Monday, November 30, 2009

NaBloPoMo

admittedly this was more of a chore then I anticipated.  Glad I was a successful particpant and glad it's over.  The end came at a perfect time as I just started Christmas projects and all the crafting is seriously biting into my post bedtime computer time.

Gonna do a little Blog Effect test here ... see if "the Effect" still has bite.  I was just pondering Lucy's health this morning.  I believe that the last time she was seen by a doctor and was sick was in April 2009.  Seven months!  Technically the April visit shouldn't count because it was actually her pre-op physical, but since she had a fever and an ear infection (discovered at the pre op physical) and was treated for said infection I'll count it.   In May she came down with a hardy fever and cough for several days (I thought it was mild H1N1) but she moved herself out of that virus with little drama.   Sometime last month her asthma kicked up for several days requiring nebs but no doctor visit.  

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Home Day

Today we stayed home all the live long day.  We didn't do much.  We decorated, cleaned, bagged a bunch of stuff to give away (yeah for less stuff) and played.  

a close up of an Old Navy Glitter ball


the kids


Friday, November 27, 2009

Instead of working ...

I have had two week days to enjoy my Lucy and play!












Now THAT'S something to be thankful for!   Still have two whole work-free days ahead of us. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

on this Thanksgiving Eve

I am thankful for two good mornings and two good nights in a row with my Lucy Loo. 

I am also thankful that it's bedtime.  All good things must come to an end at some point.  I am counting on the Tick Tock Clock to work it's magic. I think it's only failed us three times so far.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

flashback ..

we got home late tonight, no time to blog .... so I present you with our past:






Monday, November 23, 2009

Dance Class

Normally I won't be seeing Lucy's dance class but today I had to sneek out a bit early to watch the tap shoes in action! 







pretty darn cute! 

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My dad

My dad could have been a rich engineer.  After taking his granddaughter to her first dance class ever he couldn't stand it that she could only wear the tap shoes on her big foot.  Her little foot is so little that she needs high top shoes to secure them around her ankle.  Crocs in a teeny tiny size worked during the summer but taps shoes don't come in 6 month size for obvious reasons.  So being the caring mama that I am, I was just going to make her suck it up ... you know, one of the many "you can't have everything" moments in her life.  Not Grandpa, nope... his granddaughter wants or needs something, he'll do what he can to make it happen.

Exhibit A:  tap shoes from the 2nd hand store.  Add some creative thinking, some material from an old knee brace and some help from a cobbler and what do you get????



functional tap shoes that she can wear on BOTH feet!  She's been wearing these shoes nonstop this weekend.  Tap tap tap, sliiiiiiiddddeeeee ...


Grandpa's girl wants monkey bars in her back yard.  She loves practicing and building her strong muscles.  Mama  has no funds for such things.  Grandpa Larry has an old ladder in his garage and mama has old landscape timbers from a defunct raised flower bed.  What do you get???
 
monkey bars!  if you look in the back ground, you can see the trapeeze made from rope and a broken croquet club.


you gotta love grandpas (and dads)!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A day of "What's now!" vs "What now?" or "What if?"

What's now!

modeling an alternative way of wearing the Marley wristband


new green shoes from grandpa and grandma.  she's a punker!!!


short nap in the car


flying leap at Mel and MoMo's


more flying


a beautiful smile on a nice November afternoon


Happy Morgan

Friday, November 20, 2009

a last minute reprieve

just a quick post.  I believe a miracle might have happened this afternoong.  Originally we had an all staff meeting scheduled for after the last family left the Harvest Feast at our agency.  Following the all-staff meeting we were each to be called individually to hear our fate (laid off, position change, ???).  Hearts were heavy this morning.   While our clients were enjoying their meal I ran upstairs and noticed that someone had posted that the afternoon meeting had been changed.  We were to meet in between Harvest Feast groups instead of after.  We were all nervous.   We sat in the conference room in near silence, all of the staff, waiting waiting waiting for the directors to come.  A page came through saying that the meeting would start in 15 minutes, a collective groan came through the room ... WHYYYY are they making us wait.

we looked up as our director came in with a huge winnie the pooh balloon and a smaller congratulations balloon.  huh?

