A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child. --Forest E. Witcraft

Friday, December 30, 2011

Four Squirts

In our hotel shower, there are dispensers for shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel.  The kids think they are great.  After his shower, Buddy reported that he used three squirts of shower gel, four squirts of conditioner, and two squirts of shampoo.

Okay, the shower gel and the shampoo, I understood.  He doesn't use conditioner, so I asked if he used the conditioner before or after the shampoo.

Buddy said that he used the conditioner first.  So I asked if he washed it all out with the shampoo.  He stated he didn't put it on his hair!  I asked where he did put it...

His ARMPITS - two squirts each to make them smell good!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Battle of the Wills

Bedtime was a challenge last night with BB.  He knows how to climb out of the portable crib, and he didn't want to stay in it!  I tried to lie down on the bed with him, but after 45 minutes when I thought he was asleep, he popped up less than 5 minutes later to come find me.

So, the battle began.  I picked him up, hugged him, told him good night, put him in the crib, and left the bedroom of our suite.  He promptly got out, opened the door, and came to find me.  I scooped him up, put him back in the crib, and left the bedroom again.  Out he comes.  Repeat for about twenty more minutes.

Eventually he didn't come out of the bedroom, but I could hear him out of the crib playing with the room phone.  This time after I put BB in the crib, I closed the door, but stayed in the bedroom about three feet from the crib.  He ran into me after he climbed out.

Three times I scooped him up after about five steps.  On the fourth time, he climbed out and plopped himself down on the floor.  End result...

He stayed asleep this time!  I guess we both won a battle.  I'll take it.  Hopefully the next night will not take quite as long!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


We are finally on vacation in snow!
Big change for us desert dwellers.

This is BB's first exposure to snow.

He was amazingly stable.

Lesson from big brother,
who last saw snow four years ago!

Lovin' it!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sweets is Here!

It is almost too good to believe, but Sweets is at my house tonight!  Her dad agreed that she could go with us on our winter vacation.  Luckily our plans let us be flexible right up to the last minute.

Sweets told me that after her dad said yes on the phone, she started crying.  He then started to get upset and asked her why she was crying.  She told him she was so happy! 

When I hung up the phone after hearing yes, Buddy was so excited, he shreaked with joy!  He has missed her so much.  They virtually grew up as twins for about 3 years before Sweets moved to her dad's.  I think May would have screamed, except we were in a public place.

Although I'll be up very late packing (I'm no where near ready), I am truly happy that Sweets will be joining us on our trip.  I really didn't think this would happen, but nothing is impossible in God's hands!  This time prayers were answered as I had hoped!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Favorites

BB found this favorite from Santa waiting for him...

May was not excited at all about her new game!

Buddy was shocked and decided a 3DS was
much better than a skateboard!

We all went to church Christmas morning.

The biggest hit of the day!!!

BB's absolute favorite
...even when he was too tired to keep going.

BB found his vacuum the first thing
the day after Christmas as well!

It Happened

We saw Sweets on Christmas!  Her dad brought her and her sister over about 6pm (three hours after he promised, but I'll take it).  They were all in good moods.  My family was still here.

We had several presents for Sweets and I had a couple for Lil Sis too.  They were happy and enjoyed playing with May, Buddy, and BB.  They stayed a couple of hours.

Sweets' dad agreed to let me call a relative on her mom's side of the family to talk with the girls.  It led into a few of those family members coming over to visit the girls as well.  Everyone got along, and it really was a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

From Our House To Yours!

Monday, December 19, 2011

So Sad

Sweets has been calling whenever she can.  She has not been with us for three out of the last four weekends.  This is the first that has happened since early 2008.  At least the one weekend she was with us was the weekend of three concerts for which she has worked all fall.

Saturday I asked to take Sweets out just for dinner by her dad's home on either Saturday or Sunday evening.  Her dad said no and that he would call me Sunday to discuss things further when he had a member of his family who could be an interpreter.  He never called.

His English has never been great, but we have been communicating well enough for years.  Now, all of a sudden, he doesn't understand anything and can't talk to me directly.  I think he just wants an excuse to not talk with me because he knows I'm upset with him.

Tonight he finally talked with me on the phone after Sweets urged him.  I asked if Sweets would be allowed to come to my house for any of Christmas.  He said he would call me tomorrow with an interpreter.  I told him it was an easy question that needs a yes or no and that I knew he understood what I was asking.  He finally said no, which is what he had already told Sweets.  She was unwilling to accept it until he actually told me, because he has changed his mind so much in the past. 

