Thursday, September 29, 2011

Another Project Finished!

Scarf Held by Mr I

Close Up of Scarf

I finished my latest knitted and crocheted project the other day when I was laid up with the bad cold and a couple other little illnesses that I will spare the details.  I finally was able to be upright for more than a few minutes, go shopping, and do a little yard work today, though I did feel like I was going to pass out at the grocery store line for a minute there.  I told the kids I felt a little woozy.  Ms D offered to drive us home.  She's only 13 and her only experience driving was on the grandparent's farm once or twice.  I told her I didn't feel that bad!  We did make it home fine, though I did find myself driving too fast or two slow a couple of times.  I probably over did it, but there comes a point when there isn't anything fast in the house that the kids could make themselves.  There was no more bread, just a little more milk, no more Ramen, and no more eggs. Our chickens have been giving us two or three a day, but during my illness, the kids have made themselves more eggs than the chickens could produce. So anyway, a grocery store trip was needed.  Of course I crashed on the sofa as soon as the car was unloaded and the cold stuff put in the fridge and freezer.  But I got out! I was getting so bored.  If I didn't have a few short walks, I think I would have gone stir crazy.  It really makes me feel for those who are home bound, like the one man Black Belt Daughter visited in Honduras.  He is paralyzed, and can't get out of his house because the road to his hillside house is just a small path and a wheelchair won't make it through.

Oh, I really got off the main subject here!  I'll share a couple of pictures of the scarf.  It matches the hat I made for my mom.  I made it out of yarn that is an alpaca/wool/silk blend.  It should help keep her warm this winter in Alaska.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Discouraged, Yet I Will Praise You.

Tonight I'm pretty discouraged.

First of all, I came down with a nasty cold and my stomach is feeling yucky too, so I haven't been feeling well physically.  Of course, life goes on, and kids need to be fed, the house gets messier, and the kids tend to get a bit dysregulated when they notice that Mom isn't feeling well.  I guess it brings up some PTSD about their birth family to see Mom laying on the sofa. They're healing, but any hint of anxiety doesn't help when I'm sick.

There also was a leadership meeting for our church tonight.  I was supposed to go with Hubby and talk about how to reach out to the birth family.  I've been feeling a bit discouraged since about three weeks ago when Birthmom wanted to be dropped off early from church after someone asked her to be quiet while others were talking and praying.  She had been chatting with Ms D, and Ms D was laughing a bit loudly, and people couldn't hear over the chatter and giggles.  Anyway, Ms D was acting pretty strangely that night, very dysregulated, and who knows if she said something that offended Birthmom. She's been saying things that shouldn't be said because she gets so hyped up and the mouth starts running.  It's part of the FASD to be a bit clueless about social things. Ms D has said some pretty rude things to the birth family.  Some of the stuff she says when she is in a certain mood is pretty strange, but I guess I don't take it personally any more.  I'm glad that she doesn't swear like she used to! But the birth family doesn't understand that her brain short circuits. Different ones in the family have been offended these past few months. I've been asking Ms D the past couple of weeks  if she has been in contact with the birth family.  She hasn't.  There has been so much going on here, I haven't either.  It's seems weird to me that the birth family hasn't contacted Ms D.  I don't know what's going on, but to talk about outreach to a family that might be angry with us at a leadership meeting didn't look too appealing to me while I was sick.  I really didn't want to spread my discouragement to Hubby and the rest. So I didn't go.

Yes, I needed the rest.  And the people at the meeting probably wouldn't want me to share this cold and stomach rumbles with them.  But when Hubby came home I realized that I really missed out.  And I'm struggling with keeping a good attitude about it.  Hubby was very encouraged by our pastor who showed him how well things really have been going with the birth family.  God is up to something.  And later a lady gifted in the prophetic came to the meeting and told Hubby about meeting her birth family lately.  She hadn't been told about our situation and had come in after the discussion about our kids' birth family.  She told Hubby that she couldn't figure out why she was telling him her story until after he mentioned that we had adopted the kids and have recently been in contact with the birth family.  There were other things she said that were really encouraging to Hubby.  I'm so disappointed I missed hearing it.  I had been asking God for direction and encouragement lately, and feel like I missed God's provision by staying home.  I'm struggling with having right thinking.  It seems like it is easier to hear the Accuser right now. 

