Seeking the Rainbow

How can I get over the rainbow if I can't even find it??

This is only another test on prevasity.  Let me know if you see it.


Another experiment with new blog feature

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As some might have noticed, I’m slowly transitioning to posting mostly on my blog and sharing some posts with Face Book.  I’m testing a plug-in that facilitates that goal.

This experiment is about sharing a YouTube video, not only to my own time-line, but a couple of groups that are private and/or hidden, including a possible new one I’m setting up.  Don’t feel you need to answer, but if you want to send me some feedback privately, feel free to do so.


I don’t quite know yet how this whole interface is supposed to work.  Bear with me.



Out of the fire, into the frying pan

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The current update of our foster-care/respite situation.  And before anyone says anything, the post title was intentional.  I do know the phrase.  I’ve also read some differing theories on the origin of the phrase.  

I haven’t talked yet about the 19 year-old who stayed with us for almost a week.  Very nice kid, and he did try to help out around the house  (though not all that often, since it was his ‘summer vacation’–he is starting at community college this fall, I understand).  Just for some consistency, I’m going to christen this one Patrick.  Late one night, while Jeffrey was at rehearsal, I made him watch the Roslyn Russell movie “Auntie Mame” and he absolutely loved it!!  I mentioned how much I had always wanted an Auntie Mame in my life.  Nowadays, hubby and I are more geared towards BEING an Auntie Mame for those kids we come into contact with.

He’s a former member of a VERY religious x-tian sect that I am VERY familiar with.  To my knowledge, I’m still able to call on my authority as an ordained priest in that denomination (not that I ever would), but I thought our shared background might help him as he transitions to full adulthood.  We’ll just have to wait and see on that one.  He knows that he is always welcome here.   

The day the respite ended for Patrick, the 19 year-old, is the same day is the same day we took in our current little, an absolutely delightful and adorable three-year-old boy.  That was on late Thursday.  This young boy I will now christen Leonardo [da Vinci] because he is at that very inquisitive stage and wants to learn everything about everything  immediately and asks a constant barrage of questions to those in close proximity.  Aside from being a little chatterbox, he always wants to be actively doing something.  

I am exhausted just thinking about my last three days.  There is so much more I would like to write about tonight, but it’s been a very long day, and I expect to be sleeping soundly in ten or fifteen minutes.

Leonardo is going to be a handful.

Oh, the remedial education!!!

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This first paragraph is from my FB page.  What follows is what I shared on my blog.

Honestly, the state of children’s education these days. Especially when it comes to iconic cultural touchstones!! The guy we’re doing respite for has never seen “E.T. The Extraterrestrial”!!! He doesn’t know ‘phone home’ or ‘ouch’ or ‘be good’ or ”Turn On Your Heart Light’.

I’m going to get all maudlin’ on you, so feel free to skip the rest of this post.  Second day of our respite for this little.  Yesterday, he went with us for a first-time meeting with another little that might be a good fit for permanent and/or adoptive placement.  It was a very enjoyable day, but if I never have to drive the I-5 corridor in the Seattle-Tacoma area, during rush hour, it will still be too soon.  I had previously ‘christened’ our current little Jack, to preserve anonymity, in one of my previous posts.  We had Jack yesterday, and had a pretty good time. We had him again today, and I think my heart melted a bit more. 

He had fun with arts & crafts, though hubby did most of the work, from what I understand.  Hubby picked him up and they did their artsy-fartsy thing at a local arts & crafts store that has a summer program for foster kids.  Then they got home, and for some strange reason, hubby decided to pull out the VERY old Nintendo Super NES and the SEGA Genesis game consoles, and then to get them working again.  Wound up doing it in two different rooms (one game system in the TV room, one game system in the kid’s room).  We’re trying very hard to be frugal, and get as close to debt-free as we can, but for some reason I foresee us getting an X-Box or PlayStation IV or Wii or whatever the heck is around right now and popular.

After he played with the Sega for a bit, then out in the back yard climbing the tree and playing with the puppy, then blowing bubbles with his giant Spiderman bubble wand, he got tired and wanted to go back inside.  I decided no more games.  He could watch a movie with us, or start reading a book.  So, we were trying to find a good kids movie.  Now remember, we have VHS tapes, Laser discs the size of 12″ LP records, and DVDs.  I had thought of this movie for one of the other respites we had, but didn’t have a chance to try it.

I chose “ET: The Extra-Terrestrial”.  Love him or hate him, Steven Spielberg is a grand master in the art of emotional manipulation.  Within the first few minutes, he was captivated.  So were we.  I don’t remember watching it after 1990.  In all honesty, though, there are parts of the 80s and 90s that are complete blanks.  😉  But both hubby and I got tears in our eyes at the appropriate moments.  Maybe next time I’ll try “The Goonies”.  

