Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Birthday

We now have no littles under the age of FOUR! Whatever will I do! :) I do miss the "little" age, and simply can't believe that my Liam is now FOUR years old! wow!

Liam came to me at nine months old. As is often the life of a foster parent, I received a call at work midday and asked if I "wanted a baby?" Of course I said yes! I had parent teacher conferences that night, but being a special educator, unfortunately I had no conferences lined up except for one and a friend across the hall who said she would watch him during that time. So he showed up at work, driven by a CASEWORKER, at nine months old, not properly strapped into a car seat at all, and facing forward. I couldn't believe it! Well, yes, I could as I've seen similar many times, but it still didn't cease to floor me. Anyway, I digress from the point of my story, system ranting for another day...

Prior to coming to live with me, Liam had lived with his birth mom and then with another foster family. He was at the previous foster family's home just over four months and the agency was concerned that he wasn't developing properly. Upon coming to live with me at nine months old he couldn't sit up, crawl, stand, etc and was making only one true sound.

This was Liam within one week of being placed in my home...

Such a blessing to be able to see such obvious progress in such a short time!

He has caught up in many ways, still lacking a bit in the area of speech, and he's kind of a little peanut, but what a personality! :) And his eyes are amazing! He is certainly a member of our family and we love him to pieces!

Today we had originally planned on going to the zoo with our membership, but the frigid temps and the fact that he's been sick the past three days made that unable to happen. Instead we found a few things to do around town...

We first went to a local candy shop the kids had not been to. I gave them each one dollar and they actually found a fairly good sized bag of goodies amongst the 10 and 20 cent candy! :) (Gotta love the bday decorated Krispy Kreme hat my parents sent him!)

Next we headed to the grocery store to finish picking up his bday dinner supplies. On their bdays the kids each get to pick the makings of their bday dinners.

From there we went to Barnes and Noble to read some books, play with the trains, and help Liam pick out a little something from Grandma and Grandpa. They sent him one "large" gift and wanted to still get a little something else as well. He chose a reading Mickey light from the $2 clearance table and a Max and Ruby Valentine book.

Next it was home for his bday meal...
For Liam, we had McDonalds cheeseburgers, pancakes, cheese (The kid could LIVE on cheese!), orange pop to drink, and frosted cookies for dessert!) He was in heaven! :)

He then opened his gifts. I give each of the kids one toy, one book, and one outfit on their special days. Liam got this Buckaroo game I had found which I think he'll love, we're planning on playing it tomorrow, a cute summer outfit, and a wiggles book.
Grandma and Grandpa got an EXCELLENT deal on this Disney Zippity interactive learning game that hooks to the tv when I told them about it. Of course none of us thought about needing batteries, so it's off to buy some tomorrow after church so we can try it out! :)

Liam felt so much better today than he has the past three which was such a blessing! I did NOT want him to feel so yucky on his birthday! Especially since he really understood this year that it was his bday and what that meant. He was just too cute about it! Now we have a week off, then it's Braeden's bday on the 7th! :) (Hope he liked Liam's outfit today because his matches!)
Have a wonderful weekend!
Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hot Potatoes

My littlest is sick. :( Poor Liam was home yesterday with fever, chills, congestion, and just that yuck feeling. Luckily I found someone who was able to stay home with him today and possibly tomorrow if he needs it, which I think he will. I really hope he's better by Saturday as it's his birthday! :( Last night he felt so yucky he didn't even want to stay laying on the couch watching some tv when I came into the kitchen to make dinner. He wanted to be with me, and this is what then transpired...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Haiti Necklace

Have had a few rough weeks at work due to a new student, sorry for not blogging much.

Here is an amazing item on etsy where half the cost is going to relief in Haiti.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Today's workshop at the University of Chicago was AMAZING! I was humbled and blessed to be able to be a part of such a wonderful partnering between professionals at U of C, possible or future adoptive parents, and current adoptive parents.

We were blessed to have professionals from the International adoption clinic, HIV practitioners, Pediatric Neurologists, Neuropsychologists, social workers, etc. There were four families who together are adopting 7 of the girls on Reeces Rainbow from the Ukraine who are HIV+. One of these had driven in from OHIO! It was great to be one of the few parents present who was currently parenting a child with HIV, to be able to share the everyday life experiences with these wonderful people. The ease of parenting a child with HIV, the realization that still many today, including many pediatric physicians, are in need of correct information when it comes to the spread of HIV, the fact that for many of us, our HIV+ children are actually our healthiest in our home! :) How many of us decide to NOT keep HIV a secret, in order to help alleviate the stigma, in order to help educate others. There is a lot to take into consideration when venturing into adoption, and HIV doesn't have to be a negative aspect at all.

