This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Friday, December 31, 2010

A Year in Review

As I look back over the year, I can't believe how much has changed. Some of it seems like it's been this way forever. I still can't believe that it was this year when Kitty showed her first major sign of healing from RAD. It seems longer.

A year in review:


  • It snowed! (This is a big deal because it only happens about every seven years around here).
  • Hubby left our company and started engineering contract work with a large company - which he hates.
  • We fired Bear's therapist.
  • My little sister got married.
  • Went to the Katharine Leslie seminar in Fort Worth and did a series of posts on her amazing work and what I learned there.
  • Hubby and I celebrated our 16th anniversary.
  • KITTY ASKED IF I WAS "OK"!! (and cared about the answer) This was a major sign that she has healed from RAD.
  • The three older kids get confirmed in the church.
  • We make over 100 dozen cookies for various events this year.
  • I lost a little weight even though I stopped working out at the end of Summer.
  • I turned 40.
  • I introduce my rainbow tie dye "don't forget your stuff or I'll wear this to your school" outfit.
  • We did a lot of life skills training and managed to convince Bear not to move out when he turned 17.
  • We discovered Bear and Kitty's legal age of adulthood is actually 19.
  • We have a quiet, strictly supervised Summer full of aerobics and volunteer work at vacation bible school and a place that does therapy through horseback riding.
  • My blog turns 2 and I get lots of support from my followers.
  • I get a new little brother. My dad and stepmom adopt a 13 year old boy.
  • I decided that my issues with bipolar were more my PTSD and stopped taking meds.
  • We had our first, and only, RAD Mom Meeting - got to try to do this more!!
  • We introduce The Soup Kitchen and use it for a little while. It triggers major foood issues for my RAD kids, especially Kitty.
  • My wonderful readers help me write letters to the school and for IEP meetings that help us get Bear what he needs in school.
  • Two amazing fellow Mom bloggers gift me with tickets to a Women of Faith seminar which charges my batteries.
  • Took him 7 months, but Bear finally earns his Zune!
  • Bear managed to pull it together and pull his grades up (after almost flunking out - if the school would have allowed him to), because he found out he couldn't be in the military due to his diagnoses, although he did end up back at the special school.
  • We celebrate our 4 year anniversary of the kids coming to live with us.
  • Bear skips class and lies about being beat up to the police. Could have been prosecuted as an adult, but "lucked out."
  • Our company is not making any money and lost a big lawsuit.
  • I give Hubby the gift of my time. I'm trying to come to bed early and I'm on an "internet diet." I'm not doing great at it, but I'm trying.

For the last three years we've been giving birthday gifts to Jesus. Kind of like New Year's Resolutions, but focused on what Jesus would want from us. Reading these has shown me the progress the kids have made. Especially Kitty's. Here's her last three:

2008:

"to God,

My thang that I need to work on is to stop Gloting (gloating) and stop being
rude and to be better at being Goodwhen I am being rude to my brother.
Please help me

love Kitty"

She added that she would try not to fight with Grandmother. This was really hard for her, but when I look back I realize she no longer "hates" her Grandmother and little brother. I haven't heard her call either of them "that evil (little boy/ woman)" in a very long time. I honestly don't think she feels that way any more.

2009:

"Make the world a better place by loving everyone. Spending time with my family."



"Spend more time with my family" was a major theme that year, so this year I told everyone they had to choose something else.

2010:

"I will try harder to stop the drama or avoid it."

My Jesus' gift was:

"I will try to be present and meet my family's needs, while taking care of myself."

I think that's a good one don't you?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Great Expectations

Foster Abba over at The Final Maze, wrote a post called Reasoning with the Unreasonable in which she quoted Cindy over at Big Mama Hollers,


"I'm just so out of patience with year after year of so little progress, some older kids are distressing me terribly with their ridiculous thoughts and attitudes, crappy criminalism, best if I keep my distance, and my opinions to myself, let them learn their own way about employment, bill paying and relationships.

They think I'm the stupid one for following rules and obeying laws.

How does one reason with that?"


Foster Abba's response was,


"I think the reality is that you can't reason with that. I think the problem for so many of our damaged children is that they are incapable of understanding logic or consequences."

I think I've finally grasped that you can't reason with our children, that they don't understand consequences, and that their logic is based on defense mechanisms and learned behavior that are no longer useful, but that are now such a part of their thought processes that they can't get rid of them. I think I've grasped it... but there are days when I realize my expectations are not in alignment with that reality.

But for me the hard part is watching others deal with my children who HAVEN'T and WON'T grasp it, and think I'm a horrible person for "giving up" on my children and "not allowing them to reach their potential" because I have grasped it.

On paper my children are CAPABLE of being productive, successful members of society. Technically they COULD go to college, get a job, and have healthy relationships. However Kitty and Bear have so many issues that the odds of them actually being able to do this are astronomically against it. I don’t want to hold them back by saying they can’t, but at the same time I feel we’re not preparing them for reality and the practical things I'm being forced encouraged to allow like driving my kids are not really ready for.

The high school especially is helping my children plan for a future that includes college, and in Kitty's case, medical school (she wants to be a surgeon "because they make lots of money"). Both of my kids are in special ed. and not just because they are emotionally disturbed. Maybe college and tradeschools are possible with lots of help, but extremely unlikely (especially since Bear would not be willing to ask for or accept that help).

Bear is half way through his junior year of high school. He does not have realistic life goals. This is so wrong, but the school doesn’t see the need in assessing him or helping him find realistic alternatives, and he can’t accept that help from us. I don’t know what to do about this. Last time we challenged one of his life goals (told him he wasn’t eligible for the military) he gave up (skipping school, drugs, fights…) and we almost didn’t get him back.

His life goals still aren’t realistic, but now no one wants to tell him. I too want to make sure he has a ”backup plan” before we tell him, but I can’t get anyone to help me help him explore his options. I don’t know what to do next.


I don't think my kids are capable of living on their own, particularly not any time soon, but we’re unable to get them diagnosed with anything that will get them the support they need to make it in the “real world.” Because of their attachment issues they are unable to trust us enough to stay home with us and let us help them. Bear is also in denial about his issues and diagnoses so I know he’ll stop taking his meds and getting the therapy and support that he needs. There is a strong possibility that Bear will most likely end up in jail (if he’s lucky) because that is the only place that can provide the support, structure and regulation that he needs.

***************************************************

My greatest fear is that there is something I could have done to make them better and improve their chances of being happy, healthy and productive.

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In what ways do you find yourself limiting your other children (if you have any) to accommodate the needs of your special need child?

I find myself being overprotective of ALL of my kids, not just the ones who need the additional support, but my younger ”neurotypical” biokids too. It’s so hard for me to draw the line.

When I treat the kids differently, then they think I love the other kids more (ALL of them think that). I truly can’t win. How do you handle this?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Stocking Stuffers

Well I found out where my stocking of chocolate came from! Supportforspecialneeds.com apparently had another giveaway. I found out when I logged on to the site today. Very cool.

Unfortunately Bear ate almost all of my chocolate. :(

Last night I went to get a piece and discovered there was almost none left. When I searched Bear's room this morning while he was in the shower, as expected I found a couple of pieces of candy (and some other contraband). I discussed it with Hubby to decide what the consequences should be.

