Friday, February 27, 2009

Speaking Schedule

I just did a page this morning to show my Speaking Schedule. Hope I"ll remember to keep updating it. ;-)

Click here to check it out.

He's Gotta Be Right. He agrees with me.

Got an email with this quote and I just have to pass it on because someone else has been saying what I've been saying for years.

Jeff Katz from Listening to Parents writes this:

Understanding the Disincentives to Adoption

Nobody consciously discourages good prospective parents from adopting.. There are, however, a number of very strong disincentives that cause public child welfare agencies to act in ways that discourage would-be adoptive parents. One of the most significant disincentives is on the caseworker level. The other disincentive involves adoptions across state or county lines.

Worker Disincentives

First, individual caseworkers have disincentives to make adoptive placements. In order for a child in foster care to be adopted, he or she must be in a relatively stable situation. A caseworker with too large a caseload will, by necessity, respond to the child in crisis before the relatively stable child who would benefit in the long term by having a permanent family. In addition, adoptions are extremely labor-intensive involving meetings with parents, teachers, therapists and others, as well as preparing the child for a major life change. Finally, when a caseworker does move a child from a stable situation to an adoptive family, the caseworker receives a new case, which invariably will require more work than the child he or she replaces.

Disincentives Among Jurisdictions

Second, states have very strong incentives to keep "their" families. Each state pays the cost of recruiting and preparing their own families with no compensation if the family adopts a child from another state. In this system, it makes more sense for a state to keep a family waiting for a year than to match them immediately with a waiting child in another state. As a result, while 17,000 children crossed America's national borders last year from other countries for the purpose of being adopted, fewer than 1,000 American children in foster care crossed state borders to be adopted. In many states, this pattern also holds true across county lines, making it very difficult in North Carolina for a family in Raleigh to adopt a child in Durham.

Until we establish rational incentives that reward everyone involved in successfully making an adoption, children will wait while good, potential parents are turned away and turned off.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

She shouldn't have enjoyed it so much

I'm at the coffee shop. I'm clicking things off my to-do list left and right, making great progress.

My cell phone rings and it's Kari. Giggling. Laughing even. Apparently though there is no snow on the ground, school is closing in an hour.

Oh well. We'll see how the night goes. Sometimes getting snowed in can be fun.

yeah, right.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Taking a Day Off

Thanks to everyone for their encouraging words and to Tim for his honesty in his comments. We all need to be kept in check sometimes.

Today I'm taking the day off from one thing -- Salinda. Yesterday I devoted many hours to her schoolwork and our relationship to only have her end the day by submitting assignments that she new were incorrect just because she didn't want to take the time to learn about it. I'm about ready to simply tell her that she is 16 years old and if she flunks the classes they will offer them again during summer school. She has dreams of becoming an FBI investigator and knows she will need college, so whatever she does it will eventuallly be her life.

Tough line for parents to balance. Do we step in and help our kids or do we step back and let them fail so they can learn? Either way it may not make much difference in the long run, but I'm sure those who can emotionally disengage are probably emotionally healthier than parents carrying the burden.

So for today I'm going to let her do what she will. I'm going to spend the entire day away from the house at the coffee shop and in meetings. And whatever she gets done she gets done.

I needed the break. And if the result is that she fails the semester, it's her choice. Of course, I have to live with the fallout.

Oh no -- temptation to run home and drag her out of bed so I don't have to live with her attitude just took over -- but I"m resisting.....

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Being Wrong

I don't like being wrong. In fact, it bothers me quite a bit. While I want people to confront me, it's not a pleasant process for me to be confronted.

I deleted yesterday's blog entry because to rewrite it and explain it would be very difficult for me at this point. But a commenter pointed out the way it sounded to him, and when I re-read it I agreed.

There is a downside to having an Iphone. I looked at my email from the Y and the comment threw off my day because I was embarrassed and ashamed at the way it came across. I spent the whole time I was lifting weights debating what I should do.

One option is to quit blogging, which I am tempted with too often. WIth a personality like mine, with a mouth like a loose cannon, I'm really taking a lot of risks by putting myself out there. Sometimes I wonder if it's worth it. But it has become therapuetic for me and hopefully helpful to a few, so I am going to disregard option one.

Option 2 was to go ahead and post the comment and then respond to it. However, the chances of being further misunderstood in my attempts to explain were too great.

Option 3 was to email the person privately, which would be my preference, and hopefully come to an understanding and apologize personally, but there was no access to do that as the commenter did not have a profile.

Option 4 is to delete the post, apologize, and try to be more careful in the future. That is my decision.

The point that I was making in the post may have been understood by a few people who know me, but most likely was offensive to most. My point was this:

If you are adopting older kids from the foster care system because you believe that you will be personally rewarded or priased and thanked by your children, there are other things you could do with your time. If you believe that there is a guarantee that if you love them enough, pour enough of yourself into them, and give them your all they will "turn out fine" then you need to find another thing to invest your life in. There are many other ventures where the "success rate" is much higher and the outcomes a more solid guarantee.

To anyone who was offended by my words yesterday, I apologize.

There are days when the outcomes are so discouraging (like yesterday) that we wonder why we chose this path. We ask ourselves that question because it sure isn't feeling like it was a good idea. For those of you who parent hard kids, you get this feeling I'm sure. But that doesn't mean that we wouldn't do it again. It doesn't mean that we don't love and cherish our children. It's frustration, inadequacy and discouragement that can lead to momentary disparity.

But last night, after that particularly discouraging day, we had a pretty good night at our house. We had a family dinner with minimal strife, I gave and received many hugs, I helped three different people with homework, while Bart helped two others, and we began to feel more positive.

