A life of love

A life of love
Everyone should have a Great Pyrenees

Sunday, November 30, 2008

How did we get here, and how could we be anywhere else?

Hi all,
I am going to try to put all the rambling thoughts from this evening into words.

First of all, it is amazing what can bring up all that needs to be brought up. I have been in contact with a friend from childhood, who I have rarely had contact with since high school and marriage and all that. Nothing like trying to explain your life to someone who has missed the steps along the way, to really make you evaluate how you will explain all this. So, it has been introspective to say the least.

And then to listen to my 9 year old son, home from Ethiopia not even a year and a half, address his brother in protest " but dude,...". Much giggling from Mommy ensued. It was so priceless that I cannot even begin to express it, the inflections, the 9 year old's indignation (I think that older brother was winning at Life game). I think I spent a good share of the game in giggles. We have had a tougher stretch with the kids lately as we all adjust to the changes in our lives, my work schedule, disappointments and all. It was so delightful to simply play a game (and teach place value again, and again, but maybe it stuck this time), and just enjoy each other. Once again we told the story of how we came to learn about the kids, how it felt to first see them, the heartbreak of the sadness we saw on our visit, as well as the majesty. Once more we all processed it at a different level, yet again. As the English has progressed, we have been able to go into deeper and deeper details, to explain our feelings and God's blessings. I think I can see this continuing for a long time. And the whole evening really mended some fences as we work through all that families work through. It was good to just enjoy each other, even though initially I thought I was too tired to do a game. We had a truly wonderful time.

Thank you God, for reminding me again of all the joys we have, and how grateful I am for each of my children, no matter what we may face with each. Thank you for moments of joy, even when I really don't think I want them.

And thank you so much for our warm house, our snug barns and our lovely furnace, as the first snowstorm of the year is upon us! Listening to the wind whistle through my laundry room makes me sad that the door that was ordered was miskeyed in the computer, and it still doesn't fit. I am grateful that the right sized door will be in soon, but wish it was there now! At least no snow is coming in, just rattling the door and letting in some cold air. I love winter, observed from inside for the most part!!!! That means that knowing that the storm was coming, we worked outside before it set in getting our animals set, getting the grounds cleaned up (anything buried under the snow may just be gone until spring), and getting everyone settled. It was good to know that as the first snowflakes started to fall, that all on our farm were settled in, ready for the storm.
Anyway, goodnight all! Stay snug and warm!

Great quote!

I am only one, but still, I am one.
I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do what I can.

* Edward Everett Hale

(I found this on someone else's blog and it really spoke to the heart today, so I posted it here, I hope no one minds)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Let Thanksgiving begin!!!!!

Whew, what fun! And actually uttered without sarcasm. I am able to sit for a few minutes while the draino is working on the bathtub drain, and everything else is moving along or done.

It has been a long two weeks, work, illness and what not. We are working on paperwork for a homestudy, and that is that. So, after a long couple days working extra so I can be off for three days to visit with my family things are rolling along.

I usually am not an early riser, or rather am a slow riser, usually up and active by 9, up before then but not too active. You know, get my coffee, get a shower, get dressed, get my brain working. It works out quite well that I work early in the morning for my job, I have a half hour drive so it lets me get really going by the time I get to work. Anyway, it has been a long couple days. But, as much as I thought I would normally want to laze in bed a little longer this morning, there were many things to do. Surprisingly, it felt really good to get up, with the house mostly silent (kids slowly getting up), and get some things going. Would you believe that by 10AM I had three pies either done or in the oven (first time I've ever made pie by the way!!!) six loaves of friendship bread done (one loaf makes a good breakfast for everyone!), squash cut and ready to go in the oven, and a roast in the crockpot for lunch. Whey bread was being mixed up and then set to rise, four loaves of that today. The only thing left to do is to make stuffing, but that will most likely be done early in the morning while the kids take care of the animals before we leave for Thanksgiving with my family.

