Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Live from Houston

I'm blogging at the bathroom sink because it's the only place in the room with the wireless signal and a plug in. The table which logically would be the place to blog, is void of the signal needed.

I'm not going to blog much tonight because I'm too sleep deprived and thus discouraged and don't feel well at all. I had 4 hours of sleep last night and ate too much for supper and things are not going as well at home as I had hoped, so I am at the end of myself.

Tomorrow or the day after, when my 18 hours from hell in Houston are a vivid and more humerous money I will blog what happened last night. I am sure that after I get some sleep it will be histerically funny, but at this moment it isn't.

Check out Bart's blog... it helps to show how we are attempting to cope with what is going on. For tonight though, I am safe, though tired and feeling sick. I am going to go to bed around 7:30 as I have to get up at 4. Hopefully by the time tomorrow is over, I will be much more emotionally ready to face the remainder of my life. Right now I want to drop off the face of the earth and not reappear.

But that's my exhaustion talking...

Monday, February 27, 2006

Things that Happen in Minnesota

for some reason do NOT stay in Minnesota. I had a horrible time going to sleep last night thinking off all the things that were bothering me at home. And then I wake up twice in the night to go to the bathroom and it's the same story. All those troubling thoughts come pouring into my mind.

Have heard from Bart this morning already and apparently Mike wasn't sleeping in his room last night. Bart thinks he was in th house, but who knows.

Also, Rand sent me an email at 1:30 this morning MN time. Do you think if you were going to be out of bed using a computer without permission that you would send an email to your mother? Maybe, if you're Rand. Or if Mike knows how to use Rand's account maybe he did it.

Oh how I wish things in MN could just stay in MN when I leave.

Off to speak all day today. Hope everyone has a good one!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Safe and Sound

The traffic will lull me to sleep tonight here in El Paso. Britni the Best, whose name is really just Britni Best, who is getting married and changing her name to something much less cool (unlike a woman I know whose last name is Dyck who got married and chose not to change it)... any way I digress.

Britni and I are chatting and we are going to be going to bed soon. Travel was uneventful. Even got in early.

Right before I left Tony was riding with Bart to take me to the airport (along with Mike and Jimmy -- Mike is hoping to buy indigo ink (for a class project. Ha. How dumb do we think he is? He wants to tatoo himself. But Bart is pretending he thinks it is a school project). Anyway, Tony is being so annoying that I finally say, "Tony, I wasn't looking forward to this trip, but now I am. You have been so awful on this trip that I'm going to be happy to get away."

To which he responded, "We're all VERY glad you're going."


What I Always Dreamed Of

When I was a pre-teen, one of my idols was Ann Kiemel Anderson. I always dreamed that one day I might be like her in some way. Writing books and most importantly, going on planes to travel across the country to speak to many audiences about a topic I was passion about. The hotels, the airports, it all seemed so very glamorous.

Now, I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t want to go to Texas, but our schedule this week is simply exhausting and certainly not a glamorous way to spend the better part of four days. I leave today for the airport a little before 1 p.m. and will arrive (after a layover in Phoenix) at about 9:30 p.m. this time. Tomorrow morning we get picked up at 8:20 and taken to the CPS office where I will speak and match until 4 when we will head straight to the airport. We get to spend a couple hours in Dallas on our way to Houston and will arrive at the airport around 10:00. Then on Tuesday morning we will drive to Spaulding for a 10:30 meeting, have a very fast lunch (if we have time) and then arrive at the Murworth CPS office at 1:30 to match until around 5. Then we will finally have time for a nice dinner (which I will be allowed to have very little of) before going to bed early so we can get up and be at the airport by 6 or something outlandish like that. I will arrive home just in time to greet the children as they arrive home from school. I will have the majority of parenting responsibilities as Bart has to prepare for the Ash Wednesday service, and, when that is done, I have Bell Practice at 8:30. By this point in time I will be dead dog tired.

Nice to be able to accomplish my dreams, huh?

Every Single Sunday Morning

One of my “ministries” at our church is to make and run powerpoint slides, welcome videos and baptismal videos. Most of the time this happens in 2nd service, but once and a while I have responsibilities in the 9 a.m. service. This morning there is a baptism and I need to be there early to set up the video. And even though I have said it numerous times, I am the only one in a hurry.

Very little as frustrating as trying to get people moving when they don’t want to move.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

A Gift

I just spent two hours and 5 minutes cleaning the kitchen. I had been keeping on top of things for a while, but then after not feeling good and being gone all day Thursday, things got a little behind. Then Bart has kind of had a cooking frenzy over the last few nights. Thursday it was pork chops and hash browns, last night it was homemade pizza, and tonight homemade meatballs with mashed potatoes. He also baked banana cake with cream cheese frosting and today made dozens of monster cookies. I think nearly everything was dirty.

I decided to do a very thorough job as a thank you to Bart for putting up with me being such a bear over the last few days and for all the cooking he does. I’m sure that after 2 hours it isn’t as clean now as some of you always keep your kitchens, but I was pleased with my efforts. I hope he will be too.

I got ready to go on time to have free time and I spent it cleaning the kitchen. It wasn’t bad though -- nobody bugs me when I’m doing dishes and cleaning the kitchen because they don’t want to help...

My Bags are Packed...

Well, almost anyway. Still need the projector packed. Am worried I’m going to go over the weight limit and have to check the projector. Better pack a smaller bag inside in case I have to. At least i“m not carrying all the literature this time.

Cindy is trying to get me to use Skype and in doing so I got my USB mic out and was messing around with Garage Band. Oh do I wish I had some free time to mess around and create things with all the stuff at my fingertips, but the temptation will have to be ignored as there are many other things I should be doing instead.

Since I feel so crappy though, I may not get much more done before I leave... I may actually just veg in front of a TV tonight. Unheard of, I know, but I don’t feel like I can do much else.


After the whole fiasco Mike, who was told last week BEFORE he decided to disappear, that he was receiving his last ride out of town, asks again today. This is one of the downsides of FAS -- forgetting. He comes in expecting a yes and then is shocked to get a no. I said something like, “Not interested in that. Tried it last week and didn’t like the results. I learn from my mistakes.” By the time I was half way through my sentence he was mumbling something and walking out of the room.

John has gone with no other description than “out walking around with friends.” We usually don’t allow that, but I figure he’ll get caught at some point. I don’t believe for a second that in 28 degree weather he is going to walk around for 4 hours without going in someone’s house, so we’ll just wait and see when he gets caught.

However, it is unsettling to know that these guys think they are outwitting me.

I also do not feel great physically as I can’t find a balance with how much to eat to feel good yet full, nor how to regulate my bowels. TMI?

I’m getting close to being done with what I need to get done though, so that’s good. May even have time to watch a dumb TV movie tonight or something.

The whole “are we getting the house for sure” deal should be resolved this week and another unresolved situation has actually come to a head (with one of my adoptive families and the court system. That’s not to say that I’m happy, but at least we can move towards resolution). So, things are going to resolve themselves one at a time I guess. Just takes so long! I’ll be glad when a lot of this unsettling stuff settles.

It Happens All the Time

and the next line is not “This crazy love of mine.”

It happens every time I try to sleep in. This morning by 7:30 I had been interrupted 4 times. I should have just gotten up at 7 as usual and skipped the attempts at sleep.

One of the issues of the morning is whether or not Salinda could go on an overnight trip with a friend on a Saturday night. At our house, we don’t do overnights on Saturday. But instead of just telling her friend that last night, she hoped against hope the rule was suddenly going to change today.

I remember when I did this back when I was 8. My parents are very conservative and back in the 70s and 80s to them this meant no movies and no dancing. I never saw a single movie in the theatre until I was 18 and I’ve never danced. Even had a note so I wouldn’t have to square dance in school.

But one day I spent a Friday night with a friend and the next morning her mom announced to all the kids (there were 11 of them, 12 if you count me) that if they all pitched in to clean the house all morning long we would go see Charlotte’s Web. I remember convincing myself (foolishly) that if I worked very hard my mom and dad would certainly change the rule and I would get to see my first movie. After all, I had earned it and they weren’t going to have to pay for it.

You guessed it ... I went home while they went to the movie and I was outwardly mad, but inwardly not surprised at all. Child-rearing specialists suggest that when it comes to rules, they serve as a ceiling for bed jumpers -- they need to know where the limits are. Once and a while they jump too high and hit their head, but even hitting their head makes them feel safe.

