Thursday, February 28, 2013

It's Not All Bad

It's not all bad. Really!

I just read a blog by a mom who encouraged people to be more real on Facebook. Sometimes we just tell others the good times, the times that we bake the cookies, the children are happily doing their math homework, our house is sparkling, the birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and everything is going well. We read those things and wonder why we have it so hard. We get jealous. We compare and get depressed. And we wonder what is wrong with us or our families that there are so many challenges in our lives. It's about as bad as when we compare our middle aged bodies at six in the morning to the photoshopped images of twenty year old models. Yes, there is no comparison.

But then, there are others of us that are more open with our challenges and weaknesses. The danger here is that when I focus on the not so nice things, I can forget the positive things that are going on. And others look at me and wonder what kind of crazy woman would ever do what I signed up for. They will never foster or adopt if that's what kind of grief is possible!

But it really isn't all bad.

Today we are having some good moments too.

Mr. I is fixing and painting a scooter, pretty much all by himself.


 We went to the hardware store and the young man who helped Mr. I was awesome. He helped him pick the right kind of sandpaper. And when Mr. I told him the colors, the man said, "Joker colors, right?" That made Mr. I smile. It's good to see him smile after all that's been going on lately.

And now, Mr. I is painting and is happy how the job is going. This is a big thing, since typically something goes wrong and Mr. I gets easily frustrated. He's even considering a career in car painting. Oh, and he can't wait to show Hubby!

So it's not all bad. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the kids are happy. I guess it's time to get the house sparkling, well at least halfway decent, for a grandson visit!

The Things We Do for Our Kids

Mr. I is still having a hard time. It's taking him longer than usual to regulate himself after last week's break from school and time with friends. He's been acting more unattached and even sleep-walked last night.

After reading some of the old paperwork I found while cleaning this morning, I remembered how traumatized the kids were when they were little. It's amazing what we forget after nearly ten years. It's also amazing how far the kids have grown and blossomed since that time. But the loss and trauma still affect them deep inside. And as the time of year that they were removed from their birth family approaches, big feelings are bound to bubble up.

So I decided to spend a little time being playful with Mr. I. Yes, we did a little wrestling, even though it was pretty much one sided. He didn't fight back, but he didn't participate either. I reminded him that I love him. And...

This 51 year old woman did a handstand! Well, I was next to a wall so that he would try it too. He didn't. But maybe it will put a little crack in the wall he's put up. I would do a hundred handstands in the middle of the room, if that's what it would take to help him attach and be regulated. The things we do for our kids...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hiding in a Safe Place

Hubby and I are trying to simplify, sort, repair things, and organize. There may be some changes in the next year or so. But even if there aren't, we need to get things in order. I'm not a naturally organized person to begin with, but some things have slid even more since the youngest kids came into our lives...gulp...nearly ten years ago. If you came into our living room and main living areas it wouldn't seem too bad. But if you were to look in our closets, cupboards, in the garage, attic, or even some bedrooms, I'd be a bit embarrassed. It had been too easy to shove things in corners when life got too crazy, yet the house had to look good on the outside for social workers and visitors. We have ten years of clutter to clean up. We also have home repairs that are almost done, a wall to texture and paint here, trim to put on there. So many times we have had to get things functional, but we didn't have the time to finish the job. After awhile, we just got used to it. We don't even notice some of those things anymore.

So now that life has calmed down a bit, well, as much as can be expected, we are slowly chipping away at those little details. I'm trying to either work on the yard, sort through a box of junk, clean a closet or cabinet, or work on an unfinished project every day. Today it was a just a box. Earlier this week we cut down a bunch of frost nipped plants and I cleaned a closet. If I keep at it, I might be able to get things under control. It won't happen overnight, but the house didn't get this way overnight either.

I have plenty of projects now, but I think when I start to run out of ideas, I'll take pictures. It's amazing how I can think something is fairly uncluttered, but it looks so much worse when I see it in a picture. Just like a photo can add ten pounds to a person, it can reveal a mess that is overlooked. But that's for later. I don't need a photo to tell me what to do now!

