Saturday, July 31, 2010

Don't Get Me Wrong

I love Tony, I really do. Ever since he moved in at 20 months, he has had some very endearing qualities.

But he is SO intense. He is SO demanding. He is SO oppositional. And he is SO VERY LOUD! Oh, my goodness.

Looks like Gabby isn't sure what to think either.

Welcome home Tony. My quiet summer is now over.

Sleep Glorious Sleep

The dust has settled and I had a great nights' sleep. I may have finally recovered from last weekend. Maybe.

I realized this morning that I had forgotten to post these pictures from last weekend. I put them in facebook, but they never made it here.

I am not sure how much I mentioned to you about the wedding, but the bottom line is that our kids did amazingly well. I'm not sure that anyone at the rehearsal dinner or the wedding would have ever believed it had we said any of our kids had special needs. They all held it together and acted appropriately. It was a joy to see how far they have come, to know what for the most part they all made good choices over the weekend, and that we had some nice times together as a family.

Yes, there was an incredible amount of stress -- from the simple amount of work it takes to get everyone dressed and ready for a rehearsal dinner, wedding pictures, and the wedding -- to the organization of the grooms dinner and then the stress of the slide show. Bart had the prayer to write and the opening greeting.. and had to buy the first sports coat he had owned in 15 years. He has worn a robe or alb to preach in all that time and not needed one.

Bart spent probably 3 hours of the weekend simply ironing! And then there was the feeding of the group each day as well. But we did it. There were no tragedies, no rages, no aggression. Most of our expectations were upheld by everyone, and all of them by most. WIth the exception of a couple people, everyone was helpful and cooperative when it came time to pack up and leave. I am not sure that I could have believed they would be as good as they were had you told me in advance. Typically our family vacations are horrible.

I attribute the whole success to a few things.

1) They really respect and admire Kyle and didn't want to embarrass him.

2) We had all of the kids over in another building except for Dominyk, Leon and Wilson. They had a PCA there as well as Bart's mom and aunt on one night, and they were all 15 and over. I don't know what they did over there and I told myself to let it go and not care. They are all old enough now that their behavior is a reflection on me and not on them.

3) I focused on remaining relaxed and only controlling what I could control -- and that was me. I gave myself permission to enjoy my son's wedding even if nobody else did. I think my reluctance to over-correct helped everyone relax.

4) I have the most amazing husband ever. He skillfully and thoroughly did the things needing to be done which freed me up to do things like run into town for the DQ cake and answer all the kids questions and direct them. He also gave me several hours to finish up the slideshow.

And Kyle had what he's always wanted. The kind of wedding with the kind of girl he's always dreamed of and I'm proud of him for making the choices he's made over the past years that led him to her. He's worked hard to get where he is. And I'm proud of my husband who has been central in Kyle's development, even if Kyle doesn't always recognize it.

I'm waiting for some really good pictures with Kyle and Christy in them, but there aren't any good ones on my camera.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Having an Online Relationship with My Husband is proving to not be that great

Bart has been out of town since Monday morning and he will be gone until Tuesday. He has Leon and WIlson with him and they are having a great time with his sister out in New York as he prepares for a Saturday wedding.

Yesterday was a stressful day. There were so many things that happened that were piling up and they were just annoying me. Mike and his friend from Iowa who isn't going any where any time soon. He's trying to appease me and what he sees are my ridiculous rules, but it's driving me nuts. Then there is John, who really wants me to come visit him in jail, but I"m not sure I should leave Dominyk and it's a six hour trip and I'm not all that thrilled with the idea of taking him.

Tony has got it in his head he's ready to come home, but his grandmother isn't quite ready to bring him. Bart's mom has been letting Tony stay with her all summer and he has been at his best at times and others at his worst. So he called several times last night saying he might be coming home today, and I knew I wasn't emotionally ready for that.

The other kids, because there are so few kids at home, are being lax about some of the rules and forgetting to tell me things -- like that they need a ride somewhere, or that they're going to be late getting home, and that makes me nervous as well.

When Bart is gone I hate to burden him. I try to handle everything alone, but last night I just couldn't take it any more. WHen I'm emotionally distraught I often eat, which I'm trying not to do, or I dump on Kari, but I feel bad since she's going through so much crap lately. I called my mother, but she has plenty of her own worries.

So I gave in and typed several sentences to Bart about all the things that were troubling him. My only response was: I'm going to bed. Then nothing.

So I ended up with this huge gaping feeling of abandonment that I couldn't shake. I am obviously still recovering emotionally from the wedding and then the week of parenting alone, but that was a very icky feeling.

This morning I called him to find out that my internet had cut out and that he had said he was sorry for what I was going through and that then it showed I had disconnected! So all that emotional energy was all because of technical issues.

I guess having an online relationship with him is probably not the best idea. ;-)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Where Oh Where, Am I Today...

Wow. I'm just sitting down to my desk for the first time today. The day was strange and convoluted. First I found a text from Kari she sent in the middle of the night saying she was vomiting (TMI?) and wouldn't be making it to the Y. So I decided to sleep in a little bit and not go until later.

I went downstairs about 8:10 to get my water bottle and found the adult son and the girl back in his bed. They were sleeping, fully clothed, but this was after yesterday's "I wont' do it again" which I knew would last about .... well, less than 24 hours.

So I yelled again, but with a little less energy realizing it did no good yesterday, it would do no good today. And then I went to the Y.

I got on the exercise bike and in comes a text at 8:23. "Sorry, mom, we fell asleep watching a movie. I was gonna ask you for a ride to court but I bet you can't." I text back asking what time court was. "8:15" was the response. So, I got off the Y, grabbed my stuff, and took my still unshowered body back out to the van after a 3 minute workout. And took him to court.

I then had to go back home, quickly shower, and take Jimmy to summer school. Mike still wasn't done so I picked up Sadie at a friends and stopped by home for a couple minutes. Then Mike still wasn't ready, so I took Sadie to work and finally he was done. He then asked to go to Walmart to grab something and I had to get groceries anyway, so I took him. By the time we got home I had 3 minutes to make a sandwich and head out the door to get JImmy.

So now I am at the office and I have 6 hours to get LOTS of work done, and so this may be my only blog post for the day.....I have one more brewing... but we'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Why Are you So Mad?

That was the text I got after I completely lost it this morning. Another day and another girl in the bed of the "adult" in our basement. I had just talked to him yesterday about why I got so stressed out. He really doesn't get it. He is surrounded by hurting kids his age who can't seem to stay out of our house and the whole thing makes me nervous, especially when Bart isn't here.

My anger then led to a fairly decent conversation... I do have compassion for him. What do you tell a person who has so many legal charges that he can't get a job, who has mental health issues, who is so scattered he really can't see straight, etc. He has always felt like a victim and when he is at the bottom, there isn't any way for him to see beyond that.

