Friday, November 28, 2008

Gone in 60 Seconds

Okay, it might not have been exactly 60 seconds, but it didn't take much longer than that to completely blow my Christmas budget at WalMart. I do not always go out on Black Friday, but this year they had stuff I wanted. Like Jeeps in pink & blue for only $88 each…they normally sell for at least $200. And, since we had the best WalMart employees ever by the Jeeps, I was able to get one of each color….loaded into my cars by them, at 2 minutes before 5.

And, my years of experience shopping with multiple children has trained me well enough to push/pull two carts through WalMart on Black Friday.

But, alas, there is always something. I realized on my way home that I did make a HUGE blunder. They had Leapster's on sale for only $30, so I picked one up for Amata. But, I did not pick one up for Caleb – UGGH! I know better. Really I do, Tyler & Cameron were also close in age. I think I'm going to blame the early morning for that blunder.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Just Two Minutes

For some reason, even though my older boys are 10 & 12, for some reason they never answer the phone or the door. Unless, of course, they've got something planned. For example, on Friday shortly after school, the phone rang. It was literally about 2 inches away from Cameron, but he of course, was waiting for me to pick it up. I did, looked at the caller id and said, "It's for you."

He answered and talked to his friend for about 30 seconds, hung up, and went into the living room. Shortly after 5, the phone rang again, but this time, even though it was 25 feet away from Cameron, he came running into the kitchen to answer it. Two seconds later he asks, "Mom, can I sleep over at Sid's?" Like that wasn't planned!!

So today, the boys were downstairs with the babies. So I decided to take the opportunity to go to the bathroom all by myself. And since I didn't have 10 kids running around the house trying to break something, or someone, I thought that maybe I would even take my time.

Silly me. I no sooner got into the bathroom when the doorbell rang. The bathroom is directly above the family room, so I yelled for the boys to please answer it. Nothing. I yelled again, as the doorbell rang again. Nothing. I suppose I could have ignored it, but we ordered some chocolate covered popcorn from the boy scouts about a month ago, and I thought maybe it was them coming to deliver it. Besides the close call almost running out of Diet Coke yesterday, we actually have run out of chocolate here.

So I ended up having to rush back downstairs, just as the doorbell rang again, and they started pounding on the door. I'm beginning to think it is not the boy scouts coming to rescue me from my chocolate withdrawal; they just don't seem like the door pounding type. Just as I reach the door, Tyler starts walking upstairs. I said, no, no, I'll get it. He claimed he didn't hear me yell, but did he seriously not hear the doorbell ring THREE times?? And to top it all off, I open the door to find that, no, it is not the boy scouts. It was two of Tyler's friends coming to see if he wanted to play basketball.

Friday, November 21, 2008

$1.85 - OMG!!

I had to run to the gas station tonight because I was down to my last can of Diet Coke. I really don't like to let it get down that low. What if there is an emergency and I run out before the last daycare child leaves?! So, naturally, within about 10 seconds after the last family was out the door, I told Tyler I had to run a quick errand.

I could hardly believe my eyes when I pulled in and saw that gas was only $1.85 per gallon! I've never been one to get overly excited over the price of gas, I mean, what can I do about it, I have to have it. But since there was another foster child with us when Baylee was born, we became a family of 8, and could no longer all fit in a minivan, so we had to trade it in for a Suburban. It got mighty painful during the last year when we had to fill that baby up!

Since I always use pay at the pump, and they sometimes will only authorize for up between $75 - $100, there were actually times when we were cut off before the tank was even full if we let it get too empty! So, tonight, when there was only a quarter of a tank of gas, I was very excited to be able to completely fill up that tank for only $40.00!

I must say, though, I still find it really hard to understand how a gallon of gas can range from almost $4 per gallon to less than $2 per gallon in just a couple of months! Something just doesn't right about that!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

There she goes...

Baylee has finally started walking. Okay, so she technically started walking about 2 weeks ago, but, of course, she wouldn't do it when I had the camera out. She is almost exactly the same age Caleb was when he walked, 14 months. All of my kids have been late walkers for some reason. But once they start they take off in a hurry!
Even though she has already taken several steps on her own, Amata still likes to try & help her keep her balance.

What a big girl!


With Chris' job being in retail, he of course does no have Monday through Friday hours, to say the least. Which, in some respects, can be nice, like him having some time off during the week to take the kids to doctor appts, or preschool, etc. This particular week, he has all day Tuesday off, and didn't go in until 2 on Thursday, and noon the other three days. (The assistant mgr couldn't work night shifts this week for some reason.)

I love my husband, but having him home, during daycare for at least a half a day this week is really starting to cramp my style. It's kind of like having somebody stand over your shoulder while you are working. Especially since he used to run the daycare. I hate hearing comments like, "oh, you let them do that?"

