Our little family

Our little family
Wife Woman, Husband Man, Catcher and The Hoskinettes.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Artsy kid pictures

Most of the people who read this also read my stuff on FB. So as you probably know, these pictures were originally posted there. They removed one of them when it was my profile picture, because my two and three year old had their shirts off. I did not feel these pictures were inappropriate, and I did not take these to cause controversy or harm. I love my children, they are beautiful, and the contrast between my adopted and non-adopted children is a wonderful thing that I wanted to capture on film.

I am posting them on here as it may be that I decide to remove them from FB to avoid further issues with them. I have more I could say on the topic but in the essence of preserving the fact that these pictures were meant to be beautiful, I don't want to mar this post with controversy or hate. Here are my beautiful children:

And after looking through all of these, I'd like to add that if I had to pick a profession for Maggie right now....she'd be a model. I'm not one to promote modeling as a career or anything, but that girl can work a camera! I did not give direction to any of the kids, except come sit down in the kitchen and let's take pictures. Maggie knew how to turn and give really great angles...don't know how she does it!  I love these pictures of my beautiful children, and it felt good to be doing some good pictures again, haven't done any in a while. I am in NO WAY a photographer of any sort, but when it comes to pictures of my kids....I can't get enough!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Family Update April 2013

I started to type a rather extended status on my facebook and decided I'd rather post it as a blog. I would like to be better about blogging, it's easier to look back on than facebook status updates anyway.  I don't suppose there's terribly much to report at this time, but even everyday life is worth recording.

Mira is 1 year old as of last week

 we blessed her here at home at her birthday party with family and friends around, as Adam will be leaving to go to Texas later this week and we'll be getting her sealed to us in the Oakland Temple not long after his return. After she is sealed on May 10th (only 5 days after our 12th wedding anniversary of being married in that same Temple) it will all finally feel official and done. Somehow just the adoption doesn't make it feel done. Having that special day in the temple with the whole family makes it all feel complete and real....really another child of ours forever.

She is almost walking, not quite there yet, but certainly close. She takes 2-3 steps at a time but hasn't gotten much past that. When Adam comes home from Texas she should be walking for sure, at least he didn't miss her first few steps. Darla started walking while he was in Texas the last time.

Mira loves to make silly faces, she loves to make people laugh, quite the little character that one, here is a picture of one of her silly faces.

Why is The Husband Man going to Texas, you ask? He has been invited to join the Union Pacific K-9 Team for the National K-9 Trial Competition. They compete to see who has the best relationship between handler and dog for a top prize of....a pat on the back. Haha. Not literally, but it's not much more than notoriety when someone wins, but we both agree it's pretty neat that he got invited in the first place. He'll be there for a week of intense training with the team coach, just to clean up any problem areas, and then on to the preliminary rounds of the competition leading up to the final rounds. I wish I could go cheer him on, or that they could show it on ESPN or something but unfortunately all I'll get is his daily phone calls to update me on the goings on in Texas.

Catcher is 3,

 he is speaking very well and has fully grasped the concept of potty training without much hassle.  He stays dry at naps and bedtime and hasn't worn so much as a pull up in several months, all undies all the time :) So proud of my little boy and to have one less kid in diapers!! Somehow he managed to learn all of his colors, it's kind of funny because I sat down to work on it with him once, figuring it was time for him to know his color,s and to my astonishment he already knew them all! Chock it up to bigger siblings....or Public Television, hard to tell which, but either way I was pretty proud of that.  He is full of love and hugs on a daily basis. His relationship with Darla has entered a fun stage, I'm sure it won't last. Right now the two are each other's best friend, there is never a moment where they are without each other. At one point when Darla was extremely sick I had to take her to the ER, Catcher was so distraught at my leaving with her and not taking him, not just because he wanted to go wherever i was going, but because he wanted to be with Darla.

Darla is 2 and a half,

She is so happy all the time and all of life is a game to her....including potty training, which is lasting way longer than I'd like. She knows the concept but just doesn't seem to care much about it, similar to Maggie at this age so I know we'll get through it eventually. The thing is this girl is rarely in a bad mood, or if she is it's for a second and she's back to acting happy and silly again. Can't help but laugh with her, just look at that smile!

