Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Not so cool after all

About a year ago or so, Chris & I started doing a monthly night out with Tyler & Cameron. To give them some special, alone time with one of us. Especially since at the time, we had a very challenging foster child, in addition to a newborn & an 11 month old & a two year old. It's gone pretty well so far, we have had to reschedule at times, but they have each gotten to go out every month.

This month it was my turn to go out with Tyler. But it ended up being a very busy month, with school starting, football season, soccer, and me having to attend both council meetings to finalize the 09 budget, so we did not get to go on our usual 2nd Monday of the month. We were having a hard time fitting it in. But on Wednesdays, there is no football practice, and Chris said he would take Amata to dance if Tyler & I wanted to go out that night.

Tyler had mentioned that he wanted to go bowling, so when I picked them up from school, I told him that if he wanted to call & make sure there was open bowling, we could go that night when I got home from work... on the ONLY night of the week he doesn't have football practice of a game. His response?? "Tonight? But a bunch of us were going to go up to the park & play some football."


Monday, September 29, 2008

Amata first day of "School"

Amata started pre-school this year.
She goes one morning a week. I'd love to send her more, but transportation gets a little difficult. And I didn't want to push it too hard, since technically they are supposed to be potty trained before they can go. She has her good days, but she still has way to many accidents for me to consider her successfully potty trained. (Delayed potty training is yet another symptom of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) Her teacher said she could go, though, and she just wouldn't notice if Amata happens to be wearing a pull up to school.
Caleb is not very happy about it. It's bad enough that the big kids get to go "bye-bye" every morning & he has to stay home, but now Amata gets to go, too? He had his shoes on & made it all the way out to the car the first morning.

There is one thing that is irritating me about her pre-school, though, is how well she has been behaving there. I spoke to her teacher last week about the fact that I was going to have her assessed for fetal alcohol syndrome, so she would probably be contacted about that soon about how Amata is doing in school. She told me Amata is doing great in school! She stays on task & doesn't run all over and climb onto things she doesn't belong on or anything. My daughter?! Apparently, she saves it all for us at home. It's still early in the school year, though, there is still time for her to show her true colors!

Friday, September 26, 2008


Cameron is not quite as into sports as Tyler is. In fact, the only sport he does take part in is soccer. It kind of bums me out, though, because in our area, soccer is not offered through school, so after they hit about 12, they're pretty much done.

Cameron's team was pretty good, this year. They were undefeated, and in fact they only had one goal scored against them all season, and that happened in the very last game.

He had to behave, though, because I heard his coach was really tough!

This was actually Chris' first time coaching. We usually use the babies as an excuse, but they were really unfair about it this year. The guy who was calling to find people to coach happens to be the same guy who coached Tyler's baseball team the first half of the summer. It's kind of hard to say, well, thanks for coaching my kid for the last 2 months, but I really don't feel like coaching soccer for you! They all had a good time, so it worked out well.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ready or not....

As I've mentioned, I decided several months ago that I was ready for a job change. So, Chris & I have both been looking for a job, and whoever found something first would be going to work & the other would stay home with the daycare.

Chris has accepted a job offer as a store manager for Dollar General, which means that as of October 13th, I will be doing daycare. Even though from the beginning, I have said that I was ready to stay home for a while, I am now starting to feel a little bit nervous. Because change it always hard & you just never know how things will turn out.

Now I keep thinking am I an idiot giving up a good job with the City just because I'm tired of dealing with the crap that goes along with it? I sure hope not. My former supervisor (the one who left her job with this city in May) keeps assuring me that even though there are a lot of nice benefits with working here, it just isn't worth the stress. And I do agree. That's why I started looking in the first place. I didn't want to continue being away from my kids all day to go to a place where I was miserable.

So wish me luck. I will soon be home, with about 10 pre-school & toddler children everyday. If I end up in an insane asylum, you'll know why!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Excellent Email

My sister forwarded me this email, and since it is one that I agree with whole-heartedly, I thought I would post it here.

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it it shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year.

It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a crïeche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period.. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too.. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her, How could God let something like this happen? ' (regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, "I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?"

In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O ' Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he ' s talking about. And we said OK.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with ' WE REAP WHAT WE SOW. '

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send jokes through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you ' re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it..

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don ' t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein


We went to court yesterday to finalize Caleb & Baylee's adoption. And there were no law changes, no natural disasters, the judge wasn't sick or anything. So as of yesterday afternoon, they are legally ours now. And Caleb is not even 2 yet (because that is the statuatory maximum that a child can be in a pre-adoptive placement). Maybe BluePlus will even send me Caleb's insurance card now...I dare to dream.
(They wouldn't send me one for he last 23 months because, "I was not his legal guardian".