We decided I should take the treats that Bear got for Christmas and his new camera, and put them in a box, which Hubby decided to place on the dining room table (he told me to tell Bear that it better still be there when Hubby got home from work). Hubby then left for work. Everyone was getting ready to go horseback riding except Bob who'd decided to stay home so Ponito could ride (we only had 3 slots and Ponito had spent the day with a friend last week).

During Christmas break, Kitty's therapist had arranged for some therapeutic riding for many of her patients at a local horseriding stable that works primarily with emotionally disturbed children. The stable owner was already very familiar with Bear who had been attending for years though his special school and said he could ride as well. There was room for one more rider so they let Bob ride last week. I've been loving it because it's 3 hours to talk to other moms of adopted teenage girls with RAD.

While I was finishing getting ready, Bear came out of the shower and apparently discovered his stuff in the box on the table. Bear came to my bedroom door (he's not allowed in our room because he's stolen stuff from our room in the past), and yelled to me in the Master bath, asking me why his stuff was on the table. I told him it was because he had stolen my stocking candy so Dad and I had taken his Christmas stuff. He wanted to know why I thought that he'd taken my candy and I said because I'd realized it was missing and he'd smelled like chocolate in the car on the way to Grandma's the night before so I searched his room. Plus when food goes missing it tends to be him.

As you can imagine, instantly it became about what a horrible person I was for not trusting him. Never mind that he'd actually stolen it! So he told me he was going to ruin my day by not going horseback riding. He knew I would never leave him home alone so no one would get to go. He then stormed off. Even though I didn't even see him, I was shaking like a leaf. I will most definitely be talking to my therapist about EMDR therapy for my PTSD.

So I called Hubby and asked him to turn around and work from home today so Kitty and Ponito could still go to horseback riding therapy. We had to leave before Hubby got back home, and I have to admit I was kind of entertained by Bear's face when he realized we were going anyway (he'd been banging around in the garage as we left, and lifted up the garage door and looked out as we drove away).

Huby said he was on the phone and had his bedroom windows wide open. I don't think I want to know what he was up to.

Hubby talked to him and got very frustrated. I'm not sure what happened, but I know at some point Hubby took the door off of Bear's room. (Hubby apparently did put it back on later). Bear denied everything of course. Said he'd told me he would go after all. Said he didn't take the candy. Said the only reason he took it was because it was the only way he would get any.

Later when we got home, Bear came up to me and said he was sorry he'd acted the way he did. He blamed it on the fact that he found out his great-grandfather had died. He said he found out on Christmas day. He also said he was upset because he wanted to spend time with his latest girlfriend on her birthday (allegedly the day after Christmas), but Ponito had a low-grade fever so we said no company. He then told me she was going to come over this afternoon instead. I said, "umm, no I don't think that's a good idea today after what happened this morning." He wandered off.

Apparently Hubby had told him to stay off the phone and busted him on that a little later.

I have a massive headache so I'm going to bed. Night y'all!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

For Miz K

Love Hubby to death and think he's gorgeous, but he does get this kind of intense, crazed look in pictures. I tried to find a few to show Miz K, but I delete most of them.





Oh NO! It's contagious!
LOL!





























I have a Secret Santa!


I just got a Fed Ex box with a stocking full of chocolate from someone in Illinois. I don't know who you are, but I LOVE YOU!! (I probably should know who they came from, and it vaguely sounds familiar, and I REALLY hope it wasn't one of those send something to someone else kind of things... oh, this is bad, now I feel guilty and I'm going to go into a chocolate induced coma!).


I have already eaten 4, 5, 6 Reese's peanut butter trees... ok, ok, and a truffle.


That's probably not good.


I don't care!


THANK YOU!!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!



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I did finally choose the new family picture for the blog. I printed out the traditional one for family Christmas gifts, but for the blog I chose the most "realistic" one. Check it out at the bottom of the page and tell me what you think.
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Well I'm finally done wrapping everything!! ...except the gifts that haven't arrived.
I ordered an MP3 for Bob from Eb*y, and then ordered a ton of other stuff. EVERYthing else has arrived. I paid for it on November 30th and it said 3-7 days shipping. When it confirmed the order through P*ypal it said 3-10 days shipping. When I went back to check it said the item would be here by the 16th. On the 16th I went to Eb*y to check and it said the shipping date was through the 29th! There was also a note saying the seller was no longer a registered member of Eb*y. Unfortunately that's when I realized the seller was in China. Now the entire item description has been taken down too.
Since today is the last day before the mail stops for Christmas, it is extremely unlikely that the item will be here in time for Christmas. Poor Bob! At least I found the black suede, knee high, no heel SIZE 12!! boots that she wanted. Since the kids only get 3 presents, and one of her gifts was relatively small... it's a really good thing it's Bob not Kitty.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Healthy Snacks Chocolate Chip Cherry Bread


Healthy Chocolate Chip Cherry Bread – please don’t tell my kids it’s healthy!

3 ½ cups whole wheat flour (I usually substitute up to 1 1/2 cups with a whole grain like oatmeal or Bob's Red Mill 5 grain cereal)
½ cup protein powder (I use powdered milk)
½ cup cocoa
2 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3 bananas
1 can beets – drained (I usually just use 3 bananas instead)
2 TBS butter (I usually substitute fat free yogurt or coconut oil)
6 TBS Applesauce or fat-free yogurt (I like yogurt as an exact substitute for oil because it bakes lighter and fluffier than applesauce – and of course it’s healthier than oil).
1 1/3 cup brown sugar (I use 1 1/3 cup Splenda and 2 TBS Molasses)
1 cup egg substitute (or 4 eggs)
1 pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips (~2 cups)
2 cups dried cherries – rehydrated by boiling in water for a few minutes in the microwave then drained) - the dried cherries have a stronger flavor than regular cherries which tend to"dissolve" into the bread and disappear.


  • Preheat oven to 350. Coat 2 8x4 loaf tins (or muffin tins) with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Mix flours, protein powder, cocoa, baking powder, and baking soda – set aside.
  • Cream bananas, beets, butter, applesauce and sugar (Splenda/ molasses). Add eggs and mix one minute. Blend with flour mix. Stir in chips and cherries.
  • Bake 45-50 minutes (less for muffins).
Yummiest warm with the chocolate chips all melty and messy. I tried it with the beets for the first time and my kids had NO CLUE. All you taste is the chocolate and cherries. I suppose if you used walnuts or something else it would taste like brownies.  Bob "hates" bananas so we pretend this doesn't have any.  The beets are totally optional, as are the cherries.  We've tried it with peanut butter too.



Squirrel cookies

Great for a quick breakfast on the go.

1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup white flour, unbleached
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
1 cup pecan halves (I used ½ cup raw sunflower seeds and ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds)
1 ½ cup butter (I used ICBNB)
½ cup (equivalent) brown sugar (Splenda and molasses?)
½ cup sugar
1 ¼ cup splenda
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup water (I used water drained from rehydrated fruit)
3 eggs
3 cups Bob’s Red Mill 5-Grain Rolled Cereal
1 cup coconut flakes (unsweetened if you can!)
1 cup cranberries (I substituted part with some dried blueberries) boil in microwave
1 cup golden raisins (I substituted part with some dried cherries) boil in microwave

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets, set aside.  

  • In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.  
  • By hand or in a small chopper, chop pecans coarsely, set aside (if don’t use seeds).   
  • In another bowl blend butter, sugar, vanilla and water together.  Beat eggs and add to butter mixture; stir flour mixture into egg and butter mixture; add cereal and all remaining ingredients, mix well. 