I don’t know for sure what if anything I’ll say to Salinda today. She may or may not be moody and crabby. But I’m tempted to say something like: All families have their rules. Some families don’t celebrate birthdays (she “went out” with a boy whose family is Jehovah’s Witness for a couple weeks). Some families are required to go to every sporting event for every sibling. Some families, like mine when I was growing up, don’t dance or go to movies and get spanked for saying “Gosh, Heck, or Dang.” Some families if you want breakfast you have to go to the fast food dumpster and find it for yourselves. Some families you have to lie quietly while your mother’s boyfriend rapes you. And in this family, we don’t do sleepovers on Saturdays, we eat supper as a family every night, we go to church, etc.

MIght be a bit harsh.

Parenting is tricky -- but one thing I do know. As long as parents are consistent and provide guidelines kids can survive the rules of their families. If I survived all the rules that we had, these kids will sure live through the ones we impose.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Making progress

The Matching Bash Charts are done. The Baptism video is done. The maps from the airport to the hotel to the first meeting place to the second meeting place to the hotel to the airport are done and printed. The Powerpoint presentations are done. Seven ebay packages have been prepared and mailed.

Everything I need to present has been transferred to the laptop and now I am in the process of copying over my emails and address book just in case the auto syncing hasn’t been working.

I still have another day to finish up some other stuff -- like getting my desk organized and cleaned up and making sure I am prepared for the presentation, packing my stuff, including all the technological stuff (projector, connectors, speakers).

I’ve been sitting almost in the same spot for 12 hours -- with the exception of a couple meals and several unproductive trips to the bathroom.

Everything is fairly calm at our house tonight, though, so that’s a good thing.

The Race

Every time I leave on a trip I feel super rushed right before I go. There are certain things that HAVE to be done before Sunday at 1 when I leave for the airport. A few of them, if I get really desperate, I can take with me, but I really don’t want to. So, I’m beginning the race of trying to get things done.

There are a few additional stressors that I can’t even blog about entering our world today, plus during my great 3 day posting frenzy on ebay I forgot about actually getting the stuff ready and shipping it, which I need to do today or tomorrow as well.}

I was debating typing my to do list here, but decided not to. That’s gotta be just way too boring.

But the first thing on it is to update my Scripture site, so I will go there. I see that I missed a couple days and that is bothersome to me, but I guess it’s just going to have to be imperfect... like almost everything else in my world in this moment ... because I am not going to have to time backtrack and do three today to catch up.

Also, the reason I haven’t updated my Shrinking Slob blog is because I’m mad about the weight loss stuff. I will someday.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Whew. What a Day

I had a long day but I came home happy to be me. I started my day in Mankato, placing 6 and 7 year olds with a family that already has 3 kids under five. They are awesome parents and will do great with them, but I am SO glad I’m not at that stage any more.

Then I had a very tasty lunch that Kari prepared for me and I watched her deal with most adorable Anna, who spent the time I was there proving to me that she gives her parents a run for their money. And again, I was glad that I don’t have a 3 year old still at home.

And then I did post placement for the family that went from 2 kids to 9 kids in one day six months ago.... and see them going through some of the same stuff that we have already been through -- and again, glad to be me.

Talked to my friend Michele, whose blog I would link you to, except that she only updates it once every 6 years (OK, so I exaggerate) and even after talking to her I was glad I was me.

But coming home after only being here 15 minutes in 12 hours, I’m remembering why I don’t like being me when there was a misunderstanding and we thought Mike might have had a part is stealing a vehicle this past weekend. We think and hope it was just a misunderstanding.

I’m tired and have a TON to do tomorrow, and I just want to go to sleep, but most of our kids are at the basketball game, so bedtime won’t be for a while.

And to top of my stress, I think Bart and Kyle may have been on the phone for the past 20 minutes and that won’t be a good thing, so stress is added to my stress waiting to hear what that is all about.

But at least I’m not Mr. and Mrs A, or Kari, or Michele, or Mr. and Mrs. P. Right?

I Slept All Night (and I think everyone else slept here!)

I slept for six hours straight last night, which is amazing for me. Then I went back to sleep and slept another 1/2 hour or so. It’s not quite enough, but it is better than the 4 or 5 restless hours I’ve been getting for the last several nights.

And I haven’t gotten any calls and nothing looks fishy, so I think everyone spent the whole night in their beds.

I’m off for a placement, lunch with Kari, a jaunt to our new bank in our new town to sign paperwork, and then up to do a post-placement visit, back home for a quick supper, and then off to do another post-placement visit. It’s going to be a long day, but it will be nice to be get out and be someplace different. Sunday - Wednesday seemed like three weeks instead of three days.

So there won’t be many blog entries, although I’m taking my laptop so of there is wireless somewhere convenient, who knows?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Do you like my Roller Coaster?

So, I come home from bell practice and Mike runs up the stairs and says, “Hey Mom!” like we’ve been best friends since kindergarten. You know what really sucks? And I said, “A vacuum” and he laughed because I guessed it.

I asked him, “Are you done with your little foray into rebelliousness”

He said, “Sometimes I just have to get away from all this crap.”

I said, “Well, you realize we haven’t been giving you little consequences, but that the road you’ve been on for the last few days is not one that is going to lead you to Driver’s Ed, or the cosmetic surgery you want (he needs a birthmark removed), or college some day.

He said, ”well, you weren’t even talking about doing that.“

I said ”they were on my list of things to check into for this week, but after the weekend I took them off.“



”Oh. Can I be on the computer?“

And that is the end of that.

For this moment anyway.

Literally for 7 minutes

I sat down here seven minutes ago and for the first time all day didn’t feel like I was going to lose it. Mike had gone out to skateboard and John had made the right choice not to go with him. John was acting “normal” again, and everyone else was doing something that was OK for them to do.

I was feeling good and thought “I should blog this quickly while I’m feeling good.”

But just now a car drove up, Mike jumped out of it, ran in the house, grabbed something, and left without permission. It’s doubtful he’ll be home until sometime in the middle of the night.

But I did feel good for seven minutes. That’s something I guess.

So, Can you Feel It?

Is my stress being spread throughout the nation? Is it palpable everywhere or just here in my office?

Physically I feel like crap... because I can’t figure out how to regulate my own literal crap.

Emotionally I’m beyond stressed. The response to Bart and my efforts to help Mike and John has been less than favorable.

I spent most of the day finding, faxing, and making phone calls about the house. I have very little done that needs to be done before I leave.

I always get like this before I leave but the addition of knowing we are moving plus having to do 4 post placement visits and one placement visit in 3 days AND having boys that think they can come and go as they please is quite the combination. That and the fact that I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since Friday night is leading me in a strange direction.

The suggestions people gave are all things we have tried. We have locked them out before -- they break in. We have done serious short groundings. In fact, we have tried variations of everything that everyone suggested. I appreciate your input, but right now I feel like we’ve tried it all to no avail.

I know that the bottom line is that we remain outwardly as calm as we can. I feel like inwardly we might self combust, but they don’t know....

Nothing Accomplshed

My other blog friend Cindy asked me how I have time to blog with 9 kids when she has only two. It’s called S-C-H-O-O-L and the fact that mine are older. I wouldn’t have time if they were younger.

The second thing is that this is a stress reliever for me. I sit at home alone working every day. I have nobody here to talk to. So when I need to vent, I tell blogland.

I have gotten nothing done. After I got the kids off to school, I started the day with a couple bad phone calls. Then I was trying to get things together for the mortgage banker, when I found out that I needed to do it quicker than I thought I did. I also found out that Bart wanted to talk to John after school, so that I had to change my time at the fitness center. So I left to go get that done, then went to the P.O. and the church to get the stuff I needed for the banker. Then I came home to sit down (after a couple laundry loads) and got a call that they could start fixing the new van that I ran into the guard railing a couple weeks ago today instead of tomorrow and they wanted me to bring it down. So I left to do that, and when I returned I had to change laundry again. Then I couldn’t get ahold of any of the people I needed to.

And I am surrounded by all the work that I have yet to start. I am running out of time as I will be gone on placements and post-placement visits for almost 12 hours straight tomorrow, and I have another one tonight. I have to get the stuff ready for my trip as well.

And my inbox is at 106 and I have to deal with all of them -- I’ve already deleted the ones I could.

I don’t know how much more I can take... all the stress, all the work, and sleep deprivation and I’m feeling closer to the edge than usual -- although I’m not really sure where the edge is, as I’ve never gone over it...

And Sometimes A Person is Furious

So by 8 this morning I’m getting a phone call to ask me why my sons were in this guy’s basement with his two teenagers at 12:30 this morning. Mike has FAS and is impulsive and so I sometimes can let that go. But when John chooses to follow him, then I get more furious. Especially since John portrays himself as the “good one” of the two who really loves his parents.

