Tuesday, May 19, 2009

LIfe has REALLY been CRAZY!

WOW! So the past couple weeks have just been one huge thing after another!!! Thinking back though, I think this time of year always gets like this. For a parent with kids in activities and school, this is like the second "Christmas Season". Many sports end their season at this time, school is ending, summer activities are already signing up or you at least have to have the foresight to plan for them, some FALL activities already require getting signed up...... It is exhausting!!!

I added to that finishing up my training for becoming a CASA. Signed my volunteer paperwork, took the photo for my Juvenile Dept badge. No cases as of yet. That can be considered a good thing. I can hope that means less children are in need of a CASA at this time. I doubt that, but I can hope.

Which leads me to another subject entirely.

I am an open, honest, blunt person. Sometimes to the point of rudeness many people would say. I try to temper it, but I run off emotion a lot of the time, and that usually isn't a good way to run. But I am also a fairly objective and insightful person. And then comes naive. I didn't consider myself to be naive until I entered the world of foster parenting...... wow!!!

Now first of all, call me crazy but it's weird that when you become a foster parent there is an assumption that you know how to use Medicaid, you know how to use WIC, and you have a basic all around "know how to use any system" knowledge set. I am not sure why the system assumes you know all these things, but I am going to guess it goes hand in hand with the horror stories you hear on the news about children who die in care at the hands of people who were not properly taking care of them. I know I am not getting the link between these thoughts right for others to understand, but bear with me.

There are people out there who are doing foster care for all the wrong reasons. There are social workers who suck at their jobs, there are CASA's and GAL's that suck at their jobs as well. There are, and I have met a few of them, some foster parents who do it for the money. Which is super sad because even strictly monetarily speaking, the issues even a baby comes with are not worth the less than a dollar an hour that the State reimburses you!! That is CRAZY!!

My real point in all of this is that there are good foster parents, there are good social workers, there are good CASA's and GAL's, CPS does sometimes save a child's life. There are good people working within the broken system, and there are parents who are not fit to raise their child and there are other biological relatives who are not fit either. EVERYTHING should be judged on a CASE BY CASE BASIS!!

Does the system need to be fixed? YES!! Are there people who should be fired? YES! Are there Foster parents who should lose their license? YES!!

Should we assume that we do not need a system of some sort? NO!

The saddest thing to me is that typically the people who complain the most about the system are the people who did deserve to have a child removed from them or from a family member. What I would like to know is when all these caring biological relatives come out of the wood work to complain, where were they when the child was being hit, starved, neglected, or otherwise abused? Nobody should get to judge how you care for your child in a general sense, but when there are obvious signs that a kid is being hurt, then the kid should be removed. I wouldn't want the laws to get too general, because then they start coming for everyone. But we do need to have basic moral guidelines out there by which we can stand up for a child and say that is not OK! You cannot do that even if you are related to that child or even if you have been entrusted with the care of that child.

I had no idea that by becoming a foster parent or a CASA I would also become public Enemy Number One. I thought there were lots of other reasons why I would get into that position with some, but not a desire to help. I didn't know it would happen because I got into a system that I know needs fixing and I thought I could better fix it from within than from without.

Everyone has a calling. Thankfully the callings vary, that way all the different areas that need to be covered in life get covered. From the person who obsesses about soccer fields and jerseys, to the Mom who runs the Booster Club, to the Candy Stripers, to the Humane Society workers, the list for volunteering goes on and on...... the different causes people take up, even the ones I don't agree with. Even the people who hate me for both the new jobs I took on. Everyone serves a purpose, checks and balances are necessary......... we need people to have different passions so that everything in the world gets taken care of. Everyone's thoughts and ideas count and are important. If everyone just worked together not only would all the bases be covered, but maybe all the children would be safe..........

Monday, May 11, 2009

What a way to start the week.......

So this is one of those moments where it really bums me out I can't put up pictures of Baby A.

I was in at the computer getting all my various screens going. We had just returned from dropping Alexis off at school. Baby A was still in his car seat, Jessica sat down to watch Curious George.

At some point Jessica decided to get Baby A out of his seat and sit him on the red chair with her supposedly because he was getting fussy. She knows she isn't supposed to, but she must have done a really good job because he didn't make a peep....... or maybe he was just in on it with her.

So I go in the room and there they sit, happy as can be just watching TV. I start to discuss with Jessica how she isn't supposed to do that. Baby A turns his little head and just grins at her and gives her this super adoring looking.......

Yup, he was in on it.......

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!!

What an awesome start to a special day! I got blackberries and yogurt brought to me bedside, then Jessica brought me an amazing rock soap for Mother's Day, then I came downstairs to an AMAZING breakfast! I got to tease my husband about talking in his sleep! Joe is going to play me a Happy Mother's Day song on his guitar in tandem with Jessica on the old one....... Alexis will wake up someday!! LOL!!

