Monday, May 9, 2016

Sunday, November 23, 2014


I've decided that it would be a good thing to start writing every Sunday so you all know that we are still alive, and so that I can have a family journal of sorts.  So, if I forget a week, you all have permission to remind me to write.

This past week has been quite eventful.  Last weekend we had Stake Conference.  Every meeting was powerful.  I had a private conversation with our Area Authority, Elder Golden.  It was really an amazing experience.  They also reorganized our Stake Presidency.  I am interested on how that will change things in the Stake, especially concerning our youth activities this coming year.  We are waiting on decisions concerning a young women's temple tour, girls' camp options, and a trek for the youth. 

The kids are all doing well.  Violatte and Luke did miss a few days of school this week because of sickness, but they are back to themselves.  I always hate seeing them so miserable.  I miss their energy and happiness when they are sick.

This week I had a bit of an issue at the school.  I am on the school board for my kids' charter school.  It has been quite a learning experience.  I am stubborn though, and prone to just doing what needs to be done, even if others don't like it.  This week was no different.  The school has not had a crossing guard for the children coming to school and leaving school.  It has always bothered me, and we have had other parents complain.  I've talked to the administration about it many times, and nothing has been done about it.  I tried one more time on Tuesday to discuss the topic, but they had excuses.  So, I decided I was done waiting.  I went and found a vest and a stop sign and did the job myself.  I don't think they took me seriously even then, but when I showed up early to school the next morning as well as the following afternoon to do the job, they began to see I meant it.  I also included them on an email to the Police Chief asking questions since they were so sure I was going to get ticketed.  Well, it seemed to work.  On Thursday I was told that they had assigned employees to take over the job after Thanksgiving break. Success!

I also had a school board meeting on Wednesday.  That was eventful.  Sigh. I hate how negative so many people are.  I try to think the best of everyone, and try to trust that everyone is doing their best.  However, not all board members see it that way.  They have such negative views of the city.  They think that the city employees are just out to get the charter school.  That attitude just makes for a bad situation when we are trying to make agreements with the city.  It's just bad people skills.  Another thing that was rough was that I made comments that I later learned were not quite accurate.  I was frustrated that nobody at the meeting had the courage to talk things through at the meeting.  They only talked to me after the meeting.  So, I went home and wrote to the newspaper reporter that was at the meeting to correct my statements.  I was frustrated that I had to go to that extra effort when we could have just talked about it at the meeting.

Jim had a city council meeting on Wednesday as well.  At the next meeting, the newly elected city council will be sworn in.  The crazy thing that Jim and I realized this week is that when the new council is sworn in, Jim will be the senior city council member.  How crazy is that! His focus right now is the water problem.  He's been researching some ways to reuse gray water.  It is definitely the biggest problem right now.  I'm proud of him for doing the work on this.

The event that Jim and the kids were looking forward to all week was Repticon.  It was a reptile convention in Santa Ana.  We all went down to it.  There were so many people there! It was amazing to see all the different types of reptiles.  We saw so many cool things.  We even saw tarantulas of all kinds of colors.  It was crazy.  We did end up getting one crested gecko as well as a Brazilian Rainbow Boa.  They are both very cool creatures! The snake is Jim's combination birthday and Christmas gifts.  The gecko is mostly Annalee's.  She is saving up money to pay for half of it so it can be hers.  She sure loves animals.  She also has a fish.  She is so cute.

Sundays are my favorite day.  When we can all just relax and enjoy time together as a family.  We sang and Jim played the ukelele while the kids danced.  We looked through pictures from when the kids were little.  Violatte made cookies.  It was nice.

Well, hopefully I can post some pictures soon.  I was inspired by all of the cute pictures we found today from when the kids were younger.  I want to start sharing some of those.  I'll work on that soon.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Vent -- Part 4

In my last post I forgot to write about something else that happened on Wednesday. 

