Our Family

Our Family

Thursday, December 15, 2011


As the Christmas season rapidly approaches us I finally decided to pull out all of the decorations. With each item that I pulled out another memory filled my head. I remember this same feeling as a child. Waiting for the special day when mom pulled out all of the storage boxes and we began the decorating. Once all the decorations were out my mind kept falling back to the one decoration that I haven't seen in a long time. I used to have a small plastic snow globe. I'm sure at some point in my life I got it for free at an event or something, I don't even really remember. What I do remember is how much I loved it. There was a tiny nativity scene inside of it. I would pull it out of the box and shake it over and over. The joy that such a small item brought me is truly amazing when I look back on it. I'm not sure at what point that globe disappeared, just one Christmas it was gone, never to be seen again.

Lately I feel like my life is that snow globe. Someone grabs my entire being and shakes it like crazy. As soon and I think everything has settled and might actually be calm God throws me something else and the shaking begins again. It is this cycle that continues over and over. I know that God will never give me more than I can handle, but sometimes it takes a lot to convince myself that is true. As exciting as this time of year is, it is also just as trying. Financially, socially, and mentally draining on me and the rest of my family. I need to find the peace and happiness that Christmas is meant to bring. Christine told me the other day that I spend so much time thinking about everything going on in my life that I end up missing what is going on here and now. In some ways I think that is very true. Here and now is what really matters. I can't change the future, I have no control of other people. My snow globe may not stop shaking, but I can stay focused on one thing and quit getting dizzy every time it does.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Weight Loss Journey


As many of you know I have been on a weight loss journey for over a year now. I joined Weight Watchers in September 2010. Now over a year later I feel like I'm at a stand still. I thought I would do a post about it to try and give myself some motivation. My family is sick of hearing about it, so I will leave it in the hands of my readers.

I know why I'm at a stand still....laziness! I'm horrible at working out, I have to force myself to chart my food, it's just not as fun as it used to be. I need to come up with a way to get myself back into the game. I still have 30lbs to loose and it's not going to just fall off, I know I will have to work at it. I just have to do it! AHHH I am such a food addict. I need a 12 step program based on food. It seems like everywhere I turn some one is eating something, cooking, or offering me some delicious goodie. It's simple just say no. Yeah right. I think it's simple for those who aren't food addicts. It is not simple for me! Free samples at stores, candy on counters, left overs in the fridge it is everywhere all the time. I guess for me it's a one minute at a time program. As long as I can keep saying no thank you to hand outs, close the fridge or fill it up with the good for me stuff I will be ok.

I am Thankful that God has given me the strength to come this far in my weight loss journey. I know that he will be there with me as I make the right choices for myself in order to keep on the track that I need to be on.

With Thanksgiving less than 24hrs away I am trying to prepare myself for the overwhelming amount of food that will be present. My goal is to try to focus on everything else. Gathering with family and spending good quality time together is what really matters, the food is just a bonus. I will stuff my self full of good conversations, love, support, and amazing people. With all of that on my plate there is no way that I will let food take over. One day at a time!

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Goal of Foster Care is Reunification

Everyday I have to remind myself that "the goal of foster care is reunification with the biological parents". At what point does reunification become more harmful than good? When a child has lived with you for longer than they have lived with their biological parents, when your home IS home, when you get up for the midnight feedings, the nightmares, the wet beds, when you take them to the doctor appointments, read to them, show them right from wrong how is it better to send them to someplace that has no schedule...no consistency, no food half the time, no feelings of love and comfort, no tucking in and saying prayers at bedtime, no cuddle times and special one on ones. Instead there will be yelling, screaming, fighting, smoking, crying, drinking, hunger, filth, and a serious lack of love and warmth....but at the end of the day "the goal of foster care is reunification".

I pray that God looks upon these children with love and understanding. That our Father God sees what is best for these children and helps to keep them safe, warm, fed, and loved. My hope is that no matter where they go or who has them our God will help to guide and comfort them in their journey. I want to say a selfish prayer, but instead I am trying very hard to live life on life's terms. With that said I am just going to live and let God. No matter how hard that can be.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

St. A's Fall concert

St. Augustine decided to do something new this year by having a fall concert instead of a Christmas one. Isabelle had a speaking role where she introduced another class and their song. She did a great job. I was so nervous for her, but she went up there and nailed it. Isabelle's class (the 5th grade) sang a song and played their recorders for a song. I started to video part of the recorder one, until my battery decided to die. Bummer. Here are a few pics of the event.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The kids....

Isabelle turned 11 on November 7th. It is really hard to believe that 11 years have flown by so quickly. We went out to dinner and had cookie cake for desert at home. This was my first time making a cookie cake, but I will for sure be doing it again. It was delicious! She didn't have a party this year, but sometimes quality time with the family is just as good.