As many of you know, it's not about the absence of negative emotion and frustration, but it's about overcoming them with positive. It's about getting up and doing it again the next day even when you're tired. It's about a remembering the reasons why we do what we do.

And it's about admitting your wrong, to the public when necessary, and blogging again.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Off to the Dentist

Dentist appointment for me this morning right after i take the kids to school. Will hopefully blog later...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oh, my HEAD, my aching head

When Dominyk has a headache he perseverates and reports to us again and again and again how bad i hurts.

I feel like doing the same thing. My head has hurt since 9:30 and it's 1:05. I've taken something and it still hurts.

This is unusual for me. I seldom have a headache.

I'm going to live though.

I think.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

My Day as a PCA

Having Dominyk and Tony both at home at the same time is often unbearable. So today I decided to spend one on one time with them, giving Bart a break from the chaos. I began my day with Tony at the Y and then took him to breakfast. Mmmmm. I seldom do this, but there is a new restaurant in town called the Northwoods Cafe and their pancakes and syrup is the best I've ever had. Mmmmm.....

Then we went to the mall and got some dress pants for the boys.

I stopped and home for 30 minutes, and now i have Dominyk with me at the Coffee Shop.

I'm tired. And I'm not getting paid $11.00 an hour. But it's been more fun than I thought.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The One Bathroom Blues

It's morning and we have one bathroom and a lot of full bladders again. I have to pee. I have to pee. I ahve to pee. Bad. Bad. I have to pee. I gotta go pee bad. Tell Tony to get out. I gotta go bad.

Bart keeps asking him, "Do you gotta go pee?" And he responds, "What do you THINK?"

It's not all that entertaining. ANd since I have to go too, well, it's kind of annoying....

I blogged about my trip to the Y with Kari. She bugs me. She gets ready faster than me and all my life I thought I was one of the fastest get-readiers in the world. Grrr.

And yes, everything is a competition with me. You got a problem with that?


Going to go to the coffee shop this morning... And I only have to go to one school this morning. There are some good things about the day.

Oh, and one more thing... Bart's prayer last night.

"God, thank you for giving Claudia the fortitude to get up in the morning and go to the Y and for Kari, who she has sadistically convinced to join her."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

ADHD Irony

Tony hates taking his pill for ADD. He says it makes it so he can't eat enough and he gets hungry. Of course, he weighs 214 and is only 5'6" and 14, so as the psychiatrist says in her delightful accent, "Antony ... we are not concerned about your weight at dis time."

He tells me he can't take the pill when i"m watching him but that I can trust him to take it. Well, I have my doubts, but this morning I let him try it and found the pill in the toilet. He had forgotten to flush.

Isn't that hilarious? I don't need my pill for ADD, but when I put it in the toilet to hide it I forgot to flush.

I'm still laughing.

Random Thoughts (somehow connected maybe)

How many people have a friend that they would look forward to seeing at 5 a.m. six days a week? Kari and I came back from the Y and I realized that I look forward to seeing her every morning and that I always will. Grateful for her and her family's friendship.

Except that Mike really needs to come put the other back in if he's not going to tile the bathroom. Because going with one shower is bad enough (although showering at the Y has become a wonderful luxurious experience), but going with one toilet has several boys standing around holding their crotches in the morning. "I just KNOW i'm going to get a bladder infection" Dominyk chanted nonstop yesterday. And since I've already had 32 ounces of water this morning, I'm going to be standing there with them.

And I have one other friend in town that I miss who I would love to see every morning at 5 but I doubt she'll get up. Miss you, Sue! We gotta get together!

I bought Dominyk a Do It Yourself Diary of a Wimpy Kid book and in there he had to draw his dream house. I will not mention here that two of the rooms are the "sex room" and the "Stripper room" because he is a pastor's child, but he assured us that it would be sex with his wife and the place for her to strip for him, not just any woman. But the highlight of the house is the "Hall of Pop." He describes it as place where there are huge posters of pop and when you pull them back there is a pop machine behind it with free pop all the time. And his butler would make sure that every machine was full all the time. We pointed out that maybe, since he showers 3 times a day and would be drinking a lot of pop, that he really shouldn't have overlooked the bathroom. He drew one in after that.

Wilson's Rock Band for the Wii had a guitar that was not functioning. When we had to take it in and exchange it he said, "But my entire musical career is recorded on that game." The name of his band, that he came up with himself, is "The Willies."

Today I am determined to spend most of the day at home. Salinda needs my help with her Spanish class. Now if it were Sadie, I could turn the day into a party -- we could play Spanish music, even wear sombreros, and go out for Mexican food and have a bawl. However, with Salinda, especially if she's in THAT mood, i'll be lucky if she cracks a smile and any suggestion of something creative or fun would result in such eye rolling that her eyes would be stuck in back of her head. I just might try it though -- depending on how bad her mood is and how much emotional energy I have.

I am going to try to break a record of the number of home studies sent out in one day today. I have a couple families that have requested that I send some, and I am going to do so. So, in the midst of getting the van fixed, doing two weeks of Spanish with Salinda (about 28 assignments) getting kids off to school, etc., anyone have a guess as to how many home studies I can send out in a day? That will motivate me like nothing else. (And no, I'm not going to cheat and just make it match the person I like the best -- I'll get as many done as I can.

I know, I'm weird. But normal is boring.

As my brothers used to sing when we were teenagers, "Being the same is not cool, if being different is you...."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Little Rap Tune

i have to leave town so I printed some stuff for Salinda for school and wrote her a little rap tune.

She'll roll her eyes.....

But I made myself laugh:

Salinda is mature, she’s all that
but she’s gotta a mouthy momma that’s big and fat
and she’s doing school on the computer at home right now
momma tries to help her but she don’t know how
but all the momma gotta do
yeah, all she gotta do
is give the girl space
and stay out of her face...

yeah, boom, ssh, boom, shh boom

give the girl space ... stay outta her face....

