Saturday, June 30, 2012

A quite Saturday.

Today was a quiet summer day. Dennis worked this morning, the kids slept in. I got the laundry done, some folded, dishes washed, kitchen clean, dinner prepared, you know the regular mom things. I also got a few blogs up over on one of my other pages here, before Dennis got home. He was up for a little bit before he headed off to bed because he has another shift tonight. The girls went swimming, we had dinner, did baths, and soon enough it was time for Dennis to get up for work.

Samantha is also working tonight as well, her first week of work and she scored some overtime which she will be using to get a jogging stroller so she can run with Lilly more often. Her regular stroller just can't handle it, and the new stroller will be so much better for hiking, which we use to do when Deanna and Dorothy were little. Those strollers are great for all kinds of terrain.

Once Dennis was up we did our snuggles and stories as well as Deanna's reading time. I am bound and determined that she will go back to school in the fall reading better then when she left for the summer. I am sure summer school will also help with that, but so far she is doing well, and even looks forward to our reading time. It is just Deanna and Mommy time, so she loves it. Last night because we went shopping so late, we didn't get to it and she came in to the room and said "Mommy when are we going to read again?", I told her we would do it today which we did, so I am very proud of her. Usually when you say it is reading time she doesn't want anything to do with it but with taking the time and setting a time where it is just her and I really turned things around instead of doing all of their homework at the same time like we have in the past.

We have always spent one on one time with each of the kids, as well as taking sets, all of them, and even alone time just for Dennis and I, but this little bit of extra time has really made al of the difference in the world. I am so proud of her accomplishments already and we still have the rest of the summer to go.

I have started Dorothy reading just the letters while we are reading. It is coming slow, I don't know what they did all year in Head Start but she doesn't know her letters as strongly as I think she should but then again the rest of the kids were 5 when they started kindergarten, not 4 like she will be in the fall.

The girls and I all started a weight loss challenge with Run with Jess which we are doing pretty good at but then again it is only 2 weeks into the 13 weeks of the program but have that blog over at Pam's fight to lose weight if you would like to take a look.

Ok time for me to watch a little Fringe before turning in for the night, unless I get my second wind then maybe I will poke around the internet a bit or read. Hope you are all having a great summer so far.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Samantha's Graduation

Today marked another special day here in Marksville. Last year when Samantha told us she might be pregnant, we sat down and had a talk about what her furture could be like. First thing she said was that she didn't want to be like her Aunt. I do have to say that made me very proud in deed. She sure has the determination of a Graham in her.

Abortion and Adoption were NEVER an option, quitting school was not in the cards, leaving us just to figure out what our choices were after this. Now years ago when Dennis and I decided to have 6 kids, we knew there was a chance that we would have a child go through teen pregnancy and planned on how we would deal with it, so we already had a plan in motion if we ever needed it. This I would encourage you to do if you already haven't think ahead about what might happen and plan accordingly. Of course with that said we still made plenty of mistakes over the years raising our kids, but so far they aren't that bad, and are making their way in life.

One of the first things I did was contact Samantha's teacher's and the rest of the staff, telling them she was pregnant, would be staying in school, and that no one was to speak ill of her pregnancy. I did find out one of the staff had talked another student in getting an abortion. I told that staff person right out that if I even had a wiff that they said anything but positive things to my daughter that I would make sure they not only lost their job, but could never work in their field again. A teen mother can have a positive experience if given the right support network.

One of the first things we found out is that they didn't have a Physical Education Program for pregnant mom's. The school's way of dealing with it was to have them sit it out on the sidelines. Samantha's Dr. agreed with me, that this just was not right, and since Samantha wanted to stay active, remember she is a runner, I had to make call after call so that they provided Samantha with things that were appropriate for each stage of her pregnancy. They did O.K, but really Samantha was not the first teen pregnancy, and certainly won't be the last and that I know of they still don't have a plan B, but only did this for her because we pushed so much.

As Samantha's pregnancy continued she had the support from most of her friends and family the whole time, oh there were those who thought she would quit once she had the baby, and some that even thought she would quit before the baby even came, but she didn't. When she went on maternity leave from school we had a great tutor, that was very supportive of her, and made sure she had all of her work done and turned in on time, even getting ahead so when she went in labor she wouldn't fall behind.

The time came and Lilly was born, she continued with her Tutor, while learning to nurse Lilly, and even went to the school to take her exams, even though she was offered to hold off on some of them till the next year. When last school year was over for some reason some thought she wouldn't return in the fall. Well guess what? She did.

Breastfeeding was something I did, and had hoped Samantha would do but it was her choice. When she was little when her friends were feeding their baby dolls bottles, she was lifing up her shirt and breastfeeding hers. With that being said she took to it like water and was determined to see it through, sore nipples and all.

She was the first teenager to enter our school needing a breastfeeding room, which they did not have, so she spent most of the school year in a room off of the nurses office. At first the nurse didn't really talk to her, and when she told the nurse she needed to come twice a day, because Lilly needed more milk, she wasn't happy at all, but by May when Samantha was weaning Lilly, they were talking and getting along.

Now back before this year began we got a call wondering if Samantha was returning to school, in which we said yes, and when we also told them she was going on the Senior Trip we got a surprised look. Samantha and I worked really hard to get her into as many Senior activities as we could to earn her points to go to Washington D.C. with her class. Money got tight and we didn't see how we could come up with enough to pay our share but we made some payments. News came that Samantha's whole trip had been paid for by a generous donation, and we even got 50.00 back which we sent with Samantha on her trip.