I wish that he didn't see us as being the problem.... but I am sure his whole life he will find ways to blame us. But I need to let that go.

So once again my anger turned to grace.... slowly, surely, as I begin to feel his pain, I let go of my own needs and start to think about his. I"m not sure that I can do much for him. I can't convince someone to hire him. I can't take away his FASD or his mental health issues. I can't make him do what we ask. But neither can I kick him out. And I don't need to be so harsh.

Extending grace and compassion really is a lot healthier than screaming out frustration. But sometimes it takes me a while to turn that around. I'm getting better at it though, as time goes by. Maybe next time I can just skip the scream fest and move there immediately.

Here's hoping....

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wanna Read the Prayer my Husband Read at my Son's Wedding?

Here it is.

After the Wedding

After the wedding and the wedding dinner, Bart and I decided not to stay for the dance. We don't dance, we don't drink, and we had friends and family who had driven a long way to spend time with us. We went back to our villa and sat outside by the lake to visit as it turned dark. It was a great time.

We let our kids make their own choices, and I washed my hands of what the kids over 21 might do. I was pleased to see that most of them didn't even choose to go over there -- they were content to hang out with us. Of course, one of the 21 year olds got completely drunk, violating his probation, but I didn't have to see it. And the other two or three who stopped by the dance didn't have anything to drink to my knowledge.

I wasn't thrilled about them being exposed to that kind of thing, but we chose to just play it down and it seemed to work fine.

I took some pictures outside by the lake ..... thought you'd like to see them.

Monday, July 26, 2010

My Blog's a Lemonade Stand

Last night at our church's outdoor worship speaker we had a wonderful speaker. A vibrant young woman who in the past had struggled with eating disorders, depression, and self-injurous behaviors shared how she had been delivered from those things and was experiencing new life in Christ.

There were two things that stuck out to me during her talk. The first is how she has chosen not to be ruled by the diagnoses and labels of her past. She talked about how she is claiming the new language of how God views her. Instead of "anorexic" or "depressed" she chooses "more than a conqueror" or "fearfully and wonderfully made" to define her. I thought this was excellent to hear in regards to the children that I have who have the diagnoses they do. I want to see them as God sees them.

She also talked about how she had come to think of the phrase, 'When life gives you lemon's, make lemonade." She said that she had changed it a bit to say, "When life gives you lemon's, let God make lemonade." She then went on to ask "what happens to all the lemonade?"

I began thinking about that -- all the lemons that have been thrown my way in the past 14 years of parenting hurt kids, and how in so many ways God has been able to step in and make lemonade of them. And the answer to the question, "What happens to the lemonade" is easy. It gets served to you!

When we go through hard things and God blesses them, we need to find ways to share what we have learned and how we have grown with others.

Lemonade, anyone?

What's wrong with this picture?

I had only a couple responsibilities the whole day Saturday. I had to light Kyle's candle at the very beginning of the ceremony, and I had to prepare and show the slide show.

I lit the candle. It went out and the usher had to relight it.

And then the title slide for the slide show had the wrong date on it. I just hate it when I try to be perfect. It never works out well.

Oh well, at least I don't do anything half-baked. If I'm going to make a mistake, I might as well be 1000 years off...


i decided that instead of trying to tell about the whole wedding -- which might bore you, I would just throw in snippets of the weekend with a few pictures.

Sadie took these pictures and some of them just cracked me up. Don't they look like some famous couple in People or Us Magazine that were caught by some lucky photographer?

The Wedding According to Dominyk

Dominyk had my camera and took about 200 pictures. Here's a sampling. For him the wedding was all about rocks and crawdads and exploring with Bean (one of the Coffee kids) and Wilson. He kept begging to broil some crawdads... not sure where that came from.

Here's a few of his 200 pictures.

Not At All LIke I Planned it

On the way home from the Y I was telling Kari how I was planning to spend today slowly processing the weekend here on the blog, posting pictures -- maybe take some time off.

And suddenly I realized that I had a powerpoint to finish. By about 11 today.

So guess who isn't going to take time off?

And guess who has to wait to see wedding pictures?

ANd guess who missed their flight to Aruba this morning and have to wait a day to start their honeymoon?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Couldn't Resist Sharing These

These are two of my favorite pictures from the weekend.

Both of them happen to be of Leon.

More tomorrow.

A New Layer of Tired

Wow, I'm tired. We got everyone back home safely, the wedding was great, the kids were appropriate and there were no disasters. But wow I'm exhausted. And now Bart is leaving tomorrow for 9 days.

I'm organizing pictures now to post here and on facebook. May take some time off tomorrow just to write, reflect, and get pictures posted....

I'm going to try to stay awake a while longer... ;-)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

It Just Doesn't' Get Much Better than This

Kari and I are sitting in the clubhouse bar. Our husbands aren't with us. Our kids are in the pool and playing sand volleyball. Even MIke is out there with the kids.

Bart made everyone some breakfast and now he is resting. Mike is watching the kids in the pool. Kari and I each have a laptop and we are blogging as I finish up the slideshow that is being shown at the dinner after the wedding tonight.

I am surprisingly calm. Last night went without a hitch. All of the kids were appropriate. We had some good family time. The food was delicious and it all went very well.

Today I have to finish the slideshow and set it up, be in pictures, and light the candle! Ugh. Watch me fall and it will be the main memory for years to come -- Remember when Kyle's Mom fell on her fat butt at the wedding (gales of laughter). And then it would take the whole wedding party to get me back up.

This morning Bart got up early and sat on the deck of our beach villa that we are renting and journaled. That inspired me to actually write a few paragraphs myself. This is an excerpt:

I sit here on the deck, the refreshing wind blowing over me, still in my pajamas, looking out at the gentle waves of this large lake. I can see the birds, smell the water, and watch the leaves in the tress as they sway with the light wind. I am allowing myself to feel the emotions that later I will at least try not to dump all over the world – I know I”ll cry at the wedding, I just hope it won’t be embarrassing!

Emotions of pride, emotions of the memories of so much frustration in parenting Kyle, of how he wished he could get us divorced so he could have Bart to himself, of the years that were so hard trying to raise him. And then the joy of knowing that God has brought him here, using us to do so. The card he gave us last night said, “I know I wouldn’t have turned out as good as I did if it weren’t for you. I know I don’t show emotion very well, but Christy and I both love you very much.”

For me, that is enough.

We may not have the "perfect relationship" now, but we have given him the wings he needed to fly. And today we will watch him take one more step.

And so today as I sit, front and center, and choke back my tears, I am full of gratitude for so many things:

1) For my most amazing husband, who is above and beyond what most people would ever be able to imagine. His kindness, compassion and the way that he treats people, along with his wit, intelligence and ability to communicate with me as well as the rest of the world, are equal to none.

