Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Cunundrum

We are still having our minds boggled by the fact that the police officer who pulled over our daughter's friend for speeding (as a 14 year old without a license) in our stolen vehicle made the choices he did. He basically released the vehicle to the "adult son of the owner" without asking or calling us. Obviously our son, with a long list of felony and misdemeanor charges, who is not living with us, and who has never had a license, was not our first choice.

We've been on the phone with police tonight from both counties and have talked to one of Mike's friends. They are attempting to find our vehicle.... so are we.

But I'm just tired and I want to go to bed.

Enjoying a Brief Respite

One of the things I learned a few years ago was that when you have a child who causes stress in your home get "locked up" you take the break while you can. Instead of stressing about the lock up, you focus on getting rested up to face the future.

So, Bart and I napped this afternoon while we had friends taking care of Tony and the other kids keeping an eye on Dominyk.

I talked to Salinda this afternoon. She was sniffling, but offered no apology and still states she wants to live elsewhere.

I guess one night in JDC hasn't made an impact.

Scooping Me -- A Double Auto Theft

So, this morning I decide to try to get 90 minutes of sleep (which really ended up being 20) and I find that my husband has scooped me. Instead of going to bed for 30 minutes, he blogged about our exciting night.

Who else besides us could get their car stolen twice in the same night in two different counties by two of their own children?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Seeing that the Tunnel May have an End

I can't remain in the dumps for long. It's just not in my temperment. So yesterday morning after I went to the Y and then took the kids to school, I just went back to bed for 90 minutes. After that things got somewhat better. Yesterday afternoon I had about a 90 minute spurt of energy and got a lot done and then we had a surprise "go out to eat" dinner invitation from Mike and Kari and it was fun. When we left the restaurant I commented to Bart how fortunate we are to have such great people for friends. They have been lifesavers and truly do accept us and our family without reservation or criticism. And that's quite a package deal to accept, trust me. I, alone, am about as socially inappropriate as they come sometimes.

We had kids going everywhere last night: 3 to a football game, one to a dance, one to work for a neighbor... and a couple more would have been gone too had they not been grounded. Dominyk was off helping at a garage sale this morning by 7:45 and I am now actually looking forward to working on a movie for church today. I haven't done one like this for years and it will fill good to fire up Final Cut Express and put it together.

Here are the words to the song I am using -- I am looking forward to finding images to tell the story.

Oh,what I would do
To have the kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is,
And he's holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name
and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
time and time again
"Boy, you'll never win,
you'll never win."

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
the voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the voice of truth says "this is for my glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

Oh, what I would do
to have the kind of strength it takes
To stand before a giant
with just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound
of a thousand warriors
shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand

But the giant's calling out
my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
time and time again
"Boy you'll never win,
you'll never win."

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
the voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the voice of truth says "this is for my glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

but the stone was just the right size
to put the giant on the ground
and the waves they don't seem so high
from on top of them looking down
i will soar with the wings of eagles
when i stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
singing over me

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says do not be afraid
And the voice of truth says this is for my glory
Out of all the voices calling out to me (calling out to me)
I will choose to listen and believe (I will choose to listen and believe)
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

I will listen and believe
I will listen and believe the voice of truth
I will listen and believe
'Causes Jesus you are the voice of truth
And I will listen to you.. oh you........

I'm hoping that as I start to see more light at the end of my tunnel of stress and work, my blogging will improve...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Two Kinds of Tired

Still feeling drained and tired, without huge reasons to be. Jennifer's comment on last nights blog,

I have that happening with a 7,7 and 4 year old. It doesn't get better??? Please give this poor mom some hope LOL

reminded me of a theory I have about two kinds of energy required in parenting. There is emotional energy and physical energy. When dealing with little kids, like Jennifer's, there is a lot of physical energy involved. This is exhausting. But there is a second kind of energy in dealing with teens that is almost entirely emotional energy. And I think that the teens is even more exhausting.

The most exhuasting year of our parenting was when we had 4 kids ages 11, 9, 3 and 2. We were completely exhausted every day with the combination of the emotional energy required by the older two and the physical energy demanded by the younger two.

i am not sure exactly why I'm so exhausted lately. Probably in addition to everything rational, there is a biorythm thing going on. Who knows.....

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Just Very, Very Tired

I started this blog entry, and it was too whiny.

So I will just say this. I'm tired, don't feel well, and am fed up for being blamed for everything.

There are some nights when a person just shouldn't be the parent of any teenagers...

Sorry For Leaving You Hanging

i forgot to blog this morning. I came to my desk and had no internet access for the first 45 minutes. Then I had to leave soon after than for a meeting and when I came home I started working and the rest is history....

I'm sorry for leaving you hanging.

Not a lot of news today. Salinda seems to be enjoying her new school, Sadie had a huge homework meltdown last night, and I am tired today. Went to the Y as usual, and it seems that getting up that early gets to me...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

So, What Did YOU Do All Day?

I had 35 minutes between taking everyone to school and taking Tony to the dentist who had a blubbering, drooling meltdown on his way back to school. I was then home for 5 minutes between that appointment and a work phone call. When that was over I had 40 minutes before I met Kari for lunch and to help her with a technology project for work. I returned for 12 minutes and the phone rang. It was the school nurse and Jimmy had hurt his ankle at lunchtime recess. So I took him to Urgent Care (we only have six more visits until the tenth one is free. That took three hours. Now I have a whole 90 minutes before we leave for church activities.

It's hard for me to get much done when I am in and out so much...

No Way I Can Complain

Sometimes I come to my computer with a long list of things to whine about. Sometimes they are serious issues, but most of the time it is just the daily grind and the pressures of parenting many teens. But I stop dead in my tracks some mornings when I read someone else's blog and it puts things in perspective. I hadn't had a chance to talk to Kari very much this week, so I learned about her latest battle by reading her blog and it stops my from doing any whining this morning.

My kids are in good health and I know where most of them are. Tony's broken tooth that I have to take him in for this morning is nothing compared to what Kari is dealing with. A still-not-functioning-well washer or a printer than won't print certainly don't even rank compared to what is happening for them.

So I think I'll leave my whine list empty this morning and spend that time praying for Kari and Kjirsten instead.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Little Tip for Any Iphone User Out There

If you're phone all the sudden stops ringing, you may want to see if you have activated the "silent" button on the side. It will have an orange dot if you did.

And if you did, then your phone won't ring. And then you'll get mad and blame Apple for a defective product and get frustrated and wonder if you have to send it in for repairs, yada yada yada.

And then you'll search the internet and find a post like the one I found and feel like a dork.

It's All My Fault

and it's so horribly annoying that it is. I think this is one of the most draining part of being a parent of teens. Whenever there is a disappointment or a frustration or someone gets themself into a mess, they have to blame me. It gets very old and I have been through two very long rounds of it tonight.

I try to tell myself that I shouldn't let it bother me, but it is exhausting listening to them in detail explain things that have no rational base. The ways that they manuever things in order for it to be my fault are amazing. I could go through the whole thing here but dont' even have the emotional energy to live through it again to type it for you.

I waste so much breath, too. That bothers me a lot. I spend weeks providing verbal reminders and warnings about things... but I am ignored. And then, when the natural consequences come from not heeding my advice it is my fault too. But at least I can't be blamed for not warning them. Just seems like an endless battle.

In books like "Parenting Teens with Love and Logic" they make it seem so easy. They say you need to empathize, "I'm sorry you went over your cell phone minutes and your bill is so high." I can do that. Not hard at all to say those words.

But what they forget to write down is the 43 reasons that the teen throws back at you to prove that you are the reason they were innocent and you were at fault. That's the exhausting part.

And I'm obviously rambling....

Another Great Money Maker

Bloggerwave is a new service which allows bloggers to write about various topics and get paid. Once your blog is approved, the website gives opportunities and you write the allotted number of words about the topic. Seems easy enough. I'm excited to see how the company works. This is my first post, but as you know, if this is something that I like you’ll be hearing a lot more about it in the future.

Trading 7 for 10

I sent seven kids to school.

Ten came home.

How did that happen?

Actually I don't mind providing a safe place where kids can hang out. I'd rather have them here with any number of friends than anywhere else...

Sermons and Podcast online again

you can subscribe the podcast here or watch the movie of Sunday's sermon here.

