Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Facing the Judge

Last week (on Nathaniel's last day of being 16), Nathan decided it was time to get his first speeding ticket. I handled the news quite well, as I informed Nathan that he would be paying the fine himself. However, since he was a minor, I had to appear before the judge with him today. I thanked my son for the chance to not miss an experience like this during my mothering days.

It was not that bad. The judge was fairly laid back. Nathan had the choice of paying a fairly big fine or opting for teen court. Since he has experience in the teen court system, this was an obvious choice and will appear before a jury of his peers to receive his punishment (community service hours) the first week in August.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Seventeen Years Today

Nathaniel: meaning- a gift from God

Nathaniel...maybe a couple months old

Seventeen years today, I was blessed to become a mommy to this wonderful baby. On this day, it never would have entered my mind that this little angel would be my one and only. To be a first born like both his father and mother. The first of all the cousins. The first boy out of six boy grandkids. This was Nathans time to shine. To inherit all of the attention. Complete and utter spoildness.

On this day and the days to come, I would have never imagined all the emotions that I would experience. The lessons of being a mother that would be learned. The memories that would become engraved somewhere in this head of mine.

Nathaniel...17 today

Oh how time flies....way to quick for me. My baby is a baby no more. Almost a man, who is ready to leave his nest and make a path of his own. I wish I could keep him close to me forever....but I am smart enough to know that our relationship one day will have to change. Tonight I can not think about that. It is a moment to enjoy and reflect.

I have grown just as he has. No longer a young mother, but one who has learned that mommyhood did not come with a how to manual. Mistakes have been made and forgiveness has been learned. Special memories to be remembered more than others. A fondness for Thomas the Tank Engine will forever make me reflect of the many hours we played on the floor. The way Nathan taught me to play Pokemon Cards. The time when he disappeared and was to be found at a park after following much older kids. All the lunches that he and I have shared over the years. The hours spent at swim meets. These are just a few of the times that I love to remember.

Nathaniel has brought me an unconditional love that I would have never been able to fathom. I am so thankful to Heavenly Father for this gift which I was given. I never would have fully understood how the meaning of his name would fit so well. A gift Nathaniel truly has and forever will be.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Son

It is officially the last moments of Nathaniel being a minor (per the state of Texas). My baby is no longer a baby. Tomorrow he turns 17. How time flies! Nate (as he likes to be called), has been a joy, a trial, an ongoing lesson, a miracle, the adjectives can go on. I love my son.

There are many things about Nathan that contribute to who he is. Some of these traits drive me absolutely batty. Others I just completely relish. Either way...they make up who he is...and for this moment I want to share just a little.
  • the music he listens to is great most of the time
  • he has always been smart and inquisitive
  • a gaming geek
  • he is a natural leader
  • completely loves his doggy
  • eats up historical facts like its nothing
  • adventure is in his blood and sometimes he actually knows it
  • he is a carnivore (hopefully one day he will try a fruit or veggie)
  • drives a way cool car
  • is a swimmer
  • loyal to his buddies
  • likes to have mom and son lunches
  • almost an Eagle Scout (even if his mom did have to push it)
  • pretty laid back
  • sometimes a loner
  • learned to bake a chocolate cake from scratch when he was around nine
  • hates trees and not a fan of the green movement
  • he will always have a soft spot for Pokemon and Mario Brothers
This is Nathaniel. My son. And I sure love him. Happy early birthday my love!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Dads Day Dads

There are a few dads that I would like to let know how glad I am that they are apart of my dad (Larry), my dad-in-law (Larry) and my husband. Pictures and a few select reasons why they are important to me:
My dad

* he is my dad
* he is very handy and helps with projects and duties that either I can not do or find very unappealing
* he helped my son build my deck that I oh so love
* he mows my yard in horrible Texas heat and humidity (and likes it)
* he lived with three daughters
* he is a fantastic grandpa to all the grand kids
* he has learned patience over his years
* I'm sure there are many more reasons why I love my dad

Steve and Nathaniel

* he helped me create our son
* he tries his best to be the best dad he can be
* he has many things in common with Nathaniel that I just do not get
* he helped detox and love our sweet Miranda and then comforted me when she was no longer with us
* he is a great uncle to all the kids

Larry (dad-in-law)

* he helped create my husband
* he loves me like his own daughter
* he is a great man to be able to say I know
* he has helped us out many times over the years
* he is an awesome grandpa
* he is very talented and is spending some of his golden years being an extra in films and commercials
* again, there are many more reasons that I could list...but the blog would never come to an end

Friday, June 18, 2010

Water Time

I had been waiting for the opportunity to be at the water park when Nathaniel was working. I could not wait to have the opportunity to snap a few photos. Today was that day...and was not as easy as I was hoping to get some good up close- in- action shots.

