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Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Up until last December, we lived in a large neighborhood.  As most of you know, we now live on a small farm in the country.  So, the question was-what do we do about Halloween?  My dad’s church, Graefenburg Christian Church, was having a “Trunk or Treat,” so we decided this would be perfect.  It gave the kids a chance to dress up (even Robert…who is almost 16) and get a little candy while visiting Papaw in the process.  However, our little ones were a bit confused about this process….as they were not going up sidewalks in West Albuquerque up to the doors of our many neighbors.  J

I have to say that I don’t like it when Halloween falls during the week.  That means that I don’t get to dress the kids up and I leave it all to Tammy.  I gave her some specific instructions in regard to Kennedy’s make-up (she was a snow princess); and she followed this pretty well.  However, all of the others kids had black make-up around their eyes, on their noses, etc.  I asked Tammy what this was and she said “it was that black pen in your make-up thing.”  Ummm….hellooooo…that is my Organic Wear (not cheap!!) liquid eyeliner!! I had to bite my tongue as we were in the church parking lot.  Oh well.

We have had quite an eventful weekend.  We took Sophie and Kennedy to their first concert; Taylor Swift.  Kennedy had a ball; but Sophie said that she is done with concerts…Kennedy and I will be going to the next concert alone J

Well, today marks the 13th anniversary of my girl and me.  We were talking tonight about how it doesn’t seem that like it has been that long.  We have been through so much together and our relationship just continues to grow.  In my humble opinion, a strong relationship contains BOTH chemistry and compatibility and we have a tremendous amount of both.  We are very lucky…I think that many people spend a lifetime trying to find the kind of love that we share. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Little Orphan Annie

At times I truly feel that we must have a “VACANCY” sign flashing above our door…This morning we were working on the farm and our neighbor from across the road comes over and says “Y’all want a calf?”  Apparently this calf was born just a few days ago.  Her mama died in childbirth and none of their other cows would let her nurse…so, it is a good thing that we have 2 bottles, because we are back to bottle feeding 2 calves!  She is absolutely precious, and appears to be much healthier than our original two. 
Also a bit of “net-working” in the process..Tammy found a good source of inexpensive, high quality hay for us to purchase for the winter. 

And her name is Annie :)


Thursday, October 27, 2011

"What do you do?"

This is a question that adults often ask one another when they meet…what do you do??  Some people take great pride in their answer to that question; and some become a little stressed when it is asked.  What do you think a topless dancer would say?  I am an entertainer?  Or would she just answer you directly? 

Tammy feels a great deal of discomfort when this is asked of her.  She was a social worker for TWENTY years and has been a full-time parent for the last 3; caring for our children.  She does a wonderful job and as much as I love my kids; there is absolutely no way that I could stay home full-time.  Anyway; she never knows how to answer…can she say that she is a “housewife?”  Can she say that she is a “domestic goddess?”  I don’t think that either really fits J  One place that this really bothers her is at the doctor’s office.  When she says that she stays home with the kids, the answer is “oh.”  She says that she feels fine with herself; being a full-time parent, until someone asks that question.  Then she feels like she needs to go get a job. 

And Dear Mr. President…you have not protected “our type of family” like you promised that you would….universal health care is a great big joke…Tammy cannot go on my insurance; so we are paying Cobra premiums just to keep her insured…..And if I killed over tomorrow, she wouldn’t draw my social security….these are all risks that we take; being a same-sex couple with children where we have decided for one of us to be home full-time. 

Well, my girl will soon be able to say that she is a college student.  I am happy to say that she is returning to school in January to pursue the degree that she really always wanted:  agriculture J

"What do you do?"

This is a question that adults often ask one another when they meet…what do you do??  Some people take great pride in their answer to that question; and some become a little stressed when it is asked.  What do you think a topless dancer would say?  I am an entertainer?  Or would she just answer you directly? 

Tammy feels a great deal of discomfort when this is asked of her.  She was a social worker for TWENTY years and has been a full-time parent for the last 3; caring for our children.  She does a wonderful job and as much as I love my kids; there is absolutely no way that I could stay home full-time.  Anyway; she never knows how to answer…can she say that she is a “housewife?”  Can she say that she is a “domestic goddess?”  I don’t think that either really fits J  One place that this really bothers her is at the doctor’s office.  When she says that she stays home with the kids, the answer is “oh.”  She says that she feels fine with herself; being a full-time parent, until someone asks that question.  Then she feels like she needs to go get a job. 

