Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Photo Time!

None of these photos are in any particular order, they are just ones I liked! and they are somewhat during the time I forgot to post things, so you can see some things we did! We werent miserable the WHOLE time!!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Got Some 'Splainin' to do...

I know a few of you may have noticed that i have been an MIA blogger for about three months. Which is a LONG time for me lately. Especially since i was hoping to sort of be a part time pro blogger with my craft blog and recipe blog. The key is to keep doing it!!!

But ive been uber stressed due to this whole stupid situation with the police and CPS on my case... literally.
Soem of you know and some of you don't. The old me would not have given a Rats Patooty about the situation, laughed and moved on with my life... but the old me was washed away in Santa Barbara where i realized that not everyone likes me... but thats okay. Im finding myself again sooner than i thought i would. But thats a story for another day...

Chapter 1

Four Random Police Officers

Thursday, November 4th 2010
My friend was over because I had asked her to help me put away some Halloween decor and clean up the house a bit since it had gotten a little out of hand during the festivities. We had three out of my four kids home that day who were playing in the somewhat tidy bedroom while we were cleaning. When all of a sudden four police officers walked through the bushes in the back of my apartment that bordered the sidewalk near a small street in the university housing complex.
I thought that was strange and hoped nothing bad had happened.
The next thing i knew they were at my door. I opened the door and, smiling brightly, gave them a cheery, "Hello! Is everything alright?" because we all know that police don't just show up to give people the good news of nothing bad having happened that day.
Two of the officers were older men who seemed kindly enough, the other one was a blond older female who smiled sweetly while the other female police officer who looked like she could be my age, kept her hair in a tight bun atop her head and never took her sunglasses off.
Then suddenly, without so much as cracking the tiniest of smiles or even a 'hello' or 'good day', she said firmly, "Is your son Elijah?"
"Um.. yes." thats weird. So I stand there waiting for an explanation when...
"Where is he?"
"In his room playing.... wha?"
"Can we see him, please?"
Surprised, I turn around to get him, leaving the door ajar.
When, to my complete and utter shock, the female officer in the sunglasses had in the mean time entered my home unasked, unwanted, and unlawfully. She looked around at the messy decor.
I returned with my two and a half year old son who is wearing but a diaper and he talked to them and laughed, he loves Police officers and all the 'rescue heroes' etcetera. While we were at the door my other two children walked up to see what the commotion was. They met the officers and laughed and talked to them. Then one of the men asked in a somewhat serious tone, "Is this a daycare?"
There were three kids next to me who all looked identical, are you kidding me, Officer NoKids?
"Hahaha, no! These are all my kids, plus a fourth one who is at school!"
I turn around and say, "What is this about exactly?"
The rude officer who came inside my house looked up at me, sunglasses gleaming, and said, "A neighbor reported seeing your son out back next to the street by himself. We went around and confirmed that the back of your apartment is unsafe for children to be playing on because of how close it is to the street with out a fence, even with the bushes there he could just run right into the street."
I kindly explained to the officers that of course it is unsafe and that is why he was not out there by himself. After all I did not chose to live in that spot, i had no choice where I moved to in student housing because our building was being torn down.
I had allowed my son to play on our back porch earlier that day but only with my supervision, for that exact reason.
Unconvinced she looked around my apartment once more and declared in all honesty, "You know, Ma'am, I am going to be blunt with you. The state your home is in is grounds enough for me to call Child Protective Services on you."
I looked at her mortified at the comment she made to me while standing, uninvited, in my home. I looked at the other four police officers, who had intentionally remained outside my front door. They looked up and down and anywhere but at me because they were indeed ashamed of their companions bold actions.
I turned to her just plain shocked about everything that has happend in the last five minutes.
I tried to explain that the police had been called on me twice before when i was outside playing with my kids and that this was all just a misunderstanding, but to no avail. Eventually the torment stopped and they left. I was glad because they didn't mention anything about filing a report.

Chapter 2

The Lie

Twenty minutes after the four police officers left I hear a knock at my door. Thinking nothing of it I answer to see little miss Sunglasses and the officer who had been sent the last two times someone had called on us for playing outside. He smiled kindly, she did not (are you shocked???? Im not)
She had a clipboard, he had stickers.
She started asking me questions like our names and phone numbers and birthdays and such. All the stuff you need for a report.
He gave my kids stickers while i answered her questions. After the last question I asked, "Why do you guys need all this info? Are you filing a report?"
She claimed, "No, we just need your information."
Yeah. Right. And Im the Queen of England.

