Our little family

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

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....

It's about time for an update!

I haven't blogged in a while...blame it on my phone. I love my phone, I much prefer to facebook through my phone, however I hate to type on my phone, or any phone for that matter. I can't use my awesome touch typing skills on a small key pad. I prefer a full key pad for larger texts, such as blogs. Since using my phone for facebook I have neglected blogging as I am simply not on the Desk Top computer as much. Because as Elaine pointed out to me this week, I don't just have a phone, I get email on it, so that makes it a computer also....point taken.

So why am I finally subjugating myself to the uncomfortable chair in front of the computer to update my blog??? Because the Husband Man is gone, for a whole month, I know he checks the blog and it's a nice way to update him on how everything is. We talk to him on the phone daily, but that is mostly occupied by the children all trying to talk at once and me rushing off the phone to stop a baby from doing something dangerous, or breaking up a fight amongst the older girls. This is simply an easier way to keep The Husband Man apprised of life at home while he is away.

I think i spent more time worrying about how his time away would feel, than was necessary. I think the cause of that is the fact that we had a weeks vacation right before he left, we had a week to adjust to his 24/7 presence, it was wonderful. He let me sleep in, he put kids to bed, he cuddled babies while I cleaned (one of my greatest joys...cleaning without kids underfoot :) And the idea of going from one extreme of him around 24/7 to another of him being GONE for over a month, was a little scary. I was so enjoying the help that I'd forgotten how really well things can go on a daily basis. If he weren't gone to Texas (for K-9 training) he'd be working nights, I'd still be doing mornings with the kids (while he sleeps) and all day and then bedtime (when he's off at work) so it would have been similar but I would have gotten to see him a few hours in the middle of the day, AND I would have gotten three days off a week. That's going to be the kicker I think. Right now it is day two of his absence, almost day 3 by this hour, and so far it really isn't bad. It helps I have amazing friends, like Rachel Haskin who is always willing to watch my 5 kids, along with her 6 at a moments notice. How wonderful is that??? But so far, it's mostly life as normal, except cleaner, because instead of spending time with The Husband Man after the kids go to bed, I clean instead, to fill the void of time between their sleep and mine. Cleaning is so relaxing to me, when Adam is gone I simply CAN NOT sleep if the house isn't clean, it gives me a sense of peace. This is why I didn't sit down to blog until 11:00 at night, I was cleaning.

I know that it will probably get harder as time goes on without my usual days off, but I've found in life that even if you think things will get hard and you won't be able to mangage, you always do, because you have to. When we found out about Darla, the idea of a fifth child, especially while my fourth was only 6 months old, scared the heck out of both of us. It seemed impossible! But once she was here, it worked, because it had to. I think this time will feel the same way, it will work because there isn't any other option, i won't have three days off a week, and so I will keep working (yes mothering is work :)

I bought myself comfort food before Adam left, thinking I might need it, and wanting to have it onhand such the need arise. Strangely enough since Adam has been gone I have craved health food! I had gotten back into a few old habits of eating out (still don't touch french fries and much smaller portions, but fast food is still fast food!) for a little while, but for some reason it's like I flipped a switch. Maybe the junk food was because I was feeling lazy and that food fit laziness, but now there is not a moment in the day where it is possible to be lazy, so eating that way simply does not appeal to me. It proves to me that my earlier idea of cleaning when I felt the urge for junk food may have had some merit. It is laziness that leads to binging, business leads to actual thought of healthy food, not mindless eating. LIGHT BULB! I have maintained my lost weight surprisingly well considering my eating hasn't been the best, but I feel much better about my ability to maintain with this knowledge in mind. In all honesty I have gained back about 5-6 pounds, which is frustrating however it is where I was pre-reduction surgery, and my newer clothes still fit fine, so again, not too bad, considering the bulk of my weight was lost over six months ago. I still have about 10 pounds to go to feel a little more content, but somehow that last ten just doesn't want to go anywhere, maybe this month of healthier eating will help me step it up and finish what I started.

At first the thought of a whole month seemed so long, actually it's 34 days, the older girls helped me count the days (Daddy should be returning around Halloween) and we made a paper chain to count the days of Daddy's absence. I had two main things planned for the whole month, one weekend I'll be watching the Haskin kids fora few days (11 kids= fun and messes, but mostly fun :), and trying to plan a few activities to keep the kidlets entertained during that time. Then there is a wedding on the 22nd in Utah that I was planning to attend. I bought plane tickets, the kiss of death to all travel plans: reservations. My prearranged sitter for this trip had to cancel and i still haven't figured out what I'm going to do about the kids. But alas, two major events for the entire month, left a lot of time in between. However I've since had several offers for roadtrips to visit people, SEVERAL! I'm now trying to figure out where to fit everything in and this month suddenly feels a lot shorter! Factor in the addition of rehearsals for Elaine for Central West Ballet's Nutcracker, and my schedule got even crazier! I think I may not have a moment to stop this whole month, and that's a good thing, because it's those quiet moments where I miss my Husband Man the most. As of day two I am happy to report "All's well on the home front." We Miss you :)

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Cell Phone Saga

I don't know why, but sometimes there is just that one thing which by itself wouldn't have been a big deal, yet added on top of other things just really pushes one over the edge....enter the story of the cell phone.

I got new cell phone service with Verizon around six months ago, got a brand new smart phone, LG Vortex. LOVED IT! Service had been great, phone too, until all the sudden about a month ago it started to go a bit haywire, turning off and on several hundred times a day (no exaggeration) it would freeze up and no buttons would work, the thing was just crazy! It would let me answer some calls, but not retrieve voicemails. So I took it back to the place where I bought it, they check it all out, did a factory reset, which they had to do twice because it froze up during the first attempt. Even then it continued to do the same thing, turn itself off and on again and freeze up, sometimes it would delete all my contacts and sometimes it would bring them back, but not all of them. The store was very confused by it's strange behavoir. "Never seen anything like this," they tell me.."In most cases people bring their phone in claiming it's doing something wrong but by the time they get here it's working fine....this kind of behavoir for a phone is just downright unheard of."

So they call customer service tell them the whole deal and since it's still under warranty they say they'll send me out a "new" one. "How do you want to pay for the shipping?" the $30 shipping???? Are they crazy? It's their phone that went haywire, not something I did to it, and now I have to pay shipping to get the replacement when it's under warranty??? "Oh well if you don't want to pay then we can send it standard mail and it will get there in around 5 days." Fine, to avoid the shipping fee, I'll wait.
And Wait.
And Wait some more.

TWO WEEKS LATER!!! The stinking phone arrives, big box with just the shell of a phone, no battery and no back cover, supposed to take those from the old phone and put them in the new one, it's a "refurbished" phone. Fine, ok, whatever, if it works I don't care! So I put in the old batter and the old back cover, recover my contacts and photos from the old phone and it's working fine. I send back the old phone (or they'll charge me $500 for keeping it, despite it's being dead and all) And I begin enjoying my new phone, of course redownloading apps, but much less than I had before, trying to keep it simple.

One week later:
I was using my phone to play a game, a game I play often as a stress releiver (air traffic controller...somehow it's totally a relief landing those planes safely LOL) But it's getting late so I take the phone, checking it's battery power to see if it needs a charge, half full battery, should be fine. I head upstairs. I set the phone next to my bed on the table, where I always do, I lay down to sleep and I feel restless. I decided to check to see if it was my turn in "Words With Friends" and when I pick up the phone it is off...that's strange, i know I didn't turn it off. So I push the power button, nothing. I remove the battery and replace it and try again, still nothing. That's very strange considering how much batter i KNEW it had. But I plug it in anyway, hoping it will feel more cooperative in the morning.

This morning, nope, still a dead phone. After church I took it into the wireless store again, they try all they can to power on the darn little thing and still...nothing. Not even sound, at least that would mean the screen was the broken part and that would be something, but nope, nothing. Dead phone. "I've never seen anything like this, for a phone to just be....dead." Seriously? SERIOUSLY???? Again?! So my last phone went crazy and this one went dead...AFTER A WEEK!!! I cannot believe this. So here we go with customer service again, but this time I talk to them instead of the clerk, i tell them the WHOLE story, and they say "I know how you feel ma'am" No you don't..your phone works! "We'll get you a new phone right away?" What in another two weeks...cause NO WAY I'm paying shipping! "Oh no it should be there within five days...." I've heard this line before. I ask, 'are you sending me a refurbished phone??'....silence on the other end. "Uh well, that is usually what we do...but..." 'BUT YOU BETTER SEND ME SOMETHING THAT ISN'T GOING TO DIE ON ME!!' (No I didn't shout, the caps are for you to feel the intense frustration I was feeling at the time.) "I'll put a note in here for them to send you a newer one." 'Newer' what is that supposed to mean? I think I was emitting steam from my hot head by this time.