Foster parents picked him up about 10 or 15 minutes after the movie ended, while we were trying to make sure he had everything if not packed, at least readily available.  Previously, we had been advised by current FPs a little about his background and what he’s been through, and his fear of day-only respites, let alone overnight ones.  

He wanted to know when he could come back over here again.  This is a young boy who has been through so much already.  He is in a home where he feels safe and loved, and he obviously loves his foster-moms.  That he is willing to give us, hubby and me, that level of trust after so few visits, and even after I gave a couple of almost emphatic “NO” responses in relation to something he wanted…….well……..I’m getting all ‘fer klempt here….talk amongst yourselves’.

Missed one…make that two

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Everything’s been so frantic around here the last few weeks, it took me until today to realize that I didn’t post anything on our last respite.  We had the little boy I previously christened Nemo for a long weekend, and we did a day only respite for another boy currently fostering with a very nice couple during Nemo’s visit with us.  The boy was about 2 years older than Nemo, and they got along famously, after we laid down the rules about sharing.  We had a little trepidation on taking the older boy (hereafter referred to as Jack), because he was described on the paperwork as “flamboyant”.  We already knew most of the code words for Foster Care kids, but that was a new one on us.  After getting more info, there was no problem.   They had fun climbing the tree in the back yard, playing Star Wars using sticks as light sabers, and playing various characters from the comic books, like Batman, Superman and Spiderman.  Fun day had all around, and we’d welcome ‘Jack’ back in a heartbeat.

On the last day of little Nemo’s visit with us, we got the 14 year old who is 6’7″.  He hasn’t been any problem, but it’s hard to find something for him to keep busy with other than the computer or TV.  Finally, today actually, I gave him a reading assignment of a short, funny and adventurous book, and warned him that I will be asking him questions about it after he’s finished with it.  We’ll see how it goes.  His respite ends in a few days.  If he can’t finish “The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy” in that time, maybe I have him watch the movie, even though it pales in comparison to the book.

Got our latest addition yesterday afternoon, a 19-month old boy.  Once he stopped crying after foster mom left (30 or 45 minutes later), he got a lot more comfortable.  He loves the puppy and the kitty, of course.  All of the kids we’ve hosted so far have.  He’ll be with us until shortly before the Fourth of July.  In honor of that, I think I’ll christen him “George” if I post about him again, to help maintain his and the parents (foster and bio) privacy.  Adorable child, but even though he’s showing signs of the “terrible twos”, he still hasn’t learned to say the word “NO”, and he’s starting to learn that some actions have consequences.  If he throws something (unless it’s a ball), he doesn’t get to play with anymore.  If he doesn’t follow the rules in other ways, a time out in the crib might follow.  Only one of those time outs so far, though I definitely need to lower the mattress in it.  Too easy for him to get out otherwise, if he really tried.

Stay tuned.

Blessed sleep!!!!!

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We’ve done respites for multiple kids before, but nothing prepared me/us for this one.

Two brothers, one almost 3 months old, the other almost 24 months old.  Now that I can look at in retrospect (I dropped them off with their regular foster parent about an hour ago, and have had a glass of wine to think it over), for ME the biggest problem was a lack of language skills.  I expected that with the younger one;  I mean, babies are loud, and demanding, and you just can’t have a decent conversation with them.  And he’s just starting the teething stage!!!

The older one was almost as bad.  He understands a lot of words, but doesn’t have much vocalization ability yet.  He showed enough to  indicate that he understands what’s going on and what’s expected of him, behavior-wise.  It eventually degenerated into a kind of power struggle, though.  Older kid does NOT like naps, bedtime, or the crib.  He understands, though he still doesn’t understand the difference between ‘inside voice’ and ‘outside voice’.  We eventually came to an agreement: if he doesn’t follow the rules, he goes to the crib.  He didn’t like following the rules, and spent a lot of time crying and yelling, until he finally worked himself into the calm and/or sleeping state I was trying to get him to.  And, believe it or not, he hates taking a bath even more than that!  First respite kid I’ve had that didn’t like to spend some time in the warm water with his or her tub toys.

We would have survived just fine, no special commentary needed, if we had had just one or the other.  We can deal with that, even with hubby’s work and theater schedules.  One of THEM and an older kid would be no problem, because you can reinforce the independence of the older kid, and the altruism, and the “we take care of our own” ethos so endemic and prevalent in our society.

Both of them together at the same time?  When hubby is slammed with closing weekend of his current play?  And time set aside for set break-down, cast photos, and get-togethers to decompress a bit?

Any parent(s) who have children so close in age have my utmost respect.

We have proven to ourselves that we CAN do this.  Now the question arises of whether we would really want to do this.