Bake 10-12 minutes.  Cookies should be soft in center and edges lightly brown.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Pictures!


These first two are the shots I'll be sending to biofamily of Kitty and Bear. Bear was in the middle of "No Shave November." Scruffy is not my favorite look for him.


My Boys!


I really like this shot. Even though I have some serious double chin going on.


Truthfully this is my favorite shot, even though it's not very traditional. I think it reflects our family pretty well. Even Bear's expression says it all.

Here's the photoshopped version. Which do you like better?


My favorite shot that's a little more traditional cause it hides my double chin and everyone's smiling. Don't know why Bear looks photoshopped in, just his shirt popping I guess. The only photoshopping in this pic was Kitty. In the original she looks like she's mid-sneeze.

This last one has been photoshopped to death, and is the most traditional of all of them all. It's Bob's favorite.
So which would you pick?
The final choice will be on this blog for a year so I need your input guys!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Best Christmas Present Ever!


Our new Cle*rPlay DVD player is awesome! I can't wait for Santa to bring it for the kids! I found a used one on Eb*y and started downloading filters. Originally I was thinking it would just be great for expanding the kids' movie repertoire to include PG-13 movies, but Hubby and I have used it to watch a couple of rated R movies and while it cut out a lot of the movie, it still made sense and was entertaining, so as long as the basic themes are appropriate it might be OK. Either way, I can't believe how many movies are actually PG-13.

The cool part is that now I can buy older DVDs that we couldn't watch before (used DVDs from S*lv*tion Army or $3 movies from Big L*ts). Since they're not new releases they're MUCH cheaper. This has really increased my options for my teens- who mostly asked for expensive electronic stuff we couldn't afford.

To try to handle gifts in my house without going overboard, I use an Excel spreadsheet. I have 2 columns for each child. One with the gifts I plan to get them, and a second column that I move the items to as I purchase them. This way I don't end up buying more than I intended to, or horrors! "shortchanging" one child.

There's a row for:



  • Christmas Eve gifts (pajamas and a book).

  • Santa presents (Santa tells me in advance - to prevent duplicates). He gave us the Cle*rplay player in advance so we could get the filters loaded, nnd he'll bring the kids a couple of DVDs.

  • Grandparent gift (grandparents sent us a financial gift and we purchase a gift for each child and us from it - and the leftovers we can use for whatever we need - LOVE IT!)

  • Gifts 1-3 (each child gets 3 gifts from us. It was good enough for Jesus.)

  • Stocking Stuffers - I help Santa with this.

  • There's an additional section for other family members (Grandparents and little brother, sis and her family, Hubby and I. -Yes, I buy my own gifts. I get Bob to wrap them for me though.).

We also have Christmas lists aka Santa letters for the kids, but adults are supposed to write lists too. I didn't realize this wasn't normal for every family until recently when my sister's new husband questioned it (he didn't write a list either so I really struggled with what to get him. I can handle people I know without a list, but I don't know my BIL that well yet).


My Dad's love language is gifts so we're used to him telling us exactly what he wants. My stepmom makes it really easy by sending different lists to everyone so I don't have to worry that my sister got him the same thing! Convenient, right?


Hi Mary, Remember how your dad always has things on his list that are no fun to buy, but that he really, really wants? Well, for him for Christmas he has specified the following: Megui*r's web site -- 1) "Gold Class" Carnauba wax (G7014); 2) SwirlX (G17616); 3) Soft Buff Towels (X2050). Use code VYX for free shipping. So I send you those as a suggestion for him. For me -- easy! I love books, so a gift certificate to a good bookstore would be great. For {New Little Brother} -- any xbox 360 game, (not all are expensive), I don't recommend any baseball equip(I know he's obsessed with baseball so I'd asked). He has alot, and our neighbors work for Sp*rts Auth*rity and bring him the neatest things free because the store is changing seasons.

Hubby was frustrating for me this year, because he doesn't want clothes (bad memories from childhood) even though he needs them. He has very little time for hobbies, except scuba diving, which is pretty expensive and very specific, and food/candy is good, but of course too much isn't good for him. I ended up just telling him to pick out some movies while we were shopping for the kids at a used movie/game store. *sigh* I prefer to find great gifts that will be a surprise.

BUT...............

I'M DONE WITH MY CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!!! I'm so excited!!

Now all I have to do is wrap it all! Luckily Bob apparently got my "wrapping gene" and volunteered to do all my wrapping (she can't wrap her siblings presents though). Unluckily, she got overwhelmed (My sister has 5 kids and we got them a bunch of little gifts) and apparantly bored, and now there's wrapping mess in the family room, and a ton more presents to wrap.

Well, better go. I'm being naughty and extended my bedtime curfew. Gotta run upstairs!

Finally got Christmas pictures and post them tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Porn

Just found nasty porn pics on the printer. Apparently the printer wasn't working right when Bear printed them so they printed out later, where luckily Hubby found them instead of one of the other kids.

Went on the kids' computer and discovered Bear's joined many porn sites, is communicating with birth family and found his way around the security program we'd installed (to prevent them viewing porn and other inappropriate sites).

So I went online and changed all of his passwords (he'd given them to me years ago and apparently never bothered to change them) for his e-mails, Facebook, Myspace, and the porn sites. I'm sure I didn't get them all, but he's going to be one ticked off kid when he figures it out. Of course none of them are supposed to exist, so technically he can't complain.

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Hubby decided to confront him on all of this instead of letting him figure it out. *sigh* I wasn't there when they talked, but as usual Hubby asked him to admit what he did (which of course Bear didn't couldn't do). Then Hubby told him what we know. Which of course Bear denied, and said was a mistake, and said he didn't know... and generally... lied... big shock. Hubby is pretty much incapable of consequencing Bear for anything unless: Bear confesses, he caught Bear red handed or he has incontrovertible proof (and even then, if Bear still blatantly denies it, Hubby tries to convince Bear it would be better for him if he admited the truth, which of course doesn't happen).

Still, the end result is the same. Bear thinks he "got away with it," because he argued his way around it" (and therefore will be very angry at the consequences) and Hubby is mad at Bear but won't do anything because he doesn't have "proof," and I do the actual consequencing which makes Bear mad at me. The news this time is that Hubby knew I'd already invoked the consequences before he confronted Bear (so it was too late for Hubby to say I shouldn't), and sweet Hubby told Bear that it was Hubby's idea. Often Bear knows it was all my idea anyway, but this time he may not.

So no FAIR Club type consequencing. Bear will most likely just have to start all over if he wants e-mail, Facebook, or porn accounts. Presumably he'll use different passwords. I left his accounts open for most so he'll have to use different names.

+++++++++++++++++++++

Did I mention that both girls have Facebook accounts too? Kitty had just gotten hers. I discovered this by going on birthmom's Facebook account and on her wall she'd mentioned that now all of her children have Facebook accounts. Bear had "friended" Kitty so I was able to access her account. She had the name of her high school with graduation date on there too. (Bob has that, plus her hometown on there).