The cell phone was the straw, and I am the camel, and my back has just broken. I am beyond words for frustration (although this is my greatest attempt to put words to the said frustration) and I'm trying to figure out why the stupid cell phone saga is making me so mad, I mean honestly it's not living without a cell phone, as frustrating as that is I really don't think I use it all that much (except for words with friends of course) I think it's just the feeling like I've been let down by the 'customer service' twice now. That to me is the biggest flaw in Verizon, i mean yes the people speak english and they get big props for that, but the fact that all they can do is take two weeks to send me a phone that then only lasts a week before I'm forced to go through all of this again...it's just insane! All I know is I feel like crying, over my stupid dead phone drama, I never thought I would have missed my phone that went insane, but at least it worked...once in a while, all I can do now is stare at the blank screen of a device that has let me down. It is very frustrating, I already have missed voicemails, but they didn't leave a number because it would have shown up on caller Id or at least been in my phone book, so to anyone who is or has tried to call me, I won't be calling you back anytime soon, maybe in five days....yeah right.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My hearing is fine, it's my listening that needs work!

This post was just about to be an ad for a lost dog.

Kolohe, our older dog (not to be confused with Scooter, our boxer puppy) was missing when we got home late from the temple tonight. Kolohe does not like to be outside at dark, she sleeps indoors and starts to get anxious if she can't come in once she knows the kids have gone to bed. (don't ask me how she knows when that is, but inevitably she is whining at the door minutes after they've gone to bed) So apparently when we didn't get home until 11:30, she got so upset she tore her way through our fence. Left a lovely hole in the bottom of it, a whole big enough for our other dog to escape through, however that wonderful well behaved puppy apparently had no desire to, as he was still hanging out in the yard.

Now normally when Kolohe gets out (this is a recurring issue, ever since puppy-dom) she likes to wander down a few houses and sniff around and comes back, if we're not home when this happens she usually hangs out near Adam's police car, it's a familiar scent (train dust has a unique smell to her I think). Kid's in our old neighborhood used to ask if she was his police dog, cause she'd just hang out by it just waiting. The reason she is so familiar with his police car is that in her younger days of escaping, the only way we could get her to come home was if Adam went in a car and picked her up as she loves car rides. And his police car wasn't upholstry we cared about so picking her up in that was easier. Then it just became the car he used because he knew she knew it so well, it looked and smelled so much different from street cars in the neighborhood.

The moment Adam told me she was missing I felt strangely calm, normally that's the kind of thing that would freak me out, I would instantly imagine life without her and how sad that would be. But for some reason I didn't feel that at all. Adam got in his police car to go look for her. I stood out on the lawn listening in my quiet neighborhood for sounds of a dog sniffing around in the dark, but no such sound came. I turned around and looked at my house and had a thought, maybe she is trapped somewhere, like behind the shed in the backyard or something, so I should go check the yard again. I went through the front door and into the house, I looked for a moment at the garage door, a passing thought of going through the garage and out the side door to the yard, but instead went to the sliding door to the backyard. I looked all around, played with Scooter for a few minutes and figured I should go back in, as she was obviously not out here. I could go back in through the side door into the garage and into the house that way, but instead I went back through the sliding door again. Adam still wasn't back yet, feeling helpless I decided to walk back outside and wait for him, I could go through the garage and open the large garage door to get to the front yard, but instead I went through the front door. I called her name a few times, listening for rustling or other dog noises in response, but nothing. Adam wasn't back yet so I walked back into the house, glancing in the direction of the garage, thinking, I could have gone in that way if I'd come out that way.

I headed upstairs, I suppose it's time to make a missing dog ad, I thought to myself, still not really believeing that's what I was coming upstairs to do. I sat down and started blogging about our day at the temple, not really believing the day had all been so wonderful yet ended so badly. As I blogged I heard Adam come home, one car door shut, not two (Kolohe usually rides in the back seat). That meant he was alone, I heard him come through the front door, I stopped typing to listen for the clicking of dog paws on our tile floor....nothing. No Kolohe.

Adam had noticed the garage light was on (we have windows in the top panel of our garage door) when he came home, it has a motion sensor on it, but if it's still on more than 5 minutes after we've been out of the garage then someone likely flipped the switch on and he decided to go turn it off. When he opened the door to the garage, Kolohe came walking in, as if she had just been hanging out in there waiting for someone to open the door and let her into the house. Waiting....in the garage. I'd had that thought several times, first the thought that she was trapped somewhere, then the thought several times to go through the garage to get to the yard and even to go through the garage to go back into the house. I'd heard these thoughts everytime they were placed in my head, but I didn't listen to them a single time. But Adam, the first time he had the thought, go switch off the light in the garage (even though it's on a timer and would usually go off by itself) he did, and there was the dog. Strange how sometimes I hear the promptings loud and clear, the answers to my problems and questions spoken in my own voice in my ear, and I just don't listen. Everytime something like this happens I vow to never let it happen again, somehow it usually does eventually, but maybe blogging about it for the whole world to see (or at least the 10 or 12 followers I have) will help me to learn from my mistakes.

It's not enough to pray for answers, even quiet unspoken, only spiritually uttered prayers. It's just as important to listen and act on the answers recieved. I should have known from the instant calmness I felt at finding out she was gone that the answer was available to me, if only I would listen.

Families Can Be Together Forever.

Today was an AMAZING day. Darla Deanne Hoskins was sealed to our family for time and all eternity at the Sacramento, CA Temple. The picture above is the Sacramento Temple. We got to town early so that we could stop in at the church bookstore and pick up a few inspirational books and cd's. The kids LOVED that store and didn't want to leave, they thought all the books with pictures of Christ on them and lessons about church in them looked like the best books ever. I think we may have to venture there more often. Then we were at the temple an hour early to take family portraits. I knew of a photographer who lived in the Sacramento area and asked if she could do a photo session for us so that I didn't have to worry about family getting there early to take pictures and we could do it before going in and before all the crankies were likely to set in. She was excited and did a wonderful job for an amazing price! Pictures will be available in a few weeks, and I'm hoping for something frame worthy of a family picture, seems all our family pictures of late have been with all the kids moving in different directions. Here's hoping!

Then when we went inside there was such a sense of peace just walking in the door, I love that feeling about the Temple. The temple is a reverent place, and whispering is really preferred and so of course with little babies I wondered how quiet they would be. Darla is loudest when she's happy and Catcher I knew was tired and that was going to lead to some serious crankiness. Adam and I had to do paperwork and get ready so the children were left in the care of a few temple matrons and family who had arrived early. Apparently Catcher was just inconsoleable so they brought him into the bride's room because it's rather sealed off in the middle of the temple and a crying baby wouldn't be as likely to disturb others in there. So when I came in all dressed, he just wanted me, normally this kid is Daddy's little shadow, but since I was there, he wanted me. He was pretty happy with me around but when it came time to seperate again, he started to cry....loudly. But what had to be done had to be done so we sent him off with a Grandma while I met up with my Husband Man to have a quiet prayer together before hand. I prayed for peace, for myself and my children, that the spirit might calm them all, so that the time could be enjoyed by all in attendance.

When we went into the sealing room and our friends and family were there, it was just beautiful, and then the moment came, bringing in the children. Each of them had a sweet smile like I've never seen, glowing from the inside out like sunshine from their glimmering eyes. Catcher was carried by a temple matron a woman he was unfamiliar with and yet, despite being in a room full of family he knew, he remained perfectly content in her arms, not whining to go to someone more comforting and familiar. It was obvious my prayer was answered.