Katie turned 5 last month.
She is learning to write her own name and can recognize any letter of the alphabet and has started to teach herself how to add. She is excited for Kindergarten next year which will be via the homeschool program through the local Charter School that we've been doing with the older two girls for two years now. She is doing ballet this year and will be performing the quack quack dance in this years recital.

Maggie is 7 and a half
She joined a competition gymnastics team this year and is loving having a chance to get out her excess energy, even after a three hour training she still has energy to burn. She's building strong muscles though and is making good use of them in tumbling and bar routines. She got glasses this year and upped the cuteness factor, as if she needed it!

Elaine is 9 years old this year

She's getting so grown up! She is still doing ballet and even performed as a Bon Bon in the 2012 Central West Ballet performance of The Nutcracker at the Gallo Center for the Arts. It was a beautiful performance and she looks forward to auditioning for it again this year.
 I see many years of ballet ahead, she has one more year in lower level classes, next school year, and after that will be moving on to dancing on point. That is a crazy thought, but she is very much ready for it. They skipped her a skill level last year and she caught up and has advanced to the top of her class again. Dance is a real passion for her but she has also been taking horsemanship classes this semester (free through the charter school...yeah!) and is loving her time on the beautiful horses she's gotten to ride.
Adam and I are celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary this year....
We were so young when we met....

And fell in love and got married May 5, 2001
And well I can't even find a current picture of just the two of us, all of them have one or more kids in the picture, so here is us 12 years and six kids later....still so much in love!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Perfect Day

Do you ever just have a perfect day? I think I have maybe two a year, and I spend the rest of the year looking back to those days on every other day when I think I can't handle all the chaos anymore, to remind myself that I can.

Adam was off today, and Elaine has one day off from the insanity of her Nutcracker dress rehearsals (one every day this week, leading up to opening night on Friday!) so we decided to take the opportunity to go see Santa Claus at Bass Pro Shop, it's our tradition to see him there, since they give you a free photo with Santa, and don't charge you just to see him.

We did science work this morning in homeschool and the kids were loving it, they really seem to enjoy science and didn't want to stop at just one lesson so we did three lessons. It was a great start to the day as we were all in good moods.

We had a planned visit from a county social worker today. We have regular monthly visits from a social worker during the foster adoption process, but this was a substitute worker as our regular worker is on vacation. It's hard not knowing what to expect as some are more judgmental and harsh than others. Our regular worker, Nora, is somewhat hard to read, she keeps a very bland look on her face every visit and it's hard to tell if it's because she doesn't like us, or because (as is more likely) she just looks like that all the time. The substitute social worker arrived on time, a nice change considering they're usually late, and when she came in she was greeted by all the children which can effect every person who experiences it differently. Some can't handle the boisterous noises of so many little children, but Robin, the substitute worker, loved it. She smiled and said "You must do daycare, you can't possibly have this many that are so young?"

Of course as smiled and said as I always to do similar statements "Nope, they're all mine."

Catcher was in a particularly pleasant mood and echoed my statement in his sweet voice, "ALL MINE!"

We all laughed and she walked into the living room. Noticing the pictures on the wall of all six beautiful children she remarked at how wonderful such a display was. The rest of the brief visit was just as cordial. The children regaled her with stories and Christmas lists, and Robin smiled the whole time. When she got up to leave she mentioned how amazing it was to be in a house with so many children who all seemed so happy, and I had noticed too how all morning there really hadn't been any fights or arguments among any of the children, and although the house was loud, it was filled with the sound of children's laughter.

After she left we packed up the children and headed out. Bass Pro Shop is in Manteca, about 30 minutes away, and the ride was pleasant, which in and of itself is nearly a miracle, there was no fighting and lots of giggling. Maybe it was the fact that we were going to see Santa, but all of the children seemed to be on their best behavior. We weren't far from the house when I realized I'd forgotten my cell phone. Adam had too. I'm never without my phone anymore, and it made me a little nervous to continue on without it, but I reminded myself how pleasant it would be to not have any distractions on such a fun day, so I didn't even ask my husband (who was driving) to go back to retrieve it.

