Whew!!!

It’s been a few crazy days out in blog land. I was able to get all my blog posts (796!) all imported into WordPress…and then I set up my Crochet and More by Ali page set up…

which leads me to ask…IF you have been the recipient of any crocheted items by me whether as a gift or special order I would love to have pictures…for some reason I am unable to locate pictures of all the crocheting I have done, especially many of the items I made while we were gate guarding…so again, I ask, if you received something from me, would you be so kind as to take a picture and send it to me or post in the comments. Thanks a bunch in advance for helping this ole’ gal out.

I have heard from a couple of you that you are enjoying this new layout/look of the blog and that is much easier to read…thanks for the feedback…and if you haven’t left a note…feel free to do so!!! I love to hear from my readers!!! And my stats show there are over 500 followers on this blog from when I first started it in 2013 when I was trying a few new things…so comment away!!!

Today I’m taking Joey in for his first grooming appointment since he came to live with us…we have given him a couple of baths (he does real well~just stands there) but he needs a good cleaning, nails clipped, hair trim and all the other stuff that goes along with getting groomed.

Thursday’s are my busy days…did my log notes for the week, email to the relief HP who comes on tomorrow, clean off my desk and get ready for whatever we are doing on our off days.

This weekend we are going to Kerrville, TX https://www.facebook.com/events/2180785955520437/ and to meet up with our friends and fellow RV’rs…Dana Ticknor and her kids. Looking forward to getting away for a couple of nights and going to the Hill Country again with maybe a stop in Bandera!!! It will also be our first time taking Joey on a trip…we will see how he does!!!

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What do you like to do on your off time? Ron and I love to go on road trips and so one of our objectives this weekend is to see how well Joey travels and does in a hotel.

The other thing I really like to do on our off time is sleep in…can’t wait for Saturday and Sunday mornings to do just that. With the new requirement that all foster home/cottage homes/residential care facilities to have overnight awake staff 24/7 we don’t get to sleep in very often…though Ron and I do take turns sleeping in or even catching a nap or two.

Changing Things Up a Bit

I’ve been thinking a lot about changing up my blog as I am getting back into the swing of things and taking my writing a bit more serious. As Ron likes to say “Ali hasn’t met a word she doesn’t like!” I’ve been thinking of revamping my blog and so I’m moving things over to WordPress instead of Blogger because it gives me a bit more flexibility and I can personalize things a bit more…well at least I think I can.

We will see!!

Let me know what you think of this new layout. What’s working and what’s not!!!

Memories!

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Memories, come and go and little things or big things trigger them…the past few weeks I have been reflecting on my memories with our home church Northwood Alliance Church, Blaine, WA.
Changes are one of the things that gives rise to memories and change is coming to NAC as Pastor Charles & Margaret prepare to retire from ministry there this coming Sunday.  I wish I could be there but it just didn’t work out…so I find myself sitting and thinking…
We first met Charles & Margaret when our sons, Jon, Jamie & Brandon played soccer together and Margaret being the school nurse and my working in the elementary and primary schools.
We first began attending Northwood in November 2001 after my dad passed away and the struggles and issues that arose at Birch Bay Bible Community Church happened.  I could bring up the negative but what good would that do?  So let’s just say, for the better of things, our marriage and relationships we moved on from BBBCC to Northwood and it was a good move for us.
Northwood is and has been my family for over 19 years.  And like most families we have had our great times, our good times and even some hard times but what family doesn’t share some hard times AND hard times allow us to grow and become stronger.
I was our church secretary for 7+ years and I remember when Ron and I left to go to work for the Carnival (Spring 2010) Charles put in the bulletin…”it’s not often one’s church secretary runs away with the local plumber to join a carnival!” 😍
My memories consist of family diners, Thanksgiving and cooking/serving a 48+lb turkey, Christmas Eve Candlelight services, potlucks and Bible studies, lots of hugs and even tears but through all the memories is woven
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LOVE
and my devotions this past week have also focused on love, loving one another, loving unconditionally, loving others and showing grace.
Memories of coming together when we were hurting over the loss of a special friends…specifically thinking of Dee and Jack Nixon…they showed so much love to me, my family, our boys and demonstrated how to love one another through the difficult times 
AND THEN
celebrating marriages:
Julie & James
Jon & Rayna
Elizabeth & Chris
and so many others…
I’m thankful for my Northwood family
and as they/us face this new change of selecting a new pastor to shepherd the Northwood clan
and as we encourage and celebrate Charles & Margaret
and our Northwood family grows and expands
I’m thankful that we can love from afar for those of us not living in Blaine right now.
I’m just thankful for my Northwood family!
Blessings to Charles & Margaret!!!