Here's the reasons I gave Kitty for why it was a bad idea for her to have a Facebook account:

  1. By friending Bear - EVERYone who is his friend has access to her account.
  2. Biofamily now know where she lives and what school she goes to (Bear does not keep this secret, and even if he did, their friends don't).
  3. By refusing to "friend" biofamily that doesn't mean they won't be able to read your page.
  4. She's put pictures on there so everyone knows what she looks like now.
  5. You can't control what your friends write. They can give out even more personal details of your life.
  6. What others write can be totally inappropriate. Biomom has a conversation about incest in the family on her wall. The picture of one of Bear's "uncles" is of his girlfriend and practically porn.
  7. Even I now know almost every detail of Kitty's relationship ups and downs with her ex- boyfriend.

Kitty gave me her passwords and allowed me to close her account. I talked to Bob about it, but while she knows I don't approve, I don't have the same reasons for asking her to close the account and she has chosen not to. I don't feel I have the right to ask it of her. What do you think? Should kids have Facebook accounts?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Too Many Titles!


When you haven't blogged in a week (OK, I know I didn't even make it that long!), you start realizing how many blog posts you mentally write in your head. My favorite part is the titles so I'm just going to list a few of the alternatives you might have gotten if I had more time to write. As it is I'm just going to have to leave most of this to your imagination:

What a Sh!tty Week!
Lawsuits, IEPs and Poo Bunnies!
"Out, D@mn'd Spot! Out, I Say!... ?—Yet who would have thought the old man young girl to have had so much blood in him poo in her?" (paraphrased a bit).

Basically it's been a crazy week and I thought once I got through yesterday that was going to be the worst of it.

Exerpts from Yesterday's schedule:



  • Get yelled at by Bear for no reason.

  • Christmas shopping on ebay

  • Kitty's ARD/IEP meeting - everyone wants her in mainstream classes with inclusion - and since she's "bored" in all her Applied Classes, and so “quiet and hard working” at school that I should put her in there... but she comes home and walks in circles talking to herself in the backyard for hours and has screaming meltdowns over every tiny little thing. We’ve removed all the stress we possibly can at home, just so she can save her energy for dealing with all the stress and drama at school.

I spent 2 hours today fighting to keep her in the special ed classrooms because she appears perfectly normal at school. I tell them she often vomits before school from the stress and calls me from the nurses office almost every day with a headache, stomach ache or some other random illness, but “She’s probably just bored.” “We can’t write accommodations for something that “might” happen.” Why can’t they understand that my kids are doing well in the special classes so they should STAY there. Every time they put them in regular ed, my kids fall apart….


I actually had my Kitty's case manager tell me, “Oh, I talked to the other teachers and we never see her exhibiting the behaviors on the BIP (behavior intervention plan) so we ignore it.” ?!! It’s there for a reason, and I have a note from the school nurse saying she made 16 visits to the nurse in the last 16 weeks – which is pretty much the only behavior mentioned on the plan. Just because it wasn’t happening in this teacher’s classroom (because my daughter knows she wouldn’t tolerate it and it was the last class of the day), doesn’t mean the whole thing should be ignored. Luckily the teacher who's class she leaves the most was in the ARD. But the point was that she was using it for stress relief, not misbehaving, and I couldn't get anyone to see that!


So I let them put inclusion on the schedule for next year, but demanded an end of the year ARD to set the schedule. They're supposed to actually start giving her homework to see how she does (were actually supposed to be doing that this semester, but didn't). If she/we survive next semester then "we'll see" (but probably not!).



  • Lawsuit - 2.5 hours, most of which was sitting waiting for our turn. We lost (knew we would), but that's why we didn't bother hiring a lawyer (although we paid for some legal advice). Now it's just a matter of them having to figure out how to get blood out of a stone, but that was the problem to begin with, now they just added lawyer's fees on top of it.

  • Ponito's playdate - called me up an hour after school was out to tell me he had a friend over and was that OK? I asked him if he'd done his chores and he lied and said yes, but the friend was already there and I wasn't so there wasn't anything I could do about it then.

  • Meeting with Bear's Casemanager - The second I got home, all the older kids were walking in too, and the casemanager pulled in the driveway behind me. The front room was covered in Christmas crud and clutter so I had to bring her further into the house. Bear of course was sullen and didn't want to talk - which since this was supposed to be about how he'd been doing the last 90 days, wasn't very helpful. Of course everything over the last 90 days was in the past so Bear doesn't remember a bit of it, and said "Fine" to every question. So I got to be the witch again and say things like, "Umm... lying is NOT 'Not at All,' remember the big incident at school, involving the police, where you lied to everyone at least twice about what happened and still might go to jail?!" [FORESHADOWING: I remember thinking, "Arrgh! I wish the entry and this whole area were clean!!"]

  • Made a really nice dinner - using leftovers from probably too long ago (left over cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving, egg whites from making Christmas cookies - only used the yolks).

  • Worked on the curtains I started and promised a friend months ago.

Today's Unschedule:



  • Clean up the poo water from the overflowing toilet that Kitty didn't bother to tell me about until it was 3 inches deep in the bathroom and out the door into the hardwood floor entry, hall closet where tons of stuff is stored on the floor (and dumped because Bear uses it as a hiding spot when he "cleans off the stairs"), the bottom step of the stairs (carpeted) and the carpeted front room. Deal with her meltdown (OK, I admit I didn't really deal with this, I just yelled back at her, and told her she had to help and I didn't care that her shoes smelled like poo because she's not the one wringing poo water with her bare hands. She hid in her room for a few minutes then snuck out the front door to catch the bus. My hands and feet still smell like poo and like Lady MacBeth, I've washed them a dozen times in the last hour.) I got up all the water (and poo) and picked up all the trash and dust bunnies (one turned out to be a poo bunny - ewww!) and stuff that was swept up by the flowing water and left a tide mark. I'm going to have to leave everything unsanitized because I'm shaking from all the heavy lifting. (why I'm blogging instead of cleaning!) Kitty can clean it up when she gets home from school.

  • Pick up Kitty's prescription I've been working for weeks to get ordered

  • Drop by Bear's school to sign the paperwork I didn't have time to sign because I was mopping up.

  • Meet someone to give them some attachment books

  • Have lunch with Hubby since I'll be in the area

  • Was going to go to work, but waaay too much to do

  • Finish Cmas shopping

  • My therapist cancelled because she's ill. *sigh*

  • Cmas party with Hubby and we have to wear "Cowboy Dressy." Hubby has nothing to wear, but doesn't want me to spend even $2 on a thrift store shirt. I chose to get dressed this morning because I wouldn't have time to change, and luckily my shirt managed to stay clean, but had to change jeans.

  • Finish curtain project for friend (her little boy has been without curtains for 2 months and it's cold - I feel like pond scum!)

Yikes! It's after 10am and I've got too much to do! I miss you guys!!


Hugs!


Mary




Sunday, December 5, 2010

Merry Christmas to Hubby!


I've already cut back on how often I post here, and I've cut back some on the list-serves I read. I weed out the blogs I read on a semi-regular basis, but there are still waaay more than I can keep up with.

As an early Christmas present to Hubby, I have made a commitment to reduce the time I spend on the computer to almost nothing.

I'm going to stop looking at my Google Reader and list-serves, although I'll still respond to e-mails. This means I'm asking you guys, my friends, to let me know via e-mail or comments on here if there is anything major going on I should know about, but otherwise I'll see y'all next year.

If anything major happens here I will blog about it.

Friday, December 3, 2010

I'm still in shock!

Just found out on Friday that because we adopted a child (children actually) from the state of Nebraska where you are considered an adult when you turn 19 (versus when you turn 18 like in Texas), we are considered legally responsible for Bear and Kitty until they are 19, regardless of Texas state laws. We signed a contract stating this.


