Sunday, August 29, 2010


Today I tried something new with our needed grocery store trip. Not sure why, but for some reason, trying to meander down aisles full of beckoning goodies while hoping to stick to a list and watch prices, all the while redirecting not so good behavior from three children... not so much fun! :)

Some days are better than others, but often I find myself resorting to... "If you'll walk with me and be a good listener, then..." we'll look at the toy aisle (look, not buy)... or we'll buy a candy bar to share on the way out... or we'll get a redbox for tonight... and I don't like feeling as if I'm constantly "bribing" them to do what should be a given - we listen, we look around while mom shops, we talk and be a family... you know... how all other families are at the grocery store! LOL I know, it's not like that, but I wish it was. And with a six year old with ADHD and a 4 year old with food issues... grocery shopping... definitely NOT a favorite past time! :)

So... all that to say, here's what I tried today, and for today at least, it worked!

I made out my list of what we were low on, what was needed, etc. Among them were soup (not something Braeden likes at all) and cereal (again, not a Braeden fave, he's not much of a breakfast eater unless it's eggs, pancakes, etc and in the time before school on weekdays, mom isn't cooking a full out breakfast, sorry to burst your bubble of thinking I'm Mar*tha!) and then I thought maybe a half gallon of ice cream as a treat occasionally.

As I was looking at the list and thinking out the trip, I had an idea. Why not let the kids choose these, or at least some of these? I don't buy sugar cereal, but would one box every couple weeks really hurt? And maybe if they were the ones choosing the soup Braeden would actually eat it when it was HIS pick. Hmmm...

So I decided to do a choice time for those three items. I told the kids we were trying something new and that today we would start letting them choose some of our groceries. As long as they did a good job in the store, their choices stuck, otherwise I'd have to put them back. It was items already on my list, so I wasn't buying anything "extra", I hoped it would help some of the pickiness of eating, and thought it would give them some ownership in the shopping process.

Braeden today was the cereal picker. And, although I have not seen prizes inside cereal boxes in years (maybe they've been there and I just never looked at "those" kinds of cereals???), Braeden OF COURSE found the box with a TOY inside! It wasn't Trix, rather was Cooki*e Crisp, but has this toy...

I'm just hoping that he will at least truly like the cereal (it does have whole grain at least!) and will eat it as a school morning option once a week.

Liam was our ice cream man and he picked this...RUN, don't walk, RUN to your local store and find this ice cream! Oh. My. Goodness! It is SO good!!! Please pray for my resistance to the call of this ice cream from the freezer after the kids go to bed each night! :) YUM!

And my funniest one, Olivia was the soup queen today. She actually really likes soup. Loves to have it for school lunch, really likes it unlike the boys. I thought for sure she'd pick the Princess or Cars chicken noodle, Chicken and Stars, etc. Oh no, not my Olivia! She picked (she was asked to choose three cans of condensed) one can of Clam Chowder (not a surprise as we've had this and she loves it!) but then she choose not one, but TWO cans of SPLIT PEA W/ HAM AND BACON! We've never had this. The picture, let alone the name, was enough to make me gag. I'm sorry, I love peas, so does she, but really??? I was shocked! I could MAYBE see one can, but TWO!? But it was her choice, and I let it slide.

So, for lunch today I made them the Split Pea soup, with half bologna sandwiches, and grapes. I knew the boys would NOT like the soup. Not only do they not really like soup, they both don't like peas. So I told them since it wasn't their choice that they would need to eat their two requisite bites and then could be done (and still have their dessert that Liam picked). Olivia downed the whole bowl ... and said she loved it! So surprised! But glad, because there's one can left and she can have it for school lunches! :)

The kids did really well at the store today, they were super excited to choose some of the groceries, and I hope that this is something that will "work" long term. It was a good day!
Saturday, August 28, 2010


We have a WONDERFUL fundraiser coming up... for just ONE day... on September 1st. Sarah at Sarah's Treasure Box is helping with this. She makes beautiful and surprisingly inexpensive necklaces and sells them on etsy. But she also has a passion for adoption and helping others who are in the midst of trying to raise money to make an adoption happen.

She has offered for JUST ONE DAY to make sure that that day, when Little Did I Know is written in the notes section of any purchased necklace, FIVE dollars will be donated for each necklace purchased, directly into our adoption fund! And, even better, these necklaces are only $7.99-$12.00 anyway! A few are slightly higher, but almost all fall into that price point.

I bought a necklace from Sarah this summer and ADORE it! I have never received so many comments and compliments (well, ok, maybe on some of my own! LOL) but this is definitely a favorite!