There was a trial going on yesterday, too, though, so I felt a little more rushed than when we had Amata's hearing. So, we didn't spend much time trying to get a really great picture...everybody was looking in the general direction of the camera, so we kept it. (Please pay no attention to the boys' attire, I did make them put on nicer shirts, but since they were at school all day it's kind of hard to make them dress up more than that.)

That was actually the second take. Baylee was very interested in the judge on the first take.

We went out for pizza at Godfather's afterwards to celebrate before we went home. I'm just wondering, is it a bad omen that Baylee threw up as soon as we got home? Once literally on our way into the house, and then again on the brand new, less than 2 weeks old couch.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Would it kill him to smile?

Tyler brought home his football pictures on Friday.

I just don't get why they refuse to smile in sports pictures??
(Pay no attention to the dirty socks. Tyler is in charge of his own laundry, so I have no control over dirty socks. According to him I should just buy him black socks and then you wouldn't know how dirty they are)

The first game of the season was pretty rocky, as even though the rules say there is supposed to be equal playing time for all kids in 7th & 8th grade sports, he only played about 5 minutes of that game. However, since then, he has gotten to play much more. His only complaint is that when he plays offense, on a passing play the QB always throws the ball to another kid. Keep in mind that Tyler is about the 2nd shortest kid on the team, so in defense of the QB, there's a good chance that he doesn't even see Tyler!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Baylee!

Baylee's first birthday was on Tuesday. Which means, no more formula....Yeah!!
We celebrated first by going to Happy Joe's for some bad pizza and fun games for the kids.

Baylee enjoyed the birthday sundae, she was even nice enough to share it!

She also enjoyed the game ticket somebody won for her, I personally didn't think it looked like it would taste that good.

By the time we got home, however, Baylee & Amata had both fallen asleep, so we had to wait for cake & gifts until Wednesday.

She enjoyed her gifts, however, Caleb felt that she was moving much to slow, so he decided to help her unwrap them.

Seriously Obsessed!

I may have mentioned before that Caleb really likes balls, and although any ball will do, his favorite by far is a baseball. He also enjoys watching baseball on TV, and of course, being in Minnesota, we watch the Twins.

The other day Tyler was wearing this Twins sweatshirt. Caleb walked up to him, pointed to the shirt and said, "Ball". (Of course, Tyler had to let him wear the sweatshirt after that)
Now, given the fact that Caleb is still very behind in his speech, I'm pretty sure that he cannot actually read. But he is so obsessed with baseball, that he obviously pays very close attention when we watch it on TV to be able to recognize that logo as a baseball item!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Yay, Me!

One of the things I do at my job is payroll and anything related to payroll, including unemployment claims. Because we are a local government, we do not actually pay unemployment insurance, instead we have to pay the state's unemployment division dollar for dollar any benefits paid out that are charged to the city. This does not happen often since the rumors are true - it is pretty difficult to actually get fired from a government job. And if you just quit, then you're not entitled to benefits. However, by default we get several claims a year for our part time employees if they are laid off from their primary full time job. When this happens, I have to file an appeal with the state explaining that the person in question is still employed with the city at or above 90% of their pre-unemployment wages. Normally that is the end of it.

However, in December of 2007, the state had a computer upgrade that apparently did not go well. At this same time, I filed an appeal on for a part time employee who was still employed with us, just like I've always done, and then I filed it away and didn't think about it again. Until I received a bill the following month for benefits charged against the city. That is when the saga began. Since then I have been fighting with the state of Minnesota to try & get this reversed. For NINE months. I've sent letters, faxes, email, made phone calls, etc, and nobody could seem to help me get this resolved. I mean, seriously, I could have gotten pregnant, carried the baby to full term & delivered it in the time it took them to figure this out! (That is just a hypothetical example...under no circumstances will we be having any more children!)

Finally, I'd had enough. I got all of the information together about each time I'd contacted them and all of the documentation showing that this employee still worked for us...and was working more for us than he had in the past and I typed up a letter informing them that if this was not resolved within 2 weeks, I would begin contacting our state representatives until I did get a resolution. I sent that letter to 2 different fax numbers and the snail mail address I had for them.

I actually got a phone call that same day from a lady who wanted more copies of time cards and stuff. She informed me that the date to file an appeal ended before my SECOND request and so she didn't know if they could reverse it. I reminded her that I never received that ruling, which would be their error, so they couldn't hold that against me. She said she'd review everything and IF there was an error, refund our money.

Now I know this isn't "my" money, it's the City's, but let me tell you, after fighting with them about this for 9 months, it might as well have been mine. By this time, I was mad! When I have to submit a check to the council showing unemployment payments being made for an employee who still works for us, it makes it look like I didn't do my job.

