Sunday, August 31, 2008

And the Saga Continues

Well, the cell phone freak out is certainly not over. She is handling this so poorly. We have probably spent 4-5 hours on this issue. And no, I'm not engaging every time, but sometimes she'll sit and glare at me for long periods of time. She just can't get past it and every time she shows up to try to get her way and doesn't, she goes back to defiance. Some of the lines she used in her arguments were classic. When I refused to engage she would say, "Yeah, that's what I thought, Fatty." When she tried to get in over her head by pulling out some concept she didn't understand her response, "I know what it means, but I don’t have to tell, but I do know what it means." And of course, the classic, "You're not my mother. It doesn't even say so on my birth certificate."

So we continue. She has already started her path of defiance this morning. But the nice thing is that she does have a pretty soft heart and eventually she will break. She already did once, but then toughened back up. She is stubborn though so it may take a while.

I said something to her yesterday though that sums up my experience with lots of my kids. She was saying she would never allow me to be her mother again .. that I had lost a daughter over taking away her cell phone. I was attempting to make two main points yesterday: "You have three older siblings who have done the same thing to me at one point or another. But you can't take away the years you were my daughter and all the good times we've had. They live in my head and in my heart."

And secondly, I said to her again and again: You can't take away the fact that you are my daughter. I choose that. I claim you as mine forever. I suppose you can choose not to let me be your mom anytime you want to, but you'll never stop being my daughter. That's my choice.

And so we move forward around the Teen Attachment Cycle day by day, kid by kid. Even into adulthood as Bart is seeing with our oldest son, Kyle.

But whereas their emotions change and cycle, ours can remain firm. We claimed them. They are ours.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cell Phone Freak Out

Taking away a cell phone is not a new practice of mine. But I'm wondering if all kids are as completely freaked out by it as my daughter's have been. You would think Mercedes had just had a major appendage amputated. She violated our agreement several times during her first month and my intention was simply to have the phone in my possession for 3 days. However, she is turning this into quite an ordeal. After almost an hour of discussion between last night and this morning, and me remaining fairly calm for most of it, she has turned it into disowning me for life because of it. She is becoming stubborn and completely defiant and making matters much worse for herself.

You would think that it might sink in that I am the one with the power here. She wants something from me. So mistreating me really isn't the answer. If she loses her cell phone for the rest of her time living in my house the only thing that it is going to cost me is a little inconvenience which I would gladly trade for the major hassle of figuring out the bills, making sure she is following the rules, and facing her venomous wrath when she screws up and I have to take it away.

But oh, what she wants from me. She wants that phone back so badly it is consuming her every waking moment. And yet she cannot seem to cooperate with very simple requests that I am making of her. Things like, Please leave my office for a while. I need to go do a few other things. Or, give me the lock code on the phone so I can see who you are talking to."

But she is still in the stage of blaming me for the whole thing happening.

Dang it's too bad that those cell phone bills tell us everything. She lied to me multiple times last night as I held the proof in my hand.

And I just repeated myself again and again, "Cell Phone Bills Don't Lie. People do."

Anyone else had to experience this much drama over taking away a cell phone?

No, we're Still not Done SchooL Shopping

Oh those people with one or two kids who have been done for weeks. Sigh. We're still not done.

Well, I take that back. Dominyk is done.

But that leaves 7 more.

Wilson still needs shoes and school supplies.

Jimmy needs school supplies and a couple clothing items.

Everyone else either needs shoes or clothes.

And I'm not exactly excited about heading to the mall.

But we'll get it done. Maybe I can convince Bart to go and we'll make it a family outing. Now THAT would be interesting.

But for now I have to create a spreadsheet and record what we've spent on each child so that it all comes out fair.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Nobody But Bart

should should have the privilege of announcing this important family news to the world.

Which was a follow up to this post about the same child.

It's been a better day than I anticipated. I spend a difficult morning as a social worker, but by the end of the experience realized that I'm pretty good at what I do. Some days I don't feel that way, but today I do.

Bart and I have been having multiple conversations about parenting lately and whether it is worth it or not in the world of parenting adopted kids with special needs. And my conclusions are this: The lows are really lows, but the highs are really high. And you take the highs and you catch them -- like falling stars -- and you put them in your pocket -- and you save them for a time when you need them.

Bart's news is a high. Go read it.

Heading Out Again

Two home visits this morning -- one of them probably not all that pleasant. A difficult situation.

More to blog later I'm sure. Out of time this morning.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Heading to Bed

Wow, what a day. Not a great one, but not as bad as some

We went to Ricardo's soccer game. i remembered the camera. Didn't remember to charge the battery. Thus, no picures.

And Dominyk talked non stop through the whole thing. Literally. The whole game. He got obsessed with the time clock and told me how much time was left.





I need sleep.

Can't Compare

When Bart blogs an entry like this then how could I ever expect to match that or even come close? He's so articulate and deep.

And here I am talking about bras and puke and small bladders. Sigh.

Another day and I'm back at it.... did exercise on the Wii This morning. Am trying to get things done before I have to leave for a home visit. not making a lot progress.

Seems things are coming at me left and right this morning....

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Just like Marshmallows and Bacon

Sorry for the late start and for not blogging yet. Shame on me. Said goodbye to the Y and a bra this morning and then showered, took Tony to the Psychiatrist and then off to buy school supplies. I think I waited a tad too long this year. Sigh. Still have a couple more kids that need to go, too.

Quick break for a funny story. While we were in the psychiatrist I was explaining hangovers to Tony because he asked what one was. I was explaining to him how sick people felt the morning after drinking, headache, throwing up. I said it would be like knowing a certain food made you sick and then eating a lot of it any way.

"Kind of like Marshmallows and Bacon, huh?" he replied as if I should know that.

Apparently one night he put a whole bunch of marshmallows in the microwave and then ate them with a spoon and soon after that had a lot of bacon. So he has vowed never to eat the two together again.

Yup -- that's a hangover for you. Marshmallow and bacon puke. Might be able to use that to keep kids off of alcohol for a long time.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

3 second summations

I thought that this post was very interesting. Heather Armstrong reports that a friend told her that

No matter what horrible thing you're going through, when it's all over it only takes three seconds to sum it up. Remember that."

She had her list of things and I thought I would look back and do 3 second summations a few bad things from the last year.

Our washing machine broke. It was broken for two months. We have a new one now. Sears sucks.

Salinda broke the law. She violated her probation many times. She hasn't for a week now.

Mike moved in and moved out. He stole a bunch of our stuff. We had to get a restraining order. He's in jail now.

Dominyk had a pop obsession. It consumed hours of every day for a whole year. It still does.

Rand had a job. He lost it. He had another job. He lost it. He tried college. That didn't go so well. He has a job now. He's not going back to school.

But really, looking back, has it been that bad of a year? Maybe it has been, but maybe not. But as pointed out, all the bad stuff can be summed up in 3 seconds.

Gee Dame It

Tonight Dominyk kept repeating that phrase. The more he said it, the more it sounded Like Gee Dammit. I thought he was trying to creatively swear an accused him of that.

No way mom. It's Australian. I read it in a magazine.

This one took me quite a while to figure out, but I finally got it.

G'day, mate,,,,

August is National Family Meal Month

So I thought I would remind you about the site of recipes that we developed a long time ago. It is specifically for large families -- though could be modified for smaller families as well.

We even went so far as to make grocery lists for everyone.

Six weeks of recipes all in one place with complete menus. Check it out if you haven't already.

We've Almost Made It

One Week from today and the High School kids start school. That's great news for me as I really was not sure we would survive this summer. Surprisingly, it has gone fairly well and I have enjoyed it in many ways. Probably the calmest summer we've ever had as a family...

Started the morning by breaking a couple of my records on the Wii Fit and working on some book related stuff. Now I have endless emails to deal with. yesterday I worked steadily for most of the day. Started with 138 emails in my inbox and ended the day with 115 but literally was answering emails ALL DAY LONG. They came in faster than I could answer them.

