Saturday, October 31, 2009

Spending the Day in the Room I Avoid

Bart married me because he knew I'd stay out of his kitchen. No lie. He didn't want to marry anyone who would want to cook or mess with his spices or pans or anything. And I have been so obedient.

Until I planned tomorrow. Knowing myself well, two major events in one month would not go well. So I planned everything in one day. Confirmation and Golden Birthday Party for Sadie. Baby Shower for Salinda three hours later. But what I didn't realize is that my husband wasn't coming home until 8:30 p.m. the day before.

And so I just returned from the grocery store -- a place I hate almost as much as the kitchen -- and we are here in the kitchen together working as a family with me in charge -- well, me and everyone else who insists on telling everyone else what to do.

I feel pretty good at this point -- seems like we have things under control at the moment. Maybe after the events I'll tell you about the menu and what we had to eat.

Big thanks to Kari and Sue who are helping prepare food as well. Jill might be coming over later. I love my friends!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Girl Stuff

Last night we went shopping, my friends Sue, Kari and I with Sue's daughter Sarah and our daughter Mercedes. The goals -- decorations, game necessities, and prizes for the baby shower and for Sadie's birthday/confirmation extravaganza.

I don't do Halloween, as a general principal, and I certainly do not do girl stuff -- fu fus and streamers and all that jazz. But there I was with my peeps, at the Party store during Halloween week looking at pink stuff. Lots and lots of pink stuff.

The evening started with Riley, a teenager or perhaps a college student, who simply did not appreciate my sense of humor at the balloon counter. It progressed to Randi, with an I, who probably makes a heart or flower for the dot, who took one look at me and made sure I knew that if I didn't use all of the napkins and plates and stuff that they were returnable if not opened. I told her straight up that I knew she didn't think that I had any friends and that nobody would come to my party. But I told her that if she was right and nobody showed up, then I wouldn't have to go to any parties anyone else threw all year.

When I was complaining about her my "friends", Sue immediately decided to stick up for Randi with an I and all Kari could do was suggest that she brought her camera so that she could take my picture for the people of Walmart website, which, as you can imagine, I found highly offensive.

The evening continued like that all the way up until the very end when I asked Sara, without an h, at Baker's Square if she thought that I could register my complaints about the Party Store on the website they provided on their receipt.

Friends that will go with with you to have girls night out when you're cooperative, fun, engaged, happy and into it are one thing -- but the ones who come along, smiling, when you're crabby, rude (but I suppose, downright hilarious in some ways) .... priceless.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Why Being Me Isn't Fun Right Now

I came home to find out that Rand, Tony and John had gotten into a huge fight. Now, in my book, the 21 and 19 year olds should be the ones who have to figure out a way to not escalate the 14 year old. But whatever. ANd I would think the almost 18 year old wouldn't have to stand and add his two sense worth.

They were literally only home alone for a total of 15 minutes and they are all screaming and punching and commenting. And when I try to get them to settle down they both verbally attack me and both think it is my fault that they are fighting.

I am tired of the adrenaline and I am tired of the stress and I'm tired of being blamed.

And that is why being me isn't fun right now.

Little Accomplishments

Leon's quite bright. But if you ask him to describe himself with adjectives he will say smart and lazy. This year I have added something to my mantra that I say each day when the kids get out of the van. I say, "Goodbye, I love you. Have a great day. Make good choices and don't miss me too much. It's a great day to be a Fletcher."

Now I have added "and for those of you in 9th grade, every day counts."

We have explained again and again how those grades affect GPA and how they matter so much more once you start high school. And it appears that Leon, who had mostly Cs and Ds, has been paying attention. last night, when we looked up his grades, his lowest is a C plus, and he has to turn in a project which should bring it up. I'm so proud of him.

Focusing on that little accomplishment at the moment I can emotionally not participate emotionally in dominyk's daily meltodwn that Tony is contributing to at the moment. i really should video tape this some morning and let people see it.

My favorite line from this morning.... " the dirty shorts are the only thing that fit me today."

Heavy sigh.

But hey, Leon may just make the B honor roll.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Anyone else find this true?

I just realized this morning that MY location determines the severity of Dominyk's meltdowns. Even if I am doing the same things, if I am in one room his behavior is worse than it is if I am in another room. Does anyone else have that happen?

30 minutes til take off

I'm up a bit early, sitting in the recliner in our room in a blanket dreading the moment I have to get up and get ready. I woke up early and thought I'd blog, but I'm sleepy and cozy and not interested in climbing out and heading to the shower. It really works best for me to go to the Y, but with Bart gone and the weather cold, it's harder to do so.

Everything is going well at home, Bart is fine in Nashville, and I've got nothing to complain about yet this morning. However, they will be getting up soon ;-)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

When Things Get Messy

I returned a couple weeks from my college homecoming and was so happy to see many of my old friends. However, when I returned I began to ponder my former world view that I heard spoken about at the college. I have been planning to blog about it but Sheri, a person totally unrelated to that situation, coincidentally wrote about some of the same things I have been thinking.

And for those of you who are my friends from college, please realize that my thoughts are not as a result of seeing you, but more about the memories of my former way of thinking.

When people are living in a world where everything is black and white and everything make sense it all goes pretty well. I was that way growing up and it worked for me. There were things that were right, and things that were wrong, and good Christians didn't do those things, nor did they hang around the people who did. They were trying not to "conform to the patterns of this world" as Romans 12 says, and thus, they never spent much time in it. And for many people this can work for most of their lives.

