Monday, December 31, 2007

2007: Our Year In Review

Here we are at the end of year.....the very last day. As I sit here thinking about it, I wonder where it went? I know I was conscious and involved in every day but yet, I ask myself, where did it all go? I was recently having a conversation with our six year old. He says to me, Why does dark time come so quick every day? My first response was to quickly tell him that it's purely for the sake of your parents sanity but really, it's because we are so busy at living life, that time flies by without us noticing....at least until I yell out, "It's bedtime" anyway. Then it's obvious that the day has now come to an end.

Here we are almost to 2008...but before we say good bye to 2007, I want to briefly reminisce about this past year.

Here it goes:

1. I became the proud owner of a cemetery plot.

2. Kara took her first steps.

3. My husband had a mysterious gall bladder issue and removal.

4. My husband's job was sent to India leaving him with a sense of "freedom" and me a sense of panic.

5. We lost a 13 year old cousin to a drunk driver.

6. We started a business.

7. Ryan lost his first tooth.

8. Ryan asked Jesus into his heart.

9. My Mom left our nest to explore other opportunities abroad....like bingo night and skip-bo with the gals.

10. Grace got her pink room.

11. We got a new dishwasher.

12. We became relative foster parents to two little girls.

13. Grandma Adelia passed away at the beautiful age of 93.

2007 also brought a year full of birthday celebrations and lots of living in between.

We pray that your 2008 is full of hope, full of happy memories created with those you love, and one full of God's peace.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy Birthday, Dear

Today was my husband's birthday. It's funny when you get older. Sometimes your birthday is just like any other day. Kind of like some of our dates. I remember when it use to be so romantic...holding hands and being all kissey-faced. After 14 years, five kids and two new additions, sometimes a date consist of Costco and Starbucks. I suppose I should be grateful for an uninterrupted trip to Costco and by all means, the Starbucks is a treat but I do reminisce about the good ol' days.

Bob went to visit his Dad who happens to be in the hospital and then he went to Meijer's for me. How fun is that on your birthday? He is a dear and very precious to me. He tries to keep my kitchen clean because he sees me working so hard at keeping the laundry pile down and figures that is a full time job. I think he also knows how very much I hate doing dishes. He goes out at Midnight to get milk so we have it for cereal in the morning.....he's always looking for ways to help his family.

I want you to know, dear, that all those things never ever go unnoticed. I am so very grateful for you and I hope you know how very much you are loved.

Happy Birthday, Sweetie!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Merry Christmas

Can you believe the whirlwind of Christmas is already over. It seems like from Thanksgiving on, there is such a flurry of activity (or maybe that's just my children bouncing off the walls) that by the time Christmas is over, I kind of feel like there is something missing. I wish you could hang on to the Christmas excitement and wonder but I suppose you do need some down time. Maybe I wouldn't like it if the kids were going bonkers all the time. We'd never get an ounce of a sane moment. Boy, I just slapped myself back to reality. I do value my sanity...highly.

When I look around my living room, it shows that Christmas did indeed happen. It may look like a tornado hit but I'm sure it was just the most exciting holiday of the year crash landing right here before me.

We had such a fun time watching the kids open all their gifts. Kara was such a cute little thing to watch as she tore threw that wrapping paper to find what was underneath it. She's a maniac when it comes to opening gifts. None of this gentle tearing of the paper for her.

Sharlene was so fun to watch too. She thought that every gift she got was for her birthday. It kind of reminded me of the cartoon movie, Frosty the Snowman, when he says Happy Birthday every time the magic hat sits on his head. I'm still not sure she understood that they were for Christmas. I'm sure she'll catch on pretty quick. The other kids will fill her in on how it works.

We had a couple special blessings happen this year. Some ladies from my Mom's church blessed our family with gifts. As the packages were opened with glee, it was as if God helped them pick out each item. Aaron exclaimed, "How did they know I wanted these!" We also received some other wonderful gifts that hold me speechless. God blessed us beyond anything I ever imagined.

That's what Christmas is about. Sharing God's love. It may be in the form of a gift, it may be in the form of a hug, or a note. We truly saw God's love through so many different avenues this Christmas. I pray that your heart, too, has the opportunity to see HIS love in action. It's so amazing.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Recycled Toys

I don't know about you but we spent a pretty penny on video's back in the day. Especially when we started having our family, did the stacks of videos start piling up and since everybody has their favorites, we are talking TALL stacks.

Now we have DVD's piling up. Although, they aren't as bulky as the video's. It's like the old computer monitors....they are so b-u-l-k-y. I love my slim flat screen monitor and am looking forward to someday replacing our b-u-l-k-y TV with one of those fan-dangled new jobies.

Our VCR hasn't been in good working condition for a long time now and has long since been lost under the six feet layer of dust. But the 'tall' stacks of videos lined up in a row under the entertainment center look oh, so very lonely. My husband had suggested once that we copy them onto DVD's but that would entail getting some new equipment which just seems silly in my mind. Therefore, we have a collection of videos with no current purpose.

I've asked myself on many occasions why I keep them. I suppose because they cost lots of money at one time even though now you could probably have all of mine for $5.00 total and that is stretching it. I suppose if I keep them for another 20 years maybe they'll be considered antiques? Or perhaps they'd make a good show and tell to future grandchildren. Back in my day, dearie, these here video tapes were what we watched on that old color tv that took up 36 whole inches. Can you just imagine that?

After catching myself from yelling at the kids to not play with those, I realized what a fun time they were having. They built towers, doll houses, and each had their own room sectioned off with those wonderful new toys. Hours and hours of fun and creativity have been had by those newly recycled toys. Kara even pulls out the tape on a couple just enough to make a purse in which she carries around on her shoulder. Again....can you just imagine that?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Winter Wonderland

Oh...the weather outside is frightful....

They say we may end up with six more inches before this evening. I got five calls this morning telling us that church was canceled. I don't ever remembering that happening. I have to tell you that I'm a bit relieved. Even though I wasn't really sure we were going to go because four out of the seven have green snotty noses, the thought of getting everyone dressed, matching boots found and oh, then there is the mittens.....it's just too much to think about before my sixth cup of coffee.

I think my favorite weatherman, Chuck Gaidica, announced it was a snow pant emergency this morning. The kids are itching to get out there. They might have to wait a little bit though.....I need to do some laundry so they all have clean pants. If I wasn't so embarrassed about my laundry pile....I might be tempted to show you a glimpse of it. I'll have to think about that and get back to you on that.

When I was a kid, I couldn't wait for moments like this when there was a dumping of snow. Of course, it was even more exciting when it happened to be on a school day but nevertheless, still very fun. I can feel the excitement oozing from every area of my home. Aaron woke me up with a "holy cow"....it's all buried out there. The kids keep running to the window to check it out and to make sure it's still out there. I'm afraid it isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

As I was watching the news this morning, they showed the line-up of people in front of Best Buy around 6 a.m. to hopefully get an opportunity to purchase the new shipment of Wii's despite this nasty winter storm. That is dedication right there, people. My children are going to have to settle for sending their pleases to the Easter bunny. You never know. Always remain hopeful, I say.

