Friday, May 30, 2008
Don't get too excited, though. It will still probably be several months before we actually get a court date. Once we file the petition, there is something else that has to be sent to the state before we can even get a court date. But, at least we are moving forward.
I don't worry too much about it since we know we get to keep them, but it would be nice to actually get to make legal decisions for them and to not have to remember their legal names whenever we go to the doctor or court. (Right now, I don't even have Caleb's medical insurance card, the carrier won't send it to me because I am not his legal guardian. I'm just the one who actually takes him to the doctor and the one who has to sign the forms at the doctor. Luckily, the clinic was able to get the information they needed, but, still, it would be nice to have it myself.)
Maybe we can even get their adoptions finalized by the end of the year. (But I wouldn't hold your breath).
Thursday, May 29, 2008
In the past I never really gave much thought to any sort of bond between biological siblings. I just kind of thought that when you grow up in the same house together, you usually end up being fairly close to each other & acting a lot like each other. And, honestly, with my 2 oldest boys, I never really looked for signs that there was any sort of special bond, other than brothers living in the same house, and sharing the same bedroom, for that matter. But now that we have our youngest 3 children who are not biologically related to the oldest 2, or to my husband & I for that matter, I have to admit, there just might be something biological that gives us a closer bond than just growing up together. Then again, maybe I'm just imagining it, who knows?
Some things I expected, they all have the same nose, and the same belly laugh, I think their smiles are pretty similar, too. Amata & Caleb have the same big brown eyes (Baylee does not have the Hispanic genes in her, so she's got blue eyes). So far, Caleb seems to have a knack for getting into trouble, just like Amata. Baylee is young enough that she doesn't really get into trouble, unless you count her constantly trying to go down the stairs by herself.
But some things I didn't expect. When Caleb was just starting to laugh, we had to work so hard trying to get laughs out of that boy! I dang near broke a sweat sometimes. Amata on the other hand, could run in a circle 10 feet away from him and he would laugh so hard, a deep belly laugh. It is the same way with Baylee. We can get her to laugh if we are tickling her or something like that, but for Caleb & Amata she will laugh just looking at them. Caleb can be almost sitting on her, which I don't think could feel that great, and she will just start laughing.
I'm just saying, it's not fair! Chris & I are the ones getting up in the middle of the night and changing the mountain of dirty diapers. Would it kill them to laugh that easily for us?
It certainly doesn't make me love any of them more or less, it's just something I thought was interesting.
Our middle school has accepted Rachel's Challenge. As part of that, several students & teachers have certificates to give out when they catch a student being respectful or responsible, or basically being a good role model. Once they give out the certificate, that person gets a treat & entered into a drawing to go bowling. That person is also then given the certificate to pass onto to somebody they catch being a good role model. The idea is that you never know who has the certificates, so hopefully the students will try to be respectful all of the time.
Tyler said a teacher gave him the certificate because he was helping another student with his homework. I'm not sure when he was actually given the certificate, but they had the drawing earlier this week & his name was drawn to go on the bowling trip. Nice job, Tyler!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
This one wasn't too bad, I thought. I'm pretty sure this is a full body one they cropped.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
I should preface this by saying that when Tyler is with other people he is a very nice young man. In fact, I was working the City Wide clean up last weekend and one of his teachers made it a point to tell me how much he enjoyed having Tyler in his class. In our schools, they use steps for discipline. You start with one step, which is basically just a warning for everything from talking in class to forgetting to have your planner signed, and it goes up to steps 5 or 6 which lead to detention, suspension, etc. Last year, the only step Tyler had all year was given to him on the first day of school by a teacher who wanted to set a precedent because some of Tyler's friends had been talking in class. This year, his only step was from forgetting to have a math test signed. So, really, I'm not exaggerating when I say he can be a nice boy.
