Thursday, March 31, 2011

Later Yesterday Afternoon

Perfect weather after all the storms in the morning was a big surprise. We're hoping that the skies clear again today and we can head back to the beach one last time.

Apparently Wilson can get a good picture of Ricardo because he doesn't hide his face for him....

Enjoy the pictures...

Alligators Alligators Every Where

The first picture is of the alligator who lives in the lagoon behind the condo we are renting. The rest were taken at Alligator Alley.

We headed out for lunch and then here because the weather was bleak -- however, as we were there the sun came out and it got very warm.

We heard about and saw a bunch of alligators -- from the tiniest babies to one that was 13 feet long and weighed a lot!

Some pics for your viewing enjoyment.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Looking for some Research

I have a colleague who is asking about research indicating that adoption is better for children than guardianship.

Anyone seen anything like that?

It's Raining, It's Pouring....

Yesterday was cold. We did a souvenir shop, had some very tasty and cheap seafood for lunch, and then hung out here. Bart, Ricardo, Leon and Wilson walked along another beach over in Florida and Dominyk swam in the pool while I sat watching him, at his request, shivering in my sweatshirt!

Last night Bart prepared us a delicious meal here, complete with a Key Lime Pie he bought at the store.

Woke up early today and couldn't go back to sleep. Hate it when that happens, especially on vacation! But Bart made me a tasty breakfast and I'm settling in to get some things done before everyone wakes up. Hopefully it's going to stop raining or I'm not sure what we'll find to do today. on Sunday and Monday the days started off overcast and cleared by 1 -- hopefully the rain will go away and that will happen today as well!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Yesterday's Fun in the Sun

Last night the internet broadbandtogo thingy wasn't providing me with the best connection so I gave up and didn't blog.

After cleaning up and working yesterday morning while Bart took Wilson, Ricardo, and Dominyk walking on some trailers (that's what Ricardo called them anyway) at a wildlife reserve and Sadie and Leon introduced me their favorite show which, if I post it here, might cause controversy, so I'll let it be a mystery. Then the three of us trekked across the boardwalk to the beach where we were for 2.5 hours. When the others returned they joined us.

I walked in the surf for a while but the rip tide is pretty strong and I would sink pretty deeply into the water, which was disorienting and scary, so I spent most of my time taking pictures and talking to the kids... watching dolphins jump in the distance, and enjoying seeing my kids enjoy themselves. Leon took a few shots of me standing by the water and I truly apologize to anyone who walked by and had to view that. Sorry, world!

Then we came back to the condo and I spent over 45 minutes actually in the pool kind of swimming! Got some good exercise. I'm paying for my lack of attention to detail this morning, because I sporadically put on my sun screen and thus have some very red patches, next to some pink patches, followed by some fairly white patches. I look like a poorly done quilt. And ouch!

The night concluded at an out of the way pizza shop with good pizza but SLOOOOW service and then an early night for me. I was tired.

THis morning it is cool and pretty cloudy, so we may do some of the inside things we were planning. Tomorrow it's supposed to warm up but also rain.

But even if yesterday was the last of the sunshine, we still had two really good days of beach and pool.

DOminyk has had his outbursts, but for the most part has held it together and the other kids have been so enjoyable. Dominyk has opted to stay home during meals because restaurants tend to be overwhelming for him and he has done fine cooking himself some hotdogs and washing the shells he has collected, etc. This has given us some very enjoyable and stress free meals which the others, something we very very seldom have.

Grateful for this opportunity.....

Monday, March 28, 2011

Adoption Resources of Wisconsin News

Find it here.

MNADOPT announces their Spring Trainings

Check them out here.

Listening to the snoring....

I've been awake just lying and thinking for a half hour, had some breakfast, reading th novel.... and getting ready to attempt a bit of work before the kids get up. Bart is reading and it is very very quiet. Nice.

Today we have plans to spend a good deal of time on the beach and we're looking forward to it. It's a bit cloudy now but hopefully by noon it will start to brighten up like it did yesterday. Yesterday afternoon from 2-5 the weather here was perfect.

Our new book should be shipping to our house today -- so they will be sent to you on Tuesday or Wednesday if you have preordered one. So if you want to literally be one of the very first to get one you should get one today. If you use the coupon PREORDER you can save $2.00.

Get yours today :-)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Great Day

We've had a very nice day. Spent a couple hours by the ocean but it was a bit cloudy, though warm. Then we headed in for our Sonic lunch during Happy Hour -- and had half price drinks with our food. We came back and I actually got into the pool after lying near it and reading a book. I even played some baseball, volleyball, and catch with Leon and Sadie.

