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!

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.


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.

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.


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


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.



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.


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,

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
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


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.


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).


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! 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.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


"So how long have you had this unhealthy aversion to drinking from the toilet..."

I don't know how I feel about this psychiatrist. Bear was in an extremely surly mood after being forced to sit in ISS all day (in school suspension). The pdoc asked how things were going, and of course Bear said, "Fine." Smart pdoc dug a little and asked how school was going.

At first Bear just said, "Boring," but the pdoc specifically asked about referrals so Bear mentioned the one he got for "sharing an apple." (Dropped it to another student from a second story balcony into a hallway full of people). I hintingly cleared my throat. Bear chose to ignore me. I suggested he might want to mention the current issue. Bear said it was irrelevant (not his word) and had nothing to do with meds. I suggested we leave it up to the pdoc, since it suggested a lack of impulse control that his meds can address. The pdoc wanted to know too so he could decide for himself. Bear refused to tell, but finally said I could if I had to.

The pdoc said it had nothing to do with impulse control (which is BS! The initial event was obviously impulsive and all the rest happened to cover it up), and there were no meds he could recommend, then he promptly made a change to one of Bear's meds.

While he was entering stuff into the computer we all chatted a bit. The pdoc brought up the author Tobias Wolff who wrote his memoirs in This Boy's Life (later made into a movie with Leonardo DiCaprio as Wolff). More specifically the pdoc brought up the time when as a young teen Tobias Wolff and his friends would take the parking brake off parked cars at the top of big hills and watch the cars go crashing to the bottom of the hills, hitting other cars. Even Bear's caseworker protested the pdoc "giving Bear ideas," but the pdoc just said, "Bear already has ideas." Apparently his point was that this misguided, abused teen became an excellent writer, and that Bear had this capability.

The pdoc told another story with a good idea for mischief in it, but I don't remember what it was.

All Bear wanted to talk about was how he didn't want the school to help him get a job (they're talking about getting him life skills classes) and he didn't even want them to teach him anything. He wanted to drop out of school and get his GED. What he really wanted was to go back to the way things used to be (100-200 years ago!) so he wouldn't have to go to school and could hunt and fish in his "butt-flap" all day (Bear is part Native American).

I had to listen to Bear rant all the way home. It triggered my PTSD pretty badly.

Bear is refusing to go to the IEP (ARD) meeting today, because he's "already missed too much class (English)" and this is a hard class for him. We'll see if he shows up. I've found if you just ignore his protests he tends to go anyway. He's defiant, but not that defiant most of the time.

This should be an interesting ARD. We're supposed to be talking about:
  • Bear's transition to life after high school (what he's going to be when he grows up)

  • Bear's IEP - including one for Behavior

  • His placement for the next semester (does he continue at the special school and for how much of the day?)

  • We plan to ask for a parent/teacher conference with his regular high school teachers to talk about how best to help Bear (not letting him leave the classroom without an escort, reporting when he doesn't return, tardies, manipulations, breaking projects into smaller components...).

I'll keep y'all posted.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Still don't know what's going to happen with the criminal charges against Bear (for writing a false deposition), but were told that if they decide to press charges there will be an arrest warrant and he will be taken into custody. Scary.

The school has given him ISS today (in school suspension). He'll stay at the special school all day today instead of going to the regular high school in the afternoon like he normally does. He doesn't get to go on a fieldtrip for which he'd earned points. He also loses all his accrued points and can't visit the school point store.

Tomorrow is his annual IEP meeting. Apparently before this the school had already decided that he didn't need to have any more out classes at the regular high school. It sounds like they were going to keep status quo (most of the day at the special school, and 2 classes every afternoon at the regular high school). No one is really sure what to recommend now, so my guess is it will stay the same.

