Thursday, March 29, 2012

Foster Training sessions in Cinci

Training last weekend was the same as it was last time.
Training last weekend was vastly different from the last time we went through it.
The difference?
Was in the trainer.
Is in us.
We are on a different journey.
This is not a means to an end.
Our hearts have been transformed.
We, of course, don’t want to say good-bye to the children we will undoubtedly love.
We don’t want our children’s hearts to be broken.
But as a mother, I can’t imagine not being with my children.
Not seeing them daily.
Hearing the giggles.
Watching them learn.
Helping them grow.
So the difference?

The difference is in us.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Patchwork Family

I have a very dear friend whom I love dearly.
She and I are always out and about with our brood in tow (7 boys total all between the ages of 2 and 9 years old).
That many boys begs a lot of questions, usually start with how many, what ages and then always without fail "who belongs to who?"
Which usually is promply answered by my dear friend who says "the 4 that look like me, are mine"
And I silently think "I have the patchwork kids".
My children may not look alike, act alike, and although no one would look at a picture of my kids and say "no denying whose kids those are" they compliment each other beautifully.
Ethan with is black hair, blue eyes, quick whit and servants heart.
Lane Michael with his brown hair, brown eyes, sensitive soul and heart on his sleeve.
Ryan with his blonde hair, blue eyes, strong-will and beautiful spirit.
Each so different, so independent from one another, unique.
Sewn together beautifully when God himself formed our family.
I love that my dear friend can say that her children are all replicas of her, I used to envy her that.
Now I enjoy my patchwork family.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wanting to re-do my bathrooms (basement and upstairs)

I have a decent sized bathroom upstairs (our only bathrooms are upstairs and in the basement). In the bathroom upstairs we currently have wall's a busy wallpaper...not my favorite and it's everything. Including the ceiling. yah. yuck. But the bathroom has tons of potential! It has a beautiful wood surround on the tub and just really pretty wood work. the mirror is large with wood surround and opens up. So whatever I do with the bathroom, it has to go well with a dark wood; which does kind of limit my options a little (especially since I'm not willing to paint any of the wood). So here are some things I took from P*interest that I'm liking and thinking for the upstairs bathroom:

I love this color, but would want to change out my light fixtures.

I don't know that this color would go as well with the dark wood but love it.

This bathroom will never happen but if I could have my dream bathroom,

I imagineit might look something like this. swoon!

This is most likely what I'll end up doing in my bathroom.

Something mutedbut with a pop of color!

Look at that light fixture!

and this is what I'll be doing to the basement bathroom.

I've already decided!

The basement bathroom is also wall papered (ceiling and all - weird) so I'll also be changing that up a bit but I think this would be fast, and inexpensive! and VERY pretty! I think my husband (hint hint hunny) could even take these very cook barefoot/sand/beach pictures for me this summer at the beach when he does the (hint hint hunny) pics I've been waiting for (the ones for the back porch). A can of primer and a can of this color and the painting is to find the time!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Raising Brothers

Last night, I had the pleasure of witnessing one of my favorite things about brothers. Lane Michael was walking a few feet in front of us, he was unhappy because we had once again had to remind him that not every conversation (this one about downs syndrome) was about him. Ethan caught up to him and put his hand on Lane's back and was whispering something in his ear, I could hear him enough to know it was rapping/singing and occasionally Lane Michael would laugh at whatever Ethan had said. They walked like this for nearly a block before they saw Schneiders Market and took of running/racing to pick their treat for the night. such a special moment in their life, and I got to observe it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Philosophy Part 5

When and how to discipline:

So that everyone knows what to expect, our family has set up a few basic rules

1. Do as you’re told, the first time you’re told
2. Clean up after yourself
3. Respect yourself and others
4. Hands to yourself
5. Act lovingly
6. No talking back or lying

If it doesn’t fall under one of these 6 categories, it’s not a punishable offense.

For discipline, we use as many natural consequences as possible. We also use a 3 strike system, after being told,
Strike 1 warning
Strike 2 lose a privilege for a day or more
Strike 3 black out

Blackout is a system used in severe cases (we have only used this technique twice). In short, all privileges are temporarily revoked, leaving the child with books, and basic clothing, the child looses screen time, toys and free time until amends have been made.