Unless something happens and life gets messy. Unless a friend or relative comes out of the closet, or a spouse decides to have an affair, or a child rebels and doesn't return to the fold, or a multitude of other things. Then all of the sudden all the black and whiteness gets replaced by greys that are uncomfortable. Questions about how to respond to people when it wasn't supposed to turn out that way plague them. Often Christians draw a line in the sand regarding a person's choices -- I done that a few too many times -- and what I have found is that the line becomes a circle, and the person does not stand on the outside for very long.

I saw this article the other day about why some Christians don't adopt and I loved it because it was the essence of what I've been saying for a long time -- just because something is hard doesn't mean we shouldn't do it. However, I would like to take it one step further.

Often Christians don't choose to adopt from foster care. I am certainly not saying that international adoption or infant adoption is not a good thing -- it is and I believe it is the Christians role to do that too. But adopting older children from foster care is often a third choice -- even for Christians.

Some Christians dont adopt from foster care because it's too messy. Raising hurt kids throws wrenches into all the black and whites of the conservative evangelical approach to life. When I was growing up, I would have been horrified at the thought of being the mom to seven children who had been arrested, a pregnant teenage daughter, a convicted felon.... to being the victim of my kids verbally and physically assaulting me -- to having kids who swore multiple times a day. My biggest issues then were whether or not I would disappoint my parents forever if I chose to start going to movies at a theatre when I turned 18.

So as I reflect on all of this, I still long for the days when my life and everything in it made sense. But fostering and adopting children means crossing the line and getting involved -- not only knee deep, but actually swimming in the world, a world that is messy and dirty and sometimes evil and that never, ever fits together in a neat little box.

I'm not suggesting that the lives of people who don't adopt are perfect. But imperfection certainly was not their plan from the start. They were sensible enough to hope and plan for a life that would be safe, secure and predictable. Anyone who adopts older children from the foster care system, knowingly or unknowingly, invites the world into their home, sometimes making their lives unsafe, insecure and highly unpredictable.

I'm satisfied with our choice to adopt older kids. I believe we've done what called us to do. I don't think we've always done everything right. We've struggled, we've disagreed and had to come to resolution, we've had to settle for less than the ideal choices by some of our kids, and we've suffered through a lot of pain that we could have avoided.

But the result is that we have become more compassionate, more understanding, more wise, more tolerant, and more appreciative of the good days. We have been refined by fire, developed more character, and seen God do amazing things. I am a different person that I could or would have been otherwise and I am grateful.

(Disclaimer: I had no intention of offending or hurting anyone while writing down my thoughts -- and I'd love to hear others thoughts on this...)

Monday, October 26, 2009

A night without kids is....

quite relaxing, actually. Bart wasn't feeling well he rested while I organized my 700 friends in facebook into groups. Then we had dinner out at a lovely restaurant and split our meal and drank water so it wasn't very expensive. We ended our night playing a game of scrabble online. Might sound boring, but sometimes we need boring.

We heard nothing from the kids, so we're assuming everything went well. I have a meeting from 10-5:30 and then will head home to find out how everyone did. Lately most of the kids are doing very well. Oh, no, shouldn't have typed that and now I can't delete it cuz the curse will still be active. WHERE'S SOME WOOD?????????

Busy getting things ready for Adoption Awareness Month and all of the acgtivities that come with it... I'm off to get things done.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cycles (no, not menstrual)

This morning Bart was ironing and I was still lying in our bed, watching him, saying annoying things, and commenting on the TV show he was watching -- which is part of our Sunday morning routine. This morning he was watching the Hour of Power with Dr. Schuller who started the church which became the Crystal Cathedral in 1955.

I wondered outloud to Bart if Dr. Shuller looked back on his life with satisfaction or if he maybe had gotten just a little bored with it. Sure, he created something amazing, but since 1955 -- that's 50 plus years ago folks -- he has been doing basically the same thing. One of his jobs is to offer a small trinket in exchange for a donation. And he's been doing that for longer than I've been alive almost every. single. Sunday.

When I sit down to blog on Sunday mornings I sometimes feel the same way. Each week, same routine. But when I visited Luverne this past week, and when I drove through Belgrade the week before that, I was thankful for the variety of moving from church to church. I smiled at many memories of incredible people who blessed our lives in those places and smiled again thinking of our good friends here in our hometown now. And even though Bart, especially, has a very similar responsibility each week, there are things that change as well. And I suppose that is true of life at the Crystal Cathedral with Dr. Schuller.

I have often thought about this in this context:

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

There is a lot of the mundane in life -- the day in and day out stuff that can't be avoided -- the endless piles of laundry, the loading and the unloading of the dishwasher, the start of school, the end of it, the holidays, the birthdays, all things that cycle -- but in the midst of all that there are moments that can't be described. Something small that makes us laugh or some big moment -- a wedding, the birth of a child, the completion of a huge project -- or some small moment -- the spectacular view of a sunset, a phone call from an old friend, a long awaited apoloty -- that fills us immediately with indescribable joy.

And so we unsuspectingly move through life, doing what we're supposed to do, and once and a while we have one of those moments. And that, my friends, makes it all worthwhile.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday Mornings

I like Saturday mornings when there is nothing scheduled for my day. I lie in bed and jumple through all the hundreds of possibilities of projects I could or should accomplish and then develop a plan. And then, after my shower, I sit down to my computer until the kids get up. It's my time to think, process, plan or, if I really want to catch up on blogs and surfing.

November is Adoption Awareness Month. If you would like to do something about it, there is still time to order free stuff from the Dave Thomas Foundation that you can use in your town, at your library, or whatever.

I have so many events coming up in November:

November 1st we have confirmation for Sadie and a shower for Salinda with family and a few close friends.

November 6th I'm speaking in Duluth at a Faith Based Adoption Conference

November 11th is a book signing in Luverne

November 17th is a book signing in Mankato

November 19th is an Adoption Orientation in Mankato

then there's that Thanksgiving Thing

and then on November 29th I am speaking at the Brookings Wesleyan Church.