Scanning his part of the pool

watching over the wave pool with the waves in motion

walking past mom with his annoyed look

As I watched my son (and when we talk about his work days), I am often totally amazed at how he has grown up. No longer my little boy, but close to being a man. I see how he handles the responsibilities this summer job and am convinced that his parents must have done something right.

I once lifeguarded at a city pool...much smaller and easier to watch than this big, meandering and wavy place. My biggest worry was keeping kids from running, slipping on the pavement, and monitoring a diving board. Nathans...well...mass crowds, lots of tubes, people of all ages and sizes, slides, kiddie land...and sometimes, some really dumb people. Maybe, as I ask my son thousands of questions and enjoy watching him work, I am, just a little, living vicariously again through him (only at a much more intense level).

For the past three Fridays (and many more to come), I have spent many hours in an inner tube with Axel on my lap and my mom at my side. We have ventured in the utter coolness of water meandering through the lazy river. Conquering the sun beating down on us while floating in the wave pool. Helping Axel learn to get over his fear of the water slides and down pouring of water in certain areas. And relishing in the moments of lovely conversation while watching a little boy enjoy the simple pleasures of summer at a water park.

These are the days that I look forward to and help me get through long shifts at work and the occasional dark times that haunt me from time to time. For these are the moments I get to relish watching my son grow in this part of his life. I can forget that another child never came my way as I become completely exhausted with my Friday pal. I get to have some time in the sun and water which I have always loved. And on many of these days, I get to have the time with my mom (and dad sometimes too).

Friday, June 11, 2010

Mother encouraging abortion?

As if it was not enough that I was working my third night shift in a row...I was working with nurses who I have not worked with in years. Not that I have a problem with this...but it ended up being the conversation which I would first over hear, then partake in and the actions I would then witness. A bit more than my eyes and ears could bear.

The topic started off with my first overhearing my coworker tell another..".my teenage daughter is pregnant". Other worker..."oh, i am sorry. is she excited and going to keep the baby".

Coworker 1, "I am too young to be a grandma... I can't handle this. She needs to take care of this now". Worker 2, "wow, maybe you need to process this all first. What does your daughter want"?

Coworker 1, "she doesn't want to keep it. pretending like its nothing. I told her she needs to have an abortion. Then she got mad at me for calling it an abortion". Some time goes on, coworker tells everyone. Many opinions are given, with the majority saying to think about this, have daughter seek counseling, adoption and such. Coworker in mean time is researching and calling women's health clinics for daughter.

A quiet time comes upon us and I decide to tell coworker about our history of trying to adopt without success, foster care trials, etc. I also explained the many options and amounts of families that would love to work with girls/grandmas to be given the opportunity to adopt. Resistance was not met, however, coworker replied "I think my daughter has been drinking", "what family would want this baby". Not fighting for me, but for this unborn child and the many families that may never be chosen, again encouraged her to have daughter talk with an adoption counselor as maybe this could be an answer.

This just was one too many hours of listening and watching that I could almost handle. I would never tell a women what she can and can not do (even though I personally do not believe in abortion). I was just in disbelief at how casual a personal and controversial decision like this could be thrown into a work place and told to anyone who would listen. To see my coworkers sadness cloud any thinking and ability to help her daughter search for the right answer.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A sad tomato day

Was it a bug or bird...I will never really know. All I am sure of is that I have been giving this tomato plant lots of love and attention for weeks now. I have watered it daily per the instruction. And even fed it with miracle grow once a week. I was filled with excitement when my first bloom blossomed into a baby tomato. So imagine my disappointment when I went to water today and I saw that some creature decided to feast upon my one ten dollar tomato (no other bloom has yet to blossom).

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Trent the Graduate

Central High School Class of 2010

The Thomas Family
Proud parents Rod and Jeanette with Trent

We met Trent and his family when we first moved to Texas in the summer of 2001. It was hot, humid and I had not been real happy to leave my family back in California. We had moved into this dumpy apartment and this family (that would become more to us) lived below us. A connection was instantly formed. We discovered that we were building homes in the same area and our boys would be attending school together. Needless to say, I feel like Trent is like a second son.

