Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Accepting Discipline with Dignity and Respect

It has been a good past few days for James.

He really can be a sweet kid.

He has been affectionate, passionate about legos and sledding, and been generally good natured. You can tell he's trying hard to be cheerful when asked to take out the compost and other little unanticipated chores, but the passion to play just came without effort as the attitude did a one-eighty.

This is a drastic turn around.

From the moment he finished up his sit ups and laps on the drive the other day over feeding the cats out of the new bag, he made a conscious choice to put away the behavior.

And he did.

This is proof that he can.

This is hope for his future.

I thought he wouldn't be able to maintain this good attitude through his little trial yesterday, but amazingly...

I have a fun little app on my iphone that teaches kids to tell the time. Missy had been using it the day before, but when I asked for the phone back she threw a royal. She screamed so hard that blood came out her nose. At the sight of the blood, though, the tantrum lost its fervor, but it goes without saying she has lost the privilege of using my phone for awhile.

James was well aware of that. He was using the iphone yesterday and he was doing fine. The second time he used it, though, he went on to other apps and I again instructed him to only use the telling the time program. He was already involved and he did not obey. After a bit I just took it back.

He doesn't understand what big feelings do to him and how they make him act. He didn't cry. He just sat there and tried not to show that he was ticked... Presently he got up and went over to where Brianna was teaching Missy a violin lesson at the piano and told her to go teach somewhere else.

Brianna was like, "What? Are you gonna boss me around?"

I took him aside and showed him that he was feeling angry about losing the iphone and that he was ridiculously attempting to take out his feelings on innocent by standers. He's not mature enough to figure that all out. One has to trace the thought patterns for him. I guess that he was a little taken aback by that idea... but he admitted that it was likely true. I had him take a little time to think about it. He could have blown a gasket right there, but he didn't.

This morning we were going through the morning routine and I asked him to try a little harder on something and after an unsuccessful 3 minutes he told me he had done it, but I called him on the lie.  I told him it would have been better to communicate with me that he had tried and failed, or wasn't able to, anything other than to lie and say it was done. {I have to be careful I don't expect more than they can do... } So, I asked him to do the exercise routine for lying. Believe it or not he did the whole sit-up, push-up, jumping-jack, laps thing without any tears. He tried to take a short cut... Everything has to be done in a visual, tangible and concrete way, so I put out five tiny pretzels and asked him to put them in a line on the back of the car parked at the barn - one at a time. One for each lap. Near the end he asked to take two at a time...  *rolling my eyes* he gets an A+ for negotiations.

Actually, he gets an A+ for obeying and following through with his discipline without losing his dignity and respecting me. He ended with saying, "Thank you for strengthening my mind and my body". lol

This is victory!

This is a victory for him in the fight against selfish inclination. A tiny step in the foundation towards true manhood.

Praise be to GOD!


As for the little man...

He has already managed to dump the kitchen trash all over, spill a pile of the kids' puzzles everywhere, eat some unknowns off the floor, pull the bowls out of the cupboards, and generally make a mess wherever he goes.


Missy is at school. 
She got through her routine without trouble and 
even had time to color a picture or two before time to leave.

Yesterday was not so good.
lots and lots unreasonable screaming that she didn't want to wash up, etc...
and I finally left her home with Christina while I took James to school.
When I returned she was demurely sitting on the couch looking at a book.
All her chores done.
She was all of 5 minutes late for school.

You see, we flip-flop over who is going to be 
the challenging child and who is going to be the amicable one.

It makes for an interesting life.
You just never know what the day will bring.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sweet 17 { almost }

We were discussing personality types yesterday...
something to do with one of Vanessa's classes.
Light dawned
when we realized that this is a household 
of Type A personalities! {James excluded}

Brianna is no exception.
I would not have believed it a few years ago
but now 
it's obvious, even to her.
She's an achiever and driven
and a 4.0 student.

She needed a photo to send to Youth For Jesus for the flyer
about the lectures she will be presenting.


since she is the only real photographer in the house
she had to do her own photo shoot.

That's my beautiful Bri :-)

In a few days she'll be 17.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Embrace the Life

My days are full.

My head and my heart are full.

And yet I sit down to write it's as if I were empty. I have had moments here and there to write, but I haven't been able to pull it together and to make sense of a single thought, so I have tried to just skip "talking" and meditate on God's Word and pray and just let Him speak to what my life is in His perspective.

 Having another little child enter the family adds a whole new dimension and dynamic to our lives. Already it's hard to imagine life without him when he goes home. He brings a lot of joy and happiness to all of us by just being. He's a comfortable fit. Even those long hours in the night when he's sick and stuffy and just needs to be held and cuddled are no hardship because he's just that precious and innocent. He cuddles in deep and I can feel his peace and contentment. I am reminded of the night feedings and snuggle times when the girls were small and of how I used to use those night hours to pray over them and I am compelled to pray over him and his family and his future. I pray that our contribution to his life and soul make an eternal impact. The little guy has bonded, too. He was so excited to see me last evening when he came home from his visit he was shivering all over with his arms reaching out to me  squealing.  His 8 yr old bio sister was standing there watching and she turned to the driver and said, "WOW! He really likes his babysitter!"

 As beautiful and as wonderful as all that is, it is actually excruciatingly defining of the stark contrast we live with every day.

And that''s painful to process.

Two years and we've made a thousand strides in  attachment and bonding....

and it isn't enough and it isn't complete.

There's so much more joy and love and peace and contentment the twins could be experiencing.

If only they would.

It breaks my heart because I love them.

But to be brutally honest it can be really hard to like them.    {Sometimes}

I remember early on when it was incredibly hard just to get through an hour. I was on the phone with a friend. She had also adopted two at the same time we did. Hers were from another country, and much younger. They were hard also - but not for the same reasons. They were physically sick. Days and nights were draining as they nursed them back to life and health.  We were commiserating together on the phone in the name of encouraging each other, which looking back, I had nothing to offer except prayer and an occasional phone conversation to say I cared. I don't know what I would have done without her kind words, though. They meant everything. But she asked me, after I had shared how tough the day had been, "But don't they add a lot of joy to your family?"

It stopped me in my tracks. I tried to think. A cute thing or two popped into my mind and I answered with a non-committal yes.

It never left me.

I sought hard to find the joy in the moments. To see the blessings. To enjoy the preciousness.

And I felt like a liar.

There. were. so. few. By far, the hard outweighed the joy.

