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It is Court Week!

January 23rd, 2017 at 03:42 pm

This is court week for the kids. Thursday we will finally learn their fate, at least near to mid-term. Long term decisions will be set in motion by the results on Thursday. The DA has collected ample evidence to fight a good battle for the kids. Hopefully it is enough. You just never know how a judge will rule until the ruling happens.

I am happy to say that the boys are thriving and everyone in the system can tell a huge difference in their behavior from the time they came back into the system and our lives, until now. Any prayers, good thoughts, positive vibes are all greatly appreciated!

I will (hopefully) learn this week what my pay increase at work will be. It feels a little backwards to be offered a position without knowing in advance what the pay is. I think it has been assumed I am all in, but whether or not I agree to the added stress of stepping back into management greatly depends on the compensation behind it. (I know, call me crazy) I am hopeful it will be well worth it, but I won’t know for sure until we have the ‘discussion’.

I decided to sign up for YNAB after giving it a free trial run. I am still not fully sure how to use everything, but it is helping me stay focused on what we spend…which is never a bad thing.

Since the day after Christmas I have been focused in a healthier eating lifestyle and I feel so much better. (I got the stomach flu, followed by a bad cold- which was a nice springboard to the change in eating habits)… I have been making lots of broth based lower sodium soups, veggies and hummus, greek yogurts, etc. I also swapped out the nightly wine for spritzer water with juice or just lemon water. It is amazing how simple changes can really have an impact, but they sure have.

Hopefully these changes will help with weight goals too. We have had a vacation to Hawaii planned for over a year and it is now 87 days away! I would love to be a more comfortable in my clothes for that trip!

This week, the focus is all on the boys…and praying that they continue to stay in our care. (Baby 4 is due in under 2 months and mom is still denying there is anything she needs to change, but freely admits when she thinks no one is listening, that she is doing heroin and then gaming the system when the drug tests are near)

Finger crossed!

Trying YNAB and Z update

January 7th, 2017 at 09:03 pm

2017 is off to an encouraging start. I have always budgeted on a spreadsheet that I created years ago, but gave YNAB a look- and decided to try out the 34 day free trial. So far, I like the ease of the program and really like that it is web based and I am able to access it on different devices. Some of the functionality is a little confusing, but I am sure it will become less so as the month plays out. I am considering subscribing for a year because of the pros of accessibility.

The hubs job is still going ok. He works in the oil industry, which is reliant on fuel production/ prices...we are trying to pay off bills and save in case he becomes unemployed- but for now it looks ok.

I am getting a raise at the end of the month- both annual and promotion. I dont know yet how much the raise will be, but I hope it is enough to fast track debt pay, increase 401ks and increase savings. (fingers crossed)

We still have not had the court date for the kids. Either weather, or Biomom being arrested have postponed court since November. Which means the boys spent the holidays with us. They have now been with us 5 months this time around. They are doing really well. Hopefully the next court date will be a go and we can learn what the long term plan is for them. Z is almost 6, and he has been in foster care over half his life. It is time to give him (them) permanency.

Las Vegas bound!

November 28th, 2016 at 09:41 pm

This has been a year of travels- not all planned, but all worthwhile. New York, Arizona, Oklahoma, Mexico...next stop- Las Vegas for a conference for work. (Meaning all expenses paid by my job.) I leave Sunday and will come back Thursday morning- just in time for the next court date.

DD2 was planning to go with me, but that was before she became a full time foster mom again. So, I will be going alone.

This past weekend, I had two of my granddaughters (cousins) over for a sleepover. They have reached an age where they are pre-teen friends. It is such a new, fun dynamic. When their moms were their ages, they fought a lot. Having the daughters get along so well is so fun. We went to a movie, lunch, baked, watched movies at home, decorated the tree...and just had a good time together. I am so blessed.

Not much different happening in the financial scheme. Just trying to keep Christmas spending within budget- and planning DD3s 25th birthday party. She is a Christmas eve baby- this year we are planning her party for the 30th so hopefully more people can come.