I Need Some…

I really do…need to do my Weekly Log Notes, need to finish getting dinner ready, need some energy as I am really dragging…
…and here I sit, staring at the computer, scrolling through some of the stories & poems I have written over the years and I came across this one


Blood Sugars
By Ali Workentin
January 7, 2008

Blood sugars
Something I deal with every day
It seems to be in control of me!
Shouldn’t I be the one in control of them?

Blood sugars
Bothersome at times
Little pricks 4 to 5 times a day
Ouch!
Obstacle to my daily routine
Dangerous if too low or too high

Sweets, pasta, bread all effect my life
Usually I can tell if they are dropping or rising
Grateful I can still see and walk
Always have to be aware
Remember its just one part of my life
Something I deal with every day of my life.

Blood sugars
Something that I can work to control
They seem to have a mind of their own
Something I have to deal with every day of my life

Blood Sugars

And here it is 12 years later
and I still struggle with diabetes, blood sugars, highs & lows, changes in medication, new medication, stop a medication…I get so tired of checking my blood sugars and when I am physically and emotionally tired I get the attitude “who cares and does it really matter?”  I know it matters, I know when my blood sugars are consistently in range I feel better all the way around…I sleep better, I move better, my emotions are not all over the board and I’m a pretty likable person 😀

At the beginning of the year I participated in 5 Healthy Habits…
…water, drink water first thing in the morning ~ I was doing really well until about four days ago so it is time to get back on the wagon…I set my alarm to remind me to drink some water when I first get up…
…2 minutes in prayer…I have been successful about half the time so let’s get back on track in the morning Girl!!!
…move for two minutes…since Joey came into our life I have been walking every morning except yesterday ~ it was raining, no pouring and this lady does not go for walks in the rain.  I have been walking once and sometimes twice around the circle right after getting up…you know Joey needs to do his thing!!
…eat a healthy breakfast…well that has not been going so well…need to be more intentional on having a good breakfast.  It’s not that I have don’t have the stuff to make breakfast…I have eggs, bacon, veggies, oatmeal, eggs & sausage burritos…I just need to focus on the NEW HABITS
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The 15 days I did the Healthy Habits my blood sugars were in range 75% of the time…and as Katrina said from Day 1…if you do one thing different each day towards the betterment of your health you are one step closer to being healthy more times than not.  And to remember to give yourself credit for what you do that is healthy!!!

So here’s to new beginnings and as they say in TBRI…time for a ReDo!!!

How do you keep motivated to stick to healthy habits?