I realized it had been a while since I had done anything like that because Leon and Wilson have lived with us 3.5 years and they had never seen me in a bathing suit. It was fun to hang out with them. Dominyk got quite sunburned today because he refused to put on sun screen. Hopefully he has learned something for next time.

Because of his sunburn he opted not to join us at Doc's seafood shack, but the six of us had a wonderful time. I had the best fried shrimp I've ever had. Leon and Wilson decided to be adventurous. Wilson ordered WHOLE crabs, and Leon ordered fried Oysters. Bart had steamed shrimp, but it was cold unlike he was expecting. He realized that he should have had fried shrimp like I did. Sadie ordered a burger and after she had tried my shrimp said she wished she would have ordered shrimp. Wilson decided he would have rather had my shrimp, while Leon wished he would have ordered the crab. Ricardo, who had a cheeseburger, piped in, "I shoulda had a cheeseburger." I congratulated him for being so adventurous. He said thank you. I LOVE it that he gets sarcasm.

We got home late and I'm getting ready to crawl in bed with a book and fall asleep as soon as I feel like it. I coudl really get used to this vacation thing....

Happy Sunday Morning!

Great morning so far. Bart took a two mile walk on the beach while everyone else (me included) slept. Then he prepared us a delicious breakfast. I shaved my legs. (If you follow my blog you will know this is a rare occurrence). After Bart's shower we will have our own "church service" and then head for our day at the beach. It is warm, cloudy and "moist" as Wilson put it.

It is also Sunday, which means that I get a break from my 40 days of Water project so we are planning to drive to a Sonic, something we don't have in Minnesota (that we know of). The kids who come from the south have good Sonic memories and I want one of their special drinks.... so today we may just drive to Florida to have a Vanilla Coke. ;-)

Dominyk, our only child unable to control himself, has done pretty well thought he last hour last night and a few minutes this morning we have been unsure of his longevity as a human. (kidding of course). He will do much better once we are outside and he can explore.

We are across the street from the ocean, but the hotel has a lagoon behind us and a pool next to our condo. There is a gazebo where Bart and I were able to sit and visit last night.

It's quite fun having the chance to just focus on nothing more than parenting. There is a cheezy large print novel here that I'll read, plus a few books I downloaded onto my Ipad.

Facebook kept us very entertained the last two weeks and I have that on my phone.

So kids, a bit of online activity, and my husband ... a beach, few responsibilities, and very little work sound like a formula for a great vacation.

I may have mentioned before that God has been challenging me to be a bit less driven and relax. Bart and I have been reading this book together and I took the text inside and was rated an emotional adolescent! The reason: I scored very low on the sections about relaxing, taking breaks from work, and getting "me time."

So that's one of my goals for the next few years -- to find ways to balance my life. And it's interesting. Since I have made an effort to spend less time forcing myself to get tons of stuff done in the day I have actually accomplished more.

I'm taking my camera to the beach. I hope there are many GOOD pictures to share with you later...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Waking Up in Dyersberg, TN

The trip took 14 hours yesterday -- but that was because we stopped for a couple of lengthy meals. We could have done it in 12.5 had we not -- I could have especially avoided the Denny's right across the Iowa/Missouri border. It was the only choice within miles and had a smoking section where the only large table was located. Apparently you can smoke in restaurants in this particular Missouri town except for on Sundays from 7-3. So we dealt with the smoke but the food was good. They were having a big feature on Bacon which Leon absolutely loves (he even bought bacon lip gloss once).

Dominyk did very well for about 9 of the 12 hours. And the other kids were perfect for the whole trip. And then last night Sadie stayed in our hotel room and the other four boys down the hall. This is the first time since Dominyk was 9 months old that he stayed in a room without us and he's almost 15! Since when one of us is near him he rarely stops talking, it was really nice to have the break.

We are definitely in Tennessee! The accents and the speed of people (fast food in the south is really an oxymoron) is way slower. Last night we learned about farm equipment on TV that is drrrrrrbul. Yikes.

This morning we have had breakfast and will leave by around 8:15, hopefully getting us to our Vacation Rental By Owner by 5 (thanks Cindy for the tip on the website to find it) We got a really good deal and will be there until Friday.

The biscuits and gravy I attempted to have a bit of this morning at the hotel's breakfast (I know, I know, not exactly low carb) were made out of elmers glue and now my stomach is reminding me of why that kind of stuff isn't a good idea (and I only ate about 4 bites).

So don't you wish you were with us? Me whining and burping and Dominyk obsessing about how much he needs a pop (He started as soon as breakfast was over).