This means that if Bear moves out, even though he's 18, we are still expected to report him as a runaway. If he gets into trouble (steals and wrecks a car for example), we are still legally liable. If he moves in with his grandparents, they would have to assume legal guardianship of some sort if we don't want to be held legally liable.




It took me quite awhile to process this.



I assumed it would take Bear quite awhile to process it too, but I wanted to tell him ASAP. We told him in therapy today (Saturday).

When the therapy session was almost through and we were talking about how far Bear had come and how he was making progress in building trust and bonding to us as his family (but how he didn't like to talk about his feelings), I thought it was time to bring up the news.


"Bear, you know how a few weeks ago we were talking about how you have this belief that when you reach legal age you have to move out, and when you thought that legal age was 17 you started separating from us emotionally and pushing us away to get ready for moving out? Then you found out the legal age was 18 and you decided to stay. We started talking about insurance and what would happen to your Medicaid when you moved out at 18 so I contacted Nebraska to ask them how that would work.


Yesterday I got a call and was told that because you were adopted from Nebraska, your legal age is 19, even though you live in Texas. You are a special because you are a Nebraska kid. We wanted you to stay anyway because we love you, and we made a commitment to you forever, but we also made a legal contract with the state of Nebraska that you would stay with us until you turn 19.


Now you have an "excuse" to finish high school here with us. You can tell that part of you that has been telling you that you have to leave at 18 that you have another year."


{Later, Hubby said he wondered why I was taking so long to work up to telling Bear, but I explained that I wanted Bear to see this as "his idea." If Bear feels you're telling him he has to do something, or he can't do something then he will fight you to do the death, but if I could present this in a non-confrontational way then he might be more accepting and want to make it work.}


Then I got my second shock. Bear was totally blase about it (so maybe my way of telling him worked), and started talking about how now he could play football for his high school and because he would be on the team they would win next year.


So... we have our son for another year and a half.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Out Crazy the Crazy Contest




Ponito and the sticky weeds. These have nothing to do with the contest, I just thought they were entertaining.
Peace in Puzzles has a fun contest going on over at her blog. Check it out and enter. I won the last contest (Out Crazy the Crazy), but only because there was only one other entry (which I thought was pretty good!)

The Next Contest: MY RAD DOES CRAZY THINGS You should enter!


Many of you reported that you haven't done crazy things to make a point for your RADs. Which I'm certain isn't true, you are probably doing all kinds of wild and wonderful things to teach your children. But this time, I want to know what wild and wonderful things your RADS have done to make you go crazy.

Rules:
1. deadline for entries is midnight 12-6-10, EST
2. your child's tale can not include anything that required interventions from police, emergency rooms or hospitalizations - in the interest of respecting our children (though they are loathe to respect us) let's keep it "clean"
3. comments are open to anonymous
4. in Comments tell us YOUR craziest my-RAD-does-crazy-things story
5. if you choose to tell your story on your blog, please link this post on your blog using this url: http://peaceinpuzzles.blogspot.com/2010/12/winner-next-contest-and-resignation.html
Then put your story link in Comments
6. Stories will be linked or reposted on this blog for the purpose of voting
7. voting is open to all readers, voting ends midnight 12-8-10, EST.
8. Winner will receive a quilted set of four Christmas coasters!

I will make the coasters tonight and post the pictures so you can see what you might win. They will be the same as before only a different color scheme.
I can't win again, but I think I'll participate anyway. My kids do a lot that makes me crazy, but not much that's very entertaining and/or involve interventions. Hmmm....

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Recipes

(Picture I took off the internet - we didn't have raisins in ours)

Butternut Squash and Apple Casserole

• 1 small butternut squash, about 2 pounds
• 2 apples, cored, peeled, sliced
• 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
• 1/4 cup cold butter
• 1 tablespoon flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1 cup raisins (optional)



Poke squash all over with a fork. Slice the top and bottom off the squash. Stick the squash in the microwave for 3 1/2 minutes (can go a little longer if you want). Let it cool slightly then peel off the skin with a vegetable peeler! Cut it open and scoop out the seeds. Cube into about 1/2" cubes. Cube the apples the same size.

Place squash and apple slices in oblong baking dish (7x11-inch). Blend remaining ingredients with fork or pastry cutter until crumbly.
Distribute over squash and apple.
Cover and bake butternut squash casserole at 350° for about 45 to 50 minutes.
 Can be cooked in the microwave as well - Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Stir, moving the squash in the middle to the outside. Cook for another 10 minutes or until done.
Butternut squash recipe serves 6 to 8.

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Hubby's Rolls (aka Basic Rolls from the New York Times Cook book)

2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
2 pkgs (2 TBS) yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
5-6 cups sifted flour
Melted butter



1. Bring the milk to a boil. Add butter, sugar and salt and cool to lukewarm.
2. Soften yeast in the lukewarm water and add to milk mixture.
3. Add about 1/2 the flour, mix and beat well. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
4. Turn out on a floured board, let rest 10 minutes and then knead until smooth, about 10 minutes.
5. Place dough in a greased bowl, grease surface, cover and let rise in a warm place (80 to 85F) until doubled in bulk.
6. Turn dough out on a floured board and knead lightly until surface is smooth. Roll dough to approximately 1/2 inch thickness and cut into 2-3 inch long strips. Stack one cut strip on top of another one, and then cut into 2-3 inch squares. Place resulting doubled thickness roll onto greased square cake pan about 1 inch apart. Brush tops with melted butter, cover with a towel and let rise until doubled in bulk, 30 to 40 minutes.
7. About 10 minutes before rolls have risen preheat oven to 375F.
8. Brush rolls with additional melted butter, milk or egg diluted with a TBS of water and bake 15 to 20 minutes or until brown (Hubby usually just sprays with butter flavored Pam).



Maple Pecan Tart with Dried Cherries
aka Way Better than Pecan Pie

This pecan tart gets added tang from dried cherries. Instead of corn syrup, which is found in most pecan pie recipes, we’ve opted for maple syrup. If you can find it, choose dark amber or grade B, because it has the richest maple flavor. The crust, made with heart-healthy pecans and canola oil, couldn’t be easier to whip together. Just blend it in the food processor and pat it into your tart pan.

CRUST:
1 large egg yolk (2 TBS Eggbeaters)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup pecan halves
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose (whole wheat) flour

2 large eggs
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons dark rum (optional)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups pecan halves, divided
1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped

Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously coat a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom with cooking spray.
Combine egg yolk, 2 tablespoons melted butter, oil and water in a small bowl. Process 1/2 cup pecans and sugar in a food processor (or blender) to the consistency of coarse meal. Add flour and pulse until combined. Drizzle the yolk mixture through the feed tube while pulsing and pulse just until the mixture is combined.
Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan, pressing it firmly into the bottom and all the way up the sides to form a crust. Place on a baking sheet. Bake until dry and just beginning to brown on the edges, 12 to 14 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk eggs, maple syrup, brown sugar, rum (if using), the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Transfer 1/4 cup of the mixture to a small bowl. Chop 1/2 cup pecans and add to the medium bowl. Stir in cherries. Mix the remaining 1 cup pecans with the reserved maple mixture.
Remove the tart crust from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°.
If there are any cracks in the crust, sprinkle with a little flour and use a dry pastry brush to “seal” the flour into the cracks. Evenly spread the filling in the crust. Arrange the maple syrup-coated pecans decoratively on top and drizzle with any remaining maple mixture.
Bake the tart until it no longer jiggles in the center when gently shaken, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan (use a butter knife to gently loosen the tart from the pan sides if it sticks in spots). Let cool completely, about 40 minutes more.