But then I went to my Facebook page.  And a friend had this on it:

 I can choose to dwell on what I don't have and what I missed out on, or I can choose to praise Him who has given me so much.  I really have so much to be thankful!  I'm thankful that I get to raise Ms D and Mr I.  I'm thankful that all my older kids know and love God.  I'm thankful that Jesus has made it possible for us to be with Him by His sacrifice.  I'm thankful that Hubby has a job.  I'm thankful that God speaks to me in so many different ways.  I'm thankful for my home.  I thank God for tissues to wipe my nose.  I'm thankful for Hubby's enthusiasm. I'm thankful for the beautiful flowers.

I'm going to bed now, It's almost 1:00 am.  But I'm not going to bed discouraged.  I'm going to bed thanking God for all He has given me.  I'm thankful for having enough food. I'm thankful for Facebook and friends who write things that encourage me.  I'm thankful for good neighbors. I thank God for giving me indoor plumbing and hot and cold water...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dentist Day!

Whoohoo!  It was Dentist Day! It's so fun! We get to finish school early, get a new toothbrush and maybe a toy from the treasure chest!  And we have nice clean teeth too!

Just kidding!

Dentist Day for us is a bit different.  It actually starts a few days before when the kids notice the appointment on the calendar or the reminder call comes from the receptionist.  When they realize that it's coming, they start to get anxious.  Ms D isn't as bad, but Mr I has all out anxiety.  He fusses.  He changes his mind when making simple decisions.  He can't concentrate on schoolwork.  It's pretty tough and we haven't even stepped foot in the office yet!

Mr I jumped off the dentist chair in the middle of a filling a couple of years ago.  This year he jumped off the table while getting his immunizations.  Both times we had to go back later to finish.  Hey, I think I get pretty anxious when I take the kids to a place where they may have pain.  OK, breathe in, breathe out! 

But in the end, Mr I did pretty well.  He even swished the fluoride in his mouth after a little hesitation. He complained about his gums hurting after the cleaning, but he was glad that he didn't have to get fillings.  He worries about that, you know.

Ms D, on the other hand, did well during the visit, but she ended up with two cavities.  Unfortunately, she had thought she was immune to them.  She never brushed or flossed as well as her brother, yet she came out with no cavities, while he's had numerous ones.  Until today.  Then she saw the $250 check I wrote out.  Hmmmm....Maybe, she will brush and floss better now.  Maybe.  She certainly was pretty shook up as we left the office.  She only laughs that certain nervous, loud, laugh for no reason when she is really upset about something.  It's the kind of laugh that people look at her and stare.  I quickly got them into the car and left.  OK, breathe in, breathe out!

But we survived Dentist Day!  Whoohoo!

Are You Trying to Tell Me Something?

For the past few days, I keep hearing the same message over and over...In a pamphlet for spiritual mentoring, in a church we visited, in conversation, in someone's Facebook status...

The message is: Looking for God in the hard places in life

We all go through difficult times.  We don't like those times.  We avoid those things that hurt.  We try to protect our children from pain.  The world seems to be full of pain and suffering. We ask why, and don't seem to get answers. 

And yet, even in those times, and maybe especially in those times, God is there.  And what I keep hearing over and over the past few days is, look for God in those times.