I shared my biggest concern with the special school principal - that Bear might have lost his motivation to attend school and do well now that the Horseman team is done for the year. We should try to figure out another motivator for him. He wants a shop class, but it didn't work with his schedule this semester and he probably can't start mid-semester even if he does get more classes at the regular ed high school. The principal suggested next year, but I think that's too far away (Bear doesn't think that far ahead), plus Bear is still not planning on being here next year.

So now that we know what the school is doing, and I've had some time to think I've got Bear's FAIR Club assignment. Whew, he's going to hate me!

Writing Assignment: We want to help you develop trust so that you can live a happier, more productive life. To help you with this goal, you will be given a journal containing assignments to complete. If you appear to be working on your assignments, including your daily check-in, and asking for help, you will NOT be in the FAIR Club. Not being RRHAFTBALL, not working steadily on your chores and journal and of course getting into any more trouble will put you immediately in the FAIR Club.
Extra Chores: There will be no extra chores unless you go into the FAIR Club at which point chores will be assigned.

The journal includes: Check In sheets (which he'd been trying to do verbally, but will now have to do in writing since that wasn't working) and a bunch of handouts based on some articles I adapted from the website Handling Irrational Beliefs handout (7 pages of reading and questions including having to fill out 3 Changing Personal Beliefs pages; Building Trust handout (5 pages of reading and questions), multiple Self Affirmation Statement handouts. Activities: Self affirmation statement writing and posting of 3x5 cards with affirmation statements he comes up with, writing of 3 letters to people he doesn't trust, and a Trust walk with someone he wants to build trust with.

I modified these to his reading level as much as I could, but they are still way too long. Still, this isn't going to be easy and asking for help is a good thing. So we'll see. Need to try to think of a motivator too. Maybe a deadline. Hmmm.....

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Why Bear is in the FAIR Club

Kids "wrestling" in Grandma's yard. Hopefully Bear has no idea here that Ponito was hurt, but more than likely he was trying to comfort Ponito. Bear just doesn't get that he's so much bigger than the little guy, and Ponito just doesn't get that Bear doesn't have the greatest body awareness and Ponito's safety isn't his first priority. It's like a lion cub playing with a newborn kitten.

Reasons why Bear is in the FAIR Club:

  • He skipped class (walked out and never went back) - this is huge after last school year when he was tardy or skipped 3-4 classes a week. He was warned that unlike last year, there would be immediate consequences.

  • He missed his bus (this is the second time in less than 2 weeks) - he was warned that unlike last year there would be consequences.

  • He did not immediately call to say he'd "missed his bus." So I had no idea where he was or that he needed to be given a ride home (normally we drop everything and go get him).

  • He was unsupervised for almost 3 hours at school. Worse, he was unsupervised in shop where there is lots of equipment and things he's never been given safety lessons regarding. (We're assuming this is where all of his injuries came from). The school is freaking on the liability for this one.

  • I did not know where he was and I was very worried. There was no way to find out if he was hurt or in trouble.

  • He rode home in a car with a teenager I didn't know, who has been driving for an unknown period of time. This seems minor in comparison, but it is against family rules.

  • He was home unsupervised for 1/2 an hour or so. In the past he has used this as an opportunity to steal, including getting into medication (which he took to school - presumably to sell).

Most importantly:

He lied.

A lot.

He lied about what happened, where he was, and who he was with.

He apparently expected his friend to lie for him too.

He lied to the police officer.

He wrote a sworn statement that was a total crock of lies. This is the part that will get him a ticket - a Class B misdemeanor. Which means 0-90 days in jail and/or a $500-1500 fine.

Assuming that "A" really exists, he could have gotten A into real trouble with the police.

He lied to the school administrator.

He lied to the SRO (police officer assigned to the school). He told the police officer a LOT of lies. Not just about this event.

When confronted by us and his therapist, he lied some more. (Actually at this point this is part of his illness and I do not know that he even knows the real truth anymore).