So I'm starting today with 121 and hoping to make a bigger dent in that.

We still aren't done with school shopping, though we may work on that a bit today too.

I took a few minutes to write a post for parents called, "No Kid Plays with a Broken Jack-in-the-Box for long." Hope it makes sense to you.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tough Skin

It's a good thing I have tough skin because people say stuff to me all the time.

For example, Wilson put his arms around me the other day and said "FINALLY I can touch my hands back there. DIdn't used to be able to because you're so FAT"

And a couple days ago, I said to Bart, in reference to HTML emails, "I'm going to do something tomorrow I've never done before." and he said, "Do you want me to hand you the comb?"

Sunday in church I sat down next to Tony and he said, "Scoot over. Your thighs are everywhere."


Pictures above are of the 4 boys who spoke with me on the panel Saturday...

and Dom and Wilson at dinner last night.

Cute kids, huh?

More Company News

Here is the new company logo.

One person said it looked like a star trek badge.

But when one of my first responses to the newsletter (which you haven't gotten if you didn't sign up) was:

I DO like that you showcase a piece of pepperoni/deluxe pizza on your new blog.

So, I responded to her with this:

Pepperoni PIzza? That's your idea of my logo?

ANd here it is so full of meaning-- The triangle -- symbol of adoption -- birth parents, adoptive parents, adoptee... three sides....

three different levels of parenting are shown in the logo, increasing in intensity and going deeper and getting more pointed as they go -- could be parenting, foster parenting, adoptive parenting ....


adoptive parenting
parenting adopted kids with special needs

parenting kids with special needs
parenting adopted kids with special needs

and each of the circles in the triangle -- no, not pepperonis, but individual children, all twelve of them, same and yet unique.

Pepperoni pizza slice. Sigh.

So now you know about the logo.

Also, just so you know, it's never too late to sign up for the newsletter list. I will be building the list for a long time. And, since several are responding later, will send out this week's edition later tonight while it is still August 25th, since it is dated.

So if you want to be included, email me.

Several Things

I went to bed discouraged. Bart has been discouraged and blogged about that journey here. There were a couple setbacks with the book last night that were discouraging. Salinda went to church for youth group but then refused to enter the room. We are struggling as to the value of forcing kids to do something that is supposed to be fun if they hate it and make it miserable for others there. But then, if we don't make it a family value, can anyone just choose not to go regardless of their age? Questions we have to ask ourselves and we haven't come to a conclusion.

I woke up, however, and went to the Y and you just can't have a bad day if you lose weight. So, I'm feeling a bit better this morning....

And I'm getting ready to send out our first email newsletter out for our new company today. If you have emailed me privately before, you may eventually get on the list without asking to be (and then have to ask to be taken off of it). But to be sure you're on the list you'll want to email me before 2:00 p.m. Central Time or you'll miss out on the first issue.

The goal is for the newsletter to be at least weekly and for it to announce two or three things going on with the company as well as to feature a different blog and a different website each week. A quote or two will be included as well.

So, by 2 p.m. Central Time..... send me an email so you don't miss out.

And if you would like to have your blog or your website featured at some point, let me know.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ending the night with a link for you

Bart blogged tonight.

It's Time

For those of you who have been following the blog, you know I have been working on a book for the past 7 years. It has been almost done for 3 years. Finally we are moving forward.

Because we are moving forward with the book, we have formed a company and are getting ready to launch our new website, start an email newsletter, and all kinds of exciting things.

So you are the first people that i will invite to join our email mailing list. This week's email newsletter will announce our new website along with a couple of other things.

At this point in time I am choosing not to link the new company from this blog. So if you would like to know more, please send me an email, and you'll be on the list....

Look forward to adding all of my readers -- even you lurkers......

So I hope you fill my inbox today so I have someone to send that newsletter to this week....

Time to Catch Up

I have a few minutes before church this morning, and instead of delving into one of my many projects, I thought I'd take time to catch y'all up on how everyone is doing and what they are doing.

So, in age order:

Kyle is a college graduate as of May. He still doesn't have a teaching job so he is planning to continue his window washing job part time and sub for this school year. He is still dating a girl we really like and the two of them had dinner with Bart and Sadie on Friday night. He lives with some of his college buddies in a house close to the school he graduated from. He is determining the kind of person he wants to be.... and as with all kids his age, it isn't as easy as he thought it was going to be. He could easily be a poster child for older child adoption -- coming at 11 with Conduct Disorder... he has sure done well (thanks to my husband).

Rand finished one year of a two year culinary arts program but didn't do so well grade wise so he is taking a year off. He is working almost full time for a local grocery store deli and is required to help out around here which goes well some days and doesn't go well some other days.

Mike is still in jail and when he finishes serving that term then he will have a hearing in another county to determine further sentencing. Bart and he write occasionally and Bart is hoping to visit him soon.

John at this point is doing great. We transitioned him into a group home a few weeks before his 18th birthday in July By the beginning of August he finally had a job and was able to start football practice on August 11th. He is set to begin his senior year and so far is doing well.

Jimmy has spent the summer trying to get a job without success. He is heading for 10th grade and will be in special ed. He is at least starting the year saying he is going to do homework and not get in trouble at school any more.

Salinda has had a great week, as you know. She is undefeated, both singles and doubles, in her tennis season so far. She is done being grounded and nearly out of debt. She has a tough schedule coming up and we're hoping that she is ready to start making good decisions. Hope springs eternal.

Ricardo is already into soccer season -- playing high school JV as an 8th grader. They've won both games so far and as you know, he is a great player. Really needs to focus on academics though, so maybe this year things will start to click for him in that area. The English acquisition piece has been hard for him.

Mercedes has had an incredible summer. She earned lots of money to get her first cell phone (we require kids to pay their first six months in advance -- she earned a whole year) and has had minimal drama and hardly any arguing with me, which was dailiy last year. She has worked out with me at the Y many mornings this summer and had good alone time with both Bart and I on separate occasions. We think she's making very good choices and she is open to talking about them with us, which is a good thing.

Tony is doing better than he has in a while. His transition back home was difficult because I was being very tough with him, but he seems to be settling in. He is not quite as insistent on causing trouble as he has historically been and seems to be getting along better with others. He's starting football practice on Monday.

Leon has had a rather boring summer, but has been cooperative and pleasant. He also starts football tomorrow nd is excited about that. We need to find ways to motivate him in school as he is very bright, but at his own admission, lazy.

Dominyk remains a challenge, though there are days when I see some maturity and am encouraged. He struggles so badly with the simplest things in life that it is often hard just to watch him. He and Tony together is never a good combination.

And Wilson is just a sweet, cute, and very spoiled little guy who I am too tired to parent stridently and is too good to warrant that. He is seldom in bed on time, but seems to manage fine. His disposition is so pleasant and he is so cooperative most of the time that the little things slide. He's spoiled, I know it, he knows it, he loves it and at this point in time I don't even care.

So there you have it. Oh wait ... yeah...

Bart is doing pretty well too. He's been doing a lot of walking this summer and while he hasn't been on the scale I think he is losing weight. He's the best husband ever and I'm grateful for him every day.

And me?

Oh you know way more about how I'm doing than you ever wanted to know in the first place.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sorry -- I'm such a blog slacker lately

In my "spare time" I've been trying to get promotional stuff about the book ready to hand out at a panel discussion I have this afternoon. At least four of the kids are coming with me and it should be a good time. Assuming that I can get this stuff done and printed before I leave.... printing is going slowly.

To report on yesterday, Salinda and I and her friend ended up eating at the tennis courts waiting for her next match. Then Bart joined me and we watched her play singles. She is undefeated so far, which is great.... she ended up quitting last year before the season really started so she hasn't played for a couple years. She is getting better every game and I know she's feeling good about herself.

We actually had a pretty nice time. Salinda treated me very kindly (carried my chair for me) and sat by me while we ate, even though her friend moved spots because the ants were bothering her on the ground. We chatted and there was no animosity being expressed. She's had a pretty good week.