Of course, I'm still processing that one.  I'm kind of dense sometimes, so it might take the rest of my life to process it.  But I've been slowing down a little and will take time in the next few days to think of those hard times, the times that I can't figure out why.  And instead of asking why and beating myself down, or others down, for those difficult situations where I hurt, I'm going to talk to God and ask Him, "How are you there in this?"  How are you there in the kids' FASD?  How are you there when they have meltdowns?  How were you there for them when they had to leave their birth family? How were you there when we attended a spiritually abusing church?  How were you there the years of the desert place and it seemed like You were so far away?  How are you here when we live paycheck to paycheck?  Oh, and so much more.   I think it will take a while for me to process, and even longer to help my kids to look for God in the hard times.

But even as I start, I'm seeing that looking for God in the difficult places in my life is starting to bring healing.  And in healing, I'm becoming a little closer to God.  And that's a good thing.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pictures of the Quilt for Ms D!

This is a quilt I just finished for Ms D.  She is crazy about dogs and picked out the material.  It is about 74 by 52 inches.  It took nearly 3 months for me to finish it, most of the time was in the hand quilting.

Detail of the stitching

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Made With Love

I am almost done with a quilt for Ms D.  She picked out the fabric last spring, and I have been working on it all summer.  My fingers on my left hand are like dog paws because of the hand quilting.  This morning I was looking at it and noticed that even though it is a kid's quilt, I have been quilting it at 8 stitches/inch.  Now for those of you who aren't quilters, that is pretty fine work!  And Ms D might not appreciate it.  But that's OK, because I made it with love.

How many times do we do good things for our loved ones, or even strangers, that aren't noticed or appreciated? Probably more than we would like.  We generally want people to acknowledge and appreciate our efforts.  How many times do we get put out because someone didn't send a thank you card, or at least say thank you?  How many times do we grumble in our hearts because the family hardly notices that we have been cooking in the heat or cleaned up their messes behind them?  And it isn't just in families either, because the workplace is filled with people who work their tails off, and no one seems to notice.  But there is someone who notices...

I have to think that if I do good things for others, that even if they don't recognize it, God sees it.  I have to think that the effort I put into serving others will show God's love for them.  And I hope that I will recognize and thank others for their efforts.  And most of all, I want to appreciate and thank God, who has given us so much more than we can imagine, yet we so often don't see it.

Thank you for all you have done for me.  Open my eyes to see the things You and others have done.  Help me to show my appreciation and thankfulness.  Help me to show others love, even when it isn't returned.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fighting for My Daughter's Heart

One of the speakers at the Women's retreat was speaking on our identity in Christ.  In one part, she talked about our adoption into God's family when we come to Christ. She explained that in Bible days a person who was adopted was totally a part of the family, in status, inheritance, rights and privileges.  Kind of like now.

While she was speaking, I thought, "My daughter is having a hard time accepting Christ because she doesn't really understand her adoption.  I need to fight for her heart!"

When her birth family came into the picture, I stood back when she signed her name with her old last name.  I only quietly took away the clothes with gang colors that she would wear when visiting her family. We've asked her to call and keep in touch with them, even when the family has drawn back and have started to ignore her after the initial couple of months.  I explained to her that she has enough love for both families.  But I don't think I got in her heart lately that she is my daughter and I won't let her go.  Yes, she has a bond with the other family, but I love her so much, and I'll do my best to care for her and keep her safe.  I won't ignore her after a while.  I am bound to her by adoption, just as we are bound to Christ.  Nothing can separate us!

I don't know how to balance fighting for her heart and letting her sort through her own identity as a teenager.  It's something I'll have to really pray about and sort through myself.  But I think God is doing something that is beyond my control.

During the retreat, Hubby took the kids and a couple of our friends to the beach and met with some guys from church.  At the beach Mr I and Ms D had a great time.  They usually hate the beach and complain about the sand, etc.   But not this time! Ms D even had a corn dog!  I know you think that I'm kind of strange to rejoice over a corn dog, but Ms I has been picking at her food, only eating dry salads with feta cheese and tiny bits of what we eat.  She's not underweight, but she has lost weight since this spring.    But do you know the best part of the day?