I am so completely not someone who is comfortable speaking in front of peers, especially peers I don't know. Give me a room of students, I'm good. But a room of adults, I practically hyperventilate! My hands turn ice cold, and my train of thought is NIL. I shared a few thoughts today, but had more on my mind I would have liked to have shared. I need God to be able to step in and use me in these times, I am not a good speaker! :)

But, speaking aside, I was in awe of God's work today. In all that those at U of C have done, and would like to plan for the future. Project Hopeful, Carolyn, are wonderful advocates for HIV adoption! This is something that is needed country-wide. It sounds like these workshops may be made into webinars at some point to get this wonderful information out to anyone around the country, possibly even the world, who would be interested. Praise God! :)
Friday, January 15, 2010

HIV Adoptions and Healthy Transitions

Heading here tomorrow...

Project Hopeful

Can't wait to see everyone and find ways to pray for and help families thinking or starting on the road to adopting HIV+ children.

It's doable! It's easy! It's a child who desperately needs a home! Love it!

New Additions

We have two new additions this evening... not the two-legged kind though, the four legged versions! :)

For Christmas, Santa gave the kids a gerbil cage set up. The one thing they each asked for was a pet. We didn't get the actual animals as Santa said that they needed to learn how to care for them and travel back to IL first. Tonight was the night that we decided to look for our pets. We went to one chain, to find NO GERBILS! :( When we stopped at the second I was sure it was going to be the same result, but we were blessed to find a grouping of six young sisters, cute as can be. I let Olivia and Braeden each choose and name one, and while I would have chosen the adorable tan one and black and white one, Braeden picked the white one, and Olivia one of the three browns. :)

So, introducing...


And Blue Jeans... (any Hannah movie watchers???) :)

Sorry for the poor pics, I only had my cell available tonight. The kids are enamored and can't wait to hold them. We're giving them time to adjust and acclimate. :)
Monday, January 11, 2010


My friend Holly (I should say my online blogger facebook friend whom I have not YET met but wish to someday! friend Holly) posted a beautifully written blog post recently. If you have not yet read it, please take a minute to do so! Inspiring and heart wrenching and beautifully worded!


I'm clay... or hoping to become clay. Clay for God to mold as HE sees fit. I'm working hard toward this goal, daily, weekly, hourly. I'm especially learning a lot right now about relying on HIM. Seeing with FAITH. Believing without KNOWLEDGE of my own.

I truly believe that my feelings to move back to my hometown came from God. Things happened over the summer that not I or anyone else could have predicted, and while it was a rough time, it spurred on the thought processes and prayers that led to my belief that that is where we were being called. And what a time for this call to come! A time of uncertainty in the housing market, especially where my house is located (by our sewer plant!) and for the fact that I don't have a garage. A time of instability in many job markets, especially when I've been told recently by many in my hometown area that the two large school districts, where I've really hoped to find a job, are high in debt and pink slipping and then rehiring even tenured teachers. How can one walk into this without the belief that this is following God's plan and not my own? I know that even with the doubts plaguing me from time to time, as little as they are, I couldn't do this were it not for the steadfast belief that HE is guiding us home. HE is in charge.

My house goes on the market on Wednesday officially. Please join me in prayers that whatever happens it's in HIS plan, not mine. That doors HE wishes to be open, are open and flashing with neon lights so that I don't miss them, and doors that are meant to be closed, are closed with yellow barricade tape so that I don't mistake it for an entrance! :) I pray too that as districts begin to look at positions for next year, that they post them and interview for them quickly, and that God leads me to the position HE wants for me, even if it's not the one I may have chosen myself. Those are the jobs that have challenged me and helped me to grow to the teacher I am today!

Friday, January 08, 2010


Olivia is developing a love of cooking!

She would drool over the easy bake oven when we passed one in a store, so I had given Grandma and Grandpa this as a Christmas idea for her. I knew she was getting one a while before the holidays and she talked of it constantly, wondering if she would get one, would she have Christmas money she could spend on one, etc. Inside I bit my lip to keep from smiling. Needless to say she was ECSTATIC to receive one!

