Thursday, November 29, 2007


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, 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 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 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!