When the family came to where the retreat was to help clean up, Ms D came running up to me and gave me a big hug!  And she kept hugging me!  God certainly did something while I was gone to draw her closer.  Maybe this fighting for her heart will be fun!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Next up: Women's Retreat!

Wooohooo!  I'm about to skip town and head on out to a women's retreat.  It is only a one day es-ca-pe (pronounced like Dori does in Nemo), but those of us who need to go early and set up are staying overnight at a woman's house near the retreat!  Whoohooo!  I so need a little break!  I think mommies everywhere need a day off here and there.  It's such an all consuming job, and we need to recharge! Of course, the family isn't that thrilled, but they'll like it in the long run.  Trust me!

Today a few of us were getting some of the food ready for tomorrow, making the wraps, cutting the fruit, etc.  We were talking about what women need to take care of ourselves.  We need to have time to do a Bible study or other heady stuff to feed our minds and spirits.  But we also need to feed our bodies right and exercise.  I added that we also need to do something creative, sewing, cooking, art, music, dance, etc. to feed that part of us too.  Another added service, though to me that seems to come pretty natural, and being a mom of kids with issues assures me of not just living for myself! :-)

So often we neglect to do these things and we end up burned out.  Or we spend too much time on one of them and neglect the others.  I hope I can fit a little of each of these things in every day so that I can run the long race that is set before me.  I don't have to do much, but a little exercise, a little meditating on God's word and listening to Him, a little artistic stuff, and some serving is good.  I wonder what else would build me up for the long haul?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hula Hooping!

I was encouraged by Christine at to do a hula hoop 30/30 challenge.  Hoop 30 days of September for 30 minutes a day.  Well, I'm pretty much a procrastinator, especially when busy and stressed, so I didn't get the hoops made until the middle of the month.  So I'm going to try to do 15 minutes a day for 15 days.  Somewhere in her website, she has directions on how to make a hoop that an adult can use!  It is pretty easy once you get the right materials.  And all you who think hula hooping is impossible, this 50 year old woman was able to do it right away!

Habits are best made in little bites anyway, aren't they?  Reading the Bible, flossing, exercising, journaling, eating right, making the bed...All those things we have big ideas to do but don't end up doing any of it because we tackle too much at once and can't do it for the long haul...At least for me they are best started in ten or fifteen minute intervals, because, hey, after all, it's just a short time!  You can do just about anything for ten minutes!

So here is a picture of day one.  I think I did more than 15 minutes, but it was so fun!  I even got Hubby, Black Belt Daughter, and Mr. I to try!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Birthday Went Well, For the Most Part!

I was halfway anxious about my 50th birthday, but not in the usual way of dreading a big year birthday and mortality and whatnot.  No, the fear was about how my two adopted and alcohol affected kids would sabotage an important day.  Kids like this need routine.  Birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, etc. are not routine.  So they melt down.  Or pout.  Or make it difficult on those around them.  It's not because they don't like the birthday person, it's just that it is too much excitement for their brains.  

So yesterday, my plan was to keep the day as normal as possible.  We would do schoolwork.  The kids would play with their friends after school.  I would clean and do laundry, and maybe wedge in a little knitting or quilting.  And in the evening, after Hubby was home from work, we would go to a familiar Chinese food place that is quiet and the kids enjoy.  No weird food.  No strange noises.  Familiar waiter.  Chow Fun for Ms. D and Mongolian Beef for Mr. I.  It should have worked...

Except I got a call from a neighbor in the morning.  Her little boy had allergies and the school thought he had pink eye.  She was working.  No one else could take him home.  So we picked him up from school and the *** hit the fan.  Mr. I fussed.  Mr. I whined.  He didn't want to do school. He wasn't going to be able to even do it when the neighbor boy left!  It would take too long!  He would *never* be able to play with his friends.  On and on it went.  He was so dysregulated, all because the routine was changed a little. It's a good thing he's not going to school.  One field trip or assembly, and the day would be shot!

