Thursday, November 28, 2013

Hubby is Almost Home!

After a month of living and working in another state, Hubby is coming home for Thanksgiving weekend!

I don't know how the kids will react to Daddy coming home. So far they are a little withdrawn, and maybe a tad bit bossy and cranky. But that's OK. Hubby is almost here!!!

I don't know how the families of soldiers and others who are gone for long periods of time do it. I am in awe of them. This past month has been very difficult for me and the kids. But of course it was difficult! We were selling our house, the kids have difficulties even in low stress times, and we still had to homeschool and maintain a home life without the presence of Hubby.

But we made it through! And Hubby is almost home!

I have so much to be thankful for this year. No, it hasn't been easy. There were situations that were beyond what I could handle. But we made it through. Sometimes making it through is reason enough to be grateful. But if I look a little harder, I see that I have so much more. I am blessed.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

When Mama is Sick

When Mama is sick, the kids get uneasy.
Children don't like it, when Mama is queasy.

I tell myself then, the kids used to be worse,
When tantrums happened, and they often would curse.

It is better now, though I fall to old ways.
I act like a cat, and pretend I'm OK.

I care for myself, when they aren't around.
But when they are here, I jump up with a bound.

As hard as it is, to be a good mama.
It's harder to be, a mama of trauma.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Brewster is Back!

We are now a two dog family! Brewster failed guide dog training for being over-exuberant in greeting. Guide Dogs for the Blind allow puppy raisers to keep the dogs who are career changed if they want. So Ms. D got her wish to get her beloved puppy back. We picked him up Friday afternoon.

I wish you could have been there when Brewster saw his girl for the first time in two months. I got a video of the first moments of the reunion.

Here he is ready to come home!

He loves his girl! And his girl loves him!

And now he has a playmate, Samurai!

 Samurai loves having another dog to play with.

We are so happy to have Brewster in our home again! Ms. D told me that now that she has Brewster, she is ready to move. He will be a help in the transition. He may have failed as a guide dog, but he is being a great therapy dog for my girl.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


I read an article the other day about "Email Apnea."

While reading it, I noticed that I was holding my breath. Again, when I was getting ready for an inspection on our house, I held my breath. And after I found out the inspection lasted over three hours, yes, you guessed, I held my breath again.

I've been holding my breath a lot lately, even when I'm trying to be more aware and stop doing it. It has become my go to response when stressed, and it can't be very healthy.

So I'm trying to be more deliberate in breathing. It may take awhile to break old habits, especially ones that are so second nature. But if I'm going to get through this time of single parenting while my husband is working in another state, am in the midst of selling a house, moving my family, homeschooling, navigating the coming holidays, birthdays, and graduations, and helping my two special needs kids in a time of transition, I'm going to have to lower my stress level.

I need to learn to breathe.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Connecting During Transitions

I realized around two in the morning last night that Mr. I was having a hard time with us selling our present house and buying another. He came in my room with a scrape on the top of his head. He must have been thrashing about in his sleep.

Because of this and a bit of an attitude this morning, I decided to try to connect with Mr. I and help him with the change. Change is hard enough as it is, but it's worse when kids come from difficult backgrounds. Connecting worked better than confronting.

We went to two different malls. If you know me, you know how much I hate those things. The first mall visit was cut short because I had to run back home to sign for our new house. Wow! It doesn't seem real that in a little over a month we will be living in a different state!

When I was done with the signing we went to the second mall. I was so hungry by then, but it was a good opportunity to talk to Mr. I about how low blood sugar and stress affect people. Even moms get hungry and anxious. I hope I modeled well how to dial down. No, more likely he just learned that mommies need some down time too. It didn't seem to matter how I was able to calm myself down, what mattered is that Mr. I and I were able to connect.

We all need to draw together in difficult times. Connecting needs to be a priority. We can't do this alone.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

We Have a Buyer!

We signed papers today to sell our house. We have a buyer. It doesn't quite seem real that in about a month we will be living in a different state.

I took Mr. I to the store to get him a warmer waterproof jacket for Northwest winters. I was surprised when he seemed disappointed that we will have to wait about a month to move. Change is normally very difficult for the kids, but they seem to be adjusting fairly well. Maybe it doesn't seem quite real to them either.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Not So Good Timing

The kids are sick today. The timing isn't the best. We had four people look at the house today, two of them for over forty-five minutes. Because of the sickness, we couldn't go to anyone's house. So I got the kids out of bed and into the van, along with the puppy and his crate, and waited on the side of the road until people left. It wasn't very comfortable, but Ms. D was able to sleep.

Later this evening, Microbio Daughter came by to check on us. She was able to pick up some hot and sour soup for the kids, which was so helpful. Ms. D was feeling pretty miserable by the evening, and didn't have much of an appetite. But she did eat the soup.

I'm hoping that I don't catch the same thing. There is too much to do. Hopefully we can sell the house quickly.

OK, it looks like I need to think of some things to be thankful. I can choose to dwell on the negative, or find something to be grateful for. One will bring me down, the other will lift me up. So here is the list:

1. There seems to be a lot of interest in the house.
2. The house looks nice. It is in better shape than ever.
3. The kids didn't get sick when we were trying to get the house painted and repaired.
4. So far I'm healthy.
5. The sickness is keeping the kids out of trouble in the neighborhood.
6. I have an awesome family that helps when things get rough.
7. I have friends who care for me and are an encouragement.
8. Hubby is meeting new people in Washington.
9. There are some pretty nice places that we can get once we sell our home here.
10. Technology makes it so I can keep in contact with Hubby.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Feeding Mama

The classes for adoption and foster care often encourage parents to practice self care. We were told to have respite lined up, to exercise, and eat well. I can't tell you how many times the example of the adult putting the oxygen on first, then the kid in an airline emergency is used to encourage us to take care of ourselves. Those of us embarking on the journey, even those of us who were already parents, tend to hear those words and nod. We agree that this advice makes sense, and we are doing many of these things already.