So, maybe that is the miracle of Thanksgiving - I had an absolute ball working with the kids on all of this. They were in and out of the kitchen, some helping with one thing, some with another, sharing stories about the animals outside, things that happened, thoughts. Years and years, I have hated cooking, did it because it needed to be done, but really didn't enjoy it. And now, this last year, I have noticed that I actually like it. Thank goodness I am getting better at it, and more confident with trying more variations, and we now have a couple dishes that I have "created" that the kids even ask for! (They were based on simple recipes that we found, that I added things to or modified with using up something that we needed to use up.) So, anyway, after three interruptions, I may finish this paragraph! That could be another Thanksgiving miracle!!! I had the most enjoyable day, and spent most of it cooking!!!!!

So, the next thing was that I really wanted to get my shower in! But the drain is yet again moving very slowly. Hence the draino. And the wait. We are hoping to watch a short movie this afternoon, but I had better get running if that is to get done!

I hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving, however you choose to celebrate it. We are going to have seven children at my folks house (ages 4 to 14), visiting with cousins and great grandparents (from two sides of the family) and aunts and uncles. I think it will be absolutely delightful! Loud most likely, but wonderful fun!!!!

Happy beginning of the crazy holiday season!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

anyone reading this - help!!!!????

Hi all,
Today has been a bit of a whirlwind, just as I am getting ready to go back to work after being out with strep. Let's just say that the phone rang.

We have been in touch with an adoption agency in IL that specializes in special needs adoption, a place where our hearts are at. We had talked about an infant that was supposed to be due in February - that gave us some time, right? Considering our homestudy isn't current, I am working, and on and on. Well, that baby came last week and thankfully a couple was ready and able to take this baby girl. We truly are glad about that. So, we put it on the back burner, thinking about "when should we start another homestudy, just in case?". And then the phone rang....

There is a baby in IL, born with Treacher-Collins Syndrome, a cranio-facial disorder. The baby is a week old and the parents have decided that they cannot raise the child. The baby won't be released from the hospital for two more weeks or longer. So, our first thing is: could we parent with this issue? Our answer is yes, we have actually even talked about this syndrome, and given that I am a pediatric speech language pathologist, it is right directly up my alley. So that was settled. The second question is can we be ready with a completed homestudy in time to bring the baby home, as finding an appropriate foster placement (that would be at our expense also) would be a challenge. My thing is: if this child is coming to our family, I need that child to come directly from the hospital to our home as I need to see the doctors and have all that info prior to bringing the child home - I believe it will have lifelong implications. So, if a homestudy cannot be done that rapidly or if something else cannot be worked out to make this happen, then our answer should be no. The adoption agency is checking to see if they can use our home as the foster home as we are already foster parents and licensed. Hmmmm. Next step - um, yeah, the funds. We were working towards that, but weren't there. I think this is one of those things you are never prepared for. Figure about $3000 for a homestudy right away (and I am sure they won't cut their fees to rush this, and who could blame them???), and then the agency fees are $13,000. But the good news is that is all there is. At least that is what I am told, that this includes everything. It should. I don't know that there would even be time to apply for grants as most grant agencies require that you apply before the child is placed with you. Not much time there given that the homestudy is required for grant processing and we would basically have the homestudy done and pick up the child, at least in theory.

So, I am plugging my Amazon store (see previous post) and anything you can think of!!!! I am trying to get a button on my blog for donations, but with this economy, I don't expect any. I will try to pull some things together for sales before Christmas (whether it is Usborne or whatever).

If anyone has any ideas, I would greatly appreciate it. At this point I just thought I would throw out the need in case anyone's brain was working better and faster than mine. I am still a bit shellshocked and gathering information. At the very least, if we are unable to do this, I think it really pushes us to get a homestudy DONE in case this comes up another time. Most special needs aren't identified prior to birth, so there isn't much warning. And these kiddos are generally hard to place, so things happen rapidly.