It's interesting how there were other little signs of dysregulation.  Mr. I spilled a lot yesterday. He spilled his glasses of water at lunch and dinner. He insisted on helping the neighbor boy open his milk, and then when it spilled all over, he yelled, "Why didn't anyone tell me there was milk in there?"  We had told him.  That is why the neighbor needed it opened, so he could drink the milk.  Duh! 

I'm sure Ms. I had her problems, but I missed them in all the chaos.  Well, I know she spaced out.  She ended up not doing her math.  She had it in front of her, but when I went to check it this morning, I found out she had been going through the motions.  Sort of.  Oh well! 

Fortunately, the neighbor boy left after lunch.  We were able to do schoolwork.  Mr. I calmed down. It all worked out.  

I had a wonderful evening.  All my kids, my sons' wives, and the grand baby all made it.  Now that's an accomplishment!  We rarely get all of them in one place at a time.  And we even more rarely get to have a picture taken.  Of course, the neighbor I snagged to take the picture only took one shot, but we all look OK.  No one is making an awful face and you can see most of us.  My photographer son is right when he said, "It's times like these you really need a professional photographer."  He's right.  But I'm happy we got this one!  It's proof that we were all there!  In one place!  At the same time!  With a camera!

Now don't look too closely at the yard.  I really need to work on it! Things have been growing faster than I could keep up!  

Oh, and if you live in the Bay Area of California, I know a good photographer.  He did not take this picture!  His pictures are much better!  And I'm not saying it just because I'm his mom!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I'm 50 today!

I'm actually excited to reach 50 years old.  It's kind of weird, but as long as I can keep healthy and active, I don't mind another candle added to the birthday cake.

So what am I planning for today?  Well, we'll have to do the normal schedule of schoolwork.  The kids had a hard time yesterday because, it being Monday, it was hard for them to handle the change from the weekend to the week day.  They were running around the house with their crazy laughing, getting hurt, and opposing school work every step of the way.  I tried to be calm, but I realized halfway through a cup of ice cream that I wasn't planning to eat, that I was stress eating.  Today is my birthday.  That usually means at least one meltdown or sabotaging of my special day.  I'm hoping that the kids got it all out of their system yesterday.  We'll see....

This evening, Hubby will take me and the family out to eat.  I'm craving some Chinese, so I think I'll go to the restaurant near our house.  We go there more than any other place.  It is quiet in the evenings.  It is familiar to the kids.  It's my best bet to eat in peace without someone pouting and refusing to eat.  Not me of course.  I eat more when stressed!  Maybe my grandson will come too!  I'm hoping, since I haven't seen him in over a week.

I might just make the hula hoop today that I've been meaning to make for the past few months.  Christine, at, has been doing 30 day hula hoop challenge for September, 30 minutes of hooping a day.  The great procrastinator that I am, I'm aiming to finish *making* my hula hoop by the end of the 30 days!  Maybe, if I get myself in gear, I'll finish the hoop today and maybe get in 15 minutes a day for 15 days.  Hey, it's better than nothing, especially for a 50 year old!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Kids and 9-11

As I sat watching one of the 9-11 memorials this morning, Mr. I came up behind me.  I could see that he was getting a little impatient for me to stop listening to the names being read so that he could use the computer.  I realized he doesn't understand what happened that day ten years ago.  He was only one year old.  A toddler.  He has grown up with things that are still difficult for me to get used to.  He doesn't understand that the older kids used to watch their daddy's plane land or take off from the window at the airport gate instead of waiting at the cell lot and picking him up at the curb.  He doesn't realize that you could take food and drinks from home on the plane, or that a person could mail a package easier, or go to Mexico and Canada with just a driver's license, or that people felt safer.  He grew up with it.  This is a bit sad, and kind of like when I was a kid and we practiced bomb drills.  Of course, in the Midwest they were also tornado drills, which to me was a bit easier to deal with.  I can see that the kids see terrorism as a part of life.  My son wanted to know if we got the guys who did it.   I told him they died too, and we recently got the guy who was the main planner.  But I didn't tell him there are still more out there who would do it again if they had a chance.