She wasn't able to use it while we were there; we just ran out of time, so she finally made her first item this past Sunday... a yellow cake with chocolate frosting...

I think I added a few gray hairs during the process, but she really did do well, just a lot to learn that I hadn't really thought about beforehand.

She's getting excited to cook and help in the kitchen outside of the easy bake also. Yesterday in my class at school we talked about New Years. We shopped at WalMart in the morning for the ingredients to make Chinese New Year cookies, watched the Charlie Brown New Years movie, wrote resolutions, made the cookies, talked about toasting the year, had a toast with sparkling grape juice, and ate our cookie creations.

The ingredients had enough left for one more recipe, so I took them home and made them with Braeden and Olivia last night. Braeden helped with the ingredients, and Olivia scooped them onto the cupcake liners.

Don't they look yummy!?

The boys... not so crazy about them!

Here's Liam trying to give me a smile, they are a little messy and hard to eat. :)

Here's Braeden faking you out... smiling for the camera but didn't like the cookies! :)

Olivia and I know what's up... they are GREAT!

Want to make some??? Take one cup chocolate chips and one cup of butterscotch chips. Place them in a large mixing bowl. Microwave two minutes. Take the bowl out and add in one and a half cups chow mein noodles and one cup peanuts. Mix well. You can then scoop onto wax paper or as we did, into cupcake liners, and freeze for 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Last of the FL Pictures

We went twice to Krispy Kreme... I stuck with some milk and a fiber/oat bar! :)

We tried going another day to the beach... it LOOKED sunny and felt ok at the condo, but once we arrived... BRRR!!! The wind was whipping and everyone there was bundled, and it was just. plain. cold! (We didn't stay long! And I couldn't even take my hands out from under a fleece blanket I had grabbed from the car long enough to take more pics than this!)

Olivia was able to go skating two more times...

Then Olivia and I were treated to dinner at my FAVORITE restaurant... The Melting Pot! We had a blast! YUMMY!

We stopped in Chattanooga on the way back. The hotel unfortunately was one where you had to walk OUTSIDE to get to the pool, mom did NOT go swimming! :) But the kids had mucho fun!

After PJs I let them stay up a bit to watch some tv... but this one was OUT before his head hit the pillow! :)

I think this is the last of them... a few I hadn't shared yet that I thought were great! :)

Now we're back to the grind, and back to freezing, frigid temps!!! :( What is UP with this weather!? :)

We Made It!

We did make it back just fine! The ride went really well with only a few issues the second day due to some tired kids... that's what I get for letting them stay up late at the hotel in Chattanooga! :) I have some more pics to post... but am beat and getting back into the work routine today!

A new student, strictly for behavioral reasons but academically on target, has joined my crew of 6. All have of course different levels and are functioning from between preschool to 3rd grade, though they are all 3rd through 5th grade age wise.

Yesterday was spent unpacking some, getting groceries, organizing, etc. More to come...


I was tagged, somewhat :), by Molly in a Challenge. Post about 10 things that make you happy and then tag ten people... So here goes!

1. Of course I have to say my kids... right! They do! But for this one I'll say being a mom... and then make my kids more specific!

2. Olivia - She makes me incredibly happy when she tells me numerous times that she loves me (even if it often comes after getting into trouble!) :)

3. Braeden - He makes me so so happy when he tells me I'm the best mom he's ever had (Hmmmm.... that could go a couple ways!) :)

4. Liam - He makes me giddily (a word?) happy when he gives his squisher type hugs! :)

5. The start of a new school year... the smell of new crayons and paper and pencils... new ideas for the classroom... new students to meet and old ones to create new expectations of.

6. The "Fall" smell... of burning leaves and candy, pumpkins and dirt.

7. Summer... for the simple reason of being a stay at home mom for at least a portion of the year.

8. The first snow... it makes me so happy to see the new beautiful, individual, unique snowflakes (but then I do get tired of it pretty quickly when it becomes black mush at the side of the road!)

9. Spending time with family, especially at the holidays, reminicing on old family stories, creating new ones to share as time goes one.

10. Being with "old" friends... friends who know you inside and out, friends you have been through the valleys and peaks with, friends who you can just "be" with...

And many more where those came from! :)

And as for the tagging... I'm so not good with tagging, and not sure how many read this regularly, so if you're a reader and you catch this and it sparks interest, leave me a comment and let me know you'll post your 10 on your blog! :)

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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:

Other Awesome Blogs

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