Tuesday, October 24, 2006

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Just for fun

What is your favorite Hallowe'en activity?
Dressing up
Crafts/Food Preparation
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Seems like a lot of things are changing -- or maybe it's just my view? I like the cool-weather days. Always try to get out and appreciate them. Baby Luke and Nick love going outside, too, and our courtyard makes a perfect place to play and hang out.

Luke is growing and had his 2 month shots last week (a week late). He still has most of the same problems: body jerks, restlessness, difficulty being soothed, crying episodes that seem to last forever, and spitting up several times a day. Hey, the Prevacid he takes does keep the forceful vomiting to a minimum. The good news is that he is making great eye contact now and following us with eyes. He smiles and coos and I swear he's trying to laugh.

Rachel is getting a a job that pays very well (considering she has only 1 year of college) and we're looking forward to being able to pay our bills. How's that for a great feeling of wealth, tigger?

I've had a few emails and phone calls in response to my latest slew (is that real word?) of resume's sent. I have a job interview for a Clinical Research Coordinator next week. Doesn't pay much but it sure beats what I'm making now, right?

Rachel has a new beau and I couldn't be happier. He lives right across the sidewalk from us. So if I'm babysitting Nick, I can easily go get her if I need to. And the guy seems nice. A military guy and he's from East Texas. Can't beat that twang! To top it off, he cooked dinner for all of us tonight and even took care of Luke while I baked cookies with Nick. Wow! Says he'll do anything but change a diaper. I couldn't care less about that. If he'll just hold the baby, I'll be more than happy.

I'm really excited about Hallowe'en this year. We have all of our decorations up and this is my second batch of Hallowe'en cookies to bake. Both Martha recipes.

We went to a free pumpkin patch festival last weekend with all three kids. Had a great time. Did some Hallowe'en activities at the library. Reading lots of fun kids' Hallowe'en books every night. And I'm watching some of the old scary movies on TV late at night. What a fun time of year! I hope some of my friends are dressing up and going trick-or-treating this year. Maybe they'll come by and let me see how scary they are. That's a hint for anyone reading this :)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Nice people

As a new post and as a reply to Nora, yes, there are some incredibly nice people out there. I am so grateful to all. Thanks to their help, I was able to pay rent today. I could tell the apartment staff was relieved; they didn't want to evict us. So we're still here and things are looking up.

For the first time since he was born, Luke has been sleeping without me holding him. I mean REALLY sleeping and resting. Thank you, God. He's been sleeping on his stomach --before anyone says anything, yes, I am very aware that babies are supposed to sleep on their backs now. Problems with pockets of carbon dioxide than can lead to crib death. So I don't take this lightly. But I watch him sleep and he is very capable of turning his head from side to side. I think by laying on his stomach and not his back, he doesn't have the problem with his flailing arms waking him. It's so nice to see him getting rest and feeling better when he's awake.

I'm determined to take some new pics of him tomorrow and get a recent one posted.

I have found homes for two of the kittens -- just got to get them to their new families -- and still have two little ones left. Anyone know of someone who'd like a cute fluffy kitten? They're 6 weeks old and eating kitten food well. So well that they'll eat me out of house and home if I don't do something soon. If I can't find home by this weekend, I'll take them to the animal shelter. Someone will see them there and want them.

Time for Luke to eat now.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Feeling miffed...
Actually, feeling rather ticked off but the first word sounded better for a title. I've been searching online for resources for say...grandparents who have guardianship of their grandchildren? Turns out there are a lot of possibilities out there - even in Texas. And, again, out CPS caseworker should have been helping us. Found a number for an ombudsman. That sounds good. And there is apparently a Grandparents' Bill enacted by Congress to give a one time payment for help with initial expenses. Never heard about that. Anyway, this week I'm going to be very busy on the phone and in person at the local DHS office. For those of you who don't know that acronym, first, be glad. Then, it stands for the Department of Human Services. Except you don't exactly get treated like a human there. More like a sub-human. That's okay. I can take. Bring it on, folks!

On another note, I'm feeling a bit conflicted about the upcoming gubernatorial election. I'm thinking I might vote a different party than I've ever voted before. How about that? If anyone reading this cares to comment, I'm up for your opinions on current candidates.

And I realize that after not posting for a long time, most folks don't know I'm back at it. Doesn't matter much. I'm using this more as a forum/journal/treatise anyway.

