Thursday, October 30, 2008

Grandpa's Birthday

Our family celebrated my dad's birthday yesterday. It was an event that Jacob was really looking forward to. I think my dad was also excited about his birthday especially when Jacob told him he was turning 3. He really turned 61 and when Jacob heard that he told me Grandpa was old. Since you are only as old as you feel, I would say Grandpa is somewhere between 3 and 61. He is in better physical shape than I am and very healthy.

Jacob and I were planning to bake a birthday cake for Grandpa Tuesday night. It was going to be a surprise but Jacob had actually told Grandpa about it a couple weeks ago. It can be very hard for a three year old to keep such a big secret so everyone was planning on having cake after dinner. Tuesday evening I finished cleaning up dinner and noticed that M was cranky and running a slight fever. I took him to urgent care and by the time we left it was already after 7:00. We still needed to fill his prescription so it was beginning to look like baking a cake was not an option for the evening.

Jacob was very tired of waiting by the time we left urgent care and I was a little tired of trying to entertain two young children with very few toys. I drove over to my parents' house and confessed to Grandpa that we would not be able to bake him a birthday cake after all. Jacob asked if he could stay there while I took M to the pharmacy. Grandpa quickly agreed and I left while they were deciding whether or not to eat cheese puffs (a snack I never buy so it is a real treat).

I came back about 45 minutes later to see Jacob and Grandpa playing in the living room. In the oven was a birthday cake they had made together. Grandpa told me that Jacob and M were the best gifts he has received and the cake is just a bonus. Jacob and I frosted the cake before dinner last night and everyone enjoyed it after we ate.

Jacob also picked out a Dora and Diego birthday card complete with flaps to lift up for Grandpa. The boys had a great time giving the card to Grandpa and finding the prizes underneath.

At the end of the night, it was obvious that Dad was right. His birthday was great even if he didn't get the cake already made. The look of pride as Jacob showed off his cake and card was enough of a present for everyone.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Swimming Lessons

Jacob had his first swimming lesson last night. He was a little nervous on the way to the pool but warmed up quickly when he saw the other children. I was standing nearby in case he needed a little encouragement. It was obvious that he was the smallest and youngest child in the class.

I allowed Jacob to play in the small family pool for about 5 minutes before class started. I called it his warm up time. He had a look of pure joy and excitement on his face. The anxiety disappeared as soon as he did his first flop in the pool and his face got wet.

After his lesson was over, he proudly told me he wants blue goggles for Christmas. I told him I would add it to his Christmas list.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Congratulations Uncle Chuck!

Yesterday was a very special day for Uncle Chuck. Uncle Chuck is my "little brother." I used to tease him that even if he grew bigger than me (which he did) he would always be my little brother. Well, Uncle Chuck is well on his way to passing me in the education department. Jacob and I are very proud of him.

Uncle Chuck threw his cane over the goal post before yesterday's homecoming football game. The legend is that all third year (class of 2009) law students run across the field and throw a cane over the goal post. If they catch their canes, they will win their first case. I was working the football game but allowed to leave my post to watch him. It was wonderful. He didn't catch his cane but it doesn't matter. I am told his first case was last Summer as an intern and he lost it. So he is ready to win his next case now. Of course, let me know if you know of any law firms looking to hire a new young lawyer. Preferably near here so that we can still see Uncle Chuck often.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Difficult Decision

I am being faced with a difficult decision. There is a 5 year old autistic boy in Ethiopia who needs a home. I met this boy 1 1/2 years ago and know that he is a loving boy with mild autism. I know his problems and prognosis. The autism is not the problem. The problem is that I am $5000 short of his adoption fees. It drives me nuts to know that this boy may not ever have a family simply because of money. I could continue to save money but he is continuing to get older. I believe it is in his best interest to come home this Spring or Summer so that he can start kindergarten in the Fall as a 6 year old. I know the special education teacher at my local school and he is already speaking some English. I know he would be a wonderful addition to our family.