We arrived at the store around 11:30am, we walked up to Santa's Workshop area and there was NO line! I must say this really gives me one more reason to love homeschooling (as if I needed one more!) the fact that we can do something like this in the middle of the day while other kids are at school was a real bonus! As we walked toward Santa I had that sinking feeling, who's gonna cry...or worse yet, SCREAM?! Two kids that are two year olds.....it was inevitable. Darla is quite outgoing and pretty fearless, so I thought for sure Catcher was going to be uncomfortable with the stranger in red.

The bigger girls went running up to Santa, and I asked Catcher, "Who is that?" He watched with excitement as his sisters greeted the red robed stranger with delight.

"Santa!" he said as he cautiously walked forward.....with a smile. Could it be? Was he going to be ok with the bearded elf?

Adam had been carrying Darla on his shoulders and he placed her near Santa, waiting for her reaction. To our surprise she ran up and asked to be picked up! We helped her onto his lap and placed Mira on his other knee. I still wasn't sure if Catcher would agree to stand close to him or not, but Santa invited him to stand right in front of him next to Darla, and he simply replied "Ok." and did!

I stepped back in complete surprise as the elf clothed helper snapped this picture:

Now ok, Mira doesn't look very excited, that's because we had to redirect her from playing with his beard, she loved it. And Darla seems unimpressed, but right after the picture she turned to Santa and gave him a huge grin, and all in all, I'm quite impressed with so many young ones handling this Santa thing so well! I know a lot of it was having older siblings seem so excited to see Santa that helped Catcher and Darla not be afraid. But it was great no matter why it happened.

After the picture there was still no line of children waiting, so St. Nick took his time asking the name of each child, how old they were, what they wanted for Christmas and what their favorite cookie was. We lingered around with Santa and his elves for several minutes, it was quite pleasant.

Bass Pro Shop has several activities set up near Santa's Wonderland and being that there was only one other family in the area, we gave all the kids free reign to wander through the activities.

Here's where I regretted not having my phone. I take soooo many pictures on my phone these days, that without it I felt terrible that I couldn't record how much fun the kids were having with pictures. I'll do my best to explain, but nothing does justice to the first thing I wish I'd taken a picture of.

There was target shooting with little rifles, it was all electronic, you're not shooting real bullets or anything, and it was completely free. Each kid took a turn taking aim, while Daddy gave each one a little lesson in holding the gun and hitting targets. When Catcher wanted a turn he was so small he couldn't hold the gun, so he stood holding it while Daddy's strong arms wrapped around him holding the gun as well. Adam was bent down, on his knees with Catcher sitting on one of Adam's knees and they both stared down the barrel trying to hit the lit up targets. Now there's a moment I wish I had a picture of. In that moment I remembered how important it is to fill my mind with these memories, not just my phone, and I impressed an image in my mind I'll surely never forget. Daddy's smile was as big as Catcher's. All the kids took turns driving around the little electric truck. Catcher later found the display of radio controlled trucks on sale and proudly pronounced "I like that!!" (I don't allow the children to use the phrase "I want that" or "buy me that" instead I encourage them to say, "I like that," or "that's pretty....fun...neat....etc") I loved hearing my little boy tell me something he liked.

They each took turns (without fighting!) driving the electric train, fast, slow, forward, reverse. The big girls wrote letters to Santa and Elaine and Maggie helped Katie write one too. I bought fudge and we sat in the coloring area nibbling sweet flavors and laughing over the different tastes and combinations. We walked around the store for a few more minutes, I took all the walking kids up the stairs next to the giant fish tank, while daddy pushed the stroller for the baby and took the elevator, or as we later dubbed it, the "elf-avator" :) Catcher and Darla loved seeing the fish, and marched proudly like big kids up the tall stair way. We greeted Daddy from the elevator and walked around looking at different things on sale.