Check out Ricky snoozing behind Dominyk -- he can really sleep! And I gave Sadie a break and didn't take pictures of her without makeup for Facebook or the blog. Didn't want to traumatize her.

Friday, March 25, 2011

And we are off...

Planned to leave at 5 but had a troubling night. Adult kid problems. I didn't sleep well. We left at 6:15 and are four hours into the trip. We just passed Waterloo, Iowa. Trying to block out my adult kid issues but kari just called to let us know that mike Is in jail as of yesterday. John has court today.

If you are my friend on Facebook you can follow our journey there.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

If you are Politically minded and living in MN

The Legislature is wanting to cut many of the services that affect the mentally ill. Check out this update for more information.

Rethinking the Living In Fear Plan

I wasn't going to tell people about our vacation because I didn't want one of our grown children to know we were out of town. He has stolen from us so many times. But you know, I'm tired of living in fear. And besides, he is friends with all his siblings on Facebook who can update FB from their phones, so it's not exactly going to be a secret anyway.

So, we're leaving tomorrow on a family vacation with five of the kids to Orange Beach, Alabama. Others people will be helping care for the house and the kids who will be left behind.

Lots of things to do to get ready today, but hopefully over the next week there will be fun pictures to post and some updates of how much fun we're having.

Going to try to go and not stress about whoever isn't going with us and focus on those who are....

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Available on the Kindle! ;-)

Let me know if you order it on the Kindle and the format is different than other books. I'm confused about all that stuff.... and never saw what our first book looked like on the Kindle. Somehow paying Amazon to send me a copy of something already on my computer just seemed too weird.

So order it and let me know. :-)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Reality Check

I make myself laugh.

Yesterday I was all excited to get the website for 3rd Degree Parenting redone to announce that I'm taking pre-orders for the book. So many people have said they can't wait to read it that I somehow had convinced myself that the orders would be pouring in. Well, in 24 hours, four orders have come in. Quite a reality check for me.

It's funny how things happen. I've been watching with curiosity as two of the kids who went to my alma mater while I worked there as Dean of Students have become famous. I have read their book -- it's sold 1.5 million copies -- and they are dealing with all this attention. .

I think it is great though that people are interested in the topic. It's just quite a stagerring comparison you know -- 4 vs. 1.5 million.


The things on my mind this morning

I have several things I'm not looking forward to today. Ricardo's IEP meeting will start me off right at 7:45. It looks like we will be having to make the decision to have him start a work program, giving up the dream that we had of him going to college. He doesn't seem to share the dream and his learning disabilities combined with language issues are going to keep him from doing so. His behavior in school lately has been awful as well, so we will need to discuss that. It won't be fun.


If you are my friend on Facebook you know that yesterday in our big High School, there were 6 kids in lunch detention. Four of them were Fletchers. That's gotta be some kind of record. Can you beat it Cindy?


Sadie got her driver's license yesterday and was told that she "barely passed" but it was her second try and she's very excited. Now come the complications with that. Leon will take his test on Thursday. We're pretty sure he will pass the first time. But regardless of how many drivers we have we still only have 2 vehicles.


I got to spend tons of time with Isaac over the past few days and he's absolutely adorable. He is such a happy and healthy baby. One of the reasons that our oldest daughter had said so many times that she couldn't be here with her daughter because our house was "filthy" and the baby would get so sick if she lived here with all of these people, not to mention the danger of the strange people in our house. Turns out that that baby is sick very often and Isaac is so healthy and always smiling. I know that it doesn't have anything to do with the cleanliness of either home, but it makes me feel vindicated in some strange way to see Isaac doing so very well even if he is living in this horrible home. :-)


Other meetings today include a PCA evaluation for Tony and Dominyk which will most likely result in us being told that Tony qualifies for no hours and Dominyk for very few. Tony hasn't used many this past year, but our PCA for Dominyk is a lifesaver. I'm dreading the news of how much his hours have will be cut.


Wilson's conference is also going to happen today and regardless of the fact that he is smart and charming, the kid won't bring homework home. I'm not sure what we're going to do to motivate him.


After today I have no more meetings until after our vacation. I'm nearly caught up on email. I need to get my desk cleaned off and get some things cleaned up and begin the packing process.


Our taxes are finally ready to submit. NACAC is looking for someone who has received their adoption tax credit. Do you know anyone who has?


Jimmy (who lives in the basement) just theorized that his room is flooding. When I asked the source of the water, he said the shingles. I'm not seeing how that could be possible.


It's time for me to go make sure everyone is up and coordinate several things to make today happen. Can you see with all the thoughts swirling in my head how I sometimes get a bit overwhelmed?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy Birthday Leon!