I love it and think you may too, or at least know someone who would! I know that there are currently two or three of these available on her site. If you are interested in this specific one, you may message her to make a few more prior to that day! :) But regardless, be sure to stroll through her site and take a look at all of the wonders she has to offer. Think of it, early Christmas shopping (Hey, it's only 4 months away!) for a special teacher, friend, daughter, niece, mom, etc... The possibilities are endless!!! :)

Here are a few favorites of mine right now...

This next one, and all the cute bottlecap necklaces would make adorable gifts for the young ladies in our lives! I'm thinking Olivia would LOVE this! :)

Remember... September 1st! I'll post a reminder the night before to remind us all! If you're on facebook, watch for my posts about this great opportunity for both of us! It's definitely what I'd call a win-win!
Friday, August 27, 2010


We truly had a BLAST tonight at our fundraiser!

We basically rented a local bounce house facility, advertised, brought in crafts and snacks to use in two back rooms, and readied for the night.

If you think you may use this idea in the future, here's a few things I learned that I will pass on...

You can email your local McD's and get an "orange bowl"... a huge cooler and cups with a gallon of concentrate orange drink. You put a deposit down on the container, which you get back when you drop it off. The drink mix and cups - $5!!! And that was enough drink for about 130 people!

Take into consideration things like sports. I didn't even THINK about tonight being the first high school football game night for all our local schools! :( Plus we still have a big soccer group going on! :( So while we had a blast, our turn out wasn't great. Mostly my friends and a few friends of their kids.

Drinks are key, snacks not as big of a deal. Crafts went over very well, and I got these extremely cheap! Hobb*y Lobb*y had their summer craft sets 66% off and I had a HUGE bag (still have lots left) for about $24.

Surround yourself with some wonderful, take charge kind of friends to help chaperone. The people helping tonight were amazing! It was so great to see people sweeping up, setting things up, helping, taking charge so I had less to worry about. So great!

And ALL the kids had so much fun!

Braeden finally met his match! Extreme bounce house wrestling! :)

It was a great night, the people who run this establishment were so great and helpful! They've suggested doing another later in the year where I don't pay for the location and just take in half of whatever is paid by all who come, that way we're out nothing. May just take them up on it! :)


(previously taken photo... remember that female version of Braeden who is someday marrying him... yep, that's her trying to plant a kiss, until I reminded her that her mom may not be happy about this photo, so she changed it for the second one taken! LOL)

We're having a (hopefully) HUGE FUNdraiser tonight (Friday) at a local bounce house establishment. It's going to be a Parent's Night Out where parent's can drop off their kids for some great fun in the bounce houses, watch a movie and have some snacks, and do a couple crafts. Hoping and praying for a great turnout! Some good friends I know (most I work with) are helping to chaperone. Should be loads of fun!!! (I must admit I'm a bit nervous! Praying for calm and peace!)

Will update on the result hopefully in the next 24 hours! :)
Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Being the blog that this is, you may think by reading the title of this post that I'm going to be sharing about Olivia's HIV medicine. OR, you may think that I'm going to talk about either Olivia's or Liam's seizure medications. NOPE!

No, of my three children, my one non-medicated child was always my Braeden. And now, it's his turn. :)

I am NOT a proponent of medicating children. Unnecessarily I mean. And in saying that many of you are probably thinking, "Well, who would medicate without needing it?" And as a teacher I'm here to tell you... many. It baffles me too, as both a parent and a teacher, but I've seen it time and again. I've had students, even just last year, put on medication for AD*HD, when I as the teacher was never contacted by a physician, was never asked input by the parent, and I saw not one reason for them to be diagnosed this way, let alone placed on medicine. And when the teacher, who requires students to sit and concentrate and focus and work, doesn't think a child is anywhere near the diagnosis for AD*HD, why on earth are they truly being placed on medicine???

Anyway, I digress. :)

Braeden has always been my active child to say the least. And I mean more than your average active. He is the textbook definition of AD*HD and "being run as if by a motor." He is non-stop movement. From the time he was little he has been this way. In his crib he used to lay on his back, prop his feet up on the top of the sides, and turn around by moving his feet around the top of the crib in circles. Constantly. Until he'd fall asleep. He can't just sit in our living room; he is flipping around, going upside down, moving, moving, moving.

I love him to death. He is my brilliant star. He is reading everything under the sun. He has a sensitive side that touches me deeply. He cares tremendously and cries at the slightest hint of a sad story. He gets embarrassed easily. He is incredibly gentle with younger kiddos. And yet, he is a whirlwind!