Friday, October 06, 2006

It's amazing...how much one's life can change with the advent of a new baby. Luke is sleeping now -- ssshhh! -- this is the first time he's slept without me holding him for almost 24 hours. I am so incredibly grateful for this time that I'm carefully choosing what I'm doing. Made more bottles -- that's first. Cleaned up dishes (from lunch) - well, I just stacked them - but it looks better. Then took the plunge and showered. Kept poking my head out of the shower curtain to see if he was screaming. Aaahhh...what a wonderful shower. I now smell like neither spit-up nor Bengay. Of course, I may well be wearing both of those smells again by morning. My arthritis flairs up terribly holding him all the time. And he hyper-extends his little body so much of the time that he's a handful to hold on to. And he frequently bangs his head back against my left forearm. I think if I got x-rays, there would probably be a dent in the shape of his head. Hence, the Bengay.

I had two job interviews for the research position. Then got an email today notifying me they had hired someone else. As badly as I need a job, I think this was divine intervention. These docs are a little...well, let's say DIFFERENT. Not that I wouldn't have taken the job if it were offered but this means the universe has something else in mind for me.

It was nice to get a comment from someone I don't even know. Good tips on foster family stuff. I'm planning to call the supervisor of our CPS caseworker on Monday. I'm really tired of being given excuses and told it's not her job to help me with resources.

And Rachel and I have decided to spend every day next week if we have to, trying different community resources for help with rent money. We have until maybe the end of next week before we get the actual eviction notice. The manager told us she would wait as long as possible. Once the notice is posted, that's it. They can't even accept money from us even if we beg them. Interesting how eviction works. Strange to be talking/thinking about it like this.

Folks on the Board of Directors at my church voted to give the September tithe to me. That's nice and will go toward that rent money! More than the money, knowing people care is really important right now.

Rachel talked to the Attorney General's office again today and finally got news that her ex will have his paycheck garnished not only for current child support but also for back pay. That's really going to tick him off. He's been trying to get her to sign an affadavit that he's been paying her all along. Ha!

And another bright note: after reading about other infants born from drug abusing moms, I realize that Luke is not nearly as bad off as he could be. For example, one baby whose mom abused crystal meth, was born with gross physical deformities. And since Luke's mom used a lot of shared needles, he certainly could have been born HIV positive. Thank God he's not. And even with other babies exposed to crack, he seems to stand up pretty well. Luke craves human contact and really responds to my voice and singing (go figure on that one!). Some of these babies become over-stimulated so easily that they cannot be held, talked to, or looked at directly in the eye all at once. Some shut down immediately and fall asleep when eye contact is made. Luke took a long time to become comfortable with eye contact but he's doing really well now.

I guess the theme of this posting could be: the glass is half full. Not wanting to push my luck, I think I'm actually going to sleep for a few minutes. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

2 months later...my grandson was born August 11. My estranged/strange daughter called me when she was in labor and I joined her in the operating room for the delivery. Luke was born 2 weeks early, weighing in at 6 lbs 9 oz. Not bad for a baby exposed to as many teratogens as he was. Due to her history of drug abuse, testing positive for cocaine at one of the few prenatal visits, and abandonment of her first child, my daughter was not allowed to leave the hospital with the baby. CPS was called in and asked me if I wanted to take the baby (for now) or should they find foster care for him? What could I say? Well, it doesn't matter what I could have said. I did say yes. Hence 2 months of no blog entries.

Luke is an amazing child. He is a bit behind developmentally. His CNS is damaged and we don't yet know the extent of it. He has a heart murmur (which the pediatric cardiologist declared benign). He has colic so severe he was changed to a special formula. And that only helps. He has acid reflux and takes prevacid daily - again, it only helps. If he cries for more than a moment, he becomes frantic, flailing his arms (which only increases his panic), and requiring a lot of soothing to calm. He won't sleep anywhere but beside me. He screams sometimes even when I'm doing everything right. So I just start from the beginning and use the same tools over again until one of them works.

He's not amazing because of his problems. He's amazing because through it all, he is trying so hard to just be a baby. He can now focus on my face for a long time. He smiled at me for the first time four days ago. Since then, I've caught him smiling when I look down at him.

I'm holding him now which is what I do most of the time. Panic, remember? I don't bathe everyday and sometimes can't remember when I've eaten last. Those kittens are pretty much on their own as far as I'm concerned. They've got a mom to look after them.

Rachel was helping me with Luke. Mostly while I worked. Then I took over evenings, nights, and weekends. But she told me the other day she can't help anymore. I'm on my own. Had to quit my job. I'm not getting any financial assistance with Luke. Only foster families, not related families, get help.

As I see it now, I'm only a few days away from having to call CPS and send him to foster care. Rent is past due and there's no hope in sight. I have a job interview this afternoon but not sure how I'll get childcare for him even if I do get hired.

As a bridge from the last entry to this one: Luke's mom decided not to give him up for adoption. There was trouble finding a family who would take a "crack" baby anyway. So unless she gives up her parental rights, I can't find an adoptive family for Luke.

I welcome possible solutions but not pity. Anyone out there?