Side note: He was told on Wednesday that his Horseman team would not be attending the final game of the year. For some reason the team had decided the week before that for homecoming and the rest of the football season they had to have black felt hats instead of the white ones they'd been wearing. I wasn't able to get him a hat for Homecoming and there wasn't a game the next week. All week I've been looking for an inexpensive hat, but couldn't find one. Thursday evening, after all this happened, Bear told Hubby he HAD to have this hat for school the next day. He'd said he had a friend that worked at a nearby boot store (that carries cowboy hats) who would get him a discount. Apparently that was a lie too.

Bear and Hubby left the house after the police officer left (after 8:30pm) so we had about 5 minutes to celebrateThe hat cost $70 instead of the $40 he'd claimed it would. Hubby bought him the hat. He wore it to school the next day. Hubby found out about the activity being cancelled and Bear knowing for 2 days and still asking for the hat. Since this was the last game of the season he wouldn't need it again. This was one immediate consequence. Bear had to put the hat in our bedroom along with his Zune. Don't know how long he loses them for, that's up to Hubby.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

What really happened

Friday, November 5th

From what the school could piece together, talking to D (the kid who witnessed the alleged fight and drove Bear home), Mr. P (the teacher Bear argued with), the teacher of his last class of the day, and viewing the camera focused on the entrance to the shop area and talking to the teachers seen on camera talking to Bear and D... the assistant principal (AP) believes we finally have a pretty accurate picture of what really happened on Thursday. He confronted Bear with this info and got yet another story. He confronted Bear with the facts again (which still conflicted with Bear's new story) and got a third story that was a little more plausible, but still not the whole truth. *sigh*

The SRO (police officer permanently assigned to the school) talked to Bear after Bear'd talked to the AP. He told Bear that if Bear would admit the truth, then he would try to lighten the negative consequences of Bear's false deposition. Now that Bear is legally an adult (you can be criminally prosecuted as an adult at age 17 here in TX), then he could serve jail time for this Class B misdemeanor (0 to 90 days jail time and/or $500-1500 in fines - since neither Bear nor we have any money this would most likely be jail time). Bear went back to the original story. I think he might have thought if he stuck with the original story then he couldn't be prosecuted for making a false statement. Either way, he's now in BIG trouble. (He also trotted out a lot of his old tall tales for this new SRO - "his hands are registered lethal weapons" being one of them).

It's up to the original officer whether or not Bear will be given a ticket. Honestly we think Bear needs to get the ticket, because he needs to understand there are consequences, but I don't know that it will do any good. He's been to juvie. He thinks he can handle it, but of course it's all bluff. He's terrified, but in total denial of that. I don't think he really believes this will really happen. He told us in the car after school on the way to therapy that he was going to, "Sign something on Monday that will close the case." He thinks he can "drop the charges" against the other boy and this will all go away. Of course the other half of this is that it is all MY fault. I'm the one that called the police.

In an emergency therapy session after school (the therapist had previously contacted Hubby and cancelled this week's session. When he got the e-mail regarding this, he rescheduled), we confronted Bear with the video documented proof that his story was a crock of poo.

The actual events:

Bear did get in an argument with Mr. P., but he went to class. Apparently he told the teacher that he was upset and asked to go talk to Mr. V. (the teacher let him go and apparently didn't tell anyone when he didn't return! - this will be addressed in the next IEP meeting). Mr. V wasn't at the shop building (he'd left campus to run errands).

This is the point where Bear's story stops resembling the truth.

The entrance to the shop building is on camera! Bear is first seen entering the shop building within minutes of having been released from class. He and D are then seen hanging out in front of the building and walking in and out (never gone from sight more than a few minutes) until the camera shuts off about 5pm. D verifies that he and Bear worked in the shop until about 5:30pm at which point D had to get home. So he gave Bear a ride home.

