Saturday, February 20, 2010

I am soooo not a gardener, but...

I find this idea simply irresistible. Tipsy Pots. Absolutely too cool. Has anyone made them in real life? Any tips? Because I plan to make two towers very soon.

Monday, September 14, 2009

At his best...

Nobody puts Baby in the corner... *sigh* RIP Patrick

Sunday, September 6, 2009


...kicks Elvis' butt. He's so tired after school. Want to know just how tired he is? Check out the picture. He is passed out. However, he LOVES school so it's well worth the exhaustion. We're a month into school and it's going well. Answered prayers, for sure!

I did it...

I opened the box. Here is most of what was in it. Now, I don't know what to do with all this. Logically, Miss Piggy could use it. Alli, however, said it wouldn't feel right "because it wasn't bought for her." So, I guess it just hangs in my closet for now. Luckily, my closet is so full of junk. It will just join the chaos.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

We have a new Batman!

It was a long summer of waiting but it's official....Our old Robin is our new Batman, um BatWOman???

We've actually been back to work over a week now. Teacher training started on July 22. The kids came for registration day Wednesday. We have a million kindergarten kids this year. Well, not actually a million but it may was well be. As of yesterday afternoon, we have 219 kids registered for kindergarten. I guess I also need to mention that we have 8 kindergarten teachers. Do the math and, well, YIKES!

Luckily, Robin can also do math and we had a little faculty meeting before we left yesterday. She's moving a 2nd grade teacher to kindergarten and we are getting not one, but TWO new teachers. So we'll have 11 kindy teachers this year. We'll all still be at 20 or 21 students but that's much better than 30. Thanks, Robin!!!!

Adoptive Parent Survey

I got an email asking me to post info on this survey. It's for parents who have adopted children from the foster care system. I got the email a week or two ago but didn't want to post the link until I had taken the survey. I just did and it was painless.

Rather then try to summarize the info for you, I'll just copy and paste the email. If you are so inclined and qualify, please take the survey. It never hurts to help someone else out. She is one of us, after all. I'm sure she will appreciate all responses.

"Hello. I am a foster and adoptive parent in Charleston, Illinois and am also a graduate student in Family & Consumer Science at Eastern Illinois University. I am currently working on a thesis examining post-adoption birthparent contact in families that adopted through the foster care system. I am trying to recruit a national sample for my thesis survey and am trying to reach as many adoptive parents as I can. I have started contacting adoption related blog owners to get some help spreading the word about my survey. It appears that your blog would attract the people I am looking for to take my survey. Would you consider writing a short post on your blog about my survey? I have included sample language below. Feel free to contact me at this email with any questions. If you have suggestions for other ways to reach adoptive parents in your area, that would also be helpful! :) I would also appreciate it if you would take a minute to take the survey yourself if you meet the guidelines. Thank you so much for your help!Michelle Roberts

If you adopted an unrelated child from foster care, your input is needed for a survey on post adoption birthparent contact. Michelle Roberts, a foster and adoptive parent herself, is doing a graduate thesis on post adoption contact in foster care adoptions. Even if you have had no contact with your child's birthparents, your input is valuable to the study. The online survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete and contains no identifying information. As a special thank you, you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to the store of your choice. Please take a moment to help with this study. Go to for the online survey or contact Michelle at if you would prefer to have a paper survey mailed to you. Your help is greatly appreciated!"

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ms. Patsy

Many, many years ago (I was in first grade, just to give you an idea of exactly how many years ago this was), a new girl showed up in my classroom at school. Her name was Renae. She lived in my neighborhood (with her mom and grandmother). She also began attending my church. We had so much in common that we became fast friends. We were in the same class almost every year of elementary school. We went to the same junior high and high school. We were in band together. We still attended the same church. We were together a lot for many years.

Somewhere along the way, Renae's parents divorced. I didn't know a lot about that word then but I did understand that her mom was no longer married to her father. He worked away from home and this didn't directly affect my life. Soon, Larry appeared on the scene. He and Mrs. A had been friends in their teens and had reconnected after her divorce. Larry was cool. I could call him by his first name because Renae did. This was unheard of back in the day when your friends' parents didn't have first names. We were always taught to address them as Mr. Last Name and Mrs. Last Name. Larry didn't have a last name as far as I was concerned. His joining the family (bringing with him a young daughter), becoming Renae's stepfather eventually, just added to the fun. Mrs. A became Mrs N. (I still didn't dare call her by her first name!) He was one of the most fun adults I'd ever encountered. Even at my young age, I knew Larry and Mrs. A were destined to be together. They just seemed to complete each other...sounds corny, I know, but it's still true.

We grew up. Renae moved away out of state. I was in college and had other friends. I was home a lot but didn't see much of Renae's family. My mom was still a part of their lives so I kept up with them all through her. I'd occasionally see them in passing at church. Even though I was legally an adult, I just couldn't bring myself to call her by her first name. I did finally drop her last name and call her Ms. Patsy.