I am thankful to say those moments have increased. They have absorbed enough of the sunlight of God's grace to be able to give back some and I can answer more honestly that they do give us joy. There are even weeks of peace now. However there is still enough hard to tip the scales often enough.

I don't say that our life is miserable. We live above it for the most part. 

It's the children that are suffering in their own misery.

They don't know what continual harmony and connection feels like inside. It's so sad!! Without the Hope of Christ in their life they would never know it. The great tragedy of it all is that it's not their fault they were born into this sinful degraded world to such circumstances and hereditary tendencies. I believe they do have a choice to continue in misery and sin, or they can embrace the Life that Christ is offering them. If they would only see their need and cry out to the Father of all children He would honor His promise to give them NEW LIFE. Rather than accepting it fully at once, they go the way of most humans only taking the threads of their choosing from the garment He holds out weaving themselves inadequate coverings.... but some day.... SOME DAY... They'll recognize the futility of it all and embrace the life Christ intends for them.

I bank on it. God didn't ask us to love them for nothing. They have a future.

I wonder if they can learn from the little fellow who is so full of joy despite his own tragedy?

I know that I am more open and candid about this journey than some people can handle. Some wish I didn't expose the hard stuff of adoption. Some wish I would smooth it out a bit and focus only on the positive. Some wish we had never embarked...

BUT I can say, we would do it all over again. They have a future and a promise. God give us the strength and wisdom to give them their very best chance at life. We were following directions from above when we took them in, and we will continue to pursue our directives.... embracing the life.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Since our little exercise session this AM James has been a completely different boy all day.

I can only thank the Lord.

This was a very needed change.

Praying it lasts for a few days.

Today we completely moved him into his new room. Everything is organized and comfy.

Hey There, Cowboy!

Last night Steve said, "You better go easy on him tomorrow morning. He's so sore he's walking like a cowboy!"

Well, that makes me a cowgirl. My legs hurt so bad.

I guess we got out of shape during the lull in behaviors. Amazing what a mile and half will do to ya!

It's been tough going. Steve was home quite a bit in the last two days so he took over. That helps a lot. When my husband works too many 12 hours shifts in a row while I'm dealing with this kind of hard stuff I start to feel completely alone. I know there are single mothers out there who do it with kids from the hard places day in and day out. My hat's off to them. I don't feel that strong.

Waiting for Steve to come home that first day I sent Buster to fill in the pot holes of our driveway. We have some nice fine gravel and he has a little wagon and a small shovel and I needed him to be outside while I got some cooking done. He knew he was in big trouble for the morning fiasco and for calling me ugly things, so he actually went. I watched him out the window put two handfuls of gravel in each pot hole (there were 6 at the far end of the drive). He then came and reported that he had filled the potholes.  I told him I could still see water so that meant they were not full, and furthermore, they needed to be rounded up a little because the first time anybody drove over them they would pack down.

He completely lost his cool.

I told him we would have lunch when he finished and not before.

He screamed at the door, kicking and throwing and acting insane for an hour and half...

and then dad showed up.

Needless to say things eventually turned around. And the facts are, we had to eat before he ever finished because it took that long to get him turned around. So after eating he was back out on the job. I left for choir and Steve monitored things. When I got back he was nearly done and he was happily chatting with the neighbor girls while he worked. They had been warned not to help. He had one puddle left. The biggest one and it was at the very end of the drive. I congratulated him on the smoothness of the road and all that and he was all rah, rah!!...

It was almost supper time when he knocked on the door and said he was finished.  I congratulated him and asked him how it felt to get a man's job done well, etc..... he was all cocky and proud. So glad to be done, feeling strong and quite chipper.  I should have known...

He'd called me a stupid idiot in the morning.... and then he proved it true.

Yup~! I never went out to check that last pothole.

He hadn't filled it.

He lied to me and I believed him and thanked him for work not done.

The next morning Steve was running with him for exercise and came across the evidence. So, it was another day of potholes (between eye doctor appointments and such). He filled that big hole and then he proceeded to fill the 5 potholes at the bottom of the neighbor's drive.

Steve says he knows why God gave us such a LONG driveway. And I say I now know why God never provided the money to pave it. Steve says gravel is cheap. James can resurface the entire thing with gravel if he chooses to need a workout every day.

This morning was no easier than the last two. He went out to feed the cats and dog and found that the cat food bag was new and had not been opened yet. I gave him tools to open it, but he didn't want to - as he flatly stated. I sent him out anyway and peeking through the window I found that he was not going to even try. I went out and fed the animals myself and  had him exercise instead. Five laps of the driveway, ten push ups, ten sit ups, 15 jumping jacks, etc... He was late for school.

I asked him later which would have been easier, feeding the animals or doing the exercise. He says he would rather feed the animals next time. We'll see.

One thing we noticed.... his body temperature is warmer. The exercise is doing him physical good.

Our plan is nothing exciting and new:

He is on a tight schedule. He must be respectful of me or he will wait up for Dad in the evening and reckon with him. When he is lazy about the normal every day expectations he can trade it in for hard labor. And it is just that... a trade. I'll do the simple things he should do on his own and he can work for me .There's gravel to spread and peeling paint to scrape on the house.


We decided we needed another dresser in this house. Steve mentioned that he liked the one Brianna has best. I went to town and prayed that I could find a dresser and a crib for a reasonable price. I looked high and low...

Even found a dresser at goodwill - old, small and ugly for $89!!!
I'll pass.

There are no used cribs out here.
Six million cribs were recalled in the last few years.
There just aren't any.

I prayed for a deal.
and I got it.
I found a dresser for $599.99
on clearance for $149.00
I love a deal!
It was the floor model.
The style is similar to the one Brianna has,
only it has a bigger capacity and the finish is beautiful.
I found a crib that I like for a reasonable price at the same store.
Who would have thought I would fall in love with Shopko.
The crib is sold out and so I have a rain check and we have to wait.

The buddy is learning to sign, "all done".
 He was saying "mama" over and over yesterday
so I tried to get him to say
No go...
Until this morning ~ he's saying it over and over and over...
The kid is a sponge.

a LOL moment:

Christina was in the fruit closet getting some oats. Little Miss Muffett who was suppose to be cleaning her room comes in to throw a bedtime story book on the floor of the closet.
Christina was quick to ask, "Is that where that book goes?"

 Missy responded with great indignation:
"Christina, NO PEEKING!!!!"