Winter is definitely here. We might actually have a white Christmas this year.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pink Shoes

They have the cutest clothing items out there for little girls. It doesn't help me one bit that I think Kara is a beautiful girl. Can you tell I'm prejudice?

We recently went shopping at the mall and what do you think I came across? The most adorable pink shoes that sparkle like the eyes of my 19 month old. She already has two pairs of shoes I told myself.....but I ended up purchasing them anyway because they reminded me of her.

She took to them as quick as a wink and hasn't given much thought to her other shoes. She now brings me these shoes whenever she has an inkling that she might be going bye-bye. I sure wish I could find some for myself.....oh to be a little girl again.

Can we just say....adorable?!!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Let It Snow....

Last year we got a big snowfall early in the season to which Ryan begged and begged for one of his parents to go outside and make a snowman with him. For the life of me, I can't remember the reason why I put him off....maybe because it was cold out there or maybe it's because it takes me an hour to find all the accessories the kids need to go outside in the cold only to have them done with all that fun in just five minutes flat. That's just enough for me to procrastinate. So we passed on the opportunity to make the snowman BUT I did promise that I would with the next snowfall.

Well....that never happened. Everytime it snowed, it was either the really light, dusty, fluffy snow that will not pack into a snowball or it wasn't enough to make one bigger than a pine cone. This dear child of mine has not, for the last year, let me forget that. Even in the middle of 90 degree weather, he had not forgotten for one second that I promised him I'd make a snowman with him and I didn't. He just would not listen to reason.

He spent the entire year muttering about when the snow fell this very next time, that there would be one mother and one son outside making that very important snowman and it was going to be F-U-N. Of course, the mother was muttering about what she could do with the snow when it fell this very next time but I suppose that wouldn't go down in our family history as one of my finer mother moments.

Well, as many of you know, the snow has fallen and it was just the right kind....wet snow that packed into a wonderful snowman. Ryan was the happiest kid around. The moment had finally come. We happened to have a carrot for his nose. He tried using animal crackers for the mouth and eyes but the wet snow kept making them into a sort of paste which was frustrating him so we found some rocks and then it happened. Ryan had his snowman.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Raw Honesty

It's interesting how God reveals himself. I was feeling very discouraged with Sharlene and Barbara and the diagnosis we had been given from the mental health facility. Actually, to be truthful, I was feeling quite angry. God doesn't promise that the things he asks of us are going to easy or that if we are willing to be obedient, that he'll just reach down and make the road free of debris. Sometimes it's just plain ol' h-a-r-d. Sometimes, when He asks us to do something, disappointment and frustration appear because it's not quite what we had in mind. Expectations. But I expected....well..no, maybe I didn't know what to expect but I didn't know what we as a family would go through or the emotions that this experience would reveal in myself.

Have you ever been in a situation that reveals your character in the mirror and you don't like what you see? That's me. I've seen selfishness, irritation, a lack of mercy and forgiveness and where or wherefore art thou, my compassion? I have to ask God every day for forgiveness of my attitude and my selfish desire to be done with such a hard task. The desire of my heart is to be full of compassion, quick to be merciful and forgiving, tender-hearted. To, without question, be obedient to what God has placed in my care. So why, even though my mind knows what to do, is it so incredibly hard to get the rest of me in agreement.

So I'm sitting in church a couple weeks ago listening to the sermon which seemed to be only for me. A couple points still haunt me today. You have to get out of your house or your cushy life and let God use you for a hurting world which include something dear to God's heart, orphans. Could you go to heaven knowing you turned that opportunity down?

I happened to get a email which was from Dr. Dobson's site. It was on orphans and how precious they are to God.

I sat down to watch a Christmas movie. Care to take a guess what it ended up being about? Yep...taking on the care of three orphans.

Ok, so I get it, God! You've got my attention.

God wants us to continue caring for our two little orphan girls no matter what the struggles bring daily. He doesn't want me to have clarity in this situation yet but instead, He wants me to just have faith and trust in Him to work this all out. He keeps reminding me of this whenever I turn the radio on or I happen to drive by a billboard.

He promises to not give us more than we can handle and always provides an open window when it gets to be more than we can bear. In this situation, the words....'you are that window for Sharlene and Barbara' have been whispered in my ear and in my heart. How can I argue with that?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Must....Have....Blog....

I'm going into blogging withdrawal. My computer has been down and out since Thanksgiving Day and I've noticed that I'm pacing back and forth with a sweat upon my brow. Could these be withdrawal symptoms? I'm feeling all jittery and anxious as I see my poor computer sitting there all dark and cold. I remember fondly the days when it would heat up our office and the comforting buzz of the hard drive in gear would bring a smile to my face. I would sit in my seat and grab my wireless mouse bringing the wonder of the internet to my screen in no time flat. {sob} Ah, the memories.

My husband happens to be away today and I've resorted to sneaking in here to get my fix. I actually had a very good friend of mine send me an email to see if I was doing ok. She hadn't seen a blog from me in too long so she sent me an S.O.S. That totally cracked me up!

I admit it...I'm an addict. I suppose that is the first step in the healing process but I don't think I'll ever get passed the second step. I think that would be actually wanting to change or quit. I need my email and my blog. I've been assimilated by the blog (do any of you remember the Borg?). Ok, so not only am I secretly Italian, I'm also an undercover techno-geek. If you run into my husband, please don't tell him because I'll deny it to the death. Uh, oh....I just realized I'm also in denial. Is there any hope for me?

Monday, November 19, 2007

God DOES Have A Sense Of Humor

Long ago, in the early years of our marriage due to some unfortunate circumstances, we were met with financial destitution. It wasn't pretty and it was a pretty dark period in my life spiritually. I, in no way, think that God is this sugar daddy in the sky that reaches down and removes all strife or trials in our lives. That would be ridiculous. We would never grow in our faith or our relationship with Him.

During that time, though, I remember us not having money for food. Sometimes we have to ask ourselves, do we pay rent or do we eat? That is a very tough question. We chose to pay the rent. But God says in His Word that He will never leave us or forsake us. He also promises to supply all our needs. He did not say that it would be what we have expectations for but that He will supply them accordingly. We were given potatoes. That's pretty much all we had for a time but we had potatoes. I got pretty adept and fixing them....mashed, boiled, french-baked...you get the point. I wasn't really happy about that because I had a small son who needed to eat also and I thought that he should have a more balanced diet.

Awhile later, we were given other food and God did take care of us but the 'potato incident' has stuck with me. Which brings me to present day....

Things are a bit tight for us right now. Starting a new business and adding extra mouths to feed do put a strain on the ol' pocket book. So I'm at the grocery store buying a few things which included a bag of potatoes. I get up to the cash register and the the cashier says to me..."you don't want that bag of potatoes, you want this one because it's buy one get one free." She promptly switches them without me responding other than a drop of the jaw. Don't get me wrong, I was thankful that she was being so helpful because I didn't see the special they were running. She sent me on my way with a..."you'll love them, they are so delicious."