We had a meeting at 2:00  for Conner to go to school, and by the time he and I got to the meeting I was angry and hurt and upset.  I felt so withdrawn from Conner because of something that had happened earlier that day.  I had dealt with nearly 15 major tantrums in a row.  I had found that if I stood behind a chair and held his arms, he couldn't throw his head back to hit me in the face or the collarbone.  And if I held his arms just right, the couldn't bite me.  Sometime in that last tantrum, though, he got a bite in.  That one hurt really badly!  By that point I was so tired and discouraged.  I started to cry.  He seemed to feed off of that.  He probably just didn't know how to handle the mom crying.  whatever his reasons were, he seemed to gain power from a reaction like that (even though there were 14 other tantrums that illicited very very little reaction from me.)  Things got worse from that point on.  By the time we needed to go to the meeting, I had completely withdrawn emotionally from Conner.

Everybody at the meeting was doting on Conner, though.  They kept commenting how cute he was and how well behaved he was.  I felt pretty bitter.  How could everybody enjoy him except for me?  Why did I have to deal with the teaching and training and with all of the tantrums?  Why didn't I get to have any good moments with him, but everybody else does?  I remember going through the motions of the meeting.  I signed the papers and talked about transportation with school, but the whole time all I was thinking was that I hoped he didn't have to be in our home for even one more day.  I was honest with them and told them that I was desperate for respite, so I was able to convince them to let Conner start school the very next day.  I was so grateful I could have cried right there in front of everyone.

Our social worker was at that meeting, and as soon as I got a chance I asked her if there was another family that could take Conner.  She bluntly said "no."  I was so discouraged.  I didn't know what to do.  I couldn't stand the thought of taking Conner and going back home. I sat in the car and sobbed. At that time we had Conner in a booster seat carseat.  He kept unbuckling and getting out and kicking my chair.  Jim got in the car so we could talk a little bit.  I turned on a movie for Conner while we talked.  I expressed my frustration to him.  I really felt that I am just not capable of something like this.  I think perhaps I am too open with my emotions.  I feel like I try to keep a brick wall around myself to stay strong enough, but inside, I'm just a soft marshmallow. Jim expressed that he still felt strongly that we were supposed to keep Conner. 

That was the moment when I switched from sadness to anger.  I feel so badly about this, but I said some horrible things to Jim.  Really mean things.  I took out all of the anger and frustration about Conner on my husband.  And, in return he was patient and calm.  I just didn't know what to do.  He was so certain that the Lord wanted us to keep Conner, and I knew that there was no way I could do it.  We were in a deadlock and even the status quo was unbearable.  Something had to change, but I saw no options.

So, then, as I wrote about yesterday, God blessed me with a tender mercy of spending time on the Red Rose Ranch.  It gave me a little bit of strength, and with Jim home helping deal with dinner and pajamas and bedtime I made it through the evening.

Thursday morning I got everybody ready for school.  I dropped off the other kids and then took Conner.  He seemed to be very excited for school.  He went to the classroom well.  I got in my car and felt a huge sense of relief, but, as crazy as it was, I also felt dread.  A lot of it.  Because I knew that in two and a half hours, I had to be back there to pick him up. 

I went home, and while I was eating breakfast, I wrote a Facebook post asking anybody for a 5-point harness carseat for free or a good price.  He will unbuckle his seat and get out nearly every mile we drive.  It was so difficult.  And on Wednesday when I was in the pick-up lane to get my kids from school he kept unbuckling.  He wouldn't stay buckled for more than a few seconds.  I did everything I could to try to keep it buckled.  I slid his carseat over so it was covering the buckle as best as possible,  I wrapped a sweater that was in the car around it to try to keep him from getting to it, but nothing worked.  Every time I would get out of my seat and go to the van door to buckle him back in he would kick me and slap me.  I would try to hold his legs down with one hand enough that he couldn't kick me in the face while I tried to buckle the seat belt with the other hand.  But then his hands were free to slap me.  The lady in the car behind me watched with fire in her eyes.  She kept giving me these looks each time I would turn around to get back in my seat.  I looked as though she thought I was doing something terrible to him. 

