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Friday, January 4, 2013

MS in Our Lives

So MS has been with us for a little while and although we are happy to have him, it has been a little more than 3 weeks and we have learned a lot and are a little wore out.

From doctor visits, court dates, time off school, due to being suspended, (he was in a fight that another student started but MS faught back to 'defend' himself), the holiday break and lastly - minor surgery for his broken nose (due to the fight) we are a little frazeled from our experience.

What we didn't know:
Who will take our kids for their 5 day screening?
Who will take them for their 30 day physical?
What do we do when we can't find someone to be with him at home?
How quickly can background checks be done?
Is he allowed to spend time alone?
Can he talk to his mom on the phone?
Can he go to grandma's house for Xmas?
How do visits with Mom and sisters work?
Where do we go for his Behavior Therapist?
How does permission work for minor surgery?
What do I do when I can't sign for finanacial responsibility?

What we know now:
Not all Case Workers(CW) know the correct answer the first time. We went to the Children's Urgent Care that they told us to go to and were informed that it was not permited. So after 20 phone calls to other doctor offices, our CW told us to document our efforts. She then called later to tell us to go to a particular office, who worked with us to get him in, which they did but only after much stress. This doctor's office also worked with us to get his physical prior to his surgery. Thank goodness.

We were told to look into latch key kid programs at the schools so that we can have someone with him at all times. I was also suggested to contact local colleges and senior citizen centers to find someone willing to be with him at our home for a few extra bucks, since clearly he is too old for day care. Between our family and friends, we worked it out for someone to be with him at all times. We were lucky but we hope to be better prepared in the future. My dad and Matt's mother will be sort of free most of the time, as long as there is some notice. My dad is the kind of guy who will tote them around with him while he works on the houses and goes to auctions. My mother-in-law will likely bake with them, as she did with MS. This worked out because he got to take fudge with him to his families' Xmas party.

My CW will run background checks fairly quickly if needed. Filling out a form is better.

Depends on the CW if the child can be left alone. Some older children can be or they can work up to it. Depends on why they were removed.

MS can talk to his mom, dad and sisters on the phone. The ICCA and the CW will let you know if there is special rules related to contact via phone, online and by letter. Most of this depends on why they were removed.

In this case we were allowed. Not every case is this amicable. In some cases they don't know of any other family besides the parents and usually they have supervised visits.
Visitation is usually at a specific building, sometimes at Child Services, sometimes at a different building altogether. For Butler County Ohio, it is the Family Connections building, which is further into the city. It isn't too hard to get to but just a bit farther away.

We thought we had this one taken care of but Matt actually went to the one for adults who have drug problems. The one for minor's was part of the Hamilton Satalite school of Miami. They got there, a bit late, but they found the right theripist. But we were unaware that these meetings were supposed to be with Mom. So they spoke for a bit and the therapist offered to be there for whenever MS needed it but said that they were not necessary unless his Mom was present.

All of the permission is obtained by the CW. But making sure she has all the information is very important.

As for financial resposibility, I will say this: DO NOT SIGN. Even my own CW told us if we couldn't get his screening in, that we should NEVER go to a local Urgent Care and pay for it ourselves. NOT because of the money but because our names get attached to his personal health file and the county then has to fight to have it removed. It is better to not do it and document why, then pay for it out of pocket. If the physical that is required within a month is just outside of it specify why and when it was actually done. DO NOT go somewhere that we have to pay for out of pocket. EVER.
ALSO DO NOT SIGN FOR LIABILITY. There is a form in the file you receive from the CW that will give permission to have the child treated. You CAN sign for your address and phone number info and rules and basic perscriptions. But NOT for anything else. It is always better to refuse to sign than to sign and learn that you are liable later when you shouldn't be.

I have more that I have learned that I am not allowed to talk about due to privacy issues for the child. But it amazes me just how much you can learn about a child in such a short time. I do hope for the best when it comes to placing him with his aunt. But unfortunately for him, it may be a longer wait than he had intended.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Oganized Revolution Challenge - Office

So I am partaking in the Organized Revolution Challenge that is on

Here are my after pictures for my office desk challenge.

I really enjoyed this task. I look forward to seeing others pictures, as well as future weeks in this challenge.

This is the wall that I put up the cork board and wall mounted file dividers, for which all 3 are labeled but just a bit too small to see in this pic. I also have the manilla folders inside that are also labeled. I hung up my new calendar for 2013 this week and since it is a family picture calendar, that was really fun to do.
The other thing that I got was the spinning office organizer, which works wonders for me, since I can see what is inside of each container and each container is labeled, this makes it easy, accessible and organized.

This is my desk, which prior to the challenge, I haven't seen in a while. I love how it looks now. I am looking forward to keeping it clean.

I even labeled my trays so that I will be less inclined to put stuff in one without thinking. The paper is even labeled: scrap paper and good paper.

 Even though this picture is a bit hard to see clearly, this is the spinning organizer that I found that is great for office supplies.