I’m Tired…So What’s New

I don’t know if our having three days off and getting out of the rhythm of things has totally caused my body to reacting, all I know is that I am TIRED!!!
Today started at 5:30, up, dressed and Joey out the door…only he didn’t go far as it was raining, no pouring and he wouldn’t leave the dry of the carport…he finally tinkled on the generator (sorry Ron) but I had things to do so back into the house we went.  
Relieved our night staff person (some of our friends call her our babysitter) and yes it is weird going into our apartment while someone else stays up in our living room…we call her our “human alarm” and yes on two occasions she has gotten one of us up for a kidlet who had a nightmare and one night when CPS showed up (they do their inspections to make sure we have a night time awake staff member between 11p and 5a though we say it would be better to come on a Saturday morning at 7:30a to see if we are all sleeping in)  AND NO we have not gone back to bed though we both have talked about wishing we could.
It is about as far from NORMALCY as you can get…but that is another story.
Spent a few minutes organizing my day, got the kids a “home lunch” ready…it’s funny  because when I was a little girl we always had to take our lunch to school.  Nothing fancy, a sandwich and maybe a piece of fruit or some chips and change for milk.  And would beg my mom to let me buy lunch.  Here at the Yaokum ISD all the kids are provided breakfast and lunch each school day so it’s the reverse treat for them…they like to take “home lunch” as AR calls it…so one day a week I make them a lunch to take.  It usually consists of a lunchable, a piece of fruit, some cheese or peanut butter crackers, either a pudding or fruit gummies and a Gatorade.  
And then Ron took them to school and I folded the two loads of laundry from yesterday and got two more loads going.  After Ron got back from the school run we headed to Walmart to pick up a few things, then to Tractor Supply ~ we were looking for 
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for Joey..remember he wouldn’t go potty out in the rain.  Nope, couldn’t find anything so we went to HEB and got groceries and some cleaning supplies…then back home to put the groceries away and then it was time to go get Little Bit from school.  
Little Bit has a mind of her own and when she decides she doesn’t want to do something she just won’t do it…today she didn’t want to match and fold her socks.  Last night it was she didn’t want to take a bath…last night it was fine, if you don’t want to take a bath, get your jammies on and go to bed.  Then it was “I don’t want to take a bath and I don’t want to go to bed!!” at the top of her little lungs for about 15 minutes till she cried herself to sleep.  Sometimes it’s just plain hard being a 5 year old.  So back to the not matching/folding her socks…she was told “everyone has a job to do and today your job is to match and fold your socks.”  So while whining she didn’t want to match/fold her socks she matched her socks.  It got done with a bit of complaining but it got done.    And I was told “You are a mean mommy.”  I said back to her “it’s okay that I’m a mean mommy, I still love you.”  She is never quite sure what to say to me when I say that to her.
Being five, once her “job” was done she was off to watch her movie and pet Joey…she loves Joey.  We only allow about five minutes at a time for her with him because they are both getting to know each other.  
The afternoon went by quickly and then it was time to go get AR, then AZ came home and homework got done, some hearts for Valentines Day were decorated and then time for tutoring…math for both of them.
Before long it was dinner time.  Tonight was a win..spaghetti and no complaints.
Bath time and then bed…whew!!!
I just sat at the computer for a few minutes to catch my breath, answered a couple of emails and then thought I should write a few words.
That is a pretty typical school day for us…
…I want to get back into writing more devotionals, share some stories, write a few guest blog posts for This(Un)ExceptionalLife, and get back to writing my book which includes transcribing all of my handwritten journals to the computer.  I would also like to put my mother~in~law’s stories together from her handwritten journals to pass on to her grandchildren and great~grandchildren.  
…I want to get back to reading for fun ~ I can’t remember the last time I picked up a book just to read for fun.  Lately it’s been training manuals or daily devotionals but a good cheezy romance novel would be fun to indulge into again.
…And then there is my crocheting…I finished up a blanket two days ago and started on one of my temperature blankets.  Once I get the first 20 rows completed, I will start on number two and then number three.  Plus there are a couple of baby blankets/stuffies I need to get busy on.
…oh and continue being a wife, mom, Grammy and foster~mom, friend and Oh Yes, take a nap once in a while!!!!

Stay tuned and see what I get done!!!

What the Heck??

What the heck is going on…something with Blogger…that’s what.
I used to have over 100 followers of my blog and today there is only ONE!!!  Thank you Karen for following me…I don’t know what happened
BUT
if you want to follow me along on this journey we call life,
planted wherever the Lord puts us
then click on the FOLLOW button to the right of this post!!!

