Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Frustrating Day

Today was one of the most frustrating days I have recently. Don't get me wrong. I love Jacob and M dearly. It is just on days like today I wonder what goes through their little heads. Do they plan these days quietly while my back is turned? I have to wonder.

Let me start by saying that M has been doing wonderful the past few days. He even stayed in the church nursery last night without any crying or problems. Today was a different day. The tantrums started within moments of him waking up. They continued to full blown screaming and crying while at a lunch with friends. The problem? He wanted to drink another child's sippy cup instead of his own.

Jacob was fairly well behaved this morning and at lunch. He has been having more difficulty listening the past few days but I assume it is the changes in our household. This afternoon was completely different. He was mean to M, disrespectful to his grandmother and me and did his best to irritate anyone near him. He finished the day by having a 10 minute tantrum (nothing compared to M's 90 minute tantrum at lunch) because I would not find a train for him to ride TODAY!

So I have decided that M and Jacob must plan days like today together. Jacob even asked several times if they were driving me crazy. Of course the answer was yes! Maybe they just needed a day of tantrums and testing to settle back down. I hope so. We have potential plans of going on a boat with my friend and his family tomorrow. I cannot imagine being out on the middle of a lake with a screaming one year old and a three year old doing anything he can think of to irritate the adults around him.

For now, it was early to bed for both boys. M is teething so that may have been part of the problem. Hopefully both kids will feel better after a good night sleep and a little break. If not, they go back to daycare on Tuesday and at least I will get a break then.

Friday, August 29, 2008

New School Year

Jacob has a four day weekend from school this week. The teachers have off today to prepare for the new school year. M starts his new daycare on Tuesday. I was planning on keeping both boys home with me this weekend but Jacob really misses his weekend babysitter. I agreed to let him go there tomorrow for a few hours. His weekend sitter was great about me cancelling for the weekend at the last minute. I took the week off to be with M and help him settle in. I was originally going to go back to work on Saturday but decided it made more since to wait until he started at his new school next week. That way he can have a few days of consistent care before heading off to his new sitter's house.
The above picture was taken at Jacob's end of the summer party at his school just over a week ago. He had his face painted to look like a pink cat.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bedtime Routines

In the past 1 1/2 years, I have learned that bedtime routines are extremely important if I want to avoid tears. Bedtime struggles are not fun and whenever our routine gets off, I can expect tears, tantrums and a lot of stalling. M came to me without a bedtime routine that I could find. Jacob needed a new routine now that there is another young child in the house. Here is the routine I came up with. After a week, it seems to be working well.

-We begin with Jacob and M taking a bath. This usually involves a large amount of splashing, giggling and warnings that the bath will end if any water leaves the bathtub.

-After the bath, teeth are brushed and sippy cups are filled with water. It took a couple of days to get M used to having water instead of milk or juice at bedtime. Jacob was the same way his first few days home from Ethiopia. He was used to drinking milk at bedtime and had to learn to drink water instead. Water is so much better on their teeth that I insist on it.

-We move to the rocking chair where we all squeeze in for 2-3 stories.

-After stories, we spend 5-10 mintues just rocking and being quiet. Jacob now has a choice. He can either rock with M and me or he can play quietly out of M's sight.

-Once M is drowsy, I move him into his crib. Like many young children in a new situation, M needs me to sit with him for a few minutes and reassure him I am not leaving. This is M's quiet time with me and the only time that Jacob is not allowed to be with us. It normally only takes a few minutes before M begins to drift off to sleep.

-Now it is Jacob's time with Mommy. Tonight he helped me with laundry. Other nights, we play with toys or just rock. As 9:00 approaches, we move to the rocking chair and read 2-3 more books. This marks the end of Jacob's quiet Mommy time and he goes to bed with just a quick hug and kiss. I tuck him into bed, turn off the lights and have Mommy alone time.