Isabelle had to do a solar system project for school. She spent a lot of time on it and I think it really shows. It turned out awesome! Great work Isabelle!

Jericha has been going to peeps at Arcadia school every day from 9-12am. She is just loving it. Her personality is really starting to shine. Everyday she comes home with something new and exciting that she has learned.

Josiah is getting so big! He is almost eight months now. He is army crawling everywhere. That includes straight into the dog's water bowl, the recycling bin, DVD's, and anything else he can find. He is really testing our child proofing skills. Jojo still has no teeth, but he is eating like a champ. Recently he discovered his tongue and started sticking it out at anyone that will pay attention to him. He makes us all smile every time we look at him. We are so blessed to have him as part of our lives.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Apple Orchard

Christine and I went out together on Saturday. It was the first time in months that we have been somewhere together with out any kids at all. Sometimes I forget how nice it is to have normal adult conversations with out being interrupted, having to put kids in time outs, etc. We went out to dinner, hit up a haunted house (yes I actually made it through), and then we went to the casino. I won all of our money that we spent for the night back and still had extra. It was really exciting because I never win when I go.

Sunday we took the kids and Isabelle's friend to the apple orchard. They had a blast. We did the kiddy part with activities, picked apples, took a wagon ride, and went through the corn maze. Let me just say next time I go through a corn maze I will defiantly put my moby wrap on instead of trying to push a stroller. Not a good idea! Overall the weekend was awesome. The only downfall was I did absolutely no housework! My house looks like a tornado went through it right now so I'm trying to talk myself into cleaning. Guess we will see how that goes....

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thought of the day

I am going to take this moment to just talk about myself. I finally reached my 75lb mark after being plateaued for about two months. I am excited about that accomplishment, especially since that means I only have 37.8 more pounds to loose until I reach my goal weight. With that said I have really started to evaluate why everything in my life seems to plateau at one point or another. I guess there comes a time when things I used to put thought into just start to blend into daily life. I have found that is not always a good thing. Everything in life needs maintenance. If you aren't willing to maintain it then you will end up getting what you put into it. Life is not easy. It's not easy to constantly maintain everything, but is it easier to let it all go to hell? A weight loss comparison that I heard the other day goes like this "It's hard to loose weight, it's hard to maintain your weight, it's hard to be over weight. Choose your hard." I really like that. If I'm going to spend time thinking about how hard something is I sure as hell want some results when I'm done with it. I feel like this can go for just about anything in my life. It's hard to do a lot of things, but if I choose not to do it, isn't the outcome just as hard? Well those are my thoughts for the day...

"The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice."  George Eliot

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Silver Lake Adventures....

We took the family to Silver Lake over the weekend. We are so blessed to have the cottage available for us to use. My friend Jess and 3 out of her 4 kids came along. It was a ton of fun, even with Isabelle being sick. She was a super trooper. We climbed the side of a dune, took Jessica's Jeep out on the dunes, got fried in the sun, roasted marshmallows, swam, read, and loved every minute. I wish vacations lasted longer, I never want to come home.

Life seems like it gets crazier and crazier. Whoever said the fostering children is an amazing experience never did it! Sure the children are great....it's the parents that are the problem. They don't show for visits or cancel, they drop dirty, they work crap jobs, live in motels, and the state says maybe we will give them another chance. So three months later they do everything the same and the state says maybe we will give them another chance. When one parent starts dropping clean, but doesn't even show up to court the state says we will give unsupervised visits. After 4 visits when that parent drops dirty again the state says, maybe they just need another chance....REALLY??? so they put that parent back on supervised visits, but they want us to supervise. We finally put our foot down and say no we aren't going to do that. So after two supervised visits the state worker says that parents looks like they are doing fine we will give them their unsupervised visits back. I just don't get it. The goal of foster care is reunification. I know that, but at some point they need to assess the situation and see if reunification is really the best thing for the child. I feel like no one is really looking after the child's best interest, just the courts best interest in trying to do reunification at any cost. I'm really trying to just give it to GOD, I have a very hard time doing that. So that is why I am ranting to you about it. If I don't I think my head might explode.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Isabelle has been sick for a week now. Last Friday she started not feeling well, by Saturday she spiked a temp and almost passed out at rib fest. It had been a long day and she had only munched all day long, so I figured her almost passing out episode was due to the combination of heat, not feeling well, and not eating enough. Sunday her temp hit 103 and by Monday I took her to the doctor. They said it was viral, I swear they always say it is viral. By Thursday she still had a high temp, so I took her back to the doctor and demanded that they figure out what was wrong. After doing a chest x-ray the doc said that she had pneumonia. Poor thing is coughing and hacking like crazy. Now that she has been on antibiotics for 2 days she is starting to feel better, I hope her recovery goes more smoothly than her diagnosis.