Cracked Rib - UGH

November 25th, 2016 at 11:19 am

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Today is black Friday, and I am unmotivated to partake. Part of this is because I am dealing with a cracked rib- which happened on the first day of vacation a couple of weeks ago- on our way to the cruise. Grrr. It is much less painful than it was on the cruise, but it is still causing me to be less energetic than normal. Aside from the rib,the cruise was fantastic. We had an awesome time, and even better, stayed within budget. Actually came home with a few hundred dollars to put back into the travel fund.

The hub starts his 4/2 rotations this go-round, which will definitely help. The extra will go towards paying back the money loaned to DD2 while she is unemployed and not receiving unemployment (hopefully she will start receiving her benefits next week). She will pay us back with her taxes, and that will ultimately go to savings.

Court got postponed for the kids- which was a good thing. It gives the state more time to build their case. The kids have since been diagnosed with PTSD, which is so sad- but the diagnosis will help with the case to keep them here and provide extra counseling assistance. Our next court date is week after next.

Z (5) and I had a sleepover Wednesday night. It was so fun. We played Candyland (he won) we put a puzzle together (he is a master puzzle builder) and we played with blocks...he is getting so big. He is a lot more reserved and doesn't smile as much as he once did..my goal is to turn that around while we have him.

Life is good!

Jobs, a cruise and an update on the kids

November 5th, 2016 at 08:43 am

This past month has been crazy stressful.

DH's job continues to look for ways to cut corners, which ultimately is going to cost workers a substantial amount...between health care provider changes, travel provider changes, hour cutbacks....egads. We keep skimming expenses. But it still is frustrating. I am grateful he still has a job.

Thankfully, I am getting a promotion at work soon, and I think the increase in my pay will offset most of the financial hit. I will find out in the next few weeks.

We are taking a cruise next weekend to Mexico. This was planned and paid for long before all this job stuff happened, and we could seriously use the break. Thankfully cruises to Mexico from the west coast are fairly inexpensive. Its our first and we are excited to give cruising a try!

Z update:

We have an important hearing coming up for the kids. Unfortunately, the bio family, rather than focus on fixing whats broke and creating a safe environment themselves (rehab, parenting classes, home visits, etc) are denying there is a problem, and rather, are doing everything possible to disqualify DD2 as a viable placement option. (false reports to her job, the police, child walfare, etc) The stress is taking its toll. Because of the constant distractions, DD2 lost her job. But she is keeping the best interests of the Kids at the forefront. Thankfully, the false accusations are all failing flat, the agencies are seeing right through this... and its only making the case stronger for the kids being removed permanently. I am concerned about whats next once they realize this latest barrage didn't work. DD2 will likely get a restraining order, just to help protect herself and the kids.

The hearing cant come soon enough. Their tactics are definitely out of our way of thinking...who knew it would get this ugly.

If only they would put this much effort into self reflection and counseling...

Stormy weekend and Z update

October 15th, 2016 at 10:21 am

The northwest is having some fun this weekend with a big ol storm. So far today, it is just drizzling and the winds haven't picked up, but by midday that is due to change.

I am planning to just stay home today. I could use some downtime after the past few weeks. My plan- a puzzle, some baking, some tv, reading, and thats about it. Sounds blissful. Hopefully, we wont lose power, but if we do, I am prepared with flashlights, candles and my wood stove. I have some soup that I can heat up on the wood stove...and plenty of water.

Ive been avoiding the budget the past month. Too many unexpected things have come up. Thankfully, the hubs busy season is about to start and we can get back on track quickly. Barring any unexpected cutbacks at his job, we should be caught back up by the end of January, and back to paying things off for the rest of winter/early spring.

