a visit I do a mad dash cleaning spree to get the house sparkling and in good shape. It takes a while for this transformation to happen.

And when I get these last minute phone calls telling me they are coming first thing in the morning...well...I really start to panic! There is no way my house is going to look clean in that short amount of time! So how will I fix this? I'll hide what I can until the social worker leaves, and try my hardest to keep her in my kitchen (the cleanest room in my house!) I'll pray that she only stays a few minutes and that she remembers that I am the mother of six right now and house cleaning is at the bottom of my priority list.

Taking care of the children, playing with them, feeding them, and helping them with homework is far more important to me than cleaning up. Oh and we can't forget those two hour baths. Can't live without those.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Wish Me Luck

Well everyone I've decided to try my hand at being Martha Stewart. That's right. I - Anna - am going to being a Suzy Homemaker-type woman. I have mastered the art of scrapbooking. I can crochet a blanket (using one type of stitch!), and now I'm on to my next challenge...a Cuddly Quilt Kit. I'm going to attempt to make a homemade baby quilt for my cousin's first baby!

Now mind you, I attempted sewing about seven years ago and found that I could sew the material long as I didn't have to read the directions. If I had to figure out what the directions were saying I was completely lost.

But never fear, this cuddly quilt kit promises easy-to-follow instructions! So I spend my husband's hard earned money on this very cute kit, but will I be able to figure it out? Slowly I unfold all the fabric pieces and locate the hidden instructions. I'm still trying to figure out why they were buried in the deepest fold of the material. Was it to keep me from seeing how complicated it was before I purchased it? I'm honestly thinking that might be the case.

Right away it tells me all the supplies I am going to need. Hmm... What is a rotary cutter? Now I know a scrapbook version of this, but where do I get a sewing one? Is it the same thing? The instructions don't say... What is a pressing cloth? The instructions don't say. Sew with right sides together... opposed to wrong sides? I'm guessing this means for me to put the "good" side of the material together right?

My head is beginning to throb by this point and I'm wondering why I spent $20.00 on this project when I could have bought a really cute already put together baby blanket for less! Why did I ever think I could be a Martha? I've never been a Martha before and you can't teach a non-Martha new tricks! Lord help me, I'm in over my head! And this is just from reading the instructions.

I have yet to have the courage to cut the fabric and give this project a try. I wonder if it's too late to take it to my mother-in-law to complete. The fabric is so pretty and soft and cute looking all folded together like this. Maybe I'll just give the quilt project to my cousin for her baby shower gift instead of trying to give her the completed quilt. But no, *sigh* my pride won't let me quit just yet. I have to at least attempt this daunting taskbefore I can turn it over to the professionals. Maybe I'll get lucky and it'll turn out cute! I'll let you know how it goes.

Foster Parent Musings

Some days I'm so thankful that God called me to be a foster parent. On these days I feel like I'm on top of the world. On these days I laugh and play with the kids, we sing songs together, we go to their appointments with a smile on our faces. When I'm in these "good parent" moods, I can treasure all the cute things the kids say to me, and I know just by looking at them that I'm doing my best for them, and that they are thriving.

But the good days are getting farther and farther apart. It's not that I am sorry I became a foster parent; but the day in/day out life of mothering six children can get overwhelming! Sometimes I feel like I have too many kids.

When I get in these moods, my "bad parent" ones, I feel like a complete and utter failure. I question why God gave me the responsibility of parenting this many children. I have to wonder what kind of sense of humor he has. On the bad days I want to run screaming to my bedroom and lock myself in. Of course, I'd still see the fingers poking through the crack in the door, and hear the doorknob jingling, and the little fists pounding on the door. Even in the bad moments, I know I'm supposed to be doing this.

But when they are bad, the tattling, the constant need for attention and the fighting with each other take the joy out of my singing. When they eat dog food, and mulch, and eye glasses pieces I don't really feel like passing around the candy bag for a treat. When I hear from the school teachers that my child is saying she can't go on a the school field trip because we "can't afford to pay for the admission price (3.50) AND buy Christmas" I just want to crawl under a rock. (On a side note, I NEVER said she couldn't go because of money issues - we had the money). Well all of that wears me down.