My kids went through pretty scary things when they were young.  They saw domestic abuse.  They saw drug and/or gang violence.  They were neglected by those who should have cared for them. They still have a lot of fear.  I want to shield them from fear, but I can't shield them completely.  I pray that they don't have to see any more violence the rest of their lives, that they can live in peace.  It's a pretty big prayer.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I Didn't Get a Picture!

Today I mailed off a hat I knitted for my mom's birthday but neglected to get a picture!

In true form, I waited until the last minute to even start the project.  I ordered the yarn, made of alpaca, silk, and wool, from Webs last week.  I wanted a yarn that would look nice and be warm for my mom, who just moved to Anchorage, and Cascade Dolce was on sale.  I really enjoyed working with it, and it will be hard to go back to the acrylic that I get at most craft stores.  The yarn arrived Tuesday, and I didn't start until after school Wednesday.  I knitted a hat in a moss stitch and a ribbing around the bottom edge.  I finished Thursday evening, well all except the last little weaving in the ends, which I did Friday when I took Black Belt Daughter to the doctor to have her knee looked at.  (Nothing major, just a common stress injury that many athletic women get.)  My mom's birthday is in three days with a Sunday in between, so even with priority mail, I was cutting it close. I'm knitting a matching scarf, but it will have to get there after her birthday.  So after I went to the Post Office and mailed off the hat to my Mom, I  realized that I hadn't taken a picture of the hat!  Bummer!

I've depended on the rest of the family to take pictures of things for a long time.  One of my sons is a professional photographer. I'm finding that even though it's nice to experience things without the camera between me and whatever is going on, it's not working to completely depend on others for pictures.  Maybe I should hijack Hubby's camera...Hmmm...I might even get more pictures of my grandson!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Meditating on God's Grace

This evening, as I was taking down the clothes from the line, I was thinking about my relationship to my kids.  The older ones show kindness to me in different ways, and I really enjoy being with them and seeing how they are growing into awesome adults.  The younger ones lie, mock me, whine, and cause all sorts of grief sometimes.  But you know what?  I love them just as much!  I'd give my life for them.  I still do all I can to help them to have a good life, even when they are pushing me away.

So when I was peacefully taking the clothes down I felt a nudge from God.  I felt Him saying to me, "Just as you love your kids unconditionally, even when they mess up, I love you unconditionally. I love you no matter what you do."

So this evening I'm meditating on God's grace.  He is more loving and forgiving than I can imagine.  Yes, he wants me to have a good life, and if I choose the wrong path it may not go as well as if I stay with Him. But no matter what path I choose, His love is still there.  Just like I know that my kids have had a hard start in life with FASD, RAD, trauma, and sin in general and I still love them, God knows we have a hard start also in sin and He still loves us.

I am so inclined to go towards a works model of living, yet He gives me reminders to receive His love, forgiveness, atonement, and acceptance.  Thank you, Lord, for your perfect love.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to see your love through the adoption of my kids.  Help me to know your love in a deeper way and show others this love.

Lying, Kid Drama, and Block Party

Yesterday was crazy.

I am the organizer of our street's annual block party.  It isn't a big job, since all there is to do is pick a day, make and hand out flyers a few weeks ahead of time, make sure there are enough grills, tables, chairs, name tags, etc.  Everyone brings their meat, utensils, drinks, and a side dish or dessert to share.  Not too complicated...  Unless you have kids that need extra attention because of FASD, RAD, trauma, etc.