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Serve at room temperature. | Equipment: 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom

Friday, November 26, 2010

30 days of truth

I found this on someone else's site, and she didn't know where it came from. I'm not planning on doing it day by day, but I will probably make a stab at it. I have a feeling that with some alterations it's going to end up as a FAIR Club assignment.

The list:
Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.
Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living for.
Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.
Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10 → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12 → Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13 → A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)
Day 14 → A hero that has let you down. (letter)
Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Day 18 → Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19 → What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20 → Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 21 → (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24 → Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25 → The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26 → Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27 → What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28 → What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself

My answers:


Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself.

I'm a procrastinator... big time. It's probably because I'm a little depressed, but I really want to get up off my bootie and off my computer. (I actually started this post weeks ago!)
Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.

I'm generous.

Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.

Procrastinating doing things for and with my kids.

Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.

Most of the time I'm OK with it, but I still can't fully forgive my dad for not being what I needed him to be when I was a child. It makes having a trusting relationship with God and men very difficult for me.

Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.

There's that bucket list again. Hmm... I always wanted to go to Paris.

Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.

Attend the funeral of a child.

Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living for.

Hubby

Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like sh*t.

Bear

Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.

Pretty much every friend I've ever had.

Day 10 → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.

Tough one. I'll go with an easy one. Loud Lady (the annoying Special Ed lady who is always saying Bear's behavior is "just typical teenage boy" and preventing access to services.)

Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.

My writing skills. Actually it's probably my cooking, but only because this is the easiest way for me to teach the kids to speak my love language so I make them.

Day 12 -> Something you never get compliments on.

House cleaning


Day 13 → A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)

Dear Martina McBride,


Thank you, thank you, thank you for your song, Anyway. I sing it often when I feel discouraged and unappreciated when working with my tweens and teens.


Thanks,

Mary


Day 14 → A hero that has let you down. (letter)


My Daddy was my hero when I was a little girl. As I got older I started seeing his flaws and humanity. We did not share the same love languages.

Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.

CHOCOLATE and my COMPUTER

Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.

Debt collectors


Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.

A Case For Christ - I'd already started to investigate no longer being an atheist, but this book answered a lot of my questions and solidified my decision to become a Christian again.


Day 18 → Your views on gay marriage.


I believe marriage is a good idea, especially before having kids. I don't know how single parents do it.

Day 19 → What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?

I'm not interested in politics. I'm the ultimate apathetic American, but at least I don't complain about the problems. I feel a little guilty about it. If I voted I'd be a liberal tree hugger. I'd probably always vote for any women option - I think women are 50% of the population so should be represented in politics as such.


Day 20 → Your views on drugs and alcohol.

I do have an occasional drink, but I wish it were possible to get rid of all illegal drugs, and I'd be happy to stop drinking if we could get rid of alcohol completely too.

Day 21 → (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?

Rush to the hospital immediately, and see what I can do to help.

Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.

There are a lot of things I wish I hadn't done, but not many I'm willing to put on the internet.

Day 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life.

I wish I'd been a bit braver, and done some things I was too afraid/ wimpy to do.

Day 24 → Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)


I can only Imagine, Anyway, My Father's House, Christmas Shoes... these are some of my favorite songs, and I love sharing them.


Day 25 → The reason you believe you’re still alive today.


Because my mom loved me and selflessly took care of me.

Day 26 → Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?


I had suicidal impulses as a teen. That was when my bipolar disorder first started showing. I was pretty miserable.


Day 27 → What’s the best thing going for you right now?

Hubby is the best thing that ever happened to me.

Day 28 → What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Honestly it would be a miracle because I had a tubal ligation, but I would be ecstatic. I love babies.
Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
I want to get more sleep. It makes me cranky and I don't get as much out of life.

Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself
Dear Me,
I am a warm, generous person who has so many people who love me, even though I don't always think I deserve it. I would be on Santa's nice list. I'm smart. I'm pretty, and by golly, people like me! My kids love me too, and it's because of me that they're able to do that.
Thanks, hugs and prayers,
Me

RAD child

This is the post of a child with RAD describing the wall around her heart that protects her from being hurt. It is how I think Bear feels. It's a pretty amazing post.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I think I may explode!



This year Thanksgiving was only my family and Grandma and Poppy, but we apparently forgot to make less food!

A 20lb turkey
Stuffing
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Cranberry sauce
Homemade rolls (Hubby's specialty) - 3 batches
I made:
Wild rice
Butternut squash with apples (I've never made this before, but it was one of the best things I've ever tasted!)
Greenbean casserole
Pumpkin pie
Deepdish Apple Pie
Pecan Pie (using pecans from Grandma and Poppy's pecan tree)
Chocolate Pecan Pie

It was sooo good that I had to taste a little bit of everything (including all 4 pies!). Iwas so full I thought I was going to explode! Needless to say we have a few leftovers, but soooo good!

Crazy kids actually wanted dinner too! One really good thing about older kids is that they can somewhat fend for themselves. Dinner was most definitely S&G (this is what we call leftover nights - "Snatch and Grab" aka first come first served).

______________________________________

We almost had company for Thanksgiving. On Saturday, Grandma met a woman and her 7 year old daughter and small yap dog sitting in the back of an SUV in the grocery store parking lot, holding a sign that said, "Stranded, no money for gas. food or shelter. This young veteran had moved home from California to be with her mother. Then her mother kicked her out. She'd gone to Houston looking for a shelter, but all the shelters were full. So she'd driven to our city, but all of our shelters were full too.

Grandma offered this small family a place to spend the weekend and to help them the next day hook up with our church, which has a shelter program. The lady and her child were following Grandma's van to Grandma's house, but someone cut between them, and the lady lost track of Grandma and took a wrong turn. Grandma didn't realize it right away, and although she looked for them. She couldn't find them. She called all the local shelters and offered this woman a place to stay if she called in or turned up, but never heard anything back.

That's my mom for you. She's a rescuer. I love her so much!

I'm thankful for having my amazing mom in my life

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

larngry sope


I've talked about my children's issues with spelling before. Bear is a junior in high school. Kitty is a freshman. Both usually pass the Modified version of the Statewide Standardized testing and when they don't... nothing really happens.

We're usually told the kids are "working at grade level" so our concerns are "unfounded." We were told that this year, Bear "almost" passed the Language Art section so we shouldn't be too concerned. Apparently he bombed the writing portion, but did fine on reading which brought up his score enough to "almost pass."

Struggling to Stand had suggested awhile back that I get the children assessed by an occupational therapist. I couldn't get the school to acknowledge a need, but they did assess the children for a special software called Solo 6. The school will implement the program for both kids - mostly in English class. They've decided to use it with the whole class so my kids don't feel singled out and because the school feels it would benefit thier classmates too (both my kids are in special ed).

Recently we went to a brief orientation on the program and they gave us a copy to use at home. Basically it's an interesting program, but I don't see it helping us much at home since our kids refuse to write unless forced. Plus, part of what it does is read what they've written out loud and you can tell it to check for spelling and possible homonym errors. I asked if it checked for grammar errors, but was told no, since most grammar programs are "wrong 50% of the time anyway." Basically I don't see how it will help my kids because the words spelled are so different from the correct spelling sometimes.

