Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wish Me Luck

I have vented here a few times about my job & my co-workers. I have a good job & great benefits, it's only a mile away from my house and I always thought I would stay here until I retire. But the last several months, I just haven't liked coming to work very much. I start getting kind of crabby on Sunday night when I think about having to go to work in the morning. Which made me realize that it might not be worth it. What good is being close to home when I'm crabby towards my family because I don't want to go to work?

First, Chris was going to try to find a job in IT, which he is currently enrolled in at school. But he isn't far enough in his studies to qualify for most of the jobs he wanted. So, we decided that we would both start looking and whoever found something they liked first would go to work, and the other would stay home with the daycare.

We are not willing to rush into anything, though. I'm not at a point yet where I need to get out of here now or anything. But I do have an interview lined up for Friday, so wish me luck! I haven't been on an interview in over 7 years, so I'm a little nervous!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Pet Store

We had to take the car up to have it aligned last night. Apparently it pulls to one side. I was a little concerned about my husband, however. He kept saying, "can't you feel that" when telling me that it pulled. We've been married for almost 12 years, and have been dating for 16 years....and he seriously thought I was going to notice that the car pulled?? Has he learned nothing about me in all of those years? Unless the vehicle is making a tremendously loud noise, or something important goes wrong with it, such as the radio or the air conditioning not working, chances are I'm not going to notice. I keep telling him that that is why I married him, so he cold take care of all of that sort of stuff.

So we headed up to Mankato with all three babies in tow...because the boys are still gone, so we couldn't leave any of them at home. (And because of Caleb's severe anxiety being away from us, it is pretty difficult to hire a sitter.) After we dropped of the car & grabbed a bite to eat, we decided to stop by the pet store. If you recall, while we were on vacation, we went to the zoo, and none of the kids were very interested in any of it. Last night, however, we could hardly get them to leave! Even Baylee, who's been a little cranky lately, was laughing out loud while we were by the Guinea Pigs! Amata & Caleb would have seriously stayed there for hours if we would have let them. They were mad when we said they had to leave, because they had only been looking at the froggies for about 10 minutes....and look, mommy, there's a crab!

I guess next time we want to take the kids some place fun, we should just plan to roam around the pet store for a couple of hours. And then, after that, we could head over to the mall and let them play in the toddler play area with all of the soft slides & climbing stuff. I don't know why we waste money on gas & overpriced food to go to the zoo!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Big Boy

This weekend, Caleb apparently decided that he was ready to be a big boy & start dressing himself. I was a little worried, because with only he & Baylee left as "babies" and knowing there will not be any more babies (seriously, no matter what happened in the past, there will be no more babies. I'm getting too old for that!) I don't want him & Baylee to grow up too fast.

Luckily, it looks like he may not be quite ready yet to be dressing himself. That would be his shirt that he pulled on like shorts, I have no clue what happened to the shorts, and that would be Amata's Dora hat. He has hats of his own, but it doesn't bother Amata when he wears those, so he prefers to steal her things.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Still Adjusting

Amata, being half Hispanic with a little bit of Native American in her, has always had a lot of hair! Beautiful, thick, dark brown hair with some black mixed in. She has also, however, despised having her hair done. No pony tails, no braids, no barrettes, nothing. Just brushing it alone was an ordeal for this girl.

She may have always been like that, but part of me thinks it may stem from a visit she had with her biological mother shortly after she was placed with us when she was 5 months old. Her bio-mom decided she wanted to put little pig tails in her hair. Very tight little pig tails. Now, when my mom used to do mine or my sister's hair, it was usually pretty tight, tight enough that we almost got the slanty/Chinese eyes from it. Amata's pig tails were tighter than that! She seriously cried during the whole visit because of it. Now, I'm not one to judge (ha, ha) but I just think if I only had an hour long visit with my infant child, I would not waste it putting in pig tails that made her cry. When the bio-mom left, she seriously did not even get to her car before Chris had the scissors out cutting the rubber bands out of her hair.