Anyway, so I decided to just remove that stress I would find a five-point harness carseat that he just couldn't get out of.  And a dear friend did reply.  She is one of my heroes.  She is one of the most selfless people I know and she has many many struggles of her own in her life.  But, here she was serving me.  I felt unworthy of her service, but at the same time I was so grateful.  The carseat was dropped of to me by her son within the next hour.  I was so grateful I just stood there and cried.  He came by when my visiting teachers were over at the house.  My visiting teachers were another tender mercy in my life that day.  God sent so many people to help me through this.  And I didn't even deserve it because of my incapability and my anger towards the situation.  My visiting teachers cried with me that day.  I was grateful to be able to talk about what I was feeling to someone.  And I felt that they loved me and weren't judging me for my failures.  I needed that.

Another friend that was an angel in my life made me dinner.  She insisted even though she is a working mom.  I felt horribly insanely guilty having a working mother make me dinner.  But, again, I was so grateful.  She ended up bringing over TWO dinners.  It was enough for seven meals for our family.  She is an incredible person.  I was touched so much by all that she did for me!!!!!

That day I learned two things.  First, was that my true friends stayed around and even helped when I was hurting and hopeless.  There were many people who pulled away, were judgemental, or just plain unkind.  I certainly know that I wasn't easy to deal with during that time, but trust me when I say that you NEVER know what a person is going through.  Even the closest people to me didn't know how tender of a situation it was for me through those weeks.  I am so grateful for the good kind and loving people in my life that got me through this. Thank you. I hope someday I can serve you in return.

The second thing I learned was that the Lord really wanted me to learn how to accept help.  It was as if he humbled me to the lowest depth I could go so that I would have no other choice but to accept help.  It was a position I've only rarely been in.  I guess the Lord had a lot for me to learn.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Vent -- Part 3

Before I start writing this post, I just wanted to let everyone know that Conner will be leaving our home no later than May 2nd.

Ok, so it was more than a week before we got Conner back.  It seemed like forever!!!  We were able to pick him up Monday night, the 7th.  I was glad to see everyone happy to have Conner back, but ....

... ok, I'm going to interject here for a minute to say that I am going to be completely honest.  As anybody who knows me can attest to, I am honest to a fault.  But, that is how I am and so I am going to write my thoughts as they are.  As always, please don't feel like you need to read this. I'm only writing for my healing.

So, I was glad to see everyone was happy to have Conner back, but I just wasn't.  I was terrified about how things were going to go again. It was as rough as before except this time the kids weren't home from school, so that was better that he couldn't hurt any of the other kids. It still was so difficult though.  He has so many issues. I don't remember anything specific.  I just tried to get through each day.

Sunday, though, I remember very well.  That was such a difficult day.  I don't think Conner has ever been to a church meeting.  It was the most difficult thing.  He was so angry about sitting in one place even though we brought toys and books for him.  I left church with seven bite marks on my arms and a bruised jaw and shoulder.  Plus, two different times Conner took off running out of a church door and down the sidewalk.  I had to kick off my shoes and chase after him in my skirt and nylons to catch him before he ran into the road.  I was so discouraged halfway through sacrament meeting that I had to leave and go to the bathroom to just cry.  We decided to focus on just one meeting at a time.  We let him play in the lobby for the remaining two hours.  I was so grateful for a boy in our ward named Spencer that struggles with ADHD also.  He played with Conner to help me.  I was so very grateful.

The rest of the day was difficult also with all of the kids home.  Jim was wonderful, though, and gave me a nap an some time to myself.  He is so patient with me.  I wish I was as capable as him.