D says Bear was not assaulted. Bear did bave a conversation with a kid who wanted Bear to return his homework (Bear had apparently borrowed it to copy), which Bear refused to do, but the argument was verbal - not physical. Most of the marks on Bear can be explained by what might happen to someone who is working with moving a heavy metal smoker (caught on film) and other stuff that would typically happen to an uncoordinated kid unsupervised in a shop class (yes, we will be having major conversations with the school about this as well - they said the room should not have been unlocked after school).

Bear still denied everything!! Hubby tried to get him to admit his lie. I know this bugs Hubby in a big way, but this is sooo futile. Bear is unable to do this, and badgering him about it just causes him to dig in. I finally just stopped it and said we needed to focus on what Bear was going to do now. "Keep moving forward!" Bear basically said he was going to be good. *sigh*

His therapist finally helped Bear come up with a plan. Bear is supposed to talk to the SRO on Monday and tell him a story (the truth! ... but Bear can't admit that), that fits the video evidence*, and see if that will hopefully convince the SRO to put in a good word for Bear that will convince the original deputy to not give Bear a ticket.

*Originally the therapist said Bear should tell the deputy a story that matched our (Hubby's and mine) story. I immediately corrected him and said this was not "our" story this was the school and video evidence. Bear blames me enough for all this as it is. After all it's "my fault" that the police got involved in the first place.

Next post is on consequences. I have no idea what we should give Bear for consequences, but he definitely has to have some. Suggestions?!!


Our family on our first meeting 4 years ago.
Thursday was our 4 year anniversary of the kids moving in - so Bear decided to give me a little present.

Bob had arranged to stay after school and get some tutoring. When Kitty got home from school I realized Bear wasn't home yet (he usually arrives home about 4:40 - a few minutes before the girls). I waited a little while in case his bus got stuck in traffic then called Transportation. Bear hadn't gotten on the bus. He had been at school that afternoon though because Kitty had seen him. The school was closed so I had no way of asking what was going on there.

When Bob called to say she was ready to be picked up I asked her to look around for her brother a little. I watched the sides of the road as we drove to the school to see if he was walking. I was pretty worried, but not sure what to do. Hubby wasn't answering his phone.

It was a little after 6pm when Bear called my cell phone from the house. I picked up Bob and we headed home (it's a 15 minute drive). Bear told me he'd been attacked and was all bloody and shaky so he was getting in the shower. I told him I'd check him out when I got home and would be calling the police. He did not want me to do this as he didn't want to "rat" on anyone.

When I got home he was already dressed. He did show me all the marks except the one on his thigh (because I’m female, even though I mentioned he was wearing shorts so it’s not like I would see anything), but he showed that one to the police and I saw it then. I did not see the clothes he was wearing at the time of the "attack," bought found the shirt later. No blood, three tears in the back and shoulder, and very dirty on his back.

The following is Bear’s version of the events.

Thursday, November 4th:

Before Bear’s last class of the day, he was walking with a friend who had been told not to hang out with Bear, because Bear was a “bad influence.” Mr. P (a behavior program teacher that Bear has had major issues with for over a year) came up to Bear and told him he should be in class. Bear told Mr. P that class hadn’t started yet and that he didn’t want to talk to him. Mr. P told Bear to talk to him, and threatened to make Bear talk to him. Bear got upset and stormed away, the friend stayed and talked to Mr. P. Bear was upset so he went to talk to the only person in the whole school that he trusts enough to talk to, Mr. V (shop/ag teacher) out at the farm.

When Bear was close to the farm, but had not seen Mr. V. yet, a boy named A stepped out from the portables and began harassing Bear about an old girlfriend, J, whom Bear dated 2 years ago and hasn’t seen in over a year. The boy accused Bear of having done something to J recently, and apparently J is dating one of A’s friends. Bear tried to ignore A, but then A attacked him and hit him repeatedly. Bear didn’t want to engage (even though he "knew" that after A had hit him twice that he had a “right to fight back in self defense”), and blocked A’s punches and then ran away.

