Monday, January 30, 2012

Saying good-bye......life goes on.

Disclaimer:
If you have never seen Steel Magnolias, you need to stop reading 
and go rent it, or Hulu it, or something....otherwise, this post won't
be the same.

Disclaimer #2: 
If you have seen Steel Magnolias and don't understand why it is one
of the greatest movies of all time - stop reading also.  
I can no longer be your friend because your emotional compass is whack.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Moving forward:

I would like to tell you that Meleah's last day with us
was a fabulous day of high quality family time.

But
Life.
Goes.
On.

It was a Monday -
the kids had school.
Mike had work.
and I had the huge weekend pile of laundry.

In a lot of ways, the morning was just like any other.

Mia, (the dog) was in her usual spot for Meleah's morning nap.




Mike came home and stayed with Meleah.
I went to pick up the kids at lunch time.

We drove through McDonald's for Happy Meals.

It didn't work.

No one was happy.

We couldn't even eat our fries...
as soon as we were all at the table together,
the tears started.

We cried the ugly cry,
as my friend Heather calls it.
The kind from Steel Magnolias -
the kind where you aren't sure if you should fall in a heap,
or try to pull it together in case you really can die from a broken heart.

When the social worker came - we closed the door on her and pulled it together,

well,
sort-of

The social worker was not well received.

We passed Meleah around several times for hugs and kisses.

We watched the car drive away and cried some more.

Later in the afternoon - Michael had to be back at school for the basketball game.

Life
goes
on

It would have been great if they won -
something positive about this day,
but they lost their first game of the season,
at home.

This day sucked.






Friday, January 27, 2012

Meleah - 6 months old

I just had to share these adorable videos of Meleah's new favorite game.

Peek-a-boo


We were at Isaac's eye appt.
(*hence the background conversations)
And she just started grabbing her blanket and putting it over her face.  



video



video

If you don't think this baby is completely adorable, I can't be your friend.
(*just sayin')

6 month old photo shoot -




We have loved being her parents for the last 6 months
and wish with all our hearts that we could be her parents
forever.

Sometimes the system just doesn't work that way.


To make a long story short - 
Meleah leaves us on Monday the 30th.

I wish she could understand that we haven't left her,
it breaks my heart that everything in her life will be 
new
different 
strange 
unfamiliar

Please pray for her adjustment to the new people in her life.

THANK YOU!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"W" for the Seahawks

Away game at Santa Barbara -
more bad photos.....

But the boys played well and Michael got more playing time,
Several rebounds
several blocked shots
6 pts.

Oh yeah, that's in!!!



(*sweet baby sitting in her stroller looking so cute!)


The 'hawks dominated the game.
Final score: 46-26 (that's approximate)

GOOD JOB SEAHAWKS!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Seahawks basketball

For years, people have asked Michael if he plays basketball.

Mostly, I assume, because he's tall,
and maybe, sometimes, because he is tall and black.

He has always been a soccer boy.
I have never seen him dribble a basketball in his life.
(*other than when he was about 3)

This year, he said he was going to play basketball.
I wonder if he was only interested in playing because he has friends on the team.
That's my first guess anyway.

He made the team -
and I think mostly for the tall part mentioned above.

In regards to rebounding the ball - maybe the theory is:
jump
catch
re-shoot (offense)
or pass to a teammate (rebounding on defense)
Thus, tall people are good for rebounding....
But there is certainly a lot more to basketball than that.

The first game was Monday.

Michael didn't get to play much.
But he did get a rebound and 2 points from it.

I have NO IDEA how to take photos of indoor sports.
My pics are terrible.
(*I have sent a message to my photographer cousin for help)
The best ones are actually from a practice game and just a couple from
the real game that are even worth posting.....

Here they are:
(*Michael is #30)
(practice game / white jerseys)













Oh, and silly me:
The Seahawks dominated the game.

Good job guys!



Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Isaac's play

The middle school here rotates through electives quarterly.
(instead of having the same one all year)
I really like this idea;
it gives the kids a chance to try something different
without being "committed" to it for an entire school year.

Isaac just finished rotating through a drama class and was in a school play called:

"What's the Matter?"