Our plans to go to Michigan Adventure have been cancelled, but we are still going to the lake to just chill. Hopefully some good chill time will do her some good. I would love to see a happy HEALTHY child by the time school starts on August 24th. Guess we will see.....

"Sick" By Shel Silverstein

'I cannot go to school today,'
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
'I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I'm going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I've counted sixteen chicken pox
And there's one more-that's seventeen,
And don't you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut-my eyes are blue-
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I'm sure that my left leg is broke-
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button's caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained,
My 'pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is-what?
What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is...Saturday?
G'bye, I'm going out to play! '

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Long Lost Brother......

My long lost brother came into town yesterday. Kinda crazy, overwhelming, exciting, weird, and sad all at the same time. This is only the second time in my life that I have had the opportunity to meet him. My mom had Will as a teen and placed him up for adoption in California. About 10 or more years ago he hired a PI to find his biological parents. That is when I first found out that he even existed. So weird! I mean I had spent most of my life wishing that I had an older sibling and then over night one just appeared. Who is this guy? What does he look like? Why did he find us? We had so many questions and no answers at all. After Will found us he stopped contact for a couple years. He now has told me that it was all very overwhelming. It's kind of like having a box in front of you. You really want to know what is in the box so you peek under the lid. Instead of just getting to see whats under there the whole box explodes in your face!

 About eight years ago Will and his wife came to town because their daughter was sick and having a procedure done near by. That was the first time that we met. He was essentially a complete stranger, but he fit right in. It's amazing how even though you are raised across the country from someone they still can act exactly like you. He was only here for a day or two during that visit. When he left eight years ago he continued to keep minimal contact with my mother and no contact with us kids. Mom e-mails him every now and then with updates on our lives, sometimes she will get a response, sometimes not. So you can imagine what a surprise it was to find out that he was coming to visit us, for no reason other than to visit. He contacted my mom a week or so ago and said he was trying to do some soul searching.  He feels like there is a black hole in his life where his biological family should be. Will said he would be coming alone, living his wife and four kids back in Pasadena, CA. He wanted to come here and spend some one on one time with us, possibly meet his dad, and explore Kalamazoo.

Will arrived on Tuesday night and checked into the hotel where my sister Ana works. Wednesday I met up with him for lunch at Food Dance. We talked for hours, strolled around downtown, went to the KIA (Kalamazoo Institute of Art), and grabbed some coffee. He is so easy to talk to and such an amazing and accomplished person. He has all the same talents and positive traits as the rest of my family. The difference is he went to college, graduated with a bachelors in fine art, and continued on a successful path. Will has done set design and art directing for films (not just small films might I add). Some movies that he has worked on were Lemony Snicket, Hancock, Grinch who Stole Christmas, and many more. About two years ago he got out of the film industry and focused on the preschool that his wife had been running. That same year they purchased a second preschool and got that up and running. They now have two successful schools with a total of 196 students ages 2-5 years. On top of running the schools they have their own four children (Keagan-9, Addison-8, Weylin-5, Imogen-3). With all this going on Will said he just needed to take some time away and focus on himself.

He is leaving today. I am grateful that I had this opportunity to once again meet and spend time with my brother, even if it was only for a couple days. I just hope that this time he doesn't close the lid all the way. I would like to continue to keep contact open between us. I can't help but feel that God sent him here for a reason, I'm not sure what that reason is right now, but I don't want to give up before I find out. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of him, but I stole this one off of his wife's FB...lol.

Monday, July 11, 2011

4th of July Shenanigans and more.....

I was lucky enough to get the 4th of July off of work this year, unfortunately Christine had to work. I took the kids to the parade in Schoolcraft. They really enjoyed the candy catching!

A couple days later we left to go to Silver Lake for the first time this summer. It was our trial run with the baby. I forgot how much you have to pack when you are carting 2 adults, 3 kids (one that is an infant), and a dog! We were only gone a couple of days, but any outsider would have thought we were leaving for a month. The lake was tons of fun. I got time to myself to read with out being bugged, Christine went fishing with Isabelle a few times, Jericha made a permanent dent in the sand from her bottom, and Josiah just hung out where ever we sat him. It couldn't have gone any better. Sometimes I just need time away from the day to day grind to take a deep breath and relax.
 This is a picture of Jericha at 11:30pm after she has had ice cream and smores! SMILE your ready to crash!
 Christine and Isabelle taking a break from the fishing frenzy.....
  Josiah chillin in his old man chair.