Bear has possible swelling on his right eye (hard to tell because of his acne), a red mark approximately 4 inches in diameter on his left shoulder and a smaller red mark (2-3 inches in diameter) on his upper right thigh that will probably become bruises. A chased him until Bear ran through a barbed wire fence to the ranch behind the school (he has slight scratches on his arms from the barbed wire).

A boy named D was in Autoshop and saw a lot of A’s attack of Bear.

A went to middle school. with him, and now attends another high school. Bear described A and his car with lots of detail. Bear brings up a tragedy from several years ago in which one of Bear's "friends" (we're not really sure if Bear even knew the kid) was killed as they were coming home from Marley’s birthday party, and claims A was one of the kids in the car.

Bear did not know why A was on the high school campus, but assumed it was to
visit a friend. Bear stayed in the woods for a long time (over 2 hours). He went near the road when the buses left, but A’s car was still in the parking lot so he didn’t go near the school. Eventually he started walking home. D (the boy who witnessed the fight) saw him and picked him up and drove him home.
So that’s Bear’s version of the events. He had quite awhile to think about them. Most of what he said was consistent, but there were a lot of time gaps. I e-mailed this version to both of Bear's schools and asked them to help verify or disprove it. The police had also requested information that I hoped they could help with. I did give the deputy the heads up that Bear's version might not be 100% accurate.

I also listed my major concerns:

  • that he says he didn’t trust anyone at the school enough to even go inside to call home (instead he ran away from the school buildings) – he also said he didn’t trust us/me enough to call us even if he’d had access to a phone.

  • this happened on school grounds when he should have been in class

  • that he’d had yet another run in with an adult that caused him to take off and skip class

  • that I wasn’t notified by anyone that he was missing (not from class or the bus)

  • that this boy or his friends might target Bear.

  • regardless of whether or not it actually happened the way Bear said or if he had a more active role, he was still obviously injured.

  • his last tetanus shot was apparently 7/06 so I’ll need to see if he needs a booster (the doctor said he doesn't).

The police officer required Bear to write out a statement (Bear hates writing and was very concerned about his spelling - Hubby told Bear that it didn't matter if he spelled attacked without a c, it still made sense.) We reiterated several times that Bear is now legally an adult and everything he wrote had better be accurate.

So we finally ate dinner, late, because I couldn't finish dinner while the deputy was there as I needed to be there to keep Bear focused and answer any questions. We all stood around the kitchen after dinner and drank sparkling grape juice from our wedding crystal champagne flutes (a family tradition) and ate bitter, flat chocolate yogurt cake with cherry pie filling poured on top (to mask the horridness of how it turned out *sigh*).

Happy 4 year anniversary!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Surrounded by Sickies

Silly Cousins

Tuesday Kitty threw up twice on the way to the school bus, but wanted to go anyway. Luckily Bob borrowed a cell phone and called me so I told Kitty to come home. It seemed like a cold, but she has been complaining of trouble with ear blockage and a little pain for over a year and I wanted to get it checked out yet again (we now have a referral for an ENT). Apparently she has congestion from allergies and a little virus - no fever. We treated the congestion and she went back to school the next day.

Wednesday I got a call from the school nurse office (Kitty goes daily so I wasn't surprised), but apparently I'd missed Kitty's call (my cell phone doesn't work well in the house), and this was Bob. She felt bad and wanted me to come pick her up. Similar symptoms, headache, sore throat, sniffles and a nasty cough.

Hubby has been complaining of a really itchy spot on his left shoulder blade going around to under his left pec. He assumed it was a reaction to the Niacin, but that didn't seem right. When he broke out in a rash under his pec we thought maybe it was allergic reaction. He is extremely sensitive to chemicals and when he teaches scuba in the pool he always breaks out in a rash, but this didn't quite match. We thought maybe he was allergic to a new laundry detergent.

Hubby sent me this e-mail.

Could this be shingles?

OH! Of course!