The play was based on science (and matter) and was really cute.

Isaac played a twin as one of two hydrogen molecules that consulted
the "What's the Matter?" agency to form a bond with oxygen and
make them more stable.

Henrietta and Henry (twin hydrogen molecules)




Good job Isaac!   I am proud of you!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Foster Care update

It's been four weeks today since our family became the "Brady Bunch".

3 boys, 3 girls - and only 2 of the 6 with the same genetics.

We have three different nationalities represented
and at least that many shades of skin.

It is AWESOME!

My life is crazy / busy and the dishes and laundry are NEVER done -
but everyone is happy and mostly healthy
and we are rolling with the punches when they come.

We were able to get approval from the judge and the district to put the
girls in school with our boys at the Department of Defense School,
McCool Elementary/Middle on base.
They are in first and second grades and adjusting well to the first week.

Life is easier with everyone
in the same place,
on the same bus,
on the same schedule.


The girls got to visit their parents last weekend and that really helped lift their spirits.
We have also visited with their brother who was our first foster child last spring.
Please pray for this family to  get all their things in order to have their family together.

Meleah continues to be a love.
She is rolling over both ways and has discovered her feet.
They are her favorite thing to play with.
Babies make it look so easy to get your foot to your head don't they??

Here are some special pictures for MawMaw and Papa Jack in Michigan.


Her first baby doll from MawMaw




Go BLUE!  from Papa Jack


The next court date for Meleah is Tuesday, the 24th.
Although we aren't sure, we assume that all the paperwork is in order,
and the judge will order that custody be shifted from foster parents to
the grandparent.   We thank you all for your love, support and prayers.
We ask that you pray for her still,
that she will grow to be a strong woman of God
and that HIS hand will follow her for all of her days.

And that one day, we will see her again.






Thursday, January 19, 2012

Just sayin' (volume 4)

Okay ....hold on to your seat.

HERE I GO!!

So - we have only been foster parents since April.

In those nine short months -
I estimate that 100 people have said to me....

"I just couldn't do it"

listen to me now.

That's a selfish thing to say.

Think about what you are saying.

Basically this....

"I care more about my own emotions and how hard it would be for me
than I do the fact that I have the ability and the means to give a child
in need a good home."

If you are reading this, and you have said this to me -
don't hide from me the next time you see me.

I'm not casting stones at anyone
and I don't have a secret list in my head of all the people that have said this.
(*I need my brain space for more important things.....)

and I have thought (and probably said) the same thing for many years.

Sometimes it takes a little shaking around of your thought process
to see things clearly.

Some of us, (me) take more shaking than others.

So what's the bottom line?

Consider foster care -
You CAN make a difference!


Contact me to learn more about foster care on Guam:
Melda Thornton
MikenMelda@aol.com

Monday, January 16, 2012

Martin Luther King Jr.

"I have a dream 
that my four little children 
will one day live in a nation 
where they will not be judged 
by the color of their skin 
but by the content of their character."



































What a great day to celebrate the diversity of our family and friends!

I wish Dr. King could see these kids:
going to school together....
Playing together...
laughing together....

not even thinking about the color of their skin.

Happy Birthday Dr. King!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Just sayin' (#3)

Here's what I got for today.

Answer the following statements with yes or no.
(*yes, the statement is true - *no, the statement is false)

READY??

1)  My child is over 16.

2)  My child has a job.

3)  My child just got a ton of money for Christmas.

4)   My child just got a ton of money for their birthday.

If you answered "NO" to at least 3 of these questions -
and your child comes home with a new:

bike
scooter
iPod
iPad
Phone
load of  cash

(fill in the blank)

that you didn't give them............
IT AIN'T THIERS!!!!


Do not let them keep it.
Make them take it back to where they got it.
It's not honest.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Running Resolutions

I am trying to get back on the road -
regularly,
to run

I haven't run consistently since before Meleah was born at the end of July.

I have had good spurts of running - but haven't been able to stick with it.

For 2012, I am re-setting the goal of running 1000 miles this year.

My original plan was to run 1000 before my next birthday.