Chapter 3

A Real Problem

Sunday, November 7th 2010
I was super sick so I stayed home from church. Shane didn't want to take all four of the kids without me so he also stayed home. I still got to nap which was great because it was sorely needed.
That night around 6:30 we all ended up watching the end of Back to the Future because it was on Television and we dont have the DVD yet. It ended around the time the sun went down. Since I had been in bed practically all day I decided to get up and go into the front room. Shane and the older kids were sitting at the table about the play a board game when I asked Shane where Elijah was.
"He's playing in the room isnt he?"
"No, he's not in there i just looked."
As Shane complains to Nephi about not having checked the bedroom for Elijah I look over his shoulder and my heart stops beating.
There is an empty chair next to the front door. I stumble over to the doorway. The chain lock is undone. The door is not closed properly. Elijah is gone and I dont know for how long.
Immediately every horrible outcome runs through my head in a split second. He could be anywhere. Someone could have taken him. He could be lying in the street covered in blood, hit by a car. He could be at the police station. He could be lost and cant find his way back!
My heart is pounding as i remember opening the door and running outside as though in slow motion. When there he is. Sitting on the sidewalk with my next door neighbor.
Relief flooded through my body as I grab him and hug him tightly. Hes in a diaper and shows me the candle house he took to use outside int he dark.
I barely have time to be grateful when my neighbor begins to scold me for elijah being outside alone for 20 minutes in nothing but a diaper. Yeah, its not like i allow him to do this on a regular basis!
Then she informs me that she called the police becasue she didnt know where i was.
She screwed us. Because she didnt know we were in our apartment that is connected to hers.
"We were inside our bedroom! Why didnt you ring the doorbell?!"
"I didnt see the doorbell, but i knocked! Twice, hard!"
Oooooo..... That shoulda done it huh? twice, you say? I could not fathom how annoyed i was! THIS IS MY CHILD, not a tool you borrowed!!!! OPEN THE DAMN DOOR AND WALK IN IF YOU HAVE TO!!!!!
Thats what I would have done! But I guess you cant always be as smart as me in a bad situation. Can you?
thats what i thought.
I am so upset at this point that by the time the police officer shows up I am mustering all my possible energy to be as polite as i can.
After getting my information he tells me that he was looking over a report about us this very morning that was sent to the Child Protective Services, one that was filed on Thursday.
"Thats BALONEY!!" I exclaim to him, on the verge of tears, "She told me she wasn't going to write a report because my son was never outside alone!!! She lied to me!"
He says he doesnt know why should would lie to me and then something I don't remember. the last thing I do is blurt out in obvious sarcasm, "I already have a chain lock up! He opened it! What do you want me to do??!! Maybe I should just put BARS on the doors and windows, like a PRISON!!!" And I scoop up Elijah and run away into my apartment crying the whole time.
I sit in my bedroom and cry my heart out while Shane finishes talking to the officer.

Im in trouble now. Im officially scared.

Chapter 4

CPS Surprise

The next day I call my mom and explain everything to her. She immediately comes and picks up Willow and Elijah and all my dirty laundry that she can fit in her car. She calls my old childhood BFF from church, who has a child about my kids age and recently had CPS called on her (CPS means Child Protective Services, just in case you've never had to deal with them, jerk) Mom figured she would know what to do.
My friend calls me and tells me shes coming over to help me out as soon as shes off work.
Thank the heavens for people like this when one is truly in need! I owe them big time.
So I am trying my best to clean my house during the day and the whole time I am frazzled! I mean, I don't even remember anything from the whole week because i was so upset!!
I even turn away and hide if i see my neighbor! I already knew she judged me because of my parenting style, but this was over the top. I couldn't handle it just yet.
One day she stopped Shane to talk about the situation, about how she had done us a service. I hid behind the opened window crying in anger listening to her prideful speech.
I avoided them for WEEKS on end... sad, too sad. I really liked them, I think thats why it hurt so much. At least we weren't super attached to them yet.
Well, Shane had informed me that he was leaving the weekend before Thanksgiving to help his brother move from Georgia to California because he got out of the Air Force (Woohoo!!)
But this is quite bad timing, i thought to myself. CPS could show up any day now, right?