Leon turns 16 today. He is SUCH a great kid. His personality is so flexible that everyone gets along well with him. He is helpful, engaging, kind, compassionate, and has high standards for himself. We are the luckiest people ever to be his parents. Last night Bart and I took him out alone. He's priceless.

And the only reason we got him is because he was "too old" in everyone else's mind.... This is the only time I'm glad people thought that. ;-)


After nearly three hours of continuous hassle you can finally preorder a copy of my new book. Ugh. If you pre-order it between now and April 3rd you can receive free shipping. The book is short and only $10.00 so with the free shipping it's quite a deal.




It's all Jinxed

Last night I was trying to get things ready to take pre-orders for my next book and the whole online world seemed to be jinxed. I spent hours getting nothing done and it's still not ready. Bart said something about me not making the Sabbath holy and that being the reason why -- but if that's the case I should have had several bad Sundays and often those are the days things flow well because I'm more relaxed.

But I'm fairly caught up with most of my work and I have some comp hours coming from last weeks very long week, so I may just get it figured out today. I don't have any meetings today and I don't have to go anywhere so it may just work out!

My back is feeling a bit better this morning too, so that's good news.

If you are one who prays I hope you haven't stopped praying for our kids. They are getting older now and don't always want what's going on with them on the blog, but most are still struggling in school and with making good choices, though things are more settled...

Just a few more days until we head south....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Guess Who's Speaking in Mankato on April 7th!?!

And it's my goal to have books published and ready to sell that night....

Sunday, Sunday

Hoping that by days end we will be ready to take preorders for our next book.... and possibly even have it available for the Kindle.

Kids are up getting ready for church. I'm catching up on a few things online and waiting to give them a ride. Weather outside is rainy and windy.... and it looks like more snow this coming week!?! I had told the kids I thought maybe we were done with all that as the past week was much warmer.

However, we're travelling some place warm at the end of the week. Still debating how much to put on the blog....

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Another Version of the Book Cover

I'm getting close to being done. Any more feedback? Is the heart a good enough apostrophe for you grammar freaks?

In Case You've Missed her...

Many people used to follow Paula's blog and might have missed her. She started a new one. If you want to catch up with her family, check them out here.

Who'd have thought...

Six years ago in March I started this blog. Who'd have thought I'd get so busy that I would go a day and half without remembering to blog. But this week has been insane and I have just not gotten around to it. Yesterday I was plunging through work at my office followed by a trip to visit a kid who ducked the visit. (can't exactly force a teenager to do anything -- I know that much). I came home in time to go to the H.S. Choir concert.

The concert was SO good. I love watching Tony, Leon and Sadie sing. They do such a great job. But I knew that day would come as well. Since the kids were in preschool we have had a tradition that we go out for a treat after a concert. Last night Tony had to put risers away, Sadie chose to hang out with friends, and Leon made plans but wanted his treat quickly. So we took Leon and then dropped him off to get ready to leave and then picked up Tony and took him for his, but Sadie opted out of hers.

I'm trying to take it a bit easier today. I literally worked about 70 hours this week and am simply exhausted. Hanging out in my room with these two handsome men. Can't beat that, huh?

I must say that this little guy is so lucky! He always has a human to entertain him -- an aunt, one of many uncles, grandparents, parents. He's very attached and loved. So nice to see the next generation starting with a bit more hope.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Psych Hopsitalization Roadmap for Atypical Kids from Toolbox Parenting

Saw this and thought I'd share -- could be very important you at some point. We sure could have used something like this back 9 years ago when John went to the psych hospital for the first time. Check it out.

MN Zero Kids Waiting Newsletter

For those who don't get this -- good stuff.

A few Hours of Normal for the Week

I'm at Dunn Bros having breakfast and catching up. Wow what a week I've had and it isn't over yet -- today I head over to my main office in Owatonna after the van gets fixed and have several projects to complete there that have to do with pieces of paper and files. I hate pieces of paper. If I had my way I would never touch another pen or piece of paper again.

Then this afternoon I have a home visit followed by Support Group from 6-8. I have another home visit tomorrow meaning I won't have had dinner with my family all week. I usually don't schedule myself like this but we are taking a vacation at the end of the month. I'm hesitant about how open to be as we have grown kids who don't live with us who might be interested in showing up while we're gone -- but let's just say I'm having to cram 4 weeks of work into three.

I'm doing my best to stay caught up with work and have been more successful than I have in the past, but there is a LOT. And I have this book to get published by April 7th....