I am excited about the beginning of our book adventure ... but there is so much to do.

Later today, if things are up and running, I'm going to give you blog readers the first chance to sign up for our company email newsletter. We will also be redoing our website soon....

More news to come -- for now I'm busy doing last minute things that should have been done a while ago....

Friday, August 22, 2008

This is a Pretty Big Step

Salinda asked me if I wanted to take her and her friend to lunch today. Considering how horribly embarrassed she is by the fact that she is transracially adopted, her being willing to be seen with me is a big deal. I'm waiting for her to let me know she is ready to go.

She is undefeated so far in tennis and has really done well the past few days with doing what she is supposed to do. It looks as though she may actually be completely out of debt and have some money to her credit by the end of the day. It's been almost a year since she could say that.

Building on small successes. That's what it's all about.

I know Y'all Have Opinions

I got this request from one of my friends who is an adoption supervisor for a region in a large state in our country. How is that for vague?

Anyway, she says:

I have been asked to speak for 1 ½ hours at a local foster parent conference about siblings and keeping them together. One thing I’d like to present is that it’s not just me saying it, but that this is a real life issue. I’d like some testimony or facts from adoptive parents who can talk about how kids they have adopted have struggled because they’ve been separated from a sibling.

Anybody want to leave a comment with a story or personal experience? Or, if you don't feel comfortable, shoot me an email with your story and I'll pass it on to her.

I'm sure she will not be using your name....

Living with a Better Person

Lately Bart has been a much better person than me. Well, OK, so he is always a better person than I, that's why I married him. But the last few days he has blogged better and almost more, has walked way more, and has made better use of his time.

This morning he has already walked more steps than I, even though I went to the Y. He has been on a cleaning frenzy while I sit at my desk feeling bad for not helping. And he is off to buy things to make lunch for the kids.

He's a better guy than I.....

But why wouldn't I want to marry someone who was a better person than me?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

To her credit

Salinda has done exactly what she is supposed to do without asking today. Got up on time, mowed the lawn, did her chore, nice to everyone, no arguments.

She asked me nicely to wash her tennis outfit. I did and she thanked me.

So when she wanted me to drop everything and give her a ride to pick up her friend and bring her back here, I had no reason to say no.

And I explained it to her.

I hope she gets it.

The Tone

If you have teen or preteen (or maybe even younger) girls, you know all about the tone.

It is the voice that says, without saying anything, "You are by FAR the most STUPID human I have EVER encountered in my ENTIRE life."

I hate the tone.

But I have made the mistake two many times of trying to stop the tone by consequencing it, arguing with it, getting sucked into a discussion about it, or trying to make a girl aware of it. So, even though I still make that mistake occasionally, I've decided to start going with it.

and pretending to acknowledge my stupidity really goes against the grain of my personality.

But today I was successful. I had some misinformation, provided to me by said girl, though she denies it, that made me arrive at a conclusion that didn't make sense to her. "NO," she insisted, using very effectively THE TONE, "that wouldn't make any sense."

I quickly responded, "Oh, you're right. I must have misunderstood. I thought you said...."

and the conversation moved on to other things.

What did I want to say??? I wanted to say, "You think I"M the stupid one? YOu're the one who gave me the information in the first place. Where do you think I got my information? It all came for you. I'm so sick and tired of you treating me like i'm an idiot!"

But I've learned that that would have done no good at all.

But tomorrow I might say exactly that, you never know. Because it takes a while for me to learn. After all, I'm stupid, remember?

And again this morning

Bart blogged about opposition and defiance.

I haven't had time to blog...

but Bart did last night.

Click here to read it

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Don't Tease My Leg

Bart was driving along and told Jimmy a story. He was just kidding and finally told him so.

Jimmy responded, "Stop teasing my leg."

Teasing your leg?

yeah, you know, don't tease my leg.

you mean "Stop pulling your leg?"

yeah, stop pulling my leg

She's BACK

Well, things have slipped just a little bit too much..... you know, you let up, stop focusing on the little things, and then they start skipping this and forgetting that and pretty soon they are lulled into a slumber where they don't feel as though they have a mother and then


She's BACK!

They aren't happy but I'm not backing down. And I'm finding, like yesterday, that once I draw my line, they have their fit but then recover and do what they are supposed to do.

The threat of losing the privilege of using our vehicle and having to walk to work seems to be making a difference to Rand. He is starting to pay attention. It's only about a mile and a half and all down hill (I'd even pick him up if he lost it the first time) but he hates to move.

He is supposed to be working for us in exchange for room and board. Now, before you roll your eyes at my ever-so-ridiculous expectation for my 20 year old, please realize that if he works at his job for 40 hours a week, then he doesn't have to do anything else. But if he is only scheduled for 32 he has to work for 8 for us. This can include errands, cleaning, giving rides, shopping, etc.

But he refuses to do it. He avoids me, sits around, hides from me... would be hilarious if he were a two year old, but since he is 6'6" and weighs about 375, it isn't quite as funny some days. Kinda hard to hide too. So the daily battles continued. Until this week. I am making him a list. I am putting how long each item needs to take. If that item is not done by that time, then he does not get to drive to work. So far it's working.

Tony is home, got back last night.. Tony has been with my mother-in-law for 3 weeks and she is tough ... and he worked hard for her -- mowing, cutting wood, hauling gravel -- and earned lots of money. I know her work ethic and I know that she worked his butt off. And she reported that he never had to cry once. This morning he went into a crying sobbing fit when I asked him to put his stuff away and clean up his room. It was so hard. He just couldn't do it. That's why he hates being home because I make him do such hard stuff... back to being four. So I decided to try her style and told him to "quit his bawling." Eventually he did and got the room done.

Ricardo decided to blow off his dishes last night, so I woke him up at 8:15 and said nobody who doesn't do their dishes around here gets to sleep in. Go do them now. He is unhappily doing his dishes.

I know they were happy that I was preoccupied and couldn't crack down. And now they are Not happy at all that I'm back....

But that's OK. They'll get used to it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I Dare You to Parent Me

Sometimes they just have to do it, don't they? They have to get into some big power struggle just to see if I'll parent them.

If I choose to ignore them, it empowers them. If I engage it empowers them. But in the end, I win sometimes.

It's the dares that get me.

When I tell someone to do something and they say, "No, I'm not going to do it" then sometimes I just have to jump in and force them to.....

My weakness maybe. Sometimes winning at all costs is an unnecessary waste of time.

But sometimes, the parent has to win.

wondering which kid today? Well, pick one. So far we're up to three of them.... Salinda, Rand and Ricardo. I'm winning every one.

PTSD and Me

I finally stopped myself today and gave myself a talking to. I was all anxious, waiting for something bad to happen, and I had to remind myself that everything was fine. Enjoy the moments when nothing bad is happening. Seems like an easy thing to do, but really it isn't.

This is what it can do to you after a while... when you experience stress for years at a time, always on high alert, always waiting for the next rage, the next phone call, the next verbal attack, the next surprise misbehavior.... And then it comes and you deal with it and then you sit and wait for the next one.

We haven't had all that many lately, but I still sit and wait for it. But I'm getting better at telling myself that things are OK and that it's all going to be fine.....

and then letting go of it and moving on.

It's working for me... for the most part.

Fake It Till You Make It

Last night I informed Salinda that I would not be waking her up in the morning unless she gave me a time and asked me to. She told me she didn't want me to wake her up, that she would get herself up.

I knew I was taking a huge risk and that she might not make it to work crew this morning if I didn't, but I decided I was tired of being yelled at for waking her up. At least I could get yelled at for doing what she told me to do -- leave her alone.

But she got up! And then proceeded to be nasty and rule to me. "Are you ready?" she asked me. I said, how about, "Can I please have a ride?" which she dutifully said with THAT tone. And I gave her the ride.