Monday morning I came into work and there was a letter from the state stating that they had reviewed everything and found that the city should not have been charged benefits, and those benefits have been reversed out. That was pretty nice to hear.

Then, on Tuesday, I came back from the bank to find I had a voicemail from the director of the customer service area of the state's unemployment department saying, "You were right, we were wrong." Okay, may the "we were wrong" part shouldn't be in the quotes because he didn't say that exactly, but he did say "YOU WERE RIGHT" and that my original appeal had been processed incorrectly!!! The State of Minnesota said that to me!!! I has taken me 9 long months to hear that, but now, it is worth it! I am never going to delete that message. I want to figure out how to transfer it to a tape so I can take it with me if I ever do get out of here. The state of Minnesota is a lot like the IRS - they are never wrong....except this time! Yay, Me!!

Pool Party

We were a little late in getting a pool for the babies this summer. Mostly because of the camper being parked at a site with a baby pool. But that pool was pretty chilly, & Baylee & Caleb didn't get to go to the camper very ofter, so finally in August we picked up a little pool for them on clearance. They all seemed to have a good time.

Caleb got bored after a while & decided to go for a ride instead (Pay no attention to the pinkish swim diaper he has on....I didn't notice they were not very gender neutral until after I opened them).

But Amata was willing to stay & play with Baylee, so all was well.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Not Bad

I did a little shopping on Friday, mostly because I had a coupon for 30% off everything at Kohl's - even clearance prices. Kohl's is my new favorite store.

So, I of course had to go & cruise the clearance racks. I found quite a bit for Tyler & Cameron. Not as much for the babies, though. It's just safer to buy the boys summer clothes, since at most, they usually only go up one size a year. It's a little dicier with the babies, so I don't like to buy that far ahead for them. Except of course for the SpongeBob swimming suit that came with a grass skirt that I got for Amata for $1.70. It's a size 6x, so I have no idea when that will actually fit her, but a grass hula skirt? How can I pass that up?!

When I got home, I sorted the clothes & put the boys' stuff on the kitchen chairs. Then when they got home I told each of them to please put all of their "crap" in the kitchen away. I like to see the surprised look on their face when they see what I am referring to.

I don't always buy the boys much unless they're with me, as they've gotten a little pickier as they've gotten older. Two years ago when I was going through Cameron's clothes with him to see what he was ready to get rid of and he literally got rid of like 80% of his clothes. It was then that I decided we maybe didn't have the same taste in clothes anymore, and that they needed to start picking out their own clothes.

But as Tyler looked through his clothes and started heading up to his room with them, he said, "You're gettin' pretty good at this, mom."

I'm so proud of myself!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

One more nice thing...

One more nice thing about living in a small town is that if it is starting to rain when football practice is over and you don't notice, somebody else will give your son a ride. For that matter, even if it's not raining, but you are just too lazy to drive the mile to the field at 5ish to pick him up, somebody else will still probably give your son a ride home.

I might feel worse about this, but last year, the league Tyler was in did not bus the kids to games. Normally the games were on Saturday, but a playoff game was on a school night in a town an hour away which made it pretty tough for a lot of parents. So I went without Chris & the kids and gave 6 other kids a ride to that game. And I took them to McDonalds for a late dinner and bought them all hot chocolate because it was freezing out that night. I figure that good deed should get me through at least the rest of this season, right?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Reserved Parking

While I was shopping last weekend, with Baylee & Caleb - alone with them, I happened to notice some of the reserved parking signs. There have always been handicapped parking, of course, which I'm fine with, although, at times, I do wonder why there needs to be 345 handicapped parking spaces at Wal-Mart. Then there are the "Reserved for Senior Citizens", which are okay, although sometimes questionable; I mean, I can see that a 90 year old may need to park closer than me, but chances are they would already have a disability parking certificate. And there is always the question of what age constitutes a senior citizen in that case.

But I think the signs that get me every time are the "Reserved for Expectant Mothers" sign. I mean, really? When I was pregnant, I was told walking was good for me. In fact, when I was pregnant with Tyler, I waited tables until 5 days before he was born. With Cameron, I also had a job where I was on my feet all day, although I admit I didn't have to do much walking. I understand if it is a difficult pregnancy, or something, but in that case, again, they could get a temporary disability parking certificate. But, seriously, wouldn't it make more sense to have reserved parking for current mothers? I personally found it much harder to walk very far with children in my arms versus a child in my belly.

Escape Artist

He may look cute & sweet, but inside this little guy is a little escape artist!

While Chris took the older kids camping Labor Day weekend, I decided to take Baylee & Caleb shopping...don't ask my why, I guess I am just a glutton for punishment!