More later.  The wine is kicking in, and I REALLY, REALLY need the sleep.  So does hubby, so don’t go pestering him quite so soon!  He just finished a triumphal engagement in ‘La Cage’.  Don’t you dare bring him down!!!


What to do……….

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Frankly, I think anyone even thinking of having a child should go through the foster-care/adoption classes we had to take.  It would definitely reduce the need for such a system in the first place.

It’s been about two weeks since I last posted anything.  The situation with the boy we were hoping to eventually adopt is kind of in limbo right now.  We’ve had a week without kids.  The house somehow feels empty, though.  Believe it or not, I actually sort of miss having Sponge Bob Square Pants playing as background noise.

Hubby got a call from a Social Worker (SW) today about a possible permanent placement for two girls.  Normally, I wouldn’t have a problem with it.  After all, I helped my mother raise my two younger sisters, and they turned out all right.

Facts of the case, as presented to me by hubby, which he got from the above mentioned SW.  ‘Dad’ shot ‘Mom’ in the head.  There is apparently a very strong possibility that gang violence is a real threat we need to consider.  I will NOT allow a gun into my home, and am worried, not only for the children involved, but for hubby and myself, should we take them in.

My family is everything to me, and I will not put any of them in any danger if I can help it.  I’ve asked the SW for more info.


Stay tuned.  This could get very interesting.

Stuffed Animal Fight!

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I’ve decided to stop labeling these in such a clinical way, as I have been.

Well, we lucked out and didn’t get any rain today, although it was still a bit chilly outside. Kiddo got out and was using the sidewalk chalks to desecrate our patio, and finally figured out how to get started on climbing the big apple tree in the backyard. I’m not aware of any kid, boy or girl, who doesn’t like climbing trees. After being warned not to climb too high, and be careful of the moss growing on the tree, he was great.

He had his weekly visit with his bio-mom today, and seemed to enjoy it, but it’s sometimes hard to tell with him. Being so young, his memory is still somewhat unreliable, and he tries to fit what he wishes had happened into what actually did happen. For instance, he ‘has a sister who is so small you can’t see or hear her’. I’m really not sure if that is something I need to report to his social worker or not.  But maybe that’s because hubby and I have recently gotten into the series ‘Once Upon A Time’ and going through the older episodes to get caught up.

He was glad to get home, though I don’t know if it’s appropriate to use the word ‘home’ just yet. I keep getting the feeling that hubby and I are being gently herded into something. I’m not complaining, mind you, but I really don’t like being manipulated. Anyone who knows me well will tell you that. If it does get to that point, I would be proud to call him my son.

So, after the visit, time outside drawing on the patio, climbing the tree, and terrorizing (well, intimidating) the puppy, we started watching Shrek. He LOVED it, but started falling asleep about half-way through it. Quick bath, teeth-brushing and bedtime story later, he wanted to play with the stuffed animals in his room.

We wound up having a mini-pillow fight, only with stuffed animals. I managed to get the stuffed cat that looks like Shirley’s Boo-Boo Kitty from the old show ‘Laverne and Shirley’. I had to hold onto it by the head so that the plastic rotating-ish eyes didn’t hurt him. I eventually won, since he had all the other animals on his side. He laughed a lot, but he laughed even more when the tickle monster came.

In all honesty, I wasn’t sure if I wanted or was even ready to be a parent. This last month has shown me that I am. For so many years, I’ve been the eccentric uncle to my nieces and nephews. There is a certain satisfaction in knowing that I could just as easily have been their eccentric father.

Foster #3 Update

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I’m trying to be intentionally vague in these posts, not only to protect the other parties involved, but because I don’t know what is legally permissible to share.  Hubby is the lawyer, so I defer to his wisdom.

So the emergency respite originally expected to be 3 or 4 days has been extended a week, possibly longer.  Current foster parents stopped by to drop off some more clothes and some of his favorite toys and books.  We had a chance to have some coffee with them this morning and get to know each other better.  Foster Mom (FM) had an episode similar to a couple that I had last year, and the social worker  (SW) wants a letter from her doctor clearing the resumption of fostering.  FM and FD are nearing retirement age, and FM intimated to me during our telecon last Tuesday that this is probably the last fostering they will do.

So, little Nemo seems to be settling in nicely.  We’re trying to keep to his routine, and it’s working out so far.  The biggest inconvenience is that the daycare doing his Head Start program is about a 45 minute drive from our house.  He has fun and friends there, and he’s learning all kinds of new things.  

Since hubby is an attorney in the foster field, he knows the SW involved.  Scuttlebutt has it that this might even turn into a permanent placement situation (aka adoption).  We’re amenable, and I kind of got the feeling that the visit from FM and FD this morning was also a chance for them to check us out.  I’m pretty sure we passed.

