Monthly Archives: November 2008

Thanks Done, Now The Giving

Where are you giving this year?  The girls and I have chosen a very special organization to empty our “Give” jar for.  Here’s a little about them.  We are making a rather small donation this year, but hope that with employment next year, we can sponsor a child.  Please peruse the SOS Children’s Villages-USA Blog or visit one of the links below.

 

SOS Children’s Villages    

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We build families for children in need.                                                 
We help them shape their own futures. 
We share in the development of their communities. 

I cannot say enough about this wonderful organization and in all honesty cannot even remember how I found them.  SOS creates family centered villages for orphaned children in 132 countries and territories.

 

 

I could write about them forever, but I’ll just give you a few snippets and links and if interested you can explore them further.  

SOS Children’s Villages offers a new home for children who cannot grow up in their biological family or who are either unlikely or unable to return to their families. The SOS Children’s Village model is now in place in over 130 countries. This form of care is providing a family-based environment for the children. 

Their care model is based on four elements: 

The Mother/Parent

The SOS mother is the emotional reference point for the children. She lives with the children that have been placed in her care (an average of five to seven children) as a family member. She shapes the family’s daily life with the children and forms reliable and stable relationships with them. People who decide to live with the children receive intensive specialist training. The SOS mothers are supported in their work, which entails many responsibilities, by education specialists and family assistants, as well as other women who are still training to become SOS mothers. More than 5,000 women across the world work in this profession. In some countries it is also possible for SOS couples or fathers to care for an SOS family.

Brothers And Sisters 

Boys and girls of different ages grow up together as siblings in SOS families. Biological siblings are not separated when they come to the village, which means that larger groups of siblings can also stay together. Children up to the age of ten are taken into the village, but an exception is made if some members of a group of siblings are over the age of ten.

The House

Each SOS family lives in its own house, which the family can organise and fit out according to needs and as they wish. There are now also SOS Children’s Villages that are located within housing areas in the city, such as in Austria, Germany, France, Morocco and the USA. 

The Village

Each SOS Children’s Village consists of an average of ten to 15 family houses. Many villages also include a kindergarten that is also open to children from the surrounding communities. SOS Children’s Villages are open spaces. We place a strong emphasis on the integration of the children into their surrounding environment, as well as on their exchange and contact with neighbouring communities. Family strengthening programmes and other social services for families and children in need are an integral part of the activities of SOS Children’s Villages in many locations. 

 

For more information visit the SOS Children’s Villages website, visit the blogs organized by the village leaders in Uganda, Growing Family Trees,  and in Kenya, Sowing Seeds For The Future, be warmed by the Story of the Week,  or touched by the Gallery of the Month.

 

 

 


 


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Wordless Wednesday: Last Custom Orders Until After The Holidays

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I Just Don’t Understand.

My husband and I officially separated on May 14, 2008.  Meaning this is the last time he was in our home overnight.  He had moved out but spent the night so that we could drive together to Em’s field day, so I didn’t have to drive to the next town to pick him up as he had no license.  He slept on the couch, but that was nothing new because one or the other of us had been sleeping on the couch for two years.

In June, I officially handed over the $3,000 check, one of more to come, to my lawyer to start separation and divorce proceedings, see where I live,  you must be separated for one year before you can request a divorce.

July and August were a HELLISH nightmare of name calling, screaming, false accusations, crying children, isolation, anger, fear.  Lies were continued to be told and promises broken.  A lot of pacing happened on my mother’s front porch where I had moved because I was too scared to stay in the our family home after a violent threat was made.  A lot of crying happened on that porch.  A lot of sitting with my parents at the age of 36 after being married for eleven years. A lot of hand holding and moments curled up in my mother’s lap.  A lot of nights with the kids in bed and my mother and I staying up until midnight trying to make sense of it all.

September came, school started, the little one was picked up with no notification and did not get off the bus, the school said her father signed her out for an appointment.  A LOT of angry words were spoken, rules and agreements were spoken about, truces were made, schedules worked out again and again only to be broken.  Kids were taken to his home and he was not there, calls to his cell went unanswered.  The man who fought me so hard and ruined our lives that summer, now seemed to have other priorities besides his children.