The past two years we have been blessed with amazingly WONDERFUL teachers! In preschool we had an amazing teacher who taught him to read, to count to 100 IN SPANISH, to be a gentleman and open doors for ladies, and to focus when it needed to be done. She worked so incredibly well with him, kept him near her, pulled him aside when she thought he needed redirection, and kept in great contact with me as to what was happening in the classroom. And last year in kindergarten we had another unbelievable teacher. We worked well together on where he was at in his impulsiveness and saw that he was getting closer and closer to needing outside help in the form of medication as it was starting to affect his academics. His eyes were beginning to jump around on the page as he read. It was time to look at medicine.

That was last March/April. And, of course, being that Braeden has a medi*caid card, we couldn't get in to see a doctor who could prescribe those kind of meds without jumping through hoops and going to the ONE person who is here only on Mondays who will work with Medic*aid. We finally got in, at the end of the school year, to realize that my boy who also has a heart murmur which is rarely even thought about, needs an ok from his cardiologist in order to begin meds.

Finally getting a hold of the cardiologist who is only here twice a month, we weren't able to schedule a visit until mid July, the day before we were to leave for Florida. They knew WHY we needed the appointment, yet waited until then to tell us he'd need an ECHO before he'd give the ok. Why couldn't we have scheduled that and THEN come in??? So ridiculous. And of course we couldn't schedule that until we returned, now pushing our med start date from April/May to August. Argh!

All of this to say, Saturday Braeden began his morning dose of his new med. And today he started with his second dose at lunch, now taking half a pill in the morning before school and half a pill at lunch.

He is calm. He is focused. He is still himself which I am thrilled to see. I have heard from numerous parents how some meds don't "work" or "click" with that child and they become angry, lose their personality, and just aren't themselves. So far, this is "right." He did great today.

I am extremely excited now to see where this leads. I am thrilled for him and for what this can mean for his future. So far, so good...
Sunday, August 22, 2010


I love to see growth.

I love being a teacher and having kids make progress, progress that you can see and document and acknowledge. Like the student I had for three years (who is in middle school this year, boo hoo) who came to me in third grade not even understanding the concept of adding one to another number let alone being able to "do" a problem such as 3 + 1, and left me being able to add triple digit numbers with decimals and carrying, working on his multiplication facts and almost knowing them all, and reading at a much higher level than was ever "expected", even after his own mom told me last year I was challenging him too much on his Spelling lists and yet he continued making 100% almost every week!

I love being a parent and though it's bittersweet at times, seeing those yearly pictures and noticing how big the kids are getting. Wondering when on earth Olivia began sounding like a mom instead of a "bossy" big sister. Marveling at Braeden's reading and spelling abilities at age 6. Smiling like crazy as Liam "gets" more and more of the world around him.

And I love seeing my kids impact the world. I love how their hearts grow to include those who are in need, a "baby" or young sibling they haven't even met yet, children around the world without clean water to drink or wash in.

Or how they can watch for themselves when they've planted seeds, literal seeds, in Spring of 2010...

... and today stand in the SHADE of the sunflowers THEY planted.

How we can marvel at God's beauty for our world...

And the impact they had on that same world...


I know there are many more, and I wish I did a better job writing them down and/or remembering them to write down later, but these are some funnies the kids have shared lately...

- - - - - - - - - -

While riding in the car the other day, Braeden was humming "Rock a Bye Baby" to himself. All of a sudden he said, "Mom, did the baby get hurt?"

I said, "WHAT?"

He replied, "You know, when the bough broke."

- - - - - - - - - -

Today Liam was upstairs and bothering Olivia and Braeden who were doing a great job cleaning the boys area. I called him to me by saying, "Liam ****, Come On Down!"

He turned to Olivia and said, "Oops, Mom's calling me!"

- - - - - - - - - -

This is my FAVORITE...

While in Florida Braeden was acting like a "rapper" (no clue where he got that!). My dad said to him, "Hey, maybe you'll be famous one day, you know, like Eminem?"

Braeden looked at him and said, "Which do you mean, the red or the yellow?"

--- A friend of mine has a six year old "girl version" of Braeden and the two of them claim marriage someday. :) They are best buds while they're together. My friend was reading and laughing about what Braeden had said when I posted it on Facebook. Her daughter overheard and with all seriousness said, "Well, which did he pick?"