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wit's End

At a Cross Roads with James.

Hubby and I are having a meeting this afternoon. We have to come up with a plan. Obviously, nothing we are doing right now is working.

The laziness has grown beyond comprehension. It's become a "thing" to reckon with. Even to the point of refusing to play. The next door neighbor kids knocked yesterday and begged him to go out and ride bikes.

He looked at the sky... it was kind of spitting, but it was 55 degrees out, and he says to them,

"Nope. It's raining. Maybe when the shunshine comes out again."

He shut the door and laid on the carpet with a matchbox car.

I asked him to help Vanessa unload the dishwasher. He purposely did everything wrong all the while grumbling and complaining. It was more work for her than to do it herself. I could take no more. I sent him to bed. It was 5 PM.

I can't ask him to do anything without knowing I am the one that will have to fight it all the way. That includes play, work, homework or anything.

This morning he wouldn't even call me to let me know he was done a portion of his morning routine. He just sat there and cried and screamed.  I didn't let him up until he called me as he is expected, but I finally had to take him out for a run. I think we ran a mile and half with him crying and carrying on the whole way. Sometimes he screamed ugly things. He called me an idiot. A lady stopped her car to see if he needed a ride...

He is disrespecting me at every interaction by refusing to answer or look at me, or by mumbling so I can't hear, or he does it all wrong. I wish my husband was a farmer so that the kid could be outside working hard all day. Maybe we should move to Africa and he can carry bricks for Memere.

I honestly don't know what kind of plan to come up with. Everything sounds like a lot of work right now because everything is turned into a battle.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I don't know what to blame it on but Missy went off the deep end with a tantrum we haven't seen in awhile.

So actually both kids went to bed early.

Both started off with whining (at different times) and when I tried correct him he refused to be redirected, and she literally blew up.

I did let them have gluten yesterday for the first time in months. For James I don't see anything different. He probably could eat it sometimes without a belly ache. Steve would like me to keep him off for another 6 months or so.

For Missy physically the reaction is unmistakeable. She might have had some small amounts of dairy, too... and that could contribute to all sorts of things.

The little Buddy got his first haircut today. I can cut hair but I didn't want to be responsible. Ha! What a wiggle worm. He was fine with having his hair cut, but he was wiggling so much she couldn't do a good job. His hair is so straight it is unforgiving. She kept asking me, Is that okay, is that okay? Finally I said, yes, paid her money, tipped her for the trouble and took him home. I'll fix it myself.

The goose has laid her first eggs. She has a whole nest. Maybe that's why the gander has been so ornery lately.

Okay, Let that B-day be Officially Over

We know how to drag on a birthday. It was a long weekend so everything we did was in the name of the twins' birthday. We finished up with a swimming party at the Comfort Inn with some little friends.

The girls, particularly Christina, have been entertaining a lot of little children lately. Sometimes all day. After playing with all the little kids at the pool we rushed home to pick up Mikey for Christina to babysit. As soon as he went home the little Buddy arrived back from his visit and by the time he was fed and ready for bed it was time to go take care of the English Language School kids.

Vanessa had an interesting time with a little girl one third her age yesterday. The little thing has understandably been going through some struggles over her parent's divorce and the trials that go with that. Vanessa took her out on a date for some big girl talk. Missy had her nose out of joint over that. She was miffed that she wasn't invited, actually more like she fully intended to go, but when she was told no it was like her rights were violated! We reminded her that she has three big sisters who do stuff with her all the time and take time to bless her with special activities, but little friend doesn't have a big sister and she needs one right now, so she got over it. Vanessa took the other little Miss to Tourist Town and they visited the hat shop, and the toy shop, and the chocolate factory and got themselves a little mint and all the while they chatted like old friends. Little friend was able to open up a little and Vanessa was able to encourage her with a positive outlook. The little girl just needed someone she could look up to make her feel special. Vanessa even managed to direct their conversation  to include what it means to be a Christian girl and living for Jesus. I think it's the beginning of a special kind of friendship.

The little Buddy is turning into a screecher really fast! Happy screeching. Not so happy screeching. He's forming opinions of  his own and he's found his voice to proclaim it.  He certainly loved the pool yesterday.

I like long weekends because the big girls can be home. I don't like long weekends because the twins are home too much and start to get crabby. There's something about them needing to be distracted from the "me, me, me" thing. Also, when there's too much of a break from school getting back to having to think hard is like pulling teeth. Last night they were just plain tired from swimming and had to be in bed by seven.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Pics to Go with the Birthday Post

So excited to have a birthday!

Yup! Gluten free "brown cake" as per orders....

Eight. What will it be like to be 8?


As soon as church let out little Miss Leila made a bee-line for the mother's room.
In her characteristic way, there were no preliminaries. She got right to the point.

"Did you have a baby in your tummy?"

* Chuckle* as all 25lbs of his one year old person crawls off my lap... "No, hon. He's a foster baby. He's not really mine."

"Did you 'dopted him?"

I guess she doesn't know what foster means. She only knows 'dopted since she was 'dopted herself.

"No, kiddo. I didn't adopt him. He is a foster baby. I am only taking care of him. He has a mommy and daddy."

"Why isn't he with his mom?"

"Well, his mom isn't well and she can't take care of him right now."

"What you mean she isn't well? Why can't she take care of him?"

The mother's room is bursting with kids at this point... I can hardly think straight for the fuss being made over the Buddy.

"It's kind of complicated Leila."

"What does complicated mean? and where did you get him??"


"I think you need to have a little chat with you mama. I think she can explain it to you best."

"But where did you get him???!!"

You can just see the wheels turning. She came from China as did her little sister. Bethlehem came from Ethiopia, Hadassah is coming from Ghana.... You get babies from somewhere exotic.

"I got him here in our own town."

"YOU DID? !!!  WHERE?!"

Haha! I can just see the trouble that her poor mama is in now. :-) If you are past having babies in your tummy you don't have to go all the way to China to get one. You can get one just down the street. So what are we waiting for?

8 Years Old / Fostering

******  The twins are 8 years old. ********

We had a surprise party early. Steve took them out in the afternoon and Bri and I quick made the cake and got supper ready. Their little friends arrived before they did and everyone met them at the door singing happy birthday. It was good. Normally we have a little family celebration... but somehow the twins never even considered that. They were inviting everybody they met on the street to their birthday party, so we went ahead and invited two brother sister sets that they are close to from church: Grace and Peyton, Jared and Joyanna. They played piggly wiggly and a dozen other games that Christina planned and guided.