The sealing is a short prayer pronounced as Adam and I hold hands and Darla's hand is placed atop of our hands. Adam's sister, Amanda, held Darla's little hand in place and I looked at my Husband's face and then we both looked at little Darla. She stared into Adam's eyes, not with fear, or concern for the strangeness of being held this way, but with peace. The calmness in her spirit was manifest in her stillness as the prayer was said, the gentle way she looked into our faces, a gentle smile the whole time. And then in only a minute, she became our fifth child, not just for the time of our lives on this Earth, but for the Eternities of Heaven's everlasting glory.

Outside the temple the children of our friend's and family waited, cousin's hugged with joyous laughter and children danced about amongst the fountains and gorgeous plantings outside the temple. It was near 7pm at this time and we decided to head out for dinner with a few close friends and family. Including children and babies, this was a party of around 32 people, thanks to Cattleman's restaurant for accomodating us on such short notice! It still took a while to get served our food but I think everyone had a great time, I know I did. Catcher was tired and a little cranky but as far as cranky goes, his behavior was quite handleable. And how did the star of the day, little Darla do? That sweet girl must have hit a second wind around 7:30, she laughed and giggled and played her way through dinner until we left some time around 9:00ish, she really is a joy!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Life as we know it

Today I went through my normal morning routine. Got the babies their bottles, fed the big kids breakfast and then retrieved the babies from upstairs to come have their breakfast. Somewhere in there I found a moment to take a few bites of my cereal. After breakfast we all stayed in our pj's for a bit and adjourned to the living room. The babies played on the floor, happilly sharing toys and giggles, the big girls read stories and serranaded the babies with primary songs. I sat on the couch cozy with one or another child on my lap at any given time, and enjoyed two hours of pure bliss. I sat there for the whole time in awe of these beautiful blessings in our lives. These children who each have their own unique personality and gifts to bring to the family, they are all ours (well soon to be ALL ours.)

Darla: She will officially be ours as of July 1, 2011 (8:15am). We've signed the adoptive placement forms so she is in adoptive custody and will be in permanent family placement as of our final court signing on July 1st. She is starting to crawl, mostly in an army crawl fashion, dragging herself with her arms, but she certainly gets where she wants to go! She smiles constantly, nearly every second she is awake she is happy. Darla has FINALLY discovered the joys of eating! The kid wouldn't swallow anything that wasn't a bottle until just recently and now she can't get enough of the real stuff! Currently she LOVES sausage for some strange reason, it was hillarious watching her eat it for the first time, grinned everytime it was in her mouth. She is about to be 9 months old and has a mouth full of 8 teeth that she shows off with all her happy smiles. Here are a few recent pictures of her:

Catcher: Our handsome little Catcher Man, or "The Baby Man," as he is often called (the younger version of "The Husband Man,") is now 15 and a half months old. He walks (finally) and climbs up on things. He is known for his snuggling and kind nature....as well as his slight obsession for cleaning and organizing. His mood is often indicative of the state of the room he is in, in a messy room he is often fussy and upset for what appears to be no reason, however after a few moments of clean up he turns into a happy happy boy. He loves neatness and order, hates to have messy hands and if I am feeding him with a spoon he freaks if food gets ON his lips or chin, he likes things clean, and that's fine by me!! He is an amazing big brother to little D and likes to share toys with her. current favorite toy? Sunglasses, on again, off again... Here are a few pictures from his tiny days to remind you how much he's grown, the last is a recent picture of him with a "mona lisa" type smile, which perfectly tipifies his gentle nature:

(this picture is also a good representation of myself before weight loss as well)

Katie: "Katie Kat" is the typical middle child, combined with the typical 3 year old...all rolled into a cute and sweet little package that makes it hard to be mad when she can be so frustrating! That being said, the tough side is opposite of her 'oh so sweet' side which loves to sing songs and make up stories and has the imagination of ten children combined. A few days ago in the car I heard her playing, acting out some kind of story between two characters, I looked back to see what toys she was playing with, and she had none. Each of her hands was a character, and later a foot was added to the show which made it quite interesting. While easy to anger and frustration (comes with the age) she is quick to laugh and giggle and be silly to make others feel happy. She loves the babies and is always trying to be helpful with them, she knows Catcher likes this clean so she'll often clean up around him just to make him smile. She loves to cuddle with anyone who'll let her and always has to have 'blankey' included in the snuggle. Her long blonde hair has gotten even longer and is near to being sat on her by own little bottom, she hopes to grow it as long as Rapunzel, which is of course because her favorite movie and character is Rapunzel from Tangled. Again here are some pictures of her, a few memorable young ones first:

Maggie: "Maggie May" is going to be turning 6 in August, which is also the same time as the anniversary of her adoption 4 years ago. She completely kindergarten this last year and is excited to start 1st grade in a homeschool program through a local charter school. Maggie excels at nearly anything physical, which is why she'll be getting to start up gymnastics again in the fall as well. She used to do it a few years ago and was getting good at it but during my pregnancy with Catcher we had to drop it for a while to simplify things but we are excited to be starting it again for her soon. Maggie loves being a big sister and enjoys helping mommy, espcially with sweeping which she has become quite good at. At least twice a week she volunteers to sweep the whole bottom floor of the house, which is no small task considering the nearly 1300 square feet of the bottom floor are all either tile or wood, aside from a small rug in the livingroom. We got a new dog a few months ago and Maggie's animal skills have continued to amaze us. She has what I call "Animal Charisma"....animals are drawn to her and will listen to her and obey her commands quite well for such a small child. we look forward to seeing this talent grow as she does. Here are some pictures of her, the first is of the day we got her, at 6 weeks old still only weighed just over 6 pounds, this is my mom holding her, then a few more of her leading up to a current picture of our Magdalena May:

Elaine: "Lainey Bug" is 7 and still...of course....loves ballet. She just finished her fourth year of ballet and third recital with Juline School of Dance in Modesto. Elaine is ecstatic about the opportunity to try out for Central West Ballet's production of "The Nutcracker" this holiday season, she has dreamed of being in a 'real' ballet for as long as she knew they existed. She keeps hoping if she practices hard enough she'll get to be the sugar plum fairy, while trying not to totally burst her bubble I had to remind her that it is a part for older girls who have been on pointe for years and that she'll have an opportunity to try out for that part in years to come, and she is NOW looking forward to being in it in any part she gets. She is, as ever, the sweet and gentle oldest child. She, like Catcher, likes things to be in a certain kind of order and does get frustrated with things (such as siblings) who upset that order, but all in all is quite easy going
and usually the first to compromise when it is needed (daily with this many kids!) As an oldest child I couldn't have asked for anything better than a sweet and loving example to the younger children as she is. I recently came across several old pictures, so here are a few of Elaine thru the years ending with the most recent:

(this was her 5th birthday party, with a REAL ballerina, a day she'll never forget)

Well I guess that only leaves The Husband Man and I (which makes me The Wonder Wife). For anyone who follows us thru facebook or anything, you are surely aware of my weight loss, but did you also know that The Husband Man lost even more than I did??! Seriously! Adam has lost 60 pounds and I have lost 50. We have found a healthy balance and maintenance plan that is working well for us. Losing weight together was so much easier than years of trying and failing alone. We celebrated our 10th anniversary last month and I am elated to say we are both the same size we were when we got married, i even tried on my wedding dress just for kicks and it totally fit! Which the kids loved, getting to see mommy as a princess again :)

I had a breast reduction following the completion of my weight loss, something I've wanted for years and finally was able to have, thanks to my insurance. That was the icing on the fat free weight loss cake! It made my weight loss seem so much more dramatic over night! it was a difficult adjustment for me at first but I healed quick and am back to normal life, as a new version of normal sets in. My dr told me after only 3 weeks post op that I looked nearly fully healed, like someone would at 6 weeks out, apparently I healed twice as fast as the average person...hence my title, Wonder Wife!

The Husband Man continues to work as a Police Officer (official title of Senior Special Agent) with Union Pacific Railroad, he takes his work very serious and we are so glad he's out there keeping things a little safer for everyone. This job has been a blessing for our family in so many ways and we are looking forward to many more years to come with the comapany.

Life as we know it is busy and beautiful, stressful and superb, wild and wonderful.... When I look back at what just the last year alone has brought, it only makes me sit in wonder as to what amazing blessings the Lord has in store for our family, through miraculous and sometimes unimaginable means....

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The things they don't tell you....