Then there are the comments from "kind hearted" people; you members. We have the grandma who hears me take a firm voice with my foster daughter telling her to get in the car (this was the FOURTH time I told her to get in the car, and she wasn't minding...) and turns to my mother after I leave to ask "does she even LIKE that little girl?" And then proceeds to tell her that all my daughter needs is a little extra loving and lots of hugs and kisses. And that if I'm not able to give her that, to send her to her and She will do it. *grr* To start off, I DO give lots of hugs and kisses. I DO like/love this little girl.

We also have the aunt who sees us only at major holidays when there are over 40 people (18 of those being children under the age of 12) in a small house; and informs us that we are too hard on our children. That we needed to lighten up and let them be kids. Well I'm sorry, but I can not allow my four year old foster son (who eats EVERYTHING) to go upstairs to play unless I go with him. He thinks it's a great game to roll down the stairs and eat Barbie Doll shoes. Oh and did I mention that he likes to do those two things at the same time? Now how would I explain to my caseworker how this child got a shoe lodged into his throat and broke his neck all at the same time? I would lose my license (not to mention my own children) for sure!

Then we have the well-meaning friends. These are the people that I call when I've had a very frustrating day. Knowing I don't want to take it out on the children or my husband, but also knowing I have to get it out of my system; I call these friends for a stress breaker. It does NOT help to hear that "We just don't know what these kids have been through. And you don't know what they have seen. And they are just little, you need to realize that and just love on them." I KNOW all these things. I DO understand that they have been through a lot. I DO understand they are the way they are because of their parents and environment. But that still doesn't help me deal with them on these bad days!! I have this group of children since March!! I think I know a little more about what they went through, and they've had 10 months to get used to our rules and parenting styles.

Wow... can you tell I'm sort of in a Bad Parenting mood today? I just re-read what I typed in and I can hear the negativity in my message. Does this mean I'm going to take it out on my kids today? Nope it doesn't. It just means that I'm going to have to work harder at showing them my good side. That I'm going to have to pray more frequently and remind myself that they only need my good side until 11:30 when they get on their school bus; and that after I drop my son off at Kindergarden and put my two year old down for her nap - THEN I can take that two hour bath and read a good book and recharge myself for the afternoon stretch. We'll get through this day like we do every other day. One minute at a time. And hopefully, at the end of the day, the kids and I can all look back on what we've done and see the positives have out-weighed the negatives.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Too tired to type

Oh my, it's been a very hectic weekend. It feels like a Monday (the kids didn't go to school yesterday because of a teacher training day). We had so much going on and stayed up way past 1 am for the last three nights in a row.

My husband and I spent the weekend pulling carpet up in our foster daughters' bedroom and in our bedroom. My hands swelled so badly from pulling up staples that I had to take off my wedding ring! Now the only room that still has carpet is our Great Room... and that's only because there is a concrete floor under the carpet instead of hardwood floors.

We also had court for our youngest foster to adopt daughter. The judge was very informal - even going so far as to letting the kids take her place on the judge's stand and wear her robe and speak in her microphone. But it was very tiring. For one it takes over an hour to get to court; for two, I had to pick up my mom's foster children for court because she has the flu; and for three, the judge made us have a family visit with all the siblings after court.

Top all that off with my daughter coming down with the stomach flu, my foster children acting very needy and clingy, and my son's medication not kicking in yet, and you have a very tiring morning. Nap time can't come soon enough for me.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Sims 2 is an evil game

Well evil isn't really the right word for the game...I think addictive is a better word. Last night my husband had to go out of town for a business trip. For some reason, I couldn't fall asleep after he left; so I got up and started my favorite computer game.

I played for six hours straight. Oh I got up once to go potty, twice to let the dogs outside, and twice to comfort children who woke up from bad dreams. But the pull of the game kept me sitting there long after my body told me to get some sleep.

The result of my late night? My lovely children decided to wake me up after four hours of sleep by running through the hall and screaming loudly at each other to wake up. Did I mention that I turn into a witch without enough sleep?

So I open the bedroom door, growl at the children and warn them that it is NOT morning yet and to go back to bed. Do they listen? Of course not, they continued jumping out of their beds (particularly loud on hardwood floors) and fighting with each other.

Awake for the day, I've found myself with no patience for the children, mad at the world, and wishing I would have went to bed like a normal person. It doesn't help that my husband didn't get home from work until 6 am this morning and has been sleeping away while I've dealt with the kids. *sigh*

I know it's my own fault. I understand this is my punishment for playing the dumb game... But for my children's sake I hope I can take a nap when they do...otherwise it's going to be a really stress filled day at my house.