It was pretty exciting to get an envelope full of cards from the cousins in Africa!

I've had a lot of emails from Bio mom the last two weeks. With the kids birthday looming up I think she was struggling to grapple with everything all over again. I really can't imagine. She would have loved to call them on their birthday... but I can't give her my phone number yet. We do the email and she emails often, often.... This past week it has been nearly every day - which is fine. I don't mind that, but we can't deal with that on the phone right now.  About once a month I send a picture, I never thought I would do that, but it's so easy on the iphone. I snap the pic with the phone and send with the phone. She bought little gifts for the kids for Christmas, but never sent them... then she planned to send them for their birthday, but still hasn't. Money is always an issue. The gifts are small, match box cars and beads. Mailing costs. None of this is in the agreement, but I have tried to put myself in her shoes and gave her our post office box address and an email address.

So, speaking of bio moms...

On the little the Buddy, you wouldn't believe how often people ask "is there any way you can keep that little guy?" Yes, he's that cute! Yes, he's that sweet, but I have to screw my jaw tight lest it fall agape in surprise. He's not mine. He's not mine to covet. He has a mommy and a daddy and a brother and a sister. They are a family struggling. I can't wish to take him away from them forever. I can do my part to help them and I can love him and give him the care he needs right now, but I don't believe it right to ever think in terms of "mine". Not unless or until the parents give up and lose hope... I truly pray that doesn't happen to them.

I bought a little notebook to keep in the diaper bag. I have been writing the cute things the Buddy does and and is learning, and anything else I think his mom and dad would like to know about him. I wrote that we were praying for the family. On his visits they can read - and I invited them to write questions or comments in it as well. We were pretty excited that his mom wrote in it yesterday. She wrote thankful words, but also had a couple of questions on his food and a concern about his diaper rash. That gives me something to respond to. I'm hoping to build a positive relationship. So far we haven't met them. We have met the other children ad the grandma. I'll have photos printed up for them this week.

The macbook is working fine... the issue was the cord. The buddy pulled on it and stuck it in his mouth... it's working now.  The pcs are dead. Even the new one, pretty much. We are leaning towards ipads for the kids. None of the printers are compatible with anything... So, no scanner and no printer here. When one is accustomed to being "set-up" it's like going back to the dark ages. Two kids in college, one high school, all of us with church offices and nothing to work with. Fun :-) I will try to find the cord to the camera to download pictures on this computer again. The card readers were on the PC equipment.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


This family is having serious computer issues. Nothing is working right. Nothing. I'm down to typing on this phone....

We are seeing something new and exciting in Missy. We think the Buddy is having a positive affect. She's not interested in being the baby anymore. She's trying to be a good, helpful and nurturing big sister. Even Steve said yesterday- she's growing up a bit.

Then today she wanted to read to me. She did better than ever. We proceeded to play phonics games and she had fun doing it. There was not one single unhappy moment - which is amazing! She is obviously growing comfortable doing school work and is not feeling the need to control everything in every session. I can't thank the school enough for making a breakthrough. I know without a shadow of a doubt that she would not be up to this point if I was still trying to homeschool her. She had it in her mind to fight it and I could not make it work. I asked Rhett how she is doing in the special reading class and he said she is learning. We can see that, too. She may take a long time but there isn't anything bad about that so long as she continues to make progress. Rhett said that she does try to skip steps and take shortcuts... Ha! Well, that is not new:-) he says that there is a lack of consistency as other teachers are always pulling her for speech and other services. Steve actually thinks that might be okay because she is easier when things are constantly changing, but I don't know . I kind of wish the reading session could be more of a priority to everyone.

Since she's been sick she's lost her clarity in speaking. I meant to take her to the doctor today but things unraveled and I couldn't make the appointment on time. Life is just a little nutty anyway.

Started a new reading program with James today. He likes it. He thinks we are just playing games, so he didn't fight me. It isn't challenging yet, either. I wish it would last long enough for us to make it to the next step.

He has taken people's questions about his broken glasses with maturity. He was upfront about the events leading up to the incident and took responsibility for his actions. Not many asked, except dad, the girls and his teacher...but then today three teachers that provide his services all asked within an hour and a half. He told them, but I could tell it was getting hard - he was starting to be embarrassed. I had to take the Buddy to the dentist so we made the extra trip further to get the glasses repaired. He marched in himself and asked for help to get his glasses fixed. I bought him a strap to keep them tight on his nose.

The twins each got a white board to use for our phonics games. The are pretty proud of them.

Everyone is completely charmed by the Buddy. :-)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Never a Dull Moment in Foster Care

The Little Buddy did have another family visit today.

He has more dentist and doctors appointments all lined up....

Just when you think you can just enjoy the kid :-)

Now we have a two day court case we have to attend on the schedule.

James is doing fine today. He spent the afternoon with Steve. I am thankful. Missy is happy.

I really pray the Lord can give us some guidance with these kids. We need it!

Ordered my seeds today! Yay spring.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Snatches from Conversations

I was trying to help James explain to Christina where we had just been and what we had been doing there... I hadn't planned on this particular excursion. I didn't know anything about it and I didn't know these particular kids existed, but my girls are teenagers and people are always looking for teenagers to babysit. I got a desperate call from a young gal at church who is in charge of the child care at a MOPS group. The flue is knocking people out of commission left and right in this town... babysitters were calling in sick. I thought, well, like I have time for this, but oh well, the girls are all tied up with classes so I'll go. This particular MOPS group is huge, so there was room after room of kids. I ended up in a room of six or so 18 month old girls for two hours. Interesting. The boys went with me. James was trying to tell Christina about it and he was so sketchy in his description and she wasn't catching on to the conversation at all. I tried to help, but He only got mad. He shut me out and shut down completely. I tried to work with him, but there was no use.

I was feeling it. The stress of wondering how I was going to make it with this kid. Is there was any hope for his future if every single time I tried to interact with him he falls into this stubborn anger? I wondered if I would ever get to the place where I wouldn't care anymore. Could I get to the place where I could just shrug my shoulders and ignore the behavior?

After the incident was forgotten I asked him to read to me.

Mumble, mumble, mumble....

"Please speak up so I can hear you Bud."

Mumble, mumble, mumble...