He couldn't answer when she could come again, but it sounds like it could be a long time. 

I told him that tomorrow night I would bring some of Sweets' things that I knew she would want for Christmas and afterwards.  He was okay with that - I'm relieved he didn't object. 

Sweets is devastated, as not only can she not come for Christmas, but she also will miss our planned vacation the week after.  I reassured her that we would see her tomorrow night and I would ask again if we could just stop by and see her on Christmas.  We'll see, but I'm not too hopeful. 

My emotions over the last week have gone from anger, to denial, to fear, to sheer sadness.  Poor Sweets - she turns 9 and her whole life changes: sister moves in, no Thanksgiving, no weekend visits, no Christmas at mom's, no winter vacation.  How I wish I could fix things for her, but my hands are tied. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Liking Santa...

from a distance only.

Last night we went to a foster and adoptive family Christmas Party.

BB watched Santa walk all around the room.

BB also loved the crafts, coloring sheets, and paper on the tables.

I finally got him close to Santa again without screaming.

But he was not about to leave my arms!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Relief, Almost

I'm so glad my semester is finally complete. I delivered by paper yesterday and have been able to focus on work and catching up on so much more.

Friday and Monday are May's finals.  It is a fairly new experience for her.  Time management and prioritization are NOT her strengths.  Memory, intellect, empathy, problem solving - yes.  Reading, writing, planning, organizing - NO.  We have had our share of battles this week as I get frustrated with studying and assignments that haven't been done and she gets upset that she has to stay up, follow through, and finish.

She has three tests Friday and two more on Monday.  Then her semester is done too!

Buddy is doing fine but really wanting more time with mom.  I think BB is having the same issue.  Hopefully, this weekend will help remedy that situation.

As for Sweets, her dad said tonight that she could not come to my house again this weekend.  He would give no reason, simply kept repeating "no".  She is very upset, but I think she almost expected it.  Her focus now is to be able to come for Christmas.  I really hope he starts thinking about her instead of himself.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Tuesday

  • skipped work due to school
  • scrounged to locate money for May's lunch 
  • got kids off to appropriate locations, with help from Miss M
  • studied for my family law final
  • got distracted and cleaned up some paperwork
  • studied some more
  • loaded and ran the dishwasher
  • wrote some of my 10 page paper which is due Wednesday at law school
  • packed my computer and notes and left the house
  • stopped to get lunch and studied some more
  • dropped off a deposit at the credit union
  • walked in the rain from the parking garage to the law school
  • took my final
  • had my computer battery die with three minutes left of exam time*
  • thanked God that I had just typed my last three words and autosaved
  • borrowed a power cord from the IT folks who were available during finals
  • successfully uploaded exam (according to IT folks)
  • received call from Miss M that she arrived home to back door wide open
  • drove home in the rain, taking much longer than usual
  • learned Miss M determined wind blew door open
  • plugged in computer and cell phone, which also ran out of battery
  • read email from teacher that May asked for help on her own today (PTL!)
  • picked up May from counseling appointment
  • got Buddy ready for school concert, to which Miss M delivered him
  • bought ink for my printer
  • grabbed dinner on the go for May, Miss M, and myself (boys already ate)
  • met Miss M and BB at school concert
  • listened to most of concert but BB and I left after Buddy's class sang
  • put BB to bed
  • emptied the dishwasher
  • worked some more on my paper
  • received a call from Sweets who is doing okay
  • congratulated Buddy when he returned home
  • talked with May
  • tucked Buddy in bed
  • talked with Miss M, including figuring out BB's therapy schedules
  • finally finished writing my paper (after midnight)
  • rewarded myself by catching up on blog reading
I'm SO glad it's Wednesday!

* Less than 3 hours of battery power when fully charged? Time to replace the old laptop.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weekend's Almost Over

I'm so glad that this weekend is almost over.  To say things have been hectic is a total understatement.  Here's a review...
  • May did another FANTASTIC drama performance last night, and my parents thoroughly enjoyed it!
  • Sweets did not make it to the concert on Saturday, but Buddy had a great time, frozen yogurt and all!
  • BB has taken to screaming for attention a LOT.  Grandpa really doesn't like it (neither do the rest of us).
  • Buddy finished up his soccer this week.  I think we may have found his sport.
  • May is serving at the Christmas dinner at our church tonight.
  • I took one final last week, but I have one paper (which is about 3/4 done) and one final left before my semester is over on Wednesday. 
  • Buddy has his school concert on Tuesday.
  • I'm severely behind in Christmas shopping and other preparations.  Soon...
  • Everyone has been able to stay healthy.  PLEASE let it stay this way.
To summarize, we have had something beyond the normal work and school load 11 times in the last 13 days (concerts, rehearsals, performances, etc.).  This is after I deliberately decided NOT to have the kids participate in two activities they normally do this season, including the Christmas pageant at church with all its rehearsals. 