Are you tired of my blog posts yet?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

No Pain Means Gain

Weight Gain I'm afraid. I'm so bummed about my back. I can hardly move and I have been advised to baby my back until it heals. It was really weird - on Friday after a great week of exercise I thought to myself -- wow, I hope I don't hurt myself somehow to stop this momentum -- and boom on Saturday I twisted my back and now I'm almost immobile.

I am also finding that being in constant pain is exhausting. Last night I got to the hotel and did a few things and then crashed at 8:30. I was so tired. Got up and 7 -- slept 10.5 hours! Then I cranked through email, drove 2 hours, cranked through email some more, had a home visit, drove anohter hour, had another home visit, drove another hour, and checked into the hotel. I've been trying to relax and clean up email but I"m going to be going to bed at 9 tonight. Just too tired.

had to miss the wrestling banquet.... very sad... I wished i could have been there.

Have to train all day tomorrow then heading home. Rest of the week is quite busy and I want to have the next book ready to publish by Monday so the weekend will be busy finishing that up.

Yikes. I'm tired....

Things seem to be fine at home. John, Courtney and Isaac have moved back in....I hear Isaac can roll over. In fact, I saw him do it on Face Time on the Iphone last night! Can't wait to see him...

I'm in pain. No exercise. But I hope there's no gain. Sigh....

Monday, March 14, 2011

Need Endorphins

Because of my back I haven't been able to move much and I am missing my endorphins! I'm having a mini pity party about everything. Everywhere I go and everywhere I turn I see a reason why I'm not a perfect parent.

Have you ever had one of those days? You walk through your house and it seems that everything you walk by screams out "Reason number one you suck stink as a parent. Reason number two. Reason number three...." and on and on... through the house, in the vehicle, each interaction? If not, then maybe you don't suck stink as much as me!

Part of the challenge is that fixing EACH of these things would take a very long time. Like getting boys to lift the seat and flush the toilet. I've been working on that for 14 years and still I have to wipe the seat every time I sit down. And get a load of this. When Tony and I were in Duluth he never flushed the toilet or lifted the seat once at the hotel. Since there was nobody else to blame, he even had to admit that he had done it. But he said, "So? We're in a hotel." Explain that one to me.

I have a busy three days ahead with several meetings, a radio commercial, two hotels, and travel, as well as a full day training. I'm trying to gear up for all of this without any endorphins and walking around like my father -- who will be 89 this year.

So, there you have it. My very own pity party and you got to come. Lucky, lucky you. ;-)

(note: googling "Pity Party" in google images actually made me smile. No cheating Kari. Anybody want to do it and guess which image I forced myself not to use on the blog?)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Jinxing Things

I don't know that really believe you can jinx things, but ever since I wrote this post things have gone downhill. Drama, disobedience, defiance, threats, "running away", leaving the house without permission, and the quote, "NOBODY thinks it is a big deal if teenagers smoke pot and parents don't consequence kids for doing that any more." Seriously?

So it's been a taxing week. We ended up not getting babysit, haven't seen our grandson since Tuesday, and I'm leaving in the morning for three days. Shoulda know better than to fall in love with that little guy. I'm pretty sure attachment disorder is contagious.

But I should be grateful that so far this morning nobody has threatened to kill me and I don't think I've heard swear word. They hve ben awake for 20 minutes. This may be a record.

And we did remember to set our clocks and got up on time. Did you?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mixed Feelings

I arrived home last night TIRED from a day spent with the real Tony. The first day I didn't expect him to do anything and we got along fabulously. But he had made me some big promises about what he would do if I let him skip school to come along, so when I tried to get him to keep those promises we had a day of battles. He's so volatile and when he gets oppositional he is exhausting. We also had a fender bender (not my fault and not my fender that was bent) and accidentally I left a gas station without paying for the gas. I realized this literally two feet onto the bridge between Superior, Wisconsin and Duluth and if you know anything about that bridge, there is no turning around for a long time. By the time we got back to the gas station they had already notified law enforcement. This, of course, was hilarious to Tony. But they called them back and fortunately I had it taken care of before being involved in a conversation with anyone in a car with flashing lights.

When I got home Bart informed me about some "secret activities" of some of our very trustworthy children that we had to deal with and the confrontation with one of them did not go well. She left without permission. I know where she is but am very concerned that she still can't make herself do the right thing when her friends are involved.

But I woke up happy because at heart I'm a geek. I have a new piece of software and a receipt scanner that just arrived that I get to play with today, so that is making me happy. I know, I know, not exactly a mood changer for most people....

But here's one that would be for anyone! We get to babysit Isaac for a couple hours today! Now THAT's good news. Haven't seen him since Tuesday...