Maybe that is why he can be so irritating with us, maybe that's how he's able to be so nice in school. Yesterday, on our way home (maybe not "on the way" but in the general area) we decided to go to the outlet mall because both the boys think they want to buy themselves a leather coat, and I had told them I would buy them an outfit at Old Navy. (I kind of wanted to stop at Liz Claiborne, too, but the babies had had enough by then)
Wilson's Leather didn't have any coats their size, so that was a bust, but we did still make it to Old Navy. In addition to the shorts & shirt each of the boys picked out, I also got them each a pair of jean's that were on clearance for only $8, and Tyler also got some flip flops since he didn't have any yet, this year.
From there we went for lunch. I had mentioned the other night that I thought we'd been eating out a little too often, and not at very healthy places, so we decided to go to Subway since we still had about an hours drive home, and waiting to eat there wasn't an option. Tyler had said he wanted McDonalds, and so when we pulled into Subway, he started pouting. First, he claimed he didn't like Subway anymore (like his taste buds changed within the last month), then it was that they didn't fill him up (they had $5 foot longs, and if he would get anything more than meat & cheese on his sandwich, it might be more filling!) I was pretty tired of his sulking by the time we were done, so I decided to eat the cookie I had gotten for him because I'm mature like that, and because I like their cookies. (He didn't even know I had gotten the cookies, so it was not as mean as it sounds, it just made me feel better.)
On our way home, we had mentioned to him that maybe he should see if he could mow our neighbors lawn. He's older and his health has not been real great, lately. But Tyler had a million excuses why he didn't want to do that. He plopped himself on the couch, and other than trying on his new clothes, he didn't do much else. Chris made a list of chores that needed to get done, but he didn't do those because, "Cameron took all of the easy ones".
Chris made steaks for dinner, and because as I may have mentioned before, our boys are kind of picky eaters, they "don't like steak", although I really don't know the last time they tried it. Since Cameron had done several chores and had not complained at all during the day, Chris gave him a "free pass" for dinner, letting him just eat chips & cheese and not losing his TV. Tyler also didn't eat the steak, but he couldn't understand why Cameron got a free pass and he didn't. He said if he would have known that would happen, he would have had a better day. We tried to explain to him again why Cameron was let off the hook, but with Tyler, once he decides that something is unfair, he refuses to listen to any explanation. (I did even try to explain that that's why you should just be nice & helpful all the time, because you just never know when there will be a reward, but he wasn't listening to that either.)
After having to hear him whine for at least 10 minutes, he was told to pick up the living room. He said, "why, I didn't even do anything." I said, "that's exactly why you have to, because you haven't done any thing at all today." He really is a pretty smart boy (at least book smart) which is why I don't get why he cannot understand simple English!!
P.S. Mom, wipe that smile off your face - I thought you were more mature than to want me to have a child that acts like I did at his age!
Luckily, when we bought this camper, we were thinking ahead. Although we didn't think we would have 5 children at the time we bought it, we did want to have enough room for more foster children or so that the boys could bring a friend sometimes. Little did we know that this camper that technically sleeps 9 (7 comfortably) would barely be big enough for all of us!
We did have a good time, though. And hopefully, we'll camp enough this year that the babies will get used to sleeping in it. Last night was OK, but both Caleb & Baylee woke up a couple of times.
There is a river not too far from our camp site, which the kids enjoyed walking to & skipping rocks. Amata threw a bunch of sticks in for the crocodile that she decided lives in the river. I wasn't aware that crocodiles lived in any rivers in Minnesota, maybe Amata knows something I don't! Because she is certain there is one in that river.
Caleb just liked the being outside part of camping. Hopefully it will be warm enough to use the pool next time we go. And hopefully they will have the baby pool filled by then, since that was a big reason I wanted to stay at this campground! Swimming is not as much fun when all you do is walk around carrying babies. Amata & Caleb will have much more fun if they can actually walk & play in the baby pool.