I decided to take the advice of C.S. Lewis whose theory was that love was a commitment and not an emotion and that we don't always feel loving feelings. He suggested

Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbour; act as if you did. As soon as we do we discover one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him."

So I answered her wrath with kind words over and over again until she finally broke her attitude and we could have a decent conversation.....

And she's gone until 12:30. And I'm here able to get things done. She even agreed to go shopping with Sadie and I this afternoon.

Fake it till you make it. I"m not sure that's as sophisticated as C.S. Lewis would like, but it's really what it boils down to.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Long Day

Today ended up being quite a long day. I started with my inbox at 145 and was able to get it down to 60. I finished a business plan and budget for the new business and made several phone calls...

I am quite tired at this point.

Had a couple of interesting conversations with Salinda. Maybe I'll post them at some point.

She's home and grounded for a week. Being pleasant not so often. Being rude most of the time.


One of the Keys to Understand

Another Week Begins

Yesterday ended peacefully enough I guess. Everyone was at Bible School and I had a chance to be alone at home and get something done. Worked on a business plan and budget for the company we're using to promote the book we're writing. Now this morning I'm facing a very full inbox.

I went to the Y this morning and was feeling great until I got home and Salinda hadn't gotten herself up for tennis. I woke her up and of course somehow it was my fault that she got up late. She'll be 16 in a few months. Good grief. She hadn't even asked me to wake her up, but when I got home and realized that it was getting late.

So in return for my gracious willingness not only to wake her up but to give her a ride, I get treated rudely all morning.

I know it's typical, but I still don't like it.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

She's Home

When we got home from church I was going to change clothes and head to the police station but Salinda was here. She was lying on her bed, having showered, sobbing. I gave her the perfunctory lecture and left the room.

Changed my clothes and went back in there. She let me put my hand on her leg. Then she let me hug her while she shopped

She admitted to where she had been -- scenario wasn't quite as bad as I thought -- and she apologized in what seemed like a sincere fashion.

I told her that Sadie and she and I needed to have a talk. I told her a lot of things. She talked to me, but still really didn't open up.

I'm glad she's home and safe. I'm glad that she is at this point at least somewhat vulnerable. I'm glad I didn't have to go to the police station.

Right now we are planning to leave for lunch out for Rand's birthday and Dominyk is begging me to leave early. He's obsessing.

more later.

Well, If you've been hoping for Drama...

By the time I went to bed last it was very apparent that Salinda had taken off with a guy who may be 18 and was not school shopping, even though she had money with her to do so that came from me. That will affect her later if she spends it on other things...

She must want to get caught or something because one phone call yesterday could have bought her more time. But she still isn't home.

She was on a streak -- almost three weeks of doing what she needed to do -- tennis was going well, she was finally out of debt after over 10 months, she was getting along well with everyone.... and now this.

After church I am going to have to go down to the police station yet again and file a police report. I'm going to venture into nasty territory and start asking questions about statutory rape and pressing charges. And after I have a conversation with Sadie who may have been hurt or threatened on Friday night about the whole deal while we were sleeping (just found out last night about all this), we may be forced to ask her to report that.

I could not go to sleep last night. I was so stressed out. Laid there until nearly 11:30 and then woke again at 1:45, staying awake until almost three going over all the scenarios in my head, trying to figure out the best thing to do. Finally fell back asleep, only to awaken again too early.

Bart has to be gone tonight -- seems timing always works out that way.

I'm heading up now to wake up Sadie and try to get details from her before everyone else is up. I really would prefer not to live this day.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Could go either Way

It's 9:30. I'm exhausted. Salinda had permission to go with a friend and her mother shopping today. She went over there to spend the night last night. Friend's mom picked her up at 10:30 after they got done watching a movie.

Or so she said. But I haven't heard from her since. She gave me the cell number, but I can't find it on my phone. I know I typed it in, but I must not have saved it or something. I was going to talk to the mom, but I was really tired last night and the story had been consistent all day. I decided to trust her and go with it.

Anyway, this is what I hate. She could come home before her curfew at 11 completely appropriate, with school clothes from being exactly where she said.

Or she could be long gone, some of her school clothes money with her, off spending the night with some guy... I just really don't know which one.

Well, it's a lie.... I just found out.

Dang I don't know why I trust that girl ever. I should have known something was up. She was faking being nice to me again.

Our Day with Friends and the Burden of OCD

Wow, Dominyk nearly drove us crazy today begging to leave the park and go have lunch. He went on and on, over and over again.

He banged on the table with sticks. He interrupted our conversation repeatedly. He made me crazy....

But we did have fun with our friends. Bart hadn't seen the girls since they were 2 and I hadn't seen them since they were 4.

Now they are 11.

We had a great time.

Well, except for the part where dominyk was obsessing.


Two months minus two days of laundromats.

We're so happy. Bart sat and studied the manual and watched and listened to our new hi-tech washer, paid for by Sears who should have paid for it two months ago.

But it is here.

And we are glad.


I decided that I wanted to designate August as a month to reconnect with old friends. We had dinner with friends we hadn't spent time with in over 6 years at the beginning of the month and today we are heading to meet friends whose kids I don't think we have seen for 8 or 9 years. We are going to have lunch.

Meanwhile, things remain OK here. I behaved a little badly and lectured Salinda yesterday for a good 20 minutes about her ingratitude and selfishness. Oddly it seemed to make an impression for once because she was as pleasant as can best night. Could be because she is not where she says she is today, but if not i'll find out later. I almost always do.

The new washer will finally be here this afternoon. It will be so nice to be able to do laundry.

I did work out this morning, for those interested.

And someone compromised my toothbrush somehow. I discovered it after I started brushing my teeth. They put something on it. I don't believe it was poisonous, and no, they didn't pee on it, but my mouth tastes like deoderant or shaving cream or lotion or something besides toothpaste even though I have rinsed it out and used toothpaste without the brush and had a granola bar.



Friday, August 15, 2008

A Surprise Date

When Bart finished feeding the kids he announced to them, and to me, that he was taking me on a date for supper. Wilson immediately rushed to the floor to sit on my foot and said, "If I can't go, y'all can't go. I'm a leach and I won't let go."

Of course, it was a huge joke, and whenever it was time to go, he was fine with letting us go.

Very hard to resist letting him come along though. So dang cute.


I've not had a good morning. Several disappointments.... a huge increase in workload... and a selfish, manipulative, demanding, ungrateful, should I go on.... daughter.

But while waiting at the eye doctor's office for said daughter I picked up People Magazine and read about Steven Curtis Chapman again and their struggles this year.

And I can't help but remind myself that no matter how annoying Maria might have been as a teenager, that ten years from now they would have wanted her alive and well and with them....

So I have to remind myself today that my piddly whining about typical teenage behavior is pathetic... that I could be dealing with so much more than what I am.

She hasn't done anything incredibly stupid for almost 3 weeks. She is finally almost out of debt. She is doing what I ask after much struggle and argument.

But she's here. She's alive. And I think what the Chapmans are teaching all of us through this tragedy is that God's grace is sufficient.

So I need to be grateful for those things and spend my time not whining.

And Here we Are Again

My life is weird. There was a block of wood in the shower with a kitchen serrated knife sticking in it. Dominyk I'm sure. SIgh.

And surrounded by what is probably typical teenage selfishness I'm just ready to scream. The fact that I'm so busy really makes me even crazier that they can't do the least little bit.

JUst got a call. Have a surprise meeting. Will whine more later. ;-)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sears Comes Through Way Too Late, but at Least They Did

We got approval today to spend $800 on a new washer. Bart and I went tonight and we spent a bit more than that. It is only 4 days short of 2 full months since the guy came the first time to fix the washer. We have probably spent $400 at least on laundromat.

But Saturday we will have a brand new washer and finally be able to start catching up on laundry. We have been saving bedding etc. and not taking it to the laundromat.

I am super tired tonight again. Not sure waht is up. Going to go back to the Y in the morning and see if htat makes a difference...