So, I am taking a deep breath, and trying to get my head together to logically think this through. One moment. I hate when things are unknown, but God is stretching me!!!!
Thanks for letting me spill my guts!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Down for the count....

Imagine a mom of many's worst nightmare. What would it be?

Hmm, let's think for a minute....

How about an entire houseful of sick kids??? Kids with something contagious?

Yep, that is what is happening here, though it isn't as bad as it could be.

Kiley called me at work this morning to tell me that her throat hurt so badly that she couldn't swallow. Now let me remind/tell you, this is our kiddo with type 1 diabetes. That adds an element of urgency to all medical situations as all illnesses and injuries affect her diabetes control. A diabetic kid who cannot eat is not a good thing.

I had peeked at her throat last night, as it was sore, and it had looked pretty awful, so we were watching it, but this was worse. A quick call to the doctor, and I was leaving work to get the kids in to the doctor. My first thought was step, as that always seems to be going around, though we haven't had it that I can remember in years. I decided to take all the kids - if one has it, most likely more than one has it, the way I figured it, and dragging them in one at a time to a doctor a half hour away from home just didn't make sense. Sure enough, Kiley has a serious case of strep throat. No surprise there. So, to the nurses' surprise, we hauled the other four kids in and did strep tests on them too. The look on their faces when I asked them to do that was priceless!!! LOL. We literally lined them up and got it done while I registered the others - ugh, five co-pays for the same visit. I get it, but jeepers!

Well, only Alex ended up being positive also, but the wonderful doctor decided not to wait for the longer version of the tests to come back and just prescribed antibiotics for all the kids. Yay! Because otherwise you know I would be doing the same thing again in a couple days.

So, everyone is quarantined until the antibiotics have been going for 48 hours. That is what the pediatrician said anyway. I thought it was 24 hours, but need to go by what she says. I called the doctor for those of us adults (the ones that are very outnumbered in our house!) and thankfully, he didn't even want to bother sending me in for a test (it will come up positive most likely anyway as my throat is becoming increasingly raw) and just sent me in for meds for hubby and myself. Whew, that means two less doctor appointments.

So, we are at home. Yay! And not so yay! So far no one has been too crabby, and I am keeping them going on school and what not, and we splurged on a couple movies for some down time. So, hopefully things will improve. I think in larger families, it never just happens to one kid, but I will take this over having them all throwing up or something like that!!!!!

Kiley has been very lucky and her diabetes hasn't caused us any trouble so far this round of illness, but that doesn't really mean anything as we aren't out of the woods yet. Usually diabetic kids will run really high blood sugars when they are sick, in fact parents of kids with diabetes have actual "sick day protocols" to safely get through these days. I mean it, I have a printout from our doctor of hour by hour how to safely get through them. But, Kiley being Kiley, never really follows the usual. When she is sick, she tends to run low rather than high. Now, that causes more immediate problems but to a certain extent is a bit easier to battle, though it takes much more vigilance. Right now she is running on her low end of normal, not below her parameters, but close. And this makes tonight one night that I am very grateful that we have her on her continuous glucose monitor (CGM). It is a wonderful thing, checks her blood sugars every five minutes and displays it on the screen of what looks like a large pager. But, the best thing is that it alarms when she goes out of range. And when she goes low, it will keep alarming until things improve. So, I will sleep with an ear open, though when I checked on her just a bit ago things were normal and in range. Our doctor asked what we liked about our CGM, because it really does give a ton of info, almost too much to be helpful, though we find that it is extraordinarily helpful. In all honesty that alarm is our greatest asset with it. It is one more safety net. We have worked through dangerous lows, and woke up one night to her screaming in the midst of a low blood sugar seizure. I don't ever want to see that again, and this helps us to have some warning. So, anyway, we hope to sleep, hope that she doesn't do her own unusual thing with blood sugars, at least for tonight anyway. We will take it moment by moment.