At one point Maggie, Katie, Elaine and the two's  and I were all standing near the balcony which peered down over the top of Santa's wonderland. When they saw Santa go into the little building with a sign that said "Santa's Workshop," Maggie and Katie pronounced that he must be going in there to check on the elves in the workshop, and that he MUST be the real Santa. As if the unison were intentional at that moment all three of the older girls shouted out upon his return "HI SANTA!!"  The man in red looked up to them and waved, he smiled and winked. They giggled in delight and waved back. At seeing the reaction they'd garnered from St. Nick Darla (now sitting in a shopping cart) decided to wave and spoke in nearly a whisper barely audible to anyone standing near her "hi tanta." He immediately looked up from below and waved a little wave that matched hers. It was so sweet, and he gave out a "Ho, ho" of a laugh himself.

Maybe I've been watching too many Christmas movies, but in that moment, he felt as real to me as he did to my kids. As full of the spirit of kindness and joy that this season embodies.

We walked over to the larger 'pay per play' shooting gallery. It was full of animals that moved when you hit their target, and lots of fun things to see. We put some quarters in one slot and the machine wouldn't come on, but i put the same amount of quarters in another slot and it gave us ten games! The kids played round after round and Daddy must have taught them to aim well, because they hit target after target, squealing with glee at each shot!

We walked across the parking lot to eat lunch at Red Robin, it's our family's favorite restaurant, and we even ran into our friend who is a manager there. We know her from church and the kids all went running up to her when we walked in. Pretty much made her day I think :)

Now you must know that we do not take all of the kids out to eat to anyplace without a playland very often, it's just too much for the little kids to wait for their food sitting quietly. Let me tell you what, I had little angels at the table and Red Robin. They played together happily while waiting for their food, and despite the fact that it took  the average 15-20 minute wait for food, when it arrived, all the children announced that it came very fast. Haha, it is true, time flies when you're having fun! Several games of tic tac toe were played, Darla and I played keep away with her package of crayons which she strangely didn't want opened, just wanted to play with it all nice and closed.

When the food came everyone ate without complaint, sharing french fries and smiles amidst crunching and slurping. Later our friend arranged for the kids to be served ice cream, which they loved and had the messy faces to prove it. We lingered in the restaurant while others around us ate and left, because we were all just enjoying the company of so many happy children.

We had to leave eventually and go to the only chore we had that day, buying a new lawn mower. Our old one bit the dust, as it were, and we bought a push one instead. The kids were all very good at the home improvement store despite the fact that it was now after 3pm and none of the little ones had had a nap! We wandered smelling flowers through the garden area and pushed the button of every noisy Christmas toy on display, dancing along to whatever silly song they played. The children galloped as Santa's reindeer to the register, giving themselves reindeer names and imagining up reindeer games, ensuring Rudolph would be included even if Santa didn't need his nose. ( they notice that in the song the other reindeer don't like Rudolph or let him play until he's useful)

We ended our day stopping by Del'Osso Farms in Lathrop. They have lots of activities you can pay to do, and we just wandered around for a few minutes. Last year they'd had live Reindeer on the farm and we were hoping to see them but there weren't any this time. So we enjoyed neighing at the pony's, one in particular that Darla fell in love with and didn't want to walk away from. I convinced her to blow him kisses and say goodbye, then she finally continued on with us. Last year we'd paid to do the snow tubing, and it was fun but we didn't come prepared for it today so we walked by as a bus load of kids pulled up to slide their snowy slopes. We walked out the rear entrance to the parking lot and as we walked one of the kids noticed a large pile of melting snow which had apparently been dumped in a parking spot.

Now you must understand that it does NOT snow here, nor does it get cold enough during the day to keep snow from melting, so this must have been recently placed, and a puddle was a few inches deep of mud around it.

I stepped into the mud and grabbed a handful of snow which felt vaguely similar to a ball of shaved ice (which is more likely what it was) and I lobbed it at the Husband Man, direct hit to the chest where it broke apart. We all continued to walk a few feet when Daddy went back to the pile, he grabbed a huge handful of icy snow, I put my hood up certain he was out for revenge, but instead he made several small snow balls and gave them to the kids. Hello, impromptu snow ball fight in the parking lot!! He went back for more a few times and the kids laughed at each hit and miss. What a great memory we made right there in the parking lot.