2) For my children who have come from so many different places and all have arrived to where we are today. All able to hold it together long enough to honor their oldest brother and connecting with each other and us this weekend.

3) For the next generation. For Gabby here now and Isaac who will be here in October, for all of the grandchildren who will most likely flow into our lives over the next 20 years or so....

4) For Bart's family who will be joining us to day and the way that they have supported us.

5) For my parents, who wish so much to be here today, but can't. Everything that I have become goes back to the way that they connected their love for me and my own worth with God's love for me and His acceptance of me.

6) For Christy and her family and the joy that Christy will bring to our lives in the future.

6) For our friends, Kari and Mike, who have been like family to us since we moved to Mankato. For other friends, some who will be here soon, and some who won't be able to able it. And for YOU, online friends, who have supported us through this journey.

Life's really good right now. I am at peace and happy. Eleven of my twelve children, my grandchild, my husband, my inlaws and some of my best friends I've ever had are going to sit with me as I sit front and center and watch my son make a very good choice.

It just doesn't get much better than this.

Friday, July 23, 2010

One MInute at a Time

I'm up. I've been to the Y. I'm finishing up packing. We're leaving in an hour.

I realize that my blogging has left much to be desired lately -- busy days. But maybe you'll at least have wedding pictures to look at after this weekend is over.

That's what I keep telling myself too. That no matter what happens this weekend it will be over on Sunday ;-).

I'm sure there will be moments of joy that peak through the stress, but our kids do not handle special occasions very well, and I don't handle events where my main responsibility is to look good and mingle. One is impossible and the other ... well... let's just say that endless conversations about the weather with Minnesotans isn't my favorite thing. But I can do this.

And we are thrilled for Kyle and Christy.... and I'm going to enjoy what I can.

If I can just remember to take one day, hour, minute at a time.

Dominyk is already in rare form. He is calling the dogs name repeatedly even though he knows the dog isn't here and is driving me nuts. JImmy is back to acting like a petulant 9 year old. He always gets this way when we need him most.

I will be picking up Salinda, Henry and Gabby and Bart will be picking up Rand. Tony will be meeting us there. The grooms dinner is tonight and the wedding tomorrow night. Our friends, the Coffees, are bringing Sadie and Leon with them because they are still on their missions trip.

I know nobody cares about any of this. I'm rambling to keep my fists busy while Dominyk works his hardest to push me over the edge. Just kidding. I never punch my kids. ;-)

So, my goal for today:is to take one minute at a time and not over-react. I'm not succeeding. Dominyk just headed into the kitchen to report to Bart that "Mom is being a litttle B****".

Big B**** is more like it.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Busy Day Ahead

It's 8 a.m. and I've already gotten to the Y with Kari, worked out, had my shower, returned a redbox movie, picked up prescriptions, bought some personal care items, and grabbed a healthy breakfast. I'm now at my office.

We leave tomorrow for the wedding and there is so much to do -- and I"m working today as well. Sitting down now to tackle my inbox, conference call at ten, and exciting interview at 1 and then finishing up things at the office to leave for a few days....

Had fun shopping with Kari yesterday, except the bra part, and got some great deals at Old Navy for the boys. Getting everyone packed and ready to go today will be challenging, but I"m up for the task, I believe.

And now,




Wednesday, July 21, 2010

From Earlier This Morning

I almost had this post done and then the internet quit at the coffee shop. Fortunately I had the sense to copy and paste it until I had time to get into my office.

So here is this morning's post:

It's been a strange morning so far, but I made a good choice, regardless of the bad influence of wimpy Kari.. She had decided that she wasn't going to go workout this morning because she was getting in too late last night to get up early.

And then I had a really hard time sleeping last night. This is one of the few ways that stress impacts me physically. If I wake up in the middle of the night and start thinking about something, I can't go back to sleep. And then Mike was talking to someone (hopefully Ricardo and not a stranger) around 1:30 and I really don't think there was pot being smoked anywhere, but in the middle of the night sometimes I think I smell it. Dominyk had the radio on his cell phone (with no minutes) on too loud and I couldn't find it in his bed to turn it down, so that was keeping me awake. It was just one of those nights.....

SO when 5:30 came I knew I would be wasted if I got up so I slept in. But when I woke up at seven, starting to think about heading to the shower, I heard a voice that said, "The YMCA is still open." So I decided to go anyway, even though it would be 2 full hours later than usual.

Dominyk had already woke up and I knew Bart was planning on a couple quiet hours at home this morning, so I invited him to come with me. I worked out, he sort of did, and then he cleaned up and I showered and we headed for Dunn Brother's where we are currently enjoying breakfast together. He has my old laptop and earbuds and is actually being quiet at the moment, something we haven't experienced much lately.

We're in the last days of preparing for the wedding and today, as Kari so crudely pointed out, we're heading this morning for the bra fitting which she and I doing together will make it absolutely hysterical, I can guarantee you. I may even let her take a picture or two, but trust me, they will not include our faces. That's just wrong. Everyone knows that when you are sending pornographic pictures you never show your face and your body in the same shot. ;-)

I know, I know they don't teach you this stuff in Pastor's Wife school.

On the way to the coffee shop Dominyk suddenly had an idea. He has been very worried about Gizmo, our dog, being upset about not going to the wedding. He thinks it is unfair that he has to stay in a kennel and that he'll miss us. SO out of the blue today he has this answer:

I know what we can do! I can get some really dark sunglasses and pretend I'm blind so Gizmo can be my seeing-eye dog and head to the wedding.

Where does he come up with this stuff?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Taking a Break from "the Zone"

Yesterday I put myself straight into the zone. I was at my office from 7:30 a.m. (after going to the Y) until 8:00 p.m. when I picked up Wilson from baseball with the exception of a lunch date and stopping home for supper and to take Wilson to the game. I was pushing myself and just wore myself out.

So this morning, after the Y and a couple hours at the computer, I found myself at the doctor getting my rat poison Warfarin level checked (the blood thinner medication I am on) . While waiting for the doctor to come in the door I nearly fell asleep sitting in the chair. If you knew me, you would know that I just don't fall asleep sitting up. I realized then that I was emotionally exhausted and it was time for some immediate drastic action.

So I took a morning nap. I know, I know, weird. But I did it. ANd I woke up, had some lunch, visited with Bart and the three kids who are home -- WIlson, Ricardo and Jimmy -- and now I'm sitting down feeling much more energized. I have some things to do at my desk at home and I"m going to work on those now.

I can live in the zone for days at a time, but with the wedding coming up and me nearly falling asleep sitting up, I realized it was time. Besides I have a major emotional event coming up tomorrow that will take some seriously emotional preparation -- bra shopping with Kari. I figure wearing the same ones I have had for six or seven years just isn't going to cut it any more. We are actually going to be measured. Separately. In different rooms. She's already threatening to blog it. I think she mentioned something about a Bragarama or something. See why I need to prepare for this?