I'm really glad that we are cleaning things up. The other day, when I cleaned the closet, I found some adoption paperwork for Ms. D that had been missing. I had put it in a safe place, but forgot where I had put it. I couldn't find the paperwork last year when we were applying for the regional center. I wish I had it. It would have made things much easier if I had the documentation that she had delays before she came to our house. Ms. D had an IEP when she was three and in foster care the first time. She had language delays, which they attributed to being bilingual. Unfortunately, it seems like Ms. D didn't get the speech therapy she needed because she went back to her birth mom soon after. But reading the documentation again, this time knowing Ms. D's IQ test results of last year, reminded me that she had been struggling all along. She's not worse now than before. I'm not making things up, or letting her slide because either of us is lazy, or whatever other thought or fear I may be thinking about. I'm so glad I found the paperwork!

Organizing and repairing things in our home should make life a bit easier. It will be tedious at times, but it will lesson the load. I'm feeling lighter already!


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Homecoming

Today was a day of homecoming.

Brewster came home to his beloved Ms. D.  He did great at our friend's home and made the transition back to us well. Hal did well too, even though he was still pretty young. He really calmed down after the first day. It was good for him to get used to lots of kids and excitement.

Ms. D even played dress-up with Hal.

Hal in a Hoody

I wish Mr. I was able to make such good transitions.

Mr. I had spent a good part of the weekend at a friend's house. They went bowling, practiced break dancing, and more. I picked Mr. I up this evening and the first thing he said to me was, "I wish I could stay at their house. The mom cooks better than you. We had ribs and chocolate chip pancakes and... I wish I lived with them. I can sleep better there." Of course this line of conversation didn't surprise me a bit. I expected him to be unattached at the end of a school break, especially when he spent so much time away from our family. Many adoptive parents hear the same kind of thing. I recently talked to another mom who is dealing with something similar. I have to admit that it hurts a little, but I can't let him know that. So I just said things like, "Is that right? Oh, that's too bad, because I missed you." I tried to keep the emotional temperature really calm. We drove the half hour home in silence, which is a rarity with Mr. I.  He normally sits in the passenger seat to play music he likes. When we were almost home, I asked him why he wasn't listening to the radio. He said he just doesn't want to go home and he wishes he could live with his friend. "Oh yeah? You must have had a pretty fun time there this weekend. What did you do?" It was so hard not to get upset, and I listened to how much better off he would be if he lived with the other family.

This evening he vacillated between being a part of the family and pushing us away. What is interesting is that he never really had a meltdown. So even though he expressed displeasure at being a part of our family, he did it in a fairly quiet, somewhat respectful way. He made a smoothie instead of eating the dinner I made for the family, but he gave us a taste of his creation. We sat next to each other and watched a TV program. He asked me to pray for him.

I need to remind myself that transitions are very difficult for kids who have been traumatized. I also need to remind myself to not be insecure when the kids say things like they hate me, they don't want to live with us, or they want to move in with the birth family the day they turn eighteen. Many teens go through a stage when they wish they lived with a different family. It's just our kids have had the experience of living in many families, and aren't as well attached. But like it or not, I am their mom. I won't stop being their mom.

So this week, as we start school and establish a routine after a break, I'll work on attachment also. I'm so glad that we had a great therapist that taught me how to do that. It will be hard work. But it will be worth it.

Sometimes, though, I wish that my kids were as well attached as the guide dog puppies and could make easier transitions. It's kind of sad when puppies handle sleepovers and homecomings better than a teenaged boy.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hungry Kids

Tonight I helped Hubby deliver food donated from Trader Joe's to students, the unemployed, struggling families, the elderly, and group homes. We take it to people and then they pass some of the food on to others that they know. It amazes me how much need there is in Silicon Valley, a place of so much prosperity. I am blessed that we are able to help others in such a practical way. Tonight we had a van full of food. I had a great time visiting with people and spending time on the road talking with Hubby.


The last stop both thrilled me and broke my heart.

One of the people in our route suggested we stop at a group home that was filled with adults and families. Even though it was nearly eleven at night, men, women, and children came out to get some food. I'm used to adults being happy to receive food. I've heard time and again stories of people who were wondering where their next meal would come from. Then God would answer by having Hubby come with good, healthy food from a place they couldn't afford to shop. I'm used to kids getting all excited about pastries and cakes. And I'm used to seeing, on one of our stops, kids newly adopted from Ethiopia getting all excited about yams and meat.