Most of the Day Spent Away from My Desk

Heading to a meeting today that will take most of my day. Last night I did not sleep well -- I had caffeine yesterday afternoon after not having much for weeks and it kept me awake, along with several other annoying things that aren't worth mentioning. So this morning I worked out from home on the Wii Fit again and showered, took Salinda to leave for an away tennis match, and now I'm finishing up a few things so I can leave for my meeting.

I'm really dragging this morning.

Life here has just been so routine and mellow and fine that it is scary. When you have PTSD you just keep waiting for something bad to happen and when it doesn't you just keep waiting for it again. But it's been two and a half weeks of very calm life at the Fletchers. In just a little over two weeks there will be school starting and we will have survived yet another summer.

And fall provides some exciting opportunities for me with speaking and travelling for my job...

If I could have just one wish it would not be for more money, but for more time. So much I want to do....

And to think there are those who have time for TV...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Where's Your Website, Claudia???

We are in the process of redoing the website with a new company title... by August 25th we will have an email newsletter and I'll invite you to join it sometime in the next couple weeks.

So if you go to you won't find anything there.


Tonight at the supper table you would have heard this statement:

Me: Hey Bart, here's what we came up with for your speaker's brochure: Bart Fletcher summarizes his passionate adoption advocacy with this quote:

dramatic pause

Dominyk: Beans, beans the magic fruit the more you eat the more you toot....

And My Husband Takes the Lead

Bart has the most downloads of any radio program that Pat O'Brien has done at You Gotta Believe since they started making downloads available.

If you haven't downloaded it to listen to yet, the link for it is here.

Did Posting that Mean I Was Asking for Drama?

Well, we don't have drama, but we do have is irritation upon irritation.

Dominyk got stuck on not being able to do his lunch dishes. He has done them all summer long on Wednesday at noon. I cannot figure out why, but some Wednesdays he gets right busy, doesn't say a word and finishes them quickly. Other weeks it is complete torture.

Today it was complete torture.

I was trying to figure out Rand's checking account which is a complete mess. I was trying to focus while Dominyk was obsessing about how the dishes were too hard and he couldn't do them. I tried everything. I tried patience. I tried giving him positive attention. I tried changing the subject. I tried everything I could think of. Nothing worked.

So I left to take Salinda to tennis. When I came back, he started up again. He did so while I tried to eat and I was talking too much and eating to fast which, if you have a lap band inside, restricting your intake, is not a good plan. So I couldn't finish my lunch.

He kept going. I was trying to eat and it didn't go well. I had to throw up. I had to throw up again. He kept going. I finally went to play the Wii fit a while. He followed, chanting and whining and moaning and sobbing. I threw up again. I came out. He started again.

Then as soon as it started it stopped and he went up to do the dishes without further complaint.

And I threw up again.

And I still need to throw up one more time.

And that, as I'm sure someone will comment, was way too much information.

So sorry...

Wow, blogging is an interesting thing. When things are going really horribly here, I seem to blog more. And when things are going horribly here, you seem to read more.

When things are calm.... not so much.

Things are calm.


Life is spent now getting kids to practices and working on stuff for my jobs and trying to keep everyone where they are supposed to be. The kids have been great this summer -- and even though we haven't done much "vacation" type stuff, we've had some really good times just being together.

Salinda has held her act together for the past 2.5 weeks. She has started playing tennis and it seems to be going well.

Heard from John last night. He is doing great. Working and practicing football. He seems happy, which he always is when he is busy....

Kyle did not get the job he interviewed for... so we're back praying for another interview.

Rand is getting between 35 and 40 hours of work a week. He is not planning on returning for his second year of college until he has earned the money he needs to pay for it. His grades are not good enough to justify borrowing lots of money for school.

Ricardo is working hard at practice with the dream of playing varsity soccer as an 8th grader. He may be dreaming, but every time I talk to him about realistic expectations he says, "Mom, I'm GOING to make BARSITY."

My whole life is just a jumble right now of things that I need to do.... my head is spinning....

Better go do them, huh?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dinner, Olympics, Balloons and Beards

We had dinner out tonight. Bart had a coupon and it was kids eat free night. Of course, we only have two kids, the rest are adults, but I digress....

When my food arrived, Leon said, "that's why you aren't in the Olympics." Even though I only planned to eat half of my sandwich apparently it was more than he thought I should eat. Then they brought HIS plate full of food -- which was twice the amount of food I had ordered. I asked him, "Why aren't YOU in the Olympics?" "I'm too young" he said, as if I was stupid not to know.

Dominyk suggested maybe it was time for him to start shaving. He asked how you know. "When you have a lot of beard" Ricardo told him.

The balloon guy was at the restaurant, so we got balloons and I took pictures. But Ricardo, as usual would not cooperate with my photography efforts.

Time is Just Speeding By

Bart and I headed out to James Photography today to get pictures done for publicity purposes for our website and other upcoming brochures, etc. James was so helpful and his price so reasonable that I have to mention him here. He had a few of the pictures touched up and in my email box before we even got home. This is one. Another one I posted on my dieting blog because people were asking for before and after pictures. I called it my before and during pictures since I still have so much to lose.

This afternoon was preparing for and attending a long meeting a back home and now it's 5:00. I ended up driving kids everywhere and it has been one of those days where not much got done at the desk.

Oh well, there's always tonight. Who needs sleep?

Running Late

We're getting promotional pictures done today for our website and other printed materials for book promotion. I have to leave in about 20 minutes and I don't have makeup on yet.

I was going to curl my hair but Bart told me that when I do it looks so 1984. He's so wrong. I googled it and I look nothing like any of these styles.

Things are going pretty smoothly around here lately, which is really nice.

Hopefully the picture thing will go OK and I will have good things to report upon our return.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Fun Dinner Time

We had a nice time at dinner. Everyone was here except Tony who is still at Bart's moms. We joked and laughed and ate really good food. Chicken enchiladas, rice and beans, and peach crisp (which yes, I had to have a little bit of). It was a nice family time.

Towards the end of the meal, Wilson was sitting like this. Bart reached over and patted his knee.

Wilson said, "Hey, no touching the boobs!"

50 Long Minutes

Dominyk and I went to his psychiatrist appointment.




Before she got in the room, he completely harassed me for a full 40 minutes. He chanted that he was bored. He banged his head on the wall. He threatened to leave. He threw toys. He said we had to leave. Told me we couldn't wait for her. Told me he had to leave... couldn't take it anymore, needed to go.

When she finally came in I was explaining to her that his latest medication is not working and he cooperated and gave her a full demonstration. He got obsessed for some reason with buying an iced coffee at McDonalds (since she said he was not to have pop). He would not let it go. I used every technique I could think of to stop him and it didn't work.

She changed one of his meds.

I hope that her conclusion was that the medication was the issue. I hope she didn't conclude it was my parenting. Sigh.

And no, I never got the nap I needed. And the OCD bored thing really did just about push me over the edge.

Really Dragging this Afternoon

All the sudden I'm really tired. Just dragging. Might have to lie down.

Hate that.

This Looks Interesting

Anyone who is a Christian and interested in adoption issues might find this organization interesting.

I just heard about it today. They are having an annual conference in November.

Starting the Day Well Again

Had probably the best workout ever at the Y from 5:30 to 6:30 this morning. Weighed in as well. Click here for that report. Came home to shower and then spent some time working on the book. Now i'm hitting email.

Salinda started Tennis practice this morning and will have two practices a day this week. Hopefully that will keep her busy.

Ricardo starts soccer today. Tryouts this week to determine Varsity, JV or C Squad.

Kyle had a job interview this morning for a teaching job. Said it went well and he should know today. Fingers and toes crossed. He really needs to start teaching. He's very gifted but I'm afraid if he doesn't get a job right away he might lose focus.

Rand has full time hours scheduled for this week at Hy Vee. It looks like he may be taking a year off of school this year until he saves some money.