So, I say CONGRATS and KUDOS, to Trent on this day. It has been fun watching you grow up over the years and to see the many things to which you have accomplished. I look forward to hearing about your new adventures which lie ahead.

Friday, June 4, 2010

School is out...Let summer begin


Today was the last day of school for the 2009-10 year. The last day that Nathaniel was officially a junior. Tomorrow begins his last summer home as a boy in high school.

Accomplishments for the year: 
 Earning your drivers license
 Buying your first car
 Getting hired at your first job
 Completing your eagle scout project
 Obtaining a darn good score on your SAT
 Touring and interviewing at three colleges
 Completing your third year on swim team
 Being voted swim captain for next year
 Being inducted into French Honor Society
 Completing your year with all A's and B's

I am ready for summer to begin. Not the typical humid three digit weather. But the activities and hopefully lesser stress that can come with this time of year. A big vacation planned over July fourth week. Fridays at the water park with my Friday pal and a couple of other nephews. And whatever else the season brings.

As for Nathaniel, well, he is ambivalent at best. The water park is proving that he may be working 40 hours a week. Then he has his one shift a week at Game Stop. And finally finishing up his Eagle Scout. Sadly, no sympathy card from his parents, grandparents or any other adult he has attempted to get it from. And to my is especially hard for me to let him have this type of schedule. I would love to have him all too myself. Except that is not how it would would be him and even longer hours spent on the computer and gaming. And that would cause me stress which would be released on Nathaniel. Therefore, he may as well make some cash and hopefully work on building his character.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Final chapter to neverending saga

This time last year, as I struggled with fostering children in hopes of building our family, I had come to a point where I needed to take a break. A time of reflection was realize what I really wanted to accomplish with this journey. Our agency told us that we could take a one year hiatus and not have to worry about classes, inspections, interviews and everything else that comes with being a foster parent. Having been told that we had until a specific date in one year, we would then be able to pick up where we left we had never left. In April, I made contact with the agency director to clarify what we had been told and asking the final date for our decision. Again, I was told the same instructions.


I had trusted and believed the instruction given and have now been burned by this advice. Having said this, I had decided that I was ready to jump back in. To help where we would be needed. I now had a new mindset to why I wanted to be a foster parent. A week prior to the date I had been given, I called our agency director and let them know we were ready to commit and become once again an active family.


I was informed that we had waited too long to decide on reactivating....that we would have to start from  square one. Repeating the initial class to be foster parents (20 hours I believe). An additional 15 hours of continuing education on top of the standard yearly criteria. I again asked for clarification to what I had been told previous. I offered to refresh them with the emails received. Nope....they will not budge on there decision. Only a pathetic sorry was received for the miscommunication that they provided.


I realize that this is a route that can be grimaced taken and we would again be able to help children that are in need. However, it is far too grueling to sit through again. I have endured more than the majority in this journey and know when it is time to just say done. And sadly, I think this is the time to say enough is enough. I can do this and attempt to move on since the chapter now has to be closed. I will find it much harder to know that we let down our foster daughter Miss K who called a couple of months ago just to make sure we had our license. I will probably always  have this somewhere in my brain that out of just needing some time to reflect that we will not be able to legally take her in if the time was to come.

So as this book comes to an end, I will just send a polite email to the agency letting them know that a good family was let go.....and to voice my opinion and hopes that with the next family just needing some time....that they provide the correct information.                                      

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

San Antonio Getaway

 This past weekend, Steve took me away to San Antonio, a city that I totally love. Totally a last minute and quick trip filled with enjoyment, some much needed laughter and good food. We got out a little later than planned and along our way....we stopped in San Marcos for some shopping. Arriving a bit later than planned, we enjoyed a late dinner (a big deal for a girl who likes to eat at 5:00) at my favorite Casa Rio.

After spending an OH SO Comfortable and cool night in the hotel room....we took advantage of the complimentary breakfast and then headed off to Sea World.
We spent a little time feeding and watching these happy creatures
I captured a picture of Steve smiling
Steve captured a picture of the penguin behind me
A pretty cool model Shamu airplane

After a few hours we left and were off to the outlets again for more shopping. A eating at an old California haunt. Followed by a leisurely drive home in great weather and awesome music to sing to.