October, we received a date for our custody and child support hearing, (child support what is that?), January 27, 2009.  Seems that, the court feels, is an appropriate time to talk about custody and financial support of our children.

Letter arrives from his attorney requesting information for the hearing.  This is to determine who should get sole custody or if we will maintain joint custody.  I kid you not that these are some of the questions I have to explain, there are 30 in total:

         “If you consider yourself a fit and proper person to have sole custody of your child, expain fully your definition of a fit custodial parent and indicate all characteristics which you possess and which you feel would satisfy this definition to have sole custody of your child, specifically indicating facts to support your contention, citing assertions and stating names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all persons having personal knowledge of any facts relevant to  your assertion”.

     “State the efforts you have made in the past two years to enhance the minor child’s educational/religous progress, including but not limited to the following: conferences wiith teachers or counselor, how often you have taken him or her to church, zoos, museums, books you have read to  him or her, hours per week spent with the minor child”.  (Ummm, thousand of books, trips and hours).

     “Itemize completely all expenditures made by you for your child on his or her behalf during the past four years, attach legible copies of all receipts, cancelled bills and checks or other evidence of such expenditures”. (ARE YOU KIDDING ME?)  

So it’s done, my little autobiography. It’s midnight and I go to the lawyer to review it as it is due December 4th.  I wish that maybe I could have just carried a video camera around with me.  Then the judge could have seen us snuggling in bed like mama hen and chicks in the morning, our weekend breakfasts, the mad dash to school, the homework, the dinner, the board games, the bedtime stories, the middle of the night aches and pains, the explanations of why daddy hasn’t called, the time spent coloring, crafting, playing with the dog, the beautiful new home courtesy of my grandparents, the way the girls run next door to visit with them each day, my car which I actually  have and is registered and licensed. The food I buy them, the clothes I buy them, the  movies I rent them, the parent visitation days at school, the lunch to celebrate two amazing report cards, the frustration, the exaustion, the bitterness of being the one to pick up the pieces, but to still smile for the girls and tell them “Daddy wants to see you, but he has some things going on right now”.

Can the judge get that from this document?  I don’t understand.

I just want to be a good mother to these girls.  I just want them to grow up healthy and happy and not too scarred by all this.  I want them to know their mother was strong enough to leave an already broken home and stand on her own two feet.  I want them to not have to know how hard I fought for them.  I don’t want them to ever, ever know how horrible it was to keep them safe and secure and how hard it was to spend days explaining to someone in a Word document what she does everyday to justify she is a “fit” parent.

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Dear Judge,

I just want to raise these beautiful babies of mine.  Like I intended when they were first born and laid upon my breast.  The whispered promise that first night that I would ALWAYS, ALWAYS, love them and keep them safe in this great big, scary world…nomatterwhatittakes.

 I can do this, I will do this, I am doing this because they are so beyond worth every minute, every dollar, every sacrifice.

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Weekend Update & Monday Mraz to Get You Moving

What a weekend.  It blew through like a blistery arctic chill.  Oh and speaking of arctic chills.  It snowed this weekend.  Now, you must understand that:

 1. Here in my little part of Maryland, we are lucky if we see snow at Christmas, it usually comes around February and March.

2. My girls go absolutely banana cakes over those beautiful clumpy flakes raining down.  So they were in their primal happy place Saturday.

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Sunday morning brought us a church visit.  Okay, a CHURCH visit.  Let me say again CHURCH VISIT.  Now, if you were to ask me what one of the top three things in this world that gets me on a rant and my teeth gnashing, you would be correct in saying. R-E-L-I-G-I-O-N.  I spent my formative years in the Episcopal church of which I can say nary a bad word.  It was a wonderful place to grow up in and any faith that allows women and gay leaders is A-OK in my book.  My issue is that I have this firm belief that there are as they say “many paths up to the mountain to God”, and I have extreme difficulty with practices that discredit others beliefs.logo-sub-opaque2

Now, I also have a spiritual need right now to connect with others who believe in the same things I do.  You know the kind you can reach out and touch.  So, the girls and I woke up this morning and started the endlessly annoying habit of Sunday morning getting ready for church.  I have to tell  you I almost gave up because really I could have been lazing about eating breakfast and reading your blogs.  But we made it and drove about a half hour away to our nearest Unitarian church.  I’m not going to go into Unitarian Universalism right now, but it was lovely, and the girls thought it was worth it as shown by the fact that when we were driving home I asked them what their favorite part was, “they give you bagels and cream cheese like hostesses” and what they didn’t like “…silence…”.  So we will be going back next week.

