Sunday, March 18, 2007

Road Bumps

We've had some issues with Olivia's girl scout troop lately. They are supposed to meet the second and fourth Monday of each month. The fourth Monday of Jan Olivia was sick and unable to go. She went Feb 12 to the next mtg, and came back with Valentines. No one bothered to call and let us know they were doing a Valentine party. She brought nothing. Nice. We then went to the mtg on Feb 26. A bunch of parents and kids were there, but no leader. She didn't show. We left. No call to explain, nothing. So we went, hoping that there would be a mtg, March 12. One other parent/child showed. No leader. And she hadn't received a call either. We left. I then spent a couple days playing phone tag with our girl scout liasion for the area. I talked with her finally last Thursday, she hadn't heard from anyone else and had spent the two prior days trying to get a hold of our leader after hearing my message, but no luck. She was trying some more and should be calling early this week to let me know what she's found out.

On a brighter note, Olivia had her very first classmate birthday party today. She was a little anxious upon finding out that I wouldn't be staying at the party with her. She's only been to parties of good friends where we are all there together. I assured her that I would stay for a little while with the boys to make sure she felt comfortable, and would only leave when she told me she was ok. She wanted to know who would be there. I told her I had no idea. :) Her entire class was invited, but I knew most wouldn't come.

That's hard when you're in kindergarten and you don't really know most of the kids and their families. Unless you invite the entire class or the whole gender of your child, you can't send invites to the school. Which I understand. What we are going to have a hard time with is that Olivia wants kids from class at her party this year. That would be great, but her birthday is mid August, and even if I did want to invite the whole class, or even all of the girls, she isn't in school at that time. I have no idea how we will accomplish inviting any of her friends. But that's a long time away.

Today, we went to drop off Olivia at the bowling alley for her classmate's party. I don't know this boy, I don't know his family, I was nervous. I am a pretty strict mom, I admit. The fact that the invites were Spongebob was enough to worry me, I know, it's sad. But, I want her to be with her friends. I want her to learn to choose her way in the world. And she wanted to go. Until she found out I'd be leaving.

We went and she was thrilled to see that her best friend from class was there too. I was not thrilled with the fact that I, Olivia's friend's dad, and another parent, brought kids in for the party and the mom didn't even bother to introduce herself or say hi or anything. We stood a few min with her friend and I asked Olivia if she was ok for me to leave. She hugged me so tight, but said she'd be fine. We left. Poor buddy, I didn't see it coming. Braeden's head hung lower and lower as we walked back to the car. Upon reaching it, he wailed "Olivia" and just cried the most pitiful cry. Not sure if he was missing her, or upset that she was at a party with bowling (which they've not done before) and cake without him, but he was not a happy camper. We went home and all three of us took naps - since I'm still way under the weather - and then picked up Olivia. She had a blast! She loved bowling and had a lot of fun. I was so glad.

Tonight, Olivia's sleep walking took a new turn. Not sure how to combat this in the future. I was sitting here at the computer and heard feet upstairs. I didn't here her coming down, so I went up to see what was going on. She had gone in Braeden's room and woken him up. She was crying and said she couldn't find me and was scared. What to do??? She can't just wake the boys up because she wakes in the middle of the night and doesn't see me outside her door. I just don't know. Lock her in her room? I hate to even think of doing that. I'm glad I was awake. But if she did this sometime when I wasn't, what then? What if she went outside??? I need to really think about this... Ideas???

Tomorrow I have to stay home. I am not excited about this in the least. I've already had to use two unpaid days and they came out of my last paycheck. It's costing a lot for me to stay home tomorrow. Why am I? Well...

Our day care provider has been expecting her seventh child. She already has three bio and three adopted children. We've (obviously) known for a while when she was due. A while back, I had not looked yet for someone to watch the kids while she was out, and she suggested a woman who helps her out and picks up Olivia from the bus stop and brings her to day care. The kids know her and she could watch them at our house with her one year old. Perfect. So we set it up, she came to the house and saw it and heard a little about the house rules, etc. The last couple weeks we've known she was close to going into labor and it could be anytime, she was hoping sooner. :) Finally they said they would induce her this Tues. She still could've gone anytime. Today the person who will be watching the kids called me around noon to tell me that the provider had the baby on Sat. Yay! :)

BUT, she said, she has court tomorrow morning and won't be able to watch the kids so I'll need to find someone. HELLO!!! I don't just "have someone!" I don't have family around here I can call! If I "had someone" I wouldn't be using her!!! One afternoon is not enough for me to just randomly call and try to see if someone knows someone who could stay with the kids. Are you kidding me???? SO, because she didn't tell me about this court date when she knew about it and knew that the due date was near and the baby could come anytime, I now have to stay home myself. I'm FURIOUS!!!! I don't have this kind of money just laying around that will now be taken off my next paycheck for this one day. It would've cost less than half of what I'm losing tomorrow to find someone, anyone, to stay with the kids. PLUS, we're in the middle of ISAT. My kids have a test tomorrow. My school is so not going to be happy with me!!! I don't know what they're going to do. Subs technically can't give ISAT. Not happy. It's already going to cost me more during this time with them at home because I'm now buying food for breakfast, lunch, and two snacks a day when they usually eat that at day care. Now I have to come up with this money too??? Not fun.

