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Hopping to It: August 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

Craziness goto sleep...

Well the day is ending!  Isaiah and AnQuenette are in bed.  AnQuenette is probably asleep and Isaiah, well I don't know what he is doing!!  That boy is my crazy boy!!  He is into everything!  But he has the sweetest side to him.  Today Robby and AnQuenette was messing around, and AnQuenette threw a book at Robby and hit him in the mouth.  Blood everywhere!  Robby starts sobbing.  I give him a towel and he is sitting just sobbing.  Isaiah is standing next to him just rubbing his back "It will be ok Robby! " in his sweetest voice.  Then he started yelling at AnQuenette how mean she was.  Sweet and mean in one moment he is!!  But now they are settled in for a good nights rest.  They spent many hours outside playing, the highlight when the sprinklers came on!!
And Robby is watching Dr. Who...surprise surprise!!  Soon he will head off to bed.  Jeremy is watching Meet My that movie!!!!  Soon the house will be quite so I can sit and relax...if you want to call it that!!!  I have Sunday school stuff to get ready and our CDC is being accredited so I have that to do. And the house...well that is another story..


I am finding that my days are just a quick jumble of everything sometimes.  Most people call it multitasking.  I find my self doing this often if not too often. Why is it we can't just do one thing at a time, but by the time I even wrote that I am like four thoughts ahead of my self.  Each one of my children need a certain kind of attention, that must be given almost at the same time.  I am directing one this way, while the other is asking now what.  Coffee is beeping that it done and dyer beeping it is finished.   The dishes sit in the sink wondering when it will be their turn.
List do help and keep things a little bit slower for me, but most days my mind is past my list.  And some days I feel like I have so much going on, if I move one all comes crashing down and I have to pick it back up!!  And now I have to keep learning more stuff than I remember, and that is challenging my already fast paced mind.

But at the moment of peace, when I focus my mind on His word, then the next thought is slowed down, and I am able to move forward.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Coffee Please, but hold the Starbucks....

For the last two or so months, I have managed to enter into Target with out the need to head right on over to Starbucks in the corner when you walk in...this takes much will power.  It is not that I stopped because I don't like them (I do) or the people there are not friendly (they are super friendly-even know about my kids-yes I went that often) or anything of that sorts.  One day I just decided, no I won't get one today.  Then it was another one.  Soon it became a challenge to see if I could go through Target with out a Cafe Mocha in one hand.  I do admit I did wander over there once or twice and got a plain coffee...much cheaper.  And soon I realized that I was saving a lot of money and how many I really was consuming.  I was at maybe 3-4 a week some weeks.  $12 a week.  $46 some months just on my Cafe Mochas....well duh!!  (Not even wanting to think of the calorie count)  So I turned to my flavored creamers, hazelnut right now, to make my cup more yummy.  Now I am not saying I am giving up Cafe Mochas  forever, but making them a special treat and something that is not needed.
Now I don't feel like I need that cup in bad habit broken for now.  Which one next?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Adoption, Foster care and Attachment

I have friends who have decided to take a leap of faith and adopt out of our foster care system.  What a wonderful decisions, and a scary one too.  Knowing that we have fostered and adopted they asked a few questions looking for advice.  Instead of just emailing her I decided to blog so others could read.  One question was what does she need to know about adopting?  They are looking at a boy preschool age and also asked what books to read.
I have been thinking about this...what is the most important think to first learn about.   I decided it was attachment.  When Robby was born I already had 9 months to bond with him, then he was born and I have to attach again in different ways.  I did all the things I felt were right, regardless of what "society" told us.  Robby was breastfeed, slept with us, I carried him in a sling (oh I loved that sling), he was with us 99% of the time.   And when he was not, with me he was next door at the day care while I worked.   I was working of my masters degree and was studying what was important in parenting.  I learned that by instinct we were practicing Attachment Parenting.     As Robby grew we held him, loved him and took care of him all the time.  He soon moved out of our bed and unlike what some people said he grew up to be a stable normal little boy.  He does things independently of me and while he does take some pushing (I blame the male trait on that one) he loves lots of things.
I think of when Isaiah came to us at 4 months.  He was a very big baby, with no neck.  He had a terrible yeast infection in his neck cause it was moist and dark.  He was stiff and cried a lot.  But he was cute!!  And we started holding him.  And caring for him. I help him in the sling a lot.  Many nights I would be sleeping in a chair in the living room with him.  And after a few months we saw improvements.  We forget now all the things we did at the beginning, but he is a normal typical little boy now.
Each of our kids old or young, we work on attachment...and it is different for each one.  When you adopt any child, you adopt their history good or bad.  Children that have been neglected are hard to attach to or have had so many attachment broken they have issue that are even worse.  Attachment disorders can be hard to cope with when these children come into your house, so being educated will give you a step up.
So the first step I would advise is learning about attachment and young children.  Read as many books as you can.  Find out about attachment parenting and any other organization that talks about attachment.  I also like Dr. Sears.  