One of the scary things that runners learn is that it is hard to do anything about it. You can call the sheriff, but the sheriff will only bring them home. Even the sheriff told me this the first time Mike ran. He said, “Once a kid runs and realizes there is nothing you can do, they will continue to run.” The sheriff won’t bother to right it up because no County Attorney will prosecute. If your kids steal from you, you can report it and make a police report and everything, but they won’t prosecute them because it is a family matter.

So, anyway, I digressed. How do you punish a runner? If you ground them, they laugh and take off. If you take away their privileges it just makes it more miserable for them to stay home, so they want to be gone more. If you insist that the county get involved and help you, the kid either gets trapped in a system they can’t get out of or the county files a petition against the parents. Even when a kid is on probation, running isn’t a violation of that probation.

Bart and I don’t know what to do. If we make a big deal out of it, we know things will escalate, but if we act like it doesn’t matter, they will escalate. Any ideas anyone?

But Most of the Time A Person Isn't Surprised

So this morning I go to get Mike up and he is not in his bed. I figure he has run during the night again and get fairly stressed out. Fifteen minutes later I see him on the bottom step. I ask him what he is doing. “Waiting” he replies.

I said, “Well, I didn’t find you in your bed 15 minutes ago so I assumed you were gone and I let Dominyk get in the shower.”

About five minutes later I realize that he is fully clothed. I ask him, “Why are you completely dressed?” To which he responds, “Stop asking so many f***** questions. It’s getting annoying.”

Yup, I’m the problem. It’s me.

I had to point out, because I couldn’t take it any more, that I’m not stupid enough to believe the stories they make up. “Just because I stop asking questions and don’t consequence you, doesn’t mean I believe you. I’m not as stupid as you apparently think I am.”

That didn’t go over well, but with my pride somehow I just can’t let them think I’m buying it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

House News

Well, we agreed on a price on the house....we offered, they counter offered, and we settled. Now we just have to see if the church can up our housing allowance a little for us to buy it. So, some of the stress is over.

If we get it, I will certainly post pictures ... which reminds me, I better download the ones online to have them just in case...

Some Good News and some Interesting News

Well, I did as Mike asked and respected his wishes. I was actually surprised to see him come home from school, but he did. He even did his chore without me saying anything. I smiled and waved at him, and he made a hateful face, but I didn’t speak.

Some of his friends came to see him and so he came in and said, “Mom, can I go to the skatepark? I know this isn’t a good time to ask or anything?” I said, “Having supper with us?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “Then be home by 5:45 because we are eating early.” He said, “OK.” I said, “we are going to have a conversation sometime, aren’t we?” He said, “Yup.”

He came in a couple minutes later to ask when Bart was coming home. Hopefully we caught this one before it got out of control, but we’ll see. I could be reporting in a while that he didn’t come home for supper, or that he was gone again at night.

But at least for this moment, things are OK.

In addition, Kyle has decided to PCA for us for the summer again. While this can be seen as good news, he is quite selfish and it can be very frustrating to have him around. Another driver is not going to bother me though, that’s for sure. He causes more friction between Bart and I than all the rest of the kids put together, so that will make it hard. And he’ll be in a town where he doesn’t know anyone from high school and be restless to head up to the Cities in our vehicle often I’m sure, which will be not so great....
So there are good and bad things about having him home.

Still no news about the house...

Don't Think about Purple Elephants

All day long I’ve been trying not to think about the house and the fact people are having such an incredible impact on determining our future lives.

So it’s all I’m thinking about. Every 5-10 minutes, no matter how hard I try to focus on work, that’s all I think about. I just keep coming back to it.

A Decision that is Too Much for Me

What house we move into in Mankato is going to determine a whole bunch of things about our future. Not only will it determine our neighbors (which can or cannot be a big piece of the positive or negative picture) but it will determine so many other things.

It will determine which schools our kids go to, which will assist in determining who their friends are and as everyone with teenagers knows, who their friends are determines a lot.

It will determine who we as adults get to know and who we come in contact with during our routines, to whom we become the “only Jesus some will ever see,” and how much and how often we can have people into our home.

So I can’t make this decision. It’s way to big for me. We placed an offer on a house and we’re supposed to hear today or tomorrow whether or not they accept our offer. If this house doesn’t work out, I will know for sure (because I have a simple faith) that it was because God knew stuff we didn’t know and we aren’t supposed to live there. If things work out and that is the house we buy, I will move forward with confidence that God has worked things out for us to be in the very BEST place we can be.

Call it naive, call it simplistic, call it shallow, but to me it’s the essence of Christian faith: Knowing that God knows everything, is all powerful, and is everywhere (you know, the old omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent thing) and that God CARES about the details of our lives and will answer when we call. If God was anything less than that, why would anyone bother to follow?

Overheard (Dominyk)

This week I heard Dominyk say, “You can hide Ricky, but you can’t run.” For some reason this cracked me up.

And last night he said, “Anybody got a light and a smoke to go with it. I really need one.”

Way too much TV...

Latest Update on the ins and outs

Mike got home, as far as I can tell, after 4 a.m. I had to tell him to get up three times before he actually did. I’m sure he was tired. He slept very little the last three nights.

I told him this morning that our conversation that I told him we needed to have was going to be about how I could have handled things better. I explained that it was not going to be about consequences, but that he really needed to stop his spiral before he went too far. I said that everyone makes mistakes and that he needed to recover instead of doing what he had done before and start doing what he was supposed to do again.

He responded with “Now is when you need to stop talking to me because I’m getting pissed.” I guaranteed him that if he would do what he was supposed to do I would stop talking to him and that he had himself a deal.

He proceeded to leave earlier than he was supposed to this morning without asking if he could go. And I noticed that he had stolen 2 of my 12 dead roses from the bouquet Bart got me for Valentine’s Day. Don’t ask me why. I stopped putting the words “Mike” and “why” in the same sentence long ago.

I didn’t sleep well at all last night. Am praying that Mike will stop himself before he takes this so far that Bart and I can’t do anything about it.

Monday, February 20, 2006

The More Things Change the More they Stay the Same

Mike refused to come to dinner. Stayed in his room throughout dinner.

And apparently now he has disappeared again. He managed to stay long enough to get a shower at least. Who knows if he’ll be home before bedtime or if I’ll get to have another sort-of-sleepless night?

It's All Relative

This is a true story.

As I was heading to pick up Mr. I-think-I’ll-just-be-gone-for-40-extra-hours-Mike from a town thirty miles away, I was listening to Christian radio. The DJ was talking about how his weekend was almost ruined. He said that he had overcome something that could have ruined his weekend because he chose to remember that God was in control and that he could be a victor in Christ Jesus. I was all ears. What almost ruined the DJs weekend?

He went on to explain that the lid to his favorite water bottle that he had had for 8 or 9 months had fallen underneath a counter at Super America and that it was too far gone to ever be retrieved. He had been tempted to be very discouraged and let it ruin his weekend, but he was an overcomer.

Now this wasn’t a televangelist who exaggerates everything. This was just an ordinary DJ telling what he believed to be an honest, personal heart-felt story to connect with his listeners.

Well, people, let me tell you something. An incident like that occurs in my house at LEAST five times EVERY SINGLE DAY. It is so commonplace that it is not even blog-worthy in my mind. We find toothpaste smeared all over walls, a class ring from High School stolen, a cash card missing (quite recent as you know, and serious enough to be blog worthy), our clean clothes dusted with foot powder, the dog sporting expensive cologne, kids wearing my new Adidas socks in the mud, and I could go on and on and on. Every single day this stuff happens.

I’m feeling pretty proud of myself that I’ve been able to feel that God was in control and that I can be a victor in Christ Jesus on a weekend where I’m parenting alone, I have a kid missing, we’re making an offer on a house we may not be able to afford, I can’t eat very much because I have a band around my stomach, I can’t find any psychic space to concentrate enough to do my jobs, and my kids are melting down all over the place because of the anxiety of an upcoming move.

But a lost water bottle lid? Good grief. Go to Sheel’s and by another one. Even the nicest kind aren’t more than $20.00.

I am not sure whether or not I should be grateful that my faith has been increased through trial or envious that my life isn’t more simplistic, where the worst thing that happens all weekend is a lost water bottle lid.

This F****** Family

So, I drive over to get Mike. I decide that no matter what I say to him, it will be the wrong thing so I decide not to talk and when he is ready we’ll talk. So he said not a word the entire ride home.