Sometime between now and a week from Monday I need to have publicity done and mailed for most of that stuff.

However, during the coming week, while getting ready for the baby shower and confirmation party with Bart out of town from Monday to Saturday, I have an all day training meeting to attend in the Cities, three post-placement visits, both out of town, a meeting to set up an internship for a student, two meetings with families in the homestudy process.

Fortunately, I have a few friends and a neighbor who are willing to help fill in the gaps and Rand isn't working so he can do all the rides, but I bet I can win the busiest week contest. Or maybe not, I know a lot of you are really busy.

Good thing Sue, Susan, Kari and Jill are willing to help. I'm so blessed.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Big Thanks to our Friend Tom

Who wrote this amazing article in The Land Magazine.

It was in print last week.

Now it's online.

Check it out

Because You All Cared So Much You Need to Know

Please check out the Blog for Lost/Found and read about Princess.

LIke a Dog with a Bone

Sometimes I can't let something go and it eats me alive. It's not like I choose the thing to drive me crazy, it just happens. Something is there and I can't let it go.

Like the $40 that was taken on Sunday. Wednesday night Wilson showed up with a $20. He lied about where he got it. I knew that. I suspected that another person might have taken it and given it to him and that he, in turn, had given it to Wilson asking him not to tell. After several outbursts on the part of the person he blamed, he confessed that he did it. But I'm still not sure. Plus he said he took the $20 out of the car and only had $20. That would mean either that someone else has the $40 or that he is lying to cover someone.

The problem is that I can't shut up. I want the truth and I keep interrogating, really agitating those who didn't do it and probably, unfortunately, providing joy to the conscienceless person who took it. John was one of the suspects and he had a major breakdown last night about how hard it is to live in place where he isn't trusted. I tried to explain that 2 months of supposedly non-stealing behavior does not gain trust back that took him years and years to lose.

The sad thing is that I know him well enough to know that even his tears last night could be a manipulative ploy that would cause me to not blame him any more and free him up to steal. Or, I could be wrong and I could be blaming someone who is really innocent.

But the thing that is driving me crazy is that I JUST DON'T KNOW. Other people have gotten involved in talking about this (people in our family) and I really have no idea who took the money. I may never know.

And so I have to shut up and let it go. Except that my mind won't let it. What if John is completely innocent and I have been blaming him consistently, hoping he'll slip up and confess when he really didn't do it? Or, even worse, what if Wilson did confess because of fear of John and I allowed that to happen? How much of this is on my shoulders either way?

If John was had a normal attachment to us, I would just figure -- OK, I'll let it go and he can suffer living with the guilt of manipulating his brother to lie if that is the case. But he won't suffer a bit.

I can't believe I"m pouring this all out here -- but I hate not knowing and I hate it that I can't let it go.

I think my conclusion has to be to shut up and let it go and just be more careful to lock things up. But I hate living like that and we had a gone a long time without it happening again.

Now, if I were to give you an idea of what it is like to live in my head, I could go through all this again about 30 times, and fill up pages of the blog with what if it is so and so and they did such and such, or if it is this kid, that would be horrible, but I suppose it could be, etc, etc, etc. It would be quite boring and disturbing to you.

And then you would know about what has been in the back of my mind when I am trying to work and trying to sleep since Sunday night. Again and again trying to figure it out, but never arriving at an answer I'm satisfied with and always tempted to go try again.

But instead of doing that to you who have reached the end of this long painful entry, I'm simply going to go on with my day and thank you for listening.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sporadic Internet

Ugh. My new office has sporadic internet today so I am getting annoyed. I got the kids off to school got here, and then keep getting booted. Maybe it's a sign I need to focus on an article I'm supposed to be writing.

I have a long trip planned today -- so will be leaving around noon. Lots of stops to make.

Guess I better publish this before I lose internet. Just wanted you to know I am alive. . .

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

now This is COOL!

Our state United Methodist Publication wrote a story about our book and the general church picked it up and

get this

if you type in

there we are.


I'm sorry, but that is just cool.

I'm no media whore, but top that Kari!!!!!

Alone in the Dark

I am the queen of predictability. My husband is not. He is neither a queen nor predictaable,

At exactly 5 a.m. I get up, get dressed, and leave the house at 5:12 to pick up Kari around 5:15 and head to the Y. I exercise for exactly 40 minutes, and then I shower and am home by 6:30.

I can come home to find my husband has already left for work. Or I can find that he is up, showered, and ironing his clothes. Or possibly he is up, unshowered, and working. He might be making himself (or both of us) breakfast, or he could be changing laundry. Or, like this morning, very rarely, he can be in bed. He's not been feeling well, so that explains it, but I just never know. Like I blogged four years ago, he's like a box of chocolates. I re-read that post and Bart's still the same. And unfortunately, so is Rand, now 21. Oh well.

So I am sitting in the living room in the dark blogging, waiting until it's time to wake up the children. I didn't want to disturb him in the bedroom. I have a full day planned as usual, but I'm in town...

I have been promising meaningful blog posts and not fulfilling my promises, so I won't even promise to try to get one done today..

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day is Almost Dawning

Back from the YMCA -- 2nd day in a row we were there by 5:30.


Dominyk is in here as I type.

Here was the beginning of our conversation:

I'm cold Mom.

Then put on your clothes.

But I'm really, really, really, really cold mom.

Then really, really, really, really put your clothes on.

Thanks for permission to use pictures. The ebooklet is going to be much nicer because your kids faces are in it.


Making slow progress with all of my projects. Going to work at Dunn Brothers this morning, then have lunch with my friend Jill... no appointments today. I like days with no appointments.


still no confession from the thief, which most likely targets him for me so I can figure out who did it. Only one doesn't confess under pressure.