Off to stop my foster daughters from fighting over the coloring papers, to stop my foster son from eating dog food (he doesn't think I saw him grab a handful), and to stop my youngest daughter from carrying my place mats into the toy room... Oh happy day...NOT. I think I'll wake my husband up and take me a two hour bath. If he had been home, I never would have gotten on the Sims game to begin with.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Scary Thoughts

This is my last post for today...I promise. I just had to get this out of my system. I'm a nervous wreck. You all know I'm a foster mom. Well sometimes we are required to attend court hearings. Sometimes we can get out of it; but sometimes we have no choice. I just found out this next court hearing is a "no choice - you have to show up...oh and by the way, so does the foster child" one.

I just got of the phone with my caseworker. She was giving me the directions on how to get to court for my two year old next week. Well after she rattled off the directions to me, she told me to just keep my eyes open for the birth parents or their friends.

She said that I am to constantly watch from the time I leave the car until I get into the actual court room. She said that if I see a BIG black man who is Very husky looking, and looks very angry to run the other direction. Oh and keep an eye out for black women getting into their purses, because mom carries a gun, as well as other weapons with her at all times.

Apparently Macie's birth parents don't know that we have court next week, but they are constantly hanging around downtown in the hopes of catching a social worker off guard. These people are SCARY.

They are part of a gang up north, they have slashed case worker, casa worker, and the transporter for their children's tires. They have slammed bricks into the windshield of the workers. They have threatened bodily harm to everyone who has their kids. They have been known to follow workers around town. They are EVIL.

We were never allowed to attend court before the termination occurred because they were so violent. I personally think it's stupid for us to be attending it now, but the judge court ordered us to appear. *sigh*

So if you think about it, say a prayer for us early next week because we're going to be entering enemy territory. Right now the parents have no idea where the kids are living, and we'd like to keep it that way.

The sooner we can adopt Macie and change her social security number, the better I'll feel. The thought of anything or anyone hurting my baby is enough to turn me into a real mama bear. I'll protect her at all costs.

God Bless WIC

I really am thankful for WIC (Women Infant Children) vouchers. They allow me to purchase cereal, milk, bread, eggs, cheese, peanut butter, beans, and during the summer months fresh fruit from the farmers market, and it doesn't come out of our family budget! If I didn't have foster children, then I wouldn't be able to have WIC because of the income level; but with the additional children in my home, we qualify. (actually the foster kids qualify - my family still doesn't!)

Now some people are embarrassed to use WIC vouchers. Some people feel ashamed. Some PEOPLE make people feel ashamed to use them. But to me, they are a lifesaver. I don't feel the least bit guilty when I use them. They help me keep my family healthy and fed!

My children go through two gallons of milk every two days! (One white, one chocolate) and half a gallon more of white milk. My youngest three drink milk at every meal (and juice in between). My older children use the milk on their cereal, and on their strawberry shortcake. We love scrambled eggs for breakfast, boiled eggs as a side at dinner, and not to mention all the baking I do with them!! The cheese... my goodness you'd think it was candy the way my children go through it! (We buy the cubes for easy holding.)

I save over $100.00 a month...maybe a lot more - I haven't actually sat down and added up the receipts - by using our WIC vouchers. The money we save allows us to take our children out for a family dinner, or to the bowling alley, or the movie theater. It allows us to have a little fun without worrying about how we'll afford groceries. (Do you realize how much is COSTS to feed eight people fast food?!?)

And while we're on the subject, reduced rates on school lunches are great too!! *hehe* I'm not to proud to say that I'll take any type of assistance I can get for my children. They are worth it. And if others think I'm cheap, or that I'm a dead-beat parent...well...all they have to do is spend a day in my shoes to know how wrong they really are.

It's Quiet Now

You know, sometimes you just need to start the day over. That's what happened here at my house. My son woke up the house around 7:00 this morning running around and screaming at the top of his lungs. His adhd medication wasn't in his system yet and he was WILD. No problems though, I simply walked him into the kitchen and gave him his medicine.

In walks the other five kids, one at a time. The last being my five year old foster daughter D. D has to control everything. D doesn't like anyone but her getting any of the attention. D started grabbing toys out of my son's hand and telling him they were hers. (they weren't btw). Wherever Conner went, D followed and made him miserable. She was tattling left and right and just being a big pest.