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Support Group Tomorrow

For details click here.

My Witty Children

Wilson and Dominyk are both fairly witty. Here are a couple of examples.

mom: "Wow, Wilson. The tooth fairly left you a dollar a tooth? When I was a kid the tooth fairy only gave me a dime per tooth."

Wilson: It's probably because mine were painfully pulled.


Mom: The psychiatrist is going to tell me that we're not feeding you nutritious food again.

Dominyk: Well, you do.

Mom: But we can't keep you away from junk food. Like gummy worms? What nutrition do they have?

Dominyk: They're worms, mom. Protein!!!


Five Minutes to Go

Yesterday was just a long stupid day. Dominyk was obsessing about everything for hours and I couldnt' get a thing done. Tony had to go on three long walks because he would NOT stop bothering people -- especially Bart and I We were trying to have a conversation and he was determined not to let us have it.

The day ended with us having Mike and Kari over for pizza, which turned into quite the comedy of errors. At 5:15 all the sudden we had no pop. Rand gave the $50.00 Dominoes check to the Pagliai's guy who only brought one pizza so we had to track that down. The pizzas came early. Rand forgot that Wilson was at the Y and when I went to pick him up he wasn't ready AND his little friend needed a ride home. I sat down, 30 minutes late, to pizza that was quite cold by that point.

Oh well, we had fun. And then this morning Kari joined me at the Y at 5:15. Fun times.

Now I'm heading to the coffee shop and two psychiatric appointments with Tony and Dominyk. Now that is always such a treat.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Confessions of a Yes Woman, Day One

I spent a great deal of time with Bart and the kids this weekend. You may think this sounds odd to say, but often I work weekends. But I decided this past weekend that it was Valentine's Day and I was going to take a break.

One of the things we did was to see a couple movies. Four of us went to "Yes Man" at the cheap theatre last night and it had an interesting message. What if we started saying yes to opportunities that came our way instead of always saying we were too busy for things. What if we did something different and unique...

So I decided for one day to attempt to say yes to the opportunities that came my way. After I returned from a workout and shower at the Y (click here to discover if I lost or gained weight) I decided to at least read my emails. While I didn't say yes to becoming a nurse or taking out a loan to go back to school, i did begin to ponder finishing my doctorate. And I did discover this website which gave me some ideas about my own website and speaking and writing career.

I unsubscribed from some lists so I won't get any more emails that I have to take time to delete. And i reset my goals on LifeTick.

And now i better get back to the mundane tasks of my day.

Say Yes to something today and let me know how it goes. It's kind of fun...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Nothing More Annoying

Sarah was whining on facebook about having a song stuck in your head.

She ain't got nothing. Try Dominyk, with OCD, getting this stuck in his head:

Shake it, Don't Break it, it took your Momma nine months to make it....

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I did this for Facebook

and some of them turned out so funny I thought I would post them here. It's a fun game. Try it.

1. Put your iTunes on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
4. Tag friends who might enjoy doing this as well as the person you got the note from.

Too Bad

More to this Life

Rubber Ducky

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

God Speed

How Great Thou Art (I am so laughing out loud right now. And I didn't even cheat).

WHen We All Get to Heaven


The Light on the Hill

And I'm Telling You I'm not Going

Powerless (Geez, I hope not)

Behind Those Hazel Eyes

Through Days of Rage and Wonder (life with 12 kids I guess)

You Alone Are Worthy

God is Good

The Old Rugged Cross

In Too Deep


Change the World

Fum Fum Fum



When a Man Loves a Woman

Where is the Love

The Story Behind the Story

Last night was parent's night at wrestling. It was great to be there as the night couldn't have been much better for the Fletchers. Both Leon and Ricardo pinned their opponents during the first period.

It gave them a sentence in the paper.

But here's the story behind the story.

Neither of these boys ever wrestled one match before last fall. As a 7th grader, Ricardo earned the varsity spot at 112 while Leon wrestled Jr. High. However, this year, as 8th graders, they earned the 103 and 119 spots and have wrestled a grueling season.

in Minnesota, wrestling begins for 3 or 4 year olds. For years parents take their children to meet after meet, weekend after weekend (I know, I did it for years. Kyle wrestled. Mike and John wrestled. Tony, Jimmy, and Dominyk each had their season (Dominyk quit after a year -- he was convinced it was rigged and that they determined ahead of time he would always get fourth). But I have watched these kids and parents for what seems like a lifetime of Saturdays as the kids have been drilled, coached, and prodded on by parents and coaches alike.

Enter my boys. Never having wrestled into this arena as seventh graders -- one from an orphanage in Guatemala, the other from the Hood in Dallas. The character and self-discipline they have both displayed over the past two years as young men and wrestlers astounds me.

So the newspaper gave them two lines. But there is sure a story behind this story. And it's a good one.

Friday, February 13, 2009

I'll take the group with the baby...

If I thought that what I am ready to post would cause people to not want to adopt sibling groups with babies, I wouldn't post it. But I know that is won't change the dynamic so I will risk it.

But I like to point out things that most people think are "obvious" and show how on the surface something is plain as day really isn't always that simple.

I've posted this picture before, but I'm doing it again to make a point that there really is no way to determine how things are going to turn out.

Here are some assumptions:

1) If you get the kids as younger kids you'll have a better chance at making a difference.

2) Younger kids will have less issues.

3) Older kids are difficult and have a harder time attaching.

Advocates of teenage adoption have slogans like "Younger doesn't mean better it just means longer" and "puppies grow up to be dawgs." Very very true statemetns.