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Book Recommendation

An online friend, Kat, who sometimes comments on my blog, sent me this information and asked that I pass it on to you:

I highly recommend the book Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson. Nothing to do with "holding" therapy, not even anything specific to do with adoption - but I think a great resource for adoptive families. It is directed toward improving marriage relationships, and is based in attachment.

Here's her base site:

Knowing the stress that parenting traumatized kids can put on a marriage, this is an excellent book for adoptive parents. It's also great for those kids with unresolved attachment issues that then grow up to have trouble in relationships. Not only that, I think it's also a great intro to attachment for any couple where one of them (or even both) are not really on-board with the ideas of attachment, the Beyond Consequences or regulatory parenting approach.

There's a group in your area:

The main or originating center for this work is in Canada:

I think folks involved in this would be a fabulous asset at adoption support conferences... and since you are involved in or speaking at lots of them... I thought I'd pass this on to you. :-)

I Hate To Keep Harping on The Same Thing But...

I do feel SO much better if I get up and exercise in the morning. And apparently it is paying off. If you care to click over and follow it, feel free to do so. But if you don't click over, it's not going to hurt my feelings because to be honest, I might not click over to see how much you lost either. ;-)

I almost motivated myself this morning in my "Scripture as I See it" blog entry about how we need to move forward and do the next big thing God is calling us to do. It might be worth clicking over to today.

We had fun at STAND last night -- our church's outdoor worship service. The picture above is from the end of a great evening -- the Coffees joined us as (we let em come even though they are LUTHERANS) as did our friends Brian and Jill and the multitude of kids that I was a part of helping them adopt.

Looking ahead... It's the week of the wedding -- Kyle is getting married on Saturday. Kyle is by far a huge success story when it comes to older child adoptions. He moved in at 11, an angry, parentified, overly mature survivor of a difficult early childhood, and has overcome SO much to become a college graduate who has two years of elementary school teaching under his belt. He's marrying a girl who is so easy for us to love and we're quite proud of him.

A lot of credit though, goes to Bart, who invested so much in him. He saw a seed of greatness in Kyle and watered it and nurtured it through the years we were able to have him with us (11-almost 18 when he went away to college). I confess to basically enduring him and often being critical of Bart for investing so much. And it's totally unfair that I get to reap any of the rewards of Bart's wonderful parenting because I wasn't that great of a mom to Kyle.

But I'm going to go ahead and enjoy what I can and celebrate his successes with him. He's not perfect, nobody is, and there are a few things we'd change about his life, but just like our other kids, he has to find his way.

SO, busy days ahead, lots to do. Better start doing it.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Can I have a Lecture?

Apparently when I am driving, especially with only a kid or two, I talk a lot. I have nothing else to do and I consider it a great time to talk about things we normally don't have time to talk about. For example, Leon asked me a couple months ago why casinos in Minnesota were out in the middle of nowhere. After a half hour of passionate explanation about reservations and what we as white folk had done to the Native American people, and the evils of gambling and poverty, etc., I finished my answer to one little question. I laughed at myself but was glad that he had a learning opportunity.

But I became more aware of my habits last weekend when Sadie was driving the van up to get Salinda and her friend Sarah was along. Apparently things were getting a bit boring for her and she looked over at me and said, "Hey. Can I get a lecture?"

I looked at her quizzically and told her that usually my lectures began with some kind of question, not just out of the blue with no topic. I gave her several choices, but none of the topics seemed interesting enough so we listened to music instead.

But it made me smile that she wanted one of my tirades. But hey, look at her. She makes me smile all the time.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

You've Come a Long Way Buddy!

Today John turns 20. And I can truly say that I am proud of him. He doesn't have a job right now and he's going to jail on Monday for 30 days, but I'm really proud of the person he is becoming.

First of all, a quick run down of why he's unemployed and going back to jail. Spring 2009 -- in a group home for adults, going out with a 15 year old girl, her mom invited him to move out of the group home and to move in with them. He did against our begging, pleading, and wishes, forfeiting a CADI waiver, which, in MN is like gold. (It pays for services as an adult). The 15 year old's girlfriend's mother was divorced, and when her father found out our 18 year old son was living there, he had him arrested for 3rd Degree Sexual Misconduct (Statutory Rape). He spent last summer in jail.

He came home from jail and we allowed him to move home and have one last chance. Three years prior we had had a very ugly dangerous scene where he threatened to kill Bart and bashed in windows with a bat. At that point he was arrested and then spent the remainder of his "childhood" in residential settings with a few brief tries at foster care. If you've been reading our blog since the beginning you have read John's history for about 5 years... in and out of lots of places.

So we let him come home. He struggled quite a bit first semester. Couldn't get up for school, couldn't find a job, ditched school when he did make it there, and basically just had a hard time battling the transition from residential living and jail into a home setting. But he followed the bare minimums, he kept communicating, and we kept hanging in there.

Last February he found out that his new (really new) girlfriend was pregnant. We weren't surprised as John had always said he saw this happening. But we had BTDT with the whole unexpected pregnancy less than a year before with Salinda, so we were more prepared.

Soon afterwards John quit school and got a job and slowly moved into his girlfriend's parents house. There was never really a "move out" time, but he just stayed longer and longer each time he visited. And then he bought a bed. A king size one. For her room. that's kinda the last time we saw them here.

John was able to follow his probation with the exception of ONE thing. He was assigned to attend a "Criminal Sex Offender" treatment program, which was group counseling for adult male offenders. He said it was creepy. He didn't think he fit in. He couldn't make himself go.

So now, he has to pay the consequences of that, and spend another 30 days in jail, which meant he had to quit his job.

And I'm SO proud of him. Isn't that odd?

Why am I proud of him?

1) He is a very gentle man. After years of a violent temper and uncontrollable anger, he has found healthy ways to deal with that and he we haven't seen any of that for quite some time.

2) He looks for ways to remain connected to us. He texts. He calls. He and his gf stop by and see us a couple times a week. They stay for dinner. When they find out we are going to be doign something fun, they ask if they can join us. They WANT us in their lives.

3) He is making some wise choices in regards to money and trying hard to be a good bf and wants so badly to be a good dad. You should see him with Gabby. He is so gentle and patient. And he is kind to his gf as well.

4) He is figuring out who he is, at his own pace, and it's so amazing to watch.

And to top it all off, I sincerely like his girlfriend, Courtney. She is authentic and fun and she understands my sense of humor. It cracks me up that this is one of our earliest encounters. SHe is so easy to be with and she likes it that i'm a straight shooter. It's so fun to have her in our lives. This is one of the added bonuses I never thought about -- the girls that my sons

And so there you have it. The answer to the question, "How can you be proud of an unemployed son heading back to jail?"