I also recently purchased this binder organizer. It works for me because I use a lot of binders to keep things organized. The Black binder is my Organize Challenge Binder, with different tips on organizing different spaces in my home. The Blue binder is the script and other documents for Princeton Schools play that I am working with. The Red binder is all of the Foster care information. The note book and black portfolio is for a convention that I am working in 2 weeks.

Happy Organizing All!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

New to the Family

We have a new Family member!!!

As of Monday evening, Matt and I have a new foster child. I will refer to him as MS and he is 13.
(I will not list his name here since he is still a minor and clearly in foster care.)

We are happy to have MS as part of our family. We look forward to learning more about him and spending time with him.

It looks like he will be with us for Xmas and we are working on getting a list from him for what he would like to have.

I look forward to potentially throwing him a Birthday Party come Februrary and having all of his friends come over to have a good time.

He hopes to be back with his Aunt Michelle soon, as she is aiming to obtain custody of him. I hope that it works out but from listening to other foster parents at training, those sort of things take quite of bit of time.

Hopefully, it will be sooner than later and if he does get to be with her come Feburary, then all the better that he is with Family agian.

I will not be posting anything personal about him, persay. However, any fun events that we partake or stuff related to school and family activities will definately be talked about.

Looking for some additional help for after school hours and while he is in transition between schools. Hoping that we can make it work.

Talk to you soon!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Family Room Sections

So here is more of my work on the OHC.

As I mentioned before, sometimes a project in one room will lead to changes in others. So here is what happened while working on Week 21/29/33.

I was making a floor plan for my vision of the perfect home. Now this didn't specify exactly where everything went but it did help create a layout for the big furniture items. I was working on my Family Room desgin. I have a lot of items I wanted in this room and there was only one way to do it. Segragating with furniture and the like to make zones for different stations in the room. So after doing that I now have 5 specific spaces in our lower level, not including the open space that is to be used for different functions.

First is a place for Sewing and Craft Items location. I have a table workspace that fits nicely in the corner, next to my laundry room door(which needs to be cleaned off as it is piled with fabric and a couple sewing projects). Most of my additional sewing supplies are in the lower cabinet space in the laundry room (which needs to be organized but I will leave that to the Laundry Room week when it come us). The location makes it easy to transition between the rooms. My sewing maching is on a table and is easily movable to the open space in room if I need to work on larger project. All of my basic supplies are in the table space under my sewing machine or in a organizer within arms reach. I have trash can specifically for fabric, that way it doesn't have to be emptied all the time since it will not smell. I also have additional lighting on the ceiling that is directed right at my sewing area making it easy to see and work.
This space is also used to store my Larping supplies and costume peices since most of those items were either made or modified by me. It works well with our other costumes for conventions that all hang in the laundry room on a closet bar that was installed just for that purpose. (I will get to that room later as mentioned above)

Second is our mini Library space. This one really changed the look of our lower level. We always felt that our bookcases should be up against the wall. However, when we realized we didn't have to do that, we moved our loveseat closer to the fireplace, which is where we wanted it to be, it made it easy to decide to place the bookcases back up against it. Then we will be moving a couple other bookcases from one of our spare rooms downstairs and rearraged the books so that they were easier for my huband to access and vuala. A Mini Library. It will be more of an isle of 4 bookcases, with 2 on either side, but it works.

Third is our Fireplace Cozi. I really don't know what else to call it. It is a loveseat, a carpet runner and our fireplace with all of its supplies, which include the tools, the wood and its carrier, as well as candles, scrap wax and scrap paper to start a fire. I would also include the mantle space above the fireplace that runs the entire lenght of the brickwork surrounding the fireplace. The brickwork is fairly substaintial considering how small the fireplace is, but it looks and feels great. The only space that needs some organizing or maybe just made to look organized is the scrap paper. The candles look appropriate, while the paper is in a couple of boxes stacked on top of each other. They are not too out of place but as this room has come together, this has become more obvious that it doesn't quite belong.

Fourth is Matt's Office. Really it isn't an office but his computer and his desk where he plays games. So more like his game space. But since there is a fileing cabinet right next to this area, it felt more appropriate to call it an office. He likes it. It is right next to his books in the mini library.

Lastly is the Excersize & Entertainment space. Right between our laundry room and bathroom is a wall space that fits Matt's armour perfectly. We have since put the TV on top of it and are working to place the electronics inside of it: DVD, VHS & PS2. This is great since we have a hard base DDR board to play and excersize on. It slides right behind the armour when not in use and stays put on our open wood floor space when we use it. We also have 2 guitars for Rock Band that also fit under the armour perfectly. We don't currently own a drum set for Rock Band but I would find a way to make it fit around this space. A couple of the drawers will be for PS2 games. The rest of the space is currently unoccupied, which is weird to have unused space. I suspect that sewing and crafts may use it for stoage or I will put the extra cables and cords we have in them, but we will see how it works out. Then there is a gazell (excersize machine) folded up in the laundry room that can easily slide out and be placed in our open space for use and then put back away.