A week and a half passed with no visit or call from CPS. Or so I thought...
Evidentially she had come while i wasnt home, and called using a blocked number that I just ignored. Who wants to answer a blocked number when you have kids to take care of? I don't need that BS.

Thursday, November 18th 2010
Having had a good first day on my own with all four kids I was feeling quite glad after lunch. You see, we drove an hour to drop Shane off at my moms house so she could take him to the airport the next morning to fly to Georgia. So we were on our own for the next four to five days! Yikes!
The babies and I went to Music Makers at church that day and had a blast after dropping the older two kids off at school. The house had stayed clean since that dreadful day a week and a half ago. I put away most of the laundry and I was feeding my babies a healthy lunch right before we went to pick up my older girl from Kindergarten.
When came a knock at the door.
Opening the door I felt a jolt of fear wash over me as a stared into the shiny dark lens of the sunglasses worn only by... her.
The two female police officers that showed up at my apartment that fateful day two weeks prior, exactly, flanked a tall broad masculine woman dressed in a very professional looking womens suit, holding what looked like a file.
A forebodingly thick file.
The officers did not speak.
The woman says, "Hello, I am 'so and so' an Emergency Response Child Protective Services Agent. May we please come in to speak with you?"
Feeling extremely vulnerable at that moment I hesitate, thinking: These women are not here to help me, they think they are here to help my kids, they will try to take my kids away and Shane isnt here to help me, there is no one on my side right now, I am physically alone and this is bad.
She senses my hesitation. So I quickly say, "Yes, but I have to leave in about ten minutes to get my kindergartener from school."
"Thats fine, we just need to inform you of the situation."
Great, a situation. Like i wasn't aware that this would become a 'situation'. Ugh.
Nobody sits down.
We are standing, with me next to Elijah at the table facing the couch near the door. The blond officer is standing next to the CPS officer in front of me to the left, while miss sunglasses has positioned herself slightly behind me to my right. At this point I have absolutely NO trust in her, I feel as though she might attack me. I am beginning to loath her presence.
During the explanation I check the clock here and there because being late to get my kindergartener is grounds for the school to call the police on me, which is not something I need at this moment.
I begin to explain about the misunderstanding thinking that maybe, just maybe, this CPS officer would understand.
Fat chance.
She actually told me not to try and make up excuses! They barely let me say anything at all! When miss sunglasses interrupts me telling me to, "Be quite, Ma'am" she better be glad she was the one with the gun and not me. They told me that I was being too defensive and that this is a serious matter and they could take my children away from me.
On what grounds?
No way. Absolutely NO WAY would that be legal, I would sue their butts off. I would do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to make their lives miserable if they did that to me.
My house was SPOTLESS.
My children were clothed and fed and clean and healthy!
There was no reason except for the fact that I was telling them they were wasting their time on my case since there was no real danger!!
And who would call my phone in the middle of everything but the school Principle to inform me, i am sure of it, of my son having been sent to his office yet again for doing something with some random jerk at school.
That was it, Ive had it!!
After seeing that it was futile to try to convince them of my innocence I decided to go along with them. i told them i would put a lock on the back door, even though it was the front door that was the problem. No skin off my neck, as long as it kept them far far away from my family i would do it.
i had only five minutes to get my kindergartener from school so I told them I had to leave and after asking me about my car seats, they were gone.
Then I scooped up the babies, threw my purse over my shoulder and stepped out to my car.
To my great annoyance they had not actually left yet. so I ignore them and buckle the babies in the car and get ready to go. I am about to climb in when they waltz over and ask to see my car seats to make sure they are appropriate for my children. I show them two booster seats and the pull out attached care seats that the babies are buckled into.
Miss Sunglasses inspects each car seat criticizing everything she can think of.
"Where are the straps for those ones?"
"Uh, they don't come with straps, they are booster seats. You buckle the kids regularly with those ones."
"Whats the size requirement?"
"Uh, thirty pounds."
"What about the built in ones?"
"Uh, well the law says they have to be at least twenty pounds to ride in a forward facing car seat."
"Well, there is no way shes twenty pounds. She is definitely under twenty pounds!" says Sunglasses, referring to baby Willow.