After church we drove down to Ronny’s to visit the Christmas trees.  Ronny’s is a garden store, but around this time it becomes CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND.  A veritable giant explosion of Christmas.  Actually, have to say this year it bugged me a little but the girls loved wandering around the trees and the animated villages and the trains and the giant plastic nativity sets.

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But in midst of all of this, I have to say my favorite moment was Boo standing in the middle of it all breaking into Jason Mraz’s “i’m just a curbside prophet, got my hand in my pocket, waiting for my rocket to come”…..at least she didn’t sing the line from the live version that says “i’m a self-proclaimed bad motherf*&*&”. But, it is the better version, ’cause John Popper is on the harp in this version here, it will pick up  your Monday:

 

 

So now the girls are off to bed.  Since I didn’t get the sock, underwear and pyjama load of laundry done, Ems wore one of my shirts to bed.  Funny how it makes her seem so little and so big at the same time AND BooBoo, finally lost that front tooth that has been hanging around causing sooo much trouble lately. Now she can eat her Thanksgiving dinner pain free.  Notice they are still BOTH in my bed.

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So I must finish my autobiography that is due to my lawyer on Tuesday in anticipation of our upcoming custody hearing in January.  “Explain your children’s eating habits including snacks”, “explain your daily schedule”, how much time during the week do your children spend with others and list who they are” and my favorite, “how many events such as movies, zoo’s etc do you take your children to a year”?  I am paraphrasing but these are truly real questions, so tell me, do you think I am an unworthy parent if I don’t make the appropriate amount of movie and zoo visits?  Can we substitute The Nutcracker?  and the Christmas Wonderland?

 

Nighty night all.  Hope your Monday doesn’t suck.

 

 


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Sixth In The Sixth-Photo Memories

Catching up with my blog friends for the last week.  It’s been BUSY and found that Aly over at Lip Zip did this one and since I am SUCH a follower I did it too and ooh, am so happy with what it was.

The object of this little game go into your photo files, find your sixth picture folder, then the sixth picture and post it.

Here is mine:

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Em’s second Christmas at 21 months old.  She was just barely still an only child.  AND, those were some of my all time favorite pj’s.  Almost as cute as she was.

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And Suddenly Like That…

the whole world feels different.

 

I can’t explain it.  The darkness has been overwhelming this year and all of a sudden I feel positive again.

Everything around me just seems better.

Reading Terri Irwin’s book about her late husband Steve “The Crocodile Hunter” Irwin and suddenly I believe in true love again.  Even though it’s so tragic.

I’m talking to everyone.  Grocery checkers, the drive thru lady, random people in stores, the neighbor in the barn from across the yard, the horses and donkeys, the mailman, the geese flying  overhead.

I have a job interview and instead of thinking oh god, i have to go back to work, i thought, ooh, i bet no one there will say, mommy ……, mommy……, mommy……. and my house might stay a bit cleaner if I’m not there all day.

I want to purge all the crap out of the house, all that stuff we don’t need, will only use once in the next hundred years, not throwing away because I can reuse it someway, somehow, someday.

Want to go to a church service this weekend.  I have a…religion…thing.

Don’t feel like I need anything…at all…seriously, really satisfied with what I have.

Think that if I make a few “real-life friends”, hey that might be fun instead of a chore.

Think it might be OKAY to find a decent man one day, but in the meantime I can watch James McAvoy movies and go to dreamy dream land listening to Jason Mraz.

Got the urge to totally decorate boo’s sparse white room in gorgeous rainbow colors and a big banner that says “B-O-O-T-I-F-U-L.

Realized my estranged husband is struggling and though he is hurting us, he is lost and thankful that at least I have it TOGETHER.

Know that whatever I do and whoever I continue to become.  I will be okay.

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Wordless Wednesday-Poor Annabelle

 

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