Tony is still at Bart's mom's and is having a great time. We are enjoying a short break from the stress he brings to our family system. She has him working hard up there, hopefully he'll come home a little more mellow.

Sadie was up at 5:30 to go to the Y with me. Always fun having her along.

Everyone else is pretty mellow lately. Lots of PCA hours for Dominyk are helping his summer go fast....

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Spent the evening at Mike and Kari's having supper in their backyard with a couple of my blog readers. It's a little scary when your family walks somewhere and a stranger can identify each of the kids by name.

We had a good time ... laughing and sharing stories.

Now we're back home and we have 5 kids at youth group. Bart is doing something at the church and I'm home working on a logo for our book publicity stuff.


Our family and Wilson's baptismal sponsor, a wonderful lady from our church, headed out for brunch this morning. It was a buffet, so that sped things up, but the after dinner conversation was getting annoying for Wilson. He didn't figure out what was going on for a while, so he was frustrated when he missed a chance to head to ride home in the van with Rand and got stuck listening to adult conversation.

"This is why I hate going out to eat. Y'all talk to much. Blaaah, blaah, blaah, blaah, blaah."

We kept talking. Suddenly he interrupted us.

"I have an idea!! Why don't we leave now and ya'll can talk on the phone!"

The Night that Would Never Begin

Last night was really a stupid one. Stupid because nothing really bad happened, but it was just a series of dumb things that drove me nuts.

Salinda had asked if a friend could spend the night, which is fine. At 8:45 she came home and said, "hey mom, I'm home. I'm going to go water plants" (she has a job doing that for a couple week for neighbors on vacation." About 9:20 she let me know she was back. I assumed her friend was here.

By 9:50 I was ready to go to bed and I couldn't find the girls anywhere to tell them goodnight. I finally texted her friend's cell phone to ask where they were and got no response. By 10:10 the phone was ringing. It was the friend. She asked if Salinda was here. I said, "No, who is this?" When it was her I was very confused. Told her I didn't know where Salinda was. Told her I thought she was spending the night. She said she was, but they had dropped Salinda off earlier and she wasn't here yet.

At that point Salinda came in the front door. Apparently she had been outside waiting for the friend to arrive and was shooting baskets in the dark. SIgh.

I went to bed. At 10:40 the girls mom called and woke me up from some critical period of REM sleep I'm sure. She asked if her daughter was there. I went looking and yes, she was there. So I reported that back and went back to bed.

At 11:30 the doorbell rang. I went to investigate. The girls had ordered pizza without mentioning or watching for the guy so he had to ring the bell and the dog had to freak out.

At 11:45 I had to go out and tell the girls to be quiet because they were making so much noise.

At midnight on the dot my alarm clock went off because apparently during one of the times the phone rang I had punched the wrong numbers and set the buzzer to go off at midnight.

All innocent stuff. But the stress comes in the fact that I had spent a large portion of yesterday putting blogs into word format to prepare for writing the next book. I had been going through October of 2007 and relived this experience which happened with the same girl.

So you throw in a little post traumatic stress and things like missing people and basketball in the dark and all those kinds of things become major ordeals.

But the good news I finally did fall asleep sometime around 12:30. And now we're ready for another day.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Raring to go

So I got up and went to the Y this morning after sleeping until 7 a.m. which for me lately is very late. I came home, shaved my legs (takes forever, lots of surface area), and am now at the computer ready to work on book stuff, organize my desk, etc. Will need to start school shopping this weekend as well.

Always so much to do.

better get started. Maybe later I'll take time to blog something more worthwhile.

Friday, August 08, 2008

long day

I did training for several hours today. Just got done at 7:30. Fun people and a good day all around, but I'm tired at the end of it.

It's somehow encouraging in an odd sort of way to explain my family to people hoping to adopt. It's great to train people who seem realistic and accepting of my ideas. And it's great to know that I'm looking a resource for a few more kids who may end up with a family instead of aging out of foster care. Which, if you know me, is what it's always about.

One committed parent for every child.


Every kid deserves at least that.

Time for some Whining

It's been a while since I've whined here, so it's about time I did so. ;-)

I slept in this morning and didn't go to the Y. I've pushed myself so hard this week that I'm completely exhausted today. I have to give a training that will last all day and I have to leave during the middle of it for a couple hours to help a family with their interview for some kids.

As is typical of me, I go full speed for days and then I have to crash and burn. Guess today is crash and burn day. Hope that I can keep functioning anyway.

And I'm sure that skipping one day at the Y isn't going to kill me, may even be good for my body, but it hasn't been good for my mind I don't think.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

There Are Some Perks

Working in adoption does have it's perks.

Very cool to know I helped put this family together-- here's some picks, Jill, as you requested. Tell Jeremiah that if he hadn't have spent the whole night avoiding me, his picture would be in here too...


The final title for the book

Oh yeah!

That project hanging over my head? Once I buckled down and started, it took less than an hour.


Day Four and I feel Amazing

Was going to sleep in this morning, but woke up at 5:10 raring to go. Did the YMCA workout, returned home, showered at at the computer by 6:50. Worked on book stuff for an hour, which sort of crept into an hour and a half but I'm making myself stop now. It's easy to get sucked into something I'm motivated about and not get other things done.

I've got two work-related projects that have to have attention today. I'm going to attempt to get both of those done. One of them has been hanging over my head for weeks and I just need to buckle down and finish it.

Things are buzzing right along here.... Bart, Salinda, Mercedes and Ricardo are heading to visit John at his group home. He is going to be returning to public school as a senior and playing football, so we agreed to buy him some cleats and pay for his expenses for the sport. So far he is hanging in there, which is great news. He's been 18 for a few weeks now and now has a job. He is not talking about leaving the group home any more, which is very good news.

My biggest fear is what will happen when he starts to interract with his peers. They have historically been his downfall. But I guess we'll just have to see what happens.

So I'm off to finish that project. Maybe posting about it here will keep me accountable to get it done!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Isn't it Amazing

A Probation Officer's Visit that was so uneventful that I didn't have to come home and report it. We had a talk, she was told she was going to now have more UAs and if they came back dirty they would do a chemical dependency assessment.

She came home and wasn't horrible.

And all of that is definitely progress....

Had an appointment with the county getting medical care set up for the coming year for the children adopted from the U.S. Love those forms where I get to write down everyones names and information. It's such a short process... NOT.

Perfect Beginning 3rd Day in a Row

For the third day in a row I have done exactly what I needed to do. I got up early 5:15 this morning, did my complete YMCA workout, drank 24 ounces of water, came home, showered, and worked on book related stuff for an hour.

Now it's 8:00 a.m. and I'm ready for my work day.

Wanted to take a couple minutes to put some pictures of my kids that I took from the picnic last night. If you were at the picnic and it's ok for me to post pictures of your kids, leave me a comment and I will.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

All's Well that Ends

Actually, it's ending well, but what a day. Made so much progress on book related things today that I'm quite excited. Am determined to get up and get another chapter written in the morning.

The picnic was fun. Everyone came, even Salinda and she did well... participated, helped. It was wonderful.

And confronting her didn't even go poorly.

But if I"m going to be getting up at 5 a.m. I need to be heading to bed earlier. I'm an old lady!

Running on Pure Adrenaline

The stress of a work situation combined with the stress of the Probation officers visit tomorrow and a meeting tonight that is Salinda related was put to good use today. I cranked out so much stuff it was absolutely amazing.....

I'm flying on high right now but when I crash, I'm really going to crash.

Days like these I can get the work of 20 people done.

Too bad I can't have those 20 people's sleep.....

Heading off to an adoption picnic. Will try to take some pictures while i'm there to post later...

Well, that Didn't take Long

A few minutes after I blogged I talked to Salinda's Probation Officer who is insisting that I confront her before our meeting tomorrow, which I was planning on waiting on doing. So I have that to look forward to.