Wouldn't you like to live in my head? My thoughts are really like this blog entry. I flit from thing to thing.


I'm hoping to have some orientations in Minnesota for Adoption Awareness Month, within 2 hours of me. I am thinking that a feature story on an adoptive family would be good to get things rolling. Would your family be interested in being featured?


If you help a thirteen put on his belt is that teaching learned helplessness or just avoiding unnecessary and annoying meltdowns?


Do you think a recorded response to "my shoulder hurts" would be satisfactory?


Oh no, he can't get comfy and he's tired and itchy, so very itchy. Guess I should quit blogging so I can say, "I'm sorry you're itchy" about 47 times before we leave in 13 minutes.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Please Help

I need some cute pictures. I'm making an ebooklet about matching and I just need permission to put some real kids pictures in them. I hate stock photography and would much rather use real kids.

Do you have any pictures you can share? I can download them myself off blogs if I have your permission. They will be used anonymously but will hopefully be read by millions. OK, thousands. OK, hundreds. OK, dozens. Yeah, probably dozens.

Let me know if I can use some pictures you've taken!

Back Where I Belong... Barely

This morning I decided I was going to spend the day in my office. Except that I forgot to eat and since I was at the Y by 5, I was pretty hungry by 8. So I had Rand bring me to Dunn Brother's instead (he is going to take 2 to the orthodontist for me today). So I was here without a vehicle, surrounded by food, but... I had left my checkbook at home.

Fortunately, Bart had errands to run so he stopped by to buy me breakfast. Now I"m here until noon. It feels nice to be here.

We realized we have quite a family communication problem. Kyle called each of us (Bart and I) to tell us that he had proposed to his girlfriend Christy on Saturday. We love her, and we are thrilled to welcome her to our crazy family. He also told Sadie and told her to tell her siblings. Apparently, she forgot to tell most of them and I was leaving the pleasure to her.

So most of our kids found out their brother was engaged if they listened to the sermon yesterday. Bart was mentioning his joys for the past week, and included the engagement, shocking most of the kids.

So, next summer we will have all the joys and stresses of a major event in our lives and add the title of inlaws to what will by then be parents and grandparents.

Wanted to take a minute to post these statistics. Interesting stuff that SHOULD motivate folks to adopt.

Putting on the Pressure

I was told this morning by the primary suspect that I really should check through someone else's stuff. I told that kid to look through his stuff. My guess is that he's going to find it and give it back to me, thus (in his mind) clearing the primary suspect, but in my mind completely incriminating him.

When I put on the squeeze, they bleed.

metaphorically of course...


We had money stolen from our room yesterday afternoon. Money from book sales that Bart hadn't had time to deposit. It wasn't a lot ($40.00) but it's the principle of the thing that counts. Three of the kids were with us, so that leaves 6 potential guilty people. Three of them have never stolen from us before. So there are three main possibilities.

I am almost positive I know who did it, and if it is that person, then I am going to have to play hard ball in order to get the truth.

Why do I want the truth? Well, I hardly ever track it down any more, but this time I want it because I want to know who I am living with that is that damaged that they would steal from their parents and THEN not confess. Most of the kids are damaged enough to take the $ but very few, after my persistent interrogation, won't confess. Especially if I put on some pressure and threaten to punish everyone who was home.

If it is the person that I think it is, I will be relieved -- simply because then I will know that there is only one person who I live with that has that little regard for us and is that manipulative. I guess if I have to live with "the enemy" I just want to know the number of "enemies" I am living with,

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Why 13 is easier than 10

This morning we have the task of getting 13 kids, ages 9-21 up for church and out the door. Most of them are reliable once they are up and most get themselves up. However, there are a few exceptions.

The reason it is easier is because in front of their peers they want to appear to be normal and thus they don't do their typical "i can't do that" whiney morning routine and I'm left to get ready myself and enjoy the sounds of their banter.

I'm starting my morning sounding like I'm going to cough up a lung, which I most likely won't do, but you wouldn't be able to reassure those around me.

Busy day ahead including lunch, a confirmation project Sadie needs help with, a concert, music practice and then youth group where, if we can figure out how, Bart will sneak me off for dinner out. I'll come up for air again tomorrow when everyone heads off to school.

Salinda and her boyfriend are visiting for the weekend. She started school up there last week, signifying her permanent decision to move in with his family. This means she is currently attending her 6th high school and it is the first quarter of her junior year. She tends to run from uncomfortable situations. Can you tell? Her life is certainly not one I would have chosen for myself and every decision she makes is opposite from what I would do. It would be nice if she were the only one suffering from the consequences of each choice, but that's parenting. Sigh.

Ready to go hear an incredible sermon.... hope some of you have the same privilege today.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Yes, I'm Still Alive

I wasn't on the computer much the past few days. Working hard and then having fun with my coworkers and friends. Met some new wonderful people and had fun with the old. Good times were had by all, I think, and even though i was worn out, it was great (and no, that is not my beer).

Tony and I arrived home today at 1:15 and immediately I started helping out around the house. I have been gone so much -- 12 of the last 29 days, that I felt like I really needed to help Bart out. That's not to say he hasn't been amazing without me -- he has, but I wanted him to relax (in the midst of preparing a feast for 20 for supper (the other Fs (Kari, Mike, and 3 kids) and a few extra of the kids' friends.

So after I cleaned Dominyk and WIlson's room with their "cooperation", I put away clothes and matched socks. Hours later our company arrived for dinner and we had pork tenderloin, twice baked potatos, three different vegetables, and two kinds of desert made by Kari. Fun times.