During all of these, I have my daughter who is talking NON-STOP because her adhd medication isn't in her system yet. I swear I now know exactly how old everyone in our house will be when Jenna is 13, 16, 18, 21, ect. She was having a blast figuring out everyone's ages; but that constant chatter on top of D's tattling and whining, and Conner's screaming was really getting on my nerves.

Oh and we can't forget my foster son B. B was rocking so hard in his booster seat at the kitchen table that he knocked the chair over backwards and started bawling. Of course I rush over to make sure he's ok. What do I find? Oh just the normal toy car in his mouth, but otherwise he's ok. So I have D tattling, Conner screaming, B bawling, and Jenna chattering.

Then there is my foster daughter M. M doesn't like school. M doesn't like mornings. M refused to eat breakfast. She changed her clothes twice because I had the gall to tell her she couldn't wear her pj's or her summer t-shirts in 20 degree weather. M sulking at the table and telling me when SHE turns 18 she's leaving here and taking her siblings with her. Major attitude.

And we'll end with Macie. Macie is Macie. *hehe* Ok I have to admit that i find it harder to get mad or frustrated at her. After all, she's only two years old and she's acting very age appropriate. Sure she has her moments, but they are short and far between. Right now she's sitting on my lap playing with a carebear toy while I type.

So now you have an idea of what my morning was like before I got the oldest two off to school. I sent the youngest four into the Living Room to play and told them to stop the fighting and tattling or they were going back to bed. Being the thick-headed children that they are, they didn't believe me.

You should have heard the screaming and seen the tears when I finally flipped my lid and sent them all back to their bedrooms. I told them lights out and to get back in bed. That when they could prove to me that they were going to wake up and be the happy, loving, fun, caring, sharing kids that I knew they could be; that I might consider letting them get back up.

That was 15 minutes ago and it's finally quiet back there. No they aren't sleeping, but they have learned that I will not let them up until they can calm down and think about why they are there. Guess I'll let them up and see how the rest of the day goes. 15 minutes was long enough for me to gain back a little of my sanity to be able to deal with the rest of my day.

**edited to add: I went to wake the kids up, but they were ALL asleep! I wasn't actually planning on making them go back to sleep. But hopefully they'll wake up in a better mood and be ready to start the day.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

It's Ok

Just thought I would post again and let everyone know that I survived the morning....and so did the kids! It's amazing how much easier my day gets when two of the four littlest ones get on the school bus.

I was even able to get a little bit of cleaning done! My husband came home for lunch and commented on how nice the house was starting to look. I have to admit, watching the house take shape is really helping to make me feel better as well.

I have an hour until the "bug man" comes to keep me critter free. I should be taking that bath, but I am so addicted to this computer that I wanted to check out what my friends are up too first.

Tell Me Again WHY I am a Mom?

Please someone, tell me why I CHOSE to be a mommy? Right now I'm having an "I don't want to be a mommy" day. I get this way every once in a while, especially if the kids are really being brats. It usually lasts until the last child heads to school. After that I'll put the youngest down for a nap and take me a two hour bath until they all get home from school.

Well I have to say that this day qualifies as a bratty day. They are fighting with each other over toys, over which seat they are going to sit in, over who gets the stupid BLUE UNICORN card, over which seat they get to sit in in the car (We aren't even GOING anywhere today!). They are tattling on each other non-stop!

I can't tell you the number of toys that I have put on top of my fridge, in my closets, in the trash, and in the garage today! You'd think after the first three were taken away that they'd realize that I mean business and that I'm not going to put up with the fighting and lack of sharing. But no, not these kids.

And the constant need for attention. Well that comes from being a child. They DO need our attention. They do need our hugs and kisses. They do need to know that we love them and are here for them. So I don't mind the "good" attention they need. But after I've given the first five hugs of the fifteen minute time span, I just really KNOW that they love me, and that I love them. And by this point I'm wanting them to just go play.

Even when I'm having these days where I want to pull out my hair, I'm still trying to not raise my voice too much. I'm trying to be a good mom. I'm trying to show them by example how I want them to behave. But boy is it tough.

It's days like these that I wonder if I'm doing the right thing in staying home and being a mommy/foster mommy. *sigh* But on the good days, when everything is going smoothly, and the kids are smiling and happy, when they are loving and just full of life...I remember why I chose this job.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I'm Pretty Daddy!

It took me an hour to take the braids out of my daughter's hair this morning. Another hour to give her a bath and wash and condition her hair, and a half an hour more to redo her hair into a cute style fit for a princess. After all that work, how could I NOT take her to get her picture taken?