The next week, things seemed to get more and more difficult.  Wednesday was an ultimate low. I hit an absolute rock bottom.  A part of me wants to share everything that I felt and went through, but there are just some things that should be kept private.  I'll simply just say that I got to a point where I sincerely felt like I couldn't manage one more day.Jim skipped his city council meeting, which made me feel grateful, but so very very guilty.  I left for a while and took a drive.  I don't know how to explain what I was feeling at that time.  I began driving with the intention of going to a place called Short Canyon.  I was desperate.  I promised myself that if I could just think of five reasons to keep moving forward, then I would.  I thought of three, but I couldn't find two more and I was to the point of giving up.

But, God is so good.  I know he loves me.  He gave me a tender mercy that day.  As I was driving I saw a sign for Red Rose Ranch.  I love animals and always have.  I tried to stop crying (which I had been doing trough the drive) and gathered the courage to ask the people if I could pet a horse.  I pulled into their driveway and went to the door.  They weren't in the house, but I saw them walking up as I was about to leave.  I asked them if they have any horses that I could just spend some time with.  They said yes and pointed out three gentle horses.  I went over to the corrals.  The first horse wasn't so friendly, but the second one was so sweet.  I spend a long time with him. I talked to him while I was petting him.  It was very calming.  When I walked over to the third corral the second horse followed me and put his head on my shoulder.  It made me smile.  It was so comforting, even if it was just a random horse. It felt as if something somewhere in the world thought I was a good person.  I needed that.

Then, as I was walking back to the house to thank the couple for letting me spend time on their ranch, I was stopped by a vet.  He told me that he had just put their dog down.  He said that they asked to have some time alone.  I glanced toward the house and saw them holding their dog's head on their laps and stroking his face.  I realized how sad they were.  I was incredibly touched that some people who were dealing with heartache of their own were willing to serve me.  I got their names and phone number from the vet so I could thank them.  I headed back home with a little more strength.  I felt that I could make it one more day, but still felt fragile.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Vent - part 2

So, we got Connor on Tuesday evening, March 25th.  We were so excited to be able to finally get him!!!! We knew that it was going to be difficult, and it was.  Connor was so excited that he didn't go to sleep for quite a few hours.  It was nearly 11:30 before he fell asleep.  Jim and I were both so tired, but it was nice to feel like things were finally settled a little bit.

I don't remember much about the next day.  It was spring break, so I know that the kids were out of school.  It seems like it was a busy day, but nothing unexpected.

The next day, however, was a nightmare for me. I am going to try to explain how horrendous it was, but it is difficult to describe everything that I felt.

To begin the day, Jim left very early for an out-of-town trip.  I remember the desparation I felt when I got the text message from him saying that he was going into the zone that had no service and he'd turn his phone back on when they were headed home.  But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

So, Jim left at about 6 am, and my day started.  It was rough to get kids fed, dressed, and keep them from fighting.  The tiling guys were about to come to work on the back hallway.  Things were going rough with the kids by 8 am, and I was worn out.  Then, it got sooooo much worse. 

A guy showed up at my door.  At first I thought it was one of the tiling guys so I opened the door.  It was a guy who wanted me to write something for the newspaper.  He was very pushy and aggressive.  I asked him to leave, but at that moment the kids came running from the back of the house to tell me that Connor had locked himself in his room and was breaking things.  I ran back there.  He had taken the rod from the closet and was swinging it around in the room.  He broke lightbulbs, even, and I was so afraid that he was going to step on the glass and cut himself.  I did everything I could to get that door open.  I tried using a screwdriver through the little hole in the door, but it wouldn't open.  I ended up taking off the doorknob, but I still couldn't get it unlocked.  I tried and tried to talk to Connor and get him to unlock the door, but he wouldn't do it. 