A couple days later, my mother in law shows up with a big box of what you may ask. Potatoes! More potatoes with some carrots and onions thrown in there for variety. Then on Sunday, a dear friend of mine catches me in the hallway and tells me she has a 50 pound bag of potatoes for me in her car.

Now we've got LOTS and LOTS of potatoes. Those dang potatoes are sitting in my kitchen staring at me. They sit there and just watch me walk by. Of course, we ARE eating them but it seems like it's just like the parable in the Bible about the woman and son who never ran out of oil. I keep taking potatoes out and I just can't seem to see the bottom. Who ever said that God doesn't have a sense of humor. He's probably having himself a good ol' belly laugh on this one. I know my husband finds this quite hysterical also. Me....oh, I'm laughing all right.

And by the way, I am very grateful for my potatoes and from what I hear, we are receiving a Thanksgiving basket from our church tomorrow that will indeed have more potatoes.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome....Reactive Attachment Disorder....Huh??

Why would you ever want to foster parent?

When we decided to take on the responsibility of fostering two little girls who happen to be cousins, we had no idea where that road was going to take us. We knew they were coming from neglect and filth and that it was in no certain terms going to be an easy road. But as time goes on, more and more information is coming to light, some I can talk about and some I cannot.

It has been a very rough five weeks. In the first couple weeks of their arrival, things were tough transitionally but we were mentally prepared with the thoughts of it will get better with lots of love and consistency with them. In their own home, Barbara was the favorite and Sharlene was caged up most of the time due to her unruly behavior and hyperactivity.

As time has gone on and they have become more comfortable in our home, some very interesting things have come to the surface. They both are hurtful to themselves to get attention. They will throw themselves off of furniture onto the floor in hopes of getting attention. They will purposely gouge their cheek and blame it on another person. They can be playing nicely and then out of the blue, scream bloody murder like someone is beating the snot out of them, and then turn around and blame one of our other children.

They both have a fascination with fire on the stove. They know what 'hot' is but yet are drawn to touch a burning hot pan anyway. When I'm cooking, I have to stand guard of the stove so they will not hurt themselves.

They eat until I put limits on their food. For instance, Sharlene had three corn dogs, chips and some apple and wanted more. I told her that I thought that was plenty for now and she threw herself on the floor in a crying meltdown. After she had calmed down, I caught her rummaging through the garbage can eating what she found there. They will both take and eat Kara's food off her tray in the highchair or in her seat. They eat food out of the couch or anywhere they find it.

There is so much more I could tell you about it but until you see it in action, it's hard to grasp hold off. When you are sitting here and something happens, you find yourself asking....is this really happening? Did this really just happen? It's surreal.

After guarding the garbage can, the stove and keeping a constant eye on all the kids all of the time to make sure everyone stays safe, I have asked myself many times, why would people willingly sign themselves up for all this fun? Even though, we aren't receiving aid, I know it's available for those who are licensed but from what I hear, it's not enough to live on so I know it can't be for the money. So I ask....What would possess a person to willingly want to do this?

I know the reason we did it was to share what love we have with two neglected little girls. But it's been one of the hardest things, I've ever had to do.

This past week, I took them to the community mental health facility for an almost three hour evaluation. At the end, the therapist sat me down in her office and said to me, "Do you realize what you've gotten yourself into?" All I could do is blink. She said that they believe Sharlene has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and that both girls are exhibiting symptoms of Reactive Attachment Disorder. Both are awful. Those little girls who are two and three are very messed up mentally and emotionally.

I came away from there discouraged and in tears. I've been told that it's going to take a lot of specialized training and individual care to work with the girls and that it's not something that ever really goes away. I've also been told to watch my children like a hawk because they could be in danger. How did offering to help to little innocent children turn into such a horrific mess?

I know that God is bigger than all of this. That He, in His power, can reach down and heal these little girls. We are praying for that very thing. Right now, I'm having a hard time seeing past my overwhelmed, ill-equipped and exhausted state, to even think about tomorrow.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Green Marker Happens

We spent a better part of the day with family yesterday at the funeral, cemetery and then dinner at the church. We had my mother in law watch the kids while we were gone. Someone mentioned to me that I needed to give her a tranquilizer before we left so that six out of the seven children (since Grace was with us) would not push her over the edge. I did not do this because she has six of her own children so I figured she had her own supply of happy pills.

We talked with her a couple times while we were gone and everything seemed to be going well much to my relief. I know what a handful they can be, especially our two new additions. Upon our arrival home, we were greeted with little people with green hands, faces and clothes. A certain green marker was what they had been entertaining themselves with apparently.

As I began to question what they were doing, the visual of colorful collages were dancing before my eyes as I entered Grace's pretty pink bedroom. There were beautiful circles of yellow, green and red on one wall. Then there was the artistic green drawings on the sheets of all three beds, on the toddler beds themselves, more on the other walls and let's not forget to mention the dresser and the blinds. They had done a very thorough job and were pleased as punch at what they had accomplished.

It was partly my fault. I failed to mention to my poor mother in law that they were not to be trusted. They are so quietly sneaky. My four youngest could set off the national alert system. Grace was really upset but she didn't scream and holler like I expected. She just went to work cleaning it up. Thank goodness it mostly came off and only left a faint mark. Needless to say, those four little artists were not on her good side for awhile.

After the yelling from the parents died down to a low rumble and my babysitter had left (hopefully we didn't scare her off), Sharlene came to me and asked if she could color. I thought, Oh, my land, young lady.....I think we've had enough coloring for today. You need to save some of that creative ability for tomorrow. Let's savor what was accomplished today and let mommy rest up for what's to come.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Grandma Adellia

After we got home from our field trip today, we got a call from my Father-in-law. Grandma had passed away this morning.

She was 93. Her health has been declining this year. She's been in and out of the hospital off and on so it wasn't a complete shock. However, losing a loved one is never easy. Please keep our family in your prayers.

Follow That Red Suburban to KM Ranch

We took a trip up to KM Ranch for yet another fun field trip with our homeschooling group. After filling out release forms for ALL of the kids, we were greeted with tons of fun to be had.

I really appreciate all the ladies at KM Ranch that make this trip so very awesome. They are so very patient with the kids and with the adults too. They love it when you ask questions and are more than willing to explain everything about horses to you.

They had several stations set up for us to explore. They had an experienced roper there to help us all to learn how to rope a horse. Of course, we only had a wooden horse to work with but that was excellent idea! It sure made it easier to actually get the rope around his neck because he doesn't move!

They had a horse available to groom with all the accessories to do it with. He was so very patient with all the kids lined up to give him a good brushing. I thought this was cool because the kids could get close to the horse without getting on helping them feel a little more at ease around them. Sharlene wasn't scared or jittery at all around them. She just went right up to him and was petting him and combed his hair.