One of the stores we went to was Once Upon A Child. I specifically picked this store because inside, they have an enclosed play area for the kids. The walls are at least 3 feet high, and there is no door. It is a pretty small store, square foot wise, so you can always heare them playing...or crying. The theory is that you can place your kids in there to play while you shop & not have to worry about them getting out. But they haven't met my kids.

I was looking at clothes for Amata & I could hear kids playing, so I wasn't very concerned about them. When all of the sudden I looked up and saw Caleb walking towards me with a big bag of super-hero's in his hand! I really have to hand it to Caleb. I have at one time or another placed each one of my children in that play area. And at times they have cried or whined, but nobody has ever gotten out before.

That Caleb's a real over-achiever sometimes...especially when there is a bag of toys to nab!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

One Brave Patient

Last weekend, Chris took the older boys & Amata camping. They went toad hunting Saturday night, and I guess the best time to go toad hunting is when it's dark out. Somehow, while hunting, Amata managed to get a hunk of wood stuck under her big toe nail. I wouldn't call it a sliver, because it was about 1/8 inch wide.

Caleb, Baylee & I went out on Sunday to hang out with them. Chris had tried to get as much of it out as he could, but there wasn't much to grab onto, plus Amata would jerk her foot away every time Chris tried. So, Amata and I went off to Urgent Care...oh, what fun. At least we were at the camper, so it wasn't the urgent care I usually go to. However, having what the referred to as a sliver under a big toe does not exactly get you to the top of the urgent care priority list. So we waited, and waited, until we finally got in to see the doctor. Thank goodness they had Cartoon Network on the TV in the waiting area.

As I expected, the doctor said they would have to giver her novocaine shots around her big toe in order to get the wood out. I've had a novocaine shot in my toe before...it hurts! So, I had to hold Amata on my lap and 2 nurses held her leg & foot while the doctor gave her the shots. She screamed during that part, but after that was over, they got her a sucker and she was all better. Once the toe was numb, I covered her eyes while the doctor worked on her toe. Amata wanted to watch, but I didn't think it would be a good idea.

The doctor ended up cutting all the way down to the base of her toe to get the remaining bit of wood out...it was only about 1/4 inch long. After that she got her toe taped up and was ready to go, along with some antibiotics, just in case. The closed pharmacy was only about 5 minutes away, but Amata was sleeping be the time we got there. She slept all the way through the store, back to the camper and on the couch in the camper for over an hour. I guess all of the excitement wore her out. She hasn't complained once about her toe hurting since it happen, so I'd say we got off pretty easy!

Monday, September 1, 2008


A couple of weeks ago, our town had their annual celebration, complete with a "carnival" (if you consider 8-9 rides a 3 games a carnival), a parade & food. And no matter how much I do not like "Carnies", it's kind of a requirement to partake in the celebration. So every year I buy ride tickets and we go & try to use them all.

We headed down right away the first night because Chris & Tyler were going to be gone the rest of the weekend. The park is only about 8 blocks from our house, so we decided to just walk down. We planned to start with dinner, but unfortunately, Caleb couldn't quite make it.

The nice thing about it is that almost all of the food is at booths put on by local church's & youth groups, so you don't end up paying normal fair prices. We fed our whole crew a hot dog or brat, chips, a cookie & a 20 oz bottle of pop for just over $20. We can't even do that at McDonalds (and certainly not Subway).

Then, we headed over to the rides. The ride tickets are MUCH cheaper if you buy them in advance. So I asked both the boys how many tickets they wanted, and the each stated they wanted a full strip. However, when we got to the rides, Tyler decided he "wasn't in the mood" to go on rides and didn't use a single ticket. I was not happy. Sure the other kids managed to use them, but I wouldn't have bought them in the first place if I knew he wasn't going to ride. I think one strip of tickets each is plenty.

Besides, since he wasn't going to use any of his, that meant that I had to take the other kids back the next day...by my self! That was not in the plan! There was one positive, however. Caleb was not in the mood for rides, either, after his snooze on the first day, but he was a little more daring on the second day. Cameron was a real trooper, he went on the rides with Caleb & Amata

...including the slide that Amata was addicted to. She must have went down that 10 times...and there is no escalator to the top, either; you have to walk up all of the steps every single time!

Caleb tried the slide, too. He thought it was okay, but he wasn't nearly impressed with it as Amata.

Cameron & Amata even tried the octopus...Cameron really liked that one, Amata didn't like it as much.

Caleb's favorite ride was the helicopter.

They got brave the second day & enjoyed some of the rides by themselves.

The last day we enjoyed the parade. We sat on a block that didn't have many people (as it was not in the shade...) so the kids got a ton of candy.

Baylee even got to enjoy her first sucker at the parade.