I did ask if they could check the kids' hearing because I've occasionally wondered if they just weren't hearing the words correctly, but more likely it's just that they've never seen the word written down before. Bear consistantly uses Granmal when meaning to write Grandma.

Can you work out what the title of this post is? I'll give you a hint. I found Bear had written it on the grocery list.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hindsight


Yesterday in therapy I think we finally discovered what Bear's love language is. It is so difficult to get him to talk about his feelings that we didn't pick up on the signs, plus I think when we first got him, like most young children (which he really was, even though chronologically he was 13), he needed all of the love languages.


My new theory is his love language is Acts of Service.


The therapist asked Bear how he knew I loved him. Here's some of his answers (after being asked the same question several times.)


  • Because they haven't gotten rid of me.

  • Because they give me the stuff I need like a place to sleep, clothes and makes me food(meet his basic needs)

  • Because the other day when I sounded congested, I told Mom I didn't want to take more meds and she made me cookies. (Yes, allergy busting cookies).

Bear does like to do stuff to help others (speaking his love language?). He's always asking me what I'm making for dinner. I've always thought of it as being worried that he's not going to get his needs met. Now I'm wondering if it's his way of asking if I love him. Anyway, I'm going to try experimenting with this to see if this works.


On the brief description of of what Bear wanted from his parents. He wanted a mom who can cook and a dad who likes to do the same things he does and will spend time with him (Quality Time). Think he can have different love languages for different people?


Still haven't figured out what everyone else's language is either.

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On a related note, This weekend I signed up to make a ton of cookies (ended up with over 24 dozen). I used Pioneer Woman's Christmas Cookie recipe (aka Stained Glass sugar cookies). They turned out beautifully (will post pictures later). I brought some to give to the kids for lunch at Grandma's. The requirement to get a cookie? You had to tell me how pretty they were. Hey, I know how to get my needs met! (My love language is Words of Affirmation).

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Since we're talking about the cookies... I knew I wouldn't have time to bake all of the cookies (took 4 hours just to make the sugar cookies), so I had told Kitty that a consequence for her meltdown earlier in the day was to bake the chocolate chip cookies with Grandma and clean up afterwards. (The kids were spending the night at Grandma's).

Apparently Bear decided to do the cooking all by himself. I'd sent the dough to Grandma without the recipe, so the kids had asked her what temp they should be cooked at and she told them. Bear then put in the cookies for an HOUR! (he later told Grandma that was how long I usually put stuff in for) Luckily he checked them at 20 minutes, but of course they were already burned and smoking. He got so upset about Grandma telling him where he went wrong, that he left the room and refused to come back.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bucket List?

This is not a bucket list, but I've recently been told I should see the movie. If you want to do this one, then just bold the things you've done.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (marching band counts LOL)

4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disney World
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo (only in my shower, and when no one else besides family was listening.)11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris (no but I really wish I had gotten to)13. Watched a lightning storm
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child (
two!)16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb (Ok, this is a goat, but that's all I had a picture of)
26. Gone skinny dipping (not showing a picture of this one!)
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (no, but I saw a bunch when I was there)
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise (won a cruise, but never got to go)
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors (this is me in front of the village church)35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language (I tried to learn Spanish, but failed miserably)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing (see #47. I love climbing rocks and spent almost my whole trip to Europe sitting on the edge of cliffs. Made my poor uncle crazy.)40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant (tried, but he refused. We ended up hiring him as our sales guy!)44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted (this is me on the cliff edge. Not the best portrait of me Grandma has ever painted. Just the only one I have pictures of.)48. Gone deep sea fishing
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling (technically I tried snorkeling, but couldn’t get the hang of it. Pretty ironic for the wife of a scuba instructor).
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie (no, but I was in a commercial)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia (no, but I almost feel like I have after reading Creating My Own Little Nirvana)
60. Served at a soup kitchen (I served at a community center with a large homeless population) and of course we have “Soup Kitchen” as a form of discipline at our house)61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (enough to go to camp 3 times, but I didn't get to go)62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy (I still have my Purple Piggy from when I was 3. That's my Madame Alexander doll on the rocking chair wearing clothes I made for her when I was a kid. I still have a little lamb toy as well. )
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job (no, but I’ve been encouraged to quit)
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London (saw them, but didn’t see them change)
77. Broken a bone
78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book (no, but I've helped edit several)81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper (only if school newspapers count) 85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox (and shingles twice)
89. Saved someone’s life (I’m assuming adopting my oldest son counts)

90. Sat on a jury (sooo close, but my case got settled out of court before the trial started, but after I was chosen)
91. Met someone famous92. Joined a book club
93. Got a tattoo (heck to the no, but I did watch Bear get two removed)

94. Had a baby (two - the picture is of Bob)
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Gambled in Las Vegas (no, but I lived there when I was 4)

Allergy Busting Cookies


My family have lots of trouble with allergies (if you don't have allergies, Texas will give them to you). We got to the point that Kitty, Bear, Hubby and I were taking Zyrt*c daily or we were miserable (I can always tell when Bear needs allergy meds because he spits way more than usual after making that lovely snorting, hocking up a loogie sound).

The problem is that not only is this expensive, but I was worried that it was triggering mania! (Recently discovered this can be an issue for people with bipolar). Wouldn't that be ironic if I'd made them worse by treating their allergies that were triggered by their move to Texas!

Anyway, someone told me that 1 TBS of local honey a week, can boost your immune system against allergies. So we tried it and it seems to be working! ...as long as I remember to give it to them. My next concern was with how to give it to them. Kitty especially doesn't do well with sweets (makes her super hyper), plus if I'm going to give her all that sugar then I want credit for being a nice mommy! The problem was how to give it to them without cooking it. I thought about smoothies, but usually we don't have enough ingredients on hand, plus there's alway someone who says... EEEEWWWW!!!!

Here's my no-bake, yummy, don't tell them they're good for them, allergy bustin', extra fiber for other issues.... cookie recipe!

Ingredients (these are all approximations. I tend to dump in whatever I have on hand without measuring):

6 cups rolled oats (I prefer Bob's Red Mill 5 grain Rolled Cereal - I use the whole bag)
1/2 cup protein powder (I use powdered milk or even powdered formula - or leave it out)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
1/2 - 1 package of semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional - but really? Chocolate and peanut butter? How could you not?)
1/2 cup Local honey
1 - 1 1/2 cups peanut butter (I use the natural butter that the kids won't eat on their sandwiches - I usually use creamy, but have had good results with crunchy too)
1 cup raisins (or dried cranberries, or dried fruits, or leave it out)

Anything else that sounds good (seeds, chopped nuts, dried fruits, coconut, cinnamon, vanilla...)