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Impact of Books

Has anyone "A Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns? It has made a huge impact on me and I'm trying find ways to be more conscious of the world around me. Thus the 40 Day Water Project which has already raised over $6000 in 2 days to help people in Uganda have fresh water. And then there is Nelson, pictured above, who we will be sponsoring. Don't you think he looks a bit like Isaac?

Yesterday while I was in my meetings Tony was in Barnes and Noble and he found the book Jesus Freaks: Martyrs: Stories of Those Who Stood for Jesus: The Ultimate Jesus Freaks. He's been talking about it ever since.

Having a larger perspective is something I want to work on with the kids, but I realize that my world is pretty selfish. I woke this morning to check Facebook on my phone and saw the news about the earthquake in Japan and the pending Tsunami and realized that while there is a sense of concern and a need for my prayers, it won't affect me much today.

It's as though the rest of the world is out there -- needing us to be God's hands and feet -- and we simply sit comfortably, with an occasional nod to them. And when we know someone in those places then we are more alarmed. And when it is possible that our country might be affected, even more alarm.

But the reality of it all is that there is a whole world out there full of desperate people every day ... but for some reason we can ignore them most of the time.

The best quote in the book is anonymous and it says,

"Sometimes I would like to ask God why he allows poverty, suffering and injustice when he can do something about it."

"Why don't you ask Him"

"Because I'm afraid he would ask me the same question."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Much Better Day

Up at 5 to go to the Y again without Kari (who has wimped out on me twice in a row!) Was planning to bring Jimmy to Duluth but reminded him that I am participating in this 40 days of Water project and would not be buying him any drinks he decided to stay home. Tony begged me to come but he has been so awful to me lately and his grades are so bad that I said no. But i got down the street and decided that his grades couldn't be much worse and that our relationship needed improving so I went and picked him up.

And we've had a very nice day! Tiring, but nice....

And one of the cases I'm working on looks like it is going to have a wonderful resolution that is out-of-the-box and will be very good for the child involved. So it's been a day well spent.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

24 hours

Guess I should blog.

So, that post about progress. Geez, did I jinx things. Our oldest daughter was texting and calling me with drama, our 22 year old is homeless and hungry, and now John and Courtney had a big fight and they have all suddenly moved out but not together. So I'm not sure if/when I'll see Isaac this morning.

I was awakened several times last night and got up at 5:10 to go to the YMCA. By the time i came back from the Y the worst offender the night before at ruining my sleep was refusing to go to school, pushing me to tears (which hardly ever happens). He then mocked my tears....

The rest of the day just perpetually got a bit worse every minute.... But I"m recovering. I have made a meal without going to the grocery store, proving ot the kids tha twe can save money when we try.

Guess I should go serve them soon. Sorry for not blogging earlier...

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

One more time?

I'm struggling between being realistic and creative on this. Do fridge magnets have apostraphes?

Aren't most people's fridges a bit chaotic?

Or do people symmetrically measure their pics and place them neatly spaced in other people's houses?

More Feedback

Great suggestions! So, more feedback now?


Here's the most current draft of the front page of the new book to be published soon.

What do you think? (click on it to make it bigger)


For the past several years our family has been stuck. I don't know if you know what I mean by that -- but we have just been under way too much stress for anyone to make any progress. Before our oldest daughter turned 18 and when our 22 year old son (birthday was yesterday) was living here, every moment was just about survival. We were stuck and couldn't make progress.

Because of that I felt like I was living in a cave. Health problems made the feeling worse and I couldn't seem to have a vision to make any progress whatsoever. Then came getting laid off from my job and learning a new one. But recently, having gotten to the point where I actually feel like we are moving forward.

Add to that the fact that I have been going to the Y and eating less carbs, thus having more energy, and I have finally felt like we can make progress as a family.

So even though our oldest daughter called and texted from afar with more drama, and even though our 22 year old is asking us for money for food, our stress levels are down because they aren't affecting the rest of the family. So we have been making progress.

The new chore system is going VERY well. Knowing that I am not supposed to be saying anything helps me to focus on other things when I'm with the kids. It is on them to get the chore done or lose the money. And surprisingly, their ODD doesn't kick in when THEY get to choose when they do it.

At the beginning of the year I sat down with Rand, John, Courtney and Jimmy individually and they set some goals for themselves. This has led to some meetings and it looks as though Rand and Jimmy may both be getting jobs. Courtney is considering going to school full time and John has plans to finish his GED during his 60 days in jail.

Bart and I have started working on developing a budget. Talking more about money with the kids is helping them to appreciate what we have more. We are trying to be more cautious about eating leftovers and not throwing food away and keeping our food-out budget lower.