However, he smells horrible, so ten minutes after we get home I tell him, “Before you eat at our table, I’d like you to have a shower, because you smell pretty bad.”

“I won’t be eating with you but I’ll take a shower.”

Why not?

Because I don’t want to be a part of this f****** family.

What have I done except for forgive you and come give you a ride? I haven’t even said anything to you.

That’s exactly it.

I figured you’d just say I was yelling at you so I decided I would wait until you were ready to talk, but either way it doesn’t make you happy.

Just SHUT UP. I don’t want to talk to you. DOOR SLAMMED.

A half hour later he shows me a card trick. I said, "I'll be ready to talk to you when you're ready."

"I don't want to talk to you" he says.

But he will. When he wants something I'll make him go through the "what should you have done to do the right thing in this situation talk" so that I can feel like a decent parent. Even though none of it will ever sink in.

I feel exactly the same way I did on this day.

Conversation with Mike

At 2:30 today, exactly 41 hours after he was supposed to be home, Mike calls my cell. I’m at the grocery store.

“Hi, Mom. I’m back with David (friend I dropped him off with). Can you come pick me up?”

“Mike, do you realize that it’s about 2 days later than you’re supposed to be home?”

“Yeah, but the people I thought were going to give me a ride home couldn’t.”

“I thought David said you got in their car.”

“yeah, but they said they couldn’t bring me home and I couldn’t find a phone.”

“Well, I’ve been worried about you and haven’t been able to sleep well.”

“Well I haven’t slept for two nights.” (like that is somehow my fault)

“I’ll come get you, but don’t mention the word Trust to me again.”

“If that’s what you think.”


So now I got cortisol running through my brain and my blood pressure is rising, but I call him back.


“Where do you want me to pick you up?”

“Did you hang up on me?”

“No, I thought you hung up on me.”

“No, I didn’t. Where should I pick you up?”

“How about Casey’s?”

“I can’t pick you up at David’s?”

“No, I’m a long way from there.”

“OK, whatever.”

So, I’m off to get him. He is SO FAS.

Village Raising A Child

Our congregation over the past 7 years has been a perfect demonstration of a “village raising children.” Bart and I can’t even begin to describe the ways in which our congregation has embraced our family and helped to raise our kids. Our kids haven’t all sat with me in church, for example, for years. They each have other people they like to sit with and it’s OK with those folks. We have a long list of people who will take care of one, two, or three of our kids for up to two weeks at a time without asking for pay. We have people who watch our dog. We have people who will fix stuff when it breaks. We have people who will help decorate and people who bring us extra stuff from their gardens, or leftovers when they have too much.

And the list goes on.

I don’t know if it’s too much to expect that to happen again or to ask that of another congregation ... but it is REALLY cool when people who can see the ministry we have by adopting (and previously with foster care) and even if they can’t do it themselves, do what they can to help.

Wish every adoptive family could have the same thing and even if we never have it again, we’ll always know how the ideal felt.

Things I'm Going to Miss Part One

I am showing you this picture not only because Dominyk is cute and is now the wallpaper on my cell phone, but because I want you to see the border and walls in my bedroom. I am really going to miss this bedroom. About 3 years ago a friend of mine, awesome person by the way, named Mary, helped me (as did several other people) completely redo the walls in most of the parsonage. We painted and put up borders and decorated to surprise Bart while he was gone for 33 days working on his doctorate in New Jersey. I mention Mary and not everyone else because she worked for a solid week with me, every second she wasn't doing her regular job and didn't ask for a penny.

I love my bedroom. We used the two-brush system to give it texture, bought really cool lighthouse pictures, and put up the lighthouse border that I love. Since Bart and I honeymooned in Maine, our bedroom was a constant reminder of that trip.

When we move I want our bedroom to look exactly like this one. I gotta find myself friends quick to help with this project or try to find ways to get my old friends to do this with me.

Uh Oh... That brought on another blog entry...

Fun in the Midst of the Pain

We actually had fun yesterday. The six kids who were with me were appropriate, grateful, and seemed to sense that I needed a little break from the constant bickering and nastiness.

And no, Mike is not yet home. I’m not even sure what else to do or how to respond when he returns. Because he will, at some point.

I leave Sunday for a trip to El Paso (which reminds me that I should post my speaking schedule on the blog somewhere). Before then I have 4 post-placement visits and a placement to accomplish to getting ready for the Matching Bash and get my powerpoints done before I leave.

There is no school today and I want to get so much done while parenting 8 (possibly 9 if Mike returns) kids alone. I would like to do the following:

Post more ebay stuff
Set up 3 of the 4 post placement visits
begin working on match batch charts
get my desk cleaned off
spend time at the fitness center
make supper
Get powerpoints done for El Paso/Houston Trip

and that there, though it seems simple, is about 3 days work

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Contrast

Yesterday was super stressful. I was dealing with the Realtor, for one thing, and trying to answer all the questions she needed for us to make an offer on the house (the big enough but very outdated one). In addition, the kids were super restless. And it culminated with Mike not coming home.

Yesterday I worked at listing things on ebay from 10 a.m. until around 7 p.m. and because of all of the interruptions and the incessant misbehavior of the children, I only got 15 items listed in the whole nine hours.

Today I tried something different. I came home and told the kids that since there were only six kids here (one of our awesome friends took Rand and Jimmy to dinner and a movie with her son and MIke’s missing, as you know by now) I would take them to a movie IF they gave me some time to get things done. In less than 2 hours I have been able to list 12 more items. It’s amazing the contrast between cooperative children and uncooperative ones.

I should have made the same deal yesterday. I’d have gotten the same amount done. Of course, everything I’m earning from this whole adventure will probably not even pay for today’s movie. AGH.

The Beginning of the Stretch

Church today was very encouraging. Sang some great songs like “A Mighty Fortress is our God” and “How FIrm a Foundation” which always encourage and a convince me that God can get me through anything.

“The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.”

Mike still isn’t home. In fact, he had some friends pick him up last night and the guy he was with doesn’t even know who they are or where they went. So he is missing yet again. And, since we have a letter from our county saying they don’t approve of us having him out of residential treatment, we will get no help from them. if he’s not home by Tuesday and misses school, I’ll call his probation officer since he will be violating parole (ironically, running away from home for days is not a violation of parole). I’m concerned that something could have happened to him, though, and have no idea how to find him.

I don’t usually sleep very well when Bart is gone and if Mike is missing too I’m going to have a long 3 nights... but I’m beginning the parenting alone stretch, and I’ve got a foundation that is firm and a God that won’t forsake me, so I will make it, one step at a time.

Again... Heavy SIgh

I am in a rush to get to bell practice before church, but I didn’t sleep well.

Mike didn’t come home last night. He was at a friend’s and said he had a ride (I had taken him there, against my better judgment). He never came home.

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know all the things I’m thinking, feeling. If you haven’t, you might have the privilege of reading about them later today.

Bart is leaving for 3 days and I’m here alone with a kid who appears to be missing... again. heavy sigh.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Now I remember ...

why I stopped selling things on ebay. I have been working on this since before 10 this morning. It’s 5:30 and I’ve managed to list 15 items. I’ve been to the fitness center and I’ve parented and talked to the Realtor twice and blogged and did a little laundry and THAT has been my WHOLE day.

And I MIGHT make $20 profit.

BUT I will get the stuff out of the house... Check it out and see if there is something you might want to buy.

On a Mission

We’re going to make an offer on the 1955 house with the big back yard and the tons of space that needs everything updated. We have never been “project people” but I figure if we can get the house with the space, then I can tackle anything, right? Now we just have to get the financing together.

So, in thinking ahead to all that needs to be done, we’re going to need $. So, I asked Bart this morning if we could set up our “housing account” early (most ministers with a housing allowance have a separate account for all housing expenses). I want to sell the things I can on ebay or Amazon to make money, but then put that money into an account to be used to fixing up and making improvements on whatever house we buy. We’re going to need new appliances as well as furniture too.

So, today I have found some things to sell and I’m on a mission to get rid of clutter and build that account!

If you want to buy some books for VERY CHEAP here are my listings on Amazon.

Once I have the ebay store set up, I’ll post that link as well.


Mike made plans after I told him three times that I would not give him a ride. He says he forgot (possible, with FAS) but I was angry and did not want to spend an hour in the van on a night when it was 10 below zero. However, I did not have the emotional energy to listen to him either, so I broke down and agreed to take him.

