Screw You, Social Media!

1R2A3894_DxOSo, in the past few months, we’ve had the Elections (It seems as though we haven’t finished talking about the last ones, and yet, here we are).

In the past few days, we’ve had Milwaukee showing its ugly side.

And for as long as I can remember, social media has turned to a hotbed of vitriol, trolling and, well, disrespect, in general. [Read more…]

Current Status (Update)

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about life around the house. Part of it is that because of many of the rules put in place to protect children in foster care, I can only say so much, and the other part is that life is somewhat in a groove. And when you’re in a groove, not much changes from day to day. None the less, there are a few of you out there that have been following our lives that have expressed curiosity about how things are going.

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We Are Licensed!

Thanks to the wonderful people at Children’s Hospital who worked and guided us through the process, as well as allowed for it to happen despite the fact that the attic is not done. We are now officially licensed foster parents.

This has been a goal of ours since before moving to Wisconsin and a goal of Jessica’s since before I met her. Without a doubt, our family dynamic is going to be changing but we couldn’t be happier.

That’s it. Shortest post ever.

Construction Resumes

West End of Hallway

West End of Hallway

So, the last few weeks have been a bit frustrating when it comes to construction of the attic. The photo shown here was taken on June 26 and here it is, the middle of August and not a lot has changed.

At the time this photo was taken, the only thing that hadn’t been done as opposed to what has been completed is the running of the electrical and plumbing; both were three-day jobs. So, for approximately 50 working days, nothing got done. That’s right, ALMOST TWO MONTHS!

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Attic Update (Photos)

East End of Hallway

East End of Hallway

Bedroom 11

Bedroom 11

Bathroom 2

Bathroom 2

Bedroom 10

Bedroom 10

Bedroom 9

Bedroom 9

Bathroom 1

Bathroom 1

Bedroom 8

Bedroom 8

West End of Hallway

West End of Hallway

Well, it’s been a bit of a struggle but things are finally progressing on the attic. When they removed the old subfloor and the electricians came in, it was discovered that a lot of the knob and tube wiring was bare. Add to that that much of it was actually just strung THROUGH the blown in insulation and this place could have been a fire just waiting to happen. All it would have taken was for some of that insulation to get wet and hit those bare wires and anything could have happened.

It took a bit of time for them to re-do that electrical, which involved us being without any stair lights on either staircase for about five weeks. This would not be a HUGE deal except for the fact that when I have to go downstairs with the baby at 4:00 am, I had to be extra careful navigating the steps.

Once done, the carpenters were then able to come in and frame out the attic. It’s hard to see the layout in photos, but I’m including several just to show the progress. The framing is done and now the electrician is back to install the wiring throughout. We had quite a battle with the electrical contractor because they were sending the electrician out about once a week for a few hours. What we needed was a full week of his undivided attention. It took a few calls from Jessica and a couple from me (including a face to face meeting with the owner here at the house) to get it through to them that they were holding up the project. At this point, we are now guaranteed that the electrician will be here every day until his task is complete. Then it’s drywall and finishes. All in all, about another five to six weeks and the attic will be completed.

It’s been a challenge, but we’re getting through it and when we’re done, we will have 11 bedrooms total in the house. Plenty of room for the kids we have to have a nice, stable environment in which to grow up along with room to take in a few more! So if you haven’t visited our GoFundMe Campaign yet, feel free to click on the link to the right. Truly, every contribution helps. And if you can’t contribute financially, sharing our story with others doesn’t cost a cent! 🙂

So I Started A New GoFundMe Campaign

As you know, we ran a fairly successful crowd-fund campaign called “Tilt the Attic” a couple of months ago. We needed $70,000 to reach our goal, which is about half of the total bill for renovating the attic. We collected approximately 10% of that $70,000. Not bad, I’d say, considering people donated with no desire to get anything in return. I’d say that’s worth cheering.