Tomorrow afternoon Braeden gets screened for preschool. Technically, there's no way he would qualify. Our school social worker thinks he'll qualify just because he was a foster child. I hope he does. It's a good program, and he could really use the structure. He would start in the fall. I'm mostly excited to see what they test him on and what he says/how he does. He is so smart! If he does "get in" he'll have to be potty trained. He's still not close to being ready, but that is already a goal for summer. I'm trying to get him closer, by giving him a conversation heart from Valentine's Day each time he tells me he has poopy pants and I change him. He doesn't even care about being changed. So he is now at least starting to tell me this.

A little example of Braeden: We were reading a book he had chosen last night before bed. I have been trying to work with Olivia on comprehension questions as we read as this is something her teacher has suggested she work on. We started this book No More Monsters for Me about a girl, Minneapolis Simpkin. They had said her name about three times and I stopped the story. I asked Olivia, What was the girl's name? She didn't know. Braeden says, "Minneappaloosa!" Remember, he's addicted to horses, and Appaloosas are his favorites next to Arabians. :) Anyway, then I asked Olivia what the girl and her mother had been arguing about. (The girl had wanted a pet and her mom said no, she then had found a baby monster outside.) Olivia said they were arguing because the girl wanted a monster. Braeden said, "No, a pet!" :) Smart boy.

Not a whole lot else going on, but that's enough I guess. Trying to get through ISAT and this yucky cold. I feel a lot better today, so that's a plus. I also finally signed my life away to get Advil Cold and Sinus which I was told works great. It's one that is kept behind the counter of the pharmacy. When we went to Target today after church to get Olivia's card/gift for the party, I tried to get the medicine. Silly me, didn't think that I'd need my Driver's License for a pkg of medicine, couldn't get it! After the party we stopped at Walgreens and I brought in the License. It took almost five min for her to imput the info from my license for me to then buy the meds! Oh well. It's helping! :)
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Little One - no news. Haven't heard anything more from the CASA worker or about his case in general. Of course I am still "in trouble" for trimming his bangs, although the prior case worker did give me permission! Go figure. I'm still pushing them to find out what exactly I'm to do with his hair if mom doesn't want me to trim his bangs and they are going to stand behind that. Send him to a visit with barrettes and see what happens, ha! that's what I want to do. :) Beyond that, Little One is coming into some "issues." From what I've gathered he came into the system "failure to thrive." As I was discussing his communication concerns with a coworker who teaches a communication disordered class and specialized in small frys, she asked if he was failure to thrive. I told her he was and she asked if he ever stops eating when he has had enough? I said that actually he didn't, and that his day care provider and I would give him a set portion basically. Well, the past few days it has now turned into him crying and crying at the end of meals because the food is "gone." It isn't like we are starving him. Sunday's dinner he ate half of a thick pork chop, piece of bread, and good sized serving of mashed potatoes and corn. He's 13 months. You'd have thought we hadn't fed him in three days, he was crying so much. Same since. Monday's lunch Little One had two big helpings of a casserole and fruit, before Braeden or Olivia even finished their first serving, and the same crying after. Been the same for each meal since. I'm at a point where I need to call his physician and talk about these concerns.

Olivia - finally we are getting somewhere with her adoption subsidy. The regional director is doing it herself because of all the mixups and how long it has taken. She is also working on getting me some of the money owed toward gas for the past sibling visits. In other news, the sleep walking has lost it's quirkiness. It's no longer cute. It's annoying. :) Whenever it happens it's an hour after she goes to sleep and she doesn't remember it the next day. Crazy.

Braeden - What a child. He can be so loving one minute and then pulls out the attitude the next. On the soon-to-come front, Braeden and I will be attending a live Thomas the Tank Engine show in April! Since Olivia and I saw Princesses on Ice, Braeden and mommy are going to do Thomas. Should be lots of fun!