However, we had not all been together in a very long time and the kids were so hyper. We pretty much sat and looked at each other, shaking our heads at how awful our children were behaving. Now THAT's entertainment.

I'm tired, still have a cough, and reallly wish it was bedtime.

BUT -- I get to be home for a whole week. Maybe i'll actually get back into the swing of things when it comes to blogging. Let's all hope so.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

More tired than ever

I have been away from my computer because I have been constantly interracting with families all day today. Met some great people but had to tell them some hard truths about the kind of kids who are available. It wasn't all that fun, but I think they are getting the point.

I went strong from 9-7 and am now barely keeping my eyes open at the home of my gracious hosts. I'm enjoying my trip, but I am very tired. I will be home in a couple days and I promise I'll blog better.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

And it Starts Again First Thing in the Morning

Dominyk started in this morning with his same routine before his meds kicked in. Couldn't find pants. Couldn't find belt. Pants too lose. Belt too tight. And he was itchy.

But WIlson counteracted Dominyk with a cute little giggle. I was desperately looking for my glasses as he curiously watched me. After a while he quietly said, "Mom, are you looking for your glasses? Cuz they are on your head. (Bifocals aren't even working any more and I was reading something).

He giggled and giggled and then said, "Mom, you're so dumb."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My apologies to the unnamed telemarketer....

Tonight at 5:45 Bart promised to take Dominyk to the store to buy a special lunch for a field trip tomorrow. This is a family tradition -- to go with Dad to buy lunch -- but Dominyk had to wait for 3 hours. Not a good plan.

About 10 minutes before the time was finally up someone called for me on the house phone while I was talking to Bart on the cell -- he was telling me that he was on his way to get Dominyk. Instead of coming up to get me, DOminyk just stood holding the phone screaming at me. Since he had been screaming at me for hours about Bart not being home, I didn't hear that the phone was for me. So, instead of setting the phone down to fetch me, he yelled even louder. Tony, hearing chaos and strife, hurried down to the kitchen to scream at Dominyk to shut up at which point I think Dominyk threatened to F**** kill him because he is such a f***** fata*** b*****, still while holding the phone.

As I approached him trying to hush him, he dropped the phone.

Needless to say, the telemarketer had hung up. Nobody gets paid well enough to hold on the line for that.

I'm only hoping s/he hung up after the first few minutes and didn't stay on line until the end.

So that is how the rest of my evening has gone.

On Living With A Plethora of Special Needs

Don't you just love the word plethora? I do. Say it with me. Plethora.

I am sane. I am mentally healthy. I am emotionally sound. But I am surrounded by those who aren't. And so while I am sensitive to their plights, here are some things that just DO NOT make sense.

1) If a person is not allowed to use the computer and their mother is the one who forbade them, then wouldn't it be wise to not accept her request to connect you as a family member on facebook?

2) If you did nothing all day, would you make a point to tell your mother that you spent a whole hour doing as good of a job on your chore as you could when knew that your mom would check it and see that you did absolutely NOTHING. I mean I get not doing anything. But going out of your way to fabricate a lie? I didn't even ask him if he had done it? He started the conversation with "Hey Mom, Guess what?" and then proceeded to make up an outrageous story.

3) If you have money in your pocket, then why ask to borrow some to work it off later instead of spending the money in your pocket?

But the worst is the OCD/ADHD combo. I am having this conversation as we type this.

Why can't I start a fire?

Because last time you made such a mess Dad told you you couldn't do it any more.

You are such a liar mom.

Just a second, let me catch up.

Mom, MOM, MOOOM! You never answer me. And now something is crawling up my nose because of you. You never listen to me. You weren't even listening, because you never listen.

Something is crawling up your nose?

I said clogged. You frickin clogged my nose now and I can't breathe when it's frickin clogged. See you don't even frickin answer me or do anything for me. Why does Dad even have to go to these frickin meetings?

brief pause

SEE? You don't answer me. And now my throat and my nose are clogged and you clogged them and I can't breathe. See you never comfort me or care about me.

What would you like me to do?

See, you're still not caring about me. You still don't care about me.

How can I show you that I care?

I don't know, SEEEE!!! You still don't care and besides I can barely breathe.

I'm sorry you can't breathe.

I can't frickin swallow either. (swallow) My nose is all clogged up. And I want a fire.

Would you like some medicine for your nose?

Yes, where is it? Mom, MOM, MOOOOM!

It's behind you in the bookcase.

These stupid shorts keep falling down. Where???? This isn't it. I'm not taking frickin Nyquil because it will frickin put me to sleep.

(I think that was the idea)

Tell Dad to come home because I'm bored.

Dad has meetings.

And I need a frickin belt.....

(and that, my friends, is the first 10 minutes of my evening.

On Being Old

This past Friday night I spent time with my old friends. It used to be that I said "old friends" meaning that we have been friends for a long time, but now old means old.

Around the table after the homecoming banquet were four of my friends who I have known since I was 12. We went to youth camps and retreats together and knew each other in those awkward middle and high school years.

Then we headed to college together where we met the other 15 or so people who joined us for something to eat and drink (non-alchololic of course). We gathered around 9 p.m.

The first sign that we were aging was the conversation as some of us stood waiting for the others at the entrance to the restaurant. We remarked that if we were home, Friday night or not, we would most likely be getting ready for bed at 9:30. We shared how we often get up early and that we ned to go to bed early in order to do that.

When we were finally seated it came time to order. They didn't have decaf coffee available and that began a conversation of what would we order if we couldn't have something decaf that time of night? Caffeine would keep us up. Of course, there is always Tylenol PM or Benadryl, and we discussed the pros and cons of each of those sleep aids.

Wrinkles was another topic, and we noted that those who are fatter (me, in particular) have less wrinkles. I recommended wait gain to the thin ones who were obsessing about wrinkles.