The whole trip he was so charming and nice even after I was very crabby and yelled at him. ANd when I got home John had completely cleared the edge of the driveway where all the stupid snow plow snow piles up -- to repay me for the hour of my time I spent on Mike when I really didn’t want to.

hard to stay crabby when they act that charming...

Friday, February 17, 2006

Boring Dumb Blog

What a boring blogger I’ve been today. I’ve been at my desk -- actually got my stuff for Sunday mostly done and worked quite a bit. The house has been mellow -- so mellow that some people have even taken naps, which I don’t like because it messes up their sleep cycle. But at least it’s been mellow this afternoon.

We have 3 more days of this long weekend left, 1.5 of which will be spent without Dad. I’m in a slump with not exercising the past couple days and not eating quite according to plan. I have nothing planned for the whole weekend as far as fun goes (we’re afraid to spend money all the sudden) and I have no motivation to do anything.

On days like this, my posts should just be absent from the blog as they are SO boring...

Muddy Waters

Wow, what a morning. First of all, there is no school, so the kids are all here. It is way to cold to be outside and they are restless. Bart and I are tired and stressed about the house thing, and thus less tolerant than sometimes.

i’ve spent the morning both working and on the phone with the mortgage banker and the realtor trying to come up with numbers to make something work. it is stressful and not necessarily going as well as we had hoped.

The kids who have plans have plans that are unrealistic and the ones who don’t have plans are bouncing off the walls. Bart just left for a meeting about a funeral and I’m here with the kids trying to get work done, but not making much progress.

Some days it all seems insurmountable...

Woke Up Early

On a day I could sleep in I woke up at 5:30 with renewed energy and ideas of how we could make the second house (huge but in need of many updates) work for us.

Now I’m number crunching and planning and thinking and believing it might be a possibility...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

We Survived the Day

God answered my prayer and there was school all day. The roads this morning were pretty good -- some blowing snow, but it really wasn’t bad at all. By the time we headed back home tonight they were perfectly clear.

We had a good but exhausting day. I’m sitting in my office tonight, catching up on the nearly 75 emails I received today and waiting for the children to come home. Some very wonderful parishioners of ours treated them to Big Little Things at the Washington Pavilion tonight. This has been planned for quite some time so it worked well that we could house hunt today while they had somewhere to go.

I am so tired, though, that I can hardly stay awake long enough to greet them. I also have to greet John with the news that he is going to have to go to school tomorrow even though nobody else does. I could think several reasons why he should go to school, and only one why I should let him stay home -- because he was going to be very mad. We decided it would be very poor parenting on our part to do the wrong thing just so a child would not get mad. Anyway, I am way too tired to deal with whatever he is going to throw my way when he finds out.

It also appears that Mike took my laptop out of my office during the two hours he was home tonight. He had to break into the office to do it as I am almost sure I had it locked.

Anyway, back to the house news. Well, we looked at 5 houses. Fell in love with 1 of them, thought 1 would be cool if we could make lots of updates and really liked a third that we thought would be too small.

After some phone calls on the way home, it appears that we would not be able to get financed for the one we fell in love with. It also appears that we could not get a loan to update the 2nd one. So, we’re trying to figure out how to best utilize the third one, even though it is our third choice. It’s a very nice home, but is going to be smaller than what we have now.

So, I am finishing the day grateful the weather cooperated so that we could go, even more grateful to the folks who took all 9 kids for dinner and a special night out, and glad I won’t have a day this exhausting for a while. I didn’t realize how tired I would be.

now if t hose kids would get home so we could all go to bed....

One Reason Why I Blog

I update my “Scripture as I See It” Blog every day, but don’t always reference it. Today though, it has to do with blogging so I thought it worth mentioning here.


Well, my prayers were answered and school is on time and we’re going to look for houses. The bad news is that we overslept (which hardly ever happens) but only by 20 minutes. We should still be able to get out of the house within 20 minutes of when we planned to leave.

Here’s hoping and praying the roads don’t get worse as the day goes by and that we get to see the houses we need to see and make it home safely. Since I won’t be updating my blog 10 times today you can just pray for us every hour when you’re tempted to check it. :-)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Next Time Around

I am so spoiled. Everyone in our church has been so good to me ... giving me every break in the world. I don’t have to do the kitchen at church, or bake. I don’t have to go to circle or be there to clean up after meals, or serve things at youth events. I have two jobs and 10 kids and they just let me be me.

This is Anissa -- she puts away my bells every Wednesday night so I can rush home to the kids. Someone else gets the bells out for me so I can come at the last minute. In every way everyone has been so accommodating.

I hope and pray it’s the same way next time around. We’re going to miss this place!


We’re having one of these kind of nights. John didn’t do his chore but slept instead, refusing to get up for supper. Tony refused to have supper. Dominyk had a screaming fit about supper.... and it just goes on and on.

Still not a snowflake has fallen, so I’m praying the storm will miss us and we’ll be able to go tomorrow.

My Drama Queen

Sadie came home from school today and wanted to tell me all about her day -- the drama of fourth grade. She’s has started doing a play every with with a couple friends and her teacher’s blessing during milk time. Apparently another group of girls has decided they want to do plays too, and Sadie is amazed that they are COPYING her. I heard all about it for a good ten minutes. I was snapping pictures because she was so into her story she was really cracking me up...


We had hoped to take the kids sometime this weekend to see our future hometown. However, tons of complications have come up. Weather is one, the fact that we are going to look at houses tomorrow is another, and the fact that Bart has meetings requiring him to be gone from Sunday to Wednesday is another. So, the 4 day weekend, with no school on Friday or Monday, is turning into going nowhere and doing nothing, except being home alone on Sunday and Monday without a vehicle big enough to transport people and with no husband for support.

We were also going to add the new van in the shop getting the $1800 worth of repairs from my little accident last week to the mix, but we changed that.

I could add some more interesting details that further complicate things, but it might confuse the best and brightest of you. I know my head is spinning...

However, if it snows tomorrow and we don’t go, we might change our mind about Friday-Saturday.

Winter Storm Warning

Tomorrow we’re supposed to start house shopping and I’m really excited. Our realtor found one house that wasn’t on the market that I think might be perfect and I want to see it! But now there’s a Winter Storm Warning. School could be late or cancelled or roads could be too bad to go, and then I’ll be more than crabby.

But for now I’m going to just plan on being able to go and look forward to it until it’s a sure thing we can’t go -- the opposite of Bart’s approach to things.

Today I’m doing some more shredding as I sit at my desk, going through files, etc. while I respond to emails. Seems like it is at least a step in the direction of packing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Luckiest Woman in the World

It's not just the flowers... though that was WONDERFUL ... but it's the every day stuff. I'm not an eloquent writer like he is, so I can't express what an incredible man I have. He is the best husband and the best father that anyone could ask for. I'm also fortunate because he is a great preacher and so I am guaranteed good preaching for life (unless he dies first, which I've forbidden him to do).

I'm not always easy to live with, but he is patient with me even on my worst days. I'm grateful beyond words.

The Way it Always Goes

My luck stinks. Here I am crabby as can be, and the way I usually solve crabby is to take a nap before the kids come home.

So, I am finishing up a couple not so great phone calls, and I was going to head upstairs when I hear lots of pounding. It turns out that the people who I have literally (no exaggeration) been trying to get to come to fix windows in our house since the summer of 2003, showed up to fix them unannounced just now.

So, instead of napping I’m going to listen to pounding, and instead of feeling better and more emotionally ready to face the kids, I’m going to feel even crabbier.

Some days it just doesn’t go the way it’s supposed to, no matter how hard I try.


I feel awful for being crabby but I am. My husband took me out for lunch and I was out of sorts. I started by spending $60 and saving $306 at JCPenneys, which usually makes my day, but I was crabby. I even ate some tasty food (about 1/4 of as much as I usually do) at one of my favorite places to eat, but I was still crabby. Now I am home and I’m crabby. I have no reason to be crabby, but I’m crabby. (How many times can I say crabby in one blog post?)

The basis of my crabiness is the fact that my teenagers are unwilling to respect my wishes -- they expect tons from me, but unless I consequence them, they can’t do as I ask. This includes our college student. Do they ever get to a point that they can just do what we request without having to be forced to????

He Did It!

Bart actually updated his blog!

Pitching a Fit & the Morning Routine

Jimmy is currently pitching the biggest fit ever. He misunderstood something I said and it triggered a screaming fit that has now been going on for 8 minutes. I anticipate another 5-10.

Part of the deal, though, is that he needs to get rid of all this emotion he’s been carrying, so I’m kind of letting it ride it’s course. Of course, Bart is not here to enjoy it with me. I video taped him for a few minutes, which usually helps him stop himself, but it didn’t even work this time. He is going to lose his voice by the time he’s done.