Weather - It's finally warm out!!! It was in the 70s yesterday and today. And even with my feelings of death I went through yesterday with some weird horrible sickness that is luckily better now, we went for a walk to the park. It was Gorgeous. Now we are in the midst of thunderstorms. And it's supposed to get cold again. But we at least had a bit of a reprieve. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Thursday, March 08, 2007

Cuteisms and More

Yesterday Olivia and I were at gymnastics. (She does so great, such upper body strength it's crazy!) I got to talking to a mom who I've seen there and our church, but had never talked to before. Her daughter is in third grade and is named Olivia as well. After class, the girls came out and (my) Olivia said, "Mom, there is another girl here named Olivia!" I said, "I know, we were just talking about that isn't that cool?" She said, "Did she pick her name too???" We laughed and laughed. So cute!

The other day I put the movie Indian in the Cupboard in for the kids to see if they would be interested at all yet. I have it because it's a book I do with my seventh graders and we watch the movie after. Well, I forgot this is an older movie and Boone, who is a plastic toy cowboy come to life, sticks a cigarette in his mouth. Olivia wasn't paying attention, I was glad. Braeden goes, "Mom, he has a sucker!" Oh the naivete! :) We took the movie out. :)

Not so cute - Little One is exhibiting some anger issues of late. Great, a 13 month old with anger problems. If he gets mad over anything, someone taking away something he just had to have - lint, you name it - he hits his face or grabs his arms and pulls hard or bangs his face in the floor. What fun.

He's also been having a lot of sleep-related issues the last few weeks or more. I can't even recall. The first couple weeks he was waking every so often, crying, and then would go back to bed. Then Olivia and even Braeden, who usually sleeps through most of it, were waking up during this and not getting a lot of sleep. After the "honeymoon" period I like to think of it now, he then began waking and crying for long periods. At this point I couldn't just let him cry it out because of the others. So for a few nights, I went and picked him up. He was instantly fine, I would lay him back down, and he would go to sleep again. It then morphed into me picking him up and the crying continuing at other points. After a few nights of this, I took him up to my bed the second time I went down. He lay down and instantly was asleep the rest of the night. This then continued a few more nights. He would wake around 3am, I'd let him cry/moan for 30-40 min, then get him up and put him in my bed. Sleep "like a baby" - for him, not me. Sunday night I had the bright idea of bringing up the pack n play and putting it next to my bed. If he woke and cried again, I thought I could put him there, he's right by me, and I won't worry about him falling off. He woke at 2am. I let him moan/cry for 40 min, then brought him up. I lay him in the pack n play and let him know I was right there, soothing voice, etc. At 4 am, in the midst of heavy crying, I lifted him up to my bed. Right to sleep. I knew he really needed to relearn how to get himself back to sleep during the night. And to do that he needed to cry it out when he woke. But with two others??? So, Monday night I put the pack n play in the farthest corner of my room. I decided to put him to bed there for a while. I could deal with little sleep longer than the kids. I put him to bed in my room. A few min of crying, then not a peep all night long. Same thing Tuesday night. Last night he did wake for about 30 min of crying around 9:30, but then slept the rest of the night. We'll see what tonight brings. I can't figure out why he's ok to sleep through in my room in the pack n play, but not his? It isn't like he even knows I'm there. I'm not there when he goes to sleep. No idea.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007


I'm so tired of the cold!!! I long to go for walks, play at the park, be outside! Oh well.

Latest on moving... J and I are now looking into Tennessee. What a change, right? I found some great places in/around Fort Worth in Texas. It's just so far. So far from visiting where we live now and so far from my parents in FL. So, Tennessee? It's halfway between here and FL. A good day's drive, so not as many plane flights with the kids. I love the areas I've seen. I just know that as far as schools, there are a lot that are not so good. BUT, J went to college in TN and has a good friend who lives outside of Jackson. She is a teacher as well and gave us the name of a town that she says would be perfect, their schools are great and housing is still reasonable. So, we're looking into it. I know I wouldn't get paid nearly as much to teach there, but J's friend said that I would have NO problem getting a position in Special Ed. I had really hoped to move into regular ed, but I'm willing to get my feet in the door however I need. I'm researching as much as I can. I'll definately be checking things out this summer seeing as the kids and I already have our big trip to TN planned. Maybe a sign from God? The other thing that was "funny", well to me I guess, was that right after we began to talk about TN I popped a new movie in for the kids. I found five great Jack Hanna Zoo Life videos at the thrift store, like new, for 90 CENTS each!!! The kids LOVE animals so much! The location for the first part of the tape I happened to grab? The Great Smoky Mountains of TN! :)

As for the money situation with my agency... I have talked to both my licensing worker and our regional director. My licensing worker, who works about 40 min north of here in another office, is pretty much fed up with this office as well lately. She helped me as much as she could, without getting herself in trouble. The regional said she would try to help me get paid what I should have, but she didn't know. I'm tired of it. I told her that if it wasn't for Little One, I would most likely be switching agencies, but that I wouldn't do that to him since I couldn't "take him with me."