And then her mentor showed up for a meeting she scheduled but did not tell me about and she was rude to me while he waited and I tried to get her up. Nothing horrendous but a lot of eye rolling and tongue clicking and typical nasty teenage stuff.

So now i'm not feeling quite as motivated as before. Sometimes dealing with this stuff just zaps my energy.

Another Great Start to the Day

Up by 5:15, to the Y by 5:30. Best workout in a long time. Came home, wrote for an hour, now reading blogs and blogging. Bart and I have a lunch date set up to talk about a bunch of details about the book.

That's my only meeting today and I am glad as I have much to do. Yesterday was a very productive day. I hope to have two in a row.

Doing so much writing aside from blogging that I haven't been as motivated to blog as I should be, but as y'all know, I go in spurts and I'll be back.

I am having problems syncing my calendar and that is going to get me all worked up until I figure it out, so that's on my agenda for today.

Tomorrow is Salinda's meeting with her Probation Office. I'm sure that that will spur on something. Her attitude has been better the past few days, but it will worsen when she finds out I know a bunch of stuff she doesn't think I know .... that I'd put money on.

Monday, August 04, 2008

A long but productive day

I kept going all day until now. Now i'ts 7:10 and I'm starting to drag a little. But it was a very productive day.

Had a difficult meeting this afternoon that I cannot blog about and am going to be having trouble keeping awake and not going to bed early tonight.

And this blog post is so very very boring. Wow.

Very Productive Morning Still

I've been cranking out the work this morning. Getting lots of things done.... Little details that have been driving me nuts lately.

I just took a brief break to take a test on Facebook -- and ended up 100% intelligent. Got every single question right. Gotta love that. Even though it was a borderline waste of time, never hurts to find out that I'm ONE HUNDRED PERCENT INTELLIGENT. Test was fun too.

Still crankin...

Writers Write

This has been an incredible morning for me so far. I had a great YMCA workout and lost more this week than I have ever lost in one week. I came back and didn't even turn on my email program or my instant messaging programs until I had worked on the book for an hour.

I wrote a new chapter. The book has been finished since 2005, but since then we added our last two children. So I have to write those chapters. I completed one this morning which is so incredibly motivating.

Writing is very hard work. It takes a lot of self-discipline, which I don't always have. Taking time to sit down and write is very difficult and I have found that the only time I can really get things done is if I do it in the morning, right away, before the kids wake up. And to really get something written requires a considerable amount of concentration and effort. I have to be in a place where I am not distracted at all. But once I get something done I am so satisfied.

So, on a day when it is only 8:15 a.m. and I have already finished a 45 minute good workout and written for over an hour, I'm raring to go and feeling great. now to tackle my desk and my inbox and develop a solid list of to-dos for today.

one of the reasons I'm feeling so good at the moment might be that I haven't talked to anyone but Sadie and Bart this morning too. Everyone else is still asleep. ;-)

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Reliving My Life

One of the assignments that "the editor" gave me is to put all of my blog entries into word documents in chronological order so that when we begin to write the next book we will have all that information easily accessible. I did July 2004 today - relived our trip to Toledo where we visited friends and our one and only trip to Disney. It was a fun time to reminisce.

I spent a lot of time working on book stuff this weekend -- in fact, I got very little else done. I'm excited about making progress.

Now tomorrow I have to hit it hard. Going to go to the Y early and then begin to tackle an endless to do list. SIgh.

I hope I can start the day with some weight loss. That would really be nice.

A Mother's Day Story in August

While we were in NYC we were able to attend a staff meeting with one of my regular blog readers and one of the people I found most amazing and most entertaining during our first trip to NYC back in December of 06. She sat at the same table with us during the Christmas Party and we laughed nearly the whole meal.

It was great to see her again and I was especially moved by the story she told us about her Mother's Day this year. I know I will mess up some details, but I need to share it because of her conclusion. Sorry, Danielle, if I screw it up, but, remember, you gave me permission to share.

Danielle has several children and this story is about two of her daughters (and I'm not sure if that word is used to describe foster daughters or adopted daughters or daughters who used to be foster daughters or friends of former foster daughters or what, but that is how Danielle's life is. She has a collection of teenagers and young adults who she has claimed that live in and out of her house).

Last year these two were apparently determined to make it home for Mother's Day. So, at some point in the evening, they got on the subway to return home. However, they were drunk, and so they fell asleep and missed their stop. They called home about 3:30 a.m. "Mom, can you come pick us up? We don't know where we are. We kinda fell asleep." Danielle instructed them to read the sign at the subway station to her and when she heard the place, she was not thrilled. It was at least a 45 minute drive from her home and in a very sophisticated upper class white neighborhood.

So, fearing for their safety, Danielle said, sit down, don't go anywhere, and act as normal as you can. Because both of these girls are very "butch" obviously lesbian girls of color, the warning was more than necessary in that neighborhood.

Danielle got up, drove the forty-five minutes and was relieved to find them safe. On the way home the girls said, "Mom, is it Mother's Day yet?"

"Yes, it's today."

"Can you drive us to 7-11 so we can buy you something?"

Daneille suggested to them that she'd rather just go back to bed if it was all the same to them. They went home, Danielle went back to bed, and when she woke up, the girls had gotten up early, headed to 7-11 on their own, and purchased some gifts for her.

Danielle ended her story, which was MUCH more hilarious coming from her and her NYC accent and awesome personality, with these words:

"What they didn't understand was, that for me, being a mother was not about flowers or gifts from 7-11. It was about them having someone to call at 3:30 a.m. when they really needed a mom."

Now I have tears in my eyes. Happy Mother's Day again to you, Danielle, and to all of you who became mothers not to fulfill your own needs, but to provide a mom to kids who needed one.

I'm an Excellent Caregiver

On Friday night we had company. Friends that I mentioned here had offered to fix bikes (well, he did anyway) and so we had them and Mike and Kari and their kids over for dinner. Bart made homemade pizza and it was great.

While the bike fixer was busy outside with the kids, I was holding the 3 month old. She was crying and I was determined that I was going to calm her down. It took a very very long time. About 45 minutes. But I was reminded during that time of my presentation in NYC about considering kids at placement to be like newborns. I reflected about this in entry called First Year of Placement on my Everything Adoption Blog.

When Mike and Kari are at our house, Anna is usually very well behaved. I often point out that the reason for this is that I am an excellent caregiver. I have repeated that phrase often when their family is at our house.

Friday night, after I had finally gotten the baby to fall asleep she rested well. She then woke up, had a bottle and a diaper change and was very happy. Sadie then asked to hold her. After three minutes of peacefulness, Sadie turned me me smugly and said, "I'm an excellent caregiver."

This Has to Be A Record

Wow. It's 1:44 and I haven't blogged today. This may be a record.

Part of my problem is that I have a list of things that I want to be blogging and can't find the time or energy to sit down and blog any of them. I'm going to have to start a running list of things that need to be eventually blogged when I have the time.

We just finished lunch with some friends. It was a fun meal with a couple families from church that we enjoy. One of them includes a newly appointed judge so I had an enjoyable time imparting all my wisdom and opinions (as you can imagine I have many) about family court and Termination of Parental Rights hearings.

Twenty of us -- 6 adults, 2 semi adults (college students) and 10 teenagers, and 2 preteens. We consumed a lot of good Asian food and the conversation was great. I always enjoy being with adults and our children were very well behaved, although I don't think Dominyk has stopped talking, other than for the 85 minutes we spent in church, since he woke up.

Adult conversation is a bit difficult with that constantly running in the background but we survived.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Almost like the feeling after I resist a Cinnamon Roll

I just finished a Wii fit mini workout. And I am in my office with my earbuds in (to drown out the music above) my new Iphone listening to Kirk Franklin remind me that "things are gonna get easier". Sometimes you just can't beat Gospel music. And I am feeling as good about recovering from the last hour as I did about refusing a cinnamon roll.