****Warning, this blog is about my breast reduction surgery, NO it IS NOT graphic in nature at all, but you should know the topic incase you're uncomfortable with it, this is my life and these are the things I'm going thru and here's what I have to say about it*****

Why is it I keep coming across times in my life where I suddenly realize, there is a LOT "they" never told me about this. For example I remember when i graduated from high school, i did NOT know my diploma wouldn't be in the nifty little diploma holder they gave me when i crossed the stage, why didn't anybody tell me that before? And when I got married, why didn't anyone tell me that despite looking like a princess all day, i was so uncomfortable in my dress and veil and super-armored underwear that i spent the whole day looking forward to ripping it off and never wearing it again (my husband probably did too but for slightly different reasons). Seriously, the whole time i was getting ready for my wedding, nobody bothered to mention that? And when i got pregnant and did the math and realized pregnancy is more like 10 months...not 9, 40 weeks, that's 10 months, not 9. All the women out there having children and not one could spare the time to prepare me for that one? (my babies were all born early anyway so why should i complain eh?!) But the point of this whole thing is the amount of information NO ONE told me before having a breast reduction. SOOOOO if you're thinking at all of ever having it done, or know someone who might, or even someone who might consider any kind of radical alteration to their appearance, then read on my friends....read on. (if not feel free to stop reading here :)

My doctor never saw me for more than five minutes at each of my pre-surgery appointments, told me what the surgery entailed, asked if i was serious and ready, and that was it. I read all the information made available to me by Kaiser, which consisted of a pre-surgery (generic to most kinds of surgery) information sheet of what not to wear on surgery day and so on, as well as post-op care information (again rather general to all surgery) how to change a dressing, and take meds and relax. That was literally ALL that was made available to me. Now on Facebook i had taken every opportunity to update about my surgery, and all along the way I had several people privately message me to say that they'd had the surgery or known someone else who had and that (and I quote from EVERY person who messaged me about it) "it was the best thing I ever did!!!" So at this point i was excited, people with experience were that happy with it, than i would be too...right?!

On the day of the surgery i found myself worrying i wouldn't like the results, what if they made me feel fatter because as a comparison the rest of my body didn't appear so small now that there weren't two giant bolders on my chest to compare them to? and religiously, was it right to be changing the body God gave me? It all began to hit me that morning, and i began to almost look for reasons not to go thru with it. I actually am not terribly afraid of surgery, i've had several in the past, knee surgeries, tonsils out and of course the three c-sections, so it wasn't really the surgery i was worried about, just the results of it. Again all i got from people were confirmation that i would be so glad when it was done, and even when i prayed i had a sense of peace so i knew it was the right thing to do....so i had went ahead with the breast reduction surgery.

As with all surgeries, my part was easy, i went to sleep and in the blink of an eye woke up and it was done. It's somewhat disconcerting to wake up in what felt like a second and realize HOURS have passed, and my whole body was altered. I had a HUGE bandage on so i really didn't feel much smaller at that point, which of course made me worry that they didn't take enough off. That fear went away the next day at my appointment when the bandage was removed and i saw my new self for the first time....

After years of looking down and seeing nothing but the top of my large chest, i looked down and felt like there was no longer ANY chest, none at all. My new chest was so swollen and tight against my body that i honestly felt like i had NO breasts at all!! I cried, i began to feel i'd made a huge and awful mistake. Thus began a downward spiral no one told me would happen. Everytime i looked down at myself i cried, I felt like my husband would no longer find me attractive, i honestly felt i looked like a man. What I saw didn't resemble breasts at all, mutilated pieces of meat were my exact thoughts on the matter. How could so many people have gone thru this and come out thinking it was the best decision they'd ever made and not stopped to mention a period of mourning the loss of your previous identity?? That's totally how I felt, I'd always been "that girl with the big boobs," not that I found this flattering or anything, but it's just who I was, for as long as I could remember, I mean I had to start wearing a bra in 4th grade, despite being stick thin everywhere else, and by 8th grade i was a DD! I did not realize how much of my personally percieved identity was wrapped up in my overly large bust. I cried for several days, over everything, over nothing, I felt depressed for the first time in my life. I had never gone thru post pardum depression with any of my babies, but my husband said that it was like i was going thru post-parting depression with the loss of my breasts, while humorous it very accurately described how I felt. It's like shopper's remorse, you buy something at the store, even though it's more than you meant to spend, and when you get home you just decide it wasn't worth that price and you take it back....only I couldn't take it back. All those people couldn't takea moment to tell me I might feel like this???? Or to tell me they wouldn't even resemble breasts at first???? At this point I was worried I would feel like this forever and they would look like that forever.

And then a breakthru came....

About a week after surgery Adam and I took the opportunity to go shopping while the older kids were at school, we broght the little ones with us and went to the StoneRidge Mall in Pleasanton. I tried on bra's for the first time to get an idea of what size I was. The pain during this week had been easy to deal with, I only took pain meds on the day of surgery and after that If I hurt I laid down, because my pain was near gone when i laid down on my back....again, no one told me i wouldn't be able to lay on my side after surgery. So by this time a lot of swelling had gone down and my breasts were beginning to outwardly (thru clothing) take on a more normal shape. Upon trying on SEVERAL bra's I found that my new size was happilly a D, which was exactly what I'd wanted, I guess I just didn't realize how much smaller a D was in comparison to my previous size I. It was like an instant change, now realizing i had what I wanted, and generally feeling better because I was shopping which is the ultimate cure-all for me , i left that mall with a new found freedom. I no longer feel depressed and am quite happy with the results, and went in to my next appointment a whole different person that I'd been the week before.

My doctor said I looked to be feeling better and asked how I felt about the results.

"Well, I am happy with the results NOW, but I have to tell you, last week I was quite depressed about the whole thing, I didn't like how small they were and I didn't realize how much of my personal identity I had attatched to my large chest."

"Oh yeah," he says," I could tell even before your surgery you were going to have that problem."

EXCUSE ME???!!!!!!!!! He spent all of five minutes with me at each appointment, (2 total before surgery) and in that time he could tell this about me? Ok that is totally possible, but if it was true, why didn't he tell me???? SERIOUSLY!! I mean if you think i have the potential for depression after surgery, you don't think there's something you can do, but at least bringing up the topic during an appointment, letting me know i might feel this way, and what to do about it, or how long it could last...or for heaven's sake give me some reading literature on the topic!!! I was so infuriated by the non-challant attitude that it was just something I would have to deal with, and since I was better now why did it matter? You want to know why it matters, and why I'm telling everyone this?! Because during those days, I felt like the only person on the planet who'd had this surgery and was unhappy with it, during that time i felt so alone (which does not help when you're already depressed) because everyone else said "it was the best choice i ever made!"

Now it has been over two weeks since my surgery and honestly at this point I can say "it was the best choice I've ever made," as well, but if I were really telling someone who was considering this surgery, i would not forget to mention that it's a HUGE adjustment to change that drastically in a matter of hours, or what to me felt like the blink of an eye. It will take a serious period of getting used to the way you move and the way clothes fit and the way you look when all is said and done. And being confident in yourself when your a whole new self is a little hard to come by in the beginning. And that all of that....is OK, and normal. That's the main thing I wish someone would have told me, that feeling that way, is normal, and that it will pass.

I won't apologize for the bluntness of my blog on this subject, as you were forewarned and if you chose to read this far that's your own fault, but I would like to say that I hope more of us take the time to be honest, to be truly honest with our answers to all questions, because sometimes people ask those questions looking for the whole answer, not just the 'right' one.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Surgery....and other thoughts.

Tomorrow I'm finally having the breast reduction I have wanted for as long as I can remember. When I was in 8th grade I already wore a DD, maybe this is too personal to be telling people on the internet, but it is the truth. I had told the Husband Man way back when we first got married (10 years ago) that I was wanting to get this done someday. He was very supportive. Secretly I think he's ok with he because he knows I'll be able to buy less expensive bras. haha! Seriously, the bras I have to special order in size "I" cost a lot more than those in "normal" sizes which can be bought in stores ranging from Victoria's Secret all the way down to Wal Mart.