He went to the doctor, but the rash wasn't showing. The doctor said it was too early to tell for sure, but prescribed an anti-viral. He talked to Hubby about the leg pain. The doctor said it's too early to tell, but since Hubby has a family history of it, he will recommend some testing, including cholesterol. Of course he said Hubby needs to lose some weight, and work out on the treadmill. I think he reassured Hubby that he was not going to die (well, any time soon).

He is of course overly stressed, but I doubt there's anything I can do to fix that for him. Our life is just incredibly stressful, and he struggles to "accept the things he cannot change." (I admit it's hard for me too). He is of course depressed too, but we could never convince him to take meds, and he's too private to to to counseling (although he's been willing to speak in my counseling sessions).

Today - Ponito didn't feel well enough to go to school. It was pretty much a miraculous recovery once i told him he didn't have to go to school, but we took it easy all day... well into the fireworks started, but that's another post.

The good news is that's pretty much everybody. Bear rarely gets sick and neither do I (over 20 years working in child care), plus this is one of those mild viruses that we could fairly easily ignore. None of the rest of us are showing symptoms either.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Trick or Treat

In case I didn't mention it, I decided to let the kids go trick or treating after all. I had told the kids that I wasn't going to allow trick or treating this year, but at the last minute changed my mind. I'm really glad I did it this way too! We spent no money on costumes, I got to be a hero for letting them go, and they all were so happy to get to go at all that they didn't complain about the fact that we went as a family so I didn't have to worry about them getting into trouble with their friends.

I used to love costumes so I have tons of random stuff the kids got to pick through.

Ponito (11) wanted to go as a Native American (he really is part NA so it's not racist). I "painted" him with some liquid eye shadow I didn't like, to tan up his pale brown skin (you can see where we stopped under his vest)- even gave him some fake abs *grin* put an old suede vest of my mom on him. Had some braids that came off a cheap wig from years ago that we ponytailed into his short hair cut (which we slicked back so it looked darker and like the braids were his), tied on a broken shark tooth necklace I found in a drawer, had him put on his church khakis and belted on over his pants a faux suede loincloth made of a fabric scrap with a fringe cut into it. He went barefoot and shirtless (It's still in the 80s here in TX!).

Bob(14) tried on a bunch of my evening wear (WAAYYY too sexy on her curvy body and impossibly long legs!) and ended up in her own clothes (still too sexy, but covered more). We finally decided her costume was that she would be a contestant on America's Next Top Model. So I did her makeup and hair (which she hated because it took forever and she realized she could never really be a model because she couldn't sit still that long). She wore a pair of my 4 inch heels (don't know how she squeezed her foot in them), which made her over 6'3"! She looked gorgeous, but not too sexy. Did I mention I'm 5'7" in my bare feet?! My "baby" makes me feel tiny! I dressed as Taxi Mom. I wore my new Taxi costume hat (I found at Blue Hanger Goodwill and have been wearing a lot lately), my "mom" jeans, and carried my van keys.

Kitty (15) tried on all of my clothes too, but finally settled on a UT cheerleading costume. Not her first choice, but her boyfriend (almost 18!!) said he liked it. Yes, she just got a boyfriend who is a senior in high school - she's a freshman. I hate it, but figure if I say no, he becomes forbidden fruit. So I say yes, but she is ALWAYS completely chaperoned. He's met her at a football game (Hubby sat 5 rows away), gone to Sunday school with her, and now gone trick or treating with us. He's pretty quiet and very respectful. He tolerated Bear's teasing, and played chess with Ponito while he waited for us to get ready for Trick or Treating. He even let Bear put silver face makeup on him when I told him he couldn't go with us if he wasn't in costume.

Bear(17) wore his regular clothes (he's really into cowboy right now), but we decided to make him a "Zombie Cowboy." I painted his face and neck with one of my facial masks which is a pale green color. I was surprised he let me put it on him. I think that's the closest/longest he's let me touch him. Here he is searching for the brains of my close friend and neighbor (Sharon if you don't want your picture here let me know and I'll replace it).