A Quote from a Blog Where I Lurk

Another UM Pastor, a colleague of my husband's, is a great writer and so I lurk on her blog. I'm not even sure knows I read hers and I don't think she even knows about mine. But she is also an adoptive parent, and a birth parent of a child with special needs, and often a fabulous and talented communicator. So, today I read her post which ended on such a touching note.

She wrote, and I quote:

And then he kissed me and I went downstairs to cry because I have such a beautiful life and the only real problem is that there is so much of it.

This is how I feel even on bad days. The only real problem is that I have so much life I can't get to it all. I love all the pieces of my life... but I seldom feel I can get to it all.

It's Gonna Be a Happy Day

Well, it's 8:08 and I am content. I have been to the YMCA, I have gotten my children happily off to school, and I am sitting down to a day at my desk with no meetings scheduled, a full email in box, and a long to do list. But everything in my world at this moment is OK. And so for this moment I rejoice.

Salinda started at the new high school this morning and seemed quite happy to be doing so. She is making a decision on her own to stay away from some of the kids who were a bad influence on her and hopefully she'll make new friends and stick to her decision. I realize that I can't force her to make good choices, but it's fun to see her at least internalizing a few of the billion words I speak to my children every week.

Thanks to those who posted a response for Kyle for the ADHD project. You can still do that (please).

I'm looking forward to getting some things done today and (knock on wood) to a hassle free day.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Reached Equilibrium

We are back to a peaceful agreement. The mouthy, fighting against all direction obstinance has been replaced by determination to do what needs to be done to get back the cell phone and move on. Starting a new school tomorrow, actually experiencing a little optimism, and even accepting of consequences. And our world is at peace once again -- at least in the area of 9th grade girl drama.

We are facing other struggles though, which I have not had time to blog, but hopefully will tomorrow. RIght now I'm doing what should have been finished yesterday... getting the video uploaded, hopefully, and on to the internet.

My Son, the College Senior, Who Forgot my Birthday Again This Year...

is doing a project on ADHD and would love a few personal anecdotes from parents about how they deal with ADHD in their children.

Are you up for helping me demonstrate to him the definition of grace? Sure, son, forget my birthday and I'll still ask my friends to help you out.

Anyone want to help Kyle with his project?

or, if you don't have personal anecdote to share, do you have any links of websites that might be helpful?

Thanks for any help you can give. Grace is fun.

A Break in the Middle of the Marathon

I have 15 minutes between appointments. Tony and Dominyk have been seen by the psychiatrist, Salinda has been to therapy and, thanks to Bart, taken to her old school to pick up her things. In 15 minutes we will leave so I can take her to her new school to get registered and meet with a guidance counselor.

She is quite crabby. Theories: 1) She's mad because I won't give her her cell phone back even though she traded it to me for something. 2) She's mad because she used too many minutes and has a cell phone bill she can't pay. 3) She's mad because she pushed to be transferred to another school and now that she can go she's not sure she wants to. 4) All of the above.

But the clincher is this: She's mad at me or at least acting like she is, which is is oh such a joy. Sure, I offer her choices, but it's she who chooses the wrong thing. But then I'm the problem for giving her the options, I suppose. Last night one of her lines in the midst of yet another worthless and annyoing discussion was "It's not my fault I don't have a job." Huh?

I'll be glad when this transition is over and truly do pray that this will give her a fresh start. We all sure need one.

Spinning My Wheels

Another distorted busy day ahead that will lead me in many directions.

Got the call at 8:30 that the transfer has been approved for Salinda to go to the other High School in town. We all know, but she doesn't seem to understand, that if she doesn't make different choices there it will all result in the same drama, but I'm willing to give her a fresh start and see what she does with it.

So, this morning I have to take her to therapy. Then it's Tony and Dom to the psychiatrist. Then it is Salinda to her old school to clean out her locker and to her new school to sign up for classes. That will take me to after school snack and homework time. Fortunately we will have PCAs this afternoon and I don't have any meetings tonight, so I can work a couple hours after school, and then a few more after Tony's football game tonight.

I am so thankful for jobs where I can put hours in whenever -- I can work until 10 p.m. or start at 5 a.m. and since a lot of it is email based or involves writing, I can get it done at those weird hours.

But the days I love the most are the ones where nothing throws off my day and I can be productive. There are do-ers and there are be-ers and I am definitely a do-er. Crossing things off my to do list is very fulfilling for me.

I have so many blog post ideas that I am making a list of them so when I have time I can write...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Brief Review of Boy Scout Moms Camp

Our church sponsors a boy scout troop and I have heard since before we moved here that it was an extraordinary troop. But I, being a cynic, usually said to myself, "It's BOY SCOUTS, for goodness sake. Just how great can a boy scout troop be?" This weekend I got my answer. I am utterly amazed.

The theme of the week was "Oscar Night" and the idea behind Mom's Camp is that the Mom's don't have to do anything. The scout leaders, Dads, and scouts take care of everything.

We began our night by watching our boys set up our tents and carry our gear. Needless to say this doesn't happen at home with Tony, so it was fun to see him being so helpful and chipping in. We visited and started getting to know people and I discovered a great bunch of folks...

We then headed up to the lodge where we each introduced ourselves and then played movie charades while munching on popcorn and drinking from a keg of rootbeer. I am annoyingly competitive and got way more than my share of answers. It was a lot of fun. A bonfire concluded the evening.

At this point began the part I had been dreading and it was as bad as I had planned. I hadn't slept in a tent for more than 20 years and it was not fun. The ground was hard, I had to pee constantly, and I couldn't sleep.

I did head to the bathroom at 3:00 a.m. and was blown over by the incredible beauty of the stars. It was almost a holy moment for me as I could see layers of stars from ones that were close to ones that were far away ... and it was as if God had painted me a picture, reminding me of His presence.

I had to get up another time before morning came... and I was not rested. But the day was great. Breakfast, pancakes creatively prepared to look like a film reel with film coming out, were preceeded by delicious fresh fruit in a wonderful cream sauce (I'm suddengly feeling like Rachel Ray -- gag).

Following breakfast we had a worship service in the beautiful new chapel area at the camp that our troop had redone. We then worked our way through a movie "getting to know you" worksheet where all the moms cheated. And then it was time for fried chicken and mashed potatoes for lunch.

In the afternoon we spent 3 hours doing six stations. I couldn't believe I made it standing/walking the whole time, but we had a lot of fun and got great exercise. Tony is so competitive he could be my birth child -- and he and I together wanted to win everything. If there was a competition, it was our plan to win it. And we did fairly well. Came in second by one second in one event and I beleive tied another, and won the catapulting event. However, Tony's biggest accomplishment was being able to pull his huge mother in a chariot....even though we certainly did not win by any stretch of the imagination. He was just proud he could do it.

The best part of the whole weekend was the "Oscars". The boys came down to meet us in t-shirt tuxes with corsages. We took pictures and then got golf-rides up to the lodge which had a red carpet. Along the sides were stars painted gold with our names on them. We posed for pictures in front of the cardboard limosine. Afterwards we were fed a delicious meal by candlelight with sparkling grape juice served to start the meal and a peach dessert that literally was delivered flaming to our tables.

I left after the ceremony to come home and do church related tasks, but was sad to leave (although I confess to being grateful I was heading home to a bed and a shower). Tony was even sad to see me go as he was staying for the night.

I left grateful for the time I got to spend with Tony, the people I met, and the great Scout Leaders who put forth so much effort to honor us as mothers of scouts. I am so proud of our Troop and now understand why everyone talks about it so much.

If you would like to see all the pictures I took (or at least most of them) head to My Web Gallery and check them out.

One of the Reasons Why I Love My Husband

Seeing that I really needed to rest, Bart took Tony and Dominyk and went on a short day trip ... should be gone at least 4 hours. This was after leading two worship services and preaching two sermons and sitting in my Sunday School class. I know he is going to be exhausted. But I had a great nap and I love him for giving me that. He still won't be home for a couple of hours.

He said, as he left, "you owe me" but I figure that dealing with Salinda is pay backs enough. I am assuming she is just boycotting returning home, but there is always that mother piece of me that is worrying. It's not a big piece any more, she is our third child that would disappear and refuse to come home for hours or days at a time, but there is that sense of worry. It's only been 6 hours since she was supposed be somewhere, but I the whole thing is emotionally exhausting.