That has allowed us the freedom to sponsor a child through world vision. Isn't he cute! We think he looks like Isaac.

Last night when I told the kids about him, they got off the track and started talking about how we needed to adopt again. I mentioned that we really have no room for any more kids and Sadie said, "Mom, that's why they make BUNK BEDS!" I think it is really cool that most of our kids understand our passion to get kids into families before they age out of foster care.

One final thing that I've been working hard on is to not live my life at such a break-neck speed I've been like this as long as I can remember -- I worked two part time jobs as a junior in high school and then as a senior one part time and one full time job while going to school. Working hard and long is all I've ever known.

Problem is my body can't keep up with my emotional or mental energy any more and I'm having to force myself to settle down and take things slower. And ironically, when I do that I am still able to get almost everything done!

SO here's another day off to a good start. In fact, it's a late start for school today but I forgot and went to the Y at five anyway, so I have a couple quiet hours here at home to get things done.

It's so nice to see progress.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Good Stuff from Adoption Resources in Wisconsin

They do a nice job with their newsletter. You can read it here.

NAMI (National Association for the Mentally Ill) Minnesota Legislative Update

Can be found here.

Starting the Day Very Well (and a Funny Story)

Was at the Y for a great workout this morning. I want to try and replicate what I did three years ago -- with the goal of being able to walk with Bart nightly during the summer. Right now my back isn't strong enough, but if I work hard by June it will be.

The following story was approved by Justin, the friendly young thing I flirt with at the Y. He's younger than some of my sons, but he's quite personable and flirt-worthy. This morning he asked what I was going to blog about and he said he gave this story his seal of approval. I mentioned to him that he was becoming a character in my blog and he suggested he might want to work up to that and just start with a cameo....

But here's the story. Somewhere Dominyk has picked up "That's what she said", the standard line of Michael in "The Office." And he uses it appropriately -- well, the things he says are not appropriate, but the humor is, though we try not to laugh to hard even when it's really funny because it is often applied in very disgusting ways as only an almost 15 year old boy could do.

Jimmy, however, has recognized that Dominyk gets a big laugh when he uses it, so he tried it out the other night.

Someone said something akin to, "Not sure why it smells so bad" to which Jimmy responded, "That's what she said."

(By the way, i took his senior pictures and he IS on target to graduate. Which apparently in our family is unusual. We have 6 children over 18. He will be the third of the six to actually graduate on time from High School. AND, he's so good-natured that he told me I could not only blog this, but tell Facebook. What a kid!)

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Very Strange Morning

I was awake about 6:40 and Bart asked what time it was. I told him it was 6:40 and that he didn't need to get up yet. He said he needed to. At 7:15 I leaned over and saw him still there and suddenly realized it was daylight savings time. I woke up him and said, "oh no. We forgot to change our clocks! He said, 'You're right!" I said, "that means it's 8:15 right?" He grabbed his Ipod (which changes the clock automatically) and said, "YES! I'm never going to make it." (Church starts at 9 and he usually leaves here at 8). I said, "Is there anything you can do to help you?" He responded, "nothing other than planning my funeral. The people at the church are going to kill me!"

My mind started spinning. I needed to shower after him and wasn't sure how I would do that. I needed to get all the kids up -- they were used to having 30 minutes now they would have more like 15. I grabbed my Iphone but the time there only said 7:20. I was quite puzzled and started fiddling with the settings of the phone to see why I hadn't instructed it to change at DST like it always has been. I headed to the bathroom and heard Bart already in the downstairs shower and concluded that he must have decided not to shave, which is beyond strange for him.

I headed back to the bedroom and suddenly realized that it was the 6th of March and not the 13th and I felt really bad for giving Bart such a fright. When he headed upstairs I said, "I'm so sorry! It's not DST! That was such a weird conversation. Are you ok?"

He said, "What weird conversation? The last thing you said to me was, "You don't have to get up yet." I said "No, we had a long conversation about Daylight Savings Time?" And he said, "When? I've not been back in the bedroom since 6:40?"

Apparently my dreams are becoming quite real or my mind is starting to go. Or both.

But this strange morning followed a really good day around here yesterday. The chore system seems to be motivating people and there was less struggle than usual about chores and dishes. I spent some time reading and that was relaxing. We had the Coffees over for a GFCF dinner which was quite tasty. All in all the day went well.

Maybe it was the fact that I was awakened 5 times between 9:45 and 11:30 that made me dream weird.....

But now it IS really 8:05, so I better go wake them and get them off to church...

My head is still spinning...