Numbers 31-33

Here are three more necklaces being sold to raise funds for our adoption. (you can click them to enlarge) If you'd like to see all available, please click on the Necklaces link in green under the header at the top of the page.

*** If you'd like one, please email me FIRST before donating!!! I will sell to the first one who asks and mark the ones SOLD as soon as I retrieve the email. Let me know which number necklace you are interested in... I will respond to your email letting you know if the necklace is sold or if you can go ahead with your donation and order! :)

*** anglsamngulb (at) hotmail (dot) com - with no spaces

*SOLD* Number THIRTY ONE... brown flattened beads with small black spacers and black ribbon

*SOLD* Number THIRTY TWO... silver glass pearls with small pink barrel beads and pink ribbon

*SOLD* Number THIRTY THREE... pink cat's eyes with tiny black spacers and black ribbon

Friday, August 20, 2010

Adoption Friends' 101

I love love love the following post! I "stole" it from the Terry Household blog. But it's not really stealing as the wonderful author gave me permission herself! :) Please take a few and read below... :)

Having been through both the adoption experience and the child birth experience, I found that all kinds of people know how to take care of you after you give birth, but hardly anyone knows the right things to do when you bring home your adopted child. Most people also don't know how to respond appropriately when you tell them that you are adopting in the first place. This is meant to be a guide for the friends and families of adoptive families in the praying/planning/dreaming phase as well as families in process and newly home. Link it up, cut and paste, email it out to your family. I will say all the things to your family that you are afraid to say or maybe that you yourself don't even know that you need yet! (I don't mind being the heavy!)

1. When your loved one comes to you with the news that they are planning to adopt:
  • Do not say, "Oh, don't give up trying for 'your own'" or "Don't you want to have one of 'your own' instead? Adoption is not something people enter into lightly. And prospective adoptive families already do consider this child that they do not even know as 'their own'. By saying this to an adoptive family, it insinuates that you will not be accepting their new addition as your 'own' grandchild/niece/nephew/etc. Also- many families that consider adoption have been through long periods of time dealing with infertility and adoption may be a very emotional decision. It signifies the end of one dream and the beginning of a new dream. Supporters need to be very sensitive to this and be positive!
  • Share your concerns about the finances of adoption, but do it in a non-judgemental way. Yes, adoption is expensive. But you need to understand that there are grants, fundraisers, and ways to aquire the money. So instead of looking at the people who want to adopt and saying, "Oh my gosh- you are so poor, you will never be able to afford this!" say something like, "I know that this will be expensive, how can we help you plan a fundraiser?"
  • Do not recall in gory detail every terrible adoption story you've ever heard. This is the equivalent of telling a pregnant woman that her baby will be born with 12 arms and she will be in labor for 3 weeks and her boobs will fall all the way down to the ground after breastfeeding. Just don't do it.
  • If the family is adopting internationally, do not condescendingly talk about how there are so many kids here in America who need home. Each person needs to do what feels right for their family. Sometimes that means adopting domestically, and sometimes that means going international. Either way, a child who needs a home and a family who is looking to love a child, will get one. Focus on that fact and leave your personal opinions about which you think is best to yourself. Remember- they are BOTH awesome (and BOTH necessary!)
2. Once families are in process:
  • Check in with the adoptive family's (from here on out called A.F.) emotions! Adoption can be a very emotional process. There are days where you are in the dumps and days when you want to celebrate. Give the A.F. the space to talk about their feelings and their frustrations. When they call super excited and say, "I got my I-171h", pretend like you know what they are talking about and jump up and down and throw a party.
  • Throw a baby shower just as if the A.F. was pregnant. Make a big stinkin' deal over the mom to be. Obviously, don't play the how big is your belly game. But do everything else the same!
  • Support A.F. fundraisers. They need your help! Better yet- host a fundraising dinner, pancake breakfast, auction, raffle, etc. to help the family raise the money to bring their child home.
  • If there are other children already in the A.F. offer to babysit them leading up to traveling so that mom and dad get a few last dates in before the new addition.
  • If the adoption is international, educate yourself about the child's birth country.
  • If the adopted child will be of a different race, educate yourself about transracial families by reading articles, books, etc. Just googling transracial families will bring up a wealth of information.
  • Offer to keep siblings, pets and housesit for the A.F. when they are traveling.
3. Once families are home:
  • All the same rules apply as when you bring a baby home from the hospital. Bring food, offer to coordinate meals and food dropoffs for church groups. Come over and clean. Wash clothes and put away laundry. Wash dishes. Do not believe the A.F. when they say they do not need help. THEY DO!
  • Respect the A.F's rules regarding holding their new addition. Many families may wish to not have any outsiders (this includes Grandma!) holding their child so that this child who has been with many caregivers can learn who mom and dad are. A.F's do not do this to hurt your feelings. They are only doing what they feel is best for their new child. Do not make them feel bad about this.
  • Also- sometimes to foster attachment in our adopted kiddos, the parent's don't want to leave them with a sitter or family member for a long period of time after coming home. Understand that this is not because the family member or sitter is not trusted or loved. It is just to help give the new child the right sense of family and permanance.
  • Offer to run the carpool, run errands, cut the grass, babysit the siblings, pick up items at the grocery. New moms are notoriously sleep deprived- even if this is the 10th child they've adopted. Drop over a huge cup of Starbucks. Say hello at the door with said cup of coffee and leave.
  • Give gift cards for takeout and pizza- so that long after the food welcome wagon has stopped coming, the family can still eat without having to cook! Seriously- who wants to cook when you've been up all night with a crying baby?
  • Even though the A.F. did not give birth, families who are bringing home new children will be exhausted from long nights in the hospital (domestic adoption), long flights or a week or two in a foreign land with a new baby who has most likely been screaming non-stop because the child has no idea what is happening to them. Give the A.F. the forum to share how ragged they are. Do not judge them. Every single part is not going to be perfect. Let them get how hard it all is off their chest without feeling guilty about it.
  • Watch for post adoption depression. It is a real thing. Just because a woman isn't flooded with pregnancy hormones, doesn't mean that she can't develop depression. There is a lot of leadup going into an adoption and sometimes the reality is tough and can lead to lots of emotional ugliness. Be supportive.
  • Do not expect adoptive parents to be "super parents". I find that there is a huge stigma that adoptive families should have it all together because they "paid a lot" for their children. All families are on a learning curve- no matter how they got their children. Do not be quick to dispense advice if you've never adopted a child (because parenting an adopted child in the early days is a lot different than a biological child), but be quick to say, "How can I help?"- Then be willing to actually help!
  • Most of all, share in the joy that comes with bringing a new child into the family!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First Day of School