And Dear Mr. President…you have not protected “our type of family” like you promised that you would….universal health care is a great big joke…Tammy cannot go on my insurance; so we are paying Cobra premiums just to keep her insured…..And if I killed over tomorrow, she wouldn’t draw my social security….these are all risks that we take; being a same-sex couple with children where we have decided for one of us to be home full-time. 

Well, my girl will soon be able to say that she is a college student.  I am happy to say that she is returning to school in January to pursue the degree that she really always wanted:  agriculture J

Monday, October 24, 2011

Where is my baby?

About 2 months ago we got a call from the past….a dear little boy that we cared for the first 17 months of his life was in danger of not having a place to go…Tammy and I both talked to his step-mother (who is also his guardian; because his bio father insisted on “getting him back” and then left him) who asked us to “take him.”  Well…being a social worker I knew that it was not that easy.  There was the legal part of this process that had to be dealt with; along with the psychological part as well.  We asked that a few professionals be consulted in regard to all of this and that she call us back.  And they have both disappeared.  All phone numbers have been disconnected, emails and facebook messages have not been answered, and we have no idea what happened.  They live out of state and we have no way of knowing.    Our biggest fear is that he is in foster care system and that he will be “lost.” 

A part of my heart died when this little boy left our home and he was placed with his dad and step-mother.  I picked him up from the hospital when he was 48 hours old and we never spent a night without him until the court system decided that he should send him to his bio family.   December 3rd will always be a tragic day in our family’s life. Not a day has gone by that we don’t think of that little boy and I don’t think that Robert has ever been the same.  I remember him telling Tammy and me that year that the holidays would be too hard and we just shouldn’t celebrate Christmas. 

I will never forget the day that the transition calendar started.  He and our 2 youngest daughters were all in preschool together and they were taking photographs that day and the teachers made the photographers wait until we returned from his first visit with his family because they knew that we would want these last photos of them all together.  I will never forget them sitting Sophie and Kennedy down and plopping him on their laps between them.  Tears started to pour in this little school. 

Those of you who make these types of decisions in the lives of children….please do not take it lightly. And please remember that sending children to their bio families simply because “they are blood” is not always the best thing.  We were the only family that he knew.  His step-mother told me a year ago that she had taken him for a psychiatric evaluation because of behavioral issues and she was told that he was forever damaged because his attachment had been broken.   We are so worried about both of them and wish that we had some answers.  We have maintained a relationship with her and we just don’t understand what happened. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Moving on.....

I have missed blogging the last few weeks……we had a crazy outbreak of the stomach flu/virus in our house that lasted over 3 weeks.  In the midst of that, our baby had surgery to correct his strabismus….I am happy to report that everyone is over all of their ailments, doing well, and back to normal (whatever that is J).

And…I am saying good-bye to community mental health.  I am going back to healthcare full-time and I get more excited about it by the day.  I will still be in the NICU 2 days per week, and will spend my other 2 days a week in the Cystic Fibrosis clinic.  This is a population of patients with whom I have never worked and I am excited to have the opportunity to learn about something new.  One of the physicians with whom I am working has already mentioned flying me to one of the national centers to shadow a seasoned CF social worker to learn more about this disease and its many social considerations. 

This new schedule is also going to allow me to have a booth at Farmers Markets next spring/summer/fall and I am very excited about that.  We are making plans for what we want to plant to sell, etc.  We are hoping that this will be an addition to our household income. 

Homeschooling is moving along.  I think that the kids are enjoying this new curriculum and its Waldorf style of learning.  We are also adding our own things into their days as well.  Tammy does such a great job of adding fun things in for science and social studies.  They went for a nature walk yesterday and picked up leaves and other objects to make a project.  Some things that are in the curriculum are a bit interesting for our family…for instance, there is a project on family and it has you go back 3 generations for stories.  We include our families as well as things that we know about their birth families.  This brings up LOTS of questions and we just answer them to the best of our ability.  We know quite a bit about some of our kids' birth families; and others we don't know much at all.  Adoption is a very open topic in our home and I am glad that it is.

This photo was taken the Burgoo Festival here in Lawrenceburg.  We are really growing to love this little community :)