Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Jasmine has played soccer from the time she was four. I was her U 6 (under six, so 4s and 5s) coach and she was the player the other team dreaded. She went after every ball. Every one.
I mean, look at her go!!

But then when she moved up to U8, she lost her fire. I don't know if it's because the kids were so much bigger and ran her over, or if she just lost her competitiveness or because I was no longer her coach. She became the child who stood and watched everyone else go for the ball. She played U 8 & U 10 and would still be U 10 this fall.

Anyway, after five years of soccer, we decided to try softball. Soccer was two practices on week nights and then a Saturday morning game. I figured softball would be about the same. But it's not. It's practices Mon & Thurs 6-8 and then games Tuesdays --usually at 6:00 game AND a 7:20 game. Then a two hour game on Friday nights. Since there weren't enough girls for both U10 and U12, they put them together and made it a U12 team.

All the softball games are child pitched starting with 6 year olds. So basically, everyone walks. It's a matter of getting to home safely. And sliding in. Sliding is required in some situations and if you don't slide, you're out. And really, it's not that much fun watching girls be walked for two hours. No field action.

Then, of course, Jasmine had nose and lip surgery--and then was hit in the face with a ball a week later. Lots of blood but no permanent damage. That scared her though so that she would no longer play field.

Last night is the first night she went out in the field. And notice that she's wearing her helmet with face mask. We are waiting for the actual mask for fielding to come in at the sport's store.

She got walked and she made it all the way home and even slid in.

The coach was really proud of her and gave her the game ball. Rick got her a pizza but he didn't get the pizza in the picture! It was a thin ham and pineapple.

Jasmine won't play any sport in the spring due to her neck surgery, but then next fall we'll have to decide between soccer or softball. Softball is much bigger in the spring so maybe fall soccer and spring softball.

Jasmine also has a half hour tap class (wish it were an hour!) and a 45 minutes ballet/jazz combined class.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Not Citizens Yet

Okay, so we get the letter to go to Jacksonville our "local" field office only five HOURS away (!!!) The appt is 10:00 but it's an hour ahead of us so instead of leaving by 3 or 4 a.m. we went last night.

We got called in just about on time. The lady read down a list of documents and I handed them to her as she read off. When she said, "Marriage certificate and Richard's divorce decree" I about had a heart attack. Those were NOT on our list. But they were in the folder from PAP thank goodness.

So, we are in there less than ten minutes when she says, "You are our first case so I need to go over this with the supervisor." We went back out into the lobby and sat 50 minutes.

She comes back out and is not carrying certificates so I"m thinking, "Oh no. Some little thing is missing." Well, it wasn't and the decision was favorable and that's good.

But what is not good is that Jax has to send it all to Orlando to be processed. Then it goes back to Jax. Then all four of us take another day off and make another ten hour round trip because we all have to report back there to pick up the COCs.

But what annoys me is that Orlando is only two hours farther for us than Jax and we could have done this all in one trip and have walked out with the COCs. And today would have been their citizenship day. We won't even know when their day is until we see it printed on the COCs. And we could have snuck off to Disney too : )

We go right by Jeff's school/home when we go to Jax so we stopped to see him. We called ahead and the guy who runs the place said we can't do anymore drop in visits like that. We have to come only on visitation day and sit in the room with him to visit. Oh brother. I will be glad when he's done. We only left him here because he's so close to graduating under their program but would be a year or more from graduating here.
We went to Wendy's and then took him to Walmart shopping.

He's getting so tall. He's at least 6'2"

My three Haitian sensations.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Girl's Day Out

It wasn't supposed to be a girl's day out. It happened by default.

Adam has counseling every other Saturday morning so the last two times I've grabbed a couple of the little ones and taken them to McDonald's two blocks from counseling for breakfast after dropping him off.

Kaleb was supposed to go, but on Friday he attempted to stabbed a child with scissors. There was a sub, and she couldn't control him so she called me to talk to him. He wouldn't come to the phone. I could hear him screaming very loudly in the background.

I told her to take him to the principal, but they are not allowed to touch a child so I don't know if they ever got him there. They probably decided it was easier not to. I didn't get any communication from the school. I'm sure once the teacher is back I'll hear how it ended.

I told him that since he does not feel badly when he hurts people and since I can't trust him not to hurt someone, he could not go anywhere this weekend. No McDonalds, no park, no anywhere.

So Kayla and Jasmine went to McDonalds.

Then we decided to go to the driving range. We went two or three times summer 09 but not since. Tyler and Jessica had to work, and the two boys were restricted to the house and yard, so again it was just the little girls.

Kayla hit a few balls and then said, "I'm too lazy to do this" and sat down and was done!

