Thursday, February 20, 2014

Winter 2013-2014

I want to blog, I really do!  Finding time with 3 children, working full-time and crazy, everyday life just hasn't happened!

Daniel is still doing well at his new school.  He's had a good year so far!  He struggles with reading and writing, but flies through math, science and social studies.  Surprisingly, I'm okay with it (this coming from a former goody two shoes in school).  Daniel has three things going against him:

1. Reading:  He doesn't like to, but he LOVES to listen to audio books.  I may have caused this when I gave him a personal CD player and his first books on CD to listen to.  

2.  Writing:  He's a true lefty, and third, he's a boy.  He doesn't have a chance of getting above a C in handwriting!!

Daniel has grown like a stinkweed!  One night he came in our room sobbing about his shins, from his knee to his ankle, saying they hurt so bad.  After jumping out of bed and and ascertaining his legs weren't broken, we applied a heating pad, gave him some tylenol and he got to spend the rest of the night in our bed.  The next morning he was fine!  However, we measured his height a few days later and in the span of two weeks, he grew 1 and 1/4 INCHES!!!  Those were some serious growing pains we believe!

Tic-Tac is still with us.  In just a couple of months he will have been with us for two years.  We're still waiting, as is he, to be united as a forever family.  We pray everyday for this to become our reality, and for the foster care system to work and for his file to be on top of the never ending files that I'm sure they have.  I will admit that I'm terribly frustrated that I have not been able to share him with the world, from the precious 9  month old he was to the feisty, wonderful 2 and 1/2 year old he is now.  Oh how I wish I could every moment, his first steps, and his innocent wonder at this great big world.

We also still have our baby girl, but it is with a mixture of sadness and happiness that it appears that she will not be remaining with us.  We've been blessed to enjoy the last 6-7 months with a spunky, outgoing, sweet-heart of a toddling girl.

Troy is awaiting news of whether or not further back surgery is required.  He is still uncomfortable two years after his injury and a year after his original back surgery.  Tomorrow we head out to Northern Virginia for another test with a new doctor for a second opinion.

I'm still working full-time.  It's hard juggling 3 children, a full-time job and all the extras that Troy can't do anymore with his bad back.  I enjoy couponing for our family, but that in itself can also be a full-time job.  Most evenings after the kids go to bed, I sort coupons, look up deals and try to figure out how to get the most for our money!  I love doing it and can't imagine ever stopping!  Some people wonder if I do it because we don't have any money.  To those people, I want to say: I do it not because we don't have enough money, but because we want to keep the money we do have!

I also want to get back to my scrapbooking, but haven't had time.  I'm thinking about hiring Merry Maids or something close to help with daily chores so I can spend more time with my family in the evenings versus doing chores etc. myself.  I paid some young men to shovel our driveway this year after an almost 2 foot snow fall and I was so glad I did.  I was able to relax and it took pressure off of Troy for feeling bad because he couldn't do it himself.

Here are a few pictures of Daniel from our Winter 2013-2014.  Next stop:  SPRING!

Friday, August 23, 2013

July, August, 1st Day of 2nd Grade (2013)

We had the busiest summer this year of any summer!  July started off with a rather large cookout for July 4th at our house!  We had neighbors, friends, family and lots of good times.  The kids had a ball playing outdoors in water hose.  Nothing like a water hose to bring kids from 2-11 together to play!

Afterwards we did lots of sparklers with the older kids and had a ball.

During July we also celebrated Tic Tac's 2nd birthday!  We made Sesame Street themed fruit pies and just had family over for this one!

August also brought plenty to do.  We took a large shopping trip to some outlets and I got to visit my best friend.

August also brought our second foster child placement.  A little girl this time.  We feel so blessed even though she may never be ours to call our own.

Finally Daniel went to back to school this year as we were finally re-districted to the school we originally wanted.  He's had a great first week!

Monday, July 8, 2013

June 2013 - Kick Start To Summer!