They had horse stick races for candy. You can only imagine how much a hit this was with the kids! Kara even loved this. She just kept running and running. We had to catch up to her before she ran right out of the building.

There was a hay ride with two beautiful horses pulling it. It was a beautiful day for this!

They also had a couple horses available for the kids to ride as the workers led them around a couple times in a circle. The horses were so gentle and perfect for this. Again, Sharlene got right up there and rode like she was a natural. She hasn't stopped talking about the horses since we got there. Aaron, Barbara, Ryan and Grace rode too.

In the midst of all this fun, they served up lunch which consisted of homemade chicken noodle soup and chili, hotdogs, chips and of course, hot chocolate and apple cider.

Oh, and let's not forget to mention the donut eating contest. They hung the donuts from a string and you had to eat it up quick without using your hands! Everybody loved this one....even Kara!

We give this place a nine thumbs up! They are so helpful, accommodating to large groups and really just made our trip up there worth every minute.

Friday, November 02, 2007

One Early Morning...

It was early Sunday morning before I heard the birds chirping or the vibrations of seven little pairs of feet running back and forth and up and down. It was still dark and I was desperately trying to soak in all the sleep I could get since I had not gone to sleep until well after 3 am due to this cough that is driving me to sleepless nights. As I laid there, I began to feel little fingers trying to tickle my feet. Then it would stop and I would hear soft giggling.

After the grogginess started lifting from my overtired brain, I realized it was Aaron. He was having himself a good ol' time. I looked over to the clock and realized that it was ten minutes before six. I slammed my head back on the pillow with an big sigh and a huge uggghhh. I tried coaxing this delightful child back to bed or to lay beside me but he insisted on continuing in his fun. I don't find much humor in my feet being tickled at that time of morning but he didn't seem to care.

As I was trying to ignore him, another child came in my room. Grace came to inform me that Sharlene was screaming her head off. She needed to go to the bathroom and wouldn't let Grace help her. So Grace came to let me know that it was too late for anyone to help her to the bathroom but that they did need someone to clean up the mess that was made.

I don't know why but my husband was able to sleep through all this. Perhaps, he was trying to fool me because I don't think he could have missed all the sighing that was coming from my mouth or the muttering that was going on about how this was not the way to wake a mother up and expect her to be in a good mood that day.

I managed to get myself downstairs, clean up the mess, change the sheets, get dry clothes for the dear child without too much trouble. But by the time all this occurred, Sharlene was over her trauma, Barbara was up due to the screaming, Aaron was up because he just gets up early and now I see Ryan trucking down the stairs with a hi...mom. Irritation was entering my soul.

I began to ask myself, why do these children get up so early? Don't they realize I'm so very tired? Why can't they just get up and use the bathroom like other people in this family. Don't they know when it's still dark outside, one must stay in bed?? Are you getting the feel for my grumpiness? It's a good thing their giggles, their hugs and the love that emits from them is wrapped around my heart. It melts this old grinches heart into a puddle of mush.

At that point, I defeatedly gave in. They were running around playing while the vibrations revved up to the usual daily hum. I figured that any thoughts of sleep/possibility of my going back to bed were gone for the morning. Besides, I needed to gear myself up for the adventure's in church that was to be had that day. Watch out world, here we come!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Big F-O-U-R

Aaron is now four. I told him that he was growing up too fast and that he was turning into quite a big boy. He looks at me and says....Mom, I'm already big. See...he just proved my point.

Aaron had breakfast with Dad to begin his big day. They went to the Coney Island. He had his favorite which are scrambled eggs with cheese, bacon, sausage, toast and apple juice.

Later that afternoon, we took the kids to Yate's Cider Mill for the best cider in town and warm, melt-in-your-mouth donuts. The kids got to see the goats and sheep, visit the fudge shop and run around rechecking everything out.

We then headed on back over to the Coney Island for dinner with the whole family. Do you see a pattern? He loves this place. I actually like it myself because it's fast and friendly. You've got to be quick in this business when there are seven hungry kids waiting so very impatiently.

However, on this very evening, we get a waitress who was on her second day so things were slow. I also made a very grave error. She had gone around the opposite end of the table from me taking what I thought was only drink orders. So after giving the drink orders for my side of the table, she left. A little while later, she came back with food for the kids on the other side of the table leaving the ones near me empty handed. This did NOT go over well at all. Sharlene and Aaron were very upset and I received a proper scolding.

I quickly gave our order to the waitress including a second order for Grace who was in the bathroom with Sharlene which I had not realized that Bob had already done. So when the waitress came out with the food, Grace ended up with two dinners. No worries there.....Ryan said he's help us out and eat that one up for us. How thoughtful.

The night before, Grandpa and Grandma had come over for cake and ice cream because it was Grandpa's birthday so we celebrated both with them. Grace made masks for everyone making it a mask party. The kids loved it! Grandma and Grandpa even got one. I did end up sending the kids to play upstairs for a little bit because I couldn't hear Grandpa talking above the excited children noises. I can only imagine the quiet ride home they had in their car!

Happy Birthday, Aaron!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Field Trip To Grand Traverse Pie Company

We all love pie! There's blueberry (which is my personal favorite), cherry, apple, caramel pecan apple (another favorite of mine), four berry, raspberry, chocolate, strawberry and the list goes on and on.

Our homeschool group recently had a field trip at the Grand Traverse Pie Company that opened up in our area fairly recently. I was very excited about this trip because it involves pie! I was first introduced to this place on one of our travels to Traverse City a few years ago. We had stopped there for a little snack and were very pleased with our purchase. I usually bake pies from scratch so it takes a little bit more to impress my taste buds. They do a pretty good job!

We started out sitting down having a snack of juice and cookies while our wonderfully patient teacher, Amy, instructed us on some of the history and doings of their store. Ryan sat in the front seat and paid very close attention. He was even able to answer her question of what is very important before preparing food. He raised his hand and promptly answered, "wash your hands." I was so proud of him! The thing that sent my heart to soaring was the fact that I now have a shred of evidence that he's actually listening to me at home!

As Amy continued on, I noticed that my little squirrel of a son (Ryan) started helping himself to extra cookies off of the plate that had been sent around. He told me he was afraid Brad was going to eat them. He thinks he's pretty sneaky.

Amy was then joined by Ken and they ushered us to the back where we washed our hands and lined up by our pies that were to be made. We put our initials on the top crust with tiny cookie cutters which I thought was a fabulous idea so that we could keep them apart at home. I wasn't thinking about how those initials would disappear after the initial dive-in. Oh well....at least they know whose is whose and believe me, I've been informed!

After the pies were assembled and placed in their own take home bags, the kids got a tour of the walk in freezer. That was really something, at least that's what I hear from a certain six year old.