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Our DHR visit...

When you are a foster parent you have to go through two yearly visits.  Our summer one, like the one I got through today, is for re-certifcation.  Lots for forms to fill out, medical exams, and financial information.  Our social worker is very sweet and together and to the point.  We have been blessed to have such a great worker.
While there is the stress that my house has to be perfect...I have finally come to the fact, that our house is live in and children are a main focus in our house, and not everything is going to be perfect.  I try to get the most important things, know what rooms she is going to look in and what rooms she is not going to look in.  Normally she wants to see the fire extinguisher, and then peeks at the kids rooms.
And after a short visit of chit chatting, she is on her way.  Our other mid year visit is normally shorter!
Our goal this year...respite care and emergency care.


Friday, August 20, 2010

New taxes you will pay....MUST READ

There are just a few things I will blog about in term of politics.  But everyone really needs to know what we are getting our selves into.  Children's tax credit...cut in half.....please read and be educated.  I got this as an email forward...

While many of you may have seen the new tax changes that take effect January 1, 2011, I am forwarding this on to those who may have missed it.   This is further incentive for all of us to make certain we get out the vote in November, so that we can hopefully get this repealed.
New Tax Changes for January 1, 2011
In  just six months, on January 1, 2011, the largest tax hikes in the  history of America will take effect.
They will hit families and small businesses in three great  waves.
On  January 1, 2011, here's what happens... (read it to the end, so you see  all three waves)...

    First Wave:

Expiration of 2001 and 2003 Tax Relief.In 2001 and 2003, the GOP Congress enacted several tax cuts for investors, small business owners, and families.   These  will all expire on January 1, 2011.

Personal  income tax rates will rise. 
The  top  income tax rate will rise from 35 to 39.6 percent (this is also the rate  at which two-thirds of small business profits are taxed).  
  lowest rate will rise from 10 to 15 percent.  
    All the rates in
  between will also rise.
Itemized  deductions and personal exemptions will  again phase out, which has the same mathematical effect as higher marginal tax rates.  

The full list of marginal rate hikes is below:       
  • The 10% bracket rises to an expanded 15%
  • The 25% bracket rises to 28%
  • The 28% bracket rises to 31%
  • The 33% bracket rises to 36%  
  • The 35% bracket rises to 39.6%

Higher  taxes on marriage and family.   
The  "marriage  penalty" (narrower tax brackets for married couples) will return from the first dollar of income.   

The child tax  credit will be cut in half from $1000 to $500 per child.   

The  standard deduction will no longer be doubled for married couples relative to the single level.  
The  dependent care and adoption tax credits  will be cut.

The return of the Death  Tax.
This year only,  there is no death tax.  (It's a  quirk!)  For those dying on or after January 1,  2011, there is a 55 percent top death tax rate on estates over $1 million.   A person leaving    behind two homes, a business,a retirement  account, could easily pass along a death tax bill to their loved ones.   Think of the farmers who don't make much money, but their land, which they purchased years ago with after-tax dollars, is now worth a lot of money.  Their children will have to sell the farm, which may be their livelihood, just to pay the estate tax if they don't have the cash sitting around to pay the tax.   Think about your own family's assets.   Maybe your family owns real estate, or a business that doesn't make much money, but the building and equipment are worth $1 million.   Upon their death, you can inherit the $1 million business tax free, but if they own a home, stock, cash worth $500K on top of the $1 million business, then you will owe the government $275,000 cash!  That's 55% of the value of the assets over $1 million!   Do you have that kind of cash sitting around waiting to pay the estate tax?