It was a fun night. It was great to reconnect. But it was a shocking revelation, as I had not seen some of those folks in over 20 years, that life stops for nobody. And that even if we all feel 20 in our minds and hearts, our bodies are not 20 any more.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday -- Just not Manic

I'm having breakfast at Panera and working from here having gotten everyone off to school in the snow. I plan to spend the day working away from the house today.. I always seem to get more done when I am away from the distractions of the house. There are enough distractions right here in my computer.

I have a list of topics I am going to blog someday. and that list keeps growing. I'm going to attempt one later this morning -- but first on to the 209 emails that must be answered. Tune in later for either an apology or a real blog entry.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Blogging Hiatus

Wow. I haven't been away from my blog for three full days in years. I apologize. I was literally either driving or busy with friends for the three full days. We had a wonderful time.

I have been shocked back into reality this morning as Dominyk has a sore throat and headache -- the same thing all of us have had to some degree over the past couple weeks. But he has decided that his tonsils are going to come together in his throat and thus he can't breathe. And he's itchy too.

My cough has gotten progressively worse so that I haven't slept well in three nights. I was sure that last night being in my own bed I would fall right to sleep, but instead I tossed, turned, and coughed until I finally resorted to Tylenol p.m. Now I am groggy.

I hope to have time to write a decent blog entry about my trip, as there was lots I have been thinking about but let me just say that I had a great time but not nearly enough of it to spend quality time with all the people I wanted to who where there. The picture above is of my "best friend" with Sadie -- I've known him since we were 13 and we saw each other several times a year until college. We then were in college for three years together and then worked together at the same school for 4. During those four years we were inseparable -- he never dated and we hung out with couples, so I filled in I guess. Our relationship has always been difficult to explain, but other than Bart and my mother he probably knows and understand who I really am better than anyone.

His brother and sister and their kids and his mom were also there, people I have known and loved for decades. Many many other friends were there as well, but there was just not enough time.

But I'd rather leave feeling like I didn't get enough time than counting the minutes until it's time to leave.

If this post sounded disjointed and less than intelligent it is because Tony kicked Dominyk and his repetitious chanting about the pain combined with the fact that he is obsessing about everything else has made it difficult to concentrate. But thank you for being a distraction from it.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Long Day Ahead

I am realizing this morning when reading my comments on facebook and on my blog that the older I get the more friends I have. And the more connected we are through the internet, the less possible it is to please everyone, maybe anyone.

I am on my way to Oklahoma for the book signing at my 100th homecoming. Thus I have to drive through Iowa and Kansas passing by many good friends. If I were more organized I might have been able to schedule meals with a few of them or even sleepovers, but lately things have been so chaotic that I haven't had the chance. So last night we practically drove by Nancy and Amanda and their families as well as Brian. Today we will pass by many others.

And the funny thing is, we're meeting a stranger in Kansas City for lunch even though I have a lot of friends there. She is an online only friend -- an adoptive parent -- who was keeping up with my blog and facebook and knew I would be driving right through and offered to take us out for authentic Mexican food for lunch. Maybe later she'll give me permission to post pictures and her name or screen name at least.

Life is strange huh? I would have loved to stop and see everyone I know on the way to Oklahoma today -- but I need to get there before next Thursday. ;-)

I'll be on the road but when I stop I do check email and facebook, so keep me entertained with comments if you wish. Having an Iphone has greatly improved my quality of life.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Because I Have the Time -- AWARDS!!!

Cool! Essie, the Accidental Mommy was sweet enough to nominate several of her blogging friends for an award! I am pleased to return the favor by nominating some amazing blogging folks below.

This award does come with a few rules;
Copy and paste this onto a new post in your blog. Write your own answers to the questions below. Remember -you can only use one word answers! (It is just too hard for some answers!) Pass this along to 6 of your favorite bloggers by including their links! Post on your blog. Alert them that you have given them this award. Simple. So go ahead get started.... Have Fun!
Where is your cell phone?-here
Your hair? -unkempt
Your mother?- faithful
Your father? – patient
Your favorite food?- potatos
Your dream last night?- complex
Your favorite drink? tea
Your dream/goal? – empty-nest
What room are you in?- hotel
Your hobby?- computers
Your Fear?- burnout
Where do you want to be in 6 years? – south
Where were you last night? – living room
Something that you aren’t? appropriate
Muffins? Triple Berry
Wish list item? Videocam
Where did you grow up? Denver
Last thing you did? drove
What are you wearing? polyester
Your TV? sadie's
Your pets? dog
Friends? fun
Your life? full
Your mood? content
Missing someone? spouse
Vehicle? mini-van
Something you’re not wearing? makeup
Your favorite store? Apple
Your favorite color? Blue
When was the last time you laughed? IM Conversation -husband
Last time you cried? teary tonight
One place that I go to over and over? Cape Cod
One person who emails me regularly? Nancy
Favorite place to eat? Mazatlan

I am going to nominate the six bloggers below - so we can get to know you better. Be sure to check out their blogs and Essie's too:

Here they are:

Once Lost

Special Thanks to Essie at

Tonight You Might Want to Be Me

Tonight almost anyone would be happy to me.

This beautiful girl is my travel companion and we had a great ride to Des Moines.

I'm playing online scrabble with my husband while she is in the bathtub. He reports that everyone is very happy there.

I'm in a comfortable hotel room.

The next few days I will get to see lots and lots of old friends.

Everything is right with the world.

Don't you want to be me?

Up and At Em

Well, I am. The others are up and coming at me. Not physically of course, but a couple of them with a barrage of hateful words in tones that are unpleasant early in the morning. Sometimes you gotta wonder what kind of parents we are when the kids we have had the longest are the most difficult. I suppose some would conclude it was our parenting, but mental health issues and genetics do not go away no matter how long a child lives with you.

