Monday, May 30, 2011

I Have Baptism Envy!

Baptism there such a thing?  I am embarrassed to admit, yes, and I have it. 

Don't judge me.  There's more to it. 

When I see another family (that I don't really even know) celebrating a child's baptism, I tear up.  Then they put an adorable picture up on the screen and say a few words about what he/she is like, and a few tears fall...against my will of course.  Hear me out, I am always happy for the family.  However, I also find myself wishing that H and I had the right to have JJ baptized.  I start to think ahead to when we can stand there as an official family. (I'll be train wreck, fyi.)

I guess this is exacerbated by the fact that once again the court proceedings were delayed.  Transcripts weren't ready (although it has been 10 weeks) so the new date is 2-3 months away.  This makes me a little crazy when I know that this delay is not in any child's "best interest."  It just seems like the closer we get, the further it gets pushed out.  Oh well, I only focus on this part briefly, because we are just a part of a very complicated system. 

 The funny thing is that after a baptism at this Sunday's service, they were talking about love and this scripture spoke to me. "1 Corinthians 13:7: Love never gives up, never loses, faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance."

Delays won't change what we do as a family on a day to day basis.  It is sooo worth it!!  After all, if the right opportunity arises we might just do it again.

Happy Memorial Day and thank you to all of the military families for your bravery and sacrifice.  I hope that you had a great weekend.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Funnies: Pretty Butt

PT had soccer practice in the cold rain, a couple of weeks ago.  The team kept moving from field to field to find a safe place to play.  Eventually, I just picked up my chair, blanket, and umbrella and retreated to the warm van....warm rental van.  Oh no!  I remember thinking, "There is no way I can let that filthy kid in this rental van with all black interior."  (Mother of the Year, I know.) 

When he returned, I helped him take off his cleats, told him to take off his clothes except his underwear and t-shirt, and told him to wrap a towel around him.  He looked a little puzzled and embarrassed, but he did it.  Then he got a little sparkle in his eye and a grin on his face, as if he decided to embrace the whole thing.  He opened up the towel, started dancing around, and proceeded to sing a  PT original song...."I have a pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty BUTT!!"   He sang this refrain over and over (in a a deep Elvis-like voice) until we got home and then he sang it to Dad too.  

That kid cracks himself up!

Sharing Saturday(s): Autism Speaks and Be The Match

Last Saturday, my family and I walked with thousands of people that somehow have been touched by Autism Spectrum Disorders in the annual Walk Now for Autism Speaks.  Like most families, we have loved ones that are living with ASD.  It really was special to all of those families sharing a common goal.  All in all, a very good day for our family.
Autism Speaks is passionate about funding research, spreading awareness, and providing advocacy and tools for those affected by ASD.  In our area, they have raised $330,000 from this event and will continue to accept donations until mid-August.  Their goal is $390,000, so if you want to donate, there is still time.


This week's choice was a little different.  A 7 year old girl in our community is fighting Acute Myeloid Luekemia.  Maya is a fellow Girl Scout and is fighting for her life.  She needs a bone marrow transplant and our community held an event to find swab potential donors and almost 300 people participated, including me.  You can watch the new report here.

The process was painless.  I just swabbed each of the four quantrants of my inner cheek, put them in the envelope with my donation, and then they were sent off to Be The Match.  This organization is a national marrow donor program.  Although, I may not be a match for Maya, I could be for someone else.  In that case, I would be contacted and we would discuss the options for donation. 

Be The Match also accepts monetary donations to help families afford transplants and to advance medical research.  Prayers for Maya, and those fighty similar battles, are always helpful too.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Rage Against the Minivan...Not me!

I don't know about you but I always was a practical girl.  Not much has changed.  Now I am a practical mom, most of the time.  I don't remember saying that "I'll NEVER drive a minivan!"  IWho knows, maybe I did.  If you have said it and have stuck to it, good for you.  I am glad it works for you.  As for me, I have no "rage against the minivan." 

Honestly, I just don't care a whole lot about the image of driving a van.  Who would I be trying to fool?  I am a mom of 4 young kids who have tons of crap stuff and car seats/booster seats.  I need room.  I "need" a DVD player for vacation.  I need the cup holders, and storage under the seat, in the back, and on the luggage rack.   I am on a budget.  Not to mention, I am quite short and would probably need 2 running boards to just to climb into a big SUV. 

My absolute favorite thing about a minivan is....sliding doors.  I can get into a parking spot and get the kids out without my kids dinging the cars next to me.  It also comes in handy in our packed garage.  That is unless I am dragging a pumpkin seat in and out, then it is anyone's guess how it'll go. Since our accident on Friday, we have been driving my husband's car (FYI, not all of us fit) and I don't like standard doors.   We picked up a rental minivan today and it has automatic doors and my kids almost wet themselves with happiness.  "Mom! Can we just buy this one?? I get to close it!"  I agree with them.  That is one feature that I wish our van had. 