The people from Grand Traverse Pie Company were really patient and friendly. We give them a five thumbs up since that is all that came with me that day. Everyone had a great time and it was totally kid friendly. I know that both Bob and I have eaten their for lunch or a late dinner and their food has been wonderful.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Another Trip to the doctor

Our day was started off on a run today. We had a doctors appointment for four out of seven kids scheduled for 9:30. We are about 20-25 minutes from the office and they told me to get their early since I had lots of paperwork to fill out for Barbara and Sharlene. At 8:10, I woke up from my slumber to the sounds of lots of laughter and what it sounded like to be children jumping on their older brother who had been sleeping only moments before. I think the yelling from the older brother to get off of him is what really woke me up.

After it dawned on me that the time was indeed what it was, I jolted from my bed. I had to get four kids up, fed and dressed in about 30 minutes time. Thank goodness, I have slave labor...a 12 year old and a 10 year old. Grace helped me get them ready and I sent Brad out to the van to get their car seats situated since we had to switch cars do to the fact that the 'burb' is in the shop having a certain dent and some scratches repaired (it's a sore spot which I won't go into but I will say that it involved a couple men who decided to go bahaing through a swamp). Upon unloading the children from the van at the doctors office, I found out that the car seats where in the upright position and the girls were in fact buckled in their seats but they were NOT buckled down from behind making them glorified deluxe booster seats that you have when you are dining not driving. >Sigh< I'm glad Brad buckled them in but I guess I assumed he would know they needed to be attached to the seat by the seatbelt. My fault completely. I should have realized that I needed to download thorough instructions from my brain and have uploaded them to the kids the night before.

I get to the check in counter and they give me all the paperwork to fill out. I updated Kara and Ryan's record to show that we are currently cash paying customers which they repeated back to me a few times to make sure they understood. I felt like we were on exhibit. I'm sure there are lots of other people who are also cash paying customers. I didn't think this was something odd or abnormal. They were kind enough to tell me that if I was on their 'prompt pay' program (meaning you pay right then and there before you leave the office) that I would receive a 10% discount. I guess that could add up to a wonderful discount in our family. We reserved the 'suite' there at the doctors office so we had room to turn around...well, some of us turned around, other's sat in the chair thoroughly exhausted from what she went through to get everyone there and then chasing after them around the waiting room pulling them off of chairs which they thought they were suppose to climb on.

The doctor came in and checked all four of them and informed me they all needed to be on antibiotics. Since Aaron was in earlier this week and now these four, this virus is making the rounds. I am also not feeling that great but it seems to have hit my throat mostly making me hoarse. It's never good to loose your yelling voice. How can I properly yell at those little darlings? They can't even hear me amongst the noise level in our home.....it's just not fair! After the doctor left the room and I managed to get these cute little lambs to the counter to check out, I handed what paperwork I have on the girls from the social worker for them to make a copy of for their file. As we are waiting for that to take place, the kids were busy checking out the blood pressure machine, the bathroom, the different offices, climbing on the chairs...working me into a sweat. Of course, while the nurse was making the copies, the copy machine decided to jam up and it took them an eternity (at least, that is what it seemed like to me) to get it unjammed. At this point, my patience level is wanning big time so I lined them all up against the counter stressing that they needed to sit and not get up. This was not in line with their thinking which sent a couple of them into a crying fit. I thought, oh great! Just Perfect. After the crying came to a halt and the little halo's appeared, one of the nurses came down the hall seeing these cutie pies sitting all in a row, exclaiming how cute they were....and for being so very good for their mama, they each got stickers. I thought to myself, where is my sticker? Shouldn't mother's be offered a sticker? It's a lot of work to get them to sit all cute in a row. I thought that was quite an accomplishment. But no sticker for me. All I can do is wait for the sticker to be forgotten about or find it laying on the floor, stuck to my shoe or detach it from the wall and gently place it on my shirt while telling myself...what a good job I did today. I was very glad when it was time to go.....all that was going through my head after they were all clicked in their car seats correctly, was.......
I survived and am still able to talk about it!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Day Of Hope

We were scheduled to go on a field trip today which we ended up having to cancel. Instead, I took our three year old on a trip to the doctor. He woke up screaming in the middle of the night in so much pain that he couldn't sleep. This morning I noticed some blood-tinged fluid dripping from his ear. I thought to myself, uh oh, I bet his eardrum ruptured. So off to the doctor we went. He confirmed my suspicions and prescribed antibiotic ear drops. The doctor assured me that it would heal and he would be fine. In his 25 years of doctoring, he's only had one case where they actually had to do surgery to repair it. We are praying that he will heal quickly and that he's not in too much pain for too long.....bubblegum flavored motrin is our friend.

Kara, Sharlene and Barbara are also under the weather and I'll be making a second trip to see the good ol' doc on Friday. I've arranged to reserve the suite and inquired, once again, for our reserved parking space. The nurses just smile and nod. I'm sure I'm not the only mother who thinks they spend the better part of their Fall going back and forth to the doctor but it's quite an event for me. I can think of a zillion other things I'd rather spend my time doing...laundry, laundry, and more laundry....dishes, dishes and more dishes and did I mention the laundry????

My other kids were quite irritated that we had to cancel our fun trip today. It's hard to get them to understand that making someone who is really not feeling well tromp around is just not fun-making memories for them or me. I must tell you, that inspite of their disappointment today, they did survive.

Grace played dress-up with Sharlene and Barbara. Sharlene was her magic assistant for her magic show. I think Sharlene wasn't sure what that was especially when Grace kept putting the blanket over her head to make her disappear. Sharlene did like getting dressed up though and was prancing through the house in her gorgeous outfit.

Bob and I both have been working on Sharlene's communication skills (along with all the other little mommies and daddies here). We are pretty lovingly firm about asking correctly and we don't encourage the baby talk that both Sharlene and Barbara have been use to. We were encouraged today when we noticed that Sharlene actually said some clear words. She said 'outside' and 'bear' and she's getting better about not grunting and pointing to things she wants. I really didn't expect anything to really be different for awhile but we will take it!

We also noticed that Barbara is feeling more confident today. She is playing off with the other kids and not attached to Sharlene so much. They've even slowed down their synchronized peeing which I'm totally excited about because that alone will wear you out. Good thing we have lots of helpers here. After watching some of the changes that are coming, I've formed my opinion about Sharlene needing speech therapy. I personally don't think she really needs it. What I do think she needs is to be made to speak properly and not accept her baby talk. She needs lots of love and reassurance and she needs boundaries. All of which take lots of energy to provide and consistency. However, we are required to take her to see a speech therapist and we will do as they ask but if there is any possibility of just keeping her here and working with her ourselves, I would love that. She really likes to do little projects. I am using the Kumon books which work great for that.

Even though we have sick kids and I'm worn out from that, it's been a pretty good day. We were also excited to see that the effects of the visitation seemed to have dissipated today. The girls were able to play well and Sharlene only complained twice that her stomach hurt. We've seen some encouraging things today. Tomorrow we may be back to square one but at least, I've seen some baby steps and I know it's there.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Beautiful Fall Day

What a beautiful fall day we've had. I don't just say this because the kids played outside all day long! It was warm and sunny and absolutely wonderful.