We came home and sipped hot chocolate, in warm fuzzy pajamas, watched another holiday classic "The Santa Clause 2" and sent all the kids off to bed with a smile at the end of the day.

Wow what a day, I may not have pictures to remember it all by, but my memories will never fade.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Termination is a word of love.

I wanted to post about this right after it happened, and I should have. But here it is a month later and I'm just now getting to it.

Just in case you know nothing about me except what you read in my blog I suppose I should mention that since my last post we have more kids....well one more kid to be exact. Another full sibling of Maggie and Darla, named Mira. We got her in April, 2012 as a brand new infant. She's now 8 months old and a joy to behold.

The foster adoption process has the required steps of a waiting period to see if the parents are going to make any effort to get the child back, and also a time to see if any other blood relatives want to lay claim on the child in question. In this case we're actually considered the closest blood relation aside from the parents because we have two full siblings that have both the same birth mother and birth father, so we waited for the time to lapse, and last month it finally did.

On a Tuesday in November we went to court for the termination of parental rights, what is referred to by social workers as a "2-6" hearing, where the permanency of the child is determined after parents rights are terminated. Our county social worker, Nora, had told us that the birth father had been recently incarcerated so was actually likely to show up by prison transport. This is not uncommon, for the 2-6 hearings for both Maggie and Darla, the parents arrived by prison transport, wearing full prison attire : orange jumpsuits, shackles on both hands and connected to both feet, requiring them to shuffle while they walked, the sound of clinking chains against the hard court room floor accompanying every muffled shuffle step in prison issued soft plain tennis shoes.

This adoption case had differed up until now from the other two because the birth parents were not incarcerated, and as such the social workers were unable to locate or contact them. The state is getting a lot more relaxed towards felons of their non-violent nature, so, despite recurring parole violations, their reservations at the local prison hotel had become less frequent.

We were nervous to hear that ONLY the birth father had been incarcerated and would be in attendance. Previously, at the 2-6 hearing for Darla, it was the birth mother who talked the birth father out of contesting the termination of rights, so that our adoption could move ahead sooner. The mere act of 'contesting' the termination of rights, drags the whole thing out longer, often another six months or longer, she had saved us that time in limbo, so that we could move forward with the adoption. But knowing that only the birth father would be present, we were almost certain he would contest the termination, as he had (or at least had come with the intention to) both times previously.

While sitting on hard benches in the hallway outside the courtroom, waiting our time with the judge, my mind wandered. I thought of the last time I'd seen the birth father (whom I'll refer to as JD, though that is not his real name). It was when baby Mira, this sweet innocent child involved in this case was first born. She was in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) because she had been premature and exposed to some drugs and an infection from the birth mother (KG, again, not the birth mother's real name).

As soon as we'd been told about Mira, and that she'd be getting placed with us we started going to see her at the NICU everyday, as we would if any of our other children were in the hospital, doing our best to spend every moment possible there with her.  KG and JD had visited Mira once after I'd left the hospital. The took the stack of pictures I'd left for them, the nurse had said KG, birth mom, was happy to see them. It made me realize I was actually a little bit sad that I'd missed them when they came, I would love to talk to them, to hug KG and tell her what beautiful daughters she had given us, and to just get to know them a little bit, to have something to say to my children about her when they're old enough to ask. Myself or my husband visited the baby daily and one day when I arrived, the nurse asked me not to come in, as the birth parents were there. Shocking since they'd only seen her one other time in the 9 days she'd been there already, and we'd visited her every single day since we were told of her existence. I mentioned to the nurse that I'd appreciate if she could just mention to them that I was there, and that I'd love to have a chance to talk to them if they'd allow it. The nurse told me that was unlikely and shooed me away. I felt hurt to be sent away from a child I'd already grown attached to, but I left.