There are other obstacles besides the money. The biggest is M's placement. I would need to convince the adoption agency and social worker that allowing M's placement to continue would be alright. His future placement is uncertain but I definitelly don't want to have him moved or give up the opportunity to adopt him for another child. M is a wonderful member of the family. I do believe I could find someone to work with me on this obstacle since the child in Ethiopia is having a difficult time finding a home and I have already met him.

So that really does leave me to the money. I will pray that the money becomes available or that this little boy finds a family soon. Your prayers for this young man would also be greatly appreciated. If I am not the family for him, I pray that the right family finds him soon.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I was tagged by Sharon.

I was tagged last week but my internet and phone stopped working in the middle of writing this post. According to the phone repair person, a squirrel ate the wire outside causing the outage. I apologize to anyone who read the beginning of the post and wondered why it was not finished.

Here are 7 things you may not know about me:

1) I always dreamed of having 3-4 children. I now think 3 will be the magic number.

2) I always knew I would adopt. I played "orphanage" as a child. My friends would come and adopt my dolls.

3) My favorite soda is Diet Dr. Pepper. I think I am addicted to it.

4) My favorite color is pink.

5) I have been mentoring the same children for 8 years.

6) My favorite sport is baseball. I love the Cubs and the Brewers.

7) I have lived in the same city since 1982.


I will tag more people if I can think of some that I know well enough.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Halloween Preview

I blogged last year about how many Halloween parties and events there are out there every year. I had been concerned that Jacob would miss out on Halloween since I was working that evening. This year I will be home for Halloween but the parties go on anyway. Last night was the first one of the season. Jacob, M and I met our good friends G and K at the YMCA for some Halloween fun. Jacob loves his police officer costume.
It was a fun evening although M is not quite old enough. I briefly considered hiring a babysitter but didn't. I don't really have a lot of extra money right now. Jacob and I are going to an Ethiopian dinner tonight and M will stay home with a sitter then. I didn't really feel right leaving M home with a sitter while Jacob and I went out two nights in a row. I am struggling to find the right balance between letting Jacob and I do things he is old enough for and will enjoy and also being home with M. I think bringing him was the right decision even if it did mean I spent most of my time chasing him and we did leave a little earlier than we would have otherwise.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Free Time

Ok. I am at a loss. The social worker stopped by this morning to check on M. She was very happy with his progress over the past 3 weeks. He really has come a long way and is more trusting and patient than when he first arrived. Jacob and I spent a couple hours last night cleaning the main living areas of the house and I vacuumed this morning.

After the social worker left, it was time for M to go to daycare. I am off work today but he still has to go. There is a rule that children must attend daycare at least 20 hours every week to keep getting funding. He was home sick on Monday and home yesterday for some special time with me and for medical appointments. As a result, he has to go today to preserve his funding.

I was planning on keeping Jacob home for some special Mommy and Jacob time. He was all for it yesterday but not today. He announced this morning that he wanted to go to school and play with the kids. I convinced him to at least have breakfast with me after we dropped M off at school. He agreed but I am pretty sure it was only to keep me happy. It was still nice though.

Now I am home in a quiet kid-free house. It is clean enough to last a few days. It could always be cleaner and there are always chores to do but nothing that has to be done right away. I have the television turned to adult drama shows and plan to take a long nap.

Tonight the boys and I are going to a halloween party so I need to get their costumes ready. Otherwise, I am free of mandatory chores for the first time in a very long time. I used to hate time with nothing to do. Since becoming a parent, I now really enjoy these quiet days. Probably because they come so rarely now. I just don't know what to do with myself other than take a nap.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dollars For His Pocket

Jacob is on a quest. He needs candy. Well, he thinks he is in desperate need of some Starburst candies. He has spent quite a bit of time staring at the candy ad from last weeks ads and telling me which bags have his beloved Starbursts. I don't buy very much candy or other junk food. I keep telling him that Halloween is just a couple of weeks away and he will get candy then. He thinks I am being completely unfair and that he needs that candy now! Last night he told Grandma he needed candy. When she just laughed he tried a different approach. He went to Grandpa and stated, "My pocket needs dollars Grandpa." Unfortunately that did not work either so he is back to staring at ads and wishing he had some candy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Warm Fall Weekend