So, I took my last dose of antibiotics for tonight, and I am off to bed. What craziness!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

And life moves on...

Hi all,
I am going to try to be better about blogging, mostly for my own personal reasons, basically because it does me good!!! LOL! So, I am glad we are a few weeks farther down the road!

And after coming together and trying to figure out where we go from here, well, we don't have a plan as of yet, but we have some possibilities. That is a start. We are keeping our foster care license, but are not actively seeking to take any more kiddos that are not permanent. Too hard on all of us. We so want to finish the journey with our children, each one of them. We just are not able to emotionally disconnect as maybe we should if we were "professionals" at this. I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I don't know if I want to be able to do that, or if it means there is something "wrong" with me.

But, we know that we want to continue to expand our family. We are good at parenting. Not so good that other stuff, but good at this, and working through the hard stuff. Chaos does not make us crazy, well not most of the time anyway. And you have to admit that with more kids comes more chaos, though also in some ways much more organization (it is the only way you will survive!!! LOL). But this is what our "calling" is, this is who we are. I know that many folks think we are crazy, but that is OK, what they do would send me to the loony bin (though some swear that is where I live! Again, tongue in cheek!).

So, this last experience really brought us to our knees to try to figure out where we were going in the near term. And that has sent me down the newest quest. I am very busy at Amazon.com. If you don't know me too well, you don't know that I am absolutely book crazy. My two favorite places to go: the library and a bookstore. It could be safely said that I hoard books. I just want to read them all! But, if we want to do another homestudy, or prepare the house for a baby, then there are some things to do! So, I am unloading whatever I can, whatever I inherited that I can bear to part with, whatever I can! I am hoping that not only will I clear out my excess, but that I also will be able to put aside the needed funds!

If you wanted to check out mommyturtle
feel free! I am looking for other ways to raise a bit of extra funds for this purpose, so am being creative! We shall see where God takes this. We have several possible roads we may go down and I am sure God will make it clear. At the moment, I find myself wondering how we would swing it in the short term, but also, I have seen God perform bigger miracles in my recent past. So, to me, that just isn't a good enough reason to not move forward. We serve a big God and he always has a plan.

On to another topic! We are having fun with starters and my kitchen counter that I got pretty much decluttered now has a starter for friendship bread and a starter for injera (Ethiopian flatbread). I am hoping I can get the injera to work as we were all spoiled with wonderful injera brought from San Fransisco last weekend. We ate leftovers most of the week (lots of true Ethiopian food), but the injera didn't make it past day two! When I bake, I bake in such large batches that I should have some to share. Another friend suggested we find a way to sell it to others with a taste for Ethiopian food (most people don't make their own, they either order it online, or go to Milwaukee, Minneapolis or Chicago to get it and freeze it). First I had better make sure I like my recipe and that I can physically make more than these kids of mine can eat! And they eat a lot! But, I love it too, and gladly eat as much as I can when it is warm and fresh. I almost started a sourdough starter too, but decided that this could be suicidal with too much baking to be done in a short time, and time is always short here. So, I'm trying to pace myself, at least a little. We love the friendship bread for breakfast breads and snacks, so I make a ton, and have to admit that I share very little (anyone want a starter?).

So, though this has been a wonderful weekend for me, I am about ready for it to come to a close. We had only one outside event other than church, and dh took our elder daughter to that (the Christmas musical is coming soon, so practices are fast and furious). So, after a long week of running and work and what not, I was HOME!!!!! And would you believe it, the laundry is caught up (that is only momentary you know), the dishes are done (and everyone is nearly done eating so I will have one more round of that yet tonight), and some reorganization was done!!!! The bathroom project is coming along, dh made a house for the barn cats, and I think that covers it! I know I should do more (but lunch for tomorrow is already in the crockpot and bread is rising on the stove to go with lunch tomorrow), so I am looking forward to curling up with a good book, though we may have to go a round or two of Uno before bed - the current passion of everyone. So, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and can enjoy a restful night! After all, tomorrow starts a new day! (I think I'm ready, no, maybe I will try to sleep in, no, can't. Well, maybe I will just be in denial that it is Monday. Yeah, that will work, if I try hard enough? Can I tell my boss that it is still Sunday? Nope, then I won't get paid, oh, yeah, well, it was a thought. So much for that. I think I better head to bed. Ugh.)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Fun with YouTube