I'm nervous about the surgery for a few reasons. First of all, I hate not knowing how much i'm going to hurt afterward. People who have surgery because something is wrong are usually in more pain before then they are after. In my case it's hard to know that despite my abnormally large chest and the daily back and shoulder pain, I'm going to go from healthy/painless, to drugged and in pain. And of course the obvious other reason to be nervous about the surgery..."Will I like they way they look when it's done????" LOL, stupid I know, but seriously I'm worried about not liking my chest being smaller, I've had 31 years to be used to my larger chest, and overnight I'll have a whole new body to get used to. My dr said that the mass which was seen on the mammogram doesn't worry him in the least, it's an area that was going to get removed anyway and in his professional opinion it didn't "look" cancerous, because it was small and localized. So I'm going to take his calmness as a sign to not worry about that part.

It's funny though the mixed emotions I'm feeling. Part of me feels so accomplished because I have worked several months to lose enough weight to qualify for this, and it's great to reach your goal. But then there's a part of me that feels guilty for getting something like this done, like it's frivolous. I should feel less guilty about that considering my medical insurance doesn't deam it frivolous or they wouldn't pay. They look at the large size and know that means years ahead of back/shoulder pain and they'd rather pay for one surgery than years of pain meds and other additional related problems. Then of course that leads me to my next thought, does that mean they'll pay for a tummy tuck too? LOL I had three c-sections and recently lost a lot of weight, the amount of skin in my midsection is the only thing keeping me a size 12 instead of a 10 or less. But then maybe that's pushing frivolous to the limit. God gave me this body and it's up to me to do my best by it, and strangely when i think of it that way it feels like the tummy tuck is the better way to do that than the breast reduction haha, I mean the chest is the one he gave me, the belly is the one the dr's cutting the baby out of me gave me....Just the random thoughts of a soon to be normal sized woman.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

10 years

10 years ago I was just a child getting ready to say "I Do"...

9 years ago we had already moved 3 times in a year, but were in love no matter where we lived....

8 years ago we were about to get the news that would change us forever, a baby to love...

7 years ago, the long and scary road of a near fatal pregnancy was past, and we took our tiny baby to the beach to celebrate...

6 years ago, forms were filled out, we had decided to do foster care, and put our lives in God's hands...

5 years ago, our family had grown, Lena was our newest little joy, and her journey with us had only just begun...

4 years ago, Lena became Magdalena but not yet officially, would this adoption ever be final?....

3 years ago, Maggie was ours and God had blessed us to be able to have Katie, while the gestation was uneventful, we nearly lost her a few weeks later, but God blessed us again and saved her precious life...

2 years ago, Were we crazy to try again? Why not! could we really be wanting 4 kids? And could we possible get a boy?....

1 year ago, Catcher saved himself from an extremely premature birth with his soccer skills on my kidney stone, Daddy's only son had arrived at 32 weeks instead of 28!...

Today....today, We look at our family of FIVE kids in awe, little Darla our newest addition is the blessing we never would have thought to ask for but couldn't imagine living without. And everyday I get to wake up to the man who makes each day possible, doable, and wonderful...my Husband Man... THE Husband Man. Happy 10 years Adam, I love you <3

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A New Direction

Do you ever feel like the Universe (a.k.a. GOD!) is pointing you in a new direction? I went to Time Out for Women this weekend and was inspired in SOOOO many ways. The theme of the weekend was "Choose To Become..." Everyone is on a journey to become something, no two journeys the same. But we all have to get there somehow. A lot of the speakers talked about how to enjoy the journey and what steps are necessary to get started on your journey, and nearly every speaker asked if we'd figured out our "Become" yet....what was I going to choose to become? Becoming a better mother has been on my list for many years now, but I felt like i needed to think of something to add to that, something that might maybe have a finish line some day. I'll never FINISH being a mother, i felt like i needed to set a goal, one that i could actually see acheiving some day. I started to go back to old goals I'd set decades ago for myself, goals I'd set aside as life happened. One specific goal came to mind over and over again. Writing. More specifically, writing a book. This is something I've started countless times and for one reason or another given up....lost the passion i had when i started. Every idea i've had seemed so perfect at first, and then i began to doubt myself and wonder if it was even worth the effort of writing, and the project got set aside, never to be touched again....until now. It seems like all the sudden writing ideas are coming from everything, so many i don't know where to start, but i know i WILL. I've been reading blogs about writing, and even came across a link to famous writers "writing shacks" tiny shacks where these people went to escape life and just write. I think I may need one of those someday :) I'm praying for God to give me a direction on my writing, this is a talent that came from Him and I would like to put it to the use that He sees best. I'm looking forward to this new chapter in life, literally :) Posting about it on my blog makes it feel more real, more concrete, like I'm accountable to you to actually do this, because I know at some point several months from now one of you is going to ask...."How's that book coming?" and I hope to have a better answer then, "nothing yet...." because if you asked me now that would be my answer. Ask me later, I'll have a better answer....

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Family Update, April 2011.

I've been posting a lot on my weight loss blog lately instead of here, because most of what I have had to say has been about my weight loss. But time for a little cross over. I am now at a whopping 40 pounds lost....sometimes I still can't believe it. The weight loss is slower at this point but still moving, I would like to lose another 15-20 pounds, I can't believe that's all I have left when in the beginning that number of 60 pounds sounded soooo far away! I am so close to being under 200, that is my short term goal....long term of course is the 15 or 20 pounds, but it's important to have those short term goals that as you acheive keep you moving towards the long term ones. I look forward to stepping on the scale in the next week or so and seeing 199....oh that will be a glorious day haha! Anyway... The point of starting all of this weight loss was to be able to qualify to get my breasts reduced and I'm very proud to announce that I have SURPASSED that goal! My breast reduction is scheduled for mid May! yes!! As for the rest of the family, starting from the youngest: "Darla D." is now 6 months old. She is just about the happiest baby ever, and such a sweet sweet baby too. She pretty much is happy as long as somebody (brother, sister, mommy, daddy, stranger) is near by that she can smile at, and boy when she's happy, you might need ear plugs! She is so squeally these days, she is so excited for life....and her toes, her new favorite play thing lol. Still not really figuring out the eating thing yet, but Catcher didn't eat baby food until around 7 months, so I'm not terribly worried. But she LOVES her bottles! Sometimes if I need a few minutes, I just put her in the high chair and point her towards Catcher while he's in his high chair eating, and they'll keep each other entertained for as long as I need! They really are going to grow up thinking their mismatched twins! As for her adoption...her parent's rights were terminated in February, their appeal period is up in a few weeks here in April, then two weeks after that they can request a court date for our adoption. As the request probably won't occur until the beginning of May, the date will likely not be until June. But what a wonderful experience it will be to finally be able to bless her at church and seal her to our family at the temple after her adoption....soooo can't wait for this!!! Speaking of that little Catcher Man.....

He just turned 13 months old. Little stubborn guy won't give up crawling yet, he can stand on his own and has even taken a step here or there, but is still sticking to that crawling mode of transportation, although our new puppy thinks that Catcher is a puppy too since he's crawling around on all fours, so as soon as he figures out that walking will literally get the dog "off his back" maybe he'll do that instead! I'm not in a rush though, all the other kids walked during their 13th month as well so he's par for the family course! He is nearly tied with Darla for happiest kid on the planet. He is just all smiles all the time, even when he cries he smiles, that's just not fair :) He loves to play and keeps himself entertained for hours at a time with the simplest toys. Right now it seems his favorite thing is putting things inside other things, he likes to dump out a bucket of toys just to put them all back in the bucket again and dump it again. Maybe I'll have another neat freak like Elaine! lol! As far as speech goes he's still just saying baby talk, but he sure thinks he's saying something cause he's talking a mile a minute in baby! He does try to sing along with the radio though, that is so cute. He is very caring and concerned for Darla, whenever she cries he is there giving her his toys in an effort to help...it really is so sweet!

"Katie Kat" turned 3 in February. She sometimes seems so much older, partially because she's so dang tall and partially because she just understands more than I remember the older kids did at this age. She knows how to add and count, knows her colors and understands more words and language than even the older kids do sometimes! She's a ham and a half and loves to play a part. We had some friends over a few weeks ago, she totally played the damsel in distress to a little boy just older than her and he played the rescuing prince to a Tee....too cute. She won't start kindergarten for still 2 and a half years, but sheesh she seems ready already! We're hoping to put her in a preschool in the fall if we can find one here in Patterson that isn't just a day care, we don't need a day care but she really wants to go to school already! She's a wonderful help with the babies and enjoys singing and talking on any subject. Don't believe everything she says though, she LOVES to make stuff up...thinks it's funny to watch people's reactions, I'm hoping this phase doesn't turn into a lying phase, for now it's just silly stories though. Since moving here she's matured quite a bit, before she didn't really play by herself much, but here in this house she has learned to appreciate that she can have her own space and play by herself and enjoy that time, it's helped me get a lot more done without her underfoot all the time.