Today I'm finishing up several things and then heading to Oklahoma where I will be attending the 100th Homecoming Celebration of my alma mater, Bartlesville Wesleyan College, which is now Oklahoma Wesleyan University

It has taken me 3 hours to get this post done, distracted by a zillion and one things. I'm looking forward to lots of uninterrupted time with Sadie.

I am having coffee with Kari and then I think lunch with Sue, shopping a bit with Bart, attending a court hearing, talking to one of my supervisors by phone and then heading out at 4........

More tonight from the hotel in Des Moines .... if I am still awake by then.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Scratch that Decision

Salinda is having second thoughts. So today who knows. Usually the whole thing changes on a daily basis, but she started to take some serious steps towards moving in with his family, so I figured a decision had been made. But she reports that she has been crying a lot and isn't sure she's making the right decision.

Stay tuned. Things change on an hourly basis around here.

Christmas Present Ideas?

A week or so ago I met Jody, who had recently purchased my book. She is an adoptive parent and she showed me a little book that she had made of her kids using Digital Scrapbooking.


She told me she does it as a job and I offered to promote it for her.

Here is her website

She said to make sure you contact her if you have questions.

Let her know you heard about her from me.

Seriously folks, this would be a great Christmas gift.... very personable and the quality of the books is amazing.

I Really Do Love My LIfe.... but There is Just So Much Of It

Here it is 9:45 and I am just getting around to posting this entry. I am thoroughly enjoying my life lately, but am amazed at how much life I have to live. There is really nothing in my life that i don't enjoy -- I just have so much to do. And I bet as blog readers you are just tired of hearing about it.

So without further comment let me direct those of you who are looking for meat to this blog entry in my Everything Adoption Blog. I hadn't added anything for almost a year! But this entry is about the first year of placement. I've been wanting to write about this principle for quite some time and so I finally took time this morning to jot some things down.

Last night I finally got the wireless network to work 4 hours after I started on it. We also got all the shower invites done (using Angela's stamping idea, even though I'm sure they didn't turn out nearly as nicely as hers would have. I also helped Sadie with math for a long time. I am attempting to spend my evenings with the kids when I am only home a few nights a week. Having new recliners in the living room that we purchased on Sunday helps.

Salinda and I had an interesting text conversation. Apparently she has decided to live with her boyfriend's family for the majority of the time and may be moving up there soon. Her decision has been long in coming and while it makes us sad to not have the baby here all the time, it is probably for the best at this point for several reasons. Shhhhh. Don't tell her I said that or she'll change her mind.

Our response to her has thrown her off though. I still went to her baby shower and bought her gifts. I'm planning another shower for her. We are still changing rooms around to give her and the baby a place when she visits. And she said last night that it makes her cry because she has been so mean to us and we are still being nice. I told her that was a good reason to cry and then made a little smiley :-) and put LOL. However, at this point I think our response is a good one. Being open and welcoming to her and the baby wherever they live will make her feel safe if she needs a plan B.

Today is full -- and I must move on, but I never feel like I can start my day without giving you an update.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Airport Express Woes

I love Apple. And I love having a wireless network. It almost always works great.

Except when it doesn't.

And when I buy an extender and try to set it up I always have such a long series of difficult challenges and it makes me crazy.

Soon I will have to give up and do something else with my time tonight cuz I can't figure it out.

And I will be crabby. SO stay away. Oh wait, you aren't here ;-)

Monday, Monday .... So Good to Me

I woke up frantic that I had overslept by 20 minutes to find that my amazing husband had let me sleep on purpose, and was planning to take the kids to school for me. He had also made oatmeal pancakes and bacon for he and I. Do you guys ever get sick of hearing about what an incredible man I have?

Today is full, as are most days when I am only home 2 or 3 of the five days of the week. Psychiatrist, Probation Officer, and OB GYN ( and none of them for me). Those are my three appointments. And then a football game. And then baby shower invitations. I've decided to stamp them and bought the stuff. We'll work on them tonight. And confirmation invitations but those are done. I used photoshop and a cute picture of Sadie. THAT i can do. I'll post part of it, cutting off details of place and time simply because it's too much identifying info all in one place.

Now the little ink stamps and stuff, that won't go as well. Sigh.

Sunday, October 04, 2009


I made it through my very long way. The presentation yesterday was fun and went well and I sold a few books on top of it. The baby shower was fun and low key and Gabriella Marie (due January 8) got a lot of nice stuffy. Salinda seemed quite happy.

I came home to all kinds of stupid annoying news. The kids love to greet me with everything negative that Bart might have forgotten to tell me about the week. It's funny how when I stand up in front of a group of parents to teach them how to manage their own responses to the annoying things in our lives that I always have a test very quickly after to determine whether or not I can practice what I preach. Some of the items included a bloody lip, a broken window, cigarettes and full beer cans, none of which were necessary connected.... except that one person was involved in all 4 of them.

Make that five. A case of someone sleeping specifically where I told them they could not. Yup. Same person. I'm going to lose it soon if I don't self regulate.

I'm up this morning, obsessing about why we had no amazon orders this week and trying to figure out how I can continue to market and sell books in such a disorganized fashion. Fortunately we will be getting some help with that soon.

Today is church followed by lunch to be followed by phase one of "take back the house" which the children have been destroying slowly since we moved in. And I seriously need a haircut.

Three days until I'm on the road again... got a lot to do before then.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Sometimes it's Not That Glamourous

Yesterday it felt a bit like I thought it would when I was a kid and dreamed of being an author and a speaker. I was considered the expert, I signed books, I talked a lot, and it was fun.