Compared to the violent 11 year old who went in the psychiatric hospital for the first of six times....

compared to the 14 year old who manipulated the system for months, with diagnosis going back and forth from bipolar to conduct disorder...

compared to the 16 year old who bashed in our windows...

compared to the 18 year old who walked away from the plan we set up for him to make big mistakes..

compared even to the slinky 19 year old 18 months ago....

he's becoming a wonderful man. He's going to make an incredible father, and it looks like he's being a very good boyfriend as well. I'm proud to be his mom. I love you so much, John!

(Sometimes John has been frustrated about me blogging so much, but I explained to him why I tell my kids stories. I tell him that I hope that his story in particular will convince other adoptive parents not to give up on their kids. And so understanding that he may not always like it, but I think he understands why. He's always had such a tender heart).

Loving Saturday Morning

I finally had a chance to sleep in this morning but woke up at 5:20 and couldn't go back to sleep. Had all kinds of ideas of how I might spend this morning -- my gift to myself. Saturday mornings, in addition to enforcing the "Saturday room cleaning" rule we've had for 10 years, I like to sit at my desk and tell myself that I don't HAVE to do anything.

It's amazing how much I can get done when I want to....

So I'm at my desk and it's only 7:15. We have a fun day planned, only a few kids home, and things are looking promising for the day ahead.

If I could just let it go that one of our adult children who isn't here much, insists on doing laundry in the middle of hte night and throwing the rest of the clothes in the basket.

Maybe I should just rejoice that all of the rest of the kids in the house who do their own laundry are careful to fold things when they take them out of the dryer, and that I only have one left, though he is the oldest home, who won't.

Yeah, It's all on how you look at things.

Friday, July 16, 2010

If You're Interested

I did update my Scripture as I See Itblog this morning, as well as my Steps Blog that details my health progress and weighloss/gain journey. :-)

Following my Own Advice

Yesterday was a great day. Bart, Wilson, Jimmy and I headed for the Cities where i was going to meet with Christy to go over the slide shows for the wedding reception and then we were going to pick up Ricardo and come back home. I loved spending time with Christy. I genuinely like her and am so happy to have her becoming part of our family.

In the meantime Bart had taken Jimmy and WIlson to the Como Zoo, where they had had a great time, and then we picked up Ricardo who was smiling. He had apparently had a good week because he smiled more than he has in a long time. He was one of the best wrestlers at the camp and even had an opponent tell him that he felt like he was wrestling a guy with three arms. Ricardo may have been happy to see us too -- he thought the food was awful at camp and was hungry. We had a nice trip home.

The only glitch was that I had told Christy something I should not have talked about yet. It was in regards to Salinda and I had been doing a great job of keeping my mouth shut. I have been telling everyone involved in the situation (it has to do with birth family contact) that i am going to keep my feelings and thoughts to myself and remain uninvolved unless asked for help . Well, I slipped, then Christy told Kyle, and Kyle texted Salinda and Salinda called me. And there should have been a big argument but it really wasn't quite like that.

Instead I was very honest with her about my feelings and told her that I was waiting to talk to her until I could feel better about what I might say. I also told her that I should have followed my own advice and I apologized for talking to Christy at all.

I really hate the "he said that she said that he mentioned to her that he wanted her to tell him all that stuff about him and her" kind of drama that teenagers seem to love. And I let myself slip into it. I'm not mad at Christy, or Kyle, or Salinda ... just a bit irked at myself for not following my own advice.

I told Salinda that the bottom line is that all of us in this situation need to own our own feelings, because they will be much different for each of us, and to communicate the same thing to everyone -- not to try and figure out what someone else wants to here. I think it makes good sense. Now if I can just remember to do it.

Following the conversation we had a few very positive texts back and forth. After years of complex manipulation, I explained to her that it is difficult to trust, but I hope that the words she texted are true. If they are, then she has come a long way, is getting very mature, and we just may make it through this after all. It's been a long long road.

Now if I can just shut up when I need to....

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Heading off for the Morning

Kyle's very fun, very wonderful fiance and I are going to work on the video for the wedding today. Bart and I are both going to the Cities with three of the kids and picking up Ricardo from his wrestling camp. Should be a fun day... and get back in time to work some tonight.

Yesterday I did this schedule:

Drop Dom and Leon off at 8, go to office, work until 9:45.

Pick up Leon at 10 at school, pick up Jimmy at home, haircuts for both. Back home by 11 to get Sadie.

Pick up Sadie and Wilson, take Sadie to work at 11.

Pick up lunch for Bart take it to him, eat with him with Jimmy, Leon, Wilson (who didn't yet eat the food, wanted a different choice).

Drop off Jimmy and Leon on at home, take Wilson with me to get Dominyk at noon and take them for haircuts. Grabbed them lunch.

Took Dominyk and Wilson back home then went and picked up Sadie from work and got her lunch. And then dropped her off at home and took Leon back to the school for open matt. Then I went to my office.

Four fun hours, eh?

Above are before and after pics for a couple of the boys. We were telling Wilson that at the wedding they were going to say "Wow, I didn't know Kyle had three sisters."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Avoiding Power Struggles & Healing Hearts: Responsive Parenting to Engage the Reactive Child

Click here for more information.

Pacing Myself

I think that one of the most important things that I do is to pace myself emotionally. I have learned the art of making decisions about how I spend my emotional energy, knowing where to go to get some, and how to spend it wisely. I literally can choose when to obsess about somethings (though sometimes there are still a few things that plague me).

For example, this week is an easy week. Dominyk, Jimmy, Sadie, Wilson and Leon (and invisible MIke) are the only ones home. I am taking time to recharge, do a few of the things I like to do at the computer, focus on bigger projects at work, and relax a bit more emotionally and mentally. I know that the next few weeks will be stressful ones with the wedding coming up, and Tony and Rand both returning home -- Tony for the rest of the summer, and Rand for a week. Bart is going to be out of town. So it will require more time and energy on my part.

Starting the day with a workout makes every but it is also about knowing when it is time to recharge and store up emotional energy.

Anyone else do this?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Parenting an Easy Child

I had meetings with my boss this morning which I left to give Leon a ride to his wrestling event at the high school. He could tell I was frazzled and I told him I was ready to take him. I asked if he got done at 4, and he said, "Nope, three." I told him I would go ahead and fix my schedule so that I could pick him up at three. The school is 1.7 miles from home, there are no working bikes, and I feel like if it is school or sports related I should be availble to take him. Bart a

I dropped him off about 1:40 and at 1:50 we had this text conversation. If you had met several of my other uncompromising, unyielding, oppositional, never-satisfied children you would understand why this particular conversation made me smile.

"Well open mat is canceled so I'll just walk home."

"Are you sure?"

Yes. I just texted one of my teammates.

I meant are you sure you can walk.

Of course, I got legs mom.

Thanks, I really love you.

I love you too mom.