I worked and worked with him and there was absolutely NO change. "Be respectful and speak up so I can hear you, please?"

No change. Heels digging in.

Finally it was like, "James, either stand up and read to me clearly or go to bed. I'm not going to struggle with you. "

I don't want to.

"James, I DON'T really care if you don't want to, because you NEVER want to do anything I ask of you. NOTHING. You plain don't want to do anything. All day long mommy has to work with you because you don't want to and all I'm trying to do is help you to become the boy that GOD created you to be. You have gifts and talents and possibilities. BUT you don't want to do your best. You want to be satisfied with laziness. I am interested in helping you learn, to become something, and you don't want to. I don't care if you don't want to anymore. Take your choice: stand up and read so I can hear you or go to bed."

And wonder of wonders! He stood up and read.

I don't know why. I actually stopped him and asked him what made him decide to cooperate with me. He had no answer, so I pointed out the difference from his usual attitude and the freedom he was experiencing that moment. The lesson he was reading was talking about what God's ideal is for family. Mothers and fathers and children loving each other, obeying and blessing one another. We stopped to talk about the meaning.

It was one of those receptive moments, so I made the most of it. We talked about taking responsibility for our selves. I asked him why he thought I never ever ask Vanessa to brush her teeth. I am not sure it was a new thought... but it seemed like a funny idea. The answer, of course, is that she brushes them on her own without anyone telling her to. I asked him what he does on the rare occasion that I forget to tell him to brush his teeth. He didn't want to think about it, because he is absolutely delighted if I forget to tell him and he's just thrilled to get away with not doing something he knows is expected of him. He was serious and said he would think about doing things on his own. I had to bring in using a toilet, of course :-P

He was a good kid for the rest of the day. I helped him make some Valentine cards like Missy had. The possibility of using the rubber stamps may have actually been the catalyst to the big turn around earlier. He didn't say that, but I think when I suggested going to bed he remembered how Missy had made cards while he was in bed the evening before. He really, really wanted to make cards.

So, what will it take?
Today gives me hope - because he was able to make a drastic about-face.
However, I am going to have to see a lot more of that.
What's it going to take to save this kid?

Blue Valentine

My valentine mood regarding one boy in this house is a little blue.

This great big boy who is going to turn 8 on Sunday can go a week or even two weeks without peeing his pants and then he decides that using the toilet is too much of a bother. Yesterday when I sent him outside to play I told him to go to the bathroom before going outside - which he did not do. Then when I called him in an hour later to use the toilet he was like, "Well, it's too late, mom." As if "It's your fault you didn't remind me early enough."

So what did he do when I sent him for a shower to clean up? He deliberately broke his glasses because his friends were riding bikes outside and he was mad that he had to clean up. I didn't find out till this morning. He wasn't going to wear them, but I figure seeing out one eye is better than being completely blind. I could get them fixed today, but for some reason I feel like letting him ride this one for awhile so he can think about the consequences of his actions. If I have them fixed too soon then no big deal.... right?

Missy, the other hand, is excited for any reason to celebrate. She doesn't know what Valentines is, but no matter. It's exciting, right? Especially since Daddy gave her a little red heart box with treats inside. Last evening I taught Missy to make cards with rubber stamps. I think she turned out 15 or so cards for her classmates. She had to learn to be steady and stamp once... She's very excited to share them this morning. She watched half of Winged Migration with Brianna last night. She has a new interest in geese and ducks. She's looking forward to seeing the rest today.

Little Buddy went on his visit and saw his mommy and daddy and siblings. This was a good visit. He brought home sweet gifts from them. We are already missing him when he's gone for visits. His Casa just canceled so we now have a clear schedule until Sat. Isn't that nice!!!

I have to say that I am not happy with the transport worker smoking around him. I think that's disgusting and rude and probably against the rules. . .

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cute As A Button and Birding

The Little Buddy is so, so funny!!

He's a ray of sunshine all day long. Such a happy kid!

He has learned that day is for play and night is for sleep. He is now sleeping through the night without screaming for a bottle.

He is eating three solid meals and taking fewer bottles.

He has learned to clap his hands today and boy does he know how to garner the attention with that!!

He's is figuring out how to wave. It's a tad backwards... like he's waving to himself. Very cute.

He thinks I'm a trampoline. He is jumping up and down and using his legs a lot.

He stands up without holding on now, but when he gets excited and starts to clap he loses his balance.

He thinks Christina playing the piano is hilarious! Such giggles!

Tomorrow he has another visit with family.


Yesterday we ran into friends at the park going for a walk.... they were more prepared than we were and they each had a pair of binoculars and a camera hanging from their necks. James and Missy were quite impressed with Jared and Joyanna's hobby. So today Vanessa took them out "birdwatching" with the bird book and binoculars.

Missy came home and showed me several different birds in the book that they had seen. My turn to be impressed. She remembered with birds she saw and could identify them in the pictures. I think that's pretty good! The male robins are back.  The redwinged black birds are back. There are a lot of waterfowl in large groups at certain protected places  and bald eagles hanging out in the trees by the river.

I am capitalizing on the interest... we read bird and birding books tonight before bed and I promised them they could watch Winged Migration tomorrow. Getting to watch anything on the computer is a real treat.

Once Again

I got another comment that says that Missy has the classical features of FAS.

Of course, we can't know for sure 100%.

However, I have talked to doctors about these comments and they shake their heads...

SHE does have cranial facial anomalies. THIS is true. She has cleft palate and cleft lip and a host of other differences due to her growing and parts of bone structure not growing to keep up. She has a lot more surgery in her future.

Unless a person completely understands these anomalies and the whys and wherefores like the surgeon does they shouldn't assume it's FAS.

I have taken a course in FAS. It was very interesting. They were extremely strong on the point that you cannot, cannot, cannot diagnose FAS on looks alone.

PS. Whether or not I can trust her word, I can't say, but I asked bio mom point blank if she had smoked, drank or done drugs during her pregnancy with these kids and she denied using drugs and alcohol before and during her pregnancy. I have also asked her sister if she thought there was a chance that bio mom had even just once drank during the pregnancy and she, even though the sisters don't get along at all, denied that her sister did so. She was willing to dish out other info on her, but this seems to be the unanimous answer from everyone I question.