"Actually, she was twenty pounds when we weighed her a few weeks ago, so yeah." I tell her as she leans over the car seat to read the label.
"There is no way she is over twenty pounds and this car seats manufacturer says the child needs to be at least twenty two pounds to ride safely. Ma'am, if you drive away with her in this seat I will cite you."
At this point she has made me late picking up my kindergartener from school.
My son is in the principals office.
I am not allowed to go anywhere.
I burst into tears asking, "What am I supposed to do then?? I need to pick her up! Shes in the office now! They will call you guys if I don't get her!"
"Yes they will, that wont be good for you." She says, attempting a soothing voice with no avail. She eases up on the 'Hard-Ass' game she is so fond of because maybe somewhere deep in her dank soul lies a broken human heart?
Who knows.
She then gos on to try and relate with me saying that she has a two year old son too, and that she knows its hard and that i have to find a daycare to put my kids in to de-stress during the day.
I'm thinking, dude, you work full time and you have one kid, you have NO CLUE what its like. I'm not stressed from kids! i'm stressed out from idiots like you telling me how to raise my kids! I'm EFFING sick of it!
unfortunately i don't get the express any of this to her because my sinuses are over flowing and I'm choking on my tears and mucus. Pretty cute, i know.
She then explains that her and the other police officer can walk the kids to the station, which is only a block away, and it could be like a "fun field trip" and they would get a tour of the station and i could get a few minutes to relax.
Yeah, right. Relax, plot revenge. Same thing, right?
Juuuuuust kidding...
And then, awesome, My friend drives by to go get her kindergartener when she sees me in the parking lot balling my eyes out while two officers are about to walk away with my kids.
"Sarah! Are you okay?!"
I shake my head, no. Because thats the truth.
"Do you need help?"
I nod.
"Do you need me to take the kids for you?"
I nod my head again as miss Sunglasses comes over and says, "You've made enough of a scene, i think my partner and I should take the kids for you."
Enough of a scene indeed!
Not wanting to make my situation any worse I tell my friend never mind, they were just going to go on a walk to the station because the car seat isnt the right weight for baby. It wasn't as bad as it looked.
When who should drive by but yet ANOTHER friend about to pick up HER kindergartener from school as well! More 'splainin' to do later!
I walk into the office, apologize to the office lady, I see the Principle and before he can say anything I say, "You want me to just take Nephi home with me now?"
He looks a tad surprised and says, "Oh, sure! Ill get him to get his things."
I sign him out after the reason is explained.
Something stupid about an argument with a boy in class. Somebody got hit or something, I don't know. At this point I don't care. I just sit there and cry as the Principle grows steadily more and more uncomfortable.
We leave, and I feel almost free.
One more thing.
Go to station, get babies and leave as fast as possible.
I told the older kids that we have to walk to the police station to get the babies because they had a field trip and the Police may want to talk to them and they just have to be honest and if they don't know an answer, say i don't know. Don't make anything up. The basics.
I'm feeling a little better at this point but I'm still annoyed with the Officers.
They have given my children souvenirs that claim the owner of the souvenir is a "Crime Survivor".
Needless to say those were thrown away as soon as possible.
That was when I realized they saw me as a criminal and not a citizen. I felt abused. Wronged. Misjudged. Prejudged.
I mean, Ive been misjudged my whole life, but this was the only time it affected my life in a devastating way.

CPS lady gave me some homework to do.
  • Get a lock on the back door installed
  • Get an appropriate sized car seat for baby
  • Get Shane to talk to her (she was on a plane when she tried to call him and she got all mad about that! I told her he was on a plane! Der.)
Done and done.
Her last visit was Friday the 10th of December, i believe. Sans police officers.
She came in, looked at the back door lock. Forgot about the car seat. After literally two minutes, she left.

The case was closed.
My heart was lifted. Scarred, but happy again.

This is the reason I have not been blogging. I have been so out of it for a while I cant begin to explain the depressing feelings about not being a good enough mom or not being able to handle four kids. I felt like I hated the world for so long after this experience.
I realized that I need to keep ignoring jerks. I used to do it all the time! I need to remember how to do it again.
I have not had a conversation with my neighbor since.
The first time we spent more than a second outside at the same time since then was last Saturday.
I dont know where to begin with them. I will figure it out soon enough. Prayer, its always the answer.