I think I'm going to just outline her consequences in writing and not even try to talk to her tonight. I'm waiting to talk to Rand as well as he is blowing it too in several ways.

But the whole thought of dealing with her almost paralyzes me sometimes. She is really horribly difficult in the way she handles things. She gets herself into minor trouble and without exception continues to dig herself into a deeper and deeper hole. I just looked at the cell phone bill and she is so far over again (after only having the phone one month) that she will not be able to pay it. And her phone has become her life. Maybe she realized she couldn't conrol herself and that's why she gave me the phone back. I have to study the bill and call the company becuase there is some stuff on there I never heard of, but she exeeded her minutes again by a whole lot. Her hole now is very deep and she won't get out of it for a very long time.

I guess I should be grateful for the three weeks of relative good behavior we did get to enjoy.

Why I haven't Blogged

Cindy is hollerin' cuz I haven't blogged but as, she would say, "I told y'all I was going to boy scout camp."

I actually survived boy scout camp. I have plenty to blog about it -- my waking hours were an fantastic experience. But my "sleeping" hours were just as predicted....

And, for those of you who know me, you will realize that this is quite an accomplishment. I did not go online, either on my computer or on my phone, for 40 hours. i didn't even have my cell phone in my pocket. I did it cold turkey and there were actually some perks to the whole thing.

Boys Scout Mom's Camp was awesome and Tony and I had a great time, but I dreaded coming home to the Salinda mess... and rightly so. She didn't show up to church this morning after spending the night at a friends (which she knew I wouldn't allow, but since I wasn't answering my phone, Bart let her try it). The number she gave me from the girls place is temporarily disconnected and of course, I have her cell phone, which it looks like I may have for some time now.

I am tired of her drama and I'm tired period from not sleeping much this weekend. But I have a lot to post.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Too Much To Blog

It may be tempting for you to look at the blog and think "wow, nothing is happening in their lives" when really there is so much happening that there is no time to blog it all.

Items that have occurred that have not been blogged in the past 48 hours include:

» A 19 year old who has a newly aquired cursing habit (in addition to being unemployed and not paying rent) making him a very poor role model;

» A 15 year old who is storing unwashed dishes in the cubhoards and doing things at church that Bart did have time to blog about this morning;

» A 14 year old who traded her cell phone for a week not to skip school today (I was just checking to see how important it was) and who is saying she will not go to school next week either);

» A 12 year old who got busted stealing money and buying snacks with it and developed an elaborate story about a poor child who had no school supplies so he had to cell him his pencils for $8.00;

» Another 12 year old who made one math assignment turn into an hour of argument just for the sake of defiance to the point where she was saying"88 IS bigger than 91;"

» Preparations for me to head to boy scout Mom's camp (yes, I am dreading it as much as you think I am -- tents, air mattresses, etc, are not my idea of fun) which included me forgetting that Tony was supposed to watch a movie last night and make a poster....

I am in the middle of trying to get everything ready for church Sunday since i have to be gone, doing my two jobs, and navigating this school transfer situation with all the drama and moods of it...

Just When You Think You're on Track

The morning started out pretty good. Did my stint at the YMCA (tomorrow it will be four weeks straight that I've made it every weekday) and then came home, got everyone ready and off to school. I made a bagel this morning, so I avoided McDonalds and came home ready to hit my to do list hard. I started with getting a load of socks in the wash which I have whined about more times than necessary here on this blog. I hate doing smelly boy socks .... ick ... feel like I need to be disinfected by some industrial strong cleaner every time.

So, I'm putting in the gross socks and Salinda calls from school that she is being harrassed again. I keep telling her to report it and she says she does and nothing happens. She blames me, threatens to leave school, and threatens to take things into her own hands and hit back.

I know she is not innocent every time, but sometimes she is. I wish that I could be sure that she is doing absolutely nothing, but I can't. I do know that these girls have been bothering her for a long time.

So she went to the Asst. Principal and I have a call into him.

But it certainly threw me off track and now all my intense desire to tackle my to do list has disapated and I'm feeling a bit defeated. I'm sure I"ll pull it back together....

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Trying to Be Proactive

I made a list for Dominyk of what he needs to do in order to get baseball cards or a pop tonight at 6:15. I divided the time between 2:45 when he got home until 6:15 into segments of 15 minutes. I gave him my watch to wear. Each fifteen minutes that go by he is supposed to check off the item without asking me what time it is or how much longer. It has things like homework, silent reading, unloading the dishwasher, etc.

It's 3:45 and so far it has worked very well. It's 5:00 and the only thing he has left to do is occupy himself by watching TV or playing computer for an hour....

And all the sudden it isn't going so well. Everything else did.


I have a zillion choices of what I might be blogging right now ... just had a fun lunch with Mike and Kari and Sue for a few minutes. I was waxing philosophical and lots of blog topics came up as possibilities....

However, my fun lunch was ruined immediately when I got into the car by a call from my daughter screaming at me becuase her transfer request was not in the mail. The history was this: I requested the form the day it came. It came on Saturday and I asked her if we could talk about it. She didn't get around to talking to me until yesterday. So I was putting it in the mail today -- it's almost finished. But she called at lunch time to ask me if I had a chance to talk to the school and I explained that the superintendent had to make the decision and that it was going to take a while. She started screaming at me and turned the whole focus into how stupid I was for not getting the form done. I responded that she was the one who refused to talk to me for days..... and it went downhill from there.

After she hung up on me it occurred to me that the phone call had nothing to do with the transfer form. Something bad must have happened to her at school and she couldn't possibly call me to talk to me. She had to yell at someone and, of course, that someone was me, becuase she can't yell at herself for her bad choices. So make the whole thing about me not filling out the form.

I texted her immediately and told her that I was sorry she was having a bad day and that I'd be praying for her today and that if she wanted to talk to me about the real reason she was upset I'd be happy to listen. I also apologized for arguing with her and not figuring out faster why she was yelling.

I then came home and sat at my desk and read this blog entry from Kari about 5 year old Anna and I quote

Anna doesn't have the ability to tell me everything she is feeling and her frustrations came out in tears today.
And I realized that Salinda doesn't have the ability to tell me everything she is feeling and her frustrations came out in anger and accusations today. Salinda may be 14 and does not have FASD, but the whole "what is the core issue" question needed to be asked in both situations. Kari asked it, I forgot to.

Why is it that I can't figure things out three or four minutes earlier and respond to the issue instead of to the words?

I have so much to learn.


There may be bored individuals in this world. Other than my own children, I don't know very many bored people. But I am literally a person who is thrilled and happy with nearly everything I have to do .... I just do not have time to fit it all in. Here is a glimpse of what needs to happen for me today...

A large packet of paperwork for Jimmy's next IEP meeting that needs to be completed;
Scrapbooks for each of our new boys need to be completed and mailed to TX;
Need to set up a meeting to discuss John's future with the county;
Need to figure out a way to get all of Mike's court paperwork to him;
Almost 100 emails to respond to, answer or file;
Need to compile survey's from our new church service and get those into a database.

Those are things that need to happen off the top of my in addition to parenting ten kids and doing two jobs (of course the 100 emails are mostly my jobs).

And I always want to be spending time blogging, learning more about how to do things better on my Mac or in photoshop or with podcasting or video editing....

I would love to do a podcast of some of us who blog, interviewing them, etc, but I just can't fit one more thing in. And there is that book that we have written and can't seem to finish editing....

But if I had to choose between bombarded with things I want to do or bored with nothing to do, I always prefer bombarded. And I think most of you do too.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Exhausting Day

it was a fine day, but an exhausting one. For some reason I did not sleep well las night yet still got up early to go to the YMCA. Then I spent the whole day either driving, visiting with John, discussing things with Salinda, or all of the above. Also had a visit and an ortho appt for Salinda that lasted all of 3 minutes. She doesn't have to go back for a year.

The few minutes before our departure, as Bart writes here were less than fun and there were moments of the day which were quite difficult, but I did survive.

Tonight I worked on the edited famiy picture and it is all I got done other than spending some time helping kids with homework and listening to Dominyk's now nightly obsessive meltdown about going to the store.

I am so tired right now.... am hoping for a better nights sleep.

Check out the poll regarding this family picture that I did.... added the new boys and am thinking about putting it in their scrapbook.