I was down in the parking lot getting in my car to leave when my cell phone rang. The nurses voice was filled with excitement, "I told them you were here and they immediately said they'd love to see you!!" Apparently this was simply unheard of around there. This is a hospital that gets a lot of drug babies who are removed from parental custody and the birth parents never want to even see the foster parents.

I rushed back up to the NICU and walked nervously into Mira's room. KG sat holding Mira, she looked clean and content holding this precious little baby. JD on the other hand, looked at me with contempt, as if his arch nemesis had entered the room and he sized me up before deciding what he would say to me. KG greeted me with a smile, after our meeting in the courtroom only a year before, we had a bond, and we both knew it. We shared a bond of motherhood, and even a sense of family, as a part of my family is also a part of hers. I teared up a little bit seeing her there, for the first time not in a court room, not in prison issued clothes and hand restraints. I saw her as a mother, holding her baby, holding my baby. It was a difficult silence after a brief introduction. We began small talk about the pictures I'd left for them, KG had already cut one to size to keep in her wallet. It wasn't an individual shot of Maggie or Darla, it was our family picture, all in white, in front of the Sacramento Temple, when Darla had been sealed to our family.

"This picture looks like a perfect family," she said, "Where did you take it?"

I told her a bit about our beliefs, that families can be together forever and that once adopted, taking the child to the temple to be sealed to us was the final step. She leaned closer to me, and with a big smile, defining her under bite she said with confidence, "I can't wait to see the one with this little baby all in white outside that temple wit your whole family." She leaned the baby towards me and asked me to hold her while she stepped out to use the restroom.

There I sat holding a tiny 4 and a half pound Mira, alone with birth father, JD. \

"Now that (KD)'s out of the room I wanna tell you, " he started abruptly, "we're gonna get this baby back." My heart sank a little bit, but at the same time a piece of me was excited for the thought that they could clean up their lives. He went on an on about this job and that training and things that sounded good, but until any of them were in place it was all up in the air. Every so often he'd say something like, "I know you aint bad or nothin, and you are the momma of those other two girls we had, but you aint her momma, (KD) is." For some reason he had his heart set on getting this baby back....for KD, he hated seeing how much it broke her heart to leave the hospital without the baby, and he was determined to get her this one. I had to admire the guy, if good intentions were cash he'd be rich. I found it easy to tell him how supportive I was of that plan. It was easy to say because it was the truth, I wanted only good things for them, I really did, so the idea that this might actually be the one they keep...I wanted to believe as much as JD did that it was possible. I explained to him that it was my joy to love and care for her while they did what was required of them, whatever that may be, but that I would hand her back with nothing but love if that was how it worked out. By the end of our short conversation he smiled at me, not longer did he see his enemy across from him, he saw his caring support team. It was a changing moment.

They weren't able to do what was required of them to even try to get baby Mira back, and now here we were, sitting outside the court room waiting for their rights to be terminated and be named and future adoptive parents....again.

They called our case and we went into the court room. Social workers sat at tables with lawyers, and the same judge who'd performed Darla's adoption sat at the front of the room. We stated our names and a knot formed in my stomach as I heard the clinking of chains coming from a side hallway. JD shuffled in and sat where he was told by the weapon clad bailiff. The judge pointed out that KG was unable to be located and wouldn't be in attendance, then proceeded with his monotone reading of why we were all there. "Termination of parental rights of KG and JD, birth parents of Mira. He turned to the attorney representing JD, "What is your client's statement?" This was it, the moment I'd feared, the moment I was sure he was going to say that his client wanted to contest....then the attorney stood up to speak.

"My client does NOT contest the termination, nor adoption of the child."

What? Did he really just say that?! Both my husband and I looked over to JD, as if to verify if that was really what he'd meant to be said on his behalf. His face beamed as the hugest smile imaginable on a grown man spread from ear to ear. His hands shackled to his feet meant he could barely lift them from his lap, but he reached up as high as he could to wave a big silly wave to accompany the smile. All of a sudden, in that moment, he looked like a little child, a child excited to see good friends. "Hi you guys!!" he said, even though he really wasn't supposed to be talking to us. "How you been?!!" he continued. I couldn't help but smile, he was so happy to see us. The judge continued on with his hum drum reading of required statements about the right to appeal, JD asked his lawyer to state that he didn't want to appeal. Another moment of relief for us. He grinned and waved again, then asked if we had any pictures.