I guess we'll find out in the next few days how long and how much $$ it'll take to fix our minivan.  I just hope that the kids and I don't get too used to the newer model rental in the meanwhile.  I am not saying that we might not outgrow the minivan stage someday.  Maybe we'll need to haul a camper or something.  Heck, maybe someday we won't have so many stinkin' car seats and boosters.  Who knows?  I figure the new car smell wears off sometime (unless you buy the little air freshner that smells like "new car") and it begins not to matter so much your car looks like.  For now, I will proudly get out of my 2006 minivan with my hair in a ponytail, wearing jeans and gym shoes, with a gaggle of kids in toe.  What's it to ya? 

Do you have rage against the minivan?  Are there good alternatives for the bigger family?  Please share.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday Funnies- WHOA!!

We took JJ to be checked out at the ER following our car accident on Friday, as a precaution.  The nurse told us that he had to get a temperature...a rectal temperature.  L was in the same room and said, "What? What is that?"  We explained and suddenly her ride in on a backboard and a few x-rays didn't seem so bad after that.  I laid JJ down in my arms and as the nurse proceeded, JJ's eyebrows raised, her eyes bugged out a bit, and she let out a surprised, "WHOA!"  We all couldn't help but laugh at her litttle 17 month old response.  It was like she was saying, "What the heck are you doing man?"  She never cried.  She just tried to look behind her to see what was going on and before she knew it, it was over.  No harm.  No foul. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sharing Saturday- Fallen Officer

This has been quite an eventful weekend.  On Friday night (Friday the 13th!), I was driving home with my three girls.  I was at a stop light, preparing to turn right, when POW!  We were rear-ended and it knocked my car into the car in front of me...and her car into a car in front of her.  My 8 year old, L, began to have head, neck, and upper back pain.  An off-duty EMT/fire fighter arrived and stabilized her neck while we waited for the police and ambulance.  When I thanked him for staying with us even though he was off-duty, he kindly said, "If I was in this for money, I'd be in the wrong profession."  Long story short, we spent the evening in the ER with two of the girls.  JJ was fine and L was diagnosed with whiplash type symptoms and a possible mild concussion.  Overall, everyone is fine (Thank God!)...just a little sore and L's still has a headache and has had to avoid softball. 

When we went to the police station to give my statement, we ended up talking about the officer that was killed this week while placing stop sticks.  The suspect hit him and tried to flee on foot.  Sgt. Brian Dulle used to be in the military as well.  He leaves behind a wife and three children under the age of 10.  (Please read more about it here.) We talked about how the departments were working together to allow for officers to attend his services. 

This local tragedy and our recent car accident made us think more about the police and fire fighters?EMTs that we may not think much about on a day-to-day basis...until we need them.  My brother-in-law is also a police officer, and we can only imagine what Sgt. Dulle's family is going through.  The week of May 15th is National Law Enforcement Week and May 15th is Peace Officer Memorial Day.  In honor of this, we have decided to donate at Fifth Third Bank, to a memorial fund for Sgt. Dulle's family and to take extra effort to pray for all of those who serve our community.   Won't you join us?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Be Kind to Your Leader/Coach

I just had to get this off my chest.  If you have kids that are involved in scouts or sports, or if you've ever volunteered to coach or been a leader you might relate.  Here are a few things that I have found myself saying (in my head...never in my out loud voice) to a few parents of kids I've coached or been a Girl Scout leader for (or my husband or friend has experienced)...

* Please do not drop your kid off at the leader's house at 2:05pm when drop off isn't until 2:45pm, without notice or good reason. 

* Try to be on time for pick up.  I want to go home too.  I know that we all are running late that case no sweat. 

* If your family is in charge of planning and running the meeting tonight... it is "not cool" to send a two sentence email saying that you and your husband work weekends and will not be attending...with 4 hours notice...without any initiative for getting the meeting covered by someone else or suggestions for activities that another parent to use.  It is also "not cool" to then not return an email or call made to you to clarify. 

* When each parent is asked to take a turn helping in some way, please do not say things like, "I am so busy." or "Oh good you don't need me.  I really need to spend my time on the weekends working in the yard."  or  "Oh you don't need me, good because I've already done my duty. I'm going to run errands." 

* Please don't look "put out" when you have to come to a meeting place to pick your child up.  We are doing most of the driving, after all.

Forgive my rant.  These are a just few isolated incidents that, although "uncool," do not over-shadow the fun I have being involved in my kids' activities.  It just irritated me.  Now I feel better.  After all, blogging is cheaper than therapy, right?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sunday Funnies: Zoo

You know how to get a great workout without planning too??  Go to the very hilly Cincinnati Zoo on a warm day, with two kids riding in a very inefficient stroller, and go the wrong way several times when trying to find the stinkin' parking lot. 