Last weekend was a beautiful Fall weekend and probably one of the last warm ones we will have. I took Jacob and M to a nearby playtime farm. There were animals at the petting area, play houses and school rooms, tractor barrell rides, hayrides and of course pumpkins. I learned last year that it is very expensive to pick a pumpkin at the farm. To get a large pumpkin at the farm, I will pay at least $8. I can get a larger one at the grocery store for $3.00. I did allow Jacob to pick out a small pumpkin for about $2.00.
Overall, it was a great day. It was 84 degrees outside and sunny. The kids were tired from having very short naps in the car but otherwise had a great time. M was just getting over a minor illness but did well considering that. I really miss these days out in the sun during those long Winter months. Hopefully, the Winter will go as quickly as the Summer did.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Lessons On Babies

Our friend J babysat last night while I worked the football game. I have always been a little jealous of the teenagers when they spend the night and do not have to get up everytime a little kid has a bad dream or just wakes up before the sun. I got home last night a little after 11 and jokingly told Jand B that it was their turn to get up with the kids. I didn't realize at the time that J has one of those dolls that has to be fed and cries like a real baby for her class at school. It was up at least 3 times last night and I heard her trying to quiet it down. I started to get up once to help her but quickly realized it was not my turn! My kids slept in until 6:30 which is an hour later than normal. I appreciated the extra hour of sleep! They also woke up much less cranky than a normal morning. Two small blessings to be thankful for.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Police Officers and Garbage Collectors

Jacob has been learning about community helpers the past two weeks in school. I went to his class two weeks ago to talk about my job as a police officer. His friend's father visited last week to talk about firefighters. Yesterday he was excited to see a police officer at dinner. Since I have worked with the officers regularly and know him well, I took him over to say hi. Jacob immediately became shy and didn't want to say anything to him. Officer Howard was nice though and Jacob gave him a high five before we left.

When we got back to the table, Jacob and my dad began talking about the firefighter at his school. Dad asked him if he wanted to be a firefighter when he gets bigger. Jacob stated he didn't. He states he wants to be a police officer. He states he wants a job where he can help people so he will be a police officer for Halloween as well. That's my son! I was very flattered and proud of him.

Of course, Jacob is 3 and has plenty of time to decide. He insists that he wants to be a police officer but he also wants to be a garbage collector. I'm not sure how he can do both jobs at once but he could certainly do one for a few years and then change careers. I would be proud to have a civil servant as a son.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Houskeeping Tips

Ok. I am looking for advice. I will be the first to admit that I hate cleaning and will do almost anything to get out of it. I had professional cleaners coming in every other week for awhile but decided I just cannot afford it right now. Besides hating to clean, it is difficult to find the time with two young children and working full-time.

I am looking for ideas on how to get Jacob to help with just the picking up. Especially his toys. It seems like he has to have at least two timeouts and takes at least 20 minutes just to pick up 5 things. Meanwhile, other toys are being taken out while I try to get him to pick up. I have tried positive reinforcement telling him we will go to the park or somewhere fun after we pick up. He just says he doesn't want to go. He takes after his mom and would rather sit in his room than
clean-up. I really don't have any other ideas. I realize he is like me in that he just doesn't like to clean but I do have my limits. The house needs to be cleaned at least once a week and I really think he should be helping.

Prayers For Samuel

Samuel is a 3 year old boy who just arrived home to his forever family five weeks ago. He was involved in a horrible tracter accident at his home last weekend. Sam has lost one leg below the knee and his other foot. Doctors are working to save his arm. He is fighting also. His family is asking for prayers. His caringbridge site is .

Samuel is just a few months older than Jacob and really makes me appreciate how fast life can change. I have heard some people question how God can let this happen. I don't believe God "let" the accident happen but through free choice and reasons beyond our understanding, accidents do happen. I do know that God is with Samuel, his doctor and his family now. The do need our continued prayers though.