There's been a little discussion at a couple of blogs about what manipulation in these hurt kids looks like. To the unaccustomed onlooker it appears petty, but when you add up all the little angles multiplied by the sheer volume of the incidences you soon realize there is nothing petty about it at all. Everything is well calculated. So long as these children are allowed to work their little strategies progress in healing can't happen because they remain independent and rely heavily on manipulation to get what they want as well as to feel safe. It's their comfort zone.

I'm sure I hardly need to point out the spiritual lessons seen in this...  I guess you could say we are all at least a little bit manipulative in seeking to get our way with God and man. We have a great desire to be independent when our only salvation is in dependence on Christ.

Anyway, back to what manipulation looks like....

One of the things we see a lot here that one might not even notice on casual observation is they make statements that imply what they want but they won't come out and ask for it. Missy, in particular will go to great lengths to avoid asking.

I require direct communication. I don't want to promote beating around the bush and them thinking people will jump to their whim at a mere suggestion.

For instance this morning instead of asking for breakfast Missy stood by saying, "I did all my jobs".

I told her that was great.

She tried again, "I washed my hands".

I acknowledged that that was good.

She made several attempts in that direction. Vanessa and I were sitting across from each other with knowing smiles and we sort of discussed what was happening over  Missy's head with use of  sign and ambiguous words. Vanessa wavered and signed to the effect, "Maybe she isn't that smart."

I laughed. "You can bet your boots she knows exactly what she is doing."

Missy drew nearer. "I'm hungry."

"Really? So am I!!" and then to try and lighten the exchange I said, "Glad to meet you, hungry." She smiled.

She got even closer and pushed up against my shoulder. "I'm hungry!!!"

"I know, you told me. I am quite hungry myself, but what are you going to do about it?" (This probably wasn't the best thing to ask. I've gone and given her a clue of my expectations, and I'm prompting her to ask. She might then believe her words are having their intended effect and she's reeling me in?)

"Sit at the table?"

I looked at Vanessa and said, "It's amazing, isn't it? She'd rather hold off from what she needs and play this game."

I turned to Missy, "We know what is going on, sweety." (I messed up when I asked her what she was going to do about it, so I might as well be up front with her.)

She stands back and visibly weighs the matter. With great effort she finally pushes herself to ask, "Please, may I have something to eat?"

"Why of course, kiddo. Coming right up! I'm so glad you asked."

It's hard to be super consistent to respond just right. I miss the clues sometimes. Sometimes I push against the grain a little too hard.

There was a time I thought maybe I was being too hard and expecting too much, but do I really think it's fair that they will believe that we can read their minds? That speaking in clues and riddles is the way to go? If they can avoid direct conversation in little things, could they think that it's okay in the realm of repentance and apology, in the world of feelings and love. Could they live on the outside edge of reality always? We know it doesn't really work well in the real world.  I was encouraged that this isn't right in a few books I read, too.

It's sister to the manipulation we encounter often that says, "I don't know anything." James saw me take the cleaner out of the cupboard, but when I asked him to put it back for me, he went on a wild goose chase asking question after question, "Does it go downstairs on the dryer?" "Does it go in the hall closet?" etc.... all the while avoiding the cupboard he saw me take it out of. Avoiding truth. Avoiding reality.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Break Through

Finally got through to James. He balked me once too many times and I took him to task...  I worked long and hard, hard, hard... No matter that we were trying to prepare for company for supper.... I refused to give up the battle. He was refusing to say a certain word and that seems like no biggie, except that it was his stronghold against me in disrespect and I couldn't allow it. This kind of thing is born of his dishonesty and his refusal to acknowledge his wrong.... I would not let it go and we were in confrontation, which normally is not helpful (to say the least - he usually digs in deeper, which he did, but I hung in there). Finally he was to the point where I could pray with him. I had him repeat after me and we begged the Lord to honor His promise that He would hear and deliver the cry of a poor boy in deep trouble.  (Ps 34: 4, 6) By the time we were done praying he was sobbing in repentance. Each time I have asked him to do anything or communicated with him since I first bring him back to prayer and his commitment to be a Daniel or a Joseph. He was actually quite pleasant to be with and is allowing me to hug him, again.

Missy just decided to be happy without a battle. An answered prayer, no doubt about it. She and I stayed home from church again, much to her great sorrow... but she's still a snotty mess and I dealing with it myself. I had her help me dress the Buddy and play with him, etc.. Next she put her doll in the high chair and cut out pictures of food and filled paper bowls with all sorts of things she cut out for her doll to eat. You may not realize how significant that is. She found something to do on her own, she was super creative about it and she stuck with it for almost an hour. That is nothing short of amazing.

It's such a gorgeous day, that I wish the rest of the family would come home and go for a walk with us, but no one will answer their phones and they took both cars. We're stuck here.


Okay, so, the Buddy was on his visit with his mommy and daddy and I just got a call that the driver is bringing him home. The mom and dad were a no show. I could cry for those poor kids! The buddy won't really process it, but the siblings ??!!  Ack! They are 8 and 6 years old.  Sweet kids.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Waiting For the Miracle of Grace

I was reminded that I hadn't posted in awhile.

~ On the baby end of things.....The little Buddy is busy, busy. He's very sweet and happy and funny, but busy, busy!! He's on the cusp of walking. He's learning to eat more and drink less milk. He's now sleeping through the night. There's a lot of messes and a lot of diapers, and a lot of trying new things. There are well-baby check-ups and social worker visits (today) and family visits (also today). And a couple of trips to town to get needed clothes for him.Thankfully, he is picked up and delivered for his family visits.

~ On my end of things..... I'm sick. I fought hard and long. It took 5 days of being on the verge before my body caved. I have a head cold.

~ On the twin end of things.... Not so good to the naked eye.

Two things:

1) The twins were very sick for a whole week and I required NOTHING of them except to get well. Now that they are well, I am expecting them to be contributing members of the family. I expect them to get up and get dressed... and on down the list. It shouldn't be this hard, but TRANSITIONs are their enemies.

2) There's a new baby in the house. The twins are no longer the youngest, etc... They like the baby and all, but it's another TRANSITION. Not only that it stirs up some thinking. How they relate it to their own lives and such, I have no idea. I won't put words in their mouths or pretend to know what they are thinking. I can only hear what they are saying. Things like....

Missy, "Why him's mom not want him?"

You can tell her all you want that his mommy does want him, but she'll never understand addiction. The best I can do is tell her that his mommy and daddy are sick. The Buddy will go home when his mommy gets well.