There is still time for that, since my birthday is not until May,
but I would have to run appox. 32-35 miles per week to make it.

That's not a realistic goal for a mother of six.... so I am calling a
MULLIGAN
and starting a
DO-OVER

It's NOT too late to start a New Year's Resolution (*running or otherwise)

No one said you have to start on New Year's Day!

Anyone want to take the challenge to walk / run  1000 miles in 2012 ?!

Sign on to Nikerunning.com and be my friend!
We can challenge, encourage and motivate one another to keep on running!

Here are my 2011 stats - and I hope they are improved in 2012.

I am posting them to keep me accountable.

According to Nike:
I ran 444 miles in 2011
My average pace was (not impressive)  12.18 per mile
I average running 3 times a week, mostly in the mornings and on Tuesdays.
I burned 43,404 calories (why aren't I skinny?)


My fastest mile was 8.08 (*that was running down Nimitz Hill as I recall)
My fastest 5K was 27:43 (*probably also running down Nimitz Hill)
My fastest 10K was 1:01:57
and my longest run was 13.18 in honor of my friend Michael Ansley.


My best month was June.
I ran 77.73 miles with an average pace of 10.31 per mile.




Here's to a healthy, happy 2012!







Saturday, January 7, 2012

Foster Care Update

If you want to catch up on our foster care journey;
here are a few links:

Decision to become foster parents

first placement

Meeting the Governor and First Lady

Second placement

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The new girls came on the Friday before Christmas -
so just two weeks have past since becoming a family of eight.

All in all -
I think things are going well,
and once again -
I am so thankful that the placement came when Mike had two
four-day weekends back to back to help with adjustments and
just some extra family time without school, homework and sports.

The biggest adjustments for me are the cooking and laundry.

I make a dozen eggs every morning.

I didn't do laundry after the girls came on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day -
and I haven't caught up yet.  (although, maybe by the end of the weekend)

The boys have been great to help out.

Isaac has made himself the bedtime story reader.
It's adorable!




















And the boys each have to load or unload the dishwasher every day.
(I do a load in the morning and a load at night)
THANK YOU LORD FOR A DISHWASHER!


There are some little things that we are working through.


Educational apathy is my biggest concern.
I'm not sure how to motivate a child to WANT to learn.
It's hard to teach them, if they aren't interested.
I think some of this may be cultural, or be a result of not
having English speaking parents that can help them.


We are hoping, if the placement will be through the summer,
that we can get the girls into school at McCool where the boys go.
I know that they have special ESL* programs there.
(English as a Second Language)
Please pray with us about this.
We have court on Monday the 9th and will request from the judge
that the girls attend McCool.



In other news:
Little Meleah continues to be a LOVE!
She has learned to smack her lips to blow a kiss.
It's the cutest thing on the planet!
She loves to play pat-a-cake
and is really close to rolling over back to belly.






She is also getting up on her toes from a belly position and rocking a little bit.  A long way from crawling, but the beginning stages are developing.






She is easy going and will sit (and sleep) in her stroller at the beach or wherever we are without complaining.   




She has a LOT of hair in the back 
and we are getting the ponies going.  
And while you are here - 
look at those eyelashes too....a heartbreaker this one!


She has tried carrots, squash, green beans and sweet potatoes.

peas, bananas and apples are coming in the next three weeks.
Having a child with food allergies -
I am only doing one food per week to make sure she is not reacting
in any way.

The next court date for her is January 24th.
If the paperwork is in order, she will go live with a relative at that time.
We are enjoying each day with her and trying not to think about the days to come.

Thank you for your continued prayers as we journey this road!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Just sayin' (*volume 2)

Okay....here I go.

How hard is it to make change?

Why in the name of Pete
(of Love, of God, or whoever .....)
aren't we teaching our children common sense math??

It makes me COMPLETELY crazy when someone operating a cash register
doesn't know how to make the change if they punch in the numbers wrong.

If you can pull out your ____________  (*iPod, iPad, iPhone, whatever
and pull up the calculator) - can't you just do a little math in your head without
pen and paper?)

If the subtraction stumps you - count UP from the total to the amount the
patron gave you.