Grandpa and Grandma came over to see Sharlene and Barbara yesterday. I don't think they remembered them because they didn't come running. Barbara just sat and stared at Grandma not making a sound. She is so serious. Sharlene did warm up pretty quickly especially when Grandpa had her upside down.

Bob had all the kids doing some yard work today. Just wait till we start raking the leaves....I can see it now....big pile of leaves and then, poof! we are starting all over again. Oh, the memories it's gonna create! I think we'll not think about that right now since I'm all worn out from giving all the dirty little children baths. That was alot of work! My bathroom is flooded because it was fun to splash each other including Mommy. I need a 'Warning! Wet Floor!' sign so that Bob and I will not forget and fall whacking our heads on the bathtub leaving us with amnesia. Then they would be free to overtake the world.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Blue Sky Travel Discounts

We've decided to add something else to our list of things we do. We've bought an online travel agency!

As many of you already know, we have been trying to get our computer business off and running. It is always hard in the beginning to get your name/reputation out there so that people are familiar with you and want to give you business. Things have been pretty slow so we are needing to add some supplemental income to keep things going.

We would absolutely be grateful if you would consider using our travel site to book your next vacation or trip! Come check us out....www.blueskytraveldiscounts.com.

Amazingly, we don't just offer flight reservations, there are loads of things you can use our site for. Here are some of things you can do:

Airline Reservations
Cruise Reservations
Hotel Reservations
Rental Cars
Limousine Services
Honeymoon Registry
Sporting Events
Passports and Currency Exchange
Golf Vacation Packages
Group Travel
Condo Rentals
Spa Finder Reservations
Concert and Theater Tickets
Flower and Candy Deliveries
Weekend Escapes
Island Resort Packages
Business Travel
Sight Seeing Tours
Theme Park Tickets

There is also local discounts on events/activities such as the indoor water park at the Best Western in Sterling Heights, Michigan, lodging at the Thomas Edison Inn, or Splash Village in Frankenmuth. Whatever your interest may be, go check it out!

Our site is partnered with internet giants such as Travelocity and hotels.com to provide these awesome deals. It has also been stated that we actually meet or beat rates from Orbitz.com and Expedia.com about 92% of the time!

And....if you are pleased with what you see and experience, please share our site information with all of your friends and family who like great deals on travel and so much more!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Bit Of Honesty

Today has been a really long day. I knew when we decided to take on the care of these two beautiful girls, that it was not going to be easy. Even so, I'm feeling a bit discouraged. To my friends who have been down this road before, I am so very grateful for your encouraging words and for your wisdom in this situation. You truly are invaluable to me :-)

Sharlene is feeling much more comfortable and is showing us that through various ways. She yells, screams, hits and pushes her way into whoever's attention she is wanting. Honestly, I felt like it was a constant fight with her today and I feel drained from that struggle. She spends many moments in time out. It's like trying to break in a wild horse. You don't want to break the spirit but need to mold it gently. I wonder how long it might take before she learns her boundaries and settles into it. Maybe I don't want to know that....one day at a time probably needs to be my perspective.

She is so attention starved and clings to me or my husband from the time we get up till she goes to bed. We are trying to give her lots of hugs and attention but their are also boundaries within that. I tried to take a shower yesterday which sent her into a fit. She kept throwing herself at the door, kicking it and screaming at it wanting to come in. Hopefully, she'll not do that too often. It wasn't a pleasant experience.

Barbara is very quiet. She putters about here and there. She doesn't really come near anybody but will sit on your lap if you ask her. If you ask her if she wants to get down, she promptly jumps off. She seems to need to do everything that Sharlene does not necessarily because she has to/wants to but because that is how she's been trained. For example, if she's just gone to the bathroom one second beforehand and sees that Sharlene is headed for it, she has this need to go again. I've never seen anything like it. I don't know if I'm explaining this very well but it's almost like its robotic. I'm hoping that eventually the individuality will come out and we'll see each of them acting as their own person.

When the girls were with their mother on Monday, she seemed very nurturing to them in the short time I was there to pick them up. I know that it's easier to be that way when you are only with them for an hour and haven't seen them for a bit but I wonder how she was with them before they were removed from the home. When you see that, it's hard to get your brain to wrap around the issues at hand. Sharlene has Early Childhood Development Delay putting her cognitive, social, emotional, communication levels around 18 months and I see some signs in Barbara but not as prevalent as in her sister.

I'm not regretting our decision nor am I surprised at what we are dealing with. After talking with the social worker, we both knew what we were up against. We also know that God called us both to do this. He never promises that the road He calls us to will be sunny beaches or warm breezes. Therefore, I know God will give us what we need to help these girls grow into healthy, happy children while they are with us.

I know that God can heal the emotional damage that is done and will replace it with security and love that only he can give. It's the time in between, the time where the molding is taking place, the mental energy that it requires on a daily basis, that I desperately need His strength for.

If you think about it, I would really be grateful for your prayers. It's emotionally draining to constantly be fighting with a child who desperately needs love and to still have some left over for your other children who also need their mother.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Our First Day of Visitation

Today was the first day of visitation after having the girls here this weekend. My friend, Shelly, has been through this with her own foster kids that she ended up adopting as their own. She's been a wealth of information, support and encouragement. It's good to have friends who know what you are going through! God put her there for a number of reasons and I believe this is one of them.

Bob took the girls into the DHS where their Mom was waiting for them. They were very excited to see her. We, then, took the rest of us to McDonalds for a snack and to Arby's for Bob and I to have lunch. We had an hour to blow. It went pretty quickly.

Sharlene is feeling more comfortable in our home, I think. She's started mouthing off and having some behavioral issues. I knew it would come but I was hoping we had a few more days! We didn't get a whole lot of school done today as she was purposely trying to cause issues to get attention. We will have to work on that.

The girls cried just a bit when we left the DHS today. It seems to be particularly hard on Sharlene. She was acting up quite a bit this evening and then didn't go to bed really well because she wanted her mama. It just tears your heart out knowing how heartbroken they are and not being able to fix it.

Their Mom told me she's doing everything they are asking her to do so that the girls can come back home soon. It's just all very sad.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Top Ten Things I Just Realized.

There is a few things that I've realized in the last couple days.

1. I don't have enough dishes.

2. There are not enough sippy cups in my cupboard to accommodate the traveling drink fest on a per child basis.

3. Silverware is in high demand and is never available when needed.

4. My new dishwasher is not big enough!

5. My washer and dryer are objecting to all the activity they are receiving especially since Aaron has come down with the flu this very weekend.

6. After I'm done serving firsts, it's time to start the second round.

7. My bathroom door needs to be revolving not constantly slamming.

8. I made 3 pitcher's full of kool-aid and we are still running on empty.

9. Mt. Everest meet Mt. 7kids2adults.

and number 10:

I feel outnumbered!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Introducing....