We attended the hearing for the boys this week. BM is out of state, and refusing to admit she has any issues and refusing all help. (She has admitted to one of the fathers that she is still using while pregnant) During the meeting, it became fairly clear that DD2 is becoming the most likely long term placement, as all other options either only want one of the boys (and they wont separate them), or live out of state (and they wont move them from their sister who is here local) or they have criminal charges that disqualify them.

It is very confusing to have 4 children, 4 fathers, 8 sets of grandparents and extended family...for this case. The caseworkers have their work cut out for them.

DD2s approach now that we know this, is to welcome the extended families to be part of our village so that the kids can have close relationships with whichever family they are connected to, while ensuring they are safe, happy and together. Unconventional, yet necessary in this situation.

The last we heard, BM broke up with the dad of the baby she is pregnant with and has hooked up with an old friend who just got out of prison. (Charges: meth and theft)

And so it goes.

Very tough couple of weeks

October 9th, 2016 at 08:13 pm

My DB had a massive heart attack a couple of weeks ago. He was placed in a medically induced coma and underwent other medical procedures to help him recover. Sadly, he never regained consciousness. I flew back to be with him on day 4 and flew home on day 9...he passed on day 11. Tomorrow is his memorial. I will miss him greatly.

Tuesday is a big hearing for Z and his baby brother X. Their mother has made no attempt to visit them since they were put back in foster care. Nor has anyone else. Thankfully, they both seem to be adjusting well. The baby is warming up to us and is quickly winning over our hearts. DD2 had to cut back her hours at work to be able to accommodate all of the appts the boys have had. They were both way behind on shots and have had all their other normal check ups. So far, so good. I hope TUesday's meeting gives them some much needed stability in their placement. The goal is to keep them together while determining permanent placement.

Thats pretty much been my life lately. My brother and the boys. Of course work in between.

Budget mistake! (I'll take it!!)

September 16th, 2016 at 08:28 pm

I have been really enjoying everyone's lists. I have learned a great deal about everyone reading them and am happy to see so many others jumping in with their lists!

Today I realized that I made a budget mistake this month. Thankfully, it was in a good way. I get 3 paychecks in September and only budgeted for 2. The extra $$ will go towards debt repayment. (Yay!) I can handle a good mistake!!

The little guys went to children's advocacy today- and got to share their story and thoughts with protective services in a non-threatening environment. It sounds like the kids shared enough concerning memories, that they will be in protected custody for a long time to come. THANK GOODNESS. I am finally breathing a sigh of relief tonight.

I stopped by DD2s after work to deliver the clothes I got at Goodwill and that have been donated by coworkers and friends. It was fun to watch all the kiddos having fun. No craziness in their lives, just good old fashioned, hide n go seek kinda fun.

My List

September 15th, 2016 at 09:49 pm

Years ago, saving advice bloggers posted a list of unique facts about themselves, that helped fellow bloggers and lurkers(- not my word) get to know each other better. Since it's been so long, I thought maybe this would be something fun to do again.

Here is my list:
1. I am married, 26 years
2. I have 4 kids. 3 daughters, 1 son
3. I have 6 grandkids, 3 boys, 3 girls plus 3 foster grandkids, 2 boys, 1 girl
4. I work full time at a job I have been at over 20 years
5. I have blogged here for 10 years.
6. I am a huge Greenbay Packers fan.
7. I once bred labrador retreivers
8. I once lived in a haunted house
9. I wont eat wild game meat
10. I co-founded a financial fraud team that has grown statewide and has stopped many financial criminals.
11. I have only traveled to the US and Mexico.
12. My bucket list destinations include Mt. Rushmore and Easter Island
13. I am fascinated by ancient mysteries (like Stonehenge)
14. My all-time hero is John Wayne
15. I hope to retire in 2020
16. I love to bake.
17. My husband works in Alaska and I only see him about 50% of the year
18. I have lived in 13 houses during my life, and have owned 9 cars.
19. I have a published article and have been on TV 2 times
20. I have met 7 fellow SA bloggers. I hope to meet more!