Because of hatred of having her hair done, we have been forced to cut her beautiful hair. Since I have always had boys, I always thought that when I had a girl, I'd never cut her hair. And I still don't like to. Up until now, we had always had the bangs trimmed and tried to leave the rest a little longer. But now that it's summer and she loves to go swimming play outside, I finally acknowledged that it was time to cut it. It was still out of protest, though.

I will admit it doesn't look bad, but I am still adjusting to it. At least she isn't due for pictures for another several months, so there is time for it to grow.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

MIssing the boys...

The past several years, the boys have been going to my dad's for a week in the summer, and they've loved it. I mean, really, what's not to love. No bedtime, sleep as late as they want, the meals are always things they like and they can just hang out all day long if they want to.

This year, however, it wasn't going to work for them to go. I was kind of hoping that the subject just wouldn't come up, but of course it did. So I explained to them that it just wasn't going to work this year with Grandpa's work schedule and that maybe they could go for a long weekend during the school year or something. They were kind of bummed, so I mentioned to them & Chris that maybe they could go to his sister's instead. His mom also lives in the same town, and she works second shift while Sarah works days, so between them both there'd be somebody around most of the time.

So, last night, Chris met his sister to drop them off for the next week. They were of course very excited. In the past, when they'd gone to my dad's or my sisters for the weekend or something, it was kind of a nice vacation for Chris & I, too. We could eat what we wanted without any whining, go where ever we wanted. But these days, not so much. It is actually a lot of work for us when they go because that means Chris and I have to take care of all 3 babies by ourselves! I didn't sign up for that! I only agreed to take all of these babies when we had two pre-teen boys to help us.

Besides that, Amata is very unhappy. That girl picks up on dang near everything we say, and so from the time they talked to Sarah on the phone, she has been wanting to go to Sarah's and is demanding to know "why" each time we tell her she can't. She refuses to accept any of our reasons "why" anyway, so I'm not sure why she keeps asking. This morning when she got up, Chris said she did not even say, "good morning, daddy" or anything. She came down the stairs and said, "Are my boys home yet?" Chris said no, and she shot back, again, "I want to go to Sarah's!".

It is going to be a long 7 days!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Way to go Cameron!

It is swimming lesson season around here. I realize in many places, swimming lessons go all year long, but in our small town, with an outdoor pool in Minnesota, swimming lessons are only offered in the summer.

Tyler has always swam like a fish, so he has been done with lessons for 2 years, I think. Cameron, on the other hand has not always enjoyed swimming so very much, to put it mildly. So, even though he is only 2 years younger than Tyler, he was signed up for level 3 this year. (There are 6 levels in all). It took him at least 2 years each to pass levels 1 & 2.

He wasn't necessarily afraid of the water, as long as he could touch the bottom. Up until now, I could count on one hand the number of times he had gone off of the diving board. And I would still have some fingers left over. And that includes the time the teacher dropped him into the water from the diving board with him saying, "no, wait, I changed my mind". She had even promised him a sundae cone just to get him onto the diving board so that she could drop him in.

This year, however, he seems to finally be more comfortable in the water. His lessons were supposed to go for 2 weeks, through this Friday. However, he & Tyler are planning to go to their aunt's for week beginning tonight, so we had to ask his teacher if he could try to test out early. I was a little leery about this, because of his troubles in the past, I thought he might need those last 2 days of lessons to have a chance at passing.

I was wrong - He came home today and announced that he had in fact passed level 3! I told him if he wanted to try to get through the levels faster, he could sign up for level 4 in August, but he's still thinking about that. It doesn't make any difference to me, he knows he has to go through all 6 levels, so if he wants to be going for 3 more years, that's his prerogative. (Just so you know, I did spell check this, and that really is how you spell prerogative. It sure didn't look right to me!)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

All Blue Cleats are not the Same

From the Cities, we went to our camper, where all of us stayed the night. However, after 3 nights at my mom's & another in the camper, Caleb & Baylee were ready for their own beds. So I took them back to the house & Chris, Tyler, Cameron & Amata stayed at the camper for a couple more days. It worked out well. It is amazing how much easier the babies are when you just have the 2 of them!