Why I Need Endorphins

Trust me, if there were any better way that I could handle stress than heading to the YMCA I would. But the exercise and the endorphins take away stress.

Last night we had Kari and her family, affectionately, ok, not affectionately but sarcastically known as the Coffees, over for dinner. We have very few friends that aren't parishioners, and so sometimes we feel a little too free in our conversation. An example would be last night's conversation about their son, Venti (OH my it almost killed me to type that code name) who has had girls autographing his bed. At that point we discovered that Mercedes (our daughter, not a code name) had also signed his bed.

She confessed to having written a message, and Jimmy, often confused by language, said, "you mean, like a sermon?" Of course that wasn't far enough. Someone, who will remain anonymous (and who is NOT my holy and appropriate husband, had to call it the "sermon on the mount."

I laughed until I snorted several times last night and that laughter is good for stress. But the endorphins still beat out. Which is why I had to go to the Y.

This morning my alarm didn't wake up and I was five minutes late waking up so in a hurry. I glanced in the boys room and saw Dominyk fully showered and dressed, including socks and shoes. He woke me up 3 times last night to tell me he couldn't sleep and the final time he told me he was going to take a shower. I guess he just figured he'd save some time by getting dressed for summer at 12:45 a.m. On my way out I looked to see if Wilson and his friend who were spending the night were still on the couches, but they were nowhere to be found (I just called Bart and found out they were in his top bunk, both pretty small so it's easy for the to hide). And Mike had something blaring in the basement -- either a live concert or a movie -- and it was so loud I could hear it clearly in the kitchen.

All of that is just unsettling. And so I felt unsettled until I finished my workout.

Can't there just be an endorphin pill? Do I really have to sweat and pant and move and embarrass myself at the Y?

(Rhetorical, folks, rhetorical).

Monday, July 12, 2010

Enjoying the Rides

A thought occurred to me today as I was finding myself resentful about all the driving I had to do. I started thinking about it. Leon and Mercedes will both have their licenses within the next several months, Sadie in November and Leon in March. Right now they both have their learners permits and they love to drive. We have a lot of fun now that their driving is improving and today I thought "wow, here i am dreading this and pretty soon it will be over forever." Within 4 months, Sadie will no longer need me to be in the car and it will be over.

Both of these kids have just been delightful lately. I have enjoyed spending time with them so much.

And so today, I had several errands to run and I asked Leon to drive me around. We grabbed lunch (I made a fairly healthy choice) and sat in the park in the van and ate it between errands. The breeze was blowing, a lovely day, and we talked about interesting and fun things.... and I thoroughly enjoyed him.

I think from now on instead of resenting their intrusion, I'm going to enjoy the rides. ;-


Last night I realized that I was utterly exhausted. Having run all weekend, the time that I'm supposed to use to recharge, I was just so tired.

Dominyk had a very bad morning on Sunday. He was extremely agitated (medication issue) and had to try on three different shirts before I would approve of one (other two had holes or were stained). He cussed me out all the way to church, then refused to sit with me in church, disappeared a few times, etc. etc.

I then had to return the girls to the bf's family where Salinda is visiting a lot this summer, and that always is stressful because Salinda wants to be somewhere at exactly a certain time (hmmm, guess she somehow inherited that from me) and then when we are where we are supposed to be on time, others don't always cooperate. But we got them delivered safely.

So after an exhausting weekend of trying to please Salinda, taking care of Gabby when she was screaming (which was still a joy byt he way, and she didn't scream the whole time), along with all the driving this weekend and the times when Sadie drives (which can be even more tiring than driving myself) I could finally exhale and come home. I had told Bart I would take Dominyk to Dunn Brothers so that he could rest during Sunday afternoon after a 1:00 meeting.

I arrived home at 1:35 to find Leon in the garage on the phone avoiding the chaos in the house ... Dominyk was screaming at the top of his lungs, blood coming out of his nose from where Jimmy had punched him (because I was stupid enough to leave them unsupervised for 35 minutes). Then I got a lecture from Mike about how I should have woken him up for church (he's 21) even though every time I do wake him up he won't come and it ruins my Sunday. I also was pretty convinced I smelled pot smoke but I couldn't for the life of me find any source.

I calmed Dominyk, disciplined Jimmy (no Sunday sports on TV is like removing a vital organ), took Leon to his gf's house (him driving there as well), and then rushed into the coffee shop to spend time with Dominyk who was agitated and jumpy. He made sudden moves, spilling my tea and nearly knocking people over when getting up to get to the bathroom. I stayed there until it was time to head to our outdoor worship service which was phenomenal, by the way.

When that was finally all over, I was SO tired. We still had to return a movie and pick up a prescription, so we did that and I got home and could barely focus.

However, I got up this morning anyway and headed for the YMCA where I lost more weight as you can see here.

Had to take Dominyk to summer school this morning so my routine is a bit off, but I'm going to stop and get work done now. I have a lot of transporting to do today, so I won't have much time at my desk.

I love it when my day starts well.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Uh, OH, Someone Forgot to Blog

Kari pointed out last night when I called her that I had never blogged. It was quite a day. I was out of the house by 7:30 on a Saturday, which may explain why I forgot to blog.

Ricardo, Sadie and I left at 7:30. We stopped by the bank and had to get pictures. We drove to the Cities. Then we shopped for a shower gift for Christy's shower that Sadie was invited to. Headed to drop Sadie off at the shower and met Kyle for breakfast. Then Ricardo went with him so KYle could drop him off today at a wrestling camp for 5 days. PIcked Sadie up, got lost, and was late getting her to pick up Salinda, baby, and bf's sister to take them and Sadie down to John's GF Courtney's graduation party (a fun event -- we met some of her family for the first time. Really nice people). That lasted until after 4 and then I came home and just crashed. I decided to spend several hours away from the computer. Bart and I played scrabble on our Ipads and then we got to watch Gabby for a bit. Watching her with Wilson is such fun. (A couple picks from my Iphone from the weekend above... the one where she is laughing Bart is entertaining her. He always gets the best smiles).

Fell into bed around 10:30 and now I'm up getting everyone moving for church. Following that I will take Salinda et. al. 45 minutes from here to see her bf in jail and then his mother will pick them up and take them the rest of the way home. I'll return and then have told Bart I will take Dominyk out of his hair as he will want to rest this afternoon before our Sunday evening service in the park which, by the way, anyone is invited to. 5:30 activities, then potluck, then worship. Spring Lake Park. ;-)

Summer is slipping by so fast and we remain busy. The wedding is less than 2 weeks away and then Bart has a trip, he and I are going to NACAC, and by the time we get back it's only 2 weeks until sports practices gear up in the fall.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Not Enough Hours in the Day

Back from the YMCA and having a couple quiet hours at Dunn Brothers alone before my day starts. Dominyk has a psychiatrist appointment today and then I am going to get Salinda and Gabby for the weekend. I didn't really expect her to want to come home, but it will be fun to see them.