Philosophy Part 4

Morals and values:

We hope to instill so many of the Christian morals and values into our children, helping them to become good, loving men. Beyond that, we are working to instill honestly, integrity, service to others, self respect and hard work. We hope they’re honest, not only to us, but to their significant others, each other and most of all to themselves. Our family has made hobbies and careers from serving others, working as police men, charity work, and a service officer, not to mention a long line of military service, it’s important not just to us but for society. Self respect is a value that sadly seems to have gone by the way side in children and young adults. So many young men don’t care enough about their appearance to pull their pants up, wear a belt, get a haircut or use the English language properly, but this isn’t a problem exclusive to guys, young women have stopped dressing appropriately and acting like young ladies. We also want our children to know hard work, we want them be to know the feeling of going to bed tired, and appreciating the fruits of their labor, but not just physical labor, but hard work academically, to reach their full potential.

Philosophy Part 3

The ideal home environment:

For our family we have tried a few different techniques to create the home environment that works best for us. There are a few things we know we want to use and a few things that just don’t work for our family and our children. A strong routine has given our family time together, organization and our children expectations. We also know that some flexibility is good in our routine to allow for fun activities together. A structured system for discipline allows our children to know what is expected of them and to know what to expect if they should happen to break one of our rules. We also feel it’s important to show affection when welcomed. I think one of the most important aspects of our home is being a team, when we work together to get our chores done we have more free time. I have found that when we’re out about at a store or running errands, a simple reminder to my boys to “be on my team” reminds them to not work against me, but to work with me. It reminds them that the sooner I’ve finished up, the sooner we can get to something more enjoyable. It’s been a great tool for our family

Child Care Plan

The people we have chosen to leave our kids with are kind, patient, capable people. They are qualified to handle medical situations and high stress environments.
Child care programs should offer structure, stability and age appropriate education. I would also insist the staff be qualified to handle medical and emergency situations.
As we both work outside the home, we have a child care provider here in town. Julie is kind, loving, and patient. She has cared for our own children for nearly 3 years. During summers, since Todd is a student, and hopes to teach, he right now has summers off, so our children are home with him.
Lynne’s mother is an alternative care provider for their children for date nights and in emergency situations.
If any of our children are sick, Lynne usually takes the day off work to stay home with that child, unless Todd is available that day (currently Tuesday and Thursday he is home through the day and has evening classes).
Currently in our area, we have our child care provider (Julie Hoelscher), New Beginnings (a daycare/preschool) and the YMCA, along with several other available facilities in the area.


HI, We’re Todd and Lynne
Todd Michael Skaggs was born November 16, 1978 in St. Louis MO to Dennis and Diana Skaggs and raised by Dennis and Judy (step-mom) outside a small town in Lynn, MO.
Lynne Cecile Clementz Skaggs was born March 21, 1982 in Lima, Ohio to Lou and Laura Clementz and raised outside of Spencerville, Ohio.
Todd and Lynne are both the youngest of large families; Todd has 7 half brothers and 2 step brothers while Lynne has one brother and 3 half sisters. Todd’s biological mother Diana has 5 other sons, Sean, Lee, Scott George and Pat, Todd has not had contact with this side of his family since he was 5 years old when his mother stopped visitations with him. However he has 4 other brothers who he was raised with. Michael DeLuca lives in Missouri with his family, Todd seldom hears from him other than an occasional e-mail. Mike, married to Wendy, battled a short bought with cancer before passing away in 2011. Patrick Skaggs, married to Cara lives in Missouri, and Todd is able to see him on the occasional trip to Missouri but they remain close through Facebook and phone calls. Pete DeLuca, married to Amanda, also lives in Missouri and much like Todd’s relationship with Patrick, they see each other on the occasional visit and through Facebook and phone calls. Lynne’s one brother Louis Clementz is married to Andrea, they currently live in Arizona and have limited contact with family. Amy lives in Pennsylvania with her current significant other but she hasn’t been in touch in 10 years or more. Heather Newport-Franks lives with her husband Tony, in Lima, Ohio but since taking on the role of care taker for her ailing mother (cancer), she too is no longer in contact with the family. Gina lives in Urbana, Ohio with her children , Gina and Lynne see each other as often as possible, holidays, special occasions and the off weekend when no one has sporting events (which isn’t often).
As a kid Todd’s parents were strict, often using hard labor and spankings, Todd’s parents’ strategies aren’t something he sees as effective or something he’d choose to use in his own home. As a kid, Lynne’s parents used a variety of techniques when disciplining, she was lucky to be #5 and have the advantage of learning from her siblings’ mistakes but the 2 forms of punishment they used most often were spankings and groundings but disappointment is what actually worked on her. She’s always wanted so badly to please her parents, when she failed to do that it really seemed to hit home.