She revived when we went into the clubhouse for fries and a soda. We sat on the back patio which happens to be right on the bay. She said, "I want to live here." I said, "Me, too." We talked about how you can't live in the clubhouse, but if you have lots of money, you can buy your own house on the bay. (But people with 8 kids and writing Christian books normally do not have the money to do that--unless it's the Left Behind series or something)

Then we went to a little skate park.

Jasmine's learnin' some moves.

Kayla is fearless.

A little boy maybe 7 or 8 came up and informed me it was skate boards only, no scooters. I said, "The rules also say children 9 and under have to have a parent with them, and you have to wear helmets. So you are breaking two rules and we are breaking one." He looked confused so I'm thinking maybe he was 9 or 10 and just small. But he left. Kind of funny that a kid felt he needed to come up and tell me the rules. I'd heard him say to two older friends, "I need to go tell them the rules" when we first got there so maybe he's appointed himself king of the skate park. He and his two friends sat at the top of the ramp and threw their skateboards down the ramp but they never actually rode them.

Then it was time to be lazy, and Kaleb joined us for that.

And Shy is really good at lazy.

Guess what Jessica is learning in Explorers?

The girls have some exciting news but we are not going to share it for a couple of weeks until everything is in place. You all may not think it's exciting, but I do.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Glad to Be Done with Yesterday

I'm glad Thursday is over. Just too many obligations for one day!

Got my perm done and I'm all curly for a while.

Kayla brought home a parent alert. I'm really surprised the teachers haven't sent any with some of the previous behaviors at school. I'm not sure how they decide what gets a parent alert (official note home) and what gets a call or no sticker on the chart. What she did to get the parent alert bothers me a lot less than her telling her teacher no or hitting/scratching/pushing another child.

The incident at school sent Kayla into a downward spiral. It resulted in her not getting to watch the dance class I was thinking of enrolling her in and me deciding that we will just wait until next fall for dance. Her behavior is too unpredictable for a dance class situation where discipline is necessary. Things escalated more at home and she ended up getting sent to bed rather than going to her school's open house.

Rick took the other two to the open house. Earlier in the week Kaleb had choked a child and that child's dad threatened Rick. But how are we supposed to be responsible for our kids behaviors while they are at school and out of our sight? There is no one on hall duty when the first buses get there. I think there should be a teacher or other adult on duty from the time the first kids arrive. What Kaleb did was wrong but he does make poor choices if not supervised. We are working on it as are the teachers. But get a hall monitor for goodness sakes!

Even though Kayla had a horrible day, everyday is a new day and we don't carry over consequences for the twins at this point. Well, if you pitch a fit at the park, you won't go the next time perhaps. But things like just having a bad day end with that day. However, on Fridays we go to a convenience store nearby and it is necessary to have 16 of 24 stickers to get a dollar to spend on ice cream or other junk food. They can get up to four stickers on school days--one for being dry, one for bus behavior, one for school behavior and one for home behavior. That helps me keep things in perspective. Like, the child may have a horrible day at school but might be just fine at home and on the bus. It's easy to let the school behavior overshadow the good things. So the chart helps me as much as it does them.

There is also a movie and popcorn every night for those who have a good day at school. So I guess we have immediate reinforcements for good behavior and the Friday treat as a "long term" reward for a good week.

Anyway, I'm glad it's Friday although we don't really have any plans at this point. I'd love to take the jet ski out but my second driver works all weekend.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Updates on Life

Nothing exciting going on this week. Just lots of "stuff."

The biggie right now is that we got a notice in the mail from USCIS to appear at our "local" office for a citizenship appointment. Our local office is 5 hours away (in good traffic conditions). If the twins had come home on visas, we would not need this appt. They would automatically be citizens. Their Haitian adoption was complete, but the visa hadn't been issued.

Along with the twins, we are to bring the I 485 along with $930 per child. It says $1,011, but then says that $80 is for fingerprinting, and they shouldn't need fingerprinted. We also have to take the I 864W. The wording is a little weird so I'm not sure if we need the $70 each child or not. I'm taking it to be on the safe side. It has to be cashiers checks or money orders.

On top of that, it requires a civil surgeon physical. Those range from $800 to $200 and they don't accept insurance. We only have one doctor within three hours and she was $150 per twin and saw them together for less than five minutes. So what was the use of that? They had a school physical already. It's not like she checked for any weird diseases or anything. She also refused to sign off on the paperwork unless we got them flu shots.

We are NOT in flu season. She is the only doctor in our area who has them right now. Walgreens say they do, but ours doesn't. Rick found one that did but couldn't give them to anyone under 18.
To avoid paying this lady another $40 each for the shots that should be waived since they can get them free from their ped in four weeks, Rick drove 1 1/2 hours each way to get them at a Walmart who would give children's shots.