The family is also seeking donations to help with medical supplies, changes their home will need to accomodate Samuel and other items needed during this difficult time. If you would like to donate you can send checks to the Samuel Phillipson fund at

Premier Bank
PO Box 38
Sullivan, WI 53178

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Finding My Purpose In Life

The title of this post sounds like it is going to be one of those deep theological questions. What is my job on this earth? For some people, I believe that they wander around wondering that for a very long time. That is who the paster was speaking to this morning in his sermon. What is your job in this life? How are you suppose to be serving God.

I am blessed to have known for a very long time what my purpose is. I was actually thinking about this topic this morning while driving the kids to Sunday School. I often wonder if I am at my current job because it is God's desire. I wonder this because I often feel trapped and unappreciated there. I know that my gifts and talents are not being used to their fullest potential at my job and often contemplate what I can do about it. I still haven't found that answer.

I do know the general answer to what my purpose on this Earth is. I have known it for most of my life. My job is to help the children of the world. As a child, I spent hours playing with younger children. As a teenager, I babysat several times a week and volunteered with youth organizations. My first college major was elementary education although I later decided that wasn't meant to be my job.

Now as an adult, I often wonder why I am single and cannot find anyone I want to marry. I don't have the answer to that and don't know if I ever will. I do know that part of my job is to continue to work with children and help them. I am honored God has blessed me with the responsibility of caring for children. I love the time I spend with the kids I mentor, teach, foster and parent.

I don't have all of the answers and I have decided that I am going to try to be happy with that. I don't need to know. I will continue to look for opportunities to serve God and God's children. Maybe I am at my job to help the parents of some of the children out there. Maybe I am at my job to help me understand the biological parents of the children I raise and foster. Maybe I am at my job because it is the way that God is leading me to the children I am meant to serve. Or maybe I am at my job for a reason that I have yet to understand.

Whatever the reason, I will continue to work hard and do my job well. I refuse to let myself get stressed out or even concerned about if my career is going in a direction I want. I will continue to look for opportunities to do the things I want to do but accept it when I cannot. After all, I don't have all the answers and I don't need them. God will lead me where I need to go. It may be the job I am already at or it may be a different career in the future. Right now, I will work hard but concentrate on the job I know He wants me to do. Loving His children no matter how they come into my life.

Jacob Really is 3!

Jacob has loved Sunday School his first two weeks there. So, I was a little concerned when he suddenly announced he didn't want to go anymore. He stated his teacher told him he wasn't "big enough" yet. I asked him what he meant. He stated you have to be 3 to be in his class. His teacher had told him he wasn't 3. He was obviously very upset as he thought she didn't believe he was suppose to be in the class.
After Sunday School this morning, I asked him which teacher had told him this. He pointed to one of the teachers. I told her that Jacob was upset because she didn't believe he was 3. I explained that Jacob knew kids needed to be 3 to be in the class and if he wasn't 3 he couldn't be in the class. She assured him that he was perfect for the class and very much wanted there. He seemed happier and states he wants to go back again next week.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Gymnastics Dilemma

Jacob's gymnastics teacher and I have very different definitions of listening. To me, listening is staying on task and doing only what your teacher tells you to do. It is not running off to try other equipment and jumping around while the teacher is trying to talk to you. Jacob has been doing better about staying near his teacher and trying the exercises she assigns. He is still running to other pieces of equipment and not always waiting his turn.

On Thursday, Miss Nicole told me Jacob was doing really well in class. I asked if he was listening any better. I had seen him run off a few times but was busy with M so I didn't see his entire hour. She told me that he always does a really good job at listening. Huh?!? Definitelly different expectations.

So here is my dilemma. Do I just keep my mouth shut and let Miss Nicole handle it? If she doesn't care why should I? On the other hand, I don't want Jacob thinking it is ok to have selective hearing and not stay on task. I also have to remember that he just turned 3 and maybe he really is doing the best he can for his age level. Miss Nicole does work with preschoolers everyday and he certainly isn't the only child who has trouble staying on task. I'm just not sure what I should say next week. Should I remind him about listening and give him warnings when he runs by me off task while I am at class. Or should I just let Miss Nicole handle it and only step in if he is openly defiant and creating a disturbance?