But what touched me tonight was seeing a group of kids, four years old to fifteen, get all excited about chicken and bread; things that were passed over in all the other stops tonight. I could see the hunger in their eyes. They were more excited about the the food than most kids are about Christmas.  It reminded me of a time when I was young and hungry; a time when my dad had just lost his sight. I remember the excitement of getting food, any food, after going without. Tonight, my heart broke for those kids. If they weren't so happy I probably would have broke down and cried. I felt overjoyed and sad all at once.

Hunger isn't just in third world countries. It's all around us, if we know where to look. I am so blessed that we can do something for some of the people among us. And I'm happy we found this home, a place full of kids who are thankful for what others would pass by. May God continue to bless them and their families.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Trading Places

One of the things that guide dog puppies do in their training is to trade places with another family for a few days.
So our puppy, Brewster, went to Hal's home, and Hal came to ours.

Hal
 Hal is a 4 1/2 month old golden retriever. He has beautiful red eyelashes and is so sweet. He's more timid than Brewster, so a few days in our house should get him used to a busy family. And Brewster will benefit from staying with a woman who has been raising guide dog puppies for many years.

Ms. D had a hard time with the change. It didn't help that the swap was made on Blackbelt Daughter's birthday. Transitions and holidays are hard for kids like mine, and we had two in one day. Mr. I was a bit off too, but he spent most of the day with friends. He did, however, leave the door open while getting the mail, so the dog ran out the front door. He and his friend chased Hal, who then darted inside to a corner in our living room and peed on the floor. Ms. D froze through all this excitement. She does that sometimes when she gets overloaded with emotion or input. But as the day went on, the kids and the dog calmed down. I tried to calm myself down so that they could match my emotional level rather than the other way around. It seemed to work. We were even able to have an enjoyable time with family for Blackbelt Daughter's birthday dinner.

Even though having the dogs trade places for a few days can have its challenges, I think it will be a good thing for everyone. I'll let you know how it goes.



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Happy Birthday!!!

Today is Taekwondo Daughter's birthday!



She is an awesome young woman! I am so glad she is a part of the family. She has energy and passion. She is my firecracker girl!

Today we took a walk together, she went out to have coffee with her boyfriend, and we got just about the whole family together for Chinese food. It was a fun day, especially at the end when she mixed taekwondo and ballet while her youngest brother did break dancing.

Happy Birthday!!! I love you!

Brewster Goes to the Airport

Last night, Brewster and two guide dog puppy clubs went to the airport.

Ms. D and Brewster

They went there in order to learn proper airport and plane behavior,


to get used to the sights and sounds,


to practice new skills like going down long stairways,


and to have fun.


The puppies also helped train the TSA agents.


Brewster loved being with his friends!


The puppies even got to sit on a Hawaiian Airlines plane.


But they didn't get to go to Hawaii.


They moved to different seats, how to maneuver in a tight plane, and learned where to sit.


At the end, Brewster visited Gate K-9 and did his business.


Brewster loved the airport!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Grieving

Today Hubby is grieving for a close coworker who died late last week. Because Hubby had been out ill for two days last week and there was a holiday off yesterday, he didn't get the news until today. I'll miss his coworker's cheery voice on Fridays, when he and Hubby would have conference calls, trying to solve one problem or another. They made a great team, and were able to do amazing things together.

What's sad is that it doesn't look like there will be any event at Hubby's work to say nice things about the coworker and mourn their loss. Hubby said, "Geeks don't do grieving well, and there's no one to organize events like that." There even isn't an opportunity to go to a memorial service, since the coworker's family requested that things be private.

It won't be the same at Hubby's work without the coworker. He will be missed.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Beach Day!

Today Microbio Daughter, Mr. I and his friend and I went to the beach. Ms. D stayed home with Hubby and Brewster. She doesn't like sand. But we do!

Me

It was cloudy and cool.

Microbio Daughter

But there was a lot of sand. And waves. And really cute little birds that ran back and forth getting sand crabs for lunch.


I had to close my eyes to what Mr. I and his friend were doing sometimes. You have to do that with boys from time to time. Otherwise you get all stressed out while they have the time of their lives throwing sandstone at each other, climbing too high, and wrestling.


Or they make really deep holes in the ground and then try to stick their heads in the holes.


I did a really poor cartwheel in order to encourage Mr. I to try it too. No, you don't get to see a picture of that! Thankfully, Microbio Daughter didn't take a picture of me doing a cartwheel. At least I hope she didn't get a picture! I thought it would be easier on the soft sand, but it wasn't.