So, I have offered 20 facts. How many can you share? Looking forward to see what you share!

ps. If you are a 'lurker' who hasnt started blogging yet, what's holding you back? I am SURE you have things to share with our group... JOIN US!! We would enjoy hearing from you!!!

$20 at Goodwill

September 15th, 2016 at 08:09 pm

I stopped by Goodwill tonight on my way home to look for fall clothes for J (foster baby, 16 mo). I was able to pick up 3 pairs of pants, 4 tops, 2 zip up sweaters and 2 pairs of warm jammies for $20. ALl of the clothes were good quality and in really good condition. Thank goodness for Goodwill!

While I was checking out, I was explaining what the clothes were for- the lady checking me out said "I have 9 grandkids and ALL of them are in foster care"...She said it was due to drugs and the epidemic we have. I was speechless. I wished her well and left feeling even more frustrated for children. WTH.

I want to try to find some age appropriate toys for both boys this weekend. I am starting with the power of Facebook, and will look for sales, yard sales, etc. we also have an avenue at work for placing classified ads. We have many younger parents who might have toys that have been outgrown. Past experience tells me that plastic containers, metal containers and wooden and plastic spoons will work for the baby. Blocks and pretend play for Z (age 5) and maybe a few books.

So, my mission this weekend is to scavenger hunt! Smile

Family Court is painful!

September 12th, 2016 at 08:47 pm

Today was the court date.

As it turned out, our case was last on the morning docket- meaning there were 4 other cases heard before ours.

Child after child being placed in foster care because of unhealthy home environments. Drugs and neglect in each situation...a brand new nursing baby removed from its 18 year old mother, a 13 year old crying as she was told she was removed from her home- a home with drugs and 9 dogs, a child that neither parent bothered to show for court. Just gut wrenching case after case.

When our case came, it wasnt much different. In the end, 2 more kids put in foster care another child transferred to the other parent, a very upset mother and a sense of relief that the kids will be safe for a while. The sister will go to dad, the boys were placed with DD2. (Yay!)

Z is back, along with his baby brother, in DD2s care...after 22 months away. It quickly became very apparent that BM and her mom will not be making this easy and intend to fight the placement vehemently. Foster parents sometimes need a thick skin when they step in to help. Hurtful words, threats, accusations. It got ugly. Sigh.

But on a much happier note, Z was so excited about his first day at school. He had major anxiety this morning about being left by DD2, but the teacher, who knows his situation, took extra care to make his day special.

The next court date is October 27- barring any surprises, the placement should hold until then, and beyond. DD2 was present at the hearing and the judge made a special point in thanking her for her contributions.

While I am extremely happy with the judges decision, I worry what it will do to Z if/when he is pulled again from DD2's care. He is extremely attached to her.

Time will tell. For today, lil Z and baby brother J, welcome home!

The calm before the storm!

September 11th, 2016 at 08:50 pm

Today was thankfully low key compared to the past couple of days. We go to court tomorrow to find out what will happen with the kids in the short term. Right now there are a lot of emotions from all sides and it will be nice to get a plan in place so that everyone understands at least the legal expectations. I just hope there isnt near term turmoil for the little guys. Z starts kindergarten in the morning, so DD2 plans to make the morning special for him before heading off to court.

I spent today home with a sore throat. No bueno. At least it wasnt a work day and I was able to relax. Hopefully I will wake up all better, and ready for the busy week ahead! I can't afford to get sick right now. We have PTO at work, which means one pot for all sick and vacation time to pull from. I keep at least 40 hours on the books for an emergency, but otherwise, I use my time off. Right now, I my time off is scheduled through next May, so I am hesitant to dip into that emergency 40, unless absolutely necessary!

I ate leftovers today, and so it was a no spend day. Likely tomorrow I will go to lunch after court with DD1, who plans to go with me. Dd2 has to attend via phone since she took 2 days off last week to get the kids situated, registered, etc.

Again, thank you for all the kind wishes regarding the kids. I appreciate all of the support for them.