However, we are still working hard at raising the rest of the money. So far, we’ve written checks for about $90,000 of the original $140,000. However, once the electricians got into the attic, they discovered several fire hazards which required all of the wiring in the house be replaced, to the tune of $17,000 (they actually knocked it down from $24,000).  This, of course, tends to be par for the course with older homes.

Even though the Tilt campaign ended, I immediately started a GoFundMe campaign but debated for some time as to whether or not I really wanted to go back and do what feels like “begging” for money. Both Jessica and I have always believed that if you want or need something, you figure out a way to earn it, but always be willing to help others in need. So, asking others for help is pretty difficult for us. But this is not about us. This is about giving kids stability. It’s about giving kids the love and lessons they need to go out into the world and make it a better place. These are things we know we can do and (I think) we’re pretty good at it. I might even go so far as to say it could very well be our calling. So, essentially, we have to put our pride aside and just go for it. Kids don’t get any younger (and we adults certainly don’t!), so the sooner we can act with them, the better off they are!

With all the above said, and after careful consideration. I have decided to actually publicly announce the campaign. And I would encourage you to consider it or, even if the thought moves you but you are not in a position to help financially, share it with people you know. A little word of mouth can go a LONG way and doesn’t cost a thing.

You can find information about the campaign here. And we would really appreciate any help you can give.

Historic Home Tour

This past weekend, our home was on the neighborhood tour of historic homes. Our community is a somewhat unique community in Milwaukee because while it is in an urban area, the people who live here are very close and work hard to preserve both the history while, at the same time, always endeavor to welcome new people and new ideas. In many ways, it reminds me of the WordPress Community. People here really CARE about the success, livelihood and happiness of its residents. We’ve only been here for less than two years and I have found it amazing that our little neighborhood adopted us so quickly.

Because we moved into this house and it needed quite a bit of updating (it was, after all, 115 years old at the time we moved in) and even more repair, people have been watching our progress with great interest. So, when they started planning their annual home tour, they asked that we be a part of it. To be honest, while we have gotten to know various neighbors, we really have not had many over because to us, the house never feels like it’s *done* and we’ve had two years of contractors here constantly (but not consistently; that’s another story).

For the tour, I decided to do a slideshow so our guests could see the progress we’ve made on the house. And, since the attic was not done, Jessica and I decided it would be a perfect opportunity for us to show what we were doing in the attic and why we are doing it.

We had about 300 people come through our house Saturday and every time, Jessica would greet them at the door, welcome them to our house and then proceed to tell different parts of the same story about how she grew up in foster care. I probably heard her tell the story 50 times and not once, did I get tired of hearing it. It’s a pretty incredible (albeit sad with a happy ending) story about how a person can overcome so much adversity and still end up on her feet. Ya. . . she’s pretty amazing. And several times throughout the day, I caught people standing and watching one of the three TVs on which we had the movie showing, captivated by the photos of the house as well as the narrative.

Our hope is that, while the people came to catch a glimpse of what it’s like to live in old homes, they walked away with more than simply that. Old houses are pretty cool, but a real home is even cooler!

You can view the movie if you like. And if you want to help, we’ve just started a new crowd fund on gofundme.com so you can pitch in for the attic. Our goal is to make room to take in another sibling group.

So Much Gratitude for Our ‘Tilt the Attic’ Rock Stars

I’ve been really busy lately. Between the house full of kids and the travel and the fact that, well, the snow is gone, I have not really made the time to post much. There’s a lot to write about and I do have some posts started but I thought that, since there are only 19 days left in our crowd funding campaign, I’d take a few minutes to thank those of you who have contributed. I’m going to do it individually, but all at the same time (if that makes sense). Because we appreciate each and every donation, no matter how big or small (we know that you gave or did what you could and that is, as they say, AMAZE-BALLS), I’m going to thank you all in order of the contributions but not list the contribution. Truly, every single penny (or dollar) helps! [Read more…]