And on the job front here at home... There was a special ed position posted today within our district at the school I was previously at. I had been moved from there due to no need for three self contained teachers there three years ago. Not my choice to move and I'm very tired of the negativity at my current school. I was hoping to move back to that building (3rd - 5th grade) as a regular education teacher, but there is a possibility of no reg ed opening for next year. So, I submmitted an interest letter. They will interview me for the position and even if a reg ed position doesn't open, hopefully I'll at least get back to the building I want to be working in. My biggest concerns are that if I get the position I'll then be "stuck" in special ed and not "allowed" to move to reg ed. This has happened to a few in our district. The other is that once again I'm back with the same two other self contained teachers and I am low man on the totum with seniority and if they happen to only need two again at some point, I'm the one who will have to move. I will put my trust in God to help me obtain what He feels best. I just want to be out of my building most of all.
Thursday, March 01, 2007

Deep in the Heart...

...of Texas??? Maybe it's just because we are both having so many issues with so many of life's idiosyncracies at this time. Maybe it's because I have really thought about moving to try to give my kids a chance at living in a place where the cost of living isn't so high and I can give them more of what I want to be able to give. Maybe it's because I don't want to be at a Middle School anymore. Maybe I'm hoping "Mr. Right" is still out there "somewhere."

Whatever IT is, my friend J the other day asked me if I would consider moving to Texas. Funny thing is, I had actually thought about Texas almost a year ago. The more J and I talked, the more I researched things on the internet, the more excited I became about the prospect in a serious way. We're looking into the Fort Worth area. BUT, IF we are serious, we are still a way off from that time. Her daughter and my little one are still foster children. We can't leave the state and "keep" them with us until the point where their parental rights are terminated. They bath have court dates in July. So we weigh the pros and cons, and think through our decisions.

The Pros...

1. Even if the school districts there gave me no credit on their salary schedule for the seven-eight years I've taught here, a first year teacher in the 3 different school districts I looked at, makes more with just a bachelor's than I do right now. Here I'm on my seventh year with a bachelor's plus 36 hours.

2. The cost of housing is crazy low compared to here. I looked at many realtors with practically new 4-5 bedroom, 2-3 bathroom houses for about $10,000 more than my cute little house here. J and I are thinking, if we're serious about this, of sharing a house for a while to get settled and learn more about the area. Then we could sell and buy our own places. I've found a couple 4 bedrooms that have 2 masters plus 2 addtl bedrooms, a family room, huge yards, and they are very nice looking.

3. Foster care seems to be so big there. So many more placements, easier to get placements, and the monthly amount you receive is almost double what it is here.

4. With this frigid, crazy weather, I'm at a point I never thought I'd be. I'm ready to give up midwest winters!

5. The area we're looking in has soooo much to offer. Six Flags, a huge zoo, museums, etc. Love it! I've heard from people who have been there, and maybe others reading this can inform me even more, that Fort Worth/Dallas is similar to Chicago with activities, but without the big city "feel." ??? And my kids LOVE horses. I told them the other night that we were THINKING of moving to Texas. Olivia said, no let's stay. At dinner they were both talking about becoming a cowboy/cowgirl when they grew up. I must admit, I used it to my advantage. I told them that in Texas, there were lots of horses, cowboys, and cowgirls. I said that most people wear cowboy boots! :) LOL, they'll never know! :)

The Cons...

1. Braeden's brother and sister live near us.

2. Olivia's brother isn't far from us.

3. My extended family, whom I LOVE, live not far from us.

4. Braeden's godparents, my close close friend, live not far from us.

5. My friends I've met here and those I've had since I was young, live here or nearby.

People. I weigh missing people. BUT, I know that if this is for the best, then I will teach, I will have summers off, and we can visit during a week or two in the summer. We can see everyone at once and we can keep in touch through snail mail, email, and phone calls. I pray for direction. I pray for guidance for myself and my children.


The following may be rated for more mature audiences. Especially audiences who know how to do their jobs, follow through with commitments, and be caring, honest people.

I hate people. OK, I guess I don't really hate ALL people, just all the ones around me at this point and time whom I work with, deal with in my foster care agency, and have to share siblings with through my daughter. Can you say, "I need to vent!?"