Barb (the director) was crying.  "I have good news (sob) A miracle happened today"

you see our directors testified this morning/afternoon in front of the Hennepin County Board of Commisioners.  Giving passionate pleas for help.  Talking about the unethical RFP that was released.  While Brad (parent program director) was speaking he noticed the CFO of Hennepin county pointing toward the door.  Brad said during his speech that he and Barb were leaving the Board meeting to go lay off employees. 

The CFO stopped Brad and Barb in the hall and said "please don't lay anyone off".  The CFO of our LARGE county said that he was working on a proposal and he was fairly certain it would be passed on Tuesday.  He said that he is working on getting our program funded at 90% of it's current funding for at least 6 months.  He agreed that what was happening was unethical.

So we didn't have our individual meetings.  I hope we don't need to have them.

a CFO with a heart?  I think so!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pants vs Slacks

FYI - to avoid a morning tantrum, figure out the pattern and memorize this for if you get it wrong watch out!


These are PANTS



These are SLACKS



PANTS



not very slacky SLACKS

I am not too sure where she came up with the word slacks.  Generally speaking we don't hang out with ancient people.  This morning she was so frustrated with me.  She wanted slacks. I kept picking pants.  She couldn't explain slacks vs pants.  I thought maybe pants had buttons and zippers but there are a couple of exceptions to that rule.  The horizontal stripes hands down were more desirable then pants but not as desirable as normal slacks, they were "not very slacky slacks".  Slackity slack slack.

Here's some cute photos of Lucy and Zep this morning (when she was wearing SLACKS)






Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wild Wednesday

What a hard day.  As I recall last Wednesday was hard as well.  1/3 of the jobs at my agency are on the line and still we don't know who is being cut.  It'll be soon (some will be gone by Nov 30 and others mid December).  I have a pit in my stomache of any of the outcomes.  I'll either loose a job, or loose a lot of important colleagues/friends and no matter what my agency will be changing in ways that will offer fewer services to famlies in need. 

I have a big beef to pick with Tim Pawlenty.  He somehow made Governor of Minnesota and aspires to be president of the United State but absolutely does not even follow that basic democratic principles.  Instead of working toward a budget agreement with other elected officials, he quickly unalloted billions of dollars from the 2 year budget.   He, on his own.  Huge beef.

Lucy didn't get enough sleep last night.  She went to bed late (my fault) and the magic clock failed for the first time in a week at keeping Lucy in bed past 7:00 am.  I hope it was a temporary fluke.  She was SO tired tonight, and combined with my exhaustion/stress made for quite the volatile evening. 

Tomorrow will be a better day (in some ways).  It'll be a long day at work but I commit to having a good morning with Lucy no matter what time she wakes up.

Tomorrow night's post will be about Lucy, I promise!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday

- Today Lucy started her first dance class.  I am very excited.  She got dance as a Christmas gift from her grandma and grandpa (an early Christmas gift).  The class is an hour long.  15 minutes ballet, 15 minutes tap and 30 minutes gymnastics. 

-Today I found out that 6-10 people at my small (around 35 people) agency will loose their jobs.  Some by the end of November some by the end of December.  No one knows who.  I wish they would just tell us now.

- Today I wrote a very crabby email to Gov Tim Pawlenty.  Please if he ever runs for president, think about 100 million times before voting for him.  Arrogent, doesn't follow the rules, impatient with democratic process.  Ugggghhhh (I had to go political)

-Today Lucy had a fit about taking off her tights at the end of the night (again)

-Tonight all of her tights were hidden away until she's safely dressed for school tomorrow (in non tights).

-Tonight I am worn out, tired, worried. 

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tick-Tock Tick-Tock I love the My Tot Clock

Product review time:


This is the My Tot Clock.  I googled alarm clocks for children.  I wanted a clock that I could use to help keep Lucy in bed until 7:00 a.m.   My first thought was a clock with a radio alarm, so that I could have it turn on very quietly at 7:00 and I could tell her to stay in bed unless she heard music playing.  I found this during my google search.   This clock has many functions.  It has an analog face that syncs up with a digital back.  You set the back for bedtime, wake time, length of desired rest time, length of time out, and length of encouragement.  

Let me explain how I use (plan on useing) each function:

I set Lucy's bedtime for 8:00pm.  When bedtime comes the clock can do many things (if you desire).  1. the face starts glowing blue  2. it can play lullabies for 30 minutes  followed by white noise (along with the blue glow)  3. it can do a story,lullabies and white noise (with the blue glow).   Lucy can go check on the clock to see if it's time for bed yet.  When it starts glowing blue she knows it's time to hop in.