Happy Mother's Day to all the amazing people I know who play the role of mothering someone! You are all incredible people and I am so lucky to know you!! Have an AWESOME day!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Ahhhhhhhh......... the house is pretty quiet right now....... Jessica and Bill went on a shopping adventure....... Joe is in the ravine with his buddy....... Alexis is at work all day....Baby A is playing like the peaceful little guy he is!!! This is fabulous!! What sort of adventure do I have in store for myself?!?!? Why cleaning of course!!!

Happy days! :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Is there someone here with me?

LOL!! Baby A is lying in the corner under his baby gym just CRACKING up!!! Makes you wonder if he sees someone I don't...... He is so totally happy with a big deep laugh that seems like it would only be for someone he loves!! Sweet little man!


Well, we have officially decided we will continue homeschooling. Jessica really wants to, we have had a great time, we have accomplished everything if not more than expected, and at least as much as any kid in any District school here has. So that is it. People keep asking me, "What are you going to do with Jessica next year?" I wonder....... have I ever indicated that I didn't like doing this? Has Jessica ever indicated she didn't like doing it? Neither of us finds it easy all the time, but we have enjoyed it. She has blossomed academically and socially.... why the question put forth like I have said we hate this or we are failing at it? She knows how to read, she is doing addition and subtraction, she can put a sentence together, she knows punctuation marks, she knows her calendar, she has worked with basic fractions and order of things, she has learned about the continents and the countries in them, she has done basic geometry..... the list goes on and in no way shape or form am I trying to rationalize our decision. I guess I am just sharing it with the doubters and proudly saying we will continue with this choice as long as it is working for me and for Jessica....... I love these two pictures as they sum up her excitement at the beginning of the year when we started this adventure. I feel safe in saying she would tell you just as excitedly that she is going to do it again for 1st grade!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Oldie but goodie stored in the old photo files......

My Biggest Dilemma at Present

So my current dilemma I am sure is something everyone is sick of hearing about from me. I hate it here. I hate Washington. The list of reasons is long and varied, but suffice it to say the grey and gloom and the preponderance of white trash locals (and by locals they permeate the entire state, not just my immediate area).

BUT, here is where the dilemma comes in........

We have met most of the BEST people of our lives since we moved here. Reliable, dependable, fun, awesome, amazing people who we never would have met if we hadn't moved here. Yeah, yeah, you all know who you are!!

We LOVE our home. It is beautiful and we have slowly been making all the wonderful changes to personalize it and make it just right. We have been able to purchase little things we always dreamed of putting into a home over the past five years, we have slowly gotten painting projects done, we have gotten to know our home and have figured out future projects and exactly how we would do this or that to make it even better as we grow older.......

Which also leads to finances. We have had incredible financial growth since moving here. Mainly due to Bill's increased prowess in his field, very little because of my book keeping skills or budget management, as that still mostly eludes us......

We have watched our kids grow and are amazed by the people they are becoming. Now this of course would have happened anywhere, but the unique situations that arise because of the "local flavor" if you will has given us many opportunities to see our kids actions reflect the values we have taught them. This makes us very proud parents.

I have experienced tremendous personal growth. I think a lot of this came from moving outside of a zone I had known for most of my life and being put into a situation where I have no family to help me out and where I have to learn to meet people and find people I can count on to help me out in a pinch. I have been able to pursue my field of Early Childhood Development by going into Foster Care (I knew even back in school that I would never use it for classroom teaching), I have now trained to be a Court Appointed Special Advocate for these kiddos, and am able to contemplate a return to formal schooling for myself. I have had the opportunity to become my own child's teacher-- and not in just the parent role but in the actual school teacher role. This was TOTALLY outside my comfort zone since I had always thought just hippies homeschool..... I now know it is mostly religious zealots, but there are a few regular people with various different reasons besides religion for homeschool. It has been AMAZING watching and teaching Jessica to learn to read, teaching her the phonics of reading, teaching her to write and put together sentences, teaching her about our world and the continents and countries that encompass it, teaching her science, teaching her math (she is doing plus 5 addition and is up to subtracting by 3's!). So HUGE growth for me personally.......

We are in a place where Bill can contemplate setting up his own business...... while I am 100% behind him, I am also scared success will mean being stuck here even longer! How sad is that?!?!?!

This State is BEAUTIFUL!! I have seen glaciers, highest mountains, remote beaches, the Northwesternmost tip of the contiguous 48 States, a temperate rain forest, we have slept at the base of Mount Rainier under the blackest night with the brightest stars...... gotten within steps of a fox, deer, and raccoons (NOT IN A ZOO!).....

But then we go back to the greyness......... I don't think anyone can understand it until they live in it and their body tells them if it is too much or ok...... I've always pooh pooh'd at the rain and gone out to beaches and zoos and parks in it regardless...... I've always been glad the temps didn't reach over 100 and known that when we have multiple days of sunny warm weather (it happens in August) then we also have amazing sunsets at night......... which I watch with my husband after little ones have gone to bed and we sit on the oasis that is our deck and sip drinks and Bill enjoys an occasional cigar.........

So I know there is much good........ I just need some sun to keep it in perspective!

"It can't rain all the time"........ right?