This June started out with our summer vacation.  We ventured north this year to DuBois, PA.  Make sure you pronounce it Doo-BOYS or you will be corrected!  We stayed at Treasure Lake in a nice 2 bedroom townhouse.  We were able to take our boat and enjoy the Lake.  Tic Tac had his first boat ride and he loved dipping a fishing rod in and out of the lake.  We had to tie the rod to him though because we almost lost one when he pitched it overboard!  Daniel has become a master fisher.  He uses an open face reel and will give you a lesson if you need one using all the technical terms.  (He’s a mini-Troy)!

One day we rode through the Wilds and took a driving trail for Elk sightings.  We did see 4 Elk and they have the coolest pull offs where you can follow a trail to a large wooden blind and look out for Elk in the fields. 
The highlight of our trip was heading to Niagara Falls for a day.  We visited the national park on the American side only, since we don’t have border crossing documents for Tic Tac.  It was wonderful!  We had gorgeous weather!  For $5.00 the whole family could ride the trolley around the park all day!  I highly advise it – the kids loved it.  I made a new friend on the trolley (ask Troy), but that’s another story!!  We rode the Maid of the Mist – it launches on both sides of the border and returns you to the same side, so no passports needed!  Tic Tac would have nothing to do with the rain coats so he and I got soaked together!!  We also visited the Observation Deck and the Aquarium.  We ate lunch outside at a picnic table which an older couple volunteered to share with us.  We had a wonderful conversation and in the midst of it, Daniel asked them to guess where he was born.  They were amazed when he said “Russia” and that kept us talking for some time! 

The following weekend my mom rented several campsites at our local campground.  It used to be a KOA, but is a Good Sam’s park now.  It’s local and since I don’t love camping we travel and “day camp” and go home each evening.  The camp is situated on a river and there is a little beach, river tubing, a waterfall, pool, hottubs, nice bathrooms, and gameroom.  Yeah, I know…primitive, right! 

We had a ball!!  All the family comes and this year included two of my aunts and uncles, one we hardly ever get to see!!  They helped us celebrate Daniel’s birthday!  We cooked out, and did all the amenities.  River tubing and visiting the waterfall were our favorites, after getting over the shock of the cold water!!  Daniel was a wild man in the river and pool.  He could live in water if we let him.  Tic Tac also enjoyed both and is enjoying “jumping” off the side of the pool (with help) into my arms!  We’ve been dunking him under water ever since our trip to Destin in April.  He does just great with it and comes up laughing!

Daniel requested key lime pie, so we made it in cups and handed them out after dinner one night.  I can’t believe my baby boy is 7!!  He also ate about 100 s’mores over the weekend – mother of the year here!!!

Finally, we went to Virginia Beach for the day and got to meet some blogging celebrities!   Those of you who adopted around the same time we did may know Rob, Dede andLiam!  They came all the way from Texas to visit friends of theirs and we got to crash in on everyone for a day!  The kids enjoyed staying in the pool for 4+ hours!  I love how in the adoption world, you can feel comfortable with people you've never even met!  We ended the night with an awesome dinner and two very sleepy boys on the way home!

In between all this Daniel still finds time for summer camp 2 days a week and karate 3-4 days a week!!  Our schedule is nuts!!  Next stop - July!  Our weekends are crammed this summer and we are loving it!!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Spring Vacation!

Wow - I know I sound like a broken record, but I can't believe it's been so long since I last posted.  For my peace of mind that I'm not a bad blogger, I will blame it on a very busy tax season this year including brand new software! 

It's also hard to post about life and post photos when I can't share information or photos about Tic Tac.  He is such an integral part of our lives and he is in every photo and in every story I want to share.  This week marks one year that he has been with us.  One whole blessed, amazing, trying, and wonderful year.  Oh, how I hope I can share more in the coming months!

At the end of a busy tax season always comes a few days off.  We decided this year to rent a condo in Destin, FL and visit Troy's granny and family.  Its been quite a few years since we've been, so it was a real treat.  The boys loved the beach.  Daniel was fearless running into a chilly surf day after day.  I even ventured in with him while Troy stayed ashore with Tic Tac.  Tic Tac liked the beach, but he LOVED the pool and most especially he loved a beach ball!

We realy had a nice time as a family, something I had been needing since I been working so many hours and really had not been able to spend as much time with the boys as I like. 