June, 1996 Todd left his home in Lynn Missouri and moved with friends in St. Louis. During the summer of 98, Todd left his home for basic combat training with the United States Army, after completing his first round of training; he went back to Missouri to finish his senior year of high school. After high school graduation in 1999, Todd returned to the US Army and continued his 6 years of service. While Lynne also joined the United States Army between her junior and senior year in high school, she did not leave for basic training until after high school graduation in 2000. After training, she was stationed in Germany where she and Todd met.
No one often spoke of sex in Todd’s home growing up, which may have led to his early sexual maturity. Lynne being raised in a close knit community, a Christian home, she was sexually a late bloomer. Sex wasn’t often spoken of but there was an open invitation if she had any questions or concerns.
Todd graduated from Affton High School in 1999 and after 10 years, he returned to school at Findlay University studying high school education on target to graduate spring of 2013. Lynne graduated from high school in 2000 from Spencerville, and while she hasn’t gone back to college yet, she does plan to go back to school after Todd has graduated.
Before going back to college in 2009, Todd drove truck for 5 years; however driving truck is physically exhausting, and kept Todd from being as active in his family as he liked which led him to change directions and go back to school. Lynne worked at a bank for 3 years before landing a dream job as a veteran’s service officer for Auglaize County nearly 6 years ago; helping veterans apply and get the benefits they are entitled to through their service.
Todd and Lynne after sharing 10 significant years of their life together, identify many of the same major life events. They have both been changed forever by each other, by the birth of their children, the diagnosis of diabetes in one of their sons, and by the loss of their son Braden and Lynne’s father Lou. Todd and Lynne were both also shaped by their time in service and are still being shaped by their faith and religion.
Todd and Lynne have neither one been married previously, or even in a serious relationship before meeting one another and have no children outside of the three they have together.
While Todd and Lynne don’t suffer from fertility issues, they did lose a son in the 39th week of his pregnancy. While they still obviously grieve the loss of Braden, they have come so far, and made peace with his death, most days.
Todd and Lynne are both relatively healthy, however, Lynne had her thyroid removed in 2007 and will have her gall bladder out soon. She is currently taking Synthroid to keep her hormone levels in check. Neither has ever struggled with any addiction but Todd was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder shortly after returning from his deployment to Iraq. His PTSD is well managed through organization of the home, routine, remaining busy and through his religion. While we have very little medical history for Todd, we do know both families have a strong history of autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, epilepsy, MS, and celiac disease.
Neither Todd nor Lynne have ever committed any crime, and have stayed out of trouble.
Todd is active in the Ohio Military Reserve where he is currently a Staff Sergeant, and an instructor in the academy, training new troops as they come in. He also enjoys working on a project car bought from his mother-in-law shortly after his father-in-law passed away, as it was his project car. And while they don’t currently own horses, they have been a much loved hobby for Todd. Lynne’s hobbies are mostly wrapped up in her kids but recently started running, it’s something she does, just for herself, it allows her to reduce stress and feel better throughout the week. As a family, they enjoy football, baseball and traveling.
Lynne handles the majority of the finances in the home and has many financial goals, short term; she’d like to be debt free by the time Todd graduates Spring of 2013 (excluding their mortgage). She’d also like to avoid future debts, once debt free. As soon as they’re debt free, they’d like to begin building their retirement/college/future funds. Todd would like to teach in a physical class room and eventually coach baseball; Todd will also need to have a master’s degree in education. Lynne has landed her dream job, but would eventually like to move into the director’s position (10 years down the line), she’d also like to return to school to obtain a degree in social work. Both Todd and Lynne would like to see all their children be successful in whatever they choose to do, as long as they become productive members of society and reach their individual full potential, whatever that might be. They would also hope to set the example of giving back to the community, so that maybe their children would follow that path.