We haven't had Macie's picture professionally taken once since she joined our family back in July. I have pictures of every other child in my home, all prominently displayed on my computer/scrapbooking desks; but none of Macie. So... knowing we had no money to blow on pictures, I called and made the appointment! She's worth it.

So off to the store we go. Macie was the perfect princess! She smiled when the frog fell from the photographer's head, she tilted her head "just so" when the camera was ready to flash, and she showed off her onery two year old side more than once! All in all it was a GREAT picture taking session. It was very difficult to choose which photos to keep. But I managed. We are now the proud owners of a beautiful close up smiling picture package; as well as a full length sweet picture SHEET ($20.00 a sheet *ugh*) of my newest daughter.

While we were trying to decide which pictures to order, Macie pointed to the computer screen and said "Daddy, look! It's ME! I PRETTY Daddy, I pretty girl." *giggles* And you know what? She was right!

It's Going To Be A Good Day

At least that's my prayer for today. For the first time in a long time, I'm giving this day to the Lord. I woke up this morning to the local Christian Station playing "In an effort to praise Him," and it got me thinking. How long has it been since I've taken the time to praise Him? Gosh... it feels like forever. So I started out my morning with a prayer, and my hope is that I'll have a better attitude when dealing with my family. Maybe if I start putting God back at the top of my priorities my life will run smoother...

My goal for today is to surprise my husband and have a CLEAN house by the time he comes home from work. Not sure how clean I can actually get it with all these kiddos around, but I'm going to try my hardest to get something accomplished!

Well I'll post later how my day actually goes. Have to go get the oldest ones off to school, and get the little ones ready to start the day. Who knows...I might even let them play play dough.... then again...why ruin the morning that quickly? :)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Jenna's Doctor Visit

*ugh* The doctor says that Jenna is too skinny. I didn't realize you could be too skinny, but apparently you can. Jenna is in Level 4 gymnastics. She works out at the gym a total of 6.5 hours each week. She competes in competitions at least twice a month around the state. She eats a ton of junk food daily, but she doesn't gain any weight. She's 10.5 years old and weighs 58.5 pounds, and is 54 1/4 inches tall. People...she has a 6X waist, but needs a size 10 for length! *lol* Thank God for those new stretch jeans!

Anyways, the doctor recommends that we make Jenna eat more often during the day, and he also wants her to take more calcium. He's worried - even now - about osteoperosis (sp) developing when she's older....

In other news, he also said that he wants her to stay on 20 mg of Focolin XR for her ADD. We may increase it to 30 mg in a few weeks; but he wants to wait and see what kind of response we are getting from the teachers before we do that.

What To Do?

I'm not sure what to do with my five year old foster daughter. Let me tell you a little about her. I've had her and her siblings in my home since March. I won't go in to ALL the issues this sibling group has, it's too long, but I'll tell you that this little one has SEVERE attachment disorder (she's a leech!), and has to have constant attention. She's been diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as well.

But the issue that is driving me insane is the fact that she is peeing and pooping in her pants! This all started around Christmas time when her family gave her a picture of Mommy. Ever since she either just doesn't WIPE her bottom after going to the bathroom, or she just doesn't even GO to the bathroom. She has pooped her pants three times, peed her pants once, and I can't even count how often she isn't wiping. It is SO disgusting!

And when we yell at her or put her in a time out for doing this. (See she DIDN'T do this before, so we know she can control's ALL a control issue)... she zones out on us. Her eyes get this glassy look and she just disappears. I have no idea if she hears any of our ranting, but my guess is that she doesn't.

I just don't know what to do to get her to stop pooping. We've resorted to putting her in pull ups from about 6 pm until morning because that is when she honestly has the most issues. Any suggestions?

Introducing Me

Hello everyone,

This is my first attempt at blogging, so I have no idea if I'm even doing this correctly. But here goes. My name is Anna, and I am the mother/foster mother to six children. Yes you read correctly...I have six kids. Sometimes I look around at my life just ask myself "What was I thinking?" Other times I look around and just laugh at how full my life has become. These kids can bring so much joy to the house; and at other times they make me want to pull my hair out and run screaming into the bathroom for a three hour bath!

Anyways, I'm going to see what happens when I publish this post. Depending on that, I guess I'll either post more, or figure out what I'm doing wrong!