Just Some Rambling Thoughts…

Oh where have I been…well last Thursday, January 16th was our 39th day of working without a day off…mostly our choice but still 39 days is a long time to work without any time off…oh, we did have an evening off in December when a local church had a Date Night…and for us it was perfect because it was on our 44th wedding anniversary so we joined some friends from our Sunday School class and went out to eat.  
So Friday, January 17th after getting the kidlets off to school, stopping to have breakfast with a few people from our church we headed for home to rest and relax until the Candidate Forum at the Yoakum Community Center was to begin at 5:00p…well about 11:30a we got a text from our friend Donna that Joey needed help and a home and would it be possible for him to come and live with us.  So the text conversation went like this…
…BJ wants to know if YOU want a dog, 6 years old?
…What kind?  Is he house trained?  Fixed?
…Yes is house broken and yes he is fixed.
…When does he need to find a home?  Is he good around kids?
…Yes, he looks like Toto, he has papers but he is fixed so breeders don’t want him.  He belonged to BJ’s girlfriend’s sister but she is headed to prison for 15 years…girlfriend doesn’t want to keep him as she already has 4 dogs of her own.
THEN the conversation with Ron
…Honey, Donna wants to know if we want a dog?
…Ron says: no, smiles and asks what kind?  I show him a picture of Toto and I read him the messages between Donna and I.
And then Ron smiled real big
and showed me 
and then we were off to Lampasas (3 hrs away)
where
Joey joined our family!!!
He is a Cairn Terrier.
Not sure he really knows his name is Joey, 
and I have been calling him Sweetie
so in the next few days we will decide on a permanent name for him.
Any Suggestions????
So our first day off in 39 days was spent with being in the car for 7 hours!!!
Saturday was a day of rest, watching TV, getting caught up on NCIS, BULL, napping and lots of crocheting…trying to finish up a toddler blanket so I can get busy on one of the 15 other crochet projects I have on my list to do!!!

Sunday we went to Sunday School and church then joined some of them for lunch in Victoria at Grand Buffet….I filled up on sushi, even a ate a couple of Spicy Tuna Roll in honor of Max and then we headed for home.  We got home about 3:20p and I laid down, only to wake up at 6:30p…I guess I was still tired…then it was time for Hawaii 5O and Magnum before heading back to bed about 10:30p…

and then this morning it was up, take the dog out to go potty,
get dressed, take the dog out for a walk around the big circle 2x, then in for some time with the Lord…and the message today was 
Be Intentional!
Live each day as if it is your last!!
Prioritize People over STUFF!!
Live Authentically!!!
and then it was time to return to work and the kiddo’s…
first up was another two times around the circle with Julie, our Relief HP, to hear about how the weekend went, address some questions she had
and then chat with the kiddo’s…we knew the weekend was going to be hard as they had not been with anyone else but Ron and I for 39 days…
…they pushed some limits, tried some patience, and behaved great a a birthday party with total strangers so after Ms Julie left we had a little chat…okay AR would say a long chat…it doesn’t matter who is in charge of you, you have to follow the same rules,
thanks for being great at the birthday party,
now let’s work on following the rules whether it’s Ms Ali or Mr Ron or Ms Julie who is in charge…the rules are there for a reason, we discussed the reason and expectations and then we all went to our bedrooms, counted to 10 and came back together and began our day a new…you know the TBRI Re Do stuff…the kids played outside most of the day, Ron got a lot of the lawn mowed, I made sloppy joes for dinner, everyone got their showers 
and slowly the kidlets are heading to bed.
Tomorrow is a trip to Seguin to see the dentist,
then back to school and back to routines!!
Oh and hopefully a trip to the vet for shots and then the groomer for a trim for Joey!!!

Reassurance!