After Wednesday, my stress level will be drastically reduced, just as May enters finals!  Hopefully next weekend, we can actually get ready for Christmas and set the tree up.  I hope Sweets can join us!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Yes, Again!

He is MAD again, just like here and here.  Sweets' dad is so busy being mad that he can't see straight.  Another referral was made to CPS regarding Sweets, so there is an investigation in progress.  Apparently, he didn't get home from work in time to meet the investigator Friday, so he is just fuming about who called instead.

I drove over to talk with him Friday night following May's drama program at school.  He said Sweets was staying with him.  I reminded him about Sweets' mandatory concert Saturday morning and offered to bring her back after it was over.  He still said no, but said the relative who will watch her and Lil Sis while he works will take her.  I'll believe it when I see it (and it will reinforce the fact that there are miracles)!

Sweets was very upset and crying and didn't want to let go of me.  She spent the whole half hour plus I was talking with her dad curled up in May's lap in the car.  Sweets is scared, worried about when she will get to come to my house again.  She just missed Thanksgiving, and I know she is now remembering when she missed vacation during spring break.  Christmas is around the corner and she was already concerned.


On a brighter note, last weekend's Children's Chorus concerts were wonderful on Friday and Saturday nights!  The four choirs all performed well, and the combined numbers were beautiful.  The quality of the music was amazing.  I am so happy that my three oldest have the privilege of being in this marvelous group.

Sunday night, May had a school choir concert.  Then on Wednesday night, her choir from the Children's Chorus had their independent performance (like Sweets and Buddy's choir does this Saturday).

Then Thursday night May had dress rehearsal, followed by the first of two drama productions for her drama class at school.  There were five skits/acts, and one was a monologue of JUST HER!  She was FABULOUS, Irish accent and all!  She was also in the cast of another group skit.  I am so proud that this timid, shy child came out of her shell and did a solo performance in front of a room full of people.  Tomorrow night is a repeat performance, and my parents get to attend!

Friday, December 9, 2011


I talked with Sweets' dad last night about picking her up after school today.  He told me someone had called CPS about Sweets again, and an investigator was coming to the house at 4pm today.  Therefore, Sweets was staying with him.

I reminded him that she has another concert tomorrow and told him I would pick her up after May's program at school tonight.  He said he would call me.  Of course, he also said he would have Sweets call me back last night and that didn't happen. 

My stomach is churning.  An hour before that call, Sweets talked with me and thought I was picking her up at school.  I hope he has talked with her. 

Following a court hearing for Lil Sis after Thanksgiving, everyone was reasonably positive that things were going well, even with Lil Sis now living with them too.  They will have social workers visiting a few times a week for up to 90 days to check on them and provide assistance as needed.  But no one was concerned that there were any significant issues.

Honestly, one of the girls would have to be seriously hurt before any change would be made at this point.  There have been many drop in visits by case managers and other social workers over the last month.  Nothing is going to change.  Even Sweets has had a bit more positive attitude since Thanksgiving weekend.

For Sweets' sake, I hope today's investigation goes smoothly and pick up occurs sometime today as expected.  She will be extra upset about not coming if she also misses the concert (which is mandatory) followed by a Christmas party. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sweets is Here!

I picked up Sweets at 11:30am this morning because her school had early release.  She was so happy I was there.  After not coming all last week, I think she was worried something would happen and she wouldn't be able to come again.  My stress level has reduced drastically now that she is asleep in bed at my house.

This is the big concert weekend for my three oldest in the Children's Chorus.  Buddy and Sweets sang with their choir for a news station today.  It was supposed to be a nice outdoor shot, but just a couple minutes before the cameras rolled, after all the warm up and practice, it started to rain!  We had about three minutes to walk 1/2 a block, get 70 kids and almost as many parents into the lobby of the studio, and get organized to sing.  It went amazingly smoothly!  The kids did great and sang lovely.

The next two nights are their formal performances with all four choirs including almost 300 kids.  Both venues are about an hour away from our house, in two different directions.  May then has a school Christmas concert at a church on Sunday evening.  It will be a crazy weekend!