Higher tax rates on savers and investors.
The capital gains tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 20 percent in  2011.   
The dividends tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 39.6  percent in 2011.  
These rates will rise another 3.8 percent in  2013.

Second Wave:

There  are over twenty new or higher taxes in Obamacare.  Several will first go into effect on  January 1, 2011.   They include:
The  "Medicine Cabinet Tax"
Thanks to Obamacare, Americans will no longer be able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase  non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin).

The  "Special Needs Kids Tax"
This  provision of Obamacare imposes a cap on flexible spending accounts (FSAs)  of $2500 (currently, there is no federal government limit).  There  is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly  cruel and onerous:  parents of special needs children.  

There are
 thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education.
Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children  in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year.
Under tax rules, FSA dollars can not be used to pay for this type of special  needs education.

The HSA (Health Savings Account) Withdrawal Tax Hike.
This provision of Obamacare increases the additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals  from  an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs  and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10  percent.

Third Wave:
The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) and Employer Tax Hikes
When Americans prepare to file their tax returns in January of 2011, they'll be in for a nasty surprise-the AMT won't be held harmless, and many tax relief provisions will have  expired.
The  major items include:
The AMT will ensnare over 28 million families, up from 4 million last  year.
According to the left-leaning Tax Policy Center, Congress' failure to index the AMT will lead to  an explosion of AMT taxpaying families-rising from 4 million last  year to 28.5 million.  These families will have to calculate their  tax burdens twice, and pay taxes at the higher level.  The AMT was  created in 1969 to ensnare a handful of taxpayers.

Small business expensing will be slashed and 50% expensing will disappear.
Small businesses can normally expense (rather than slowly-deduct, or "depreciate") equipment purchases up to $250,000.

 will be cut all the way down to $25,000.  Larger businesses cancurrently expense  half of their purchases of equipment.  

In January of 2011,
  all of it will have to be "depreciated."

Taxes will be raised on all types of businesses.
There are literally scores of tax hikes on business that will take place.   The biggest is the loss of the "research  and  experimentation tax credit," but there  are many, many others.  Combining high marginal tax rates with  the loss of this tax relief will cost jobs.

Tax Benefits for Education and Teaching Reduced.
The deduction for tuition and fees will not be available.

Tax credits
  for education will be limited.

Teachers will no longer be able to
  deduct classroom expenses.

Coverdell Education Savings Accounts
 will be cut.

Employer-provided educational assistance is

The student loan interest deduction will be disallowed
  for hundreds of thousands of families.

Charitable Contributions from IRAs no longer allowed.
Under current law, a retired person with an IRA can contribute up to$100,000 per year directly to a charity from their IRA.  

 contribution also counts toward an annual "required minimum distribution."   This ability will no longer be there.

PDF Version Read more:   <>;

And worse yet?
Now, your insurance will be INCOME on your W2's!
One of the surprises  we'll find come next year, is what follows - - a  little  "surprise" that 99% of us had no idea was included in the  "new and improved" healthcare legislation . . .  the  dupes,  er, dopes, who backed this administration will  be astonished!
Starting in 2011, (next year folks), your W-2 tax form sent by your employer will be increased to show the value of whatever health insurance you are given by the company.  It does not  matter  if that's a private concern or governmental body of some sort.

If you're retired?   So what... your gross
 will go up by the amount of insurance you get.
You will be required to pay taxes on a large sum of money that you have never seen.  Take your tax form you just finished  and see what $15,000 or $20,000 additional gross does to your  tax  debt.  That's what you'll pay next year.  

 many,  it also puts you into a new higher bracket so it's even worse.

This is how the government is going to buy insurance for the15% that don't  have insurance and it's only part of the tax increases.
Not believing this???   Here is a research of the  summaries.....
On page 25 of 29:  TITLE IX REVENUE PROVISIONS - SUBTITLE A:  REVENUE OFFSET PROVISIONS-(sec. 9001, as modified by sec. 10901) Sec.9002 "requires employers  to include in the W-2 form of each employee the aggregate cost of applicable employer sponsored group health coverage that is excludable from the employees gross income."