So.... we are dealing with regression. Nothing is working right now. Anything I ask them to do is met with resistance, mind-games, pure stubbornness, pee and even some strange foolishness.

The mildest examples I can think of....

* I asked James to get me some home canned tomatoes from the fruit room. In a rare moment, he went before he could think of argument. Anyway, he likes to eat.

James: "Here's your potatoes."

Thanks but those are not potatoes. What are they?

"Hmmmmm, well, they are round and red."

Never mind, James. I'm not going there. Please, no words!

It doesn't seem like anything... except that there is no exchange where this kind of thing doesn't show up. He knows what a tomato is... we're self-styled tomato farmers. If he hasn't seen a thousand tomatoes he hasn't seen any. I don't buy that nonsense.

* We arrive at school. I pull into the spot I usually do. Look back at Missy and tell her goodbye.

She doesn't acknowledge me.

I wait.

She moves not a hair. Her eyelashes don't even flicker. Her jaw is tight and set.

I wait.

Someone else needs to pull into the drop off spot. I know she's looking for a scene. I'm not into it. I know full well she wants to be in school, but she wants to play her game more.

I pull away and head towards home. She still hasn't moved a breath. One mile from the school she adjusts her head slightly so that she is looking forward. Her pupils grow larger and larger. I say nothing. There's not a sound between us.

An eighth of a mile from home she suddenly looks stricken. "Where are you going, Mommy?"

Oh! Why, I am going home. What are you doing in here? Didn't I drop you off at school? Why didn't you get out and run to your class?

She lost that battle and she sits in the car a good ten minutes in the driveway very upset. I carry on with my day. When she comes in I set her to work, folding clothes, arranging the shoe closet, etc... She's angry.

"I'm not going to school anymore. I am not old enough."

No words, kiddo. You are mad right now. No talking.

* I try to do some learning games... I try to make it fun. It lasts 5 minutes. They are looking for battles. I just want them to learn something. We try jumping jacks, and stairs and I play tag... they cry and scream and act like I'm killing them.

I burst into tears.
It feels so hopeless.
Perhaps they are broken beyond repair.
I am the enemy.
James' teacher expresses how much he's craving hugs and how he presses in while she reads... all the while he holds me at bay. Affection is on his terms only.
I cry out my fear on the phone to Steve.
Just when you think they are doing so well...
it all slips away and you wonder that there's no lasting effect.
They are damaged... and love doesn't fix it. Family doesn't fix it.
All the HARD, HARD work you've done... the hours and hours of devoted energy doesn't change it.

Snatches of the CD playing on the stereo reaches my consciousness.

"Waiting for a miracle of Grace. . .
I believe in miracles
I believe Your Word
I can't distrust the promises of a faithful, loving Lord.....
though it's hard to see right now,
I trust that in the end
I'll find out how Your love was working while our hearts were searching....
waiting for a miracle of Grace."

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise as some men count slackness.... He's not willing that any should perish."

And it's what I have to hold onto.
What my eyes see,
What my heart feels,
I can't trust.

It would be destructive. . .

The CD continues.

"If I'm called to suffer
and if I'm called to die
may those who bear me witness
see Jesus in my eyes."

Waiting for a miracle of Grace.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Brianna was late and missed her ride with Dad to school.
Dad can't be late for work, so it fell on me to hustle her around.
We connected with the bus just in time but I was frazzled.
Christina didn't understand my instructions to get the twins ready for school while I was bus chasing....
Missy was doing okay. Slow as usual, but she was in the car first.

~Then there was JAMES!

Let's just say he'll be doing some work for me this afternoon to make up for my lost time. He was pushing buttons big time and unfortunately he succeeded. I need to regroup and get a plan before he comes home. I won't put up with that again tomorrow morning. I know it's hard to go from few expectations on account of sickness to getting back in the saddle, but we can make it harder than it needs to be for sure.

The little Buddy is very entertaining. He can really cruise on his hands and knees, and he has been learning to pull himself up to stand beside the furniture. Yesterday he started letting go of the coffee table, putting his hands in the air and cheering for himself to take the step to the couch. He's so proud when he does it without falling. He wouldn't stand on his feet to walk with me at first. He would either plop down, or lift his feet in the air. Now he knows to put one foot in front of the other when I say, "walk".

The little guy understands "no" and responds very well.  He makes a little fish face when you say "kiss". He says "mmmm" when he sees food. He says "mama". That's the extent of his vocabulary.

His schedule is a mess. He's lively in the evening and tired in the morning. That said, I believe he has a mommy who really loves him and has some good parenting skills.


James did some work for me after school without a complaint. He realizes he took away from my time during our busiest moment of the day and he needed to help me.  Missy on the other hand came home from school tired and not inclined to listen at all. The solution to that was simple. She's having a nap.

I'm not happy to find out that our private agency has their finger in this... This means they get paid for our placement even though they had nothing to do with it. Does that mean I have to deal with TWO social workers simultaneously again? I just want to work with the local one. I guess we hadn't cut ties quick enough.

We are still in the "shelter care" stage of the placement.

Baby bumped his head more times than I can count today. Learning to balance on ones feet is a pretty tough job. Gonna have to get him a helmet :-)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A New Normal (that's not really very normal)

We are adjusting

~ as fast as a mommy who is not conditioned to carrying 25 lbs of wiggle worm can adjust.

truth is, my arms are aching,

and my back.

It's a good thing I have strong teenagers, 'cause I've already garnered plenty of comments regarding my posture while trying to support his weight.

Say, how did I do it when I had three babies and no teenages way back when???

Honest. I can't remember at all. I had to run into Target to get the buddy some clothes and I needed to use the restroom, but I didn't know how I could manage so I didn't ... Missy was all the help I had and I wasn't ready to trust that kind of help.

Speaking of Missy and her twin... I have had a lot of people ask me how they are accepting the newcomer. It's all very new, of course, so it's really exciting. He has fun baby toys (more toys than clothes) and he's cute and funny and interesting, so they are liking it so far. I think this is just what they needed. The focus needed a new shift.... they are far too good at garnering attention for themselves. Having a new baby of the family is quite possibly the ticket to helping them grow up a little. It's also good for them to see the nurturing steps they more than likely missed. They will learn a lot, I think. When we put his socks on, Missy puts on one and I put on the other. She would like to help and has been learning what kind of help is good help.

The lack of clothes has been challenging. Picked out a few more outfits, onesies, shoes, jacket, pants and bibs. There was one pair of shoes in all that whole store that I could get his big square feet in.