Salinda had a big blow up. She's got herself in some messes and I was the only person in the world who could get her out of the jam (of course, it involves money). And she was rude to me. She swore. She brought up all kinds of things that were her responsibility, the natural consequences of her poor choices. I tried to get her to say something like, "Mom, I need you. I don't have anyone else to turn to. Can you please help me because you love me?"

She couldn't do it. But I made my point. Boy did I make it. I talked and talked and listened and made her pay attention to the logic. And eventually I got a snotty apology and a huffy thank you and she got the loan. But she got the point. And that was my point.

She does have a watering job for the next two weeks that she can use to pay me back with.

But she said some interesting things in the process. She accused us of never inviting her to go anywhere with us. Well, as you know, she's never here, and when we ask her she usually says no. But you know now what it's going to be like. I'm going to invite her along to everything I do. If she is indeed wishing I would, then I'm going to start doing it. It will probably be a little excessive and a little annoying, but she'll get the point.

And that is my point. ;-)

But what is the point of this post? The point of this post is that she is now calm and back to speaking to me and I feel great to have gone through all that without having a lot of super stress.

It's a good feeling to be in control of me.

Off to do One of My Not-So-Favorite Things

If I could get by with never entering a store again as of this moment, I would not care at all. I do not enjoy the process of shopping. One bit. In any way. And now I'm beginning the beginning of school shopping.

My butt hurts from sitting in my chair for the whole morning and that is one reason why I want to be gone. Salinda is in a nasty mood, which I didn't help by actually confronting her about something and then responding in a not so helpful way. Bart is taking some kids to the fair and a couple others are going to a movie.... last thing I want to do is be home with her storming around spewing nasty attitude everywhere.

As soon as she is out of debt I will take her school shopping. But she's still about $47.00 away. She'll get it done if I don't budge and lend her more.

So, the kids were given three choices of things to do, and all but Sadie chose not to shop. She and I should be able to have a fairly decent time....

Got the Hour Done

Well, I got the hour done. One hour spent working on the book. Am going to try to get another hour in today as well.

I confess to being absolutely overwhelmed at this point in my life. I have often been overwhelmed. Happens a lot. But looking ahead at the next several months I am more overwhelmed than ever before.

I think it would be helpful to me to articulate why I am overwhelmed. Maybe breaking it down will help. Or, as Bart warns, maybe it will double overwhelm me.

1) One month until school starts and nothing has been purchased. That means that I have 8 kids living at home that I need to help get new clothes, new shoes, and school supplies. We still have 6 kids who need to see the dentist. Sports practices start as soon as Monday for Salinda (if she chooses to go to the optional ones which I have decided not to care about). Paperwork for school needs to be done along with several appointments.

2) I don’t talk much about my local job because so much of it is confidential, but I have a coworker resigning in less than a month and I’m going to be getting all of her cases. There is the possibility that between us we may have as many as 20 kids in placement, which will all be on my shoulders. And this doesn’t count all the families that will still be in matching.

3) I am behind with my Adopt American numbers and even though I am attempting to put in hours and make connections it has been more difficult lately. I need to think of new strategies and new ideas for matching and I just don’t have the time to maintain what I currently have going on and take initiatives. I really need to be travelling more as well, but that is difficult to set up.

4) I am very motivated about the book getting done, but it is going to require a lot of work and a lot of time. I won’t go on about all that, but in order to do the things I want to do, I’m going to have to keep working very hard on that.

5) I am not going to let go of the exercise piece of my life. This is now taking about 90 minutes or more of my days 6 days a week. But I have more energy and feel better than I ever have. If I let this go, then I’m sunk for sure.

6) I am completely unorganized and distracted, so sitting down to do anything is difficult. I always feel disjointed because I don’t have many solid hours to dedicate to anything. Thus I come and go quickly and can’t seem to get into a project before it’s time to go.

7) I would love to do more at church, but just can’t possibly find time, and then I feel disjointed from Bart’s ministry and long for the days when we did more of that together.

OK, I’ll stop with seven things. But I could seriously be three people and be very happy and fulfilled getting things done and making progress. None of my three selves would even take time to watch TV I don’t think. Although, maybe I’d be a fourth who could just have fun and relax.

Nope, don’t think so. So much to be done in this world.

Not Going to Post for A While

I'm going to get the hour of book writing done this morning and try to do the hour from yesterday. Being a "writer" is going to require way more self discipline than I am interested in having.

But in 2 hours I'll be back to let you know how it went....

Friday, August 01, 2008

It Just Didn't Happen

Well, I had my goals for August. I really did. And I thought i was going to be able to do them every day. You gotta hate it when you fail before you even get started.

We had a super busy day. By the time we had left a little after 6:30 a.m., driven to the Apple Store, purchased our phones, gone shoe shopping, and stopped for lunch on the way home it was almost 1:00. I then went with Sadie to buy her first cell phone. She has been working hard all summer for this day and so I wanted her to be rewarded as soon as possible.

So by the time that was over it was almost 2 and we had company coming at 3:00. I had a training I had to set up. It took the full hour until they arrived. It's 9:24 and our company just left about 15 minutes ago.

So, I only got 40 minutes of exercise today instead of an hour and I didn't work on the book at all.

I'm exhausted.

Guess I'm going to just have to pretend that tomorrow is August 1st and there are only 30 days in the month....

Some promising and not so promising things

I can't blog some of the not so promising things as it involves a promise of confidentiality that i made to someone.

But here are a few positive things about Salinda at this moment: She came with us this morning. Bart and I invited anyone who wanted to come to join us for our 6:30 a.m. departure to the Apple Store. She came along, as did Sadie, WIlson, and Jimmy. It was a quiet ride while the kids slept. And we then went shoe shopping. I bought new tennis shoes -- Consumer Reports recommendation.... Nike AIr Healthwalkers. WIth added padding and arch supports. They are getting more comfortable by the moment.

And, as you can see by Wilson's distraught face at the shoe store, shopping for shoes for me and Salinda wasn't his favorite thing, though he was a good sport.

Anyway, that was certainly a digression.

When we returned home without a thank you or anything for the purchase of shoes for Salinda's upcoming tennis season, she suddenly asked for a $47 loan. I explained to her that last night's behavior (breaking into my office and taking my phone, and being on the phone and watching TV after hours) combined with her lack of gratitude this morning, caused me to have no motivation to tell her yes.

Surprisingly she silently walked away without a fit. That's promising. I know, sounds weird, but with her it is.

I went up to her room later and explained to her that if she apologized for last night and if she thanked me for today and offered a payment plan, I might be more receptive. I left her to think about that.

When I got home I had some work to do my desk and was moaning that I was going to have to finish up last nights dishes (her turn). The excuses she started throwing at me made me laugh and that seemed to break her mood. I came to my office and she came down to report that she had not only finished her dishes from last night, but did all the rest of them as well (Tony's turn today and he's not here).

And then when she asked me for a favor, I immediately said yes. Fortunately it was a favor that was cheaper than $47.00.

Back home

We're here. Company coming soon. Going to go clean house.

My new Iphone is sweet. It's especially nice not to be constantly getting small pieces of glass in my fingers.

Up and Leaving Early

Last night I discovered Salinda watching TV and having broken into my office to steal the phone. THis was discovered after I had been a sleep for 90 minutes, so I was abruptly awakened by her rudeness and then could not go back to sleep. A full hour later I was still awake. I had set my alarm for 5 to go to the Y before our adventure today, but I turned it off.

I woke up at 5 anyway and after a brief internal debate, got up and went. I'm glad I did. More about that later.

We are leaving today hoping to purchase IPhones with some unexpected income. Mine has been broken since February and Bart has never had one.

We were encouraged to be in line by 8 a.m. but we're probably not going to make it by then.

And I'm going to be really tired. But I never regret getting up. And I always regret choosing not to.

So hopefuly by the time I blog again it will either be about or from my new IPhone and maybe I won't have glass pieces sticking into my finger like I hve for the past nearly 6 months ;-)

(By the way -- repairing my old Iphone: $179.99. Buying a new one $199.99.