Joan  Pryde is the senior tax editor for the Kiplinger  letters.Go  to Kiplingers and read about 13 tax changes  that could  affect you.   Number 3 is what is  above

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Keeping the House...

...One day at the time.  I love that saying...or maybe one moment at the time!!  That is the name of my new home journal notebook.
I love going to the web page Notebookingpages.  In it there are lots of great ideas for notebooks for the kids, young to old.    Since she follows much of what I believe in homeschooling I really have enjoyed her site.    She has had many freebies on it along with notebook pages you can purchase.
She has recently started a new adventure called the Home Organizations Notebook for us moms who are so totally not organized!!  When she announced this I just happen to pop over to her web site not knowing about this.  I was looking for calendars and a few other organizational forms just in her freebies.  And I found this....with gobs of forms and promises for new forms, I paid a small fee, but so worth it!
So I have created my journal...well I have the skeleton of it done.  (yes I know you all are thinking when did she do all this...I think same thing of you guys to, when do you do it all!!:):))  I have tabs for ...Homemaking-(cleaning and stuff like that), Family-(calendars), Business (For that business that is going to make a lot of money...any suggestions:)), Personal (my stuff, bible studies, prayer journals), Ministry-(I love this...cause I do lots at church),  Meals & Recipes, Financial (I don't to the bills, Dan does but I have some ideas for this area).

I still have much to do to organize this and as I do I will share with you all fun thing.  If you would like to check this out goto Mom's Tool Belt.  There are some free samples there for you to check out.  Let me know what you think.

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Sunday Mornings-How Do They Roll in your Home?

Out of all morning, I find Sunday morning the most frazzled morning.  I find that a little ironic since Sunday morning should be a calmer morning.  But normally I am getting all the kids up, little ones bathed and showered and then dressed.  This is the only day we all have to be up and dressed and out the door at the same time.   Normally at this time we would be at church for Sunday School but since they really didn't do much with Sunday school this summer we have gotten into a bad habit of not going, which needs to change.  And the kids have way too much free time on Sunday morning when we don't go to Sunday school (which this is our first summer ever not going.)
And as I am here on the computer I wish that there was no TV or computer usage on Sunday morning.  I feel that it should be a time to prepare our selves for worship.  Something I feel a lot of other things get in the way of.  Face-booking, texting, church bills, Disney, blogging...over whelmed as I think about it.  And I am first guilty of it.
Kids are screaming, yelling, this one going this way, jumping, flipping.  How many times must I say we need to do something and they just look at me.
And it is amazing that I got a shower this morning.  Must do that before I come out or I never get back in.  And there is still the teenager that needs a shower, but won't take a shower, but needs one.
And then church holds other challenges.  How to teach them in church, keep them from squirming, screaming, crawling under the pew.  (projects for later posts)
But then you hear sweet little Alleluias sung my your 3 year old and your 4 year is catching on to the other liturgy and songs.  Your 8 year old is reciting the prayers and even though the teenager looks like he is sleeping...he says something later and you know he was listening.  All the craziness...worth it in the end.
Awww Yes Sunday do they roll in your home?

Friday, August 13, 2010

100 things to do this summer: Hawaii-3, 8, 86,

When I made my 100 things to do this summer list, I knew that not everyone was going to do all the things.  And it never accrued to me that some of the things would not involve the kids at all.
So three of the things on our list Dan and I did in Hawaii.
3-Go on a hike, We hiked up to Diamond Head on our Anniversary.  I know I am not in shape, but just the week before I was walking 5 miles a day with out much issues.  This hike went up and up, then you had like 28 steps, then 93 steps, and then a spiral stair case .  By the time I got just to the spiral stair case, I almost lost it.  I felt dizzy and light headed and I had to sit.  Dan was sure I was going to make it.  But I was determined I was going to make it to the top.  But after sitting for about 15 minutes I had just enough energy to make it the final way.  And it was so worth it.  I am glad we did this and pushed myself to make it all the way! 

8- Explore 3 National Parks.  I am not sure how to even explain in words how humbling it was to experience these thing.   And while I want my kids to experience this one day, I am glad that I got to do that first.  Visiting the Arizona was a very quick in and out experience.   One the end on the wall that had all the names of the men that served on the ship.  I read every name.
We also visit the USS Bowfin and USS Missouri.