Then I have to get the first version of the wedding slideshows done for Kyle and Christy and in the middle of all this I have a stack of work to do. It's a good thing that I don't work in an office with other people because I have to really hyper focus and crank out my work without interruption to accomplish what i need to get done.

John has court today. He, Bart and JImmy have already left for the 3 hour drive. HIs attorney says he will get 30 days in jail for probation violation, but he can serve it when he wishes. We'll see if that is what really happens. They predicted 90 days at first, so 30 days is much better. Tomorrow is his girlfriend's graduation party (after the wedding shower for Christy that the girls are going go). Ricardo will leave for wrestling camp tomorrow as well. Tonight the Coffees are coming over for supper. Maybe we'll Karaoke. i think we have one CD left that we haven't sung through yet. Busy days.

I worked myself up into tears having my devotions this morning and writing about it -- and listening to the song I linked, "His Strength is Perfect."

Gotta love crying in public places. ;-)

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Dominyk and JImmy

He is really something else lately. He's really quite funny if he doesn't drive us crazy.

One of the things he says often now is, "I REFUSE the right to remain silent. I REFUSE the right to remain silent" It is hilarious.

He also picked up, "Oh, You're funny" which he says over and over again. "Oh you'er funny, mom" with a sarcastic voice. To which I reply, "Thank you, Dominyk. I get paid big money to be funny" Now he likes the sound of that so he repeats it often. "I get paid big money to be funny."

I call him Pavlov, because he really can't be behavior modified and operant conditioning doesn't work on him. So I have told him the story about Pavlov's dogs many times and now I just say, "Way to go Pavlov" when something that he shouldn't have done gets him in trouble -- like bugging our dog until he gets bit.

Jimmy is also so funny sometimes. He's being a huge help around the house, but he still makes the most hilarious mistakes ever. He says things like, "For FYI." Or I"m just being sarcasm.

So I've been walking aroudn saying, "For FYI, I'm just being sarcasm." I'm going to say this stuff around the wrong person some time and they are going to think I've lost it....

Scholarships for Youth Formerly in Foster Care (new deadline)

Educational Scholarships offered by the University of Phoenix

In partnership with the National Foster Parent Association, the University of Phoenix has offered 50 full-ride scholarships to foster youth, foster care alumni or foster parents, under the banner of the University's First Chance Scholarship program. The scholarship is redeemable at any University of Phoenix campus, including the online program. Foster Care Alumni of America has just agreed to partner with NFPA to promote the scholarships to the alumni community and to assist in the selection of 25 alumni scholarship recipients.

The program is offered on a competitive basis. To access the guidelines and application NFPA website .

Time is of the essence! New deadline for applying is July 23, 2010.

Whether you are a first-time college student, someone working to complete their undergraduate or advanced degree, or an established professional looking to re-train in a new field, take a look at this opportunity or pass it on to someone you know could benefit.

Foster Care Alumni of America

A Sub-Culture of Negativity

Several things have happened in the past couple weeks that have got me thinking. Before I even begin to explain, I want to confess right now that I am not preaching to anyone more than I am preaching to myself.

I started my "career" as an "adoption professional" back in 2000 when we had been fostering and adopting for about 3.5 years. My first job was post-adoption support and I set up email support groups as well as in-person support groups in order to help parents cope with the issues of raising difficult children. I had acquired several friends, by this point, who were all in my situation, and we called each other often.

People were finally free to say things that they had never been able to say before because they felt safe. They were able to be with others who understood. And so we began to share our stories. Soon it became almost a contest to see who had the worst life. And while all of this was therapeutic and good, those who were having a pretty good life really hadn't much to contribute. And those who were feeling OK about their lives were felt that they couldn't even speak up. And when they did, people chimed in to basically say, "well, your life may not suck now, but it's gonna."

Email list serves took the same turn sometimes. Thread after thread became "if you think your kid is bad, listen to how bad mine is." Or "if you think the system screwed you, you ain't got nothing . Wait until you hear how much I got messed with and how they destroyed my family." And again, if things were going well, on some lists, you almost felt like you couldn't type that.

Then I started blogging and so did several of my friends. And while I feel that the core group of blogs that I read are pretty balanced, (I sure hope mine is), I have read many that show no joy. Nothing good is reported. Sure it is a place to vent, but not just adoptive families read them. They are out there for the world to see.

I know that there are several adoptive families that have been destroyed by the system that they are trying to stop people from adopting. I realize that I play a role in the potential destruction of families by placing children, but I also know good and well that these families, if they are determined enough, are going to find ways to get kids -- as many as they think they can parent. And they aren't going to listen to reason. I never did. And so I would rather be their social worker working for an agency that I know will be supportive, than to say "I'm not going to place kids any more" and have them head to another place to do what they are going to do regardless of what advice anyone gives them. And so I try to be there to support them through it.

Yes the system stinks. Yes our kids are hard. But are positive voices being squelched? Why is it that I feel that others are trying to make me feel guilty because I don't regret our decision? Why can't a message of "We can make it through this, we will be better people, permanency is better for kids" be accepted and welcomed? Have we really fallen this far?

We have had some hard times. I've stopped blogging about many of them, simply because it takes too long and I"m getting used to them. But I love my children. I am a better person because of what I've been through. And sure, my life hasn't been as bad as some of yours, but that also means that a lot of people have lives that are better than mine. But maybe those blogs, full of positive adoption experiences, are too boring for most of us to read.

Do support groups actually offer support? Can we be part of them with love and laughter and continually remind each other that this is a good thing? Can blogs and list serves and online forums be a place where we can offer hope? Isn't support both grieving together AND celebrating together?

My biggest fear is this: If we do such an excellent job of telling the world about our hardest kids and forgetting to mention the blessings of our easier kids, will parents stop giving children a shot? Will the Leons, WIlsons, and Mercedes of the world be in foster care for life because we have shared so much about our harder to live with children?

I like my life. It's a hard one, but I like it. I wouldn't trade it. I love all my kids, the ones who are hard to raise and the ones who are easier. I find joy each day in something. I am glad God gave me this road. I don't regret any of my decisions.

Does that mean I don't fit in anywhere anymore?

Please tell me that you are experiencing something different than what I've written above. Please tell me (and the rest of the world) stories about why you are glad you chose to adopt. Tell me of support groups that offer hope. Just for today let's say to the world, "the system may stink, but the kids don't. Adoption is a GOOD thing."

At My Kitchen Table

I don't usually sit here, but I got back from the YMCA at 7:30 and talked to Bart for a bit, and I have to leave in 40 minutes for a doctor's appointment, so I stopped here to get my blogging done.

A few situations have us really frustrated lately, so it was interesting to see this passage come up in my Moravian Text Email ... and I wrote about "Gripping Hope." I am determined not to slip up.