Last week I posted a couple of sibling groups each with 4 girls under the age of 8. One group was ages 4-8. They were adorable. All I saw when I looked at the picture was drop dead gorgeous teenage girls ages 14-18. And I was shuddering at the the horror of the thought of it.

If I post a ten year old boy, I might get two responses. If I posted a ten year old boy with his infant sister, I would get 50. How fair is that to the ten year old? And what are the risks in a situation like that?

Cindy started an excellent discussion today, spurred on by Yondalia, about whether or not to separate siblings, and like Cindy, I don't have the answers. But this blog and the conversation I had when with Cindy when I was there have spurred on my thinking and prompted me to write this disjointed blog entry.

Back to the picture. I have told Leon and Tony that I am going to have them travel with me someday so I can explain how sometimes myths aren't . Tony (caucasian boy in the picture) came at 19 months, has been with us for 12 years, and he and I have trouble getting along for 5 minutes. He has multiple issues we never knew he would have and is the most difficult child I have parented and that's saying something. Leon (the other boy in the picture) came when he was almost 13. He is a joy. He loves his mom, let's me hug him in public, has a strong sense of self, is bright, unmedicated, undiagnosed, and has a lot of character. He has from day one been a contributing member to our family system and has not once talked back to me. And Sadie is exactly like one would hope. The youngest in a sibling group, coming to us at four, she is a pure delight 99% of the time. Her older brother and sister have given us a run for our money, but she has always been emotionally aware and reciprocal, very attached to us, and delightful.

However, logically, the reverse is often true. Do birthmothers on the edges of society become better mothers as time goes by? Not often. They become more stressed out, more addicted, more marginalized, more frustrated. They drink more, take more drugs, and because of stress are often more violent with each child. So, as Cindy pointed out in our private conversation, often the child that is the youngest one in the sibling group is the MOST difficult, not the least, and you end up having them for what seems like forever.

People are always going to want to adopt a baby. My post isn't going to change that. And children deserve to spend as much of their childhood in a safe, permanent family. But if for one minute parents are thinking that if they come younger they are going to be easier and less damaged, there certainly aren't any guarantees.

Showering at the Y

Yup, I did it. I got buck naked at the YMCA (no the link is not a photo) in the women's locker room. Fortunately there wasn't a soul there because it wasn't a pretty site. I'm sure that as I was walking out and saw my wet hair they were thinking "Icky. She didn't get naked did she?"

But this morning on the way to school, I'm going to tell them that I heard the hot guys at the counter say, "Woah, baby. Looks like she showered here. Wish we would have had the security camera's in the locker room. She's hot."

And at least one of the kids is going to say, "They have security cameras in the bathroom?"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Couple of Amazing Quotes

I've been meaning to share this quote for a long time.

The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality - Dante

And I stumbled on this one tonight that is just awesome.

Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world when He could do something about it. But I'm afraid God might ask me the same question. Anonymous.

6,000 Steps at the Mall

I took the girls, Ricardo and Leon to the Mall tonight. I hate the mall. But we had to get soccer uniforms ordered and do some Valentine's Day shopping.

We finished the marathon that took 2 full hours and I said, 'you guys know how many steps we walked tonight? 6,000!"

Salinda said, "You counted them?"

I explained the concept of a pedometer.


Mike, of Mike and Kari fame, has been ripping our bathroom apart all day long. We had his family over for supper to join him tonigh and kari made delicious barbeque. I asked him when I might be able to use the "good shower" and he said maybe by Sunday. So I announced at the table tonight that I might have to resort to showering at the Y in the morning. We discussed that in some detail to which I believe sweet dear Mike responded, "Hey, we're trying to eat here."

I told the kids that I probably better not mention to you all that I would be at the YMCA naked in the locker room at 6 in the morning because you might travel across the country to see me naked.

They are such doubters. They simply said, "Ewwwww."

Quotes from the Ride Home and Soon After

I picked up Dominyk. Last night he had had a major meltdown because Bart took Wilson to the store. He said it wasn't fair.

So today he asked me if I would take him somewhere and I responded that it wouldn't be fair because I had taken him on Tuesday and I hadn't taken any of the other kids anywhere lately. He screamed and cried.

I said, "Maybe if you stop talking about how things aren't fair for a week, I will stop trying to make everything fair."

To which he responded, "I have to go for a whole week saying that's not fair????? Nooooo! That's not FAIR!"


Tony was swearing and I mentioned that if he wasn't careful he was going to owe me a dollar for swearing. He said, "Hell isn't a swear word if you're talking about a real place like you do in church. Mom, you are going to HELL. YOU are going to HELL. A place."

I responded with some wise crack that made Dominyk laugh and Tony said, "Shut up Dominyk. You're going to hell too. A place."


When we returned home Tony, very agitated, came stomping in the house and threatened to kill me. I headed for the phone asking if I needed to call 911. He said no, that he wasn't going to kill me.

he followed me to the bedroom and asked this question, " If you knew we had problems when you adopted us, why do you think it's OK to call the police if we threaten to kill you?"

Do I live in a warped world or what?

No Longer the Serious Car Accident Blog

Back in the day -- 2005 to be exact -- this was the blog everyone went to to realize that they had nice lives. Compared to mine things for them were good. But now things seem to be turning around.

Or maybe it's just that the other stuff doesn't get to me like it used to.

After all, we do have a son in the state pen who will be released soon and has nowhere to go.

We have an 18 year old who, based on information I received from some sources, is about ready to completely blow the placement we have set up for him to transition to adulthood and graduate from high school.

We have a 20 year old who is maintaining a job, but who needs consistent direction with hygiene, financial management, and other tips just to make it through the day. Him living independently is years away.