Today is the day that Sharlene and Barbara arrived to stay with us. They came with a suitcase each of mostly summer clothes, a backpack with some snacks in it and their electric guitars which they didn't seem to care about but my boys thought it was way cool! You should have heard the energy emerging from our home this evening!

We didn't have too many struggles adjusting. However, Barbara doesn't say a whole lot, she just watches you. So everywhere I went in the house this afternoon, I had two little eyes on me. I wonder what she's was thinking? Bob is her favorite, I think. She kept coming up to him and just standing there like she wanted something but she didn't say a word. Bob would put her on his lap and get her to laughing and then she'd be off playing again (while keeping her eyes on me).

Everyone is finally quiet and sleeping. I guess I should follow suit before we start all over again bright and early tomorrow.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Schooling...

I've been meaning to post about how our homeschooling was progressing this year so far since the first week in September. As I was looking at my calendar today, I realized that it was October!

Aaron wants to 'do' school too. He does not like to be left out of anything for any reason. So right along with the others, I purchased a workbook for him. One of the assignments that was given for the day was a maze. Now they are pretty simple but I didn't think that he had ever done a maze. So I began to explain what we had to do and he just looked at me with the rolling of the eyes and promptly stated, "I know what to do, Mom!" And he did. Zip...zip...zip and he had the ant through the maze and to the end before I could catch my jaw from dropping off of my face. Yep, he's a smart little bugger.

Ryan is still resistant (and probably always will be) to sitting at the table working on his numbers, alphabet, etc. He doesn't much care for school because it tends to mess with his playing schedule. However, he's been doing better since the principal had a little talk with him. We are using the Bob books since he would like to learn how to read. His inspiration for this is that he would like to be able to read the Captain Underpants series. We've gone through the first Bob book only a couple times so when he read it too me today I was shocked! He either has it memorized which means we need to move on to the next one or he really knows whats going on inside that little head of his and is keeping me in the dark.

Grace is doing well with her reading and loves the Junie B. Jones Books. She's adding some Judy Blume books to her collection as well. She doesn't really care much for school a whole lot since it involves too much reading and is now getting into more essay-like questions. However, she does really enjoy the projects that are given like today she had to make a diagram of the carbon cycle which she did in full color with lots of detail. She has a daily meltdown when it comes to math which we are working on.

Brad is doing well in his Bible and History. He doesn't really enjoy school a whole lot because it messes with his game time. I suppose I can't blame him because he gets that from both sides of the family. He is really wanting to get good at a particular game and have someone sponsor him and make like a $1,000,000. My response to that is this.....you've got to have a business plan in place first. Get writing, son! He has a daily meltdown too because he doesn't want to have to do school. Of course, the mother in me kicks in and he gets the lecture of, if you don't do it here, you'll have to go somewhere else to do it. You've got no choice. His response as he's laying his head down on the table......I know enough to liiiivvveeee!

Then there is Kara. She goes from one thing to the next while we school. She mostly likes to make messes for me to clean up or sitting on my lap eating crayons is another favorite. On one particular day, she got very, very quiet which to me is very, very dangerous. So I went to check on her and what I found was her sitting in the middle of all our videos/dvd's. She had been having fun pulling them all out from under the entertainment center. She was so proud of herself!
So that is it in a nutshell from the nuthouse.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Another Day With A Three Year Old

Just the other day I was thinking to myself that it had been awhile since Aaron had given me a fright. That should have been a warning right there. An alarm should have been going off for all to hear. But instead, I just bounced off to my merry life.

I had gone off into the office for a quick look at my email. Usually when I say that, my children whine and groan because they know my quick second usually turns into a more than a quick second as I easily get involved in responding to a friend or something that catches my fancy. I rationalize my addiction to my email as a 'Mommy just needs five minutes' to refresh. Seriously, it does help. Every five minutes can make a difference. I recommend it to all Mom's out there who are feeling on the edge and need some contact with people over four feet tall and over the age of 25. Being that I'm 27, that should about work for me.

Getting back to my story.....

I heard choking coming from the livingroom so I quickly ran to see what was going on. Low and behold, my three year old son, Aaron, was choking. Thoughts of do I remember how to do the Heimlich remover (yes, I know what it's really called) were dancing through my head along with the pounding of my heart. Fortunately, after a moment which seemed like an eternity, he was coughing and started talking about how that hurt his throat. I heard somewhere that if they are coughing and talking that I didn't have to to the next step of mouth to mouth. What a relief!

For the rest of the evening, Aaron, with only the look on his face that he can do (those of you who have seen it, know what I'm talking about) followed me around with many comments:

The doctor can't take my tongue out!

If I burp, the penny will be free.

I feel different now that I swallowed a penny.

I think I feel the penny in my legs.

I'm gonna poop it out a big one (laughing hysterically).

We have been fortunate enough to not have had any of our kids swallow money. So now that we've checked that off the list of things to do before my mother is completely gray, I am glad that we got through it without too much trauma...well, maybe there was trauma. The adrenaline levels in my body would beg to differ with the not so much trauma comment. We could just say this, at least it didn't lead us to taking a trip to the ER.

Guess we've got something to watch for, for the next 24-48 hours. I won't say any more on that subject.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Bobby

Ryan, our six year old, has taken a liking to crickets. This is quite a switch from earlier this year when on our camping trip, he had a complete melt-down because of all the bugs. I'm pleased to see that, as he has stated to me, that he decided to not be afraid of them anymore.

The boys were playing outside yesterday and Ryan found his new friend which he named Bobby. He's a cricket whose home is now the pink Easter pail that use to hold candy for Grace's Easter basket. He made sure Bobby had some nice grass to rest in. He was so excited about his find that he brought it in the house to show me.

I was trying to act like that was really a cool thing but inside I was thinking, Mommy really doesn't like bugs. Then I realized that the only thing that was keeping Bobby inside this cute little pink pail was Ryan's elbow pad that was gently angled over top of him. Of course, when he moved the elbow pad to show me his find, the cricket happened to be attached to it and jumped out onto our floor. Ryan had fun chasing the cricket across the floor before finally catching it. I suggested maybe he keep it outside.

I assumed since I didn't see the pail in the house (believe me, I checked!) that it had indeed gone outside. On one of my many trips upstairs, I glanced in the boy's room and what do you think I saw sitting there on Ryan's bed? The cute little pink pail with the spiderman elbow pad in it. The name Ryan came loudly out of my mouth. As he came running up the stairs, I, calmly, informed him that Bobby REALLY needed to go outside and not be anywhere nears Mommy's room. I really, really don't want something that has four legs, antennae, hops and is in the insect category meeting me in the middle of the night. It's just one of those things on my no-no list.

Later that day, Ryan found Bobby a friend which was another cricket named Bobby, Jr. I happened to be gone that evening for 'pie' night with a friend but from what I hear, one of them escaped. After the kids had been in bed, Bobby or Bobby Jr. (hard to tell them apart), decided to hop out from under the couch. What a surprise that was! Brad chased after it and caught it making him my hero. There is no place better for a cricket then the great outdoors.

