Yes, Very Different

A week ago, we officially became licensed foster parents.  Since then we have gotten 4 calls about placements.  For one reason or another, those placements didn’t work out, so we still don’t have any children in our care.  However, we are averaging a call every other day at this point.  Compare that to Illinois where weeks could go by without a call.

One big difference is the fact that we live in a highly populated area.  Yet another contributing factor is that there is truly a shortage of foster homes.  As such, we will likely continue to receive calls every 1-2 days until the right placement comes available.

While we are excited about adding a couple of children to our home, it is also very sad.  We are thrilled to once again have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the life of children, but this is only occurring due to the fact that these children can’t stay with their biological families.

Image result for Sad face

May is National Foster Care month.  If you’ve considered foster care as a possibility for your family, I encourage you to quit thinking about it and take some action.  Contact a local agency and attend an informational meeting.  Gather information from other foster parents.

Image result for foster care

If you don’t feel like full-time foster care is right for you and your family, what about getting licensed to provide respite care.  For a number of reasons, foster families need respite from time-to-time.  Even one weekend a month could significantly help out a foster family who is in need of a little break.

Sometimes, foster families are going on vacation and the courts will not allow them to take their foster child(ren) with them.  Would you be willing to help out a foster family by caring for their foster child(ren) during their vacation?

How about volunteering to help out a local agency by providing babysitting services for a day while foster parents sit in their required training classes.

If you know of a foster family in your neighborhood, you could offer to take the necessary training to give those foster parents a few hours of babysitting service so they could go out to dinner one evening.

Foster children need homes, but they also need loving, caring people in their lives.

Thanks for considering ways you can help.

Image result for Thanks

 

 

Fun Times

We have now lived in Texas for 16 months.  Living in an RV park was a temporary living situation and we knew that.  As a result, I didn’t put a tremendous amount of effort into making any friends.

Then we moved to our new home.  We’ve now been here almost 11 months.  I’ve had the privilege of being part of a local homeschool group and getting to know many of the other moms (and some dads) in the group.  Our group has been meeting weekly for quite some time.  Our children have established some good friendships and the parents in the group have established friendships as well.

I’m guilty of not taking many breaks from my kids and as a homeschool mom who spends 24/7 with her kids, those breaks really are a necessity.  My kids also need a break from me every once in awhile.  So recently I suggested that the moms in our homeschool group plan an evening out.  Many liked the idea and a few of us attended our first Mom’s Night Out.

We met for dinner and drinks, then walked to Painting With a Twist to create our masterpieces.

Here’s mine.

20170428_213825[3293]

An evening without our kids allowed us the opportunity to learn more about each other and we all left with better friendships.  We also agreed that we needed to have a monthly Mom’s Night Out.  That makes our evening out, a huge success.

Double-Digits

She was five months old the first time we held her.

IMG_0724

It broke my heart to leave Guatemala after that visit, so hubby sent me back for a second visit when she was 8 month old.

Picture_222

Two months later we returned to bring our beautiful little girl home.

2008 - What a Year!!!!

We watched her grow.

FFF Early

We’ve watched her change.DSC_0394

She became a big sister.

Meeting Naomi

She discovered hidden talents.

DSC_0998

She tried new things.

DSC_0915

And went on new adventures.

20170425_111411dsc_0072DSC_0383DSC_0248WP_20150720_10_24_50_ProDSC_1719

My water-loving girl

Is now 10!!! Double-digits!!!!


There are not enough adjectives in the world to describe this beautiful young lady who has changed our lives in more ways than we ever imagined.

Happy Birthday Liliana!!!!

Daddy and I love to more than words can express.

Education Thru Travel

Pretty much everything we do provides a learning opportunity for the girls.  So when we plan travel, we like to make sure it’s something we will all enjoy.

In the past, we have made our travel plans and then simply looked forward to what was in store.  This time I’ve decided to change it up a bit and will have the girls work on some projects leading up to travel time.

For those who have been following my blog since the beginning of the year, you are aware that one of our favorite ways to travel is by boat.  To be exact, by cruise ship.

During our cruise in February, we booked two more cruises.  Since then, hubby and I have spent quite a bit of time discussing our plans and decided to change them completely.

No, this doesn’t mean we’ve cancelled the cruises.  That would be crazy!!!!!

We simply changed the cruises.

Both cruises will be to the Caribbean, which is my favorite winter destination.

This winter we will be traveling again on Allure of the Seas.

DSCF0037

This time though we’ll be heading to Haiti, Jamaica and Mexico.

The following winter we will be on Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Symphony of the Seas.

Image result for symphony of the seas

She is so new in fact, that she is still being built and won’t sail until Spring, 2018.  Cruises will begin in Mediterranean before she sails to the U.S. in October, 2018.

On Symphony we’ll visit St. Kitts, St. Thomas and the Bahamas.

So what kinds of things can the girls be learning between now and our cruises?

  1.  How cruise ships are built?
  2.  History and facts on each of the islands we will be visiting.
  3.  Caribbean sea life.
  4.  Caribbean geography.

The possibilities are endless.

 

 

Homeschooling Made Easier

When hubby and I discussed the possibility that we might be moving out of Illinois to Texas, one of the first things I did was research homeschooling.  Illinois was (and still is) a very homeschool friendly state.  The last thing I wanted to do was move to a state that would be problematic for our homeschool family.

Fortunately, Texas is also a homeschool friendly state, but I’ve discovered that homeschooling is made easier living in Texas (specifically the DFW area).

The number of options for homeschoolers is almost overwhelming.  There are co-ops, groups, classes, field trips, etc. specifically for homeschoolers.

The girls and I recently took advantage of a class/field trip opportunity at Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center.    I recently learned about the center from another FB homeschool group and discovered they host a monthly homeschool day.  The cost is quite reasonable and it was only a 40 minute drive (would have been shorter without traffic).

In the morning, they taught the kids about adaptation, most specifically bird adaptation.

The kids were asked to identify bird feet and discuss why they might be shaped the way they are.

They were then presented with some bird wings and asked to identify the wings.  They discussed the shape and span of the wings and how the birds adapt to the environment they live in.

20170425_102241

We also examined a couple of bird nests before moving on to meet two turtles – one a land turtle and the other a water turtle.  Again, we examined their feet and their bodies to learn more about how they have adapted to their environments.

Following the class on adaptation, the kids participated in a craft project, each creating their own bird to take home.

Then we were off on a hike to learn more.

20170425_111411

Along the way we met a new friend.

20170425_111736

We just stayed out of his way and he stayed out of ours.  Overall, a friendly meeting.

Along the way, we stopped and learned about some of the fungi growing on the downed trees.  We saw, what looked like a fox den.  Our hike also included a scavenger hunt for things like butterflies, snails, tree limbs shaped like the letter Y, pink or purple flowers, etc.

We hiked about a 1/2 mile up the canyon and this was our view.

Then we headed back down the canyon to have lunch.

The afternoon class was how to identify trees using a Dichotomous Key.  We broke up into small teams to identify marked trees around the center.

20170425_132220

Like I said, Dogwood Canyon is just one of many homeschool opportunities around the DFW area.  Several libraries host different homeschool programs.  Local museums offer homeschool classes.  Some local amusement parks also offer homeschool specific events.  For a matter-of-fact, the girls and I plan to participate in a couple different ones next month.

Six Flags over Texas has a Homeschool Day coming up which includes a Math, Physics and/or Texas History workbooks.

Heritage Farmstead Museum has an upcoming Homeschool Day.

Making a major move can certainly be challenging, so I feel fortunate that we moved to an area which provides so many more homeschool opportunities than we had before.