Today was the ever present and acknowledged First Day of School for Braeden and Olivia. It is still unbelievable to me that Braeden is in FIRST Grade and Olivia is in FOURTH Grade! Crazy!

They each said they had awesome days and are looking forward to going back tomorrow! What more could I hope for!? :)

I had a great day too meeting my class and getting supplies collected and ready. We practiced routines and some of our expectations and one boy I've had the last two years even got his first card change, within only two hours! :) Oh it's going to be a great year! :)
Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Heavy Heart

Some of you may know or remember the "story" behind Liam and his adoption and his birth mom from past posts. We were lucky to have gotten to know Liam's mom enough that when termination was closing in, I made sure to have our agency talk to her about the fact that I would love to have a PO box to be able to share letters and photos with her if she was open to that.

I have never wanted to "take my children" from their birth families. Being a foster family is a much different experience than receiving a child from a parent who has made an adoption plan. Most of these birth parents that I have "worked" with as a foster parent have not been so nice to me. They have viewed me as "the bad guy." Although my goal, my number one reason for doing foster care, is to be a safe place for a child in trauma. To provide a secure stable environment while parents work on whatever it is that they need to work on in order for their home to be a safe place to bring their child/children back to.

As Liam's termination drew close, I made it clear to the agency and to her that I was serious about wanting to get a PO Box and let mom be updated on Liam through letters and pictures. AND, I was more than willing, as long as she was appropriate and it was safe, to visit occasionally. Birth mom, through this time, understood that I was not simply "whisking" him away from her. It was not my "plan" to take him from her. She ended up signing her rights away willingly.

Since that time we have exchanged letters and pictures. I have always let her lead and respond to her letters as soon as she writes them (when I receive one - I don't stop daily but usually weekly unless I'm expecting one and then it may be more often that I check.) We also have visited a number of times, usually every two or three months. The relationship we are building I know and believe, is going to be so very important for Liam's development as he gets older. The visits and our relationship have been so much better than I had even hoped. There have been a couple of things I've had to "talk" to her about, but very few and she immediately followed what I asked of her in order to do what was best for Liam. She has been nothing but positive and loving and gracious to us all. She loves all three of the kids and I have truly been blessed getting to know her better and spending time with her.