How could I have forgotten to bring pictures??? I felt so awful that I hadn't brought pictures, the one gift I could give him, after this gift he'd given us, by agreeing to have his rights terminated. I remembered I had pictures on my phone from Halloween, and one in particular that was a great picture I thought he'd love. I pointed to my phone to tell him I had one there to show him. The judge was continuing to talk in the background and JD started poking his attorney, "Hey, HEY, she has pictures on her phone, can I see them??" The attorney told him to be quiet and wait until the judge was done. He sat impatiently, and when the judge finished and the bailiff came to walk him back to the prison transport the attorney asked the bailiff if I could show JD pictures on my phone.

The bailiff made all sorts of stipulations, "She has to stand back there, he can't touch the phone, she can only show him one picture," and so on. So I stood where I was told and showed him this picture of Mira as a lady bug on Halloween.

JD smiled, "Thank you so much Vera, you too Adam." For some reason it meant so much to me that he called us by name, you call close family by name, and to me, and now to him, we are all family. We called him by name when we said goodbye as the bailiff led him shuffling and chains clinking down the hallway.

My heart felt full of joy as the realization that the time I'd had to talk to JD in the NICU had really helped him know that we're just loving parents, not the enemy. And I've said before that I'll never have anything negative to tell my little black beauties about their birth parents, but this goes beyond that, I have great and wonderful things to tell them about a mother and a father who loved them so much, they were willing to let them go.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The open door

I bet you didn't know an open door could be the scariest sight in your life....but today it was for me.

It's funny that just yesterday I pointed out to my wonderful Husband, Adam, that if he didn't say goodbye to me in the morning, what if THAT were the day something happened to him and I didn't get that last chance to tell him I loved him?! (all this because I'm usually snoozzzzzzing when he leaves early in the morning) I'm always saying things like this, "what if THIS is the day something does happen?" That's why I (somewhat obsessively) remind my family I love them at every opportunity, never leave my car running if I'm not sitting in the driver seat, and always....always....ALWAYS make sure the doors in my house are locked. (or as today would prove...not always)

With a houseful of children, it is inevitable that someone is doing something they shouldn't while I'm not watching. This I am very aware of. I like that when I am in the kitchen the children all like to hang around the counter to watch what I'm doing and talk, however, it's a different story when...nature calls. Ahem. However, because that is an opportunity for a little peace and quiet I do enjoy the break even if it's just to use the facilities for a minute or two.

Today, during one of my rare potty breaks from motherhood, I heard the most dreaded phrase as Maggie walked out of the classroom. "Hey...the front door is open." Now, she didn't yell it, or scream it, or say it with fear, but thankfully I have excellent hearing and heard it down the hall through two closed doors (the master bedroom door and bathroom door) and I FELT the fear in that moment. I've never left a bathroom so fast in my life. I KNEW that my two little babies were the only ones wandering around at that time, I had seen them playing with toys in the hallway happily which is why I allowed myself a moment's peace in the bathroom, the older girls were doing school work in our classroom and Katie was upstairs watching a movie. The only ones who could have opened that door were 1 year old's Catcher and Darla. I came running down the hall toward the open front door pushing the older two girls aside without even looking to see if the babies were still in the house. In the milisecond it took me to run out to the front yard I wondered everything....EVERYTHING. What if they've gone different directions? What if they've been snatched by a stranger? What if they've been hit by a car? What if I can't find them?!!!!! All of this went through my mind as I ran out the door, but I never even stopped running, I saw them FOUR HOUSES DOWN THE STREET!! They were on the same side of the street at least. I ran so fast it was like an out of body experience wondering how on earth my body could possibly move through space so fast.