As time goes on, I will shorten M's bedtime ritual. We will most likely spend less time rocking after stories. I will definitely slowly get rid of the time sitting in his room. For now though, this routine works well. Everyone is given some special time with me and goes to bed feeling secure.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Welcome M

It is now official. M has become a long term placement in my home. I don't know exactly what long term will mean. No one will tell me exactly what they are thinking. I was told that he will most likely be here for at least a few months. I am still not holding my breath though. There is just so much that can change in a foster care case. A relative could come forward or something could change in court with a judge ordering M's return to his mother. I now know why some people have trouble being foster parents. I also know that it is my job to care for M while I have him.

M is fitting in well and it feels like he has been here much longer than the 5 days it's been. I hope he is here for many more days as he really is a delight. I will pray for M and his mother and hope that everything works out in the best interest for everyone but especially M. For now, M is a very welcome addition to our home. It is so much fun having two children again. I know that no matter how long M stays here, a child will eventually come that will be able to become a permanent member of our family. Until then, I will love the children that come while I have them and wait for the child who God sends to stay.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Happy Birthday G

Jacob, M, and I attended G's third birthday party. Her mom did a wonderful job and we had a ton of fun! There was even a pony to ride! Of course, this was Jacob's first pony ride. He thought it was great! I thought M was a little young to ride but he thought petting the pony was fun. G got some great presents that she was very good about sharing with all of the other children.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A New Child

We finally received placement of a new foster child. M is 15 months old and just a delight. It is not known now how long he will be here. He arrived last night. There is a chance that he will be leaving early next week. He may also stay for a few months. It all depends on what happens over the weekend. In the meantime, I feel blessed to be able to spend time with M.

Jacob and M have been having a great time playing together. Neither want to stop long enough to eat or sleep. There as been very few fights and Jacob is acting like a wonderful big brother/friend.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


At dinner last night, I felt a migraine starting. I had just arrived at a resteraunt for dinner. I told Jacob to wait a minute before getting out of the car so I could take some pills. He questioned me on if I felt ok and then waited patiently.

A couple hours later, I logged on to my bank account. I discovered that the mortgage company had deducted my mortgage payment twice leaving me with a very large negative balance in my checking account and an overdraft fee. I also knew that I had a couple of other checks that would be coming soon. I was feeling very stressed and called a friend to talk to her about it. Jacob began acting up and I raised my voice and ordered him out of my room. Of course, I immediately felt horrible for being short with him when he really wasn't doing anything he doesn't normally do.

I made myself settle down and apologized to Jacob. He responded by saying ok. He then asked, "Mom, did you take your pills yet?" Little does he know what that really means in our society. I immediately started laughing and realized that the banking error wasn't nearly as important as I was making it out to be. Seeing my son laugh is much more important.

Of course, I got the banking problem sorted out within five minutes of them opening this morning.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Growing Up Way Too Fast

Jacob is growing up way too fast. I still cannot figure out where my toddler went that needed me all the time. I am enjoying watching him become more independant and discover the world around him. He has two passions right now. He loves to go swimming any chance he gets and can float for up to a minute with his face in the water. He also loves jumping and watching gymnastics on TV.

I spoke to the gymnastics school today and they stated he can start the 3 year old lessons in September. He will be three at the end of the month so they stated he was close enough. I have decided to start him off with one class a week for an hour. I think it will be plenty for now.

He is also starting Sunday School classes in September. He is close enough to being three that they will let him in the class now. He had to be potty trained but he accomplished that almost four months ago now. I plan to send him to Sunday School with my mom on those Sunday mornings that I am at work.

Of course swimming lessons are coming. That is the only thing I couldn't get him into early. He will start those at the end of October. It is probably good with all of the other new things in his life right now.

The only thing not changing at the beginning of the school year is his preschool classroom. I decided to leave him in the 2 1/2 to 3 year old room for another year. He started in that classroom last April so he has not seen most of the curriculum yet. He is also three years away from starting kindergarten. This will put him in the same class as the other students starting kindergarten at the same time. It will also give him a little bit of consistency while he gets used to the other new programs he is finally old enough for.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Jacob really wants to learn "nastics." He loves to flip, jump and do somersaults. He is a very physical child so I know he will love it. The problem is that I think he will have a lot more fun in the 3 year old class than the 2 year old class but won't be 3 until the end of September. Of course, the fall semester starts Sept. 2.