Hubby stayed home and handed out Swedish fish from a huge sample case that was given to our company. The only thing that cost money was the pizza and $1 for the Redbox movie we watched when we got home from trick or treating (How to Train Your Dragon - very cute). We had a good time and I'm glad I changed my mind.

Take care of yourself first

I've been having trouble getting out of the house every day. I get dressed for work, then sit down and start checking my e-mail and Google reader. Next thing I know it's noon. I can do all my work from home except meet with clients and check in with our sales guy. Neither of which is necessary daily (we have maybe one client in a week and the sales guy is very independent), but Hubby wants me to go in daily and focus on a big sales push (which is so the opposite of what I want to do).

Today I was home all day with a whiny, kind of sick, but not really sick child (Kitty has allergies with a touch of a virus according to the doctor - no fever, but she threw up while walking to the school bus. She had to be ordered home after Bob "tattled" on her, because she really wanted to go to school).

Bear came home from school in his usual cranky mood and proceeded to flop down on the couch and start verbally poking everyone.

Then he got on the phone. After 20 minutes on the phone I told him it was time to get off (family rule is 10 minutes). He ignored me. The phone is on the wall in the kitchen and the kids usually sit on a stool at the bar 3 feet away to talk on it. No big deal, but anyone passing by has to lift the cord to get past or they get "clotheslined." I had to pass by several times as I started dinner. He complained that I was "trying to take his head off," because the cord rubbed on his neck every time I lifted it. I responded that he wasn't supposed to be on the phone anyway. I didn't say this a "sweetness and light" tone, but I didn't yell at him either. He muttered under his breath. I walked away.

10 minutes and 2 reminders later he was still on the phone, without his chores done. Finally he got off the phone and came into the room where most of us were sitting which was on his chore list to neaten today. He looked around and stated that everyone needed to pick up their stuff. I told him he could do it (everyone has to pick up other's stuff and wash other people's dishes...). So he huffed and puffed and muttered, and started tossing things at people - most of which didn't belong to them. Then he tried to leave. I called him back and pointed out what still needed to be done (including vacuuming - "I did that a few days ago." "Do it again."). I called him on the muttering. He growled. We both ended up speaking in "irritated" tones to each other.

I redirected him. Repeatedly. He got more and more irritated. I got more and more irritated. He barked at me. I fussed at him. He accused me of wanting him to be perfect. I told him I just wanted him to do a better job. He accused me of thinking he was stupid. I told him if he couldn't figure out what needed to be done then it was my job to tell him what to do. Finally he got it to the point where I could stand to look at it, and I ignored the rest.

Then he walked into the kitchen and asked me to make something special for dinner?!!!

I HATE THE WAY HE MAKES ME FEEL!! As Integrity Singer stated eloquently in a recent post, "THIS IS NOT ME!!" I am NOT this person. I don't want to be this kind of person. I hate that he can make me be this kind of person.

I want to be that happy, slightly manic person again. The one who loved to decorate and give advice. The one who sang when she was in the house alone (Ok, all the rest of the time too). The one who loved to bake and make Halloween costumes. My online friends even gave it a name - MTM Syndrome (MTM=Marythemom). When someone took on multiple projects and did too much they were described as having MTM Syndrome. Now I can't even get my big patootie off the couch to make dinner. I feel like I'm on simmer all the time.

Half an hour later Bear asked if he could have back some of the candy that he'd given me yesterday (he said he'd given me almost all of it). I semi-jokingly called him an "Indian Giver" (there needs to be a better name for this) and told him they were upstairs. He got offended by my "racial comment" and muttered something along the lines of, "if you're going to be like that, then I don't want them anyway," then stormed off to his room.

Hubby finally got home and took over. He got Bear back off the phone and eventually got Bear focused on getting his chores done. Bear tried to lie and say he was done with his chores (when he'd never even started most of them). When confronted by Hubby he was a little confrontational, but did them without too much argument.