Directions - thoroughly mix. Might want to mix the other ingredients together thoroughly before adding the peanut butter and honey. Makes it easier to mix. This is when I REALLY LOVE my KitchenAide mixer.
Then you roll the dough into balls in your hands. I suggest a little smaller than a golf ball (but it takes longer to make them - cause then you have to make more!). Messy, but not too messy. You can squash the balls into cookie shapes, but I think balls are more fun.
If it's too dry and the ingredients don't stick together, add more honey or peanut butter. It's it's too wet, you can roll it in something (like coconut, cocoa, sprinkles, confectioners' sugar, and/or graham cracker crumbs), but I find it dries out a little so it's OK if they're a little sticky to start with.
I lay out a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper to let the balls "air dry," but they can be eaten immediately. I think they'd be fine for days without covering, but I'm not sure since ours never last more than 3 days.
I tell the kids they can have 2 at a time - no more than 4 a day. With all the sneaking, I figure they eat more like 6 a day and thus get all the local honey they need!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Warm Fuzzies



Last therapy session, I told Bear he had to bring his journal where he'd been writing his "check ups." Check up was supposed to be writing down a feeling he had felt that day and writing down whom he'd asked for help and the results, then talking to a parent about it, but Bear hadn't been doing that. He'd written down his feelings, but not the rest and he hadn't talked to us about it at all.




He took his journal to therapy and read the one sentence he'd written per day about his feelings. It was mostly about a girl, but that wasn't the point. He talked about his feelings and I suddenly felt more sympathetic toward him. In a way I haven't in a long time. We've told him over and over that talking about what goes on in his head is the only way for us to know if he's making any progress. If he wants us to make any changes he has to prove he is making changes.




These warm fuzzy feelings lasted through him asking to go to a party at the house of an 8th grade girl he claims he doesn't like (and told me he cried last time he was at her house helping her dad with yard work. She's the unofficial photographer of the Horseman school team he is on), and pouting/ brooding when he was told no.




They didn't last through him closing back up for the rest of the week.




I plan to point this out in therapy tomorrow.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Blogging is abusive?


Kids and cousins wrestling in Grandma's yard.

So many fellow mommy bloggers with special needs kids have stopped blogging. Sometimes just for a short time and sometimes forever. Quite a few have gone private. Many of these moms have stopped because they are being persecuted and threatened.

Recently an amazing mom raising adopted horrifically abused special needs kids, had child protective services remove 3 of her children and came back with vans for the rest on Veterans Day (when everyone she could appeal to was closed for the holiday)! Her crime? Blogging. Seriously.

The reason they were removed, get ready for this, I have used poor judgement by blogging so the kids are in immediate danger. Seriously. I’m dangerous because I was blogging, have since shut it down, signed an affidavit that I wouldn’t do it anymore, and another to say I won’t video tape my kids. I couldn’t make this stuff up. Our other children are now also at risk for removal because of this.


Two amazing moms had to fight off cyber bullys who threatened their family. This group managed to find out the moms' personal info which they broadcast over the internet with lots of lies, and threatened to make false reports of child abuse. The group's goal was to have their daughter removed and put back in foster care.

Most of us use pseudonyms for our children, eliminate any identifying information, some don't include photos of our family, and some bloggers only post what their children give them permission to share. So many good parents are worried that someone will take the extremes that we sometimes have to go to in order to parent our extreme children and use it against us or our children.

Why do I blog? I've posted why I blog before. Basically it's a chance to:
  • Vent without overwhelming my IRL (in real life) support group, and do it when I have time (you know, 2am or 2pm). Most of my friends are working and super busy so I'm limited in who I can talk to and when.
  • Track - reminder of where we've been and how far we've come. Sometimes I'm just as guilty as Bear of forgetting the past, and if we forget the past, we're doomed to repeat it - or at least have it negatively affect our future.
  • Support - a way to find and connect with other people who "get it," and keep connected to those who aren't nearby.
  • Advice - getting advice from people who "get it" and have BTDT - been there and done that, and a chance to get new perspectives from others who maybe don't.
  • Share - Keeping friends and family posted about what's going on in our lives without having to write a million e-mails, sitting on the phone for hours, or send out a ton of pictures. Also don't have to worry about the kids overhearing.
  • Helping - I like helping others and I hope that my blog and experiences do that.
  • Verbal Affirmation - My love language! I don't get a lot of praise or reassurance IRL, in fact it's quite the opposite with my kids.
Reasons to stop blogging:
  • I spend a lot of time on the internet, reading blogs, forums and list serves. Time I could be spending with my family, sleeping, or doing things for my family, work or myself.
  • Bear is using it as an excuse to not talk to me because I'll "put it on my blog and share it with our neighbor and people in Africa." (of course I'd share it with our neighbor anyway if she had time to listen).
  • Maybe I'm putting too much into the blog and not real life.
So for now I think I'll cut back on some of my other internet activities and keep blogging.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

No news is good news


Thursday was Bear's IEP / ARD meeting. He said repeatedly that he wasn't going. I knew to just ignore it. When it came time he either would or wouldn't go, and if a big deal wasn't made of it then he probably would not go. Turned out his class was taking a test, so they had him there for just the transition portion.



The transition portion (what Bear plans to do when he graduates) was a waste of time. Basically Bear said he planned to live on his own and work as either an underwater welder (not an option) or a high school ag/shop teacher.



After Bear left I asked the team if they honestly believe Bear could make it though 2 years of junior college and 4 years of college. Those that spoke at all said of course he caaan. The better they knew him, the quieter they were. I pursued the question for quite awhile before I finally got someone to acknowledge the fact that he has to be motivated to do this and willing to ask for help. So in other words, probably not going to happen. I was hoping we could brainstorm some ideas for things he can do that he might enjoy, but we moved on.



It was decided that Bear will continue going to the special school through lunch time and continue with 2 classes at the regular high school in the afternoon. They're going to try to get him in a special reading class since he failed the Language Arts statewide assessment test. Technically it should be writing since that was the part he did the worst on, but that wasn't an option. There was a software accommodation that I had talked to the Occupational therapist about that it was my understanding was supposed to be in place, but no one had done it. That will be looked into.



One thing we talked about was cheating. We have some proof that he was doing it (from the person who he was with when he was supposedly hiding in the woods). Hubby brought this up and the regular ed teacher on the team mentioned a couple of times she'd confronted him with cheating in her class. She seemed to think that since he grinned and acknowledged he was busted that this meant something. We pointed out that there were no consequences and she also realized that he still hadn't turned in the assignment. I think she might be getting a clue.



The teachers said he couldn't really be cheating often because there are only 6-8 kids in his class and they would notice if the assignments matched. It wasn't until Hubby and I were processing later that I realized Bear goes to two different schools. If he takes a class at the public high school then he could get the assignment from a kid in the special school, and vice versa. Plus, he's pretty manipulative, I wouldn't be surprised if he weren't talking people into doing his work for him. He's still using the same books and following the same curriculum as the regular ed kids, just not going into as much detail. He could easily copy their answers on things that match.



All in all it wasn't the best or worst ARD ever.



Afterward we talked to the AP(Assistant Principal) about what was going on with the possible Class B misdemeanor. He said he'd talked to the deputy and even the deputy didn't know what was going to happen. If they decided to press charges then Bear would be picked up from the high school and kept overnight and go in front of a judge in the morning - at which point they would give him a court date, probably 3 months away. Then at that court date it would be decided what his consequences would be ($500-1500 in fines, 0-90 days in jail, and/or possibly community service). Bear wasn't picked up on Friday so the odds are good he won't be charged.

Honestly have no idea if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

It's good in that it won't go on his permanant record. He probably wouldn't have learned anything from it anyway. We don't have to worry about how Kitty would handle it. No having to worry about what would happen with school (what does happen?).

It's bad in that he learns he's going to get away with this kind of behavior without consequences. Yes, he got FAIR Club consequences, and one day of ISS, but he ignores those.