I didn't attempt to do a back bend. But I tried to get Mr. I to do one. And I helped him to do a headstand in the soft sand. Kind of...


That doesn't look very good, does it? I think he got a face full of sand on that one!

I'm so glad we went, even though the weather wasn't the best, at least by California standards. On the way home we stopped outside Castroville and got some fresh artichokes at a farm stand. Yum! Guess what I had for dinner?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Family Time!

Friday evening my sister came to visit from out of state. It was so good to see her!


I was coming down with a headache, so I was a little foggy brained, but I still enjoyed the visit. I love my sisters. It's so special that even though we live so far away and don't see each other much, we can connect like we saw each other yesterday.


We had pizza, took the kids bowling, and talked!


Thanks, Sister and Bro, for such a great time with the family!


Then yesterday morning, I left the kids at home and went to Happy Hollow with Grandson.
He loved the little puppet show. There wasn't too much to it, but through a two year old's eyes, it was amazing.

Grandson Riding the "Dysonor"
Grandson got to feed the goats.


He was a bit wary of them, even though they were the tamest goats I've ever seen. They weren't anything like these guys!


After Happy Hollow I went to visit a friend and then Hubby and I went to church. I hardly saw the kids all day. What was interesting is that even though I was gone a good part of the day, the kids were pretty attached to me afterwards. It's nice when I have times to recharge and I don't have to pay for it for a week or so in dysregulated behaviors. I am blessed!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentines Day? Really?

I wrote this today on my Faceb**k page:

Valentines Day. Today one of my friends is having surgery, and another is recuperating from her injury and surgery a few days ago. One dear friend is fighting cancer and I wonder if this will be her last Valentine's day. Still another friend is taking her son in for tests and is frightened for what she will hear. Some of my friends are going through divorce and marriage crises, and others are longing for a partner. Some look at this day with dread, because circumstances in their lives prevent them from receiving the love they deserve. I pray that the Author and Ultimate Giver of love will comfort all, and surround you with His love.

It was not your typical Valentines Day for me either. It wasn't bad, just different. 

Someone in our family got a mystery bouquet of pink roses on our doorstep today. I found it after dropping Hubby off at the dentist. No one has fessed up, though we have some ideas. It would be nice to know who it is for, though. We have quite a few people who live here. They are pretty, though!


I spent part of the day going to numerous stores for a young man so he could find the perfect Valentine after everything has been picked over. Yes, I told him to do it earlier, but grabbing whatever you can at the last minute is so manly, right? And this young man gets dysregulated during holidays anyway, so you can imagine how it went. When I took him to the final store, he didn't even want to look at the Valentine section. He told me he'd get one of my older kids to take him to the mall, the place I avoid if at all possible. I got so frustrated, I just pushed the cart quickly down the aisles so I could get some distance between me and him. The only problem was that the cart I had chosen had a wheel problem, so it kept banging. LOUDLY! And the faster I pushed that cart, the louder and faster the banging. The kids, and everyone else in the store, knew exactly where I was going. Bang BANG! Bang BANG! All the way to the milk aisle! Fortunately, Mr. I calmed down after that and thanked me for taking him out.

I helped Blackbelt Daughter with her tutoring so that she could work at her taekwando studio. After dinner, I visited a friend in the hospital. It was good to see her, even though it brought back some difficult memories from last year. When I came home, I spent some time watching a mindless TV show with Mr. I and Microbio Daughter. It was good to unwind, especially since I've been fighting a headache and it's difficult to see. 

This Valentine's Day was such a great time to love. I had so many opportunities give to others. It wasn't always easy to do so, but it was good. I couldn't give to everyone I wanted, yet I was able to show love to a few. It can be easy to feel neglected, when it seems like others are showered with gifts and attention. But after seeing so many people in the hospital tonight, I was overwhelmed with thankfulness.  I was able to come home to my family, when so many others are stuck in a hospital bed. I was able to bless a few people today and hopefully make their lives a little better.

Happy Valentine's Day! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Brewster, Meerkats, and Grandson

Today we went to Happy Hollow Park and Zoo.


It was the perfect place to take Grandson. He loved the playground equipment the most!


Brewster, because he is training to be a guide dog, was allowed in the park too. He just had to behave himself and stay at least six feet away from the zoo animals.


Brewster did very well. He looked at the Meerkats.


And the Meerkats looked back at him.