We have a 16 year old who's high grade is a D-....

and we have a 14 year old who is acting more like complete FASD every single day, even though he hasn't been diagnosed.

ANd I'm not even going to mention a 16 year old daughter with so little emotional strength sometimes that I am amazed who I agreed to let stay home ALL DAY LONG EVERY DAY.

We have five of our 12 children who have been either ticketed or arrested. Three of them have spent time in residential placement. A few more of them could have been arrested if I had called the cops.

WE have a child whose OCD is so bad that his life (and ours) is miserable most days.

So, maybe we're not drama free. Maybe I'm just used to it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Final Jimmy Conversation for the Evening

Bart: Well, Jimmy, it doesn't look like you're going to be an academic all-star, does it?

Jimmy: What's that?

Bart: You know, someone who does really good in school.

Jimmy: No, probably if I tried my very hardest I'd just make the C Honor Roll.

More Conversations with Jimmy

To follow up on our conversation yesterday, Jimmy said, "Hey mom. I took a test today. You know that D-?"

Yes, Jimmy.

Well today I think it is going to go down to a C.

Jimmy, your grade would go UP to a C from a D- not down.

So, I don't want my grades to go down?


Later he says, "MOm. They put this new glass in the window, but they say it isn't glass, it's plastic so it doesn't break. Can I punch it really hard to see if they are telling the truth?"

No, Jimmy, you can't. How dumb are you (I ask jokingly)?

His eyes, twinkling, he says, "Now THAT is a very good question."

Steps Blog and Support Group

You can check out a little pep talk about health and fitness on my Steps Blog this morning. And you can head to support group today if you live near Mankato. Bart will be hosting alone today. Details here.

Groggy Fog

I feel a little bit like I'm in a fog -- Bart got home quite late last night and so he and I stayed up talking. Then I was so tired that I couldn't sleep which makes no sense. So i didn't get up at five but will go to the Y at 8 after I take the kids to school.

Yesterday's weight machines are causing a great deal of soreness in these old unused muscles. I'm sure it will get better as the days go by but every time I move I can feel it. Breathing even hurts.

Another busy day ahead.... they all seem to be that way lately. Maybe today I won't get sidetracked by some drama. That would be nice.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Way Too Late At Night for This Conversation

Jimmy and I. A few minutes ago.

Jimmy, we need to talk about your grades.

What? I'm doing good.

JImmy, your high grade is a D Minus.

That's good, Mom. I'm doing good in that class.

Well, Jimmy, a D- really isn't that good. And you're failing all your other classes that aren't special ed.

No I'm not, just three classes. I'm only getting three Fs.

Well, Jimmy, those three classes and the D- are the only classes you're taking that aren't special ed.


And at that moment, I gave up and shut up. Sigh. I really don't think he gets it.

Mission Accomplished

I took her lunch. I sat down and ate with her. I stragetized and she listened without being rude. We went through all of her classes and I made a list of what she needed to get done. We set goals of what she wanted to do this week. I made a schedule for the week with empty blanks so she could determine when she would do each of the things she wanted to do.

She won't use the tools I gave her. It's not about that. She probably isn't even going to look at them. What it is about is the fact that I told her I cancelled my plans and came home because she needed me even after she treated me like crap.

I just wish I could remember my own advice about the Teen Attachment Cycle

Would save me some anguish.

Like Oil and Water.... Why Don't I Learn

Part of the challenge of parenting a large family is that no two kids are exactly alike -- and when you have kids that are all adopted and they have different gene pools as well as mental health issues and organic brain damage and attachment issues -- then it is a more complicated puzzle.

There are people who suggest that my family is like the Duggers and I just chuckle to myself. Nope, NOTHING like that.

Salinda and I don't do well together. We are opposites. I am a determined "bigger the mountain better the climb" kind of person. I love a challenge and when people suggest i can't do something it makes me more determined to do it. I am competitive and forceful and confident and I don't take no for an answer.

Salinda is a perfectionist. She is overwhelmed by challenge, cowers in the face of it. Believes she can't do it and instead of trying, wilts up and hides. So when something goes wrong she is not like I would be. If I had an argument with my mother, I would decide to prove her wrong and bust my butt doing whatever she thought I couldn't do. If she has a challenge she falls apart and lies in bed with her covers over her head.

So when she and I get into it and I keep pushing, hoping to motivate her, it has an opposite affect. It makes her give up and see no hope.

So as the adult, I have to change my strategy and coax her back into a reasonable state of mind and give her a redo. I messed up by not being cooperative when she needed me yesterday and it has sent her spiralling. She messed up by screaming at me and cussing me out. We need to hit replay and do it again.

So I'm cancelling my plans for the rest of the afternoon. I should know better than to get into a control battle with her and escalate her into a frenzy when she's stressed. And so I pay the price. And it's my job as a parent to control what I can control -- which is me. And I didn't do that.

I just wish I could remember all this stuff at the initial moment and not take that first step. There was a moment when this would have all been avoided if I could have done the right thing yesterday. So now I will go fix it.

My stubbornness doesn't do me any more favors than hers does.

But it gets tiring having to be the adult all the time. ;-)

She will fight me on it, but I'm up for the battle. She has no idea how successful she can be or how determined I am to prove that she can.

Bigger the mountain, better the climb. ;-)

Well, that Good Beginning turned south fast

HUGE arguments with both Salinda and Tony this morning. I took Tony to school, but Salinda wanted to perpetuate the argument by texting, which I tried to turn into a reasonable phone call, but she wouldn't answer it. So I put an end to the texting.

I think my best bet is to leave her alone and let her have the house. I usually get more done when I'm not home anyway. There are lots of places I can work. I can just pack up my stuff and go. If I'm there she can't tell me to shut up.