Off and Running

Back from the Y and heading to see John, have a postplacement visit, and take Salinda to the orthodontist. We'll be in the car together for 6 hours. I hope she isn't in one of her viper girl moods or it's going to be a looooooong day.

Sadie is wearing herself too thin and had quite a meltdown last night. Really sad to see her so out of control when it doesn't usually happen. But she's staying up to late and getting up and ungodly hours just to straighten her hair. We had a long conversation last night and hopefully she'll see what is up. I send her to bed but she stays up and then gets up early without permission.... I tried to explain to her that the world wouldn't end if your hair wasn't straight in sixth grade.

I have more to write, but don't have the time. More later.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Good News

Well, it looks like there is some good news today. I matched a family I have been trying to match for a year with kids that are perfect for them. That's good news.

And I found out that our new boys will be coming home end of October as we had hoped. We have church directory pictures the first week of November so I'm excited to get them here. The idea of having a family portrait taking that would be outdated in less than a month was driving me nuts.

We haven't heard about Mike's court hearing. I'm not sure how it went... and there isn't anyone we can really ask as everyone is required to keep his business "private." Bart blogged about why we didn't attend the hearing here.

So there has been good news today. However, the washing machine still isn't working and I got less done today that i'd hoped and now have to put in an evening in my office, so there's always something to complain about if I want to.

Nasty in the Morning

It should be the title of Salinda's Radio Show. She has been doing much better than this summer, that I can't even compare it, but a great deal of this is due to the fact that she has been put on a level system where she has much more freedom than others but greater responsibility. So far, three weeks into the year, she has been able to keep up with everything she is responsible for, but it's starting to get to her. She isn't getting enough sleep, she is focusing on her social life and not studying enough. So far, she's managed, but now it's coming time for tests and she isn't prepared. Her homework has been nearly all perfect scores but she has a test today and she did not study enough.

So, after a pretty decent workout at the YMCA I came home feeling good. Until I tuned in to "Nasty in the Morning" by talking to her htis morning. Too bad Cindy has already coined the term Viper Girl because Salinda so fits that description. And I'm in no mood to be a snake charmer.

Now I'm a little off track for the morning and I have much to do. So I guess I better get moving...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Heavy Sigh

I told Bart around 3:30 that I had 7 hours of work to do at the desk. Well, it's not quite been 7, but it's been 5 and a half and i'm not through.

Was interrupted by trips to pick up people and drop them off, as well as a report that Tony had been punched by one of Mike's friends while he was walking home. Apparently the guy stopped the car and walked up to him and punched him in the face a couple times. I'm not sure what that is all about and I'm not sure we'll get to the bottom of it.

Mike called to find out if we knew when his sentencing hearing was tomorrow. I told him the time. Apparently he is planning to go.

I'm tired. Have a few more things to do ... several people around here are a little crabby, myself included, so it will be nice to call it a day.

So Many Calm Days I'm getting Nervous

We've had so many calm evenings in a row that it makes me wonder what is coming next. I hate to think that way, but it's really true. We've been blessed with a whole week of good nights where we've been able to be in bed by 10:30 without stress. We've had some fun. Of course we've had Urgent Care visits and missed an important appointment and had to buy a vehicle, but as long as I can get sleep all that stuff is easy to deal with.

This morning we have a full morning of church activities and then this afternoon I have a major project to finish as well as getting the stuff from Sunday online -- both video and a podcast. And by the way, you guys were so honest in your responses to that poll. Good job!

Hope everyone has a great Sunday!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

OCD off the Scales

The new car is purchased and I"ll probably post a picture here. We got an incredibly great deal and for that we are very grateful.

Had fun having supper with Kari and MIke using a gift certificate I got for my birthday.

But I came home to yet another 20 minute sobbing fest by Dominyk whose obsession with Vault Zero has gone way beyond help. He can't think about any thing else. He has had one a day this week for being good at school, but now it has to be two or three a day or he just sobs and sobs. We have tried distracting him, spending time with him, talking to him, comforting him, but it just goes on and on. It's getting so bad it almost scares me. His OCD has never been this bad before.

ANd I had his psychiatrist appointment written down wrong, so we missed it this week and he really needs to go in so we can see what we can do about this.

And Tony's rib is not cracked.

And I am wishing it were bedtime...

Thanks a LOT, Kari

No less than thirty minutes after Kari left her smart alec comment about the Emergency Room 10 visits get one free card, Rand called with Tony wailing in the background. "The coach says Tony probably broke a rib and we need to take him to the E.R. right away."

I told him to come home and called Urgent Care. She said there was an hour and a half wait and we'd be better coming later in the day. Bart is there now with him.... we needed to check on buying a car, so we debated. He said he'd go to Urgent Care if I went to the dealership, so I took off and so did he.

The car is ready for purchase and Bart is still at Urgent Care, So I guess I made the right decision

Expecting the Unexpected

Went to see Ricardo play football this morning. I hadn't even made it over to the game (was waiting int he van for it to warm up a little bit) before he was coming back over with his coach to tell me that he might have broken his collar bone. So, we headed to urgent care and sure enough, he broke it. No more football this fall and he has to wear a clavicle splint for 4 weeks. He is in a lot of pain right now and sad that he no longer can play football.

Meanwhile Tony is playing his game with Rand there watching. We are lamenting the fact that our washing machine part is on backorder for yet another week and Bart is still trying to find a way we can replace the van. he's reconciling the checkbook right now and is sighing heavily.

I have several things I should do today but am feeling very unmotivated. Would rather not do any of them. But I'm sure some of them will get done....

Friday, September 14, 2007

My father

My Dad is hilarious. Our conversation tonight, when I called to thank my parents for bringing me into this world 44 years ago, went something like this.

Me: Hey, Daddy.

Dad: Hi, Toddy (his nickname for me since I was a baby) you made me a very happy man 44 years ago today.

Me: Thanks. And thanks for your sperm donation.

Dad: (laughs) Problem is though, that you growing older means I'm getting older.

Me: Yeah, I guess so.

Dad: Well, it doesn't like you'll be having any more brothers and sisters.

Me: You're so weird

Dad: Yeah, I knew that. I'll let you talk to your mother.

Be Careful what you Wish For

If you read Kari's blog this morning you'll see that she wished she could have lunch with me. But it was not to happen because she was too busy and Bart and I had plans.

But Bart and I were not starting off on a good foot for our lunch. Kyle had done something stupid again, which always drives us nuts, and we were discussing how we might not be able to afford another vehicle. We had left the house after looking for the Title to the old van so we could give it to the people who tried to fix it in exchnage for $50. yeah, it was that bad.

So, our conversation was not headed in a celebratory direction until, lo and behold in walk Mike and Kari, who had no idea we were there.

They joined us I mentioned to Kari that her wish had come true. We had the waitress take a picture because we needed to blog that her wish had come true. We had so much fun. Well, I should say I did, I don't know about them. WE finished the meal with a piece of Oreo cake that got me off on a sugar line and I was borderline inappropriate and continued my train of thought not seeing the waitress come to the table, humiliating my husband and possibly Kari (she hit me pretty hard). It was a blast.

And, the fun thing is that we planned tomorrow night to celebrate our birthdays together (Kari's is in 10 days) so now we get to do it twice!

It was a wonderful surprise for me, but based on the humilation factor, maybe Kari is going to be more careful about what she wishes.

You Say It's your birthday, it's my birthday too

Cindy posted that it's Javy's 14th birthday -- Happy Golden Birthday, Javy!. I debated posting my birthday here as I try not to make a big deal out of it. My birthday and mother's day have caused more meltdowns than I care to remember. But I figured since I had almost 10 emails from complete strangers (spam, junk mail) wishing me a happy birthday, maybe I'd enjoy the comments wishing me one.

I'm 44 today. What a dumb age? Who wants to be 44? Of course, I've just finished being 43, which may be an even dumber age. At least 44 has a multiple of 11, which 43 doesn't.

Bart will take me out to lunch today. I'm refusing gifts, but since almost all of my polyester patns (yes, the red, grey, blue, and black ones) are either stained, ripped, painted on, or have bleach spilled on them) I'm agreeing to go to Shopko and buy some more, EVEN IF THEY AREN'T ON SALE. I hate buying clothes as I hate spending the money on myself and I don't really care what I wear, but I probably should not be out in public with pants with big bleach spots on them when I'm married to pastor of a church that almost had 300 people in attendance last Sunday. in some ways, you gotta play the role of pastors wife (just don't expect me to be seen in the kitchen).