Tyler had his baseball tournament at the end of our vacation, and they did great. My mom & grandma came down to see it. Do you want to see my pictures of that? Oh, wait, I didn't take the camera out again. I'm sensing a pattern there. I think I have a tendency to forget the camera when my mom is around because she was not usually one to remember the camera, either. At least that's the story I'm sticking with. Sorry, mom, I'll have to make an extra effort to remember the camera next time!

Tyler's team won all 3 games at the tournament. I think the new cleats must have made the difference. The first day at the camper, he had a game not far from there, so he had all of his baseball equipment at the camper. When they came home, however, he managed to remember to bring all of his baseball stuff back with him EXCEPT his cleats.

Now before I tell you about his new cleats, I have to tell you about a shopping trip several weeks earlier. We were at the Nike outlet store, and Tyler found a pair of baseball cleats that were navy with (he claims) some gold on them, but they were a size 6 1/2. Tyler takes after his father with small feet, so right now he wears a 5. I said I wouldn't buy them because they were way too big. He said that they'd be perfect for him next year, but I wasn't convinced. I told him that he could buy them if he wanted, and then if they did fit him next year, I would reimburse him for them. Unfortunately, Tyler has a very hard time not spending all of his money, so he wasn't able to buy them. And, of course, that meant we had to pout about it most of the way home.

So, back to forgetting his cleats at the camper. We had been planning to do some shopping, anyway, so rather than backtracking an hour to the camper, with gas at $4/gallon, we decided to see what we could find at the mall, since it was the end of the season the baseball cleats were on clearance. Tyler & Chris went in to find some he liked and try them on while I waited in the play area with the rest of our gang. But, of course, Chris didn't have his wallet with, so I had to go in & pay for them. When I looked at them, they were only a size 5, and I was a little bummed because I was hoping to get them a little big so that maybe they'd still fit next year. Since I hadn't been with him when he tried them on, I assumed that the next size up was way too big and paid for them.

When we went out to where Chris was I said something about them only being a size 5 and he said he thought the had taken the 5 1/2's. So I sent him and Tyler in to figure it out. It turns out the shoes he picked out didn't come in a 5 1/2. The 5 1/2's he tried on were blue and he didn't like the blue ones. HUH?? So I very nicely reminded him that the cleats he wanted so badly at the Nike Store were blue. He informed me that they were blue with gold on them, not just plain blue. Seriously??? There is a very good chance that he will be paying for at least part of cleat's next year if the black ones don't still fit him!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mall of America

Since the zoo was somewhat of a flop, we headed down to the Mall of America. Chris thought it would be fun to eat at the Rainforest Cafe. We ended up with a great table, literally right next to the huge fish tank. Amata loved finding all of the animals hanging around.
Cameron ordered what we thought was a simple raspberry lemonade; when it came it was actually a slushy drink in a flashing cup that he got to keep. (Notice I didn't say a "free" flashing cup, because the cost of that cup was definitely added into the cost of that drink!)

From there, we headed to the Nickelodeon Universe. The great thing about there is that my kids are not much into the rides, so we can wander around all we want for free. I did have to take a potty break, though, and the bathroom just happened to be located by one of those games where you throw the ping pong balls and try to get them into the cups. Chris let both Tyler & Cameron get 12 balls but they didn't win. Then he bought 12 more balls and let the boys each have one more, and then Amata & Caleb got to throw the rest. Caleb won! (I told you that boys has an arm!) Hopefully it won't damage Tyler or Cameron's egos too much to know that their 1 1/2 year old baby brother beat them! The only downer was that the prizes at this stand were from the Simpsons & that other cartoon show mainly for adults, so he ended up with a Bart doll. It shouldn't damage him too much, since he has no clue who Bart even is.

Amata really was happy to see Dora, although in this picture Chris looks more excited about it than she does.
We did make one very big miscalculation, though, we ended up leaving the Mall of America at 5:00 PM. I HATE rush hour traffic! Mainly because it doesn't make sense. The minimum speed limit on the interstate is 45, so why do you end up completely stopped? If everybody was at least driving the minimum, traffic should always be moving.