It was supposed to storm this afternoon & evening, so one night was all we spent there. Now we can spend tomorrow cleaning this house...it gets pretty bad in the summer when there is so much to do outside.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Chris will get several telemarketing calls during the day, and they just don't get a clue when we hang up on them, so he has started giving the phone to Amata when whey call. She loves it! What I cannot believe is how long these people will stay on the line. One guy stayed on with her for almost 5 minutes! He kept asking if he could talk to her mommy and she kept changing the subject, usually to one of her many boo-boos.
Today, while I was home for lunch, a call came in that said it was from Ontario....I don't think we know anybody from there. Amata talked to them for about a minute or so. Her side of the conversation went something like this:
I got a owie on my arm.
Why she said be quiet? (laughing)
My baby Baylee is crying.
I'm gonna play outside with my friends later.
Why she said be quiet? (laughing)
Mommy, you want to say bye?
I'm gonna hang up now.
It might be mean, but I just really don't understand why they stay on the line so long with her. We've listened on another phone before & they will ask her questions and everything. You would think they would figure out by now that if I want a better interest rate or credit insurance, or whatever else they are offering, I'll call them...don't call me. I don't buy anything over the phone.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
But, when we need to go to urgent care for after hours things, we have to drive to Albert Lea which is about 20-25 minutes away, and has a population of over 10,000 people. There are times when I go to Albert Lea & people do remember me, but that is usually because those people are from my town. Although, I admit the owners of the 2 consignment stores there do remember me...but I have 5 kids, so I shop there a lot!
On Sunday, I decided to take Baylee into urgent care, she had goopy eyes. It didn't look like pink eye, so I figured it was a cold in her eyes since she did also have a runny nose. But she didn't sleep very well Saturday night, so I wanted to have her ears checked - I just hate ear infections at night. So, I went to the front desk and said I wanted to have Baylee checked. When she asked for her name I had to think for a minute, since I don't use her legal name very often. The nurse then looked at me & said, "Oh, that's right, your a foster parent, I remember you."
I think that might be a sign that I am there just a little too often!
Monday, May 19, 2008
I had a very nice mother’s day. I got to sleep in, even though Chris didn’t get to sleep in on his day (Saturday) due to the garage sale, and a little boy screaming at the top of his lungs around 6:15.
Then the kids wanted me to opened gifts right away. The boys always do such a nice job! Cameron picked out earrings for me, and Tyler picked out some flip flops for camping this summer. The babies got me a new key fob for my truck. (You don’t realize how nice they are until yours goes out for a month & you have to unlock the doors with an actual key while carrying a baby or two.) Chris also got me a new mother’s ring, since we are officially done. Completely. No matter what! 5 children, a daycare and a full time job are all that we can handle. We’ve probably bitten off a little more than we can chew at this point…my house is filthy! We’re thinking about getting a maid it is so filthy! But that’s a whole other story. I really like the ring, and wanted to post a picture of it, but no matter what I try, it always seems to end up blurry, so you'll just have to trust me that it is very pretty.
We decided to go to Mankato and I was planning to go to Red Lobster. But at 1:30 they were still saying it would be an hour & a half wait. So we ended up at Chinese buffet, which I usually like, but when I was hungry for Red Lobster…you know.
After that Baylee & I went to Sam’s Club & Wal Mart for groceries while Chris & the other kids went to get a new front door. Very exciting, isn’t it?! The boys did help me to unload the truckload of snacks & frozen goods from Sam's when I got home, I don't even think they complained about it...that must have been their final Mother's Day gift.
Friday, May 16, 2008
I may have mentioned before that Amata is a tad bit hyper. She can also talk non-stop. If she is not talking she is singing, and if she is not doing either, you better go check on her because she is probably getting into trouble. I realize that she is female, but even so, she talks a lot! I have thought once or twice that it would be nice to have a child that maybe didn’t talk quite so much.