In fact, they were really curious and followed the dog when we moved to another window. Brewster didn't look like a toddler in a stroller or anything else they've ever seen!


Brewster got to experience a lot of new things, the smells of zoo animals, the sounds of children's rides, and the sight of some pretty weird looking animals.


After a few seconds of wariness, Brewster learned that those odd animal statues were nothing to worry about. It was really good for him to experience a place like this on a day that was not busy. He actually did better than Mr. I, who had some difficulties keeping from randomly hitting his sister or whining about food. It's not easy for Mr. I to have a change of schedule or go to a place that has been remodeled since the last time he went there. Nevertheless, we had an enjoyable time with Grandson and family. We'll have to come again soon!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Hyper Vigilance

Sometimes I get used to living with my kids' hyper vigilance. Other times it's a real pain. 

The hyper vigilance used to be worse. When Ms. D and Mr. I first came to our house they were always on guard for more trauma to happen. At three, Mr. I would hardly sleep, and when he did, his eyes were open. Both kids would hear someone whispering in the other room. They figured we were constantly plotting something terrible against them, and they'd better be ready for it. They'd hide under the table and behind doors when they heard a siren. They'd constantly scan their environment for danger. I can't tell you how many times they would walk into a wall, or a shopping cart, or a door, or a pole because they weren't looking where they were going. They felt adults couldn't keep them safe, so  they needed to protect themselves.

It's been nearly ten years since they first set foot in our home. Some of those years we all went to therapy to help them learn that we will take care of them, they are safe, we love them. But there still remains a certain degree of hyper vigilance. 

What concerns me is that I have lived with the kids' hyper vigilance for so long, it has become almost normal. Then they say something that a typical teenager wouldn't say, and I wake up. Mr. I asked me for a pocket knife last week that he could carry around and put under his pillow at night. I can't leave them for long, or they get afraid. One of them sleeps with the light on. They still notice every siren and say "five oh" when they see the police. They complain about every lump, bump, and ache in their body, since they think they must have some terrible illness or injury. They also worried when we were preparing for a refinance of the mortgage and when I told Mr. I that I didn't want to shop for shoes and hats every day. He looked at me with terrified eyes, and cried, "Are we poor?" They look for signs that we won't be able to care for them and keep them safe. They don't believe us if we say otherwise. 

On the other hand, we have to be careful what we say around them, even if we think they are asleep or can't hear. 

Last night I was talking to Blackbelt Daughter about educational techniques that can be helpful to Mr. I and Ms. D. I had a great time chatting with her, since she is excited about her future career. It was late, and I thought everyone else was asleep. Then this morning, Mr. I said, "I don't want to read The Cay!" I looked at him in shock. He had been listening! 

The other day, at the guide dog meeting, a lady asked Ms. D about school. Ms. D said she was home schooled but didn't want to tell her more. So when the lady pressed further and asked if she did PE or math, Ms. D said no. Hubby didn't know what to do. He didn't want to explain things, since Ms. D would listen to everything he said, even if he was half a block away.

The hyper vigilance can be annoying for other reasons too. How can we discuss future plans to relocate back to Oregon without the kids worrying? How can we visit new places, or attend events without the kids getting fearful? It's even hard to watch the news, since if they overhear, they will worry about it, even if it happened far away. 

But there is one thing we do that uses the hyper vigilance to our advantage. If we want them to listen, we just have to whisper it like we want to keep it a secret. Then, they'll be sure to hear!


Sunday, February 10, 2013

What a difference a good night's sleep makes!

Today I did a lot better. It wasn't because my circumstances changed, or problems resolved themselves. No, the change that made the difference was a good night's sleep.

There are more and more studies out that show how important sleep is to our physical and psychological health. I know that when I don't get enough rest, I see the challenges in my life in a more negative way. There are times that a problem looks really big in the evening, and not so bad in the morning. Many times sleeping on something is a good idea. Yes, it's good to not let the sun go down on your anger. But on the other hand, it isn't always good to try to handle disagreements when your mind is foggy and looking at things negatively.

So today, after sleeping well, I was able to work in the garden, clean a little, visit a friend in the hospital with Hubby, and do numerous things around the house. I was able to see Hubby's perspective on a decision in a better light. I could handle the kids a little better. But best of all, I wasn't overwhelmed. Sleep is such a blessing. I think I'll get some more now!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Anxious

Tonight I'm a bit anxious.