Hi all,
First of all I want to thank anyone who was praying for us this last week or so. It has been a long, emotional week, but I think I am sort of seeing the sunshine. It is hard when our hearts are involved, and our family is all about our kids, every last one of them. I don't understand why things turn out the way they do, but I know that it is never a surprise to God. Sometimes I wish I had a memo, or a crystal ball to tell me how things will work out, but it is all about a faith walk. And some days I walk better than others. I do believe that God understands. I believe that he was OK with me not wanting to talk to him for a few days, in my hurt. He never goes away, even when I am arguing with him. Thank God for that! He loves us no matter what. He is never surprised that we are human, and that we struggle. I still miss our little one, and wish for her return, but it is what it is and I do hope that someday we will see through this glass better than we do now (darkly).

And on to my post today. I was browsing some things on YouTube - I get a daily email from Creation Moments, and it is always quite interesting. Found today that they have some small snippets on YouTube. Here is one for you to see, if you are so interested (and then of course there are links to more that they have out there): Creation Moments . Amazing what you can find out there. I did another search and found a comedian who was great, made some good points, but then went on to use some unfortunate language, so I didn't add it on. Too bad. Isn't it amazing - if we could only clean up the language, it would be perfect. I have been finding that with a fair amount of TV and movies lately - what is up with that? (as one of my boys would say) If only the gratuitous sex and foul language would be taken out, it would be perfectly acceptable. Here is a really funny parody : parody. I can laugh because some of it my kids experienced and some I did!!! Not all, but some, and with the right attitude, it is very funny!

And then on that note, sort of, I look around and realize how much of what we have in this life is truly unnecessary. We may like it, we may find it interesting, but is it really necessary? I am really in a paring down mode right now. Some days we realize that there is simply so much "stuff" around us. It makes me feel claustrophobic with winter coming on. So, today was a big day for getting lots of ducks in a row around here. Small projects we have been putting off, small shelves to be hung, pictures to be put up, summer clothes to be packed up (well, that will continue for a bit, it always is a process before everything finally makes it down to the wash and into storage), pictures to be put in frames, and on and on. But it did clear the decks in a couple areas. And the process will continue. I hope that by Christmas we will see a lot less around here. I have had fun selling books on Amazon (any of you who know me really well, know that this is my total downfall - if there is a book out there on anything I am remotely interested in, it will eventually end up here). It is fun to see piles of books I have read or used (or simply let take up space here) go out while a bit of cash comes in for them! Whoo-hoo! Makes the letting go easier! And we have discovered Tradingpost and FreeCycle, which are wonderful too! Last week I delivered a variety of items that basically took up the back end of our van! and I got a bit of money for them! I used that to get a couple small items for the kids for Christmas - a good thing when I start early!

Anyway, I think I have jumbled around a ton yet tonight! What a crazy post. I do know that our family is facing sort of a crossroads. We want to really recover, and get a view for what our family purpose is. It is really important to me that we have a direction, and a purpose, rather than get caught up in just surviving day to day. I know there are moments that this is the best that we can do, but I don't want us to stay in that mode. I know that God has a purpose and plan for us, that there are things that we do well. At the moment we are sort of trying to find our way back, but I know that we will. I cannot yet see through the fog, but it is lifting a little. Thank goodness for that.

Well, I am off to bed, the kids have now come down for the last time - out of the five kids we know that there will be three trips down the stairs, though it is different ones, different times, but always three. The third just headed up again, so we should be set! So, I am headed for a relaxing bubble bath and then we gear up for another day! Bless you all!