Friday, July 18, 2008

To the Zoo

We left my mom's Monday morning & headed to the Cities to Como Zoo. We've always liked that zoo, partly because it is free but also because I always thought we could get pretty close to the animals. However, the zoo was not a big hit this time. Amata & Caleb were not as interested in the animals as I thought they'd be. Plus, we didn't see any chimpanzees and the polar bear exhibit, which is always everybody's favorite, is closed for renovations until 2010.

We did at least get them to pose by the giraffe statue as we were leaving.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

R&R Begins

Given our family dynamics at this time, we did not really make any big plans for our vacation. With 3 of our children ages 3 or under, that would just be crazy! The oddest part about this vacation was probably that Caleb & Baylee were not sick; they took care of that the week before.

Our vacation got off to a pretty lazy start. We were going to my mom's for our family picnic the day after the 4th, and she had other plans on the 4th, so there was no rush. And our family is not necessarily what you would call morning people.

We stopped for lunch and also stopped along the way to see Jared, our last foster child who is currently in a group home. And once we got to my hometown, we had to stop and get the groceries to make what I was bringing to the picnic.

Chris & I were not overly excited to drive out to watch the fireworks, so luckily my sisters volunteered to take the boys with them. They didn't take Amata, though, because they thought it would get too late for her...little did they know she would be waiting up for them to return!

Hopefully I won't overload your computer by sharing with you ALL of the pictures I took while at my moms....

...oh, wait, I forgot to take any pictures at my mom's! I had the camera with, but I guess you actually have to take it out if you want pictures.

The picnic is an annual event for my mom's side of the family. It is always nice to chat with my cousins & aunts & uncles. Of course, it gets harder and harder for everybody to make it every year, but we still had a good turn out. And the kids had a blast playing with everybody. (Baylee also enjoyed all of the attention she got as the youngest child there.)

After the picnic we just hung out at my moms. We had planned to leave the following day & stop in the Cities at the Zoo and the Mall of America, but the more we thought about it, that didn't sound like much fun on the Sunday of a holiday weekend, so we stayed an extra day at my mom's. It was nice to be able to just relax & hang out there. We played some ladder golf & watched a movie.

We left for the Cities on Monday morning. (Unfortunately, when we are traveling, Baylee & Caleb sometimes forget that our family is not what you would call morning people, which made for some pretty early days!)

Our First Foster Children

Our first foster care placement was a 7 year old girl & an 11 year old boy. When they were placed with us, their parents had already voluntarily signed the termination papers (because then they wouldn’t have to pay child support). However, because these children were Alaskan Natives, there was a tremendous amount of red tape involved, leaving them in foster care for 9 months with us, and that doesn’t include the previous time they spent in foster care before the termination papers were signed.

They were a great placement for us as first time foster parents, because we didn’t have to deal with the biological parents at all. These 2 children also had 3 half siblings. A sister that was over 18, so she was still with her biological parents and 2 brothers who were at different foster homes. Normally they really try to keep the children together, but for some reason that wasn't possible this time. Since we were not in on this case from the beginning, I'm really not sure why they were separated, but it may have had something to do with the other siblings being much older, and very difficult to find adoptive homes for.

Of course there were issues with the children at times, especially the boy, he had seen quite a bit in his 11 years on this earth. Their biological parents were both alcoholics. There were also allegations of possible sexual abuse, and even if they were not actually abused, they saw way too much! Since the parents were usually drunk, if not worse, the kids were left up to their own devises. When we got them, the boy was already on probation for burglary & vandalism, and so he had several hours of community service he had to complete. Luckily, since I work for the City, I was able to get them to let him work at the recycling center on the weekends to work off that time.

The little girl was not too difficult, she didn't seem to have many issues beyond those of a normal 7 year old girl. Hopefully she was young enough when she was removed from her parents care that she won't remember much of it. (I think she was barely 6 when she was first removed). The boy did have more issues. He would become angry pretty quickly, and while it doesn't make it okay, you can hardly blame him considering what he'd been through already.