Maggie May, is now 5 and a half and almost done with her first year of school, Kindergarten. She is doing very well in every subject and has even gotten an award for classroom leadership! We always knew she was a leader (not a follower) but I never realized it would become apparent as early as kindergarten! She still loves gymnastics but we've debated over whether to send her to a center here in Patterson that promotes gymnastics purely for use in cheerleading, or to keep her at the one in Modesto where she previously attended that encourages all areas of gymnastics for a more well rounded approach. Of course the closer one would be easier but I'm not sure if it's what she will want in the end or not. We'll decide over the summer and enroll her in one next year around September. Her love of animals continues to astonish me. She has always had a way of drawing animals to her that is so awe inspiring, seriously never seen anything like it. It's like she just understands them and they her, she's some kind of animal whisperer. From the day we brought Scooter (our new boxer puppy) home, he instantly adopted her. He will play with the other kids or even me or Adam, but if Maggie is in the room all wants is her attention. She's taken on the roll quite well and volunteers to clean up after him indoors and out, it's very wonderful! The addition of her sibling (Darla) hasn't seemed to bring up any more questions about where she comes from. She understands she is adopted and understands that this adorable baby came from the same place but has yet to truly put together exactly what "sibling" means. Someday she will and I hope she'll be glad to understand who Darla is to her.

Elaine is 7 years old now. Wow I can't believe how old that feels, I remember being that age! She is excelling in ALL areas of school and recieved an award for "Going above and beyond in ALL areas of education!" The teacher said they don't do student of the month but if they did she would have gotten it. She impressed her teacher from the moment she started at her new school here in Patterson. Her reading has really taken off this year and she can pretty much read anything with great fluidity. It's wonderful to see my children learning and growing, I remember worrying as a teenager whether or not I could ever be a good enough parent to teach my future kids all they would need to know. She is, as always, a wonderful older sister and great help to me. She often tells me that being an older sister is hard because she understands that her little sisters and brother are looking to her to be a good example and she worries about living up to that. Such worries at such a young age. She is still doing wonderful in ballet, and we are looking forward to her third recital with Juline School of Dance this summer in June. She is a level one this year after two years of "pre-ballet" and a year before that of jr ballet in a studio ran by a friend in her garage. Ballet has been her life and her passion since the age of 3, and it continues to be so today as well. When we went to Utah last year we toured the BYU Campus and she learned that they have a dance program there and has decided that is where she wants to go for college so that she can continue to take dance "forever." We will continue to encourage this of course :) but as often happens, children change their mind so we're watching for the possibility of that in the future as well. She enjoys singing and dancing and is looking forward to trying out for Central West Ballet's production of "The Nutcracker" in the fall....the start of many performance opportunities to come I'm sure.

I had all the girls in matching dresses (the first time since the arrival of Darla) for my aunt Jennifer's wedding, here's a picture of the cuteness :

And since I mentioned him several times here is a picture of Scooter our new boxer puppy. In case you're wondering his markings make him a "reverse brindle" he is very cute and sweet...the whole family has a case of puppy love! (with the possible exception of the cat who isn't so sure)

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

seeing forest thru the trees....

So there were several things today that frustrated me, but in the essence of the "big picture" i'd like to take a moment to focus on the things that made me smile today.

1. took the kids on a drive thru the hills today, which they (and I) LOVED.
2. Got my spot for Time Out for Women!!!
3. Elaine is finally getting better after her dual ear infection and respiratory infection...she was mostly normal today...and as a cherry on top -she's back to school tomorrow!
4. Catcher, while obviously not feeling well from teething, wanted to cuddle with me all day, and he patted my back the whole time he was hugging me...i love that.
5. Despite dragging all five kidlets with me to the dr's office for Darla, they all behaved like sweet angels...it was great. (darla is still sicky though...bleh...back to the big picture though!!)
6. Gave Darla and Catcher a bath together for the first time, Darla had to sit in her bumbo cause she still can't sit up unsupported yet...but they both LOVED IT!!
7. Maggie took her first shower!! This may not seem like a big deal but she used to be DEATHLY afraid of the shower. She would scream if she had to go anywhere near water falling down on her head or face. But since her hair was up in braids and she didn't have to get her head in the water she said she'd try it...that was very brave of her. She ended up really liking it and asking if she could take one everytime now instead of baths....halleluiah!!!
8. I've managed to keep up on the cleaning, despite coughing up a lung for days now....go me!!

You know after posting this I feel like today was a great day, before this I had felt like it had been a slightly crummy day, but after stopping to think of what made me smile today, it seems those are the only things i can remember now. You are what you...think. so think happy thoughts.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Building a family

I'm really starting to realize how strange I must appear to other people with my five kidlets. I'll go somewhere and just have them hanging off of me, two babies wanting to be held and katie hiding between my legs as she plays hide and go seek with Maggie who's on the other side of my legs and Elaine is kissing any baby she can get close to and often going back and forth between them. I am a one woman jungle gym with children hanging off in all directions.....and I love it :) Doesn't even phase me anymore that the kids do that, but dang if i don't get some weird looks sometimes LOL.

We went to help a friend pick out a wedding dress today, at a bridal store in sonora which happens to be owned by my step-mom's sister-in-law, and her daughter-in-law was helping us there and I got to talking to her about if she and her hubby were gonna have kids. I'm nosy and I can't help it, I look for ever opportunity i can to tell people who are wanting to have kids and struggling....about adoption, specifically adopting from the foster system. It's strange how little people know about this stuff. Everybody thinks of adoption when they're having trouble having a baby, especially when they don't know why they're having trouble so it's not like they can take a pill or have a surgery to fix it. They naturally think of the classic picture of adoption, couple pays big bucks to an agency and adopts foreign adorable baby....instant family, just add adoption papers and 10000 dollars. But let's face it, a young couple doesn't always have that kind of options, especially not in this economy. Almost NO ONE realizes that the foster system will PAY YOU to adopt a child....did YOU know that? Did you know that they'll pay you to love a child? They'll pay you to clothe and feed the child? Now maybe you might say, "i don't need to be paid to love a child" but too bad, they'll force the money into your hand just for loving that little helpless person. They'll pay you to love that child until it would no longer have been their responsibility, when the child turns 18. So if I bug you about if you're having kids and if you're wanting kids, please don't feel i'm just prying into your personal business, it's usually just that i want to share with more people how amazing adoption can be, especially when it doesn't have to be a money crunch either, in some cases it can even enable a mom to stay home who had to work before. If you are thinking, hmm this sounds interesting...how do i start? PLEASE message me on Facebook, or email me, I am happy to answer your questions, no matter what they are. I sound like a salesperson, but truth is this is just something i feel passionate about and hope that I can help someone else build the family they've wanted.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

No longer "For Rent"

When we bought this house with it's five bedrooms and over double the square footage of our old house we made one serious agreement we were not willing to go back on....That we would not walk away from our old house. We even wrote a whole letter to the lender stating that we were going to rent out the old house, because we could afford both houses (barely...but still) so there wasn't a "need" to walk away. Some people have choosen to walk away from older, smaller, more expensive mortgages, in view of the current downturn of the market. Most have HAD to walk away from those mortgages, but in either view, we were planning to be the exception to the norm. That made us stand out to the lenders and we were able to get the loan for this house in near record time. And now it's been nearly 4 months since we became the owners of 2 houses and still only one has been occuppied. In the beginning it was the holidays, then January it was because the friends who were helping us to prep the old house just didn't have as much free time as they'd thought, so the painting and repairs were dragging on and on. Finally in Febraury Adam decided to just fork out the money to pay professionals to do the work. The work was done mid-February, but still no renters. We'd posted ads for the rental as well as held several open houses. There was some luke-warm interest but no one seemed very serious.