We’re still slowly updating the kids room, and went to a sort of flea market put on every few months for people in the Foster Care system.  Some great deals there, and we’ll be going back tomorrow for the last day.  One of the workers there told us that except for the retail items, everything gets discounted 50%.

More later.

Foster Care experience #3

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     Another emergency respite today.  Regular foster mom had to go to the hospital for some reason, and the family needs someone to take care for a few days.  Since I’ve been using pseudonyms for the previous foster kids, I’m going to christen this one Nemo.  He’s four years old, and seems to be very well adjusted to his current circumstances.  He likes Spiderman, Sponge Bob (but I’ve already used ‘Bob’), Paw Patrol, and basically anything Nick Jr. or Disney Jr.  I don’t know yet if he’s a ‘Finding Nemo’ or a ‘Little Nemo In Slumberland’ or a Captain Nemo worthy of ‘20,000 Leagues Under The Sea’.

It’s only been a few hours, but it looks very promising.  Once hubby got home from work, he’s engage the young man more than I’ve had a chance to.  Kid seems to be very smart and advanced for his age (four years old).  He already knows what a parallelogram is!!  WOW!

It’s going to be a very interesting few days.

Second Fostering Experience

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[NOTE:  I originally started with the intention of writing at least once a day.  That went straight out the window, since I began writing this post on Tuesday, April 8, 2014.]

So, we dipped our toes into the waters of foster parenting last week, and hosted a 5-year old boy (that I called ‘Bob’) with a couple of developmental issues.  He was a very sweet and endearing child, but easily bored.  It was a challenge finding activities that satisfied the various needs we saw in him.  Overall, it was definitely a learning experience, and if his current foster parents need another respite, we’d be happy to have him back for a few days.  

The day after that respite ended, we got several emails asking us to consider taking in a couple of different families.  One Social Worker (hereafter referred to as SW) wanted us to take over care of a 2-year old boy in what might have become a permanent placement, but a relative stepped in.  A different SW asked us to take on a couple of brothers (5 and 6) for a permanent placement, but there was a conflict of interest because hubby is representing one of the parents.

Then we got the call for another emergency respite.  One of our foster moms had a family member pass away and needed someone to watch two sisters while she attended the funeral back East.  Hubby wasn’t sure about hosting girls, but I had no problem with it, since I helped my mother basically raise my two younger sisters.  If I need to differentiate between the two girls we are hosting for the next week, I will refer to them as ‘Beezus’ and ‘Ramona’.  If you need me to explain who THEY are, then you probably need a remedial childhood.  😉

I guess they must have really been hurting for respite care.  (more after the jump) continue reading…

Foster-Parents ‘R’ Us

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I am actually a little bit shocked that it’s been four (4!!!!) years since I last updated this blog, but it is definitely time to start again.

Hubby and I have been going through the foster-care/adoption system in our state.  We finally got our license a week or two ago, and hosted our first ‘respite’ for a fellow foster-parent.  A ‘respite’ is basically a babysitting gig, of varying lengths, to give the other foster parent(s) a chance to relax, regroup, refresh, and catch their breath for a little while.  Because of licensing and other laws, the only people who are allowed to give ‘respite’ care are those who’ve been approved in the system.

We hosted a 5-year old boy, and since I’m not sure if we can share even first names per state law, I’m going to call him “Bob”.

Four days with Bob later, I was so very sorry to see him go.  He was very sweet, very engaging, curious about everything, and a joy to be around, even if he was exhausting at times.  It is a shame that he wound up in foster care to begin with, and I wonder what was up with his parents.

I am not one to disparage parenting because I know how hard it is–I was the oldest child and basically helped raise my younger siblings.  And if I ever said anything negative to my mom, sisters, aunts, etc. that made them think I didn’t appreciate how hard it is to raise children, I offer my most sincere and humble apologies.

Now, hubby has a friend who is also a foster parent, and is moving over-seas with her family.  She wants us to take in her foster kid, a two-year old boy, since he can’t go with them.  So it seems like this would be a more permanent situation.  I’m not quite sure how I feel about that, though.  As of later this year, both of us will have passed the 50-year mark.  I’ve always wanted to be a father, and thought I would probably be a very good one.

So, part of me is all for taking this next step, and part of me wants to take a step back, and a deep breath, before going too much farther.  Comments?

Website Revamp

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Just a quick note to let you know that I’m in the middle of upgrading our website and incorporating some of the other things we’ve been working on.  If you check out the main page, you’ll see that I’ve added a section for Jeffrey’s law practice and his photography.  We’re going to switch the theme over from “menopoly”, but we’re not sure what to, yet.  Ideas??

More updates coming as I get things switched over.