Hopefully, next week, there will be a couple of day shifts in the schedule!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

High Expectations

So, I admit it is not fair. I have even admitted that to Tyler. The fact is, when it comes to school & grades, I expect Tyler to get A's, but with Cameron, I am happy with mostly B's. It's just because Tyler just naturally excels in school, with little effort. Cameron, on the other hand has to put in a lot of effort just to get the B's. Cameron is our creative child, and excels in Art & Band.

I had checked Tyler's grades on line last week, and was very pleased to see he did, in fact, have strait A's. (I am not able to check Cameron's grades online yet, as he is still considered to be in elementary school). Then, I went on again today to check his grades, since the quarter just ended. I was surprised to see that one of those grades dropped to a B+. Now, I admit that is still a good grade, but I also still know that Tyler can do better.

I went into the progress report in that class to see what happened in that week, and saw that he failed the last quiz. I'm not talking he just missed passing it, he failed it....42%!! So I called him up to discuss it with him. Now, to show that I am not completely overbearing about his grades, I did make sure to tell him that his grades were really good. But I wanted to know what happened on that test.

His excuse is that lots of kids did bad on that test. According to him, "She used really hard words on it." I said that if he had studied for it a little, maybe those words wouldn't have been so hard. He disagrees and just kept saying that all of the kids in the class did bad. And then, he wanted to know how much his report card was worth?!

While we do pay them for good report cards, since they are so different, we don't specifically say so much for an A, B and so on. We usually pay both of the boys the same amount. I told him we'd have to wait & see what his dad thought. But in the mean time, maybe he should do a little studying in that class!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Safety Boy

In light of Caleb's new feat of learning how to climb out of his crib, we did try a couple things to keep him in bed. Chris was able to lower the mattress one more level, and we did move the little red table. However, Caleb does no seem to be so easily deterred. He is, however, concerned about his safely as he drops down to the floor. The last couple of times I've gone into his room after he has come out, this is what I've found.
Just in case he falls, he throws his pillow down first so he'll have some padding!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Now What?

It is 2:15. I have now put Caleb down for his nap three times. Two of those times he had actually fallen asleep on me. However, all three times this has happened...

Which is why he is currently sitting at the table coloring... or more accurately, stealing the crayon box & closing it to irritate the other kids.

He will be one mighty crabby boy by dinner time tonight! If I had the time, I would LOVE to just sit & hold him while he slept, but that is just not possible with a daycare! And while I realize that I could try moving the little red table he is stepping on, I'm quite certain he'd climb out anyway, and then he'd probably hurt himself.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Face of FAS

Amata had her developmental & behavior clinic yesterday. It was one of those days that I was looking forward to & dreading. I had already self diagnosed her with at the very least ADHD, & probably Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. So, they were either going to tell me that she had neither, and the behavior issues we've been experiencing were our own problem or that, yes, she did have a condition for which there is no cure.

After looking at her history, taking measurements of her head & face, and having her meet with a psychologist, occupational therapist, pediatrician, speech pathologist & educational specialist, Amata was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome & ADHD. When I researched FAS, the pictures they always show are of extreme examples of the FAS face. I guess that's why I didn't think that Amata really had the physical characteristics, but once the doctor pointed them out I could see them. The has the thinner upper lip and under her nose is smoother than most people. Her eyes are also a little wide-spread.

The one good thing about this diagnosis is that now she will be able to get the services that she deserves, including early childhood special ed. She didn't qualify before because she scored too high on their testing. But with a diagnosis of FAS which is "a condition known to hinder development", it doesn't matter what her test scores were.
And with ECSE, the school also provides transportation to & from, which was an issue for us when enrolling her in preschool; that's why she is only signed up one morning a week.

And, most of the studies show that children who are diagnosed with FAS prior to beginning school and are raised in a stable home, have a very good chance to lead completely normal lives.

Of course, I would still like to cause bodily harm to the poor excuse for a human being that decided to drink alcohol while she was pregnant with Amata, but it probably wouldn't be in Amata;s best interest if I ended up in jail on assault charges.

Caleb's assessment is currently scheduled in two weeks, but they mentioned that the speech pathologist may not be able to be there, so it might have to be rescheduled. Seeing how similar his facial features are to Amata's, I won't be surprised if he also ends up with an FAS diagnosis as well.