At one point Bear threatened to leave again. I wouldn't chase him.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A scary weekend

Saturday night the kids went to Grandma's as usual (LOVE THAT!!), and Hubby and I had date night. Again as usual, this mostly consisted of watching movies and crashing. The kids wanted us to preview a PG-13 movie for them to watch on Halloween. (Under the Mountain - horrible, waaay too scary, and I think I'll still have nightmares for months.) Not exactly the best way to start a "date" with my husband.

After the movie we curled up under the covers and watched an action movie (Macgruder - which I mostly slept through so have no idea what it was about. Hubby said I wouldn't like it.) Then we talked. (Yes, I know. We're such party animals. Don't hate!). Late nights are good for confessions and talking about feelings, so Hubby talked about something that's been bothering him a lot.

He thinks he's going to die soon. Not in the melodramatic way the kids say it, but in the scary, "my dad died in his 50s" way (Hubby is 45). Hubby has been experiencing great leg pain when he tries to exercise (just like his dad who died of a heart attack before the cancer could kill him). Hubby has looked up his symptoms on line and is pretty sure he has peripheral artery disease, like his dad. PAD is supposed to be pretty treatable, but Hubby is very depressed about it.

Our horrible insurance is finally expiring at the end of the year (5 visits a year... for the WHOLE family and a $500 cap on medication... for the WHOLE family - luckily we were able to keep Bear and Kitty on Medicaid to pay for their visits and meds and the rest of us are pretty healthy (once I stopped taking meds for my mild bipolar symptoms and didn't have to see my doctor regularly any more). Still not sure what we're going to do, but it'll be cheaper and more effective than what we have.

So the question is, do I encourage him to see the doctor and chance that it will be seen as a "preexisting" or "disqualifying" condition or wait until January when he gets new individual insurance from an independent rep?

The main problem is Hubby has decided that since he is under so much stress, he doesn't have time to take care of himself. He can't really exercise (because of the whole - "collapsing from the pain after a minute on the treadmill" thing), and he eats horribly when he's not home because he can't seem to stop himself. Food at home is pretty healthy, but he eats a lot and goes back for cheese sandwiches and hotdogs. My step-dad has/had PAD and he took Niacin, which we have as one of Bear's supplements, so I encouraged Hubby to take it, but he HATES taking meds (which is kind of ironic since he pops Rolaids/Tums type things like candy), so I have a feeling it isn't going to happen.

Anyway, Hubby has been talking about what's going to happen to us when he dies!! (Like within the next two years!) He worries about our debts and our failing company. The fact that I don't have a job. What would happen if I quit working at our company and took a "real job." What will happen with our house and its mortgages (since we refinanced, he's pretty sure we no longer have death insurance - where they pay for the house if he dies - which he used to). All the credit card debt (we took on a lot when we bought the company). Etc.

All of this is added to the already huge stress he has on his shoulders from working full-time, helping out with our company, a lawsuit we're destined to lose, teaching scuba... and of course the kids and me.

He's been dealing with the stress of his health for awhile, and even mentioned it once before, but he went into more detail this weekend, and wanted to talk about plans for what would happen if he died soon. He said that was why he was trying to do more with the kids, especially Bear (who got to do a lot of stuff this weekend with the school team he is on - like go to another kid's house for pizza after the homecoming game and not getting home until after midnight - Hubby went with him).

So much stress, and it hasn't helped him that I'm mildly depressed and sitting home most days instead of trying to drum up business for our company.

Bless his heart.

(No really, not just a Southern saying... will you please pray for his heart?)

While you're at it, if you're the praying "type" will you please pray for my friend Caty? She has a bleeding disorder and was in a minor car accident last weekend. She seemed fine, but the pain wouldn't stop. They did CAT scans and MRIs and didn't see any bleeding, but she's still in pain, and that's not good. She went to the ER a couple of days ago and we don't know much else.