Then came one of my favorite holiday traditions... Thanksgiving at Larry and Ms. Patsy's house. They opened their home to anyone who needed a place to go for the holiday. Both sides of their families were invited. My mom and I joined them many years. My brother and his family came a few times. My assorted foster/adoptive kids came. People who worked with Ms. Patsy at a nearby hospital lab were invited to drive down on their lunch breaks to share the meal. It was always a nice mix of people who got along well together. That is just the kind of people the whole family is...They will do anything to help anybody. What a great world we'd live in if more people were like them!

As always happens, times change. Both of their daughters (and their families) moved to FL. Larry and Ms. Patsy retired from their jobs and headed to FL to spend more time with their daughters and grandchildren. They kept their house here and traveled back and forth. My mom was in frequent contact with them and I, again, got my updates on them through her.

About 5 years ago, I heard from my mom that Ms. Patsy had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She had surgery and chemo and radiation. After a long, difficult battle, our prayers were answered and she was declared well again. She looked great. Her hair grew back. In my mind, it was over. I honestly never considered the fact that it could happen again. My mom had cancer three times during my school years and she's been fine for years. I'd heard stories of others getting cancer over and over and eventually losing the battle, but in my personal experience, once you beat it, you were done.

I'm sure by now you have guessed where this is going. Last month, Ms. Patsy went in for a routine scan as part of her cancer follow up. Three spots were detected on one of her lungs. We all tensed up but still had hopes for the best. A PET scan was scheduled for about 3 weeks later to better assess what was up. That scan was on a Thursday and the results were not to be available until Monday. What a long weekend. And the results were not what any of us wanted. The three spots on her lung were confirmed to be malignant. And, in addition to those three spots, the scan identified three more cancerous spots. Those were in her backbone. A brain scan was ordered and thankfully, that was normal. That has been the first piece of good news in Ms. Patsy's new battle.

The prognosis is not good. However, a treatment plan has been established and there are numerous prayer warriors on the case, too. We've got that part covered. Here is what I need from you (well, more prayers are ALWAYS welcomed) but please click on this link and consider donating to Renae's 60-mile walk to help end breast cancer. (Proceeds go to Susan G. Komen For The Cure.) Clicking on Renae's link will give you the chance to donate online. She's determined to do this walk again. She's been very dedicated to raising funds in the fight against breast cancer. ALL donations would be greatly appreciated. Don't worry about an amount - even $5 will help.

Your donation will help Renae. It will help Ms. Patsy. It will help me. It will help my mom. And, more importantly, it might be helping you or your mom or your sister or your grandmother...or even your "Ms. Patsy." All women are at risk for developing this disease. I can't haul my big butt on a 60 mile walk to raise money. I can donate what I can and help find others to donate. I'm doing my part. Will you do yours?

If you donate, please add a comment here. You don't need to post the amount - just the fact that you donated is all we need. If you are unable to donate, feel free to post any comments or thoughts for the family. Even if you will just commit to praying for Ms. Patsy and the family through the tough days ahead, please add that in a comment. Sadly, many women have to fight this battle every day. I sincerely hope no one has to fight it alone.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Updates...I've got your updates

Elvis' surgery went fine. We got there at 2:00 and they took him from us about 3:30 after I'd answered the same 20 questions for about 10 different people. Beth and I sat in the waiting room and watched the Jumbo-tron which scrolled the first name of the patients and where they were in the process - getting ready for surgery, in the operating room, recovering in PACU, and finally - discharged. He was in surgery for longer than we expected but the doctor said everything went well. After a little while in recovery, we were sent home with a very drugged little guy. He needed Lortab every 6 hours the first day and you could still tell he was hurting when moved or jostled. However, he slept really well Wednesday night and I could tell he felt much better Thursday. Motrin seems to be handling the pain although I did give him a dose of Lortab last night before I had to peel the sticky bandages off. It just seemed the compassionate thing to do.



Baby Briley arrived on July 1 at 1:31 PM. (7 pounds, 13 ounces; 20.5 inches long) She has ten fingers and ten toes and is learning to nurse like a champ. Mom and baby are doing well...tired but good. They were discharged from the hospital last night and have hopefully survived their first night at home. (The day of her birth was a really difficult day for me emotionally. I'll spare the details on the public blog but will probably attempt to sort out my thoughts on my private one. If you haven't joined that one yet, feel free to email me through my profile. All I'll need to add you is your email address. Don't fear long as you don't live in my house, I'll add you. ;-)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Elvis' surgery day

Today is the day the urologist goes looking for Elvis' testicles. What fun! When he locates them, he'll pull them down and stitch them in place where they belong. I've never owned that equipment but I'm 100% sure that my day today will be better than Elvis'.

We don't have to be at the hospital (an hour from home) until 2:30 this afternoon. I fear we may be there well into the evening hours. I'd much rather have gone in the wee morning hours and be done by now. We didn't get a choice. He did get to eat breakfast this morning. He could eat before 8:00 and then can have only clear liquids between 8 and 1. He can't have anything after 1.

Alli is not going with us. She's pretty miserable with the pregnancy so she's staying home. Beth is going with me. I was afraid to try this adventure without another set of hands along for the ride. Elvis loves his Aunt Beth and she's great with him. We'll be fine. And, Elvis will be cranky afterward but he will have earned that right.