They stopped when they saw me running toward them, I feared they'd think it was a game and run away from me, thankfully they didn't. I scooped them up and carried them both together back to my still open front door. The weight of both of them together is over 40 pounds and the weight of them compounding the insanely fast sprint past four houses took it's toll a moment after safely arriving home. I shut, locked and latched the front door, and nearly collapsed on the floor. They both kept hugging me as the other kids stood in stunned silence. It was quite sometime before I got up.

Last night I had not checked that the door was latched when I went to bed. (and I always do)
This morning I did not check that the door was latched when I got the babies up, in case Adam might have gone out that way this morning, though he usually goes out through the garage (again I always check for that too)

Somehow, on the ONE day I was not careful to check for the door to be latched is the ONE day my babies decide to open it and venture out. I suppose I would never know if they'd tried this before, being that I always lock it.

I tell you this story not so that you can tell me what a horrible parent I am (although I'm certainly telling myself that right now) but so that you might learn that it truly is the one day you step away from the safeties in your life that terrible things can happen. I know that my babies wandering a few houses away might not seem terrible....but it so easily could have ended differently. So please, tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, because one day (tomorrow or 20 years from now) you won't have chances to and you don't want to regret that, and don't think that just because your child has never tried to do something, doesn't mean you should let your gaurd down assuming they never will.

I am writing this blog as the babies are napping, I may have to start wearing adult diapers just to keep my eye on them every second :) (for those of you who say let your child come in the bathroom with you, I would totally agree, if there weren't two of them...it's a whole different ball game...and ball games while going to the bathroom is exactly why I can't bring them in with me :)

Monday, November 14, 2011


Ok for anyone who hasn't figured it out, the last few posts were becasue my email got hacked. My email account had a contact for direct posting to my blog. If you're wondering why it took me so long to take care of, it was some serious drama with Yahoo and AT&T. I had a very old email account with "sbcglobal.net" at the end. It was created way back when I had AT&T and joined it with my yahoo account. So when I needed to log on and change my password, it had locked me out because of the obvious spam mail my account was sending out. So I couldn't just log in and take care of it. I tried to reset my password but everytime I did it kept telling me I had to it through AT&T because it wasn't just a yahoo account. But AT&T kept telling me I didn't have an account with them and they couldn't help me. It was eternally frustrating and I had to make several phone calls to different deparments at AT&T, i'm quite sure I talked to at least three representatives in India, before finally ending up with someone in Kentucky, who besides speaking worse English than the people in India, was at least able to reset my password. Password was reset and then changed by me to the most secure kind of password possible (according to several websites) and all the emails were deleted. Here are a few things I have learned that may help anyone who's been hacked especially if they have a yahoo/att account

>If you have a junk mail account, (which is basically what this account was, it used to be my main account but I switched to a new one and left this one dormant) DELETE ALL OF YOUR CONTACTS. I didn't even think of this until my father suggested it to me but if I'm not going to be using that email there isn't any need for the contacts, that's where the hacking problem comes in. Hackers look for dormant email accounts that aren't used but still have contacts for them to forward spam and viruses.

>A secure password! I thought my previous password was secure, it was 8 letters, plus two numbers and a symbol, which used to be considered secure. According to my research a more secure password consists of both capital and NON capital letters, with numbers and or symbols intermixed with the letters.

>If you have an old sbcglobal account and have this problem here is the direct phone number to fix it: 1-800-579-7861

Sorry for anyone who got those spam emails my account was sending out, Like I said, I've got it taken care of, it won't be coming from my email again, and to all the hackers out there....WHY??! Seriously, why?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Maggie's letter to the Tooth Fairy.

Maggie lost a tooth today! It's been lose for sometime and today at dinner she was saying it was soooo loose, I keep telling her to just grab it and pull it out, and at dinner she did! Her look of surprise upon seeing it out of her mouth was just perfect! Huge wide eyes and a giant smile, so adorable! She put her tooth under her pillow with a note to the tooth fairy,

Dear Tooth Fairy,
I want to keep my tooth to show my daddy. But can I still get money?
Love, Maggie

LOL isn't that so sweet?! She folded the note up and put it in the baggie with the tooth, hoping that in the morning the tooth will still be there...AND the money too! We'll have to wait and see....