But I hate being exhausted by 10 a.m. when I didn't get up until 6:30.....

Glad It's a New Day

Yesterday stunk. yesterday with Salinda and online school was exactly how I feared it would be. One argument which she refused to resolve threw me off course and I accomplished little. On top of that I had very little work time and I was exhausted. Looking back on it from today's fresh start, it doesn't seem like a big deal, but yesterday I felt like I was dragging around a huge weight. She told me to F myself and shut up. Today I'm going to meet Kari at Dunn Brothers and my plan was to wait until she texted me with "where are you" and respond, "I'm someplace where I can shut up and F myself." But she texted an apology last night so I won't be able to do that. Sigh. ;-)

This morning i started my day at the YMCA doing weight machines for 40 minutes. I'm not as sore as I thought i'd be, so that's good. Before I left this morning I was treated to this conversation by my entertaining and witty husband.

Me: Does my hair look bad?

Husband: No, it actually looks better than some days when you've already showered and combed it.

Me: Thanks a lot. Why do your compliments often not sound like compliments?

Husband: What? You want one of those husbands who doesn't tell you the truth. You want one of those dishonest husbands? Is that what you want?


Monday, February 09, 2009

The Brief Start of a Good Morning

I made myself get up and go to the Y! Yes, I was there by 5:20 home by 6:20 and feeling great. Until I discovered Tony up early and in the shower -- of course taking all the hot water. And to make matters worse, my lukewarm shower turned ice cold when Jimmy got up earlier than he was supposed to as well and ended up in the upstairs shower....

If I try to get them up it doesn't even happen. Sigh.

And somehow laundry got messed up this weekend so I don't have any of the pants I like. You know what I mean, dontcha? There are certain pairs of pants you just don't want to wear. And I have them on.

And I already had a day ahead that I wasn't looking forward to. Driving to a surgery follow up appointment with Salinda, followed by a home visit and then doing dinner alone, followed by boy scout council. Sigh. And I'll cram desk work in there whenever I can.

But I did go to the Y! :-)

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Drama Morning

I decided to take Dominyk with me to the wrestling match this morning and it was really not a good idea. He lasted all of 45 minutes before he began his 90 minute chant of how bored he was and how much he wanted to have something to eat and how he needed to leave. Can I have a pretzel? Nachos? A pop? Come on, a pop? I'm bored, can we go home? What if I walk home? Can I have a pop?

In the meantime Salinda was texting me that she was going to leave her boyfriends and going to a friend's I don't know without my permission. They were arguing. I texted her and texted her trying to convince her ot do the right thing, which eventually she did.

But between texts, "why can't i have a pretzel? Can I have a pop? I want to go! I'm bored." It was nuts

I nearly went insane... and I kept telling him that as soon as we finally did leave, that he would be bored once we got to the restaurant. Well, that was an understatement. We got there and he was chanting that he wanted the food to come. He finally decided he had to go to the bathroom. The food came while he was gone and then he took forever in the bathroom. When he finally came out we were almost done eating, but he wolfed his food down in two or three minutes and then started to whine that he wanted to go home. We finally came home and within 10 minutes he was bored to death. Oh well. A day with Dominyk.

One of the cutest things ever happened at the restaurant Wilson had his little wallet out and the waiter handed him the bill. His eyes got so big.....and he said, "i'm not the one." We all laughed. An elderly couple next to us got a real kick out of how cute he was.

A slow Start to a Simple Saturday

Last week I had a similar beginning to my day and then never blogged again because the day turned sour. But this time maybe I'll avoid the things that made it not go so well last week. If I'm smart.

We have three children home this morning -- Wison, Dominyk and Jimmy. The 3 8th graders are at a wrestling match, Rand is working, Sadie spent the night at a friends, and Salinda is gone for the weekend. Bart has been up providing transportation and I slept in. He just returned and the three who are here are still asleep.

I'm determined not to spend my whole Saturday working -- I need a break from it. So we'll see how that all goes. We have our friends Mike and Kari and their children coming for something for dinner.... so that will give us something to look forward to. I can't believe they still speak to us now that Kari has become such a Media Queen. Ben has joined her in the limelight as well. We'll see if they still treat us little people the same way tonight.

Now to find something for the headache I have and discuss the day with Bart....

Friday, February 06, 2009

I don't want birthday cake ...I want the playboy bunny belt buckle!!!

We went ahead and tried to have birthday cake tonight. But right before that, Dominyk had found Mike's playboy bunny belt buckle that Tony had stolen out of my desk. He didn't let me see it before asking if he could earn money to buy it and I thought it was a different belt buckle, so i agreed.

Until I saw it and then told him that no, he could not have it, which began an obsessive meltdown.

Tony had picked out his own candles for his cake and chosen the trick ones that don't blow out. I know, Weird. So while it was taking forever for him to not blow out the trick candles, Dominyk kept repeating, "I don't want cake -- i want the playboy belt buckle" over an over again.

Only at the Fletchers. I mean seriously..

Why Oh Why Did I Do it?

I should never have said anything about a reprieve. Last night was horrible though it wasn't something we can't handle. It was just a long night.

It was Tony's 14th birthday and that sent him into an odd combination of aggressive bullying and pathetic weeping. I was late getting home from a meeting about John that was annoying at best and so wasn't home for supper. Apparently there had been a huge blow up by Wilson that was supposedly incited by Sadie making us all feel bad that Tony's birthday had been "ruined." Later we discovered that Tony was actually the guilty party and Sadie had been falsely accused, so we felt less guilty when he "ruined" his own birthday.

WE decided to go for a do-over and we're going to try and have the cake tonight.