I had my day planned out pretty nicely.  Since we took over the end of the cul-de-sac, I had to wait until about 15 minutes before the start to bring out the tables and chairs.  Well, that's when I got the call from some boy about my daughter.  He said she was lying to us and was seeing boys, including him.  He said he was 17.  She just turned 13.  I told him to stay away from her, she's jail bait and a silly 13 yo, and yes, I'm not surprised about the lying.  She was supposed to be walking a neighbor dog with a girl who is a friend, so Hubby went out to find her.  Well, we kept seeing her and losing her. She had the dog on our street, but had to put him away.  She went to her friend's house so she could have someone to be with at the block party. Hubby was having a hard time keeping up and finding her.  I was wondering where he was while I was getting the party going.  Once he was out looking for her and she had been in her bedroom.  This searching was not what we needed.  Later one of my other daughters talked to her and Ms. D said she likes to spend time with boys better than girls because of all the girl drama in the neighborhood, which I believe.  Some of those girls have real problems and often pick fights.  The problem is that my kids don't know what nonverbal signals they put out. People often misread them.  My kids do lie.  My kids don't have good self control.  They need more boundaries than normal kids their age.

During the block party, the kids were playing in eyeshot, but unfortunately, not within earshot.  It looked like all were having a good time, playing football and hockey in the street and riding their bikes. But my son told a friend on another block to get lost because he didn't live on our street.  My son still takes some things to an extreme literal level. Another neighbor boy had a hunting knife and threatened my son's friend.  Of course, the friend ran home to his parents and Hubby had to deal with more kid drama because the friend's family were concerned that my son and the other boy were threatening theirs.  I was wondering why Hubby wasn't spending time with the neighbors at the party.  Later Hubby found out that the kid with the knife threatened other kids with the knife, touched my daughter's stomach with it in front of little kids and was being careless and stupid.  So Hubby went to the knife kid's house to talk to the parents.  It was not a good evening for Hubby.  I had no idea any of this was happening until it was all over.

Today we'll have a talk about my kids' behavior and why would they not tell an adult about something so dangerous as a 10 year old kid with no sense and a hunting knife.  It will be interesting what they come up with.

I guess the saddest thing for me right now is that I feel so jaded.  I would have been shocked and angry if someone accused my older kids of lying or behaving badly.  With the younger ones I'm not surprised.  I expect it.  Of course she lies.  Of course he bullies.  Yes they can be sweet, caring, helpful, and have a bunch of great qualities when they are not stressed and closely supervised. But add a little stress and it's like someone reaches into their brains and switches something, so that their personalities completely change.  It's like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  They often don't remember what they did when they were dysregulated.  It's kind of sad.

 Right now the biggest challenges and needs in raising them is to reduce stress, give them consistency and boundaries, and to provide structure in their life at a time when most kids are starting to spread their wings.  It's a whole new way of parenting teens than how I parented my other kids.  But I guess I've had to parent the youngest differently all along.  I sure do need God's wisdom in all of this.

Funny Mouse Story

One time after a short term mission trip to Mexico, sleeping in a rat and mouse infested building, we came home to a mouse in our house. The kids saw it running into our bedroom. I told Hubby that I will not sleep one more night with a mouse, so we decided to try to get it. We found it under the dresser, so the plan was for me to scare it towards Hubby, who would then smash it with his shoe. Well, the mouse ran towards me instead, and just froze. So instinctively, I grabbed the mouse! Then I realized I had a mouse in my hand, so I ran screaming through the house to throw it outside. Well, I guess I had a bunch of adrenaline, because I didn't just throw it into the backyard, but I threw it over the dog, over the backyard fence, and up hill into the woods! I don't think I EVER threw anything that far before or since!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Our Family Just Keeps Getting Bigger!

Last night Hubby helped the kids' aunt move some furniture to their grandmother's place for storage until they find a new home.  Their aunt and uncle are really going through a tough time now. They are homeless and living in different relatives' homes, their uncle is in a nursing home and has been either there or hospitalized for a month, and their oldest son is on house arrest for stealing a gang shirt. Oh, and did I mention the 14 y.o. cousin also has a nice new tattoo of a gang symbol on his wrist? I'm glad we can help the family, even a little. So anyway, Hubby got to meet some more of the family last night, grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins.