Part of me wants to put him in the 2 year old class and see how he does. Of course, he will be older than the other kids. Since he has always been ahead in gross motor development, I am not sure it is the right decision for him. The alternative is to wait until next Spring to enroll him when he will be almost 3 1/2 and the age requirement won't be an issue. I have a call into one of the academies to see what they think I should do. Even just a free trial class to see how he likes the two year old program might be good.

Oh the things I worry about and debate. It is so nice to have the eye problems taken care of and be able to worry about other less serious and important things.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Many children enter a why phase around 3 years old. Jacob has it worse than any kid I have ever met. He must ask it several hundred times a day. My dad has begun answering "Why not?" I am usually one of the more patient people with the million why questions and even answer most of them. Maybe it's because I have been sick all week (I now have finally begun to feel better) but today just left me shaking my head. Here is the conversation.
Me: We need to pick up all of your toys in the living room tonight.
Jacob (looking at the toys on the floor so thick I can barely find my carpet and definitelly can't walk through): Why?
Me: Because we can't even walk through the living room!!!
Ah, the whys. I know someday I will miss them.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Great and Bad News On Health

The bad news is not nearly as bad as many of you are imagining. Jacob gave me a cold last weekend. He really wasn't very sick from it so when I felt it coming I didn't really worry. I was wrong. I have been sick for 5 days now. The cold has just gotten progressively worse. Last night I finally went to urgent care. The cold is no longer just a cold. It is now an ear infection, possible throat infection and pink eye in both eyes. I got antibiotics for my throat, ears and eyes. After a few doses, I am beginning to feel better.
Jacob's eye appointment was today. That is the not just good news it is great news! His eyes are perfectly normal! The original eye doctor believed his right eye was near sighted while the left one was far sighted (most children his age are slightly far sighted do to normal development). That is what led him to suspect and diagnose probable glaucoma.
The specialist examined Jacob today under general anesthesia. He stated that not only are the eye pressures normal and no sign of glaucoma but neither eye is near sighted. His vision is still normal for his age and there is no reason for concern. He wants to see him again in 6 months to make sure there still aren't any problems but we won't need anesthesia.
I am so relieved. I spent many nights worrying and even shed a few tears that there could be something seriously wrong with my perfect baby. The pediatrician last week stated he doubted there were any problems and to stop worrying about it. I am so glad he was right!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A New Camera

On Thursday I planned to take many great pictures to share with all of my readers. I had found the perfect picture of Jacob sitting nicely with his friend G at church. I grabbed the camera only to discover the focus was stuck and not working.

I cannot go for long without a camera. I am trying hard to only purchase things I need and avoid all of the things I just want. I decided the camera fell somewhere in between. I need a camera if I want to be able to take pictures to post here. I also need a camera to take pictures of foster chidren who spend time in my home. (I am expecting one in a few weeks but am waiting to post more about him until I know for sure.) I also know that I can live without a camera and that paying the bills and buying food and gasoline are much more important.

After thinking about these issues for the past two days, I decided it was time to just buy the camera. I decided it fell somewhere between a want and a need and that I could justify the purchase. The camera I wanted was on sale for almost 20 percent off so I decided it was a good time to buy it.

I got home and grabbed the other camera out of my car. I was going to tranfer the memory card. I decided to try to turn the camera on one more time. It made a funny noise and then all of a sudden began focusing again. My only explanation is that whatever was stuck in the shutter must have been bounced loose while I was driving around town yesterday.

Now I have two cameras and no excuses for not taking plenty of pictures for everyone to see. Maybe I'll even get some of them into Jacob's lifebook.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hooky From School

Jacob and I occassionally play hooky from his daycare. Today was one of those days. I have been very busy lately with calls from Human Services and potential foster children, work, Jacob's doctor appointments and other not so fun activities. I decided it was time for another day dedicated to fun. I try to make sure Jacob and I do this at least once a month. We would do it every day but then none of our higher priority responsibilities would be accomplished.

Jacob and I began the day by sleeping in. Something he and I both really enjoy and miss about our second shift schedules. We took our time getting dressed and had a very light breakfast. Around 10 AM it was time to water the garden and pick vegetables. The green peppers weren't quite ripe yet but there were plenty of tomatoes to pick.