Meanwhile, the guy who had come wanting me to write something (I'll call him Trevor) was still there.  He had come in and wanted to help.  I was afraid of letting him help because I was afraid he would expect something in return. I tried everything I could.  Then, when I went to the garage to try to find something else to try and when I came back he was getting the door open by sliding a putty knife underneath the molding of the door and into the locking mechanism and he got it open.  I was grateful it was open, but I was so frustrated that Trevor had helped.

I scooped up Connor and took him to the front room to check his feet and talk to him about locking the door.  I had asked Trevor to leave and he didn't.  I felt very stressed out trying to figure out who to focus my attention on. I focused on Connor for the moment.  I got him calmed down and checked his feet and at the moment I realized Trevor was standing over me.  I looked up at him and he had this frightening look in his eye.  Then, without saying anything he pulled a huge pair of pliers out of one of his pockets.  Then, he reached in his other pocket and pulled out a smaller pair of pliers.  He looked me straight in the eyes and said, "I can do anything with these."  I was frightened.  I'll admit it.  I was grateful that I had put my gun on me when Trevor first came. I asked him again to leave, but he didn't.  I decided the best option would be to take the kids outside to play so that Trevor was no longer in my home.

It worked pretty well .... for about two minutes.  I found out very quickly that Connor runs.  And he can run so fast.  I would estimate that I ran close to a mile that day just trying to keep him safe and in view.  I was exhausted.  And Trevor kept talking and pestering me.  He got angry when I told him that I don't write for them anymore.  He kept trying to say that it was important.  (It was a story about something so bizarre.)  He didn't like my suggestion to write a letter to the editor.  He got angry, and, again, I was glad that I had my gun on me. Oh, and one thing that gave me comfort was that the big black guy who lives across the street came over and and asked if everything was ok.  Trevor really backed off when he saw that.  I was so grateful.

The tiling guys finally came, and I thought that Trevor would leave.  He didn't.  He knew one of the guys (Adam) and Adam tried to be kind to him since Trevor obviously has issues.  Trevor stayed and had a devotional with them.  My frustration was higher than I thought was ever possible for me to handle.  Sweat was pouring off of me from chasing Connor and I was close to tears. 

Trevor finally left, and I was able to take the kids inside.  My day did not get much better at all.  Connor has a lot of energy, and when he couldn't play outside because of the tiling work it was ten times worse.  And with all of the kids home from spring break there was a whole lot of fighting.  A whole lot.  I cried so many times that day.  It was the most painful thing I've ever been through. I can't even describe how painful that was.  The tiling guys prayed over me twice that day.  I was so embarrassed to have to have people help and worry over me like that.  I kind of survived through my day and cried myself to sleep that night around 11:00 when Connor finally fell asleep.  I dreaded waking up the next day.

The next morning I realized that I hadn't given Connor his medicine the day before.  I made sure I gave it to him on Friday.  Things went better that day for the most part.  It was still really difficult, but we did go to the library and the park without much incident.  Then, at about 5:30 everything went bad with Connor.  We were in the park and i was loading everybody up to go home.  Connor completely freaked out.  He ran from me.  I chased him quite a long ways.  He ran to an old man, grabbed his leg and screamed, "Help me!"  I was so humiliated.  I scooped up Connor and headed to the car.  He hit me and spit on me.  I wasn't quite sure what to do.  I got him all buckled into the car.  He was sitting next to Violatte and he kept slapping her and spitting on her.  I felt so badly about that. I didn't want this decision to affect our kids in such negative ways.

We ended up picking some McDonalds and trying to make it through the evening.  I cried myself to sleep again.  I know if anybody is reading this, it can't be fun to read, however, I need to write it all out for me.