Caleb does not talk at all. He understands what you tell him. For example, if you tell him to throw something in the garbage he will. If you tell him to throw something in the laundry he will. If you tell him no, he will at least pause for a moment. But as of right now, he does not say ANY words. Not even mommy, daddy, or bye-bye. He will wave good-bye, but he won’t say it. And, actually, he really doesn’t even have any consonant sounds that he uses on a regular basis.
As much as we hope that he doesn’t have fetal alcohol syndrome, the fact is we know that his biological mother consumed alcohol when she was pregnant with him, and we know that he has been slightly behind on reaching his milestones.
The school began working with him a couple of months ago and we have seen some improvement already. Currently he knows signs for the words more, bubbles & milk. He has also made up his own sign for good night (to be honest, the sign he uses for "more" is kind of his own version, too, but it's close to the real sign). Also, since they have been working with him we have also heard him say "mo" which I think is because "more" is the sign we’ve been working on the most. Chris said he also heard a B sound from him.
We know he is capable of talking, and that his hearing is fine, so it should be just a matter of time. At least it better be, I just don’t know if I could learn American Sign Language at this point!
The ironic part, though, is that even though our main concern with Caleb is his speech, the person that specifically works with early education language problems is not the one working with Caleb. The problem is that even though he doesn't talk, his receptive language skills were actually a little bit above average, and with her testing, the state requires that overall he be a least 2 levels below average. So even though his speech is 2 levels below, his receptive skills bring the average up too far for him to qualify to work with her. Don't you just love government policies!! Luckily, for the person that does overall early education services, he just had to be low in one area for her to be able to work with him.
I know other children that our school has worked with on their speech, and they do a great job. I'm sure it will be a slow road, but I am confident that with the schools help he will begin talking more. And then I'll probably be wishing for the quieter days again. (LOL)
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
She enjoyed her new book from Nana. She sat down in her new Tinkerbell chair to read it.
Dolls are always a hit. Notice that she made sure to put her new baby next to her in her new chair before she opened the rest of her gifts.
Tyler like her dress up set, too.
After gifts she enjoyed her cake & ice cream, as did the rest of us.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Chris said that he did have pants on when he went down, but I'm not sure where those ended up. The wet diaper was pretty obvious, though.
I have made it very clear to Caleb that at least until he pees on the potty, no bare butts are allowed, but I guess he didn't care.
He did get a little shy once he noticed I had Cameron taking pictures. :-)
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Anyway, back to the attitude. During one of our many "discussions" with Tyler about chores he needs to do, or helping watch the babies (the 20 minute "discussions" where he whines about "why does he have to" and we say because I said so again & again & again), he said that he should get to stay up later than Cameron because he is older (just over 2 years older) and in 6th grade and when we had foster children that were in 6th grade they got to say up until 9. We thought about it and I told him if he could make it for the rest of the week without using that irritating, whiny, girl voice that I just can't stand, we would consider letting him stay up later. (Seriously, I'll have to record that voice sometime, I just can't do it justice trying to explain it) And he actually made it the rest of the week, so we bumped his bedtime back.
Now, our boys are somewhat spoiled and they each do have a TV in their room, which I am totally blaming on their grandpa, since he gave them their current TV's (I really see no relevance in the fact that I bought Tyler one when he was 4 so that he would stop sleeping in our bed). Our boys are also incredibly picky eaters. I'll have to use a whole separate post for that discussion! So for dinner, we've tried a million different ways to make them at least try it, nothing has worked. So finally, we decided that if they don't eat dinner, they lose the TV in their room for a week. This has totally worked for Cameron. It might take him an hour, but he will finally try dinner so that he doesn't lose the TV. For Tyler, it hasn't worked so well. I honestly don't know when he last had TV in his room, and I know it is gone for the rest of this month.