Yesterday Mr. I asked to call Birthdad. I let him and he talked to Birthdad for the first time since the beginning of December. Later, I asked Mr. I why he wanted to call him, after such a long time. Mr. I said it was because he missed Birthdad. Mr. I and Ms. D have a bond with their birth family, of course, yet they get let down again and again. It would be nice if the birth family had it together enough to follow through with their promises, but their track record is so poor. Despite their denials, there really are reasons why their kids ended up in foster care. I end up trying to pick up the pieces after each disappointment. It's supposed to be good for the kids to have some kind of contact with the birth family, yet it's been so difficult. I worry for the kids. I worry that I won't be able to handle the fallout. It's just not fair. It's not fair for the kids and it's not fair to our family. And yes, it's not fair to me. Yet I can't let on that I'm afraid of the negative influences of the birth family, that I don't like the way they have treated the kids, that I wish that they would either show some consistent love or just leave us all alone. You just can't be in the kids' lives just when it's convenient and easy. The birth family can destroy in an instant what we've been working on for years. But I can't shut a door that has already been open, especially a door that opened in such a weird way, out of our control. There must be some good in it. But as a mom, I still worry.

There are other things I'm concerned about, yet I don't know who or how to say what's on my mind. There are decisions to be made, yet I'm not in a place right now to make those kinds of decisions.  I'm so focused on what's been going on with the kids, that the other stuff seems overwhelming. I'm so afraid that the decisions will end up being made for me, and that I will become bitter if things don't work out as well as I would hope. I've done that before. It's not good.

I've also been fairly busy lately. This morning I went to a meeting for Ms. D's school PSP, Almaden Valley Christian School. Sharon Hensely was awesome again, and taught about Attention and Compliance Issues. It was encouraging and I got some good ideas to help Ms. D. I went with a friend from church, and talked with other mothers. It was the one part of the week, other than when Grandson came yesterday, that I could put aside some of the cares and relax.

Then when I got home, I had to clean for house church. I got the house to an OK level, though I really needed more time. Fortunately, Microbio Daughter helped. Illness has traveled around the family for the past two weeks, and though we are feeling better, there was so much to do to catch up. Oh well, I can only do what I can do.

I didn't realize how anxious I was until I heard some fireworks tonight. It's the beginning of the Chinese New Year, and it is a pretty big celebration in our city. I first thought they were gunshots. But they weren't. Whew!

Just before people came tonight, I checked my email and found out that a woman in my homeschool group fell and broke her jaw. So I'll have to lead this month's moms' group Monday. We certainly have plenty of prayer requests this month! There's hardly a family that doesn't have some weird thing going on. I worry I will forget things though. The more anxious I get, the more I forget things that shouldn't be forgotten. I don't mind forgetting some things, but I worry I'll hurt someone if I forget something that may affect relationships. I'll have to be sure to put things down on my phone and not rely on my memory. Sometimes even moms need an external brain!

I need to learn to give my cares to God, rather than holding them in until I get headaches, asthma, or stomach problems. You'd think I had enough practice giving things to God, yet it is an area I still struggle with. It's a good thing God doesn't require perfection before we come to Him. He'd have to wait a long time for me to get my act together otherwise!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Grandson!!!

Tonight we had a grandson visit!

He hasn't been over for awhile because of all the illnesses going around the house. He's changed so much. It's amazing how much a two year old changes in a week or two. He's talking more, is bigger, and can do more things.

His aunties played with him and gave him a bath. He played the "pano." Brewster loved on Grandson. "Gampa" read to him. Uncle I ate with him and made him smile. We traded off taking care of him, we all missed him so!
I really needed a visit from Grandson, maybe even more than his mommy and daddy needed a night out!
Sigh! I love my grandson!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Help This Child

Last night I went to our monthly Help One Child meeting.

I almost missed it. I remembered it during the day, but forgot when I was getting supper on the table. It wasn't until after, when Mr. I asked me if I was going anywhere that I remembered. I told him I did have plans. He said, "Is it the Help One Child meeting? How about if you stay home and help this child!" I almost thought of staying home, yet he had already made plans to go to a friend's house. I wouldn't have seen him anyway. So I left.