She had a great time and Lilly did awesome. When she returned she had gifts for everyone. The year was coming to an end quickly, and she was doing great.

So here we are Graduation day. Am I proud of Samantha? You bet I am, she continued school, seeing it through. Sure she heard rumors and whispers, but she didn't let it stop her from going for her goals. Graduating, getting a job, buying a car, getting her license, and going to college.

She graduated today, starts her job on Monday, has her permit, and starts college in the fall. Looks like 4 out of 5 so far. Being a teen mom has not held her back as much as some would think. My daughter is a Awesome mom, fantastic daughter, and growing up more and more each and every day.

They talked about two students today one who never missed a day since Kindergarten, and another who took quite a few years to graduate. Yes I thought it might be Samantha they would talk about, but we all know they can't do that, they can't tell anyone about a teenage mother who is making her dreams come true. A teen who had the support of friends, family, and community. It might lead to an outbreak of teen pregnancies. Oh well. All I can say is that she made everyone in Marksville very proud today with her accomplishments.

Samantha on stage with her rose.

Papa showing Lilly where Mommy is.
Lilly making her rounds, yeah she is holding her hands out for Nana.

Here is the Taconic Hills Class of 2012.

Here is Samantha and Daddy balling their eyes out.

Don't care how old my kids are, they will never be too old for hugs and kisses.

Marksville from left to right.
Paul, Samantha holding Lilly, Taylor, Buke, Deanna in front, Dennise in back, Dorothy in front, Me, and Dennis. The only one missing is Bryan who we were missing very much today.

Samantha did it.

Yeah that is right Marksville style like only we can do it. Love you Samantha. So very proud of you. You are AWESOME!

A little side note here. I wasn't able to get pictures of Grandma Marks, and Grandpa George because they took off, right after the graduation. They told Dennis to take his time and they would be waiting by the cars. Well we rushed Samantha through the pictures, leaving her without getting many of the ones she wanted with her friends so that we could get back to the cars to get pictures with her Grandparents.

When we got back to the cars all we found was a card that had been left in the van. Let's just say that Dennis was not happy at all, and to make amends to Samantha for his mother again letting his kids down he whispered to me we were going out for lunch. Who are we kidding she didn't come to Buke's graduation at all, didn't even get him a gift. Sure that 100.00 was nice that Grandma gave Samantha but it was not the hug and pictures she wanted, or the time she wanted to spend with her on her special day. Yeah we had to see the sadness in her eyes again.

As it is when Dennis called his mother last night to tell her that we were not going out to eat that Samantha had chose to have a Party instead before he even got to tell her she already had an excuse to not go and eat with us. Like I said before every time the kids have graduated from Middle school on up we have invited them out to eat and every time they have an excuse not to attend. This time it was that a client had coughed or spit in her mouth who had Hepatitis C, so she had to go to the hospital for tests or a shot or something.

Dennis thinks it might be just an excuse, a good one to bail out this time on her grandkids, but then again if it did happen then we sure hope she doesn't get it, you know it takes decades to get really bad, and that she will be ok. Either way I hope she takes the time to come to her party, or Samantha just may be done too. My parents were greatly missed today, and even though they are in Heaven, we still felt their love, as well as the many memories of time spent with the kids, that will never be forgotten.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Thinking back over the years.

Today was a quite day here which was nice as we have been so busy lately, and much needed before the busy week a head. Only a few short weeks and Samantha will be graduating and then starting her summer job, before she goes off to college. Time sure flies by.

Speaking of time flying by I just saw a picture online of a grown man, who I used to babysit for when he was a baby. I used to change his diapers. It is funny because that family was my first paying job to do baby sitting for and I really enjoyed helping them out with their kids. Before this I helped watch my brother's kids when they went out for a bit, but I don't ever remember being paid to do it.

I have always enjoyed watching kids, so I suppose it was only natural that I open my own child care once I got older. Back when Dennise was born I started working for several people and found out for years I was watching way to many kids then our state allowed you to do. Sure I was lucky and didn't have any problems but I am thankful to God for that one. It didn't take long to settle on a name for our business "Marks Child Care". What is harder to believe is that is has been over 15 years that I have had my business with a few years off when Deanna was born due to me working outside of the home.

Now that we are settled I have been open officially for almost a year, and I really enjoy it. I love it now that some of the kids are grown that they still remember me and have no problem coming up hugging me, or asking how I am doing and if I am still watching little ones. I do have to say though that I did turn down the church in helping out with the little ones because all of my other days including church days in the past I was looking after kids and it was my few hours away from takaing care of children, giving me a break and time to praise the Lord, without someone under foot.

I am just ever thankful that I am able to be a positive role model for the children I have helped raise over the years and that I made such an impression on their little lives that they still take the time to stop chat and of course give hugs. This really shows to me that I did my job well. Getting a child care worker that will treat your chidlren like there own is so important to their well being, and a parents sanity, that their kids are safe and well taken care of.

We have had kids that have had no father figure in their life really become attached to Dennis, as well as kids that did many of their firsts with us. Going to the store, going out to eat, movie theaters, museums, the many activities I came up with to keep their days busy and full of excitement, the lessons they learned that my parents passed down to me, as well as being a part of our family for holidays when their parent or parents had to work, and even some calling my parents grandma and grandpa because they were such a big part of their life.

I guess if there is one thing I can be thankful for is a loving heart that I can share with everyone including the little ones, and seeing them grow up and making good choices in their adulthood really makes me feel proud that I too was a part of their lives no matter how small or big a part I played in it. So to all of the little children who were apart of "Marks Child Care" or even before we had a name, we are proud of all of your accomplishments.