This morning I'm going to see how much I can get done.....

And though I was tempted to skip the YMCA and use my birthday as an excuse, I did make it to the YMCA this morning.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tiring but OK Day

I didn't even return til after 3 today -- tried to relax a little, worked on a project for work for most of the evening. The kids have been fine. No major news other than that it looks like Salinda wants to transfer schools, which I told her she could do if she gave it two weeks. I think she needs a fresh start, so if the district will approve the transfer, she'll be going to the other high school. One of the good things about that transfer is that most of the kids from our church go to that school...

I have been wanting to go to bed since 4:00.... These 5:30 a.m. mornings I'm just not used to and I start dragging late afternoon. Fortunately I did motivate myself enough to get stuff done tonight, but it's been a tiring evening....

Bart has blogged twice tonight, here and here.

Maybe I'll have time tomorrow to blog more than I have the last couple days...

Leaving in 15 MInutes

Have a Meeting in the Cities so I'm taking off in 15 minutes. Last night was again pretty calm. Three in a row. That's amazing.

This morning isn't quie as calm at the moment, but it's bearable.

Had a conversation with Mike's attorney yesterday who is trying to find him. He has a sentencing hearing on Monday and we're both worried he won't show up. I think I saw him walking up the street with kids from the school he went to last year. Not sure if he is going to school there or was just hanging out with people from there.

I'm off. Hopefully will post more later...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Two Calm Nights in a Row (knock on wood)

Everyone was tired and asleep early again last night, us included. I did get up and get to the Y and posted a humerous anecdote about something stupid I did there on the dieting blog.

This morning I had to take 6 of the 7 kids living at home to school as Bart needed to be on campus by 7:00 and Bart had agreed to take him. Our old van has officially died (well, it has managed to have a repair needed that would cost more than the van is worth -- possibly double what it is worth) so we are down to two vehicles. This also meant that I needed to supervise the morning alone for the first time since school started and this year we've added sack lunch making to our routine, so I did that.

I was so proud of the kids. It could have been a horrible morning with all of them in the same vehicle, but everyone was patient and cooperative and we had nice conversation in the van.

Now I have a full schedule today, though nothing to whine about compared to Cindy's busy schedule that she posted about yesterday. I do have a phone call to make before 8:30, a conference call at 9, lunch at 11:30 with Bart and some fun friends, a 12:45 PCA interview, and another conference call at 2:00 which should take us to school being out and then we have a full evening at church tonight.

Better get going as my inbox is filling rapidly and my to-do list is growing.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

And A BUUUUUUUUMPY couple hours after

Well, apparently it was just the calm before the storm. Where should I start. You know, I'm not even going to start. All the details are repetitive and not of interest to very many, but they included a swearing uncoopoerative 19 year old, a lying 15 year old, ineptitude on the part of both of those two, defiance on the part of a 14 year old, an extra long dentist appointment for a 12 year old, and several mishaps in kitchen, annoying the chef. It involved me getting yelled at several times by several people and me doing my share of yelling as well. Now that there is a break in the intensity I'm worn out.

I have never been at the point where my to do list is just too long for me to get it all done, but this week it has been. I usually manage to make do with the myriad of responsibilities I have and get them done, but this week it seems like I'm drowning and there isn't a tunnel's end, much less a light there. I'm sure this takes away from my patience.

I don't like this position. It makes me feel like a bad parent and a bad professional. But as always, I'll pull myself through.

And, supper was fine. Calm after the storm.

But boy, those storms....

And a SMOOOOOOTH after school hour

Surprisingly, after school hour has been relatively mellow..... When Sadie is my biggest challenge, you know it's a good day. She had a little defiant episode and that was my

Dominyk sat down with me and did his homework quickly and willingly in exchange for a Sprite Zero (Pop, even caffeine and sugar free is his latest obsession).

Salinda is here with one of her friends doing homework. JImmy is busy doing the dishes and his chore so he can go to the YMCA....

Sadie has a surpise dentist appointment (there was a cancellation) and Bart is on his way back from the Cities where he had a meeting.

But it's always nice when there is nothing major to report. And there is nothing major to report!

A Calm Night

Last night was quite calm. Dominyk fell asleep completely clothed (including shoes) before 8:15. Tony, exhausted to the point of metldown tears, was finally convinced to settle down around 9:00. Salinda was home and doing homework and even she was asleep before 11, which is unusual because she is a night owl. Bart and I had our lights out at 10:00. And nothing happened to wake us up all night long!.

Mike has reappeared on his My Space, so apparently he had a short jail stint or he was just away from the internet. He is now putting out feeings to try to get even farther away from Mankato. He has a hearing on Monday which we don't know if he will show up for. We have not heard anything from him since about August 30th.

My plan yesterday to set a schedule for myself worked fairly well for about an hour and then it started to get crazy with instant messages, phone calls, etc., so it didn't quite work out as planned. Then Kari invited me out to lunch and I was gone the rest of the day, so I sure didn't get much done after that. However, I'm going to try again today and see how well it works.

Tony is having such a hard time surviving school. When I dropped him off this morning I told him to try to find one good thing that happened today to tell me about after school. As he was leaving the van he said, "Well, here's the first BAD thing. It's cold and I have to walk all the way around the building." I just smiled and laughed to myself about human nature and how we can often see the bad so much more quickly than we see the good.

And I won two of my dieting battles for today already this morning.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Off and Running

If someone sat behind my all day long while I am at my desk I think that they would probably be insane at the end of the day. I manage to get most things done, but I switch tasks every 3-5 minutes and I am starting to drive myself crazy. Even though I accomplish a ton of stuff, probably more than most people do in a day, the way I am doing it is probably not best.

So today I am going to try something different. I am home for 5 hours today before having to leave for a home visit, and I am going to attempt to make a schedule for myself as to what I will do for each of those hours. I'll let you know about my progress.

And I'm sticking up a poll for you to respond to. You know, it's anonymous, so you don't have to be diplomatic (like the one about whose hair looked better -- everyone was so nice and non-committal.....)

And on this poll you can select more than one response....

My Dieting and How It Helps Me Understand My Kids Behaviors

If you'd like to read in more detail (though not a great deal of detail) about my lack of dieting success this week, you can do so here. But the bottom line is that when I don't lose weight after I get on the scales, I want to give up and throw in the towel.

I think that this habit of mine helps me to understand my kids. Let's say that a kid with behavioral challenges wakes up and says, "I'm going to try to be good today" (whatever good might be). They really do try their hardest that day, but because of their special needs it doesn't go so well. They get scolded at home for forgetting that they aren't supposed to torture the dog, they get in trouble on the bus because they got distracted and doodled on the back of the seat, they were off task several times and got "yelled at" at school, and they came home and had a sibling pick a fight with them that wasn't really their fault. At the end of the day, do you not think they might say, just as I did after I got off the scale this morning, "If I tried that hard and it didn't make a difference, I'm not trying any more!"

And while they might not be off to drown their woes in a Bacon Egg and Cheese Biscuit (OK, so you can't really drown yourself in a biscuit, but you know what I mean), they might just decide that the next day they're not going to try. And then there is a REALLY bad day where we see what the child is capable of in regards to bad behaviors.

I'm not sure that the whole process is that well thought out with kids, but I do think that there are many times when they are "trying hard to be good" and even their hardest isn't good enough... and the result is a period of time where they don't bother to try.

It's my goal to be more in tune with the days when it seems my kids are at least trying hard, and commend them for their effort, even if their attempts aren't successful. Because days when they don't try at all are really not fun.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

More Photo Booth Fun

Dominyk and I had a blast messing with PhotoBooth today. I selected two semi-appropriate ones....

Well, It's finally Here

I spent the day making sure that Bart's Sermon was available both as a movie and as a podcast.

So, if you've ever read his blog and thought "Wow, I bet he can preach," now you can find out for yourself. And, though he didn't speak, you can hear Dominyk clicking things all through the service...

We've had a fairly mellow day. Other that Dominyk having a complete meltdown this morning before church, everyone has been in pretty good spirits. Even Salinda. Whew.

School again tomorrow. Oh YES!

So sorry..