Saturday, March 05, 2011

A Couple Things to Share

Bart wrote a creative piece that was published on the Weavings blog and I thought for sure I had told you about it, but it's looking like maybe I didn't. So check it out! It's called My Heart is Like Wax.

I have also finished updating our website after the software debacle.

I hope you'll check it out -- it shows things we have written and where we are speaking next and there is a cool page with descriptions of each of the kids...

If this is your first time to check it out let me know what you think!

Friday, March 04, 2011

It always happens

Bart is home and even though our week was very mellow when he returned we had a couple of unfortunate incidences involving stealing which have hampered his mood and made re-entry for him unpleasant. This usually happens when one of us travels -- we end up with an issue to great us upon our arrival that sours the mood.

For the first time in a while I have updated my Scripture as I See It Blog. You might be interested in checking it out.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Final Day of the Stretch

Bart left on Sunday and is coming back. yay! But you know, things are quite settled at our house lately. After recovering from the year of drama brought to us via our oldest daughter's last year before being and adult and eight months of a 21 year old living with us but refusing to obey rules, we have done quite well. I mean we have our blips -- I was cussed out and had my life threatened this morning. I told him to go ahead and get it over with because he has threatened to kill me more than 500 times in the last couple years.... And things have been stolen, etc. But the stress level is way down and it feels good.

I've started a new chore program for the kids that has started well. Tomorrow it officially kicks off -- we practiced this week. It involves an "all or nothing" approach to chores for high schoolers, and rent charged and then paid back by adult kids. If you would like to see specifics I can send you the documents I prepared and presented to them. Nothing special but it explains it better and seems to be working. Previously I paid by the day -- do your chore and get a dollar a day for it, but they weren't doing them consistently. I am now approaching it like a job -- either you do it or you get someone else to trade because it is your responsibility. The beauty of it is that if one of the kids opts out I can immediately hire someone else to do their chore and I won't have to try to make them do it all week. I'm getting way to detailed with this so please just don't read the past paragraph. Ha.

Am working to get the house in shape for the return of Bart today. And have plenty of work to do as well...

Wednesday, March 02, 2011



I've known about this family for years and even have a friend who is a social worker who placed one of their boys with them -- he was 17 and they were so worried he was going to age out.

There are always all kinds of opinions out there about mega-families, but this one has been going strong for years. I have no criticism.... simply applause...

The videos are definitely worth watching!

Daily Affirmations with Claudia Fletcher

So, on the way back from the Y today we're talking about Sam's book which I was telling her about as if she had never heard about it and she was acting that way too but hey, now I'm realizing that I just blogged about it so that means that Kari is either a) being nice and letting me repeat myself, b) not reading my blog, or c) reading what I write and immediately forgetting about it like a person who looks into a mirror.....

Anyway, I digress.

So we were talking about that and she mentioned Saturday Night Live's
Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley. You know, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me." "I deserve good things. I am entitled to my share of happiness. I refuse to beat myself up. I am attractive person. I am fun to be with."

It reminded me of tapes my mother used to listen to back in the seventies where you were supposed to repeat after the person on the cassette. "I feel healthy, I feel happy, I feel terrific."

The affirmation phase was certainly a fad but you know, telling ourselves positive things about ourselves isn't a bad thing. I just did a search for a quote on my blog that I thought for sure I had put here, but I'm not seeing it so I want to share it with you... If it's repeat, I don't apologize. It was quoted by Nelson Mandela. It was in the movie Coach Carter. It was in the movie Akeelah and the Bee -- both of those great movies. And today, as your daily affirmation, I want you to read it with me.

Our Greatest Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.

There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, Our presence automatically liberates others.

—Marianne Williamson

I invite you to shine with me today which will free others, especially our kids, to do the same. How about it?

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

My Bad

So I messed up. Last night there was an error publishing one of my websites and so I started messing with crucial things without backing up and now I have to reconstruct everything.

But Bart is out of town. Not a single one of my kids was anywhere near me when I messed up, in fact, they were quiet so I couldn't even blame background noise. I have to own this one.

It's natural human tendency, I think, to look for someone else to blame. I certainly see this in our kids. But part of growing up is being able to accept responsibility.

When I was in college and then when I worked at the college I was a huge soccer fan, going to nearly every team game. And at that time the phrase "My Bad" was quite popular and was used all the time on the field with the team. When one of the players missed a shot, or should have done something they didn't, they yelled out, "My Bad" to acknowledge the responsibility and relieve others.

Wouldn't it be amazing if the child welfare system worked like that? Where when someone made an error they could simply call out, "MY BAD" to the rest of the team, instead of doing their very best because of liability to cover their own butts?


Free Event for Adoptive Families