They really don't watch a lot of TV in their room, anyway, except they are allowed to watch 1/2 hour at bedtime, which means if bedtime is at 8:30, the TV goes off at 9. But if you lost your TV in your room, then if bedtime is at 9, you go to bed at 9, No TV. So, even though Tyler technically got his bedtime pushed back to 9, it's basically still the same time as Cameron, except that Cameron is watching TV for that half hour in his room while Tyler is in the family room.
So, here's the funny part. The other night I heard Tyler speaking sharply to Cameron saying, "Yeah, I know". So I asked him what the problem was. He said that every night at 9 when Cameron is turning off his TV, he comes out into the family room and says, "Tyler, it's 9, time for bed." Don't ya just love little brothers?! I really did try hard not to laugh at loud when he told me that!
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
The recommendation from the "experts" at this time is that there should not be a bumper pad in cribs & cradles, and since we are licensed daycare & foster care providers, that recommendation is a requirement for us. I don't necessarily agree with that, because sleeping like this can't be comfortable!
Monday, May 5, 2008
Chris had gone to pick up the camper so it was just me & the kids. I got the youngest 2 babies to sleep & left Amata with Tyler & Cameron. It was kind of neat to see how they would do getting themselves to bed at a reasonable time, and such. I must say I was pleasantly surprised.
Before I went upstairs, I told them I had the main door locked & the doors from the outside into the garage locked, but they would have to lock the other door after the dog went out for the last time. I also told them that they might want to get to bed at a decent time because if I didn't feel any better in the morning, they would have to help me with the babies since Chris wasn't going to be home until later in the morning.
At one point Tyler thought he heard somebody knocking at the door, but instead of opening it himself, he came up & got me. (There was nobody there, but at least he knew not to open it unless I was available.) I heard them make some microwave popcorn at one point.
But by 10:30 they were both in bed. I know that because that is when Amata came into my room and wanted to sleep in my bed. So I guess maybe some night Chris & I could actually maybe, I don't know, leave the house & go out somewhere together some night, since the boys seemed to do just fine by themselves.
Friday, May 2, 2008
I really didn't feel like expending any effort for dinner after all that, so we decided to do "dinner & a movie" tonight. We got a pizza & ordered a movie on Pay Per View. Mr Magoriums Wonderum Emporium. It was okay, although I don't think I'd watch it again.
Amata did entertain me with her favorite knock-knock joke during the movie...
Amata: Knock Knock
Me: Who's There
Me: Amata Who
(laughter from Amata)
Amata: Knock Knock
Me: Who's There
Me: Amata Who
(laughter from Amata)
And so on for about 3 or 4 more times.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Tyler is neat, Cameron…not so much.
Cameron like to dress up (notice the "tuxedo" he picked out for himself), Tyler…not so much (notice the polo shirt that he is wearing with shorts that are hard to see, it was an argument just to get him to wear this instead of his jean shorts made to look like they had holes in them.)
Here's another example from their pictures last fall. We actually had to buy Tyler's shirt & shoes because he didn't have anything nice to wear.
Tyler likes sports, of any kind, Cameron will play soccer, but only because if he just runs around the field a lot, you really can’t tell that he’s barely playing. Tyler’s goal in life is to be a professional athlete.
Cameron loves to play the guitar, Tyler will be lucky to pass band because he wants to quite and is mad that we are making him finish out the school year. (Side note, at the beginning of the year, we found an inexpensive trumpet and asked him if he was planning to play it for the next year, he said yes, so we bought it. Then a month later he said he wanted to quit). Cameron is certain he is going to be a rock star some day.
Cameron likes to ham it up in front of the camera, Tyler…not so much.
When Tyler gets mad, he will argue an argue and argue forever! When Cameron gets mad, he usually walks away and goes to his room. (Okay, so it would probably be more healthy if he would get it out instead of hiding in his room, but if I have to pick between 30 minute arguments or hiding in his room, I choose having him hide in his room!)
Cameron is artistic, Tyler draws stick people.
I love them both, but I just marvel at how different they can be!!