Each Space is important and we try to remember to keep them clean and organized so that they don't bleed into each other too much, regardless how big or small the space is. But it is hard when I work on a sewing project that I can't finish in a day to convince myself to put everything away just so that I can pull it all back out the next day. However, I keep reminding myself that I may not be able to get back to it again until 3 days later or even a week late and that I need the space for other things. It also makes it better for me when we have unexpected guests because there is nothing to clean up and put away or apoligize for.

Putting everything away for a long term project is a concept that is a bit foreign to me since my parents were the sort of people to leave a project as it was to come back to without having to spend the time to re-arrange everything that was needed to work on it. However, it will be advantageous to make this my personal goal to keep putting this away until it is habit. Then I won't have to think about it, I will just do it.

 I look forward to seeing how it will all come together in the near future, hopefully before the new year.


Organizing Home Challenge

I found a site that I am totally obsessed over:

Taylor is an amazong organizer. She has both a Organized Home Challenge(OHC) that is 52 weeks long so that you can organize your home over the course of a year, working a little bit at a time at different areas. Then she recently added the Declutter Your Home in 15min a Day for the whole year. The calendars she has are quite handy and work in tandum with the OHC that she has previously done.

I was amazed at the number of sites and information out there.

So here are some of my favorites:

I can't seem to get enough of the free printables or the ideas of how to organize something. It almost got out of hand. However, I learned to put it all in a binder, seperate from my Family Binder. Then I can refer to it whenever I need to.

Currently, working in the order that she suggested is not a bad idea however, sometimes I start a project and it grows into other locations that are not the following weeks task. For example, I was working on my Family Room, which in my house is different than my Living Room in my bi-level home.

This means jumping to a different week and figuring out how to get though the project and make sure that it gets finished verses being left undone. But I find that working on what I really want to work on is better than working on something that I haven't thought about before. If my motivation drives me in a particular direction, I intend to follow it.

I will post more about this in the days to come.

Friday, November 30, 2012


Welcome to the Holiday Season.

Wait???. What!! You mean you haven't noticed since October how the greenery has been creeping his way into the seasonal sections at your local stores.

Guess what? It is here.

So why do we call it the "Holiday Season?" Isn't that just a nice way of saying "Welcome to Winter," which unlike the Holidays, we are not looking forward to. Welll, maybe the kids are.

For many, the Holidays are a good thing. Time with family and friends. Time to be thankful for what we have and eager to give to those we care about and even those who are less fortunate.

But for me, that isn't quite the case.

For me this is a time of the year where I hope that there is overtime at work so that I can afford to pay for Christmas presents for the dozen or so people that are in my family, based on how we prefer to do Christmas.

Most people don't know this but finances are tight. Very tight.

I look for sales and for cheap gifts without being too cheap, just so that it doesn't cause me more stress.

My husband has just started to learn how stressful it is for me to budget our household income. That is why he is taking over starting Jan 1. Which I am very thankful for. I get very disheartened when he asks to buy coffee once a week and I have to tell him no. Now he will understand better.

But then I hear the stories of co-workers and some of their associates. Without getting into specifics, I learned that despite how hard they try, between having children and some with no children, that they don't have money, after all of their bills, for anything more than gas for their car and simple and cheap groceries. And what I mean by that is a pack of hot dogs and buns for lunch for a week. Or a bag of salad for dinner for a week.

I never had to eat like that when I was little and I can't imagine doing so now.

I complain to Matt about getting a full time job, because it would give us some more buffer room and we could pay down some of our loans faster. If only wishing made it so.

Then I put myself in someone else's shoes. Then I realize that with Matt's part time check that he basically pays the bill for the groceries so that we don't have to eat hot dogs and salad all the time. Then I am more greatful than I can image.

It is a sad thing to imagine. But I am happy with where I am at right now that makes my like enjoyable for me. I can only hope that it just gets better from here.

Thank you to all my friends and family for being there for us and spending time with us when nothing else was in our budget to do. We really enjoy it and appreciate your time with us.

 Happy Holidays all!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New Directions

I have decided to take this blog in a different direction.

Originally I was creating multiple blog pages for different topics. Now I am choosing to combined a couple of them all here. There will still be one or two that are seperate due to the specifics of the material and the audience that I am targetting. They will be forth coming if and when I can keep up with just this one.

This page will be for my ramblings and experiences from daily, weekly or even monthly, depending on my mood. I hope to post at least weekly. My motivation has been off and on recently. Also I find that spending too much time here takes away from all of the other tasks that I want and need to do.

I hope to post these on face book eventually but to start I will test my ability to stick with this. However, I need somewhere to share my success and failures so that I can stay motivated. What better way to do that than to make it public knowledge to my friends on facebook.

Thanks for reading!