I was going to give you all the details of the whole night, but I'm just too tired to go through them. Highlights included Jimmy having In School Suspension yesterday, me hearing of some of John's mistakes lately, the whole Wilson/Sadie/Tony fiasco, Dominyk pushing Tony out of the way because it he didn't CARE that it was Tony's birthday, he was in there first for supper so he should get served first, Dominyk insisting I play the longest game in history of Uno Attack in the midst of all the drama, and the decision by 5 of the boys that they needed to move the furniture at 9:45 p.m. They had put it off all night (we bought some used couches) and so they were out screaming at full volume at each other as they attempted to drag the old heavy furniture outside (after unsuccessfully dragging it halfway down the stairs and getting it stuck). So they drug it through the snow yelling at the top of their lungs. The night ended by us discovering that Tony had broken into my desk to take a package addressed to me out, open it, find the IPod that Jimmy had had confiscated at school, and give it back to Jimmy.

And mind you, those were the HIGHLIGHTS. I'm leaving a lot out.

Next time I believe I will simply not type anything about the kids being good and knocking on wood and all that. It doesn't work anyway.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Gratitude Challenge

It's time for a little gratitude on my part. Today I want to list 15 things I am thankful for.

1. I am thankful that I am free of back pain after living with it for 19 years. Exercise and diet were the only thing that stopped it, but I am so glad that I am.

2. I am thankful that during this time of economic upheaval in our country that my husband employed and that I have not one, but two jobs, which most of the time I really like.

3. I am thankful that I get paid for doing something that helps to change the world.

4. I am thankful that all of our children are relatively healthy.

5. I am thankful that Salinda's appendix attack happened when it did and that I was able to be there before and after her surgery and that she is recuperating nicely.

6. I am thankful that we were able to find a house large enough for all of as a price we could basically afford. Warm shelter with a winter we've had is significant.

7. I am thankful for my husband who is amazing in so many different ways. I could find 15 things about him to be thankful for if that were my task -- actually, way more than 15.

8. I am thankful for the relatively drama free months we have had in the last 8 months or so. And yes, I am vigorously pounding on every piece of wood in the house at this moment. Simultaneously. You should see me.

9. I am thankful for Mike and Kari and their presence in our lives. They are the best friends we have ever had as a family and we've had some good ones over the years.

11. I am thankful for TIm, Sue and Sarah, friends who though our lives are very different, are faithful and supportive people in our lives.

12. Speaking of friends over the years, I am thankful for so many of the people in this world who have shaped my life. I have been blessed throughout my life with very amazing people who have been part of my life.

13. I am thankful that I can work from home though at times it gets tedious and annoying to always be here, I am thankful for jobs with flexible schedules so that I can be here for the kids and make it to all their appointments.

14. I am thankful for my parents who instilled in me a healthy self-image and gave me tools from a very young age that have helped me to succeed.

15. I am thankful that God loves me and that his grace is sufficient -- that He is forgiving and patient and that He provides me with the strength I need to face each day. And that though He is genderless, He doesn't mind if I refer to Him as He. ;-)

I'm on a roll, but I'm going to stop and challenge you to do the same thing -- on your blog or on your facebook. If you don't have either, post them right here in a commment. Fifteen things to be grateful for when it isn't even Thanksgiving. The exercise will do you good. It sure has made me feel better about my day.

If you do this, leave a comment to let everyone know you did so we can check yours out on your blog or facebook.

Five Minutes until it's Time...

I have an appointment today at 8:30 to learn how to use the weight machines at the YMCA, so I'm up and not showered and in a few minutes will awaken the little darlings and we will begin another day. Bart has already left with Rand to drop him off and work and head to his office and yet another day dawns at the Fletchers.

I'm hoping to have another post written today in the midst of everything else I need to do, but I have a meeting this afternoon two hours from here for John. This is the third night this week I've had to miss dinner with the family and I was gone all last week, so I'm glad that I don't have any meetings scheduled during suppers next week.

Yesterday I completed a lot of paperwork and today have plans to finish a few more. But in doing so, I have let that empty inbox grow and that is not my preferences so I'll be back at that again today. During the 2 hours I'll actually be home.


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

mercedes essay

Probably having some paragraphs would have been good, but it's not my job to grade her. ;-)

She emailed it to us after writing it at school today.

My Parents are my heroes because they get through the hardest things ever. Our family is not a normal family. Our family is a big family we have 14 people in our family. Its not easy living in a large family sometimes its gets kaidic. even though there are so many people in my family that there will always be room and lots of love for me and everyone in my family. My Parents are the best they always do the right thing even when it’s hard to. They always give us 100% at whatever we do they will always love us forgive us no matter what we do. Well my Parents are a little bit of everything they always give money to our church they give people food shelter if they need it for a few days even if it’s a motel or anything they do that. They help anyone and everyone who asks for help. My Parents are the best they are really smart they are always telling us things that we don’t want to know that we do. My mother is a spiciest as an adopted worker. She helps kids find homes. She works two jobs both part time but are really full time she works from home so she can take care of us kids 24/7.My father is a pastor full time he goes to work everyday. He also helps with stuff with my mom adoption things. My dad is a really great pastor he helps a lot of people out he is a consular to people to. My parents go on business trips together mainly for adoption things how they work and how they work out there problems they speak everywhere in New York in California really anywhere u name it and they probly have been there really on bussines. My parents wrote a book on us kids about adopting all 12 of us kids that’s coming out soon. I said that our family is not a normal family. There are only two girls me and my sister the rest are boys .We have all been adopted all of us my parents didn’t want any of there own kids they have always wanted a large family. But after all of us living in this family were there kids and were proud to be there kids. Yes we do ask about our birth family and they always tell us what they know about them. It’s hard to live in a large family my parents always get through each and everyday even when it’s a hard thing to do. My parents try to give us everything we want most of the time we do get it. Other times it doesn’t matter to us because we already have a lot of stuff. They don’t get mad really easy only really when someone pushes there buttons then they get mad. They are strong they are always there when we need them there for us even if its something small there still there for whatever. If were feeling sick or if were in a painful situation or something that’s just nagging at us. They always know what to do no matter what. They talk to us when were down they make our favorite food when were down they always try to do there best for us. They know exactly what to do about our problems or whatever I know and we know that we can always count on them. My parents don’t exclude anyone they make everything far they don’t love anyone more they all love us the same. I told you that my parents are my heroes they will always be my heroes to me I will always love them they thought me so much and they are just the best I know that no matter what happens I will always have a home a loving family to come home to. My Parents are my heros I love them.