Saturday morning I woke up exhausted and worn out.  I was completely drained.  Facing the day by myself again with all of the kids was just too much for me.  I ended up crying first thing in that morning.  I just couldn't face everything that day.  I called Rachel (our social worker) to ask for some help.  She was in training so we began texting.  She was very irritated with me.  I said I could wait until her training was done, but, honestly, I didn't know how I was going to be able to do it.  She showed up about an hour later.  I was relieved, but I could sense her irritation as well.  I tried to explain my struggles with Connor.  She explained some things about his medication that we had not been told before.  Apparently, with the ADHD medication, it is like a legal form of speed.  And each day when he comes off  of the medicine he has withdrawl symptoms.  I didn't know that happened.  I knew nothing about that kind of medicine.  Thinking back on everything that happened, though, it all made sense.  I could see how about give hours after he took the medicine each time, things went crazy bad. 

We talked for a while and even called the previous foster family.  I found out that we had been told the wrong times to give him the medicine, which was why things were so bad. I was frustrated that we had not been told anything correct aobut his medicine or the effects at all!!!

Saturday was another rough day, but I made it through, and Jim got home earlier than I thought he would.  I was so relieved!!! I got a call just before he got home from the vice president of the foster family agency.  He said that because the paperwork hadn't gone through in LA county, we had to take Connor back to the previous familky.  A huge piece of  me was incredibly relieved to not have Connor go back.  I was exhausted and drained.  But, the other piece of me was concerned that it would be undoing all of the progress that we had made with the adjustment process.  But, the law is the law.  So, we took him back.  The hardest part about dropping him off was that the family was very obviously unhappy to have him. It made me feel like a horrible person for putting him back in that situation.

The next day, Sunday, Jim and I fasted about what to do.  Then we sat down and wrote out every issue that we had seen about having Connor.  In the next column we wrote out our ideas and plans for dealing with those issues.  I felt like we had a good plan in place, an I was feeling a bit better about everything.

The next morning I called our social worker and told her we had talked about Connor and had made a plan to make things work.  She seemed surprised and said that she wasn't sure we should have Connor.  She said that she didn't think I (Celese) was capable enough.  She told me that she needs to consider what is best for the child.  She would consider it and decide if she was going to give him back to us.  That was very frustrating for me.  I had a very difficult day.  Some of my other friends had told me that I wasn't doing good taking care of my own kids.  Another friend told me that she didn't think I was supposed to be a foster mom because it was more than I could handle.  With so many people telling me that I was no good as a mom, I was very depressed.  Poor Jim.  I even let something little he said really get me upset because of how I was feeling. 

I just didn't know what to do.  I began to think maybe we shouldn't have Connor.  But, the Lord directed us in so many ways to get here.  It's just hard to believe that this isn't right.  It's just so hard for me.  But, I will talk about that more in my next post.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Vent -- 1

I so badly need to vent. And, unfortunately, writing is my safest form of venting.

So, many people know that we are working on getting a little foster boy.  It has been a long and painful process. I don't expect anybody to read all of this, but I want to write it all out, mostly, I suppose, to justify my frustration.

We actually started this process back in July of last year.  After a lot of prayer and contemplation we finally came to the conclusion that it would be write to look into foster care.  So, we got information about it and I attended an orientation class in July.  We began filling out the application.

The next step was to take training classes. I had to wait until August to take those.  The wait was frustrating, but I kept reminding myself that these things take time. Finally, the classes started.  They were two or three times a week throughout August.  I spent every Monday and Tuesday of that month leaving Ridgecrest at about 3:30 pm and driving to Bakersfield (2 hours away).  I would go to the class and leave Bakersfield at 9:00 pm when the class ended, and get home at about 11 pm the next day.  I did that two nights in a row for the first three weeks.  The final week I did it Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  I was incredibly exhausted.  It was tough on my family because I wasn't home to make dinners or drive to dance classes or help with homework.  We all sacrificed.

Finally the classes were over.  We spent many hours finishing up the application.  We got it submitted.  They sent it back for a few minor fixes, we completed them that day and submitted it back the very next day.  We waited and waited to hear back. It took a few weeks. We finally heard from them and got a list of things that they will check for the home inspection.  It was an incredibly long list.  It included the things we expected like to lock up medicines and poisons, have enough beds for everybody, etc.  But, then there were some we didn't expect.  Like, for example, we found out that we have to have a permit for every structure on the property. We have a shop in our backyard, and I was worried that the previous owners didn't have a permit when they built it.