This morning was a little tough. Vanessa is gone to take care of an older couple... which left piano playing for the Sunday church to Brianna. When you have such a capable big sister opportunities to play for church and such don't come too often. She was a wreck just thinking about it, so I had to go with her and Christina  - which meant the twins and the baby had to go, too. In the end I was playing the piano and she was babysitting - how does that happen?? She managed to play the first few, but then struggled with one or two and became too distraught to think clearly and I had to finish up the service. She'll get there, but we are going to have MAKE opportunities for her every week at our church and this church until she gets comfortable. It's so much easier for those who are used to it to just take over.

Christina is at Julia's birthday sledding party up in the mountains. For all that that kiddo does for me, I'm glad she didn't miss out on the fun today.

The sickness is slowly improving. Brianna did chest hydrotherapy foamentations on the twins for something like two hours while I was at the baptism last night and they both actually slept all night and didn't cough nearly so much. I hope I can send them to school tomorrow.

The buddy is doing fine. I think he's teething. Lost of slobber and some misery this morning. He was good after he got out for a walk in the stroller.

My arms hurt so bad I can't type another word. :-)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Surprise!! It's a boy.

This totally floored me.

I was not in the least expecting it.

We weren't even a little prepared.

Amazing how one little phone call can change your world.

We have a baby in the house.

He's a one year old cutie with the sweetest disposition. You never saw an easier baby.  His grandma carried him in sleeping and when he woke up a half hour later he was smiling. He played on my lap until bedtime. When I put him in bed he talked to himself until he went to sleep. He woke up at 8 this morning - smiling. He seemed tired around 10 and I put him in bed and he's asleep without a protest. He eats very well and drinks water like it's going out of style. He is sick with a cold and has been for the last two months.

As you know we were working on moving our license from the private agency to the local DSHS. It was that or lose the license. I felt compelled to work on it. The gal we have bee working with is super efficient and fast. I'd hand the papers in one day and the next day she was ready for the next step. I handed the papers in Friday. Monday she came out for a visit. Friday we got "the call".  I still have a few papers to finish up with. Nothing major, just little stuff. I didn't think we were in a hurry. In fact, I kept thinking, "why is this going so fast?" I mean, it took us nearly 4 months to get licensed in the first place...

When we first talked about moving the license I called up the licensor for our area and asked if there was need for short term foster parents... she laughed at me, then convinced me that there was ALWAYS a need. So then when she visited on Monday I asked her how urgent the need was. She said, that this area is actually rather slow but that they have opened up their office to other cities and towns that are overwhelmed with need, so you know, anything could happen. I thought, okay. This is not urgent... so why are we hurrying, again???
As a side note, the licensor is SDA like us... working with her was like working with someone you've known all your life.

I can only believe that God had a hand in having us move the license when we did. There is a reason He moved it all so quickly. There's a reason He orchestrated this little guy's stay with us.

I received the call at about 3 or 3 thirty yesterday. I hardly knew what to say, except yes. For a fleeting second I thought I should call Steve, but knowing how hard it is to make contact with him at work and knowing he wouldn't hesitate, I said,  "okay - but just know that my twins are sick with the flue. I hope they are on the mend, but I don't know that yet." I thought, you know, there is a bunch of questions I'm suppose to ask ... oh, well never mind. All I knew was it was a 1 yr old baby boy. Maybe he would be here over night, maybe he would be here a month?? Now that I know a bit more, I know he's here for awhile. The family is in our prayers as they work to put their lives back together.

I drove off to Target as fast as my chariot and Friday traffic would allow and wondered what I would need. I even messaged my sister with a "HELP" what do I need?" I purchased a few necessary items and headed home to meet the baby. I don't know why but I had the stereotypical grandparents in mind. You know, short gray hair and all the rest of it. Um, no. not THAT old. Grief stricken and grateful, she thanked us for allowing her to see our home to know that it is a good place and that he will be safe while she goes off to care for the rest of the family.  They are in our "neighborhood". I can walk to their place.

The social worker happens to be a friend of ours. Her daughter has been in our choir, and they are SDA, too. Oh, and yes, she has been known to read my blog ;-) So I must mind my p's and q's .... Don't ask me anything about the little boy that I can't legally answer. *smile*

I'm at home with all three sick kids... Poor Missy is not recovering very quick. James has a hacking cough. Hoping I make it to the baptism later.

The Lord is good. His biddings are enablings....

Friday, February 3, 2012

Germ City

The sun is suppose to be killing all the germs... 
but me, oh my! things are not improving much around here.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


This sickness is miserable.

Vanessa's on the couch this morning.

James managed to eat breakfast and not lose it... so far.

Missy slept till 8 and is eating. I think she's fever free but certainly NOT snot free.

Christina blacked out in the shower... (yup. with the door locked and the fall was enough that I heard it upstairs in the kitchen) but she doesn't have a fever.??

Brianna, the strong, is living up to her name and nothing is slowing her down. She's been eating whole garlic cloves... strong in more than one way.

It took Steve the entire day to do the taxes. What job! But we'll really like the return. An answer to prayer, actually.

I've been blending green drinks. Steve has been dispensing herb tea.

The sun is shining. Maybe it will kill all the germs.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Feeling Fluezy

Vanessa had not choice but to go to school today. Today was the day to turn in paperwork for scholarships and she had to be there. She is a bit better.

James and Missy did not act sick yesterday. Even when the low grade fever spiked to 103 Missy was kind of bouncing and wandering around as though not knowing what to do with herself.  Today is another story. The twins are quiet and sleepy and not much interested in food. We'll have to take Missy to the doctor, I think. We don't go to the doctor for anything usually, and especially not for the flue, but Missy is high risk for ear infections and I can't depend on her telling me that her ears hurt. We can't hazard more damage to her hearing.

Christina and Brianna have sore throats. . .


Vanessa was asked if she was interested in a job grading papers at the college a few weeks ago. This week they doubled her hours. She has an unusual evening harp job lined up for this month... a chocolate festival for seniors at an assisted living and their families. She's used to playing for their mother's day or valentine banquets, but this is a little new. She has a weekend to "senior"-sit an elderly couple this month also. Along with her usual Sunday piano job, the last few weeks she has had the sermon for the Spanish church, music for Valley View, delivered a sermon  for the Sunday church, etc... very busy! She just doesn't have time to be sick.