So now it's a matter of getting the paperwork from the doctor, getting the forms together. I have them half filled out. I'm not sure how to fill them out and don't know if I use the name on the I 94 or the one on the adoption decree. I haven't signed them because I don't know whether to sign my name or theirs. I don't have original birth certificates or decrees because they were e-mailed to me. If they don't accept those, I guess we'll be driving another ten hour round trip later!

Besides getting all that ready, it's just a matter of juggling homework, church, dance, softball and other activities. I am getting 4-10 calls a week from the school about the twin's behaviors. The teachers are very limited on what they can do. Kaleb is a real stinker. He hits, spits and scratches both teachers and studnets, chokes children, tears up work he doesn't want to do, yells "No, you can't make me" and "I'm not happy with you" at his teachers etc. They can only put him in time out. If he doesn't go, they can't force him. I can! : )

And here we are practicing sitting time out so next time teacher says, "Go to time out" we know what to do. This one didn't count for me because of the legs and feet on the chair. He kept doing that to annoy me even though he was missing the movie the others were watching. I just got a book and sat there and read. He finally realized he was the one missing out and put his feet down.

Kayla seems to be doing better because she realizes she gets home center if she has a good day. Otherwise she goes to blocks or playdough. She loves home center and is very upset when she doesn't get it. The kids are supposed to rotate centers but the teacher always lets her have home center when she does well all day to reinforce the behavior.

Jasmine is holding her own in everything but math. They are out of place value now and into multiplication, but unfortunately there are still place value word problems in this unit too.

One of her spelling assigments was to hide the words in a picture. So Jessica is helping her draw a dragon.

I really, really want today to be over. I haven't slept much the last three nights so am dragging a bit. I am getting a perm this morning. My hair is neither straight nor curly. It actually grows kind of straight out, not down. So the perm makes it at least all curl the same way.

We have dance after school. Jasmine has ballet/jazz and Jessica has tumbling. Kayla is going to watch a hip hop class. If she continues to improve in her behaviors she can try it out next month. I wish I knew ahead how things would go. Once they order the recital costumes and start working on the recital she has to remain in the class. She has been warned that spitting on, grabbing or scratching another child or peeing in class will result in her being immediatley removed. If she tests me on that, I hope she does it before I pay for the recital costume!

After dance, Tyler and Jessica have explorers, and the little three have open house at their school. How to be in three classrooms at the same time.... Jasmine has softball practice at the same time as the openhouse. We could go late but I think we'll skip. It hasn't turned out to be the fun, positive activity we thought it would be : (

Anyway, that's my life for now. Just want to get through today mostly.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Just Can't Get Them

all to smile at the same time.

Our Build a Bear family. My two are on both ends on the back--the soccer koala and the jungle tiger. My koala has more clothing choices than I do! He even has the Buzz Lighyear suit because Jessica thought he'd be left out when she and Jasmine bought outfits and I didn't!

These five little ones came from the St. Louis zoo. The stingray is a B-a-B too. I suppose when they first started out they must have just had bears.

Jessica has three regular sized ones. The brown bear she bought on a youth group trip. That was our first experience with B-a-B. I got her the bunny for her senior year along with a graduation gown. I gave her the police outfit for her bd since she's a criminology major. She got the ice cream bear from my sister for her birthday.

Kayla got her bunny for her 5th birthday.

Kaleb got the dog for his 5th birthday.

Jasmine got her brown bear as a fund raiser item. I think it was actually our first B-a-B but it came already stuffed. She bought the white one and the cinnamon colored one herself!

I bought Tyler the black lab for his senior year along with a graduation gown. He got the gray one at a yard sale for a couple of dollars. He always cracks up though because it looks like it should have a tough growl but it has the "I love you" button in the paw.
Adam doesn't have a Build-a-Bear. He's just not into stuffed animals.

A quick game of Bop It at 6:35 right before they go out the door to the bus.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Guess Who's Riding...

...without training wheels?

Playing with playdough. We don't get this out all the time, so when we do, it's a novelty.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Best Friends

We have quite a collection of Build a Bears. Everyone has at least one. Everyone has a mini one from the St. Louis Zoo this summer too. One child has 4, but they've been collected over years not all at once.

We don't have a B-a-B here, so sometimes we stop at a mall that has one as a break on a trip. Jasmine got this outfit with a $10 reward coupon on her surgery follow up trip. She saved her allowance and used it plus a $10 reward coupon to buy the bear on an earlier trip.

I think we'll have a B-a-B reunion later and see how many we really have.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Around the House

Yay! It's Friday! Tyler decided to spend some time with Jasmine while the twins were at the civil surgeon for their citizenship physical.

They are playing Wii basketball but I couldn't catch them jumping.

Jessica spent about 3 hours on this today before she left for work. It's coming right along.

The dogs are ready for their walk. Tyler and Adam share that responsibility.

It hit 90F today so still pool weather.

Tyler cooked tonight. I'll post the recipe when I post the monthly food post.