Adam in the last few weeks had started to consider what it would be like to actually just let the house go, deed it back to the bank, or even short sale it, just to be rid of the burden. And while i suppose some part of me understood that, I just couldn't imagine going back on the statement we had made which was the main reason we were able to get this house....that we wouldn't just "walk away" from the other one. Everytime i reminded him of that, he agreed so we trudged forward. Everytime I prayed I felt that God's plan was not for us to go back on our word and to "have faith" God will provide away....it's hard hearing the same answer over and over with no results as yet....but we continued having open houses and placing ads.

Then at our last open house a young woman, single, working mother of two young boys came to an open house and was VERY interested. She stayed and filled out the application right then and there as well as paid me for her credit report right then as well. We also recieved another application that same day from a family down the street, the owner of the house they rented was letting it go to foreclosure and they needed to move out in a matter of weeks. We told everyone that day that we would be choosing someone the following monday so that they could move in by March 1st. (really not looking forward to another month of two full mortgage payments)

Out of the two apps we recieved we called references but were concerned about the actual number of people residing with the family from down the street, although she only listed four, we had seen for quite sometime that an additional daughter and friend had been living there as well. So we just the single mother, her job references were great, she had the money and we were glad to be helping her out. When I called to tell her we'd picked her she suddenly decided she couldn't move in until March 15th (I'm assuming that meant money problem...needed another pay check before she could afford to move in) we agreed that if she wanted us to wait that long she was at least going to have to put down the FULL deposit amount for us to hold it that long, because we could rent to the people down the street and get a full month's rent to begin with. She agreed to pay the full deposit and meet us at the house on Saturday at 11am...this was her best day and time, not mine.

So Saturday (today) we pack up all five kids and Adam and I drive out to Modesto, where we park and let the kids watch a movie in the car while we wait...and wait. At 11:05 I call her cell just to verify that she is still coming....i get voicemail and leavea message. At 11:15 the baby is crying in the back and I step out to call her and tell her that we are only staying as long as 11:30 and if she isn't here by then she forfeits any and all contract with us. Voicemail. We're sitting in the car and Adam sees the family down the street loading things in a van. Well, I thought, there goes our only other chance for renters...they must have already found a place. I was feeling very down and Adam decides to go talk to them just to see. Turns out they were moving out their grown daughter and her friend to an apartment (so yay they really didn't have too many people living there!) and the rest of the family still needed a place! He informed them if she didn't show they were second our list (didn't have to tell them thankfully that the list was only 2 people LOL) so a few minutes later at 11:30 I called to inform the young woman she had lost her chance at the house and we were renting it to someone else. And later today we had a signed contract and first month's rent and deposit paid by the people down the street!

It was such an amazing feeling to drive home, a few kids snoring in the back, another one crying, and one who sang every song on the radio...while I smiled, knowing that the Lord had kept His word and provided a way. We are so happy that we have been blessed to be able to keep the word we were inspired to give.

And as a happy side note, we're getting our new dining room table this week...can't wait to post pics!!

(happy dance to follow.....)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Meeting the mother of your children.....

We'd had this day once before, but it was over 3 years ago. But somehow I was still nervous. As Adam and I dressed for court this morning, I debated over what to wear, I'm sure my husband wondered why it was even that important, he had one nice suit, so that's what he wore. I've lost weight and I wanted to wear something that looked nice and fit right, but there was something more. This was what SHE would remember of me. Although I'll never forget seeing HER in shackles and an orange jumpsuit 3 years ago, I just felt like I wanted to look nice to show her I was a nice person....I don't know why her opinion matters...but somehow it does.

Babysitters and rides were arranged and as we left the house it almost felt like we were leaving on a really fancy date. We were dressed in our Sunday best and my husband even opened the car door for me....this was no ordinary 'date'....it was a court date. We drove to Merced in the early morning light, enjoying our moment of quiet time to talk in the car. The paper said 8:15, although court can start anytime after that. So we arrived around 8am, and waited....and waited. Our social worker came, "They'll be terminating their parental rights today, and as long as your homestudy is completed (which it is) then your adoption can be complete in as soon as 75 days." Wow, just like that she could be ours by May. This was all so much faster than Maggie's was and I was glad of that. I brought pictures of Maggie and Darla and a letter for the social worker to give to the Birth Mom. I kept worrying that she didn't know how much we loved these girls, and that maybe if she knew it might make her feel better.

Finally we were called into the court room for the case. This was the same court room we entered for Maggie's final adoption hearing 3 years ago, it was familiar and yet scary all at the same time. The social worker took her seat at a desk beyond the half wall that divided audience from staff. There was not a person in the room aside from staff so we had the entire audience area to choose from as a seat. Being the nerd I am I picked a front row seat behind the desk the social worker was at. Adam pointed out that as a cop he always sits in the last row, but since no one else was there, this was ok too :)

The door directly to our left opened and an armed guard led in the birth mom, orange jumpsuit and shackles, I had an instant flashback of that day 3 years ago. It was in a different court room, but she looked almost exactly as I'd remembered, although her hair was braided nicer today. On that day 3 years ago we sat in an audience full of social workers there for other cases and we didnt' stand out, I wondered at that time if she'd even seen me, I stared at her the whole time hoping for a moment of eye contact, I just knew if i could connect with her she would see my love for Maggie and be ok with this....as I recall I never had that moment. What I remember most was that the birth father at that hearing had stated he was wanting to get Maggie back up on his release from jail. That scared me to pieces. And I had visions of that same fear happening this time. Although nothing ever came of his "hopes" the fear that someone could take her away from us was frightening for quite some time before her adoption was complete.....would today end the same? In fear?

The birth mom shuffled in, looking almost exactly like our Maggie (except taller), feet and hands shackled, the guard directed her to a chair that happened to be directly in front of me...and I mean DIRECTLY, i could have reached out and touched her without leaving my seat. For a moment I tensed, maybe this isn't where we should sit, I whispered to Adam, but then moving would feel just as awkward, so we sat, hands held tight in complete silence. Only a half wall seperated this person, this woman, from me, a woman, a person, a mother to her children. How must that make her feel. I felt so tense and scared I was caught off guard when her lawyer sat down next to her (directly in front of Adam) and they started talking, hushed tones, but clearly meant for us to hear.

"Now you know we're here because they're going to terminate your parental rights, and there really isn't much we can do about that....do you have anything else to say?" The lawyer seemed so matter of fact, as if to say, 'you're screwed lady but if you have any final words say em now.'

She scooted forward in her seat and turned to look at me, "I know them," she started, which caught me off guard because I didn't even think she'd seen me in that court room 3 years ago,"They let my momma see the baby, she said they love her very much." We had let Darla have a visit with the grandmother a few months ago but I had no clue what she may have said to her daughter about us, I remembered worrying about that so much at the time, but had nearly forgotten it until now. "I got to see pictures of the baby," at this point it became more apparent that she wasn't saying "my baby" but rather "THE baby." "She's with her sister, they look happy." She turned to smile at me again, and when she did the lawyer handed her the pictures and letter i had brought for her, "Oh yeah these are for you, pictures and stuff."

I watched her eyes look down at these pictures, these pictures I took with my camera, these pictures where I'd smiled at them to get them to smile at the camera, these pictures that were a piece of our family, and she turned back with a smile. I have never wanted to hug a person more in my life. It was almost painful not to stand up and hug her, an ache that only got worse when she turned back to her lawyer and said "I want them to have her," nodding her head towards me, "they love her and she is happy there." A tear formed in my eye and Adam's eyes as well, it streamed silently down my face when she said "If I ever want to be the person they would like to know someday, I've gotta fix myself." I held Adam's hand so hard, because it was all i could do to keep my hand from reaching out to her.

The judge started to speak about the termination of rights and her lawyer made his statement that she was submitting to the court's request and was happy with the placement. During this brief time the mother leaned towards the birth father and said "what are you gonna say today?" I didn't hear what his response was as he was further away, and from her reaction I can only guess it was going to be the same claim he'd previously made which was to say "When I'm outta jail I want my kid back." Because she leaned as far as she could without leaving her seat and loudly whispered, "DON'T do it!! Just let her be, she's happy there, they're good people, I WANT her there!" The judge and her lawyer had by this point finished their comments and the judge turned to the birth father's lawyer for his client's statment on the case, just as he was about to speak, the father beckoned him to talk for a moment, that moment was the longest 'moment' of my life. They conversed for what felt like an hour (in actuality probably only five minutes, but in a silent courtroom it may as well have been an eternity) Then the lawyer stood back up and said, "My client, while unhappy with this situation has decided to agree to submit to the courts request to terminate rights."