Then the kids come.

And we find that it is a lot more difficult to care for ourselves when we have children with such great needs.

But we survive somehow. We learn ways to feed ourselves in the midst of feeding our children.  We find another rhythm of going through each day until another crisis comes. Then we feel knocked off our feet for a bit, and taking care of ourselves gets pushed out of the way as we struggle to care for our children. And as we see the signs of stress in our bodies and minds, we realize that Mama needs to get some oxygen, or neither adult nor child will make it.

The past few weeks has been very stressful. Hubby is out of state, I worked hard to get the house ready to sell with the help of family and friends, the younger kids have been acting out, and now we have to leave the house at a moment's notice while people walk through our home. A week ago I was in a puddle on the floor, shaking with cold and anxiety. And even though losing ten pounds is welcome, doing it in three weeks can't be very healthy. The stress was getting to me, and it wasn't going to make me a better parent.

So this weekend I have been feeding mama. If I'm going to get through the next few weeks of transition and change, if I'm going to help my kids through it, I need to be in good shape.

So Friday evening I went out with my school friend and her husband. It was awesome that we were able to see each other twice in one year after so many years of being apart. We still marvel that we can be such good friends still. Most friendships cool as people change. Ours is perhaps even stronger, since we have years of adult perspective on life. She was able to detect a rising anxiety level in me as I was worrying about the move and the kids, even before I saw it in myself. Our lives have taken such different paths, so it is amazing how close we still are. It was so good to escape parenthood and house selling for a night, and enjoy good company with her and her husband. It was wonderful to see how happy my friend is, her awesome talents, and how blessed she's been.

Yesterday was a big day of house selling. There was an open house in the afternoon, so I let the kids go with friends and I went to my daughters' place and took a nap. I really needed the rest. Then in the evening I went to church without the kids.  We will work on church attendance later, but I needed to go. And even though Ms. D texted me in the middle of worship time with sore throat complaints, I still was able to participate.

Because I've been feeding myself for the past couple of days, I feel refreshed. Yes, I've let a few things slide with the kids, but I wasn't in any shape to help them before I lowered my anxiety level. I can better calm them by modeling peace and joy. But there isn't much peace or joy when mama is exhausted.

So Mama is fed. Mama is rested. And Mama is ready to take on another busy day!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Status Update

The house is cleaned and staged.

It looks great, but it isn't that practical. I'm more nervous with all the stuff laying around that isn't ours. It will be good to sell it as quickly as possible for so many reasons, especially since Hubby is already in Seattle.

We had a rough time with the kids last weekend, but now things seem to be calming down. Moving, stress, fetal alcohol, attachment disorders, etc. are not a good combination. It would have been hard enough to get the house ready, clean, and painted, without the added work of kids either shopping for other parents or acting out. I don't know how single adoptive parents do it. 

Mr. I had a hard time the other day. He was touching newly painted walls as he ran through the house. I was a wreck following around, telling him to calm down and stop running. There are too many breakable things here that don't belong to us, and he is not an old man that needs the support of the walls to hold himself up. I certainly didn't want to have to wash walls with my sore shoulder. He did calm down, but not until after Hubby did a video chat and assured him that our new place will be safe. I have to remember that some of the most annoying behaviors have reasons behind them. Messing the house and acting out of control is really missing dad and being afraid of the future. Too bad I'm so tired,  it's hard to think of all the motives and roots of behaviors.

Each day I think we are almost done with the work, and each day I find more to do. Yesterday I did a little more flooring, and installed two toilet seats and five smoke or CO2 detectors. All this was done with a sore shoulder and in the midst of other tasks, such as cleaning, paperwork, and driving across town to take my daughter to the car repair shop in rush hour. I also went to Grandson's house to drop of a small bookshelf and eat some yummy adult food! Squash soup and salmon are much better than fast food! It's too hard to cook with all the staging things on the counters. Real people don't live this way!

I lost another pound in the last two days, and am about nine pounds lighter than I was a few weeks ago, despite the poor diet. I hardly sit down at all. The uncomfortable staging furniture and work list ensures that!

Hopefully the house will sell quickly. It will be good to settle down and be done with it all. 

Now I'm off to make sure the kids' rooms are clean and do some more work!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Getting Ready to Sell

Hubby has been in the Seattle area this week starting his new job. The rest of the family is down here in San Jose, working hard to finish all the repairs, painting, gardening, and cleaning. It's a lot of hard work, but we are steadily getting things done. It actually looks pretty good now. Barring any last minute surprises, we can get everything we need to be done tomorrow.

Today the surprise was a broken wheel on a sliding glass door. The place where I got the part from before had gone out of business, so I had to get the part across town. The man at the parts and repair place couldn't find what I needed new, so he gave me an old one for five dollars which worked adequately. Drumming Son helped me get it on in just a few minutes. It took longer to get the part than it did to fix it.

I had a lot of help this past week. There is no way I could have been ready in time, if it weren't for awesome family and friends. I'm sore and tired, but I can't imagine what I'd be like without the help.

I'm falling asleep as I'm writing this, so I'd better finish this post up. Thanks to all who have helped! I am blessed!