I set Lucy's wake up time for 7:00 a.m.   At 7:00 am the white noise turns off and the clock glows yellow.  You can also have it play music at wake time.  If you choose (at bedtime) to have no music/white noise, the clock would simply switch from glowing blue to glowing  yellow at wake time.   Now she knows, if she wakes up and the clock is glowing blue she needs to rest until it turns yellow. 

I set Lucy's time out time for 4 minutes.  If she needs a time-out, I just push the red button on the top of the clock and the clock glows red for 4 minutes then switches back to yellow.  She gets a real time out and can "police" herself in regards to how long she needs to stay.  It's more consistant for me too.

Haven't used the encouragement timer yet but you can set it for however many minutes you need and hit the green button.  The clock will glow green for that time then back to yellow.  Suggestions have been to use the encouragement timer for tooth brushing, sharing/turn taking, reading etc. 

I love this clock and Lucy likes it too, it gives her the independance she craves but allows for limitations (ie she doesn't get all the control).   Here's the best thing.  The first clock I received had a broken digital clock.  I was bummed.  At 9:00pm (on a Sunday) I emailed customer service.  Within an hour I got this response:

Hello Stacy,


OH NO! I am so terribly sorry! It sounds like there is definitely something wrong with the digital clock. It would be my pleasure to replace your Tot Clock right away! I will include a return label, so you can send back the defective unit. I want to return it to the factory for analysis. This is an issue I haven't seen before. I would also like to send a special gift to your little one to say that we are very sorry for all the trouble. I know she must be very disappointed....

Seriously!  Who offers this kind of customer service these days????   I received a new clock within a couple days along with return postage for the old clock.  Meaning, she sent me a new clock and I still have the old one (which is getting sent back on Monday).   Wow!  The new clock works wonderfully. 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

a little relief

This afternoon Lucy received her first dose of H1N1 vaccine.  Whew.  I didn't debate about this vaccine at all.  OK, I have fears about vaccine related injury and illness, I do... I delayed vax Lucy and had her titers checked so as to not unnecessarily revaccinate her for anything she had immunity to from her time in Ethiopia.  I am a careful vaccinator but a vaccinator nonetheless. 

Another confession:
I fear that my child might die.  Yup. I think about it a lot. Don't know why .. be it from the grapes, a car accident, adenoid/tonsil surgery I worry.  I worry a lot.  She had a lot of respiratory issues starting in Ethiopia.  The day after we got home from Ethiopia she started getting a fever, which didn't go away which ultimately had her dx'd with RSV which led to the asthma.   She had sinus infection on top of sinus infection and from my monitor (that i still have)  I could hear her snoring snoring snoring ... silence, dreadful silence dreadful silence (i sit up in bed, i start toward her door) then GASP, turn snore snore snore ... for YEARS.  Haven't heard that since the tonsils came out.

Still I fear.  I fear the H1N1.  I fear she'll be one of those that gets hit hard.  So now, just a week or so until some immunity kicks in ... and hopefully in a month we'll be able to find a 2nd dose for her.  Now to find me some vaccine so I don't leave her orphaned again (another fear). 


Do I have anxiety issues??? 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How I ended up in a closet with Diane trying to open a beer with an Iron

It all started about 12 years ago.

My MOM told me to buy a house.
I bought a house.
I found a JOB at a church that I wanted because it was THREE blocks from my house.
At this job I became inspired to go to grad school MSW.
Because I knew that DEB (who was a member of the church I worked for)was a MSW instructor I started hounding her.
We rode together to go on a retreat and she talked about her and her husband's plan for adoption.
Soon they brought home baby Isaac.
I became his babysitter and my friendship with his parents grew.
Life happened.
I had a semi-hysterical "If I can't raise a child then I want to move to South America" breakdown in front of Deb after babysitting Isaac one night.
Deb suggested that I look at the possibilities of international adoption and close my eyes (for the moment) to the barriers.
I went to an information session.
Isaac's little brother Nathan came home.
I applied to the Ethiopia program.
I got my referral.
I travelled.
I started connecting online to people who were in the process or recently home.
I wanted to connect to people with children from Ethiopia.
I "met" Diane through the forum.  She was hysterical.  She was adopting (as a single mom) a toddler boy.
I laughed when I read her blog.
I was happy when I heard that she not only met her son in Ethiopia but also her future husband.
I went to Nancy's house one weekend.
Diane came.
We met again at culture camp.  She was really pregnant with baby Og
She drove to my house with a newborn plus her other two sons.
We camped again.
She drove to my house again in October.
She got us free hotel rooms and brought beer.
I packed the beer in a cooler but forgot a bottle opener.
We tried desperately to open it.
We failed.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In 2002 (or 2003, or something)