After picking plenty of tomatoes, it was off to the Children's museum and lunch at a local Ethiopian resteraunt. Jacob was very excited to eat some doro wat, mamoosa and play with the many exhibits at the Children's Museum.

After a good meal, it was time to head for the swimming pool. Jacob and I spent about an hour. I don't think I had to hold him more than twice then entire time. I put his life jacket on him and he doggy paddled around the pool. He loved the independance of being able to swim by himself and had a hard time going home.

We have a short break in our day of fun now for a doctor's appointment. It is just a necessary check-up before he undergoes anesthesia next week. It shouldn't take more than 30 minutes and then we will be off to continue our fun.

Tonight is the last night of Vacation Bible School. While I am sure that we will have fun, there is a bound to be a few more problems than the last two nights. After all of the fun today, I am sure Jacob and I will both be tired and less patient with each other.

I love these days of non-stop action without only a short break for an afternoon nap (what Jacob is doing right now). Now, if only I could win the lottery and have more of these days.

Vacation Bible School

Jacob has been very busy this week attending Vacation Bible School. He is loving every minute of it. It starts with a family supper with plenty of kid friendly food. The children then hear a bible story that is acted out by some of the older children. The remaining hour is spent playing games, making a craft project and singing.

Jacob has been having a lot of fun and doing a great job of following directions. He has been listening to the teachers, participating in everything and even waiting patiently in lines. I have been very impressed and can see how much he has learned in the past three months at his daycare/preschool.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Life Is Settling Down Again

Last week was a very busy week around our house. My softball team won the championship game for our division, the dog and cat went to the vet on Monday, Jacob had 2 doctor appointments for his eyes and my phone rang off the hook Wednesday with calls from Human Services. I am finally able to breathe again and begin to process the week's events.

Of course, the hardest thing to deal with is Jacob's probable glaucoma. Even though I knew he may someday develop it, it was still a huge blow. I was actually surprised to find myself having trouble dealing with it. There were moments when all I wanted to do was hold him or cry. Other times, I was perfectly fine and it seemed like it was no big deal. I think I have finally come to a place where I can accept the diagnosis and hope for the best. After all, Jacob is still a very healthy child with a bright future ahead of him. He doesn't have any of the scary symptoms associated with port wine stains like brain lesions, seizures, muscle weakness, behavioral problems or mental retardation. He is still at risk of learning disabilities but shows no sign of those either. He can sing most of the alphabet song, count to 5, name all of the colors, recognize a circle and triangle and all of the other things children a few months older than him are working on.

Don't get me wrong. I couldn't love my son any less if he did develop learning disablilities or did have the more severe medical problems listed above. I just want him to reach his full potential and am grateful for the gifts God has provided him. The glaucoma is just a bump in the road and a medical problems we will have to deal with. He still has excellent vision and hopefully that won't change. None of this is affecting the loving and fun child he is.

On Wednesday, Human Services called me about three different children. One was just going to be an overnight placement but thankfully a relative stepped forward to take him. The other two children were potentially going to come on Monday. Due to some serious medical issues with one of the children, it was later decided Human Services would separate them. On Friday I was told that Human Services was able to come up with a plan that would allow the children to remain with the relative they have been staying with. About 4 hours later, I received a call about another little boy. I don't know much about him yet or even if he is coming for sure. With this much activity, I am sure a child will be coming soon. I have been off hold for 5 weeks now and it seems like the other foster parents I know receive new placements four to six weeks after being available.

It amazes me that just two weeks ago I was told there were no children under age 3 needing placement and then just days later the phone began ringing. I love to see the children remain with relatives they know but am also anxious for that next placement. Jacob has his requests but they change often. At one time he wanted a girl baby. Then he wanted a girl his age. Then it was a boy baby. Now it is a boy any age named Jontaveon. Don't ask me where that name came from or why he is fixated on it. I am sure by next week his request will change again.

Things have slowed down over the past two days. Tomorrow starts another week that promises to be just as busy as last week. I know I haven't posted pictures in awhile. Hopefully, I can get my camera battery charged and get some new pictures this week. Vacation bible school is this week so maybe I will have some good opportunities there.