Today foster child #3 was sick and home from school.
I had to take her with me to the commissary, because we had breakfast last
night for dinner and that means the food supply is low.

So as a treat for taking a sick kid to the store when they should be in bed,
I offered her McDonald's for lunch.
She was ON THAT!

So - the total was $7.77
I gave the girl a $20
Then she yells - "I NEED ONES!"
"HEY-I NEED ONES!!"
"ANYBODY??!!  I NEED ONES!"

(the little pay section of the drive-thru is in the back of the McDonald's here)

In Guam - if you have ice cream - you shouldn't stop at McDonald's on the way home.
I started to panic.
I searched my wallet again, "I have five ones"
I gave them to her
She gave me a five dollar bill
and then SHE panicked.
She had NO IDEA how much change to give me.

I said, "The change is the same"

"but you gave me ones"

"but you gave me a five"

She just stood there.

So I said, "$12.23"

Deer in the headlights

She tried to give me $3.00

I handed her back one of the ones and said, "I need .23 cents"
"and a $10"

By this time - two other McDonald's employees had come over to help.
But they couldn't.

To shorten the story - cause it DOES go on -
She eventually gave me $12.23 but was still confused.

I said, "Look, (*as I held out the money)
I don't want you to think I am trying to trick you.
The total was $7.77.
I gave you a $20.  (*I showed her the change)
This makes $8 dollars
(I counted the ones)
$9
$10  (*showed her the $10)
10 plus 10 is $20"

The ones don't count because we traded even.
5 ones for a 5 dollar bill.

Understand?"

I don't think so.....but I drove away.
I did all I could do from the drive-through.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Memories

Does anyone else marvel at how one little thing can trigger a flood of memories?

I think our brain is such a fascinating thing.

Anyway,  I had a smell trigger memories for me -
and it was really a strange thing -
because it wasn't like a chocolate chip cookie
or apple pie.

It was a smell I didn't know was familiar.

But I immediately had memories flood back of my grandpa.

I started thinking about the house my grandparents lived in.

I can "walk through" in my mind.

Driving to their house from ours -
their house was on the left.

It was red brick
with two big, square windows on the front
situated just so over a painted concrete porch that looked like
two eyes and a straight mouth to a little girl.

The front door was there too.
But we never used the front door....
after all - family comes in the side door right?

In through the carport into a room that I don't really think was ever used.

I think it was added to the house later -
but it had a bookcase in it that I now have in my house.
And on that bookcase - my grandpa kept a clear, glass piggy bank for me.
One that really looked like a pig, and that you had to really break to get your money out.
He always gave us money to put in it when we were there.
And we did.
It was not until I was much older
that I remember using a butter knife to try and get money back out.

Going into the "real" part of the house,
The part that was lived in.
The part that was warm and familiar,
was my grandpas bathroom.

It was small and manly looking.
No rug on the floor
just tile.
It didn't have a tub,
Only a small stand-up shower
and it smelled like a combination of Old Spice and something medicine-y.

And I could describe the rest of the house to you,
and my walk down memory lane,
but with the exception of my mom and my brother who can walk these memories,
I am going to lose the rest of you.

So back to the present....

our new foster girls have this Guam skin condition that is called, "JafJaf"
(*spelling unknown, because it's just a nickname)
But it's really - Seborrhoeic dermatitis 
(*or so I'm told)

and so I was also told that you can treat it by washing your (*their) bodies
with danduff shampoo, which is also seborrhoeic dermatitis.

And so I bought it
and put the girls in the bath
and here we go

Except that....
when I opened the bottle -
it was the medicine smell from my grandpa's bathroom.

ahh....memories.

Funny how they come around sometimes isn't it?

Today, Jan. 3rd is my grandpa's birthday.
He would be 89.
He died when Michael was a baby.
At the time, there was just Michael and my nephew Elijah.

How I wish my grandpa could see his family now.

8 great-grandchildren to brag about - and 6 of them boys.
(and one with his name -Thomas)

He would certainly chuckle about that one -
having only one son
and three grandsons
but now, the boys out-numbering the girls.



Happy Birthday Papa -
thanks for the memories!