Doctor's appointment this morning and then I have a meeting to read through a case file at one with one of my families. Intern will be at the office today, so I'll be heading there for the time between now and when I leave for the meeting (it's about an hour from here).

OK, I'm off to write the blog post I hinted at yesterday.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Another Day Begins Well

By 7:30 I had worked out, showered, and driven to my office where it is perfectly quiet. I thought my way through a Scripture passage and wrote down my thoughts, calling them Filthy Rags Righteousness.

Kari told me this morning that yesterday I mistakenly linked to her blog instead of my exercise blog to report my weight loss. Here is the correct link but I confess to being a little sad that over 400 hundred people checked out my blog yesterday, and not a one cared enough to find the error or report it to me if you did. Oh well, I'll survive. I've lived through worse. ;-)

I am contemplating a blog post about the subculture of negativity that we have formed as foster and adoptive parents but am a bit afraid of the comments I'll get if I talk about it, so it is giving me writer's block....

I have ben doing some bookkeeping this week -- not good at it.

Things have been fine, quite boring in fact, at home. But the air is still out so I have that to deal with before Bart gets home.

I'm ready to dive into my day now. May come back and write more later if I don't chicken out.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

I Have Way Too Many Thoughts

I've been scanning pictures for a wedding slideshow for Kyle and Christy's reception, and have gotten to see lots of great pictures of them. Thought I'd share one with you.

Not sure what to blog of the many things I could. But Kari and I did go to the Y and there was weight loss success for anyone who is interested. I also spent a long time this morning talking about my role as a person with the "gift of prophecy" if those of you who share my faith want to hop over to my Scripture as I See It blog to see that entry.

That entry was provoked by many thoughts I've had lately that I feel compelled to share but that I know will bring backlash and negative comments. So I am battling the urge to share them. It's a strange position for me as usually I don't give it a second thought. Am I losing my edge?

Last night I was home "alone" with five boys/men and no husband. Jimmy, Leon, Ricardo, Dominyk and MIke are braving the very hot house. The air is supposed to get fixed today. I sure hope so for everyone's sake. It's kind of hard to settle down and sleep with the weather as it is. Bart bought a cheap window unit for our bedroom so he could survive these few days (cheaper than a night in the hotel) but we really need it all working correctly.

I have chosen not to blog about the situation that is flooding my mind lately -- the discovery and connection with birth family through My Space without our permission by a child under 18. It has affected several people and I have been lied to, which is very frustrating. The initiator of the whole thing of course now is at the manipulative center of triangulation and I want nothing to do with any of it. Finding birth family does not threaten me. Doing it in a way that is manipulative, secretive, and potentially destructive for others bothers me. I really do not want to deal with the drama and since nobody is seeking my help or advice in all this, I'm trying to stay out of the way until someone does. But the situation bugs me for obvious reasons. I really want to blog it all but I have a feeling that there may be people who are directly involved. now reading the blog who would not understand and I don't want to offend anyone. How's that for a vague mess of a paragraph?

Other than that, life is pretty stable at the moment. We are gearing up for the wedding in less than three weeks, though most of our responsiblity is just getting everyone looking appropriate and hosting the rehearsal dinner. We love Christy and are thrilled to have her as a part of our family... just hope we don't embarrass anyone too badly by our presence there.

I've spent way too much time writing this morning and need to move on to my to do list. ANd just think, I've only blogged a few of my thoughts!

Monday, July 05, 2010

More Glimpses into Our Day at the Lake

Today's a Holiday. So What Does that Mean?

I ran across the picture a friend of ours did about ten years ago. WE only had eight kids at the time. Weren't they cute? It has nothing to do with the post, btw.

A holiday for me means my email will stay under control because even if I'm working others aren't. I'm excited about days like today, not because I don't work, but because I can get so much done.

Before you start doing the "you're such a workaholic why don't you spend time with your kids" routine, please note that I took the whole weekend off. I don't think I worked at all for two straight days and spent most of that time with the family. So today I get to catch up on things in an enjoyable way without pressure.

Plus, we only have five kids at home for three days and I'm husbandless. Sadie and Wilson have gone to camp and Bart is also with them. Wilson is a camper, Sadie a Junior Counselor, and Bart one of the camp pastors. Dominyk has a PCA today and so that leaves four, including MIke, who is usually not even around and if he is we don't know it because he seldom speaks to us. The other three are pretty innocuous although Ricardo is going to be sulking.

I was fairly pleased with myself last night that I dealt with the police officer without even waking Bart up. I was awakened by Ricardo who was spending the night at a friend's house with permission from Bart who didn't know he wasn't supposed to be there (he's spent a lot of his summer over there, but was late coming home Saturday by about .... uh.... 8 hours... so I had said he couldn't go back until further notice. I wasn't around yesterday when he asked Bart if he could go. I came outside the room and could see him standing in the foyer and assumed he was with his friend or alone. I started to point out to him that he had no permission to be at his friend's when Ricky said, "Der's someone here Mom." ANd I heard a voice say, "It's a police officer, ma'am." Fortunately (or unfortunately) she's been here before once when Salinda was doing something and so she already knew our foyer well.

Apparently Ricardo had had only a few sips of something at a party at this house that was going on while the parents were sleeping. I have had some questions about the place but knew taht eventually something would happen, as Ricardo has denied ever doing anything he shouldn't at the house. Stuff eventually catches up with these kids... and I knew it would. So I gave him a short lecture, sent him to bed, and went back to sleep. I told Bart this morning, but I didn't see what the sense was in waking him up to tell him last night.

Goes to show that I've changed a lot in the last 7 years. 7 years ago we both would have stayed up hours talking about it, not been able to go back to sleep, adrenaline pumping. Now I just yawn.

So I'm ready to get some things done. Our air is still off, so I'll work here until it's just too hot and then I'll head to my office where it's nice and cool.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

As Bad as You'd Think

Wow, it's hard to sleep when your body is so busy sweating. The kids had a really hard time settling down and it was hard to sleep without air. It was so hot ... It's cooler outside now, and raining, so maybe tonight won't be as bad.

Feeling drained upon getting out of bed is ever a good plan, but this morning I am moving very slowly. The humidity is crushing me. But in a few minutes, I"ll do the Sunday morning routine again, getting everyone up and moving as we head for church. We need to figure out somewhere cheap and cool to be this afternoon, although I have some stuff I'd love to spend time on here at the desk involving photos.... so maybe I"ll just stay here and sweat.

You can read another tidbit about our day on the Coffee Blog.

One little glimpse this morning of yesterdays fun -- Sadie with Sarah, Leon's girlfriend and one of Sadie's best friends, on the tube. I'll post more pictures later today. I had so much fun watching them from the boat that my face hurt from smiling so much.

Today it hurts from my sunburn. :-)