Yesterday was a full day of training with a little bit of fun here in Houston.
TBRI
Trust Based Relational Intervention
One of the their biggest points is
Playful Engagement
so of course we had to have some fun…
…a scavenger hunt here in the hotel…
our team had 5 ladies and we were the 
PINK LADIES!
We didn’t win but we had fun and got lots of movement…we walked, ran (no I fast walked 🙂 ) we moved marbles down a pipe, skied on planks, had to figure out a couple of puzzles, dress up like crazy people…we must have a bit of crazy in us as we choose to work with kids from all ages!!!
Today we will be learning concepts and principles!!!
This morning the Lord spoke to me from multiple places about
trusting him and knowing He is always with me every step!!!
Well need to cut this short as I need to get down stairs for 
training day 2!
Have a blessed day!!

A Quick Note

Yesterday woke up with a sore throat so laid pretty low for most of the day.
Today is another story.

Up at 5 to have about 45 minutes in the Word and with the Lord,
then time with the kiddo’s before taking them to school,
and then it was off to HEB to pick up some much needed groceries,
Walmart to get a coffee maker for the main cottage, scored some new T-shirts for Ron…the ones that dry quick when you sweat were on sale for $6.88 each instead of $9.99 so bought him six more!!

And then home to pack and get ready to head to Houston.
Ron is home with the kidlets
and I am in Houston for some training for work.

A PLUS
getting to spend time with
PJ…she is the daughter of my friend Merel,
haven’t seen her for years so it was good to spend a few hours with her
PJ is the same age as Jamie
and we go way back…her mama, Merel and I were pregnant with
Jeremy and Brandon at the same time…
it is truly a friendship made in heaven.

Fun to hear about her life in Houston and glad to reconnect.

I will be here for two nights and then back to the ranch on Wednesday evening.

TBRI ~ The TBRI Caregiver Training is designed to train staff/caregivers in Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) equipping them with the skills and tools needed to be successful in their various roles.  We used TBRI when we were at MCH, well parts of it.  It will be good to learn more about it and how it works and how to use it as we care for our three kidlets.

Hope all who is reading this is having a great day!!!

Talk soon!!!

Tired but Staying Focused

I’ve been trying to stay focused on positive things and see the good in things…
…today is a hard one for me 😦

Due to new Federal Regulations for children in care in the state of Texas, if the organization has more than six (6) children total they must have 24 hour AWAKE staff while in residence.  Don’t ask me why, but when we take the kidlets camping we don’t need the 24 hour AWAKE staff person…go figure…!!