I would post the video but I don’t want to scare any small children that might come across the blog. ANd I’d post the picture, but I don’t want to hear people comment that I’m taking advantage of my children and publicly mocking them.

Dominyk, who has been fiddling around and doing nothing for 30 minutes has just announced, “I don’t want to be late!” as if all the sudden that’s a thought he should be having. He lost his shoes (what makes today different than any other day) -- Oh good. He just screamed, “YES! I found them!”

I was planning to spend the day at my desk, but there are several things the kids have been needing, so I’m going to have to have to take a deep breathe and go shopping. Bart has offered to take me to lunch, which doesn’t have the same appeal as it once did, but it will be fun to spend some “valentine’s day” time together.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Realty Game

Talked at length with one of our potential realtors tonight. I don’t know that she will be the one we choose, but she just might be because she has taken on the challenge of lots of bedrooms, lots of square feet, big yard, big kitchen, big dining room, LITTLE money with gusto. It seems that she really wants to find the right home for us and is willing to be creative.

My mind is just swimming with details of square footages and addresses and which house is where and how much it is and what the mortgage calculator says it would be per month and if we added that or didn’t add this and yada yada yada.

I also have a son refusing to do Valentine’s and we’re running out of time, so I guess I better go focus on that....

Object Permanence

One of the stages of development, the sensory motor stage, from 0--2 years, includes Object permanence -- the knowledge that objects continue to exist and have their properties even when out of site.

I heard somewhere that if children are abused and neglected during a certain stage of life that they may not grasp this issue.

My 300+ lb 6’5“ son missed object permanence. He believes that if his parents are not where they can see him, or he them, we cease to exist. For this reason, he doesn’t need to do his chore unless we’re there to check it, he lost his job (because his boss left the room and he stopped working, but the boss CHECKED later), and he thinks that if we didn’t SEE him do something, we don’t know that he did it.

Great example: Yesterday he spent church using his Dad’s cell phone to send 47 text messages to his buddy that was sitting next to him thinking we’d never find out.

We found out. He lied and said he didn’t do it. We laughed. But see, we weren’t there to see it, so how did we KNOW?


Decluttering -- that is what we need to do big time before we pack. I really want to move forward and do things but I’m almost frozen in time.

Feb 26-March 1 I will be in El Paso and Houston, doing matching and then March 12-17 I’ll be in Arizona seeing my folks. Bart and I will speak in Minneapolis on the 18th. Anyone want some kids to spend the night with them on March 17th? ;-)

Then in May Bart has a conference in Atlanta, so I’m going down to see friends (including meeting Cindy's family as well as three other families in SC that I’ve known for years.

So, taking out those dates, I have about 65 school days to accomplish everything before we move. The other days will be weekends and school breaks, which may not be productive. Sixty five days is not very much time.

Maiden Voyage

My new cell phone has a camera, unlike my old one and this is the first picture I took. Sorry I didn't have a more attractive subject.

Busy Morning

I started my day at the computer, headed to the fitness center where I walked a MILE virtually pain free (highly unusual) in my 25 minutes on the treadmill. Then had breakfast with some friends at the grocery store deli, went to the post office, and bought a new cell phone.

Came home to my messy desk, cleaned up the email, and I’m now going to try to call Realtors to set up our first house hunting trip for Thursday.

Very fun days these are, in the midst of all of the chaos and meltdowns, because people are so kind. People we are leaving are telling us how much they will miss us and people where we are going are telling us how excited they are for us to come. It’s great.

now if I can just get it all done!


Wow. My husband and I have a division of labor in the morning that goes like this:

He wakes up John, and then Mike.
i get up and give Dominyk his pills.
I get in the shower.
I get Dominyk into the shower and then make our bed.
I come down, change laundry, and unload the dishwasher.

This morning, He did EVERYTHING (except I did give myself my own shower) and Jimmy unloaded the dishwasher because he was being mouthy, mouthy, mouthy...

But Bart was the star of the morning and I didn’t even ask him to. He continues to amaze me. He is just such an awesome husband!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

How Dumb Am I

Each week I make a video for church. I take pictures (usually fairly poor ones) and then a set them to the song “Welcome” from Brother Bear. Sometimes though, between running the projector for the service and trying to parent ten kids, I don’t have time to take pictures.

Today I delegated the responsibility to Sadie. I usually need about 25 good pictures to do one video, so I asked Sadie to take a whole bunch, thinking if she took 50 or 75 pictures, I might get 25 good ones.

She took nine pictures. Two of them are two dark to make out and two of them are the ones above. I have told her I’m disappointed, but there isn’t much I can do. Unless I want to use these, but I don’t think that would be a good plan.

The Race is On

Remember this post where I talked about feeling like a race horse in the gate? Well, the race is on. We’re moving in less than 4 months.

It was official yesterday and announced this morning that Bart will be appointed to the Belgrade Avenue United Methodist Church in North Mankato, MN. We are fairly excited about this great opportunity but are very unhappy about leaving Luverne and the people we love so much. We told our kids last night, explaining why the emotional level in the house was so high last night, and today looks like it is going to go not so well at all. All the uncertainty is making them freak out, and they better not be on consistent freak out status for four months or I will be drooling in a mental institution by then.

So, we have to buy a house, transition 10 kids (Kyle will be home for the summer), change schools, pack, clean, etc. There is so much to do and the emotional intensity of the children and the overwhelming mental list of things to do (which include buying a house because there is no parsonage) is causing me so much stress that I just want to hybernate.

more later -- but now you have it -- the official news.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Against my Better Judgment

The emotional level in our house is at an all time high tonight. Tomorrow I will tell you why.

At any rate, John and Mike wanted to go out and “ride bike” tonight (even though neither of them have bikes and it’s very cold and snowing). However, at this point, because of how absolutely hyper John is, I just said “GO” against my better judgment because I had to have some psychic space. I only gave them permission to be gone for 90 minutes, and I figure if they stay here I may actually lose it.

So I’m letting them go. One of those risky parenting choices, but oh so very necessary for the sake of my sanity tonight.

Gone All Day

Bart and I had an out of town meeting so we were gone for the day. One of the most wonderful people on earth came over and stayed with all 9 kids from 8:30 - 4:30. Deserving of a huge medal, I’ll say.

The kids did pretty well and we got some time to talk on the trip, but we’re both really tired.

I have given Mike a freebie on his late arrival last night, but explained that there would be consequences next time. Sometimes it is hard to know what he does innocently and what is on purpose.

Cindy’s wallet is missing. My debit card and cell phone are missing. Sometimes it is hard when we are stuck in the depths of frustration to Hope Against Hope but that is my goal.

And a final P.S.

i AM TOO OLD FOR THIS -- and I still have to get 9 more kids to adulthood. NINE. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

"Trust Issues"

It’s 12:54 a.m. and we let Mr. “you don’t trust me” (Mike) go to the High School dance. It was over at 12:00, he was supposed to be home by 12:15. We live a block and a half from the school. He was supposed to come straight home and wake us up when he got here.

Now, I wish that I hadn’t awakened at 12:30, because had I not I would be blissfully ignorant and asleep right now. Instead I am plagued with all the old fears and questions. Did he lose track of time? Did something happen to him? Did he run again? Did he plan this? And, most importantly in my mid at this moment, “Am I going to get any sleep tonight?????”

I can’t help but say to myself, hoping against hope, “Here we go again!” I hate this because there is so little I can do. I suppose I could get completely dressed and look around town for him, but I wouldn’t find him. I could call the police, but they won’t find him either and then we’ll be right back to where we started with the county saying “I told you so.”

Well, for whatever it is worth, he just walked in at 1:02. According to him I never said a word about what time to be home. Puzzling, that there are trust issues, isn’t it?

To his credit he did apologize and didn’t explode. And to my credit I didn’t either, though it will be at least 30 minutes before I can fall back asleep.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Somedays I just Suck at This

Yup, used that Suck word again. Definitely can’t let my mother see this blog.

The key to having a high quality of life and adopt kids with special needs is to not let things get to you -- to just let everything happen around you and not get pissed (most very definitely cannot let my mother see this blog).

Tonight everything is getting to me and I’m driving myself crazy because of it. What I do is I go through these stages where I decide to loosen up a little bit and not be so strict. But then it’s like this avalanche of filth comes pouring into my world. I allow a snowball and it turns into an avalanche.