I thought I had blogged a little this morning, but apparently i didn't...

The kids were fine before church, but I was having more tech challenges in getting ready for the new worship service this morning and didn't get anything posted....

Dominyk, because of a change in routine, decided he didn't want to be in church today. While I was running around trying to get my powerpoint and DVDs set up in the back and the video camera set up in the front, he was following me crying and chanting, "Can't I please just go to the van? I don't want to go to church? Please?" about 10,000 times. It was annoying, but we made it throuugh.

And, for those of you who care, by the end of the day I hope to be giving you a link where you can either watch my husband preach via video, or download him to hear on your Ipod. How cool will that be?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

And It's Fletcher on the Tackle...

I'm not sure if I'm proud of that last little shove, but Ricardo sure is fast and works really hard to be "cool." Can you tell?

(not sure what's up with the video quality, but I think you can hear me this time).

Didn't Realize How Much I Missed This

When we lived in Luverne, I got to use the right side of my brain to get ready for our new worship service. Designing videos, messing with photos, being creative... it was a lot of fun.

But last year I didn't get to do that because we had two identical traditional services. Starting tomorrow, though, we are going to be starting "New Worship" -- not only a contemporary experience, but a unique one.

So I spent my day, and part of yesterday, figuring out how to do a few things I needed to know for tomorrow. And tomorrow I will get to do a few more things after church to hopefully get the sermon online.

I even took a couple minutes to make a video of one of Ricardo's tackles this morning. But it is not quite available yet on Google for you to see... (and I used a MICROPHONE for all of you who want to hear my voicer louder than ever).

Guess Who Lost My Business?

OK, UTube. If Google Videos does a better job, quess who just lost my business?

And everyone else who has long awaited this pathetic three minutes, can you see me now? How about now? Now?

Ever Think About Garage Shelves for Your Laundry Room?

A recent submission for us to "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" has got us dreaming of house remodeling. It's a million and change, but those odds are better than the odds of us coming up with the money. So this website caught my eye -- using a garage shelving company to come up with laundry room cabinets. We have a limited space but it looks like something like this would work perfectly in our home. Who would have thought somehting like the Car Guy Garage would have anything I might consider in my laundry room?

The Video Attempt Two

Let's try this again. Can you see it now? Can you see it now? How about now? Now?

Worth $4.95 a month?

So, whoever ever thought ten yearsa ago I'd be sitting at my computer on a Saturday morning wondering if it was worth $4.95 a month to have the privilege of searching all the county jails in the state.

Mike hasn't been on his My Space since August 30th. The last time he stayed away from it for that long was when he was in jail. However, he could have just changed My Space Accounts to keep me from "Spying on him" so who knows.

We are drama free at the moment in regards to everyone who lives here.

I'm going to try to get the video to work, but it's such a pathetic video that you are going to laugh that you even cared to see it.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Opening Lines to Our Lunch Date

When we can on Fridays (Bart's Day Off) we like to go to lunch. Today we split an appetizer and entre at the Olive Garden). When we got there we decided that Bart would choose the appetizer and I would select the entre. After we made our selections, I jokingly grabbed the wine list and said, "And what about our wine choice."

And Bart responded, "Oh yes, I'm hear to listen to you whine."

Gotta love him....and smack him.

Another Video Post

This Morning I Made a Video Cast

I decided it needed music, which of course took me a long time to figure out how to do with the new IMovie '08. This is the first time I've been disappointed with an upgrade to an ILife product. It's hard to navigate and provides less options, it seems, than previous ones. I'm not the only one who feels this way, but I'm sure many of you reading this care so little about IMovie '08 that this paragraph is either annoying you or you've already skipped over it.

I published a post about endurance on my Scripture as I See It blog. It's worth reading even if you aren't interested in Scripture or how I see it. It applies so well to adoptive parenting, having courage, and staying on course even when things don't look good. I really loved it (otherwise I wouldn't take the time to post it).

I also tell you about my trip to the YMCA this morning here.

And I must report that my idea about accountability didn't work as well as planned. I only got from 74 down to 40 before I went to bed. Now I'm back up to 60.

My video I made is uploading. Stay tuned for it's post in a few minutes or so whenever it is done being processed.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Blog as Accountability

Tonight I have 74 messages in my in box.

I would like to have less than 20 when I go to bed

But I'm tired.

Think if I blog this goal it will motivate me to reach it?

I Get Knocked Down

First day of school pictures for those who started today ...

But they have nothing to do with this post.

I just visited with a family that had a big disappointment in regards to adoption. We talked for a while, and on the way out the Dad was telling me all kinds of positives that had come out of the experience of NOT getting the child they probably aren't getting.

And my visit with them convinced me more than ever that they have what it takes to adopt from the system. Why? Because "they got knocked down, but they'll get up again."

If you have that characteristic, you can do this. If you've read our blogs (Bart has blogged again this morning about something totally unrelated) you know that we get knocked down. A lot. Not often literally, but almost daily in some way.

But you know what? We get back up again. And as long as we get back up one more time than we've been knocked down, we'll make it.

So I think if someone asks me what one of the most important characteristics a person needs to adopt troubled kids, I'd say it is this: If they get knocked down, they get up again. If you read any of the blogs listed on the side of mine, you'll see that these people have that characteristic.

And even though this song is about drinking, which I in no way want to promote or condone, the words have been pounding through my head:

I get knocked down
But I get up again
You're never going to keep me down...

Why My Blog Is An Excellent Recruitment Tool

After this summer, I am seeing how my blog can be an excellent recruitment tool for people who are thinking they might want to adopt.

It isn't because I am painting a pretty picture of adoption.

And it isn't even because of my once-in-a-while good posting when I write with passion.

It's because I"m entirely honest and completely pathetic. When someone reads my blog during times of stress they can see that i there are days when I am whiny, selfish, impatient, angry. There are times when many of you read my blog and certainly disagree with my parenting style. You see the way Bart and I have made choices and many of them are ones you wouldn't make.

I bet there are even times when you are amazed at my immaturity.

And this is why it is a great blogging tool. Because people have got to read this and think, "If she can do it, ANYBODY can do it."

The Ad Council Adoption Ads for adoption (there are links to them here) has a great ad camppaign -- "You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent." There are many teenagers who would put up with imperfections to have a family.

So, as many times as you have thought "Wow, she is such a dork," remember -- it may just be that the fact that I can do it means many more will realize they can.

Well, I Was a Bit Wrong

Yesterday I predicted that 24 hours from when I posted I would be sitting at my desk rejoicing that the kids were all in school. I also reported that something could go wrong and mess things up. Well, I'm not at my desk, but nothing has gone wrong.

After waking up at 5:30, which is incredibly early for me and I headed for the YMCA for my workout (that word sounds so hilarious for what it is I am doing. Dragging my old fat self in to walk .5 miles an hour or whatever dumb speed I can). I came home to find 6 of the 7 children already awake. Tony had been up since 5:40, the others since 6:30 even when they didn't need to do so.

I took the Jr. High schooler and the two high schoolers while Bart took the college student and three elementary kids. Our old van died last night so it's at the shop, leaving us with transportation issues on the first day of school. Picking everyone up is going to be a nightmare, but we'll get it figured out.

Salinda, exhibiting horrific behavior during an argument with me last night, woke up as cheery, pleasant and happy as could be. Keeping up with her moods makes my head spin.

Now that everyone is in school, I'm hoping it will calm everyones behaviors down so that we can settle. The last month has just been annoying.

So anyway, back to the point of the post. I am not at home at my desk, but instead at Dunn Brothers waiting for Kari,who also blogged about our tradition. We started and ended the school here last year and when she finished her all important radio interview (we call her the media whore) we'll celebrate the beginning of school.

I then have an out of town home visit that will take most of the rest of my first day alone. But it's really good to know that there will be more days.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Anybody else seen anything like this?

i have two children who just cannot let something go. If they get it in their mind that they are going to do something, then they are willing to trade anything for it. In fact, the last time there was a showdown about something with one of them, he lost the opportunity to live with us because he was so violent.... was arrested and everything, all because he couldn't go to a friend's house.

The same kind of behavior was exhibited by another one of my children tonight. That child would ahve been willing to trade anything for an extra hour with friends. It was scary to see the stubborn determination to get ones way.