I was a little late with all the vacillating between staying home and going. Sometimes staying home is so tempting. But the benefits of going are so great. I got to talk to adults who understand. They get it. They don't look at me with horror when I tell them of the kids' latest antics. They understand that even though I may get weary and complain a bit about some things, that I am still madly in love with my kids.  They understand that even great parenting can't overcome brain damage sometimes. They can relate because they have dealt with some similar things. And the advice they give comes not from reading something in a book, but by life experience. They give me hope. They reassure me.  It's so good for me to be with them.

Today I went to our homeschool group at a park day. Mr. I and Ms. D didn't come because Ms. D wasn't feeling well. I went to a park day without the kids. It also was good for me to go. We got to talk about another aspect of parenting kids. Yes, I may have pushed their comfort levels with my story of Ms. D and the police, but it was good for them to see that I am not perfect, my kids are not perfect. It's a real temptation for homeschoolers to hide the hard parts of our lives. I've been in groups like that. You come away thinking you're the only one struggling with a child who has a learning disability, your house is a mess, and your kid doesn't read Shakespeare in kindergarten. I'm so blessed to have a group that is supportive and encouraging, and not judgmental or isolating.

I also belong to an online group that encouraged me today. I found out again that I'm not alone. There are other parents of kids with FASD that notice that the kids tend to start sliding academically around fourth grade, when they have to use more higher level thinking. Though it's kind of sad to know others have to deal with that kind of thing, it's encouraging to know that some others have come out the other side.

I need encouragement and support. I can't do this alone. I'm thankful I don't have to do it by myself.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Not Much to Write Home About

Today was one of those days that I haven't had much to write home about.

It was Monday, a time to get back to a schedule, though I did let the kids sleep in a bit. Yesterday was the big game.  Mr. I was sick from all the food he ate at a friend's house and he hadn't seen much of me since Friday. Ms. D was feeling down because her favorite team lost.  A few of us went to Photography son's home for the game, but Mr. I went elsewhere.


After all the excitement of the previous day, the kids needed to slow down and reconnect. Mr. I had a bit of a meltdown when I wanted to leave him to rest at home while Ms. D and I walked the dogs. He's thirteen and perfectly capable of staying home for a few minutes while we walk within eight blocks of our house. It's not like I'm going to leave the country or anything like that. He ended up walking with us. He wasn't as sick as he had led me to believe. He also had plenty of energy to play with his friends after school.

I did a few things around the house, helped the kids with their schoolwork, worked on crocheting a baby blanket, and tutored a couple of neighbor girls. Hubby and I tried to go out to listen to Danny Daniels play at City Team, but couldn't find him. We didn't have an exact address, and City Team has places all over. Oh well. Maybe another time.

We came home and while I spent time watching a television program and ads from the game with Mr. I. The one with the Clydesdale horses brought tears to my eyes when I thought of Brewster leaving us in a few months. And as a relative of farmers, the ad with the speech by Paul Harvey really touched me. I know, it's a bit disturbing that television ads get so much emphasis. But you have to admit, those were touching and uplifting. And these days, we can use a bit more uplifting.

Thankfully, there hasn't been much to write about. Things are relatively calm. I needed that.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Team Hummingbird!!!

Yesterday fourteen women got together as Team Hummingbird in San Francisco's Dirty Girl Mud Run at Candlestick Park.

Before the run
Our dear friend from our homeschool group, Ms. C, has had stage four cancer for a couple of years. The team consisted of some of her friends and family. We love Ms. C!

After the run!
We had a blast! The course wound around the parking lot and in the middle of the stadium. Most of us walked the course in order to stick together. We had a great time talking, laughing, and being silly and happy.


Some of us got muddier than others!

This woman almost threw me in the mud, but another helped me escape!
The mud run was only a 5K, but there were fun obstacles to climb over, through, and under. My favorite was the giant slide, though the rope ladder structure was fun too. We could ring the bells at the top like little kids!


We all made it, even Ms. C, who was on day five of her most recent round of chemo.

Ms. C is just to my right behind me, and her daughter is on the far right.
If you pray, please do so for Ms. C.


We want to do this again with her next year!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Art and Music...Ahhhhh...

Tonight I went to an art and music event, Echo, with Microbio Daughter at her church.


Photography/Art Son was one of the people who organized and put together the event to raise awareness about human trafficking.


There was a great turnout.


And different musicians played and sang throughout the evening.


It was so inspiring! I want to make more time to paint and be creative.


I'm so glad I went!