So this morning, Mr. I bought a bike from a guy not too far from their grandma's house.  So on the spur of the moment, Hubby and the kids went to visit.  Ms. D and Mr. I haven't seen this grandma in about nine years.  Grandma was even one of the people who Ms. D was living with when she was two years old.  So, of course, Grandma was really happy to finally see the kids.  Our family is getting bigger and bigger.

Of course, with family comes drama.  Grandma was the one who called the police to check on the kids when they were taken into foster care and then into our home.  So Birth Mom is still angry at the grandma. I knew they didn't get along.  Now I know why, or at least one of the reasons why.  Now I also know the family member who had the courage to call the authorities when my kids were in danger, knowing that she may never see the kids again.  I'm glad she got to see them today.

Garden Harvest

Yesterday, Hubby and I harvested some veggies from our rooftop garden.  We got three bell peppers, 5 Anaheim peppers, two tomatoes, and a cucumber.  There is a lot more to come!  It's been a bit of a hassle to water the pots on the flat roof, but hopefully we'll get some drip irrigation up there soon.  I also have some beans in the backyard that I need to harvest as soon as I get off this computer and I'll check to see if there are any more late blackberries.  I've also been harvesting apples and mandarin oranges throughout the week.  Our jujubes are almost ripe.  We planted a jujube tree a few years ago and keep missing the perfect time to harvest because we have no idea of what a jujube should taste like! I ate one earlier this week, not really knowing when the best time to harvest, but after reading up on them, I think I need to wait just a little longer.  Right now they are at the apple-like crisp stage.  Actually, Hubby might like them better this way.  I'll have him try one later, if I remember.

One of the nice things about living in Northern California is that we can grow such a variety of plants!  I just wish we had more room!

Our chickens are starting to slow down with their laying.  They might be going into another molting time. One of our crazy girls decided to get broody.  She even tried to hatch a fallen orange! She was laying eggs pretty well until she tried to hatch everything in sight.  She is not so bad now, after I discouraged her a bit by collecting eggs often and making her laying place a little uncomfortable by spraying some water there, but she still hasn't laid anything the past week.  I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the two oldest hens who haven't laid anything for a long time.  Unfortunately, one of them is the only chicken that got a name from the kids.  How do you dispatch a chicken named Snowball?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Helping the Way I Wished I Was Helped

Yesterday I had the joy of taking care of my grandson and daughter-in-law.  She had a stomach bug and it worked out for her to come to our home while we took care of the baby and she rested.  It was such a blessing to me.  I remember so many times when my kids were little, I was sick, and I didn't have anyone to help during the day while my husband was at work.  There were three months of taking care of two kids under three while I had mono or some other virus.  I remember just laying on the couch watching my kids dismantle the house, pulling books off bookshelves and emptying drawers. Another time I had just had my fourth baby by c-section.  In the next month, we had all four kids getting chicken pox, and some of the kids and I had the flu and bronchitis.  That's four kids six and under and me sick and recovering from surgery.  Hubby couldn't take any more time off of work and my mom and mother-in-law had their hands full with jobs and taking care of their disabled husband and the other a disabled daughter.  I don't know how I made it!

So yesterday I was able to give to my daughter-in-law something I knew she needed, an opportunity to sleep, a little soda, broth, and banana, someone trustworthy to watch the baby so she could rest before her hubby came home from work.  I wish I could have given her more peace and taken care of her better.  Mr. I and Ms. D were out of sorts.  Their schedule was turned upside down and they can't handle other people being sick.  So they had their crazy, uncontrolled laughs, and couldn't settle down until my grandson and daughter-in-law left.  I had to constantly remind them to go into another room if they were going to be loud.

 But it felt good to at least try to help.  I hope I can do it again.