This all came to fruition when Judge Jack in Texas came down hard on the State of Texas Foster Care System.  Here is one article that discusses her stance…click here.  When this first came into being our 3 kidlets were not PMC kids (Permanent Managing Conservatorship) but that changed the week before Thanksgiving and so Nov 19th we had our first overnight staff person here.  
We really don’t have an issue having a person awake it is just different.  It’s far from normal that’s for sure but we make the best of it.  When we were at MCC we had YCC workers who came on at 11 and stayed till 7 so it really isn’t anything new…just different.  And has often happens staff change and last night we had a new night staff person.  Let’s just say that the 2nd person is very different than the first one and that is going to take some getting used to..
and that meant that neither Ron nor I slept well last night and the hours of the night shift person working is different…the first gal came at 9:30p and we were in our apartment by 10:00p and didn’t need to be in the main cottage till 6:30a…now the schedule is that the new gal gets here at 10:00p so we don’t get into our apartment till 10:30p or so…and we have to be in the main cottage so she can leave at 6:00a…we get she only works 8 hours a night but it is different and will take some getting used to.
Usually Ron stays up at night and does the switch over and I get up for the morning switch…which is no biggie as I have been getting up at 5:00a to consistently have my quiet time and incorporate my new daily habits…
…habit 1 ~ drink my water
…habit 2 ~ spend two minutes in prayer
…habit 3 ~ making a healthy breakfast
…habit 4 ~ moving/stretching for two minutes
…habit 5 ~ breathing deeply for two minutes
BUT for some reason last night and this morning has affected me a lot…I mean a lot…I could barely get out of bed this morning and my body was aching.  I hadn’t slept well last night so that didn’t help either (and neither had Ron so he wasn’t feeling it to get up early this morning) but I got up, took care of some stuff, spent some time in the Word and praying…
And the message this morning asked
“Are you walking or talking?”
Intentions are a good thing BUT Actions speak louder than words.
and so I have been thinking about that most of the day…
trying to speak softly and calmly 
as well as being consistent
About 15 minutes after the night staff left, Ron came out of our apartment and told me to go back to bed…by then I was pretty awake but hey
and it is Saturday 
and the kids stayed up later than normal last night
and he didn’t have to ask me twice
so I went and crawled back into bed…
and started chatting with my Pal Mary…
I think I fell asleep though in the middle of our chat…sorry about that!!!
 and then it was 9:45a!!  I had gotten up a couple of times between 6:45 and 9:45 to go potty (you know us old ladies need to do that quite often 🙂  )
I was so discombombulated when I woke up and it took me awhile to get moving
but after making a breakfast of sausage, eggs and biscuits with blackberry jam
me, along with the kidlets and Ron were ready for the day
so off to Victoria.  Victoria TX NOT Victoria BC…Ron still owes me a trip there!!!
We stopped to look at a 5th wheel…we are thinking of trading in our Explorer for a 3/4 ton truck and our 30′ travel trailer for a 5th wheel toy hauler…well the one the guy had on his lot was not what we are interested in…it was a 30 1/2′ but felt very small on the inside…there are few things that are must haves for us…
…have to be able to open the fridge with the slide pulled in
…must be able to use the bathroom with the slide pulled in
…must be able to have two recliners or a double recliner as well as a couple of other chairs or couch
…must have a walk around queen bed
…would be nice to have a washer/dryer combo
…would be nice to have a set of bunks
YES we are planning to go back on the road when I retire in 
5 Years and 4 Days!!!
This 5th wheel was too small…so that’s okay, it was the first one we looked at…
and we weren’t ready to buy today anyway,
must have truck first!!!
Then it was off to Kohl’s to drop off a steamer for our boss,
then Dollar Tree for some Valentine decorations,
then Tuesday Morning…they only had dish towels for Valentines Day,
then Big Lots…got 2 sets of red lights, need one more
then it was off to Sam’s Club…first lunch…all beef hot dog and a soda for everyone, 
Azzy got a mountain dew 😦  I got the other two orange fanta…
Azzy was told she better not get too wired…she did really well and was a big help with pushing  a cart, grabbing stuff from the shelf and making lots of suggestions!!!
90 minutes later we were finally done at Sam’s Club.
We headed towards another RV dealer when I remembered we were supposed to pick up JT and it was already 4:00 and he was due back sometime between 4:30 and 6:00…so no trip to the RV dealer, no stopping at HEB (for the things I don’t buy at Sam’s) and no stopping at Walmart to look for more Valentine decorations and home we went!!
Everyone helped to unload the truck and then AS and AR joined other kids at the playground.  Ron, Azzy and I labeled and put away the groceries.  Ron helped me put up some red lights…that’s when I found out I need one more set…I will take a picture and post what I’m doing once I get the 3rd set of lights and then it was shower and prayer time for the kidlets.
All in all it’s been a good day, we are all just a bit tired.
Hopefully we will all sleep better tonight and wake refreshed and rested in the morning.
Tomorrow is Sunday School, church and football!!!  
SeaHawks play the Packers…it should be a good game!!!
Oh and maybe take down some more of the Christmas decorations.
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Do you still have Christmas decorations up?
Do you decorate for Valentines Day? A lot or a little?
If you don’t decorate for Valentine’s Day
what is the next holiday you decorate for?