But to never allow snowballs (figuratively) seems like such a drudgery of a life. If I never give anyone an inch, then how am I going to be able to say that I trust them at all? How am I going to be able to see what they are capable? But it is amazing how fast an inch turns into a mile around here.

If I run everything like Atilla the Hun, I have kids who don’t like me much but we have order and everything runs fairly smoothly. They don’t like living here much, but we don’t end up in chaos. If I let up a little, they like it here a lot more, but all of the sudden I’m buried, snowed under, angry and crabby.

I could give example after example, but it would just make me even more annoyed going through them all in my head. But tonight I have evidence of either hidden or blatant disregard for my values being displayed all over the place by at least 4 of my 10 children.

I don’t know what I was thinking. I should have remained single and childless!

Irritibility and Several Children with Special Needs Don't Mix Well

Sounds like Cindy is in the same mood I am, but she has many more reasons to be.

But I quote her (changing the number of children of course)

If I can control my menopausal irritability and manage not to be provoked by 9 demanding, cranky, and ornery children then I also can expect them to be able to control themselves.

For some reason tonight I am just irritable. My cell phone is missing and has been turned off and I don’t think I misplaced it. My children are fine -- nobody is even being bad, but EVERYTHING they have said and done (starting with Dominyk’s heart-wrenching cries over his fear of a daddy-long-legs in the basement this morning, proceeding to John’s (“the guys at the ranch think their funny mom“) adolescent one-liners and jokes, on to Tony’s inability to make a decision while at the store, continuing on to Rand’s body stench even though he swore he showered this morning, and ending right up with Mike’s expectation that I remain even keeled and calm every single second of every day. Mike and JOhn tell me to calm down hundreds of times a day when I am NOT NOT CALM!

That just makes me want to be not calm, for sure.

And I have to do all this with mushy foods. I even cheated today and figured that if Cheetos are mostly air and melt in your mouth they could count as mushy foods.


Trust Issues

The last thing I got to hear last night was Mike slamming the door of his room and screaming something about how I don’t F****** trust him. I didn’t respond, but what I wanted to say was, “As long as my cash card is stolen, my money is missing, people’s medications are disappearing even when they are hidden or locked up, and I find my scrapbooking pens in YOUR pocket, I’m not going to trust you.” Instead, I just shut up.

What I wish he could understand is that I am beginning to trust his heart, but because of his FAS, he can’t even trust himself. I don’t think that he is going to plot how to steal and spend a five dollar bill that he sees sitting on my dresser. However, if he goes into my room, and I am foolish enough to leave the $5 in plain sight, it IS going to end up in his pocket. I am beginning to trust his intentions, his desires, his motivation as I think they are heading in the right direction, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to trust his actions, as they are so controlled by his disability.

It’s a tough position to be in, for him and for me...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Pride Goeth Before Destruction...

So, I’m traveling down the slippery road in a blizzard talking to Cindy.

“Girl, you Georgian’s would be freaking out if you were up here right now. But I’m not worried at all.”

within 20 seconds she’s talking on the phone while I’m swerving all over the road and eventually running into a post. smashing the front side of our brand new (OK, July) van.

... and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Heading Out

Heading out for a day of meetings and a trip to the grocery store. Four hours in the car alone may seem like drudgery to some folks, but to me it isn’t bad at all. I can think, pray, listen to the CD I’m burning, and take deep breathes. I won’t get interrupted and I will LIKE it.

Perfectionism and other Time Traps

I am making myself stop obsessing about Dominyk’s picture above and the fact that I forgot to remove the red eye from it. I could take a few more minutes and redo it (in fact, I tried once, but blogger went back to the picture I already had. I can fix it, and I want to, but i’m telling myself no.

I’m sure I’ve blogged about this before, but one of the challenges I have in my life is that there are so many things I want to be doing with every minute of my life and I don’t have time to do them all. My temptation today is Photoshop TV. This is a new video podcast that you can subscribe to for free, download, and learn several cool new tricks every single week. I downloaded my first one this morning and OH how I want to watch it all. But I have to tell myself “no” as I have a project to finish before I leave this morning.

I wish I could either clone myself or live on less sleep or something. There is so much in the world I want to see and do and only so many hours of the day. I just don’t understand people who can say they are bored.

Staying Out of It

One of my parenting techniques is “staying out of it” something that I learned somewhere along the way. This applies in many situations.

Mornings with Dominyk have never been easy. We have started medicating him about 20 minutes before he has to get up, and this has helped. But he still is so distracted that it can be very frustrating. I used to try to get him ready and it was ultimately frustrating. By the time he was out the door I was a basket case.

I learned a while back that if I leave him alone, eventually he will get ready and make it to school on time. He won’t do it with any kind of speed, and he won’t do it in the order I want him to, and occasionally he’ll go with dirty teeth, but he does get out the door. And if I focus on other things, I don’t get nearly as frustrated.

In fact, he leaves happier too (even if his hair is out of place). I took this picture right before he grabbed his coat, headed out the door and said, "Bye Mom..... Love ya!"

Staying out of it -- a great parenting technique.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Ricardo's 12th birthday

I realized I never posted this when I finished it this past weekend. This one I downloaded the template and it literally took me less than 4 minutes to complete the page.

In a Daze/Haze

I sat here all day. Got a lot done, but am feeling a little bit out of it. So many things happen in one day in my world as I connect with people across the country trying to match children with families.

Tonight is bell practice and tomorrow I will be gone all day. Never enough time to get done what needs to be done, that’s for sure.

Role Reversal

My husband and I make a pretty good team but it isn’t because we have “traditional” roles. As you know, he is the chef. I am the one who assembles mechanical toys and fixes the wireless internet that reaches every corner of our home when it gets messed up. He does the grocery shopping, I am responsible for getting my van serviced. We share laundry duties, he cleans the bathrooms, I watch the kids play sports, he irons, and I take loads of excess garbage and large castaways to the land fill.

He also is the nurturer. If a child is sick in our house, I tell them to buck up. He brings them things, feels sorry for them, holds, cuddles, etc. If someone hurts their finger, I tell them there is no bandaid if there is no blood, but he’ll kiss it,t make it better, and hand them two or three bandaids if they think it will work.

Today John is sick and in bed. He has the same sore throat and cold that everyone else has had and we all got up, got done what needed to be done, went to school and work. But he’s home and I’m home and he will stay in his room (family rule) and I’ll force myself to check on him (if Bart isn’t home at all, which he’s not planning to be). Sad for John that he didn’t get sick on Bart’s day off.

I finally have a day without meetings -- the first one in a long time, so I’m going to try and get things done at the desk. I need to sort through files and start throwing things away.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

All Clear

Well, Salinda finished her snit, which means that Sadie finished her snit. Sometimes we call them Siamese Twins or simply UNIBRAIN. Mike survived his first day home from school. John is out of commission because he is sick, and everyone else is pretty mellow at the moment.

So, tonight I am going to watch a movie on WE. Maybe my daughters will join me. I hardly ever watch TV but find my self, during waiting time, unable to do other things at night. Not knowing, combined with not being in control exhausts me.

Over Active Bladder and Over Active Mind

I’ve discovered that this is a bad combination. I have to get up to go to the bathroom a minimum of three times every night. That in and of itself if fairly annoying, but the fact that I have a mind that kicks in the SECOND I way up is beyond frustrating.

All of the troubling thoughts I could possibly have seem to jump into my mind on each and every trip to the bathroom. And then I have trouble going back to sleep because I’m fixated on them.

Today we have therapy with John. Yesterday we met with his guardian ad litem. That went fine. In therapy he will say everything is fine and then a few days or weeks later have another blow up session at home. I am not sure whether to get into it in therapy or if he will see that as one more reason that he can’t trust us (he’s gathering a list).

So those thoughts, and many many others, flood my mind and my over-active mind goes bonkers every time my over-active bladder awakens me. Woe is me... but I’m not complaining too much -- I realize it could be much worse.

Monday, February 06, 2006

How Much Do You Weigh?

OK, so you don’t need to tell me. But I’ll tell you how much I weigh if you go here.

"Happy" Birthday

Yesterday was Tony’s 11th birthday. The picture before this wasn’t too bad, but when he was posing, his sister criticized the way he was smiling and he burst into tears. He’s an interesting kid -- one minute he’s a defiant angry belligerent teen, and the next minute he’s a sensitive weepy crying toddler. Eleven is my least favorite age for boys. After Tony gets done with 11, then Dominyk will do 11, and then I will be DONE WITH 11. I have been doing 11 year old boys for 8 years straight.... I’m ready to be done.

And anyone who is thinking we’re going to adopt a kid under eleven some day, YOU ARE WRONG.