86- Go sailing.  I loved this.  We went twice.  Once to go watch dolphins and snorkel and a sunset sail our last night there.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

So here is what's going on....

I realized I haven't blogged in a week or so.  Things are a little crazy here.  So here is what's going on...
1.  Dan and I had a wonderful vacation in Hawaii.  It was truly wonderful, but I am a sucker for the ocean and palm tree...or coconut trees.  And time with just Dan was needed.  With our crazy schedules it is good to find time alone to come together and reconnect.  But now we are back into full force with life here.
2.  Leila, our sweet foster baby girl, is making the transition to being with Grandma full time.  This we knew this was coming hopefully sooner than later and we are happy that grandma has finally made this leap of faith with her.  We will still have her a few days here and there, but it was time for that transition.  But even though you know it is coming, it is still hard and my heart hurts a little.  I miss her smile and laugh and her sweet curls.  And what I have learned from foster care is it is ok to feel that way.  Grieving is part of life and when you invest so much of your life into a little life, it is hard.   Working through it is healthy and makes you grow a little bit more.
3. We are starting home school in a week a half.  Because I have been so busy this summer I didn't get last year put away nor did I get a lot of planning done.  So this week I have been on full force to get my planning done.  I am hoping to blog about our homeschooling days on my other blog.  Hoping is the key!!
I stumbled upon a blog called homeschoolcreations.  It was great because it took many of my ideas I was trying to use and made them work.  I had read about workboxes last year and thought I need to use this system but not like it was laid out, adapted.  I started reading the way this family home-schools and a light bulb went on.  I have been working hard trying to get this all into place.  As I get more into place I will blog about it on my homeschooling blog.  I also have been organizing my homeschooling area. And since I have an extra student at home that brings me to 4.
4.  Due to certain circumstance which I don't want to blog about, as of yesterday we have withdrawn our 10th grader from Sparkman High to do home school.  While this was not in my plan (of course nothing is in my plan) it has thrown some new planning techniques into play.  I spent  a bit of time researching best options, curriculum and items needed.  Now I have to wait for things to get in so I can plan and organize them.  In the mean time, he is antsy. (Robby is antsy too!) So my goal is to find some things for him to keep him self occupied.
5.  Of course Dan is traveling again, which means we move back into the routine of him here and not and here and not.
6.  And as always the house doesn't clean it self and I need to get things rocking and rolling here.  It is time to get back into a schedule of cleaning for everyone, and since everyone is home all the time it is a constant event.  One day I will get that under control....ummm maybe when the kids leave!:)

Well just a little of what's is going on.  So for now I keep moving a long!!  Pray for me as our journey continues!!!!

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Hawaii....The first day

As our 9 hour flight finally got under 30 minutes we started seeing the top of Islands in the clouds.  We knew we almost were here.  As the plane turned to line up for landing...soon we saw our Hotel from the air, then Pearl Harbor, and soon we were landed.  The air port was open air and not as large as I thought. We got our luggage and rental car and off to Ko Olina.  The land scape reminded me of California but was changing.  Flat here, hills, mountains over there.  The main Highway H1 took us to our beautiful hotel.
By now the jet lag was setting in and we really was hope to not goto bed so late.  We ate a tasty meal by the ocean, and took a nice evening stroll.   From our room I took pictures of the sunset and finally we couldn't keep the eyes open.
Needless to say we were up early and by 9:30 am we had done a lot!!  Our big even for today was our snorkeling and sailing.  What a great experience that was.  I loved standing on the sailboat with the wind in my face.  It was refreshing and very relaxing.  We got to see spinner dolphins that were very active with many babies.   We then got to were we were able to snorkel!  That was amazing!!!  There were so many fish!  We took some photos with a water camera so it will be interesting to see what they look like when they are done!

So over all, Hawaii has been awesome!  I could like live here.  Tomorrow we actually leave our little area of paradise and see more of Hawaii!

Sorry about so many post of this book...this was the book that told about about Hawaii, what to see, what not to see and history of the Island.  I really enjoyed the book a lot and would recommend it to anyone going....just remember to bring it with you.  We forgot ours at home, but I read it enough to remember some of what we need!

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