I was in my first year of graduate school of social work. I had to pick an internship. I knew life was going to be challenging. I had a full-time job, was going to be in full-time graduate school and had to put in 20ish hours a week at a foundation internship.


I originally picked (and was chosen for) an internship at a domestic violence shelter. I was pretty excited. The work sounded hard but good, I was able to work some evening/weekend hours and the internship seemed to fit with my goals and aspirations for my future (i.e.: NOT working directly with kids). Sadly my university decided to pull students from that placement at the very last moment due to staff changes.

I was stuck at an agency that I did not choose in an internship that had a lot to do with young children. I was unhappy. With a heavy heart I trudged myself in that first day. Immediately I was enveloped in a cushion of warmth, nurturing and I felt "a part of" something really big, something really powerful and something really intense. I was at Southside Family Nurturing Center.


Southside Family Nurturing Center serves families who are at risk of neglecting or abusing their children. These families have layers and layers of stressors and histories that could so easily lead to abuse or neglect. Many families and children have in fact experienced both of these things and so much more, at the hands of each other, community and most recently politicians.

Southside is unique (in my opinion) in how we serve families.  First we truly do NURTURE families.  Many of the children here have missed out on nurturing primarily because their mother's have missed out on nurturing as have their mothers (and fathers).  We take the children into our therapeutic preschool and nurture the heck outta them.  Then we work with the mama's and the papa's (and the siblings) and we see the child in them, we nurture them, we at times love their children for them, until they are able to.  We teach them how to play.  Sometimes we give the mama's back a piece of their childhood that was stolen from them.  All the while we are assisting in taking care of business.  Finding resources, filling out medical assistance forms, getting them help with mental health, physical health, housing.  Sometimes we are the first they call when they have new babies.  OH and we LOVE those new babies.  We have staff that have been around for 20+ years.  Staff that once taught the same mama's who are coming in with their own babies.  There is something about an agency that wraps it's collective arms around people who might otherwise be wrote off as hopeless. 


My internship was soon over and I tearfully said good bye to my clients, my co-interns and the staff of Southside. Within months, while I was deeply entrenched in my clinical internship and my final year of grad school I heard that Southside had a staff position open. Despite taking a fairly significant pay cut (even while accumulating student debt), I knew I had to do this work. I've been working directly with the mothers, fathers and children of Southside ever since.

Last year our agency took a pretty hefty pay cut from Hennepin County (we are contracted through them), even though the expectations of what we needed to do (for the county) increased. It's been a stressful year.

A few weeks ago we were dealt the lowest blow. Funding towards social services was unalloted by our governor. Letters were sent. Budgets were cut in half for the first quarter of 2010 and no guarantees of contract extensions were made beyond March 2010. No matter what our agency will be laying off staff and cutting programming by the end of this y ear. We will all suffer. Staff will be cut, and jobs in the field are scarce and competitive. Worse of all, families we serve will be left without supportive services. The children who thrive in our therapeutic preschool will have nowhere to go. My heart is so heavy.

On Monday we will hear our potential fate. We will at least be able to plan for the future.  Here is a link to our GiveMN page.  It has a very nice slideshow detailing some of our work.  There is also an opportunity to give (if one is so inclined). 

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday

I am sort of failing in the whole blogging before I am too tired to write department.  Maybe tomorrow I'll start earlier.



Until then.  Here is Lucy in another vintage fabric dress.  Awhile ago I dug up some fabric that I've had forever (and my grandmother had forever before me) and had a co-worker fashion a couple of dresses for Lucy Lu.   I love this one!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday

This is all I got left in me,  see ya tomorrow (photos are from 4 years ago this month!)