If I hear a cricket singing again and I can't find him....someone's going to the moon.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Follow That Red Suburban to the Detroit Science Center

Today our park day was at the Detroit Science Center. I don't think I've been there since my dad decided to take a Sunday drive which ended downtown at the Science Center. This place is not what I remembered but oh, so much more!

The first exhibit that we got stuck on was the traveling Grossology exhibit. I guess it's not going to be there for very much longer but my younger ones thought this was awesome! I couldn't get them away from the poo (from what I hear, it was realistically squishy-I'll take their word for it, no need to find out for myself) in the toilet which was very informative including information on the tapeworm. I, myself, was ready to move on after perusing it for about 30 seconds. Between the toilet and the blood-sucking tick, I quickly realized I was not in the right place.

If you have a large family, you may understand what I am about to say. I love the 6 and under play area where the children cannot get out because they have the exit blocked. They had so much available to keep their interests that they weren't even interested in trying to escape and that is HUGE in my book. Aaron and Kara both loved that area. There was water to play with and that was what pretty much kept Aaron's attention the whole time. Kara loved the puzzles and the wooden bananas.

There was so much to look at and see that we didn't get to it all this time around. It's a good thing we have a membership because we'll be going back. There are three levels to explore with an IMAX theater that has different movies available on dinosaurs and bones (you know, science stuff). The staff were so helpful and friendly except when the kids were excitedly running about but I hope they got the evil eye....they should have listened to their mother!

We give this place a seven thumbs up including the homeschool friendly discount they wanted to give our group. They were very accommodating to our needs. We even got an official sign telling our group where to meet that will be displayed when we come again. It makes homeschool field trips so much more enjoyable when the staff at our destination is helpful and they were!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Adventure begins...

The social worker that is working with us to foster my cousin's children arrived yesterday afternoon and was given a welcome like most people receive when coming to visit us. The minute she pulled up to the house, Ryan and Aaron were out at her car before I could yell, "no". I'm not sure what all they were telling her but I can only imagine.

The interview went really well and so she is going to recommend that the girls come here. The scheduled date is October 12th but we have to have everything ready to go by the 8th like beds, dressers, etc. So the adventure begins.

It is amazing now that I look back and see how God has moved everything in place that needed placing like giving the opportunity to my Mom to be in a new place so we could have a bedroom for the girls, using the layoff for my husband for us not only to start up a business but to allow him to be here to help with the adjustment, friends that have been a wealth of support and information for my many, many questions. The list goes on and on. Boy, when God wants something done....He takes care of everything down to the tiniest detail!

After, we made the decision to pursue this, God confirmed it in three different places that is just giving me goosebumps thinking about it as I type this. It just makes me speechless. The thing that just keeps running through my head is this....."he only asks if you are available". We are a little concerned about some of the costs that are going to be involved in this adventure but again, God knows all the details and we are trusting and believing that this will be taken care of too.

Stay tuned as the adventure unfolds! We appreciate your prayers!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Cleaning...

We are busy getting ready for the social worker to come today to do a home study. So I decided I'd better clean. I've got to admit something to you. I hate cleaning. I really hate it. To top it off, it's at the bottom of my list because other things have to come first like schooling our kids, the business and blogging. So needless to say, there is a fair amount of dust that has collected upon layer upon layer of itself.

As I was dusting, (yes, I actually dusted for this appointment), I found my long lost children. Seriously, I actually found the top of my entertainment center. My daughter comes out in the livingroom and says, "Woooooowww, it's beautiful!" I wasn't sure if I should hug her for being so complimentary and encouraging or if I should just stop right there and let her continue the cleaning for being unsympathetic to my inadequacies. Since, I really want it clean, I chose to ignore her comment.

As we continued on, I discovered not only the ceiling fan but the ceiling around it coated in these cute little particles we've become so fond off. Note to self....do not and I repeat, do not dust the entertainment center of anything below the ceiling until after you've dusted the fan blades. Another note to self...do not stand directly under ceiling fan when dusting blades as you will get a nice eyeful of dust.

So now we are mostly done with the cleaning or as much as is going to get done at this point, so I'm going to grab some lunch before I pass out from lack of nourishment. But before I go, I had one last thought....

Recently in the news there was this article on 'Popcorn lung'. It's actually a real disease you can get from inhaling the fumes from the microwave popcorn bag. It got me to thinking that in the cleaning fury that was going on in the house today, I must post a disclaimer on our home. Here it is....

If you enter this home or live in this home shortly after a cleaning storm has occurred, please be aware of the 'dust lung' disease that could occur and has a potential for hazardous breathing. Should you inhale the thick cloud of dust that is lingering in the air, please be advised that a chorus of sneezing will surely clear any further damage to the nostrils, windpipe and lung of such individuals.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Follow that Red Suburban to Port Huron KOA

We recently took a camping trip to the Port Huron KOA. We had a long weekend scheduled to spend with other fellow homeschooling families from our group.

After arriving at our destination, we found our site. It was a beautiful, pull-through site with full hook-up. For those of you who are unfamiliar with those terms, I'll explain. A pull through site is a site that is available for you to just pull your camper through and park. There is no backing in, no shimmying this way and that way to get your 30 foot camper in a 15 foot site. Trust me, it's a beautiful thing. The other term, full hook-up, means you have water, electricity and sewer. In my opinion, this is a must have. We've spent most of the summer camping without it and boy, what a difference it makes when you don't have to fuss about your tanks getting to full or fussing about running out of water while you are in the shower! Again, it's a must have!

The weather was a bit cold but at least the sun was shining making it a beautiful Fall-like weekend. The kids had a blast inspite of the temperature. We spent much of the weekend around the campfire trying to keep warm. We did have one unfortunate incident which could have been very bad but thank goodness it turned out to be minor. Aaron was walking around the campfire and tripped over his scooter, landing on the ground but his fingers touched the grill on the pit with the fire going full force. At first, all we could hear is the screaming and I couldn't tell what exactly was burned so I put ice on all of his fingers. Of course, after the incident was over, I read somewhere you are not suppose to do that but I'm just glad it turned out ok. After sitting with him for quite some time and finally distracting him with chocolate (which worked!), we found that only one finger was affected. From then on, he steered clear of our campfire.

Our homeschool group activity was planned for the Sawmill City that is attached to the KOA. They had the bumper boats still up and running and the kids, despite how cold it was, enjoyed those even in the process of getting soaked. The biggest hit with my kids was the GO-Karts. My boys love cars that go fast!

The Port Huron KOA is a wonderful place to camp. They have a very fun jumping pillow that Ryan absolutely loved and spent most of his time doing. They have unusual bikes you can rent by the hour which were also a hit with the kids. Then there was the game room, the general store and the pizza place. The people who work there were very accommodating and friendly too. It just makes it a great camping experience.

We give the Port Huron KOA a seven thumbs up!

We also give our homeschool group, Macomb Christian Homeschoolers, a seven thumbs up! You guys rock!