"Get a map Krista", you say....well the sad part is that I had one AND I have been going to that zoo since I was five years old and I still don't know my way around.  I didn't tell J that I went the wrong way.  I just kept pointing out animals, usually more than once.  She must have noticed because she gave me this pitiful look and said to me, "I wish Jean were here.  She'd know how to get back." 

Well, we made it out but not without much stroller-pushing exertion.  It was a beautiful day and the kids were great.  When we got back home and things settled down, I noticed that J was drawing something.  She said, "Mom, what was the first animal we saw?"  I reminded her of the elephant visit.  She followed it up with, "I am drawing you a map so that you don't get lost at the zoo next time." 

I guess that the elephant isn't the only one that NEVER forgets!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sharing Saturday- Kiva

Since it is Mother's Day weekend, it is my choice.  I wanted to find a way to help out another mom, since we all are searching for ways to provide what our family needs.  I chose Kiva.  I checked it out and offered a loan to Julia who lives in Peru and will be using the money to buy barnyard fowl and feed, to further support her family financially. 

With Kiva, you may contribute as little as $25 to offer a micro-loan to men and women all over the world.  Go here for a better description about how the borrower is chosen and how the loans are paid back.  Honestly, I am not concerned about getting paid back, but I figure that I could always re-invest the money in another borrower if I do get paid back. 

Good luck Julia!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Retail Rants and Raves: Herbs and Strawberry Shooter

I do not have time to de-leaf fresh thyme!  What a pain!

I do have time to make strawberry syrup because of my "strawberry shooter" (as I call it). FYI, I didn'tget mine at William-Sonoma but you get the idea.

It takes a nice fresh strawberry (with the top cut off)...

and slices it when you squeeze the handle...

leaving me with thinly sliced strawberries to use for syrup or garnish on a chocolate cake!

It makes it quick and easy! Has anyone else seen one of these?

Monday, May 2, 2011

What's the Whole Story??

I am quickly discovering that the blogging world is huge. With one click, I can find out so much information about some one's family, religious beliefs, talents, what they made for dinner, and even an occasional home tour.  Sometimes I read something that inspires or motivates me, or maybe something that makes me laugh.
Then I go to my own blog.  What's different?

As a foster parent, I am required to withhold information to protect our child's privacy.  I can't share her name or pictures of her (that would melt your heart).   I pause before I share any information about her new milestones even though I want to burst with pride because I know how hard she has worked in therapies  and at home to achieve them.   Do not misunderstand.  I am not disputing the need for the confidentiality rules.  I am just wondering what it would feel like to feel secure in sharing the whole story (Which on the internet, I don't think I'd ever feel truly secure.) about our whole family. 

We love JJ so deeply.  We love her as if she were born into our family.  When she was placed in my arms at 3 weeks old, I couldn't have been prouder.  I know (cognitively) that I am her "foster-mother" but my heart and instincts only hear "mother."  I still know that this child is not "mine" but I don't think real love requires that type of ownership.  However, we are definitely "hers" forever.  Children all need someone to care for them unconditionally, without having their caregiver put up walls or defenses, although I am sympathetic to the need to.  Luckily, I am someone that hasn't really been very good at "walls" anyways. 

Unfortunately, we continue to find out that our journey toward adoption is most likely going to drag out longer than expected (again).  Despite this disappointment and frustration, it will not change the way we will "keep on keepin' on" as a family.  However, we do welcome prayers for JJ and all children in foster care that they might find the permanency, love, safety, and stability that they deserve.  For decision makers, that they might have wisdom and guidance and may they always put children's needs and rights above all else.  For foster parents, that they might have support, patience, and the skills granted to love, support, and to help heal little hearts. 

JJ is so smart, friendly, healthy and very verbal. (I feel as though this isn't bragging because I didn't "make" her, right?) When she sees the dog, she lowers her voice and says, "Go away!"   She gives kisses and hugs, and has the cutest dimple when she laughs.  She is making great progress with her motor skills.  She has a bright future and most importantly, she is loved by many.  I am figuring out now, that is the only part of the "whole story" that matters, right?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday Funnies- Bobblehead

I probably call this one the Sunday (Not So) Funnies.  Sorry.

*First some background info...I am short.  My husband is short.  Our kids are short.  So PT the other day said, "You know Mom, JJ will probably be happy that she wasn't born from your tummy."  My reply, "Why? "  "Because she'd be tiny like us too."  The sad thing is that she's short too, so far.  Maybe one of our kids will get one of the tall genes from other family members, hit a growth spurt,  and change the dynamics of our gene pool forever.  But those are some "tall" dreams.

*Yesterday, my husband took the kids to the Reds baseball game and they got a bobblehead.  This morning, L told me that PT discover that the bobblehead had a spring up in the head piece.  PT ran in and said, "He must have a springed neck!"  I felt compelled to reply, "Maybe it happened during spring training!"  Needless to say, groaning ensued. 

Have a great week all!