Being Parented

Yesterday at church I had reasons to be crabby. From the time they got up until church was over, several children were being rude and defiant. But when I DARED to parent her sister, Miss 13 had to say, “Some people are SOOOO crabby.”

Before she said that I wasn’t that crabby. After she said that, I was very crabby. I let her know that, and she avoided me the rest of the night. On purpose at every opportunity she talked only to Dad.

Bummer for her, Dad doesn’t help with math and she had that homework today, so her first statement to me today was, “Can you help me with my math?” I pointed out how interesting it was that she was all the sudden talking to me when she needed something, to which she responded, “I’ll do it myself.”

I pointed out to her that she had had an opportunity to make things right between us and move forward, but she had chosen again to make it worse. She told me that I owed the whole family an apology.

Interestingly, the whole rest of the day yesterday when she wasn’t speaking to me, things were fine with everyone.

But I must have some kind of issues with opposition, because I don’t enjoy it when my children tell me what to do. I find myself not interested in doing what I’m told.

Amazing someone as beautiful as her can be such a snit. For some reason, putting this picture which she would hate, on a blog she doesn't care about and never reads, gives me a sick feeling of satisfaction.

Am I evil?

Back to Public

Tomorrow morning, Mike is heading back to public school. If I were him, I’d be scared to death. If I were me, and was 16, I’d be scared to death to go to High School. High school was not all that fun for me. I was glad when it was over.

He seems to be looking forward to it, but admits he is nervous. I am not looking forward to the stress of him having homework and all the temptations to disappear after school is over in the afternoon, but if I’ve learned one thing, I’ve learned that you can’t MAKE a teenager do anything they decide they aren’t going to do.

So, I’ll sit back and watch his ride -- he’s driving -- his life his choice.

10:30 and NOTHING

I had an IEP meeting this morning and then got caught up in something else and forgot to blog. But there isn’t much tell anyway, so the question is, do you blog to report there is nothing to be blogged or do you not blog?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Driving the Messsage Home

If it wasn’t enough for me to read the passage in the morning, the texts in the worship service were the same so I had it driven home to me again. It’s in my devotional but it bears repeating.

The same passage that has come to me at multiple times in my life shows up again today. For nearly 30 years, these verses have been a periodic and necessary reminder to me that I am not in control and that there is someone much more powerful who is not only wiser and infinitely powerful, but who can give me the strength I need to make it through anything.

 28 Do you not know? 
       Have you not heard? 
       The LORD is the everlasting God, 
       the Creator of the ends of the earth. 
       He will not grow tired or weary, 
       and his understanding no one can fathom.
 29 He gives strength to the weary 
       and increases the power of the weak.
 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, 
       and young men stumble and fall;
 31 but those who hope in the LORD 
       will renew their strength. 
       They will soar on wings like eagles; 
       they will run and not grow weary, 
       they will walk and not be faint.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Better than Computer Games

I've thought about playing a computer game today, so that I don't think too much, but this is so much more productive.

Why I Love Digital Scrapbooking

Didn't have to touch anything but the keyboard -- didn't have to pay anything (elements downloaded for free) -- no mess to clean up. Thirty minutes later and this is the finished product. And I thought about nothing else the entire thirty minutes!

Added Some Stuff to the Photos Page

Whenever I get totally immersed in stress, one thing takes me away (and it isn’t Calgon). It’s being locking myself in my office and being creative -- doing things that virtually mean nothing to anyone but me.

And then sharing them, which makes no sense.

See more Photos (including scrapbooking pages) here

Trying to Chill Out

Realizing these things:

1) I am premature in expecting news about our move;
2) When I find out things I can’t tell anyone anyway;
3) I’m a total basket case

from here on out I have vowed to chill and stop blogging about the future until it is certain.

I’ll try to blog about the present and live in it.

Operative word, try.

Two FYIs

First: The mixer bowl was needed for homemade peanut butter rolls. They smell so good it’s like torture while I eat my cottage cheese.

Second: Just a reminder. I do update my other sites daily, but don’t always tell you when I do.

Like Scripture as I See It and The Shrinking Slob

My Husbands "faults" and My Son's Idiocyncracies

This morning at 5:45 my husband asked me if I knew where the bowl to the mixer was. Now, I could be annoyed and complain that he was waking me up at that hour to ask about the mixer bowl, but I ain’t stupid (or I didn’t just fall off no turnip truck, fool -- or whatever they say in Georgia). I am thrilled that I have a husband who cooks, even when I can’t eat, and if he needs the mixer bowl he can ask.

Two hours later Jimmy came upstairs and found the bowl to the mixer under my bed, right below my own head. Apparently Dominyk had wanted to lick the brownie dough last night and snuck up to our room in the corner to get the job done.

So, the day is beginning with the mixer bowl in the kitchen, right where it belongs.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Scanned and Added an Article

I wrote this article and it was published in the summer of 2001.

A Dominykism

Last night I leaned up in bed to give Dominyk a kiss.

After the kiss he looks up and me and says, “Two words ..... Breath.......Mint.”

Bi-Polar Family

Sometimes I think the whole family is bi-polar. Or, I think that sometime during the night, aliens came and took each of my children and replaced them with children who look exactly like them, but act completely different.

The NIght Before Last we had quite the evening. Several meltdowns, stress at an all time high, emotions running wild, NOBODY listening, parents pleading, no cooperation, threats of sheriff calling, etc.

Last night you would have thought you were in a different home. Everyone complied. Dominyk went to bed early. Everyone else went to bed without complain. There was no disobedience, there were no meltdowns or tantrums, the house was happy, tranquil, and quiet for the evening through bedtime, and I was asleep by 10:15.

How do people keep from being bored to DEATH when life is always like that at their house? I love the variety.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Shredding Memories

Today I started going through files. Something that I need to do .... some of the stuff we brought with us when we moved here 6.5 years ago and it is time to get rid of it.

It’s funny the stuff I had saved that I had a hard time getting rid of. Like a list of all the clothes that two of the little boys we had in foster care had with them when they moved in.

I also came across half a drawer of notes from my Master's Program in 1986. I think the stuff is a little outdated... probably better get rid of them too.

It would be completely irrational to keep everything, but sometimes it feels like we’re shredding memories....

And the rest of the year

As Promised

When I was working on This Project for Christmas gifts, I only posted two months and promised to post the rest, so here goes.


Something very odd has happened. I’m ahead, not behind, with almost everything. Now, that’s not to say I don’t have I have anything to do (how many negatives is that for one sentence) because I always have follow up work to do, but I can say that I am caught up with all paperwork (how seldom does THAT happen) and my inbox is clear. In addition, I was in the mood to be creative yesterday afternoon, so I got my slides/movie started for church and finished them up this morning. Now THAT is a record.

I am now sorting through files and this afternoon will do a little more matching, but it feels good to be ahead.

None of my annoying situations have resolved themselves, but I’m getting used to them hanging over my head and trying not to let them get the best of me. For the moment anyway.

Emotional Exhaustion

Emotionally I’m tired this morning. Last night John was very agitated and Tony and Dominyk lost it at the same time. Bart wasn’t home and it went downhill from there.

It culminated in a two hour discussion with John that began with him trying to call social services to say he couldn’t live here any more, but he couldn't find the number. He wanted to tell them needed a family with less children (thank you, oh so much, professionals, for planting that idea in his head). Even though when he was in a foster family with no children, he pretended to try to kill their cat, he has gotten the message loud and clear from everyone over the past year -- our family is the issue, not him.

Anyway, we just sat and listened and commented calmly (not my style) but refused to give him the number. He had the phone book and spent a whole hour looking for the number to the sheriff’s office. I had to stop myself from chuckling when he was declaring that he was going to run away, get on a bus, and go down to the state he came from to his old hometown. He remembers enough, he says, that he would be able to find her (all this being said while he can’t even find the phone number for the sheriff).

I feel for him, because he has a lot of stuff to work through. He is very very angry at his birthparents for not doing what they should have done, at social services for taking him away from her and at us -- because we are the cause and reason for all things bad simply because we are committed to him. At one point in the conversation he said, “The LAST thing I need right now are two people who care about me.”

We went through the whole range of emotions -- from how we didn’t love him to how he couldn’t wait until he was 18 to see his birthparents to how he couldn’t return to school because it’s too hard for him there.... on and on.

The emotional exhaustion did not come from listening. It came from having to keep myself calm and my mouth shut for 2 hours.

The years ahead with John are not going to be easy ones. But as I told Bart, I’d rather be his parent than be him.