And of course, I wasn't going to lose. The situation was about church meetings, and they come first. Period. But it was quite an extensive battle.....

And I won this one.

But the amount of energy some kids make me spend to win is just too much.

I can't wait until this transiiton to school starting is over. Jimmy, who was so bad the 10 days before school started has been fine every since he went to school the first time. I'm hoping that some of the other kids will get over the hump and have as much of a change.

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow, you're only a day away.....

He's Good

Bart blogged today. It's really powerful. I think. I'm not biased or anything.

I'm right, he is that good, right? Or is love blind?

It's Quiet, But Not For Long

24 hours from now I will be sitting here, sighing heavily at the thought that all of my kids are going. Now watch, because Murphy lives here and I typed that, something weird is going to happen. Oh well, at least I can anticipate the joy even if it never comes.

Three of the kids are in school and Tony is at his conference (Bart took him). Tony had such a bad day yesterday that we're getting quite concerned for him. Left the house without permission, made up several lies, stole money twice in 24 hours.... maybe it's just anxiety about Jr High, but, if it is possible, it seems that his defiance, mouthiness, cussing, threatening and aggressive behaviors have increased.

Three kids are still in bed, and I am alone.

I got up at 5:50 this morning to head to the YMCA. You can read about how that went, in addition to one of my self discipline theories and an explanation of what Bart and I do every night before going to bed here. (Now if that doesn't get you to click over, I don't know what will.

Maybe he is write. Maybe I am a blog whore. ;-)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Stay Tuned....

Well, so far today things have not been as bad as anticipated. Bart had Tony at the office this morning and has Dominyk this afternoon. Tony is doing something outside right now and I'm having some quiet time. I think Sadie and I are the only ones here.

Salinda called at noon ... says she hates it there, but she's been fine since this morning. Already making plans for after school.

I still am amazed at her lack of the ability to make the connection between her disobeying us this summer and hanging out with guys 3 years later and the fact that all the girls in those grades now hate her. Duh.

But stay tuned, for the next episode of life at the Fletcher family...

Will Salinda make it through today at school with no more drama?

Will Mike get arrested this week?

Will Rand remember which class he has?

Will Tony's siblings seriously injure him when they just can't take his taunting any more?

Will Claudia lose it before school starts?

Will Dominyk be able to make it without a full time paraprofessional next to him this year?

Will Kyle finish all his classes so he can student teach next semester?

Will Sadie be able to focus at all in school while she's being the class social butterfly?

Will Ricardo finally figure out phonics and get past a second grade reading level?

Will John move be moved from the Ranch where he's doing so well?

All good questions. All things I have no answer for. And all reasons to keep reading the soap opera of our lives.

Ten Free Minutes

Was at the Y by six and if you care to see how much I've lost you can click here. Please don't think I'll be offended if you don't care. I wouldn't care if I were you and you were me. Well, actually, that's not true. Because you being you might care about other people. But if I were me, and you were me, I wouldn't care, because I don't care that much if someone weighs 276 or 274. But I digress.

Salinda was quite stressed out this morning. Up by 5;45 to be ready to leave by 7, crabby and nervous. Didn't have time for a "first day of school picture" in the house, so the Iphone took it in the van. (See, just gotta have an Iphone). Her friend spent the night, which eased the pain, but I must admit that having a brother like Tony would stress me out to no end if I were a 9th grade girl. He set his alarm so he could be up this morning simply, I promise you, to annoy the heck out of his older siblings on their first day of school. He did an excellent job. Annoyed me plenty as well.

Jimmy wasn't nearly as nervous as he really takes most things in stride.

I asked Salinda if she wanted me to call the school and talk to them about the girls who have been harrassing her the past month, and she said she wanted to wait and see how things went. WIthin 15 minutes she had called to ask me to let the school know that it had begun, which I actually did. Hopefully her day will go better.

And now I have 3 conferences and school pictures back to back at the elementary. I imagine the rest of the day is going to be irritating as the kids have nothing to do. I was thinking of taking them to a movie, but there are no PG movies in town that they haven't seen. Maybe I'll be lazy and rent a couple.

Problem is that a lot of folks are going to be back at work and wanting me to be on top of my game, but they'll just have to hold out until Thursday.

Now I'm off to conferences.

In case you haven't seen it yet, Bart blogged a little more about how our family system works on his blog last night.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Enough Joy for the Day

Sometimes you just need one thing a day to give you enough joy to make it through. I just got my small piece of joy.

The kids have been driving me nuts today with endless questions. I am going to relay to what happened today so that you can see why I finally had a mini outburst which led to my moment of joy. I was in Walmart and Jimmy and Sadie and Ricardo were with me and for some reason Sadie and Jimmy were asking me endless questions. Their lives apparently are so empty, meaningless and boring that every small tidbit of information to them is precious and necessary to know.

I was standing in the men's aisle purchasing boxers yet again. I was tempted to explain to all of you why I had to buy yet more boxers, but I think my husband would say that it was inappropriate or he would call me a "blog whore" who will do anything for readership.

So, I am in the aisle and Jimmy walks up and says to me, as he sees me picking up boxers and looking at the size, "Mom, what are you buying?"



OK, what do you think I'm buying.


Yeah, boxers.

Two minutes later Sadie walks up and says, "Mom, what are you buying?"

"Do you really need to know?" I say as I pick up another package and look at sizes.

We then pay and go out to the van and as we're driving back home Sadie opens the bag and says, "Mom, did you buy boxers?"

To which I responded, "No. Those are roses. I'm going to give them to Dad for our anniversary next June."

And since this had to have been the 146th stupid question I have answered to day, I finally lost it said something like, "I do not know why you guys have such pathetic and boring lives that you have to know every single little detail about everything that ever happens in everyone elses life."

And Ricardo, who has not asked me a single question all day long, chooses to use two of the 100 words he will use today and says, "I don't."

"You're right, Ricardo, you don't. And I love you for that."

And, using two more of his 100 words and knowing that his response is hilarious he says with a twinkle in his eye, "Thank you."

And I laughed out loud and knew that right there I got enough joy to make up for the rest of this long, annoying day.

Labor Day

Two of our friends just had two girls placed with them about 10 days ago, so in order to help them get to know some of us, we had a picnic. It was a hot two hours and Dominyk became obsessed with pop. He had 2 and a half, but it wasn't enough. He could not stop himself. Tony wiped snot all over me and spit relish on me. It takes a lot to humiliate me, but they were especially obnoxious today.

I guess I figured that at some point we could transition without all these behaviors, but Jimmy, Tony and Domink have had one of the worst weeks they've had in a long time. They are almost impossible to be around. My head is still pounding from the grocery store and it's hours later.

But the people we were with are patient and we had enough fun to make it worth doing. It will just be nice when the next week or two are over, a routine is established and everyone has transitioned.

My Personal Definition of Hell (or at least pergatory)

For the first time in years our kids have to take lunch to school. So today we went to buy stuff for school lunches. I was reluctant to take all four with me but Bart wanted a break.

It was awful. Tony an Dominyk begged incessantly. Begged, and begged, and cried, and whined. I swear it was easier when it took them both when they were 2 and 3. At least then I could lock them in the cart and they didn't have full vocabularies.

There was one point where I completely lost it and started chasing Tony down in the produce apartment actually attempting to run into him with the cart. But I quickly regained my composure but you should have seen his face (and the faces of the poeple around him) when they all thought I was going to run him over.

But we survived.

Now we're heading to the park for a picnic with friends....

Doing the Same Things in Many Different Ways

Since becoming an adoptive parent I have gotten to know several families. In fact, I know many, many famlies who have more than ten children. And since I have begun reading blogs, I have noticed just how differently we all do what we do.

For example, this morning we began the day with me sleeping in a bit while Bart was making "Apple Slab Pie" in the kitchen. I had to wake up some children at 9:00. Cindy's kids were up jumping around before breakfast and she's dreaming up new ideas for her compost pile. We're going to to the store to buy processed food items for snacks while she's contemplating her last compost pile idea. Kari I know has been up for hours as she had blogged before 7:00 a.m.. Her husband puts kids to bed so she can crash early.

Dominyk just had a breakfast of "peanut butter and olive loaf" that he made for himself, while very likely Paula daughter may very well be celebrating labor day by making their mom a fancy breakfast like they did on Valentine's day.