She had done that, for us, for Darla, for love. She had convinced him to let it go. She turned and smiled at me after the attorney's comments with another big smile. Everytime she smiled at me I felt my soul fill my eyes with every word of love I could possibly convey through a look and a smile. I don't know that I could ever have said them out loud even if I were given the chance. In a few moments their rights were terminated, we were all dismissed and everyone stood to leave. She mouthed the words "good bye" to me I stood not wanting to leave her, feeling like I hadn't told her anything and yet everything I could have, I put my hand on the half wall and said "good bye" she placed her hand on the half wall a few inches from mine, the closest we possibly could have been given the situation, but in that moment it was like our spirits connected, mother to mother, we understood each other. Then we had to turn and walk away.

When Maggie was placed with us more than 5 years ago, all we were told about the birth mother was (in no kind terms) "She's a crack whore." These are words I would never ever use myself, but it created an image in my head of a screwed up person who couldn't love anyone but herself and her drugs even if she wanted to. Maggie was better off with us, and I held onto that image for many years. I never told Maggie anything negative about her mother, I kept it as honest as possible by simply saying (when she was old enough to understand more about adoption) that this was a person who couldn't take care of her, and so we did. But today.....today has given me the picture to forever hold in my mind of a woman who loved her children so much she was willing to give them to us to hold for her, because she knew she couldn't. A woman who understood selfless love in a way I could never imagine. And when we came home today, and I saw little Maggie, looking exactly like her birth mom, looking exactly like the face of a woman I have come to love and care for deeply, I could only hug her as hard as I would have her birth mom. And hope that one day, she'll get to hear what a great woman she is. And when I rocked Darla to sleep for a nap, I whispered to her about meeting this wonderful person, who loved her more than she'll ever know.

What a journey this has been, loving these extra children who've been added to our family, and loving the person who added them to this world. This day will live in my heart forever.....and possibly in the pages of a book describing the selfless love of a mother.....I'm going to start writing it tonight.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

"new" jeans

So for anyone who's been following my "weight not, want not" blog, i've been dieting for a little over a week now, 9 days to be exact. And i've lost 11 pounds! woo hoo go me! And today i finally fit into that pair of jeans that's been hanging in my closet for several years now....unworn. I wore them once i think, but i gained weight and never wore them again, i keep them thinking....someday? today is some DAY! I wore these jeans today and while i LOVE fitting into them and wearing them, i'm looking forward to a day when even they are too big. I finally came to that point in my life where i decided my health was more important than the comfort of food. I picked a diet that is working for me and i'm sticking to it something fierce! I've been tempted several times but being that i've already lost a good amount of weight i KNOW sticking to it will mean so much more to me than that few seconds of satisfaction from eating something that will not help the weight loss. I know one day i'll get to my goal weight and be able to enjoy an indulgence here and there without fear but for now i'm sticking to this, I'm loving the way i feel and am so excited to step on the scale every morning (bet you never thought you'd hear ME say that did ya?!)

So for now i am pleased wearing my near new jeans and feeling good for the first time in a long time.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

button, button, who's got the button???

The other day the Husband Man was changing Catcher's diaper, it was pretty stinky. "There's something in the poo...." he said.

Now why would I need to know that? There's all kinds of stuff in poo and I just don't want to know about it, seriously, i saw it going in thru the mouth i don't want to know about it coming out the other end!

"I can't tell but i think.....i think it's a button."

Excuse me? Did you say button? When did he swallow a button? How did he swallow a button? How big is the button? What color is it? Did it come off of something important....do i need to sew it back on???

"This coming from the person who didn't want to know what was in the poo....you sure have a lot of questions about what's in the poo now! And the truth is..." said while finishing the diaper change and wrapping it up to throw it away...."I don't know where it came from or what color it originally was, and unless you want to fish it out i would say you're probably not going to sew it back on because i'm going to throw it in the trash along with anything else in the poo that i might have missed!!" Sound of the swishing lid of the trash can as the dirty diaper disappears into the can with a toss.

Now I'm left to wonder, because there is certainly no way i was going to A)dig the diaper out of a trash can, or B) dig thru the poo inside the diaper to find said button. But really this was more than a day ago and I can't stop wondering how and when and what. How did it happen without me seeing? When on earth did it happen (at least 12 hours before hand probably). and what did the button come off of?? I'm wondering if i'm going to find an outfit with a missing button, or worse, if i'll be tormented by never knowing. Never knowing where the button came from, and never knowing what else could be in his diapers that doesn't get seen...dead flies off the ground, cat hair from his cuddles with the cat, or any number of other things tracked in on shoes, since now he's crawling all over the house. The love of cleaning has just been upgraded to obsession for cleaning.....I have work to do!

Monday, January 10, 2011

becoming educated

I think that every moment as a parent is a teaching moment. That's quite different from what i used to think parenting would be like.....so long ago.

Before I had kids, before i was married, before i was even out of high school i used to worry....i worried that i would be a terrible mother. No this is not a lure for compliments or anything of the sort...it's the honest to goodness truth. I tend to worry about things that are no where near reality in my life and in high school i worried about if i could ever handle being responsible for a child. I had no boyfriend, there was no chance of my having a child for years and years but still the idea of being responsible for the education of another human being from day one....was just, scary. I suppose it was a weird thing for a teenage to worry about, but maybe if more did there would be less babies born to high school moms LOL. But truly the thought of making sure that this little person knew everything they needed to before kindergarten really seemed so scary, how could you fit in everything they needed to know, and how....how would you even go about doing it?

Fast Forward......it's been a good 15 years since then (not that i'm giving away my age or anything haha) and i've discovered the key.....making every moment a teaching moment. Proof is my two year old, and how did she get so smart? I'd love to take the credit truly i would....but it's my 5 and 6 year olds who have been her teachers. Everytime katie doesn't know how to do something her big sisters jump at the chance to teach her. It came instinctively with my first child to want to show and teach her everything because she was my only one and it was somewhat easy....but when you have 5, those teaching moments aren't always so easy to come by.....unless you look a little closer. Katie held up a big pink eraser and asked aloud to anyone who would listen "what's this?" The answer could simply be...."eraser" , but then there is a moment while her brain is open to the answer where you can put more in there than the simplest answer. I told her it was a pink eraser, and that is was a rectangle. She rolled that word around in her mouth several times before it came back out right. That was yesterday.

Today while i was changing a baby diaper katie came up with a stack of blocks and proudly pronounced...."Look mommy, it's a rectangle....and I made it!" Amazing how one little answer to a question sent her on a quest today to find more ways to understand what she had learned.

A mind is an amazing thing, it's like the more you learn the more you can learn....if my strange mind makes sense to anyone else. I mean our brains are a muscle and if you exersize the muscle it becomes stronger and then can be worked even harder. Sometimes as a mom i worry that i'm not exersizing my mind enough (as is apparent by my unapologetic misuse of capitalization and often puncuation) and i don't want it to wither and waste away from the extensive amount of knowledge it once held. So for my mental workouts i'm finding new ways to make learning fun for my kids.....new ways to make every moment a teaching moment. I've also started collecting math and science books, there's something so interesting about relearning something as an adult that as a child i don't think i appreciated enough. I find myself reading math books for fun, and ok so i know that's weird, but it feels so invigorating!

The missionaries commented on my collection of math books the other day when they were here for dinner. I don't quite have an explanation, except to say that learning is such an amazing thing, whether it's learning something new for yourself, or relearning something you once knew or helping someone else learn for the first time simply because you can.....learning is a wonderful thing. An amazing blessing it is to be able to learn anytime we want, i learned how to do braided extension corn rows on my black daughter's hair...from youtube . I taught my 6 year old how to play UNO and the 5 year old caught on just from watching. My 2 year old knows all her shapes and colors and most numbers and sometimes i'm not sure what else until it just pops out of her little mouth. My little Catcher is learning to crawl and is so proud of each inch closer he gets to his goal. Darla is learning to smile. Every age has something to teach us.....what did you learn today?