Saturday we were supposed to have a visit with Olivia's brother in Schaumburg. We haven't seen him since mid Oct - not our choice. Anyway, they cancelled at 8:30am. Foster mom's mom had cancer surgery the day before and they were there with her. Hello! Yes, I'd expect you'd want to be there, but how long have you known about this surgery??? You were the ones who choose the date when I was open to a few. I usually don't tell Olivia when visits are, partly because of this exact thing happening. I told her this time. Two weeks she had been waiting for this visit. Unbelievable. Have they asked about rescheduling - of course not. When will we hear from them again??????? Heaven knows.

With all the things going on with caseworkers and all at the agency, I have been extremely frustrated with them lately as well. I've shared some of the issues in previous blogs. Today I met with the supervisor. He's been trying to be more involved and help those who are frustrated with everything that's happened the last month or so be "heard." So we met. Quite a few things irritated me about our visit. The worst was discussing the special service fees I have been supposed to be getting since we began doing visits with Olivia's brother. He lives 3 hours away and I asked since day one about some help with gas and tolls. The way to do this was through a special service fee. DCFS reimburses foster parents helping with transportation and supervision of sibling visits through set fees. You are able to claim a per mile fee up to a certain amount of miles per month for transporting, as well as a per hour supervision fee up to a certain amount. My caseworker at the time filled out the forms she was told in order to get this fee. I didn't receive anything. Then our last cw took over and she told me she filled out the forms as well. (The first cw I believe, but am not sure about the second.) Anyway, last month I typed out each visit I have done and what DCFS states I should receive. Since we began visits in Aug of 2005, I should have received a total of over $700. Today I again brought this up to the supervisor. He said that he can see what he can do, but that he can only go back to this past July as that is when the fiscal year began. We have only had maybe two visits since July, so basically he's telling me I'm out over $600 of what I should have received, merely because I put my faith in people telling my cw what forms to fill out, and nothing was done. Are you kidding??? He gave me a special service fee form for myself and told me to fill it out after each visit. Would have liked to have known about that 1 1/2 years ago. I am most likely calling the DCFS advocacy office on this one, see if they can do anything. Unreal!!!

And work, well I am just sick and tired of my building. Tired of middle school adolescent attitudes which I never wanted to teach. Tired of myself and one coworker in our Spec. Ed Dept who actually do our jobs, are on time for our weekly meetings, etc. Hard to explain in a few sentences, but I'm so frustrated!!!! (If you couldn't tell.)

Just one of those periods in life where everything seems to be going against what good you are trying to do in this world.
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About Me

I am a single mom to four amazing kids; each of whom just happen to have been adopted. The first three were adopted through foster care, and we just completed an international adoption from Haiti. Our family has grown through adoption and I am all the more blessed to know each of my children. I worship a mighty God, teach Special Ed, love bargains, and am inspired by Pinterest... come along with us for the ride!

Olivia - 14

Olivia - 14

Braeden - 11

Braeden - 11

Liam - 9

Liam - 9

Macy - 5

Macy - 5

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What you should know about HIV

-HIV can NOT be spread through casual/household contact. HIV is not spread through hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing toys, sneezing, coughing, sharing food, sharing drinks, bathing, swimming or any other casual way. It has been proven that HIV and AIDS can only be spread through sexual contact, birth, breastfeeding and blood to blood contact (such as sharing needles). - HIV is now considered a chronic but manageable disease. With treatment, people who are HIV+ can live indefinitely without developing AIDS and can live long and full lives. - People who are HIV+ deserve to be treated with love, respect, support and acceptance as all people do. Additional information on transmission of HIV can be found on the Center for Disease Control website:

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Orphan Crisis

• 147 million orphans in the world
• 50 million orphans in Africa 
• Every 14 seconds a child is orphaned by AIDS
• 16,000,000 have been orphaned by AIDS
• Every week, AIDS claims as many lives as American fatalities in the Vietnam War
• 854 million people do not have enough to eat
• Malnutrition is associated with the deaths of 5 million children under the age of five
• Every 2 seconds an orphan dies from malnutrition

Hence the title of my blog

Little Did I Know

Little did I know that the road would be so rocky
Little did I know that the trip would take so long
Little did I know that my heart could hurt so much
Little did I know that God is never wrong

Little did I know that love could be so powerful
Little did I know that a dream so far could go
Little did I know that God would place the right ones
Little did I know that my heart, so large, could grow

Little did I know that a dream has it’s own timing
Little did I know that this day would finally come
Little did I know that four souls would be sent to guide me
Little did I know that they would choose to call me mom

But God knew all along and He had a plan to follow
God knew all along that my dream would soon come true
God knew all along that we five should be together
God knew all along that I’d share it all with you