But last night it wasn't. My first plane left 40 minutes late and thus I barely made my connection after nearly running through the Dallas airport. I got on the plane only to sit on that runway for an hour. We pulled in at 12:40 instead of 11:10 and Bart had come to pick me up (not the original plan). Most of the gates to the baggage claim were closed that late at night. The tram was broken. Eventually we made to the hotel to discover that Dominyk had gone exploring at 1 a.m. when he was left at the hotel to sleep with Wilson, which Bart thought was a given since they were both vry tired. Then he came in and yes, you guessed it, had to poop and shower. I never got supper and I was exhausted. 1:30 a.m. I was asleep.

I'll be late to todays conference because a funeral today means I need to drive Bart to meat Rand with another vehicle before I go.

In case my entry yesterday about disruption caused any guilt, I intend to explain myself. Just give me a chance to get through the conference exhibit, the presentation, and the baby shower.


Friday, October 02, 2009

Sometimes You Just Need to Hear It

It was an awesome day. As anticipated, we had a great day with a great group of people. There were many parents present, which is always enjoyable for me.

I shared a seminar called "Disruption Prevention Does Not Mean Placement Prevention". In it I remind parents that whether or not a disruption occurs does not depend on the child. It depends on the parent and how much commitment they have AND how much support they receive from the system.

Parents reported that they left very encouraged and filled with hope. There is something about listening to someone who as survived tough things and hung in there with their kids. Sometimes parents need to hear that they can change themselves enough to survive their kids. Sometimes they just need to hear it.

I had forgotten that I agreed to be video taped. had I remembered I might have taken time to get a haircut and pack a comb. But they did the video anyway and I"m excited that they may share the copyright with me and allow me to use segments in marketing as well as to sell to people who really can't afford to have me come do trainings but want to share my message with others.

I sold all the books I brought and ended up feeling quite good about the day.

If you look at the picture above you'll see nothing. Pretty much exactly what I see sitting in the Lubbock airport. There may not be a tree between here and Dallas.

I still have several hours of travel left, but Bart and 3 of the boys are going to meet me at the airport at 11:20. They are very excited about being out in the middle of the night in the big city. ;-) We will spend the night in Mpls before I take Bart to meet Rand with a the other vehicle and then I go to the fostr parent's convention and then the shower....

and they will head home.

It's been a good week, but I'm looking forward to my own bed tomorrow night!

My Kind of Day

I slept well and in about 20 minutes I'm heading to speak for 2 two and a half hour sessions to between 80 and 120 adoptive parents and professionals. I love days like this. By the end of that five hours there is a real rapport with the audience and some real impact is being made.

Then i go straight to the airport and fly back "home" so I can speak at the Foster Care Annual MN State Convention tomorrow.

And then I get to stay home until WEDNESDAY!

Hope everyone has as great a day as I know I will -- even if it is a lot different than mine.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

For those who have been wanting to hear a success story

First you have to read this entry from nearly 3 years ago. It's a great story.

And then this week, I get this email -- and I have received permission to post picture and story from Dad and Son.

Scott will be graduating this year with plans on 2 years of a junior college before going into the Navy.

He got a job over the past 2 summers and bought and paid for his own Truck. He’s matured into quite the guy!

It’s so hard to believe, that when I got Scott, he was classified as mentally retarded with disruptive behavior on his AdmissionReviewDissmissal from his School ( ARD ) … it’s amazing teaching a kid to read, …where they can go..

… By the way … I have success times 2!

Brandon (who I matched Tim with around the time of that last entry), who will be 15 this year is following in right behind Scott. He’s an A/B student, getting trophy after trophy in martial arts in concert band, and still hugs me every morning and every night before bed.

They’re happy kids! … ( Heck, I’m happy too !! )

Again … Thanks for giving us the moments to treasure, and the future to look forward too.

See why I still keep encouraging adoption? You never know what kid will end up being a Scott.

In Case Anyone is Feeling Creative

By Wednesday I need to send out invitations to a baby shower and to a confirmation/Birthday party.

If your'e bored or listless and would like to research some ideas for me -- or design one -- I'm way open to suggestions. I hate this kind of stuff...

My Two Heroes -- Reflections from the MSP Airport

My hotel stay last night was so unsatisfactory that I chose to come to the airport two hours earlier than necessary. The room was very cold and the heat didn't work and the desk was at such a weird angle that working was very uncomfortable. I had very weird dreams about fancy churches where pews flew through the air like amusement park rides and a school building where Mike was freeing John from a jail stay in an old school building which involved him being broken out of a rock that he was encased in. So I didn't sleep all that well.

I checked in effortlessly and made it through security quickly and then came to the business center with my fast food breakfast to get a few things done. But first I had to start by reading blogs and discovered that my BFF (which really doesn't stand for Best Friend Forever but you can pretend it does is quite famous and I"m seriously proud of her. And then I read about what my husband did last night after I went to bed, and I'm equally proud of him, not only for what he did, but for the amazing way he writes when he blogs.

Sometimes we do good and get recognized. Sometimes we do good and don't. But the main thing is that we do good.

My week is so full this week with so much going on. By the time I get home I will have been in 4 hotels in 3 different Cities. I will have spoken to three very different groups. I will have had several meals alone and several with very good, fascinating people. And I will have attended one of my daughter's baby showers.

My life is so full. I am grateful for opporutniies like these, and grateful for a husband who can totally handle things on his own. Few men could (and this is not an insult to men). I am grateful for the people in my life who are so brave and compassionate regardless of the challenges they face.

This is a full and challenging week, but so far it's been a good one. And it looks like it will only get better.

My BFF and my husband. Providing me with pride this morning and with motivation to keep going, recognized or not.