But today my heart is heavy. You see, while we had been visiting with her and hearing from her every couple months, I haven't received a single note since the beginning of February when we celebrated Liam's bday. Her bday is at the end of May and I thought for sure we would hear from her to get together for a visit. Nothing. She has moved a number of times in the past year and a half, so I thought maybe she was in transition again and then we'd here from her. Still nothing. And today I checked the PO Box again and nothing. It hurts to not know where she is or what's going on. I'm grateful in a small way that Liam is not yet old enough to truly "get" who this Mommy ***** is, to ask me repeatedly and worriedly what is going on and where she is, but I am worried. I wish I knew. My prayers are with her wherever she is and whatever is going on. I pray she gets any help she may need, that she is safe, that she is feeling God at this time. I pray we hear from her soon. For this little face, I pray that this is not the end of our journey together...

Ready to Work

When we were still in Florida, we went to Hom*e Depo*t to their building child's program, similar to one we've been to at Low*es. The kids were able to build these great school bus "homework stations." And Grandma and Grandpa helped (Liam took this photo!)

There were stickers to put on, but we decided to wait until we got home and were going to paint them yellow first.

BUT, since we were going out to get yellow paint, we decided to just skip the school bus stickers and paint them however the kids wanted. Which then translated into mom doing the painting! Oh well... they turned out pretty good!

And now the kids have their homework centers all ready to go for the start of school (even Liam who won't be having homework yet, he can always cut and color on paper!)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Birthday Girl

Our birthday girl had a great day today I think! :)

She unfortunately had to start the day with her three month doctor appt. It didn't go well, not due to anything wrong, but due to the fact that the appt had never been written down (unfortunately not the first time), we waited over 45 min to get in (which meant we could have slept another 45 min - we were all so tired getting up so early!), and then only had half the appt we were supposed to have today (she's in a research protocol which we were supposed to have today as well but since the appt wasn't technically scheduled it didn't happen). The upside to this was that Olivia and I had some extra time together since we got done early!

We then headed to Rainforest which was her choice for lunch today! We are "members" and had a $10 gift cert, plus a coupon for a 99 cent kids meal, so our lunch came to $5.77 with tip! :) We shopped around a huge mall for a while, mostly window shopping! Olivia outgrew her ballet shoes from last year and Braeden just had a huge growth spurt and only has one pair of shoes that fit (for church) and was in need. Since Pay*less has BOGO right now and they have ballet shoes, we were able to get Olivia's shoes, a pair of tennis shoes for her in her NEXT size, and TWO pair of great shoes for Braeden for school... all for $33! I was very excited! The ballet shoes alone would have been $20 anywhere else, so to get an addtl three pair for just over $10 more was great!

I am ITCHING to look at all the little girl clothes on the sale racks and buy buy buy... but since I have NO referral and NO idea of sizes/seasons yet... it is NOT working out and that is GOOD for my pocketbook! LOL :) There are so many CUTE things!!! :)

After we got home and got the boys, I began dinner. When the kids have a birthday they get to choose their dinner that day. Today Olivia picked pancakes, eggs, sausage, Sprite to drink, and brownies for dessert! Wooo!!! Can you say sugar high!? :) They ate it up and loved every bite! (I had some brownie batter and called it a dinner!) :)

While Olivia was in FL on her own, the boys and I went to Lowes for their Build and Grow. They made picture frames, and way back then Braeden had the idea to keep the one he built and give it to Olivia for her birthday. He used some paint from a recent project ( more on that later ) and then put a picture from our summer trip inside. Olivia LOVED it! (This green is her FAVE color!)

The kids get to have big friend parties when they turn 5, 10, and 16... so this was not a party year for Olivia. She did have a friend spend the night Friday and we had cake then. She loved it! There is also a "rhythm" to the gifts they get as well. They typically get an outfit, a book/room item, and a toy. Olivia got an outfit that she had fallen in love with at Gym*boree last winter. We had seen a velvet brown skirt with big polka dots that she loved, when the line was on clearance, BUT we couldn't find a top to go with it and I try so hard not to buy separates that are hard to put things with because I tend not to use those then. Another day I happened to go to a different store and found the skirt, a shirt, knee high socks, and a hair accessory... all for under $20! She was so excited to open it today! Her book/room item was a set of three hanging picture frames that rotate and are "Hanna*h Montan*a" - in a very small way. It was a MAJOR clearance item from Disne*y online - about $6. And her toy was a cake maker from the Ace of Cakes that I happened to find on Amazon for $5!!!! I then also found an accessory set for it on clearance at Tar*get one day for $5 as well! A GREAT set of items for less than $40 and she was in HEAVEN!


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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