Forcing myself

I have GOT to get back at it in regards to exercise so I'm forcing myself to go to the Y after I drop the kids off at school today. I'm frustrated with the amount of time it takes out of my schedule when I go after I take the kids, but i usually have more energy for the rest fo the day. This Cindy and I are both very competitive and we're having an exercise challenge that hasn't started so well. But today I intent to kick her butt.

Salinda is recovering fine apparently. She was in a great deal of pain yesterday morning but by last night she seemed to be feeling better. I'm hoping she's going to be able to do a little school today but I know better than to push it or she'll push back. So in my mind she's out for several days and I think she'll surprise me. I did mention to her that a miraculous recovery on Friday with a request to go out of town wasn't going to fly if no school got done this week.

I had a long day yesterday, but by the end of the day was feeling good at having the visits done. Today is a day filled with paperwork -- at least the hours I'm not in support group or at the Y. What does that leave me, 2? OK, OK, so I'm getting negative again. I just wish I had the fortitude to go at 5 when it's this cold. That seemed to work so much better for me. Maybe I'll make myself do that tomorrow....

I had lunch with one of my blog readers yesterday (Hi, L!) and it reminded me that sometimes I'm just such a pathetic blogger. Especially in comparison to a few years ago. I guess when there is little drama here I don't have much motivation to blog. But no, I'm NOT begging for drama.

Guess boring blogs aren't bad.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Support Group Meets Tomorrow

We'll be meeting tomorrow in North Mankato at the regular place. Here are details.

Home again again

Salinda finally got discharged yesterday at 2:30. By then I was not patient... I am not a good nurse adn I was doing my best, but I was getting frustrated. This resulted in my 2:30 visit happening at 7 p.m. and me arriving home at 9:30 exhausted.

But we're back at it this morning.... Bart finally isn't responsible to take the kids to school and I'm getting them up and ready. I have another long day today and at this moment I believe there is a small animal crawling through the walls of my office. It's a little disconcerting, but not quite as much as the children who are back into full force defiance because I live.

There's a parody of a song in there... Because I live.... but I"ll leave it right there.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Getting annoyed

Salinda has been doing great but they are taking forever to discharge her. I still have a home visit i HAVE To do tonight and i can't do that until I drive home. I have been patient. But the discharge in the mornign promise when it is now 2;30 p.m. is starting to grate on my nerves.


A not so difficult night

Other than the 17 interruptions by well meaning and cheery nurses calling Salinda everything BUT her name (my personal favorite -- Sorlindo) and asking her DOB and then reminding her that she was a Christmas baby.....

it was a good night. I surprisingly fell back asleep after every interruption until the very happy morning nurse at 6:30. Salinda slept fairly well and is still asleep. She needed help going to the bathroom three or four times (all that saline being pumped through her) but otherwise we both slept.

Her breakfast is here waiting for her to get up. Mine is nowhere to be found, but I can handle not eating for a while.

We really appreciate the way people have helped out during this minor upheaval in our lives.

And with Wi-Fi I can sit here and work until she is discharged, so I really can't complain. Bart is the one who should be whining. He did mornings all week alone last week and it was finally my turn and here I am in the quiet hospiital room while he's driving everyone to school.

If I sigh contentedly right now would that make me a selfish old bitty?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

twin size hospital bed

Salinda has been awake for a couple hours and seems to be ok. Only asked for pain meds once. Her boyfriend and his mom and sister were here off and on tonight. She's had some jello and juice and seems to be fine.

I'm going to try to sleep. Fortunately there is an extra bed in the room and i can sleep in it. Only sleeping 4 hours last night wasn't enough for sure.

Hopefully I'm heading home....

things are going well

Salinda is sound asleep. Bart and kari are here. She is fine for now

Critical Care Waiting Room

Salinda just went into surgery. She was scared. Her boyfriend and his mom left for a while. I'm in the critical care waiting room trying to arrange a way for Bart to get here for a few hours today.

I'm trying not to think about how hungry I am. ;-) Some days I forget to eat, but on a day when i can't it's all I can think about.

I'm just glad for Wi Fi. Means I can keep working and blogging and everything else. Apparently there is an empty bed in Salinda's room and I can stay here with her tonight.

Surgery should take an hour. I'll update you when I can.

so far so good

Salinda is happy and high on morphine. The hospital has wifi. My phone has service on and off. I'm typing in it now. Surgery should happen soon. She is comfortable and her boyfriend and his mom are here. Bart may come after church. Many have offered to take care of the other kids

Surgery will take an hour if they ever get her in.

Emergency. Kinda.

Heading 75 miles to the hospital where Salinda has been since 3:00 am. She is having surgery sometime this morning. Appendix. I'm concerned but not a worrier by nature. At the moment I'm more concerned about Bart trying to preach with 8 unsupervised kids in the congregation. Will keep everyone updated by blogging from my phone. Thanks for your prayers.