I know famlies with stay at home dads, or two stay at home parents who both work from home. I know single parent families and same sex couple families. We share the same passion, but we all carry out our parenting of tough kids in different ways. And each of us seem to have one other passion -- whether it be my obsession with computers, Cindy's gardening, Kari's unending pursuit to educate the world about FASD, or something else (I could go on and on).

So my post, which I was planning to write before I read hers, just backs up Cindy's post that anyone can do this. We might not agree with others styles of parenting and our families may look very different, but we are able to make a commitment and stick to it.

And if you can do that, you can parent these kids.

And the bottom line is that no matter how many mistakes we make, no matter how fat or ugly we are, no matter how much we embarrass our teenagers, no matter how they perceive their living conditions (you should have seen the police officer trying not to laugh outloud when Salinda referred to our 3000 sq foot house in a very nice neighborhood a dump) ... the bottom line is that we're better than no parents at all.

I can't imagine how hard it must be to be a teenager in foster care. It's no wonder that most of them just give up and prefer residential living.... (wow, this is the first time I've thought about this and now I have to on about that for a minute).

Picture yourself as a teenager and your number one goal is to fit in and you basically have two choices. If you are in foster care you can go to school and everyone will know that you dont' have a mom or a dad. Or you can go to a group home where nobody has a mom and dad. If you want to fit in, why not make sure you end up in a group home?

I know there are many exceptions where teens have foster parents who treat them well and who they call mom and dad. There are courageous survivors who can ignore their peers and make the best of less than perfect situations. But too often fitting in when you don't have a parent is just too difficult.

So we are all weird in our own ways. We all parent differently. And navigating the pre-teen teenage years with these kids is emotionally exhausting at best. But teens need parents more than ever and even if we aren't the greatest ones in the world, we're better than the system.

I don't think there is a single kid in the system who would rather have their social worker show up at their high school graduation than to have me there as their mother, claiming them, proud of them, and promising to stick with them as they navigate young adulthood.

Of course many adopted kids might say they'd prefer the caseworker there, but they've forgotten what it's like not to have a parent.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Hate it when that happens

All day long I'm planning a piece of htat leftover seafood lasagna from last night. So I put it in the microwave for my supper and then I grabbed some bread. Dipped it in the sauce and shoved it hte mouth and burned the snot out of my tongue.

Ok, that was gross. I don't have snot in my tongue.

But anyway, what I meant is that I really burned my tongue bad.

Badly. That's what i meant.

And so I didn't really enjoy it as much as I planned.

ANd that is very sad.

Control Freaks Parenting Teens Anonymous (otherwise known as CFPTA)

Hi, my name is Claudia and I'm a control freak. It's been 58 minutes since my last "control freak' episode.

Parenting teens is difficult when you're a control freak because you can only control teenagers to a certain extent.

Being an adoptive parent to several kids with mental health issues and a pastor's wife simultaneously can be a very difficult endeavor. It's a good thing that I've never been a person who cared much about what other people thought, because this would kill me.

This morning, I'm sitting in church in the 4th row behind Dominyk who declares, too loudly for my liking, that he "hates communion." A few minutes later Salinda goes up for communion and I realize that she has taken the skirt that I almost didn't buy because I thought it was too short and cut it even shorter. The alteration job was quite ammateur and it looks terrible. And of course this is the week where we stand at the alter while communion is served so that everyone had a good 2 minutes to stare at my daughters butt.

I have, of course, the desire to charge up from my seat and run up an stand behind her, or cover her with the large print hymnal or something, but I have to sit there. Thus, my contorl freak episode.

All I could do then was to let her know that she was not wearing the skirt to church again and to remind her that when I purchased something, it wasn't my expectation that she would alter it the next day.

But I have to let some stuff go and that's not easy for me. But I am trying and I hope that counts for something.

Which End of the Night Will I Lose Sleep?

This morning I found Salinda coming out of the bathroom fully dressed (without shoes) at 6:30 a.m. She says she fell asleep in her clothes. She defnitely could be telling the truth or she definitely could have been out all night. I have no idea which is the case. I checked her cell phone history and if she was out all she was doing is talking on the phone. But there are other indicators that possibly she was out. I won't go into my whole detective "findings of fact" report, but the conclusion is that I don't know. So I have to just trust her to be telling the truth and move on.

But even though I could have slept until almost 8 this morning, that was the end for me. So I lose sleep on this end -- but she was here last night and I fell asleep at 10:30, so I guess it's ok. I got eight hours.

I find it interesting that my blog is almost always filled with whoever is at the top of my radar at the time. For a year after I started blogging Salinda made it to the headlines about as many times as Sadie or Ricardo or Jimmy do now. She was low on the radar, always pleasant, doing what she was supposed to do, not causing any trouble. And then boom, this summer she's the topic of half the posts.

I hope that when school starts I can sort out my thinking enough to make the blog more balanced -- to show the humorous and fun side of our lives as well as the difficult challenges. But between Salinda and Mike, this summer has been an emotionally taxing one.

If i can just get them all to go to school. Hopefully I won't have internet trouble on the first day back like I did in 2004. That was a nightmare -- all ready to get to work, and no internet. I still remember the frustration and it's been 3 years.

We're off to church now.... Hopefully everyone will be ready.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

There are a Million Reasons Why

I am in love my husband.

But if you would have tasted the seafood lasagna he made for supper tonight, you'd be in love with him too.


40 Things I Now Know that I Never Wanted to Know

I met with a friend this morning who has a child with a mental illness. I was able to tell her a ton of things that had helped us as we went through the battle to get services for our kids. It got me thinking about all the things I never really wanted to know. In the last ten years I have had to learn the following things that I never really wanted to know:

· How to SMRT a child (get them qualified for Medical Assistance based on a disability instead of your income);
· How to apply for welfare (long story);
· How to use an EBT card to buy groceries (same long story);
· How to deal with law enforcement in a number of different ways;
· How to admit that your child is in "Need of Protection or Services" in an Admit/Deny hearing;
· How to follow a service plan in order for your parental rights to not be terminated;
· How to address a judge in a court of law;
· How to find out if your child is in jail by looking at the internet;
· What an IEP meeting is and how to advocate for services;
· How to get an appointment with the best psychiatrist for your child;
· How to find a therapist and get your kids in regularly;
· What PCAs, respite, and CADI waivers are;
· How to navigate a PCA assessment so that your kids qualify for the hours they need;
· How to communicate with your child's guardian ad litem;
· The best way to have a relationship with your child's Probation Officer;
· What Rule 25 is and how to qualify for it;
· How to find the best Chemical Dependency Treatment options and secure them for your child;
· How to work with a court appointed attorney who knows less about the legal system than you do;
· How to finely walk the line between being a good advocate for your child and appearing cocky and uncooperative;
· How to find a child who doesn't want to be found;
· How to deal with a child who is suspended from school;
· How to respond to false allegations delivered to professionals by your children;
· The meanings of the acronyms PTSD, ODD, PICA, ADHD, ADD, CD, LD, GAL, FASD, ARND, and many more;
· How to medicate children who aren't compliant in taking their medications;
· How to restrain a child safely;
· How to clean smeared feces off of walls without getting grossed out;
· How to successfully get a transfer approved to another school for your children;
· How to drive with six arguing children in a dirty mini van with the DVD player blaring and the cell phone ringing;
· How to get a job for an 17 year old with a juvenile record (even if they don't take it)
· How to get a job for an 18 year old with an adult record (even if they don't take it)
· How to listen to the same phrase 147 times without losing your temper;
· How to get holes in walls repaired cheaply (or how to live without letting the holes in the walls and doors bother you)
· How to be hit without hitting back;
· How to remember to clean the toilet seat without sitting on it every single time;
· How to advocate in staffings for children in residential treatment;
· How to live with 237 unmatched socks in your house on a consistent basis without going nuts;
· How to attend with hope discharge ceremonies from juvenile detention facilities;
· How to discipline a child without using rewards and consequences because they lack cause and effect thinking;
· How to keep posessions safe from a child who steals consistently;
· How to maintain hope when life seems hopeless, how to remain full of faith when nothing looks good, and how to persist curageously when there is no end in site.

My poll this week will be to see how many of you have learned how many of the things that are listed. I also encourage you to add to my list by commenting. I know I"m leaving many out. Maybe I'll add to my own list as I think of them.