A quote that the MN Organization on FAS uses often is, "Don't Try Harder, Try Differently. If you've told a child a thousand times and he still does not understand, then it is not the child who is a slow learner." That's going to be a tough one for me! There is a reason I was never a teacher!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

To Caleb

My dearest, sweet adorable Caleb. I want you to know how much I love it that you want to be such a big boy. I love that you always try to clean everything up. I love that you try to give all of the kids hugs whenever they are crying. I love that you can put on your crocks all by yourself whenever somebody is going outside so that you can try & sneak out with them.I love that you try to go potty anytime somebody is in the bathroom, even though you only sit on it for 2 seconds & then feel the need to wipe.

But if you could just do one teansy, tiny, itty bitty favor for me, I would really appreciate it. Could you please try to refrain from whipping your diaper off anywhere & everywhere in the house. Especially those dirty ones. Because even though you practice wiping about 10 times a day, you still need a wee bit more practice, and when you go in your diaper, your backside needs a little bit more wiping than if you had gone on the potty instead.
Thank you for your help in this matter!
Your Mommy

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Day

I am not really a political type person at all. I do vote, but I don't consider myself a democrat or republican. So the only thing I have to say about the elections is this:

Do you really think bombarding my mailbox with your stupid political flyer's is going to make me want to vote for you? Seriously, this was just one days worth of mail.
I have already had to endure hours of your stupid political commercials bashing one another. There is nothing you can possibly send me in the mail that will affect who I vote for. All these mailing have done was caused me more work to take this crap to the recycling center! If anything, that would make me not want to vote for you.

Trick or Treating

Halloween is easily one of the favorite holidays for my crew. Chris & the boys (mostly Cameron, although Tyler will help out some) love decorating for it. For the past several years, they have actually created a graveyard. They've tried to add some to it every year. A couple of years ago, the local newspaper even had a picture of it on their front page. It got a pretty windy this year, so by the time I took the pictures, some of it had blown down. I was also too far away, so the picture doesn't really do it justice.

Sadly, with Chris' new job, he had to work Halloween night this year. So, I took pictures & Tyler recorded out trick or treating outing.

Amata was of course a princess - what else would she be!

Sticking with the obvious, Caleb was a Twins baseball player.

Baylee doesn't really have any obvious things she loves, so she got the costume I found at the consignment store - a chicken.

Cameron decided to be Iron Man, and Tyler had wanted to just get a mask, but never found one he liked (unless you count the $50 plus shipping one he found online). But I did convince him to throw on his Twins jersey, too, so he & Caleb could be a pair.

I only took the babies to about half a dozen houses. That's about all they can make it before trying to dig into their candy, anyway. After that we come back home to hand out candy....and the kids seem to have just as much fun answering the door & handing out the candy.

I wasn't sure how Caleb would react to the trick or treating, but he amazed me. At the second house he even tried to walk right in. And although he doesn't actually say "thank you" yet, he did try, basically grunting 2 syllables.

And, yes, Baylee did get in on the action. But with me taking the pictures, and her not walking yet, she didn't make it in most of the pictures. I had Tyler snap this one at the very end as we were heading back home.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


You may have noticed that there are some google ads in my sidebar. I don't usually pay a lot of attention to what is being advertised there. In the beginning, I did notice that they were mainly about adoption & foster care. I just assumed it was because the profile for this blog said I was a mother of 5 & foster care provider.

Today I happened to notice the ads were about drains. I have to assume in response to a recent post. I just didn't realize that they actually looked at the individual posts when deciding what to advertise for. I wonder how you can get hired to read blogs in order to decide what ads to run.

Pumpkin Time

Halloween kind of snuck up on us this year. Normally, we buy our pumpkins from a farmer between here & Mankato - he usually has hay bales, corn stalks & all sizes of pumpkins, and you can get sort of a variety pack for $20. But for some reason he wasn't doing it this year. So on Wednesday, Chris & the boys ran to Mankato for some stuff & picked up the pumpkins. Amata & I had to stay behind because she has dance on Wednesdays.

Since Thursday was Caleb's birthday and Cameron's band concert, we also needed to get them carved out on Wednesday. Tyler decided this year that he was too old for it, so he didn't pick out anything. But the other 4 kids all got pumpkins. Unfortunately, Baylee was way to crabby for pumpkin carving, she had to go to bed.

Caleb & Amata had fun painting theirs. We rarely get out paint around here - I'm sure you can guess why - so it was a real treat for them. Tyler was nice enough to help the little ones. I guess it's okay as long as it's not actually "his" pumpkin.

Cameron always enjoys the pumpkin Carving. He's the creative child in our house.

Amata was nice enough to help clean out Baylee's pumpkin. She likes anything that means getting dirty.

This was the final product. Pay no attention to the two that never got carved. We meant to finish those Thursday but just ran out of time. And I completely forgot about them on Friday, until I was taking this picture right before we went out. Oh well, you can see the nice paint job Amata & Caleb did on them!