We visited Gator Land and the boys got to hold a baby gator and we got a cool photo.  It wasn't without mishap though - Troy and Daniel both got "gator-peed" on!!    Tic Tac and I stayed safely in the back of the photo!  Afterwards they got to feed the gators on cane poles and it was lots of fun!

Troy also ordered oysters at Panama's Joes our last night there and he bit into a real pearl!!  It was a natural pearl and a nice size!  No one there had ever had that happen before.  We had a jeweler look at it and while it wasn't valuable because it wasn't overly shiny or perfectly round it is a still a treasure!  Troy is having it set in a silver setting and added to a necklace I have!!

Without further ado...some photos of our beach week!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

School Dealings and Lego Fest

We’ve had a lot going lately.  Daniel had been having a rough year at school this year.  It got the point where we felt like the teacher was focusing on Daniel and picking at him constantly.  For 2 weeks straight I got home notes to the effect of:  he rolled a pencil on his desk today; he played with his gloves today, today he didn’t read well; he made a bad choice by not buying lunch today (and he was made to go back through the line and buy a lunch); and so on and so forth.  

Most of these issues I felt are issues that were VERY minor and could have been easily dealt with at school.  Not that I don’t want to be notified of things going on at school, but I don’t want my son picked on either.  Now, don’t get me wrong, Daniel DID toilet paper the bathroom, but I’m still of the opinion that this was something that took far more than 2-3 minutes considering that he had done a n umber 2 also in the time period.  I mean, folk, look at the single-ply quality (ha!) toilet he was working with and there isn’t even a tear!   All of my friends and co-workers (who got a charge out of it) agreed that this was a 3rd or 4th graders work and that it took at least 10 minutes.  What can I say?  My son is that talented!!  Seriously, it means to me that he was gone from class too long and no one noticed.  For the record, he punished at home by being on kitty litter duty for a week.

We went to the teacher, guidance counselor and assistant principal, then to the principal herself.  It did not go well.  I asked for something positive about my son to come home in the next couple of weeks and we got nothing.  No follow up, no phone call, nothing.  Daniel’s never had a show and tell day ALL YEAR – I sent a note asking why, got no response.  He’s never been the star student.  There hasn’t been much good for him this year. 

He said himself that he felt like the teachers were always in his ears saying do this, do that.  He got yelled at by a teacher one day and when he calmly said “I don’t like your noisy voice”, he got in trouble again for that.  I really don’t like that a teacher was yelling at my 6 year old.

It’s been a rough year.  There are more examples, like a nasty skin abrasion that didn’t even rank a visit to the office or school nurse, but instead got a tissue handed to him to wipe the blood.  Sigh….

Finally over the last 8 weeks or so we noticed a change in attitude, crying the morning, and wetting pants (the wetting we had been controlling well all year due to his medical condition).

Soooo, after much unhappiness. (on our part and Daniel’s) and after much research and exhausting our options, we felt like it was time to move out of the public school system. 

We delivered our NOI (Notice of Intent) to homeschool, along with proper documents for teaching at home yesterday morning and we went to the school and removed him mid day.  Probably not the best time, but we did it quickly and I couldn’t stand the thought of him there a minute longer.  Troy was brave and went to the classroom and grabbed belongings at mock speed and Daniel was non the wiser.  We will tell him tonight after Tic-Tac is in bed.

I won’t lie, I was so happy when I saw him coming toward the truck, but I cried anyway.  I cried because I’m upset about what happened, I’m upset that my child can’t attend school like the majority of the kids can, I’m upset for the friends he may not see again, and I’m upset that there are other children who may be undergoing some of the same treatment.

Sorry – that turned out much longer than I expected! 

Now on to the good stuff!  After picking Daniel up we rushed ourselves to Lego Fest!!!  We took our 4 year old nephew and Daniel and my mom took care of Tic Tac for the evening!  We had such a ball playing in piles of Legos!  There were awesome Lego sculptures, tons of places to build, Chima races, shows, monochromatic Lego builds and loads of activities.    We came home with free posters, Lego magazines and we may have spent a little more than planned in the Lego shop! 

Here are just a few photos of our good time!!  Oh, and I couldn't resist taking a picture with the Harry Potter gang - Hagrid was HUGE!!!