I went to the city planning department and looked into it.  Sure enough, I was right.  There was no permit.  So we had to file an "as standing" permit and pay the fees and get all of that paperwork done.  I admit that this was the point where I began to drag my feet just a little bit.  I was feeling overwhelmed.  The cost of the permit fees and permit paperwork seemed to be just too much on top of everything else we had been doing for this.  So, I stalled and didn't do anything for a couple of weeks.

Then, I got a phone call from the social worker.  She told me that I need to just clean up my house so she could come.  I tried to explain to her about the shop in our backyard and the necessary permit.  She didn't believe me and just said, "Whatever, just get off your couch and go clean your house so I can come for the inspection."

I was very offended, honestly.  Having a clean home is a sensitive issue for me.  It is something that I struggle with and am very self-conscious about.  I know that most people probably wouldn't be very offended by that, but I was.  My home was clean.  I was not being lazy. It really hurt me.  I decided that I didn't want to work with someone who treated me that way.

At about that same time there was a street fair in our town in conjunction with the city's 50th anniversary celebration.  At the fair I met a social worker from a Foster Family Agency (FFA).  The woman was positive and happy and fun.  With that stark contrast of workers, we decided to switch to the agency, Legacy.  We thought it would be easy to switch over since the paperwork was all done.  We had already complete everything including training, physicals, fingerprinting, a home study, drawing out our house and yard layouts, and so on.  It was anything but easy.  We had to start everything over.  Everything.  I was frustrated at that point, and it only got worse.

So, I did another 12 hours of training.  And another application.  And another home study.  And layout drawing.  Everything.  We thought we could get our fingerprints transferred.  We waited on that for a long time.  But, it ended up they couldn't.  So we paid more money and had another set of fingerprints done.  It still took over another month for them to be completed.  That waiting time was frustrating as well.

In the midst of all of this process we found out that one of the rooms in our house that we have been using as a bedroom, technically shouldn't be used as a bedroom.  It's kind of complicated. So, what had happened is that the owners before us had a large covered patio.  One of the bedrooms had opened right to the covered patio with a sliding glass door. Then, they changed that patio into a completely enclosed room, which made the bedroom connected to it no longer up to code to be used as a bedroom. We had not clue that it was that way when we bought the house.  In fact, the house was advertised as a three-bedroom house.  So, we just had no idea about this problem.

With this change of things, we had some big decisions to make.  Should we forget about the whole process or should we put in the time and money to remodel our home? And if we remodel, how should we do it? Convert the play room into a master bedroom? Divide it into two bedrooms? Add another room to the house? We talked many times to the city planning department and an inspector about the options and what would be best to do. We also talked to a realator about what would be the best option to improve our home value. 

We finally decided to divide the big play room into two bedrooms. We drew up the plans and with a few modifications by the inspector, we were able to get started.  three months and $4000 later we got the boys' room done. It was so frustrating in a lot of ways.  But, on the other hand, we had many many blessings also. So many people stepped in and helped us with the remodeling.  We could never have gotten it done as quickly without all of the help.

So, once we finished we finally thought we'd be able to get Connor.  It still took another while.  But, we were able to pick him up on a Tuesday night.  That was the toughest week of my life, but that is a story to be continued...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Luke started Kindergarten

So, at the beginning of the school year, the charter school that the girls go to agreed to let Luke start a transitional Kindergarten class after he turned 5.  Well, he turned 5 on February 12th, and he was impatient to go. I hung on as long as I could.  (He was sick, too, so I got him for a couple more days.)

But, I couldn't hang on to him forever, so yesterday he went to his first day of Kindergarten. Isn't he handsome? He did pretty good and seemed to really enjoy it.