Luckily, once the red tape was cleared and they were available to be adopted, a nice couple about 45 minutes away was found who were looking to adopt an older sibling group. We haven't heard from them directly since they left, but a few months later, the social worker said she had visited with them and the seemed to be doing great. I'm sure they will always have some issues to work through, but hopefully being adopted by a loving couple will help.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cell Phones

My husband & I have been licensed foster care providers for almost 6 years. We decided to become foster parents because we wanted to help kids who are less fortunate that us & needed a safe place to live. We also wanted our children, who may be just a tiny bit spoiled, to see that other children aren’t as fortunate so that they would appreciate what they have. That part hasn’t worked quite as well as I had hoped, but there’s still time, right?

The latest tragedy in the boys' lives is that they don’t have cell phones. Not only that, their parents don’t have cool phones for them to use, since we just have prepaid phones. Tyler informed me that ALL of his friends had their own cell phones (Tyler is 12, and we are more than happy to let him use one of our phones if he is going to a friends or to the park, but I am really not convinced he needs his own). Unfortunately for him, when you live in a small town, there is a good chance that your parents know your friends parents. So I asked him if Ashton had his own cell phone….nope he doesn’t. I asked if Jesse had his own, or if he just used his parents phone…he wasn’t sure.

But I did make him an offer. If he wanted, for Christmas & his birthday, I would be willing to get him a Tracfone & 1 year of service. He turned it down because their phone’s weren’t cool enough. I showed him another site that has pre-paid service in our area, and he did find a phone that he liked there…for almost $300.00, and that didn’t include the service! I told him to check Tracfone again once it got closer to Christmas!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Another New Word!

Well I'm back from vacation...the vacation was nice, but the coming back to work part, not so much.

Caleb learned another new word over our vacation...."poop"! And he does know what it means. Usually he will point to his diaper and say it if he has pooped. And actually, yesterday, he said it before he had actually pooped. Had we realized he meant he had to go, we could have run him up to the bathroom first!

I'm really trying hard not to be too offended, though. I am really happy that he is finally beginning to talk. He is also starting to babble a little bit which is great, since that is another step to actually talking. But seriously, would it have killed him to try mommy first??

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


We are beginning our vacation tomorrow. Nothing big, just a few days at my mom's for our family picnic followed by a week at the camper. Tyler does have baseball games next week, but one of them is only about 15 minutes from our camper, anyway.

There is one MAJOR problem, though. I was watching what I thought was the finale of Hell's Kitchen last night, only to find out that was just part 1 of 2. The last episode is actually next week on, while we are at the camper that does not get FOX, and the night of Tyler's baseball game. I realize I can record it, but it's just not the same.

The other issue with our campsite is that there is no Internet service. Our cell phones don't work there either, for that matter. We have to drive about a half mile to get service. But that's not all bad, I guess, there won't be a temptation to be on the computer instead of playing with the boys...but it will mean no posts for the next week or so.

Have a great 4th!


For the most part, I tend to be a bargain shopper. I LOVE the clearance aisles and consignment stores. I'd say about 90% of mine & the kids' clothes come from thrift stores. It gives us really large wardrobes, since I only pay a fraction of what they would cost new.

But my downfall is online shopping. For some reason, I am way more willing to buy something online than at the stores. When I'm at WalMart (say what you want about WalMart, I love shopping there), if something costs more than $2.00, I really debate whether I really need it. But when I'm at JCPenney's online outlet store....I buy stuff that I never would have bought at the store. My latest purchase was a pair of extremely large hoop earrings. They seriously almost touched my shoulder's....not what I normally wear at all. But they were ONLY $3.99. I know if I would have seen them for $4.00 at WalMart, I wouldn't have purchased them.

Those online stores know it, too. That's why they have a whole section labels "$9.99 and under" and will actually sort your search by the largest discount. How am I supposed to avoid purchasing with sales pitches like that?!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What is better...

than getting to play in your big brother's room? Especially since that is one of the rooms that is usually off limits to the babies.

Playing on their mini-bike does run a close second, though.

Shockingly, Amata was actually content to ride her bike. She is usually an instigator of things like this. (And, look, her outfit even matches, too!)