Friday, January 18, 2013

Christmas - 2012 (Where does time go?)

Wow - I had no idea how far behind I was on this blog.  Well, maybe I did, but was too afraid to look!

Things are same old, same in our world.  We are enjoying every precious moment we have with Tic-Tac and wondering how many more we may be able to hold his precious life in our hands, hoping forever, but not daring to accept it yet.

Daniel has blossomed into a great older brother.  He is patient and kind and loving towards Tic-Tac.  Yes he gets frustrated with him, yes he tattles on him and yes he feels he gets ignored sometimes, but we make every effort to spend one on one time with Daniel when we can.

This year Christmas brought sickness to our house and I ended up in the ER two days before Christmas.  I had a stomach bug and just couldn't eat.  I went 7 days with no food and trying to get drink down and by the seventh day I couldn't even swallow drink.  I went to my family doctor early in the week and got medicine for nausea, but it didn't help.  Once I checked into the ER, I received some different meds and within a few hours, felt much better and was finally able to swallow drink and then move to soft foods.

We celebrated Santa gifts with the kids on Christmas and our gifts to them.  Daniel was a trooper when we told him we'd be having the rest of Christmas the following Sunday which is when we moved our annual Christmas Eve dinner to.  It worked out wonderfully as since it was after Christmas my sister-in-law and her family (from Iowa!!) and my very best friend of 20 years and counting and her hubby were also able to join us, along with the rest of both sides of our families!  We had a blast and all the children were spoiled rotten!!

Hoping this New Year brings lots of happiness and more children into the lives of those that want them!  The news out of Russia has saddened me, but I know there are many children right here and all over the world that still need homes.  If anyone has any questions about adoption or fostering, please email me.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Family Update

Sigh...Where does time go?

We've had even more changes around here and life is so much busier that I don't have time for my blogs the way I used to.  I went back to work full time and am still trying to get a morning and afternoon routine together.  My mornings are extremely rushed getting Daniel on the bus on time and Tic-Tac to daycare 3 days a week, then over the mountain to work, all by 8:45.  Two days a week Troy now stays home with Tic-Tac since his back injury.  Troy is no longer working pending back surgery.  We have an appointment with the surgeon for a final consult before they schedule surgery December 10th.  I'm nervous the surgery is going to make Christmas a mess so I've already started ordering gifts so that we (or just me) are not out trying to get everything done while Troy is in the hospital.

Troy is an enormous help around the house doing the things he is able to do and the role reversals are suiting us for the moment.  Daniel is flourishing under his dad's care all the time, so much so that I've become second best and Daniel is always looking for his dad!!  I don't mind, I think it's actually a pretty natural progression and Troy assures me he was the same way when he was a kid and my husband ADORES his mother, so I'm enjoying the bit of freedom that comes with this as far as Daniel goes.  Don't worry, Daniel and I are getting plenty of one on one time together.  We're reading before bed "Mickey See the USA" a VERY OLD book my dad read with me as a child.  We just finished the Piratepedia and now Daniel and I know way more about pirates than we ever needed to know!!

Tic-Tac is also flourishing and coming into his own.  We're thanking God everyday that Tic-Tac remains with us.  We love him so.  Things are not always easy, but we know they are worth it even if Tic-Tac goes home. He's gained weight, learned many new skills and knows he's constantly loved and cared for.  We have some minor medical questions, and lots of developmental questions about him, but nothing we can't overcome or would prevent us from becoming permanent to him.  Oh how I wish I could share his story and get advice from all the great friends I have since all of us have dealt with so many different situations with how our children came to us.

We could really use prayers for all of us right now.  We've been juggling and making changes in the family with everything that has been going on.  Mostly we need prayers for Troy's back.  We were hoping for a much quicker surgery date but our hospital is way behind.  We're also hoping that after surgery he finally gets some relief and can eventually go back to work.

Other than those things, we're plugging along like any normal family, enjoying our weekends, playing outside, going to birthday parties and otherwise keeping ourselves entertained!

Oh yeah - the infamous first tooth finally came out thanks to the adult tooth that was almost all the way in as you can see!!