Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Her Heart

Apparently playing juror at the Renaissance Festival has been eating at Larissa. All the jurors had lines to say. Larissa's was "kill, kill, kill".  She later told me that she was terrified to go up when she got picked but happy as well.

Larissa was very attentive and did her part very well.  I was actually proud of my little shy one.  She stood up and chanted her part very well.....even when I was accused of being a witch.
With each person the judge would show leniency because of the festivities and give funny punishments.  As a witch I got a sprinkling of water. 

It was like a play so I really didn't think much of it until I got this from Larissa.......

Apparently it had been bothering her that she said her part for me too.  I told her that it was just a play and I was very proud of her courage in saying her part.....and I love her too.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Teaching Respect

Do you teach your kids respect?  Do your kids struggle with showing respect?

I know that in our house we struggle with children who struggle with showing respect.  It seems like when they finally understand that at our house we expect them to show respect something happens to make them test that fact.  Typically it is them watching kids who do not show any respect to their parents.

Our challenge of the month is Anthony.  He has been doing so well.  Really showing growth and improving on his behaviors.  Then we put him in Boy Scouts.  We thought this was a good thing.  Unfortunately, it has not proven to be so.  John does the activities with Anthony (which is why you don't see any pictures from the activities).  After every event John comes home and tells me that the kids do not listen to their parents at the meetings and are very wild. 

The turning point was a weekend camp out a few weekends ago.  It was bad.  The kids were so disrespectful.  Anthony came home to try it out.  It didn't go well for him so then he got his anger back.  Anger we haven't seen since he got put on his mood disorder medication. He has tried flat out ignoring me, picking on the girls, ignoring restrictions.  Finally this weekend I pulled out the big guns....I told him that he seems to forget that everything he receives comes from us, the parents.  You don't disrespect the person who is supporting you. Anyone use that?

This weekend I told him that I was not going to spend any money on him outside of the home until he turns his behavior around.  He was able to go to the Renaissance Festival because kids were free.  However, he had to pack a lunch because I wasn't going to buy him any food there.  He missed out on bread soup bowls, turkey legs and chocolate covered marshmallows.  He also didn't have the opportunity to jump on the bouncy thing.

I am frustrated.  It seems that so many parents don't expect anything from their children.  They allow their children to talk to treat them with disrespect.  They haven't established a strong separation from parent and child.  I don't know how many times I have told my children that I am not their friend and that they are the child.  Sure there comes a time when that relationship starts to tip.  I am more of a friend with my adult children, but I am also someone that they come to for advice.  They trust that what I have to say has value.  We respect each other.  I give my opinion but recognize that they are adults and don't have to use it.

These kids grow up and become the adults within our society.  How will our society look with so many people showing disrespect for everyone and everything.  Highest incarceration rate in the world?  If you look it up we actually are rated number 1. 

Disrespect is only one of my pet peeves.  Other big ones for me are a sense of entitlement, lying and not taking ownership for their own actions.

What are your pet peeves for behavior in your children?

Subtraction Problem

How would you work the following problem?

What is 57-14?

In the olden days I would teach...line it up and subtract each column

- 14

Today I had a 2nd grader over who needed help with her math homework.

The answer was......

57 - 14
change 14 to 10 and 4

57  - 10 = 47

47 - 4 = 43

57 - 14 = 43

Personally, I prefer the old way.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Renaissance Festival 2013

We headed back up to North Carolina for the Renaissance Festival today. This required a lot of coordination. I had to get someone to sit with my mom and a foster family took my foster kids for the day. We are not allowed to take them out of state unless we have prior approval.

The weather was beautiful and the crowds were not bad at all today. 

At the first show we went to Larissa got picked to be a juror.  There were three jurors and each had a line to say and Larissa did a great job. 


I got picked for a role too.....


I got sprinkled.

The girls got to do the bounce thingy.  (Not sure what it is called)

Larissa went the highest.  She wanted to flip but was scared to do so.

Emma was the most timid and had no interest in flipping.

Then Michelle flipped.

After watching Michelle flip Larissa regretted not flipping.  She talked about it all afternoon.

It was Halloween weekend so the kids got in for free and they had trick Or Treating at all the little shops.  The kids ate candy all day long. (The yellow bags were supplied at the entrance)

We enjoyed the shows.

Michelle was chosen to be a plate holder.  She was delighted.


Emma started the day with a face painting, it didn't last long.  She added chocolate covered marshmallow to the mix.

I loved the little dragon incense burner that this lady made.  Joselin bought me one.  I was surprised, I am not used to my kids buying stuff for me.

We watched a little of this puppet show but left in the middle of it.  Some of the shows are for adults only and I am not sure if this was one or not.  The content had a little too much adult content for me.

On the way out we went past the bounce thingy.  I decided to spend $6 and let Larissa try to flip.  I know that if she didn't try to flip she would fret over it until next year.  $6 seemed like a small price for a do-over.  Yes, she flipped and she talked about how she flipped for the rest of the day, money well spent.

There is so much to see at the renaissance festival.

(The secret to how short people get their picture taken.)

Next year, we plan on dressing out again.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Stress Reliever

My biggest stress reliever is painting. A few months ago I purchased this small chest of drawers for $50.  It has been sitting in the middle of my dining room waiting for me.  I figured that when I got some housekeeping done I could start on it.  I finally realized that I would never get the housekeeping done so I went ahead and did the project.

When looking for furniture to paint I look for solid wood furniture and my price point is typically $50, unless it is a really unique piece.  Sometimes the furniture needs a lot of work and I can get it cheaper.  This one was in excellent shape so it didn't need much prep at all.  I sell my furniture for a small profit so I can afford to buy another piece.  If I kept everything I painted you wouldn't be able to walk in my house.

This was actually a very simple project.  For painting all I had to do was take off the knobs, clean and lightly sand it. 

For the zig-zag I used a new tape product that I found at Lowe's called Shape Tape from Frogtape.  It was a little costly (about $14) but I loved it.  For this chest of drawers I used less than one roll of tape and best of all there was no bleed through.

I did strip the knobs and reuse them.  This was a very simple project and was completed in two evenings during commercial breaks.

I found another little chest of drawers for $50 so my next project is sitting in the garage.

So share, what do you do to relieve stress?

Monday, October 21, 2013


I have been struggling to keep up lately.  Don't get me wrong, my house is always a mess and the laundry is never done.  But lately I have been just so weary, not keeping up at all.  The kids have been winning the might know of it, the lets destroy the house battle.

Then last week my neck started hurting.  Not a sore throat type of pain but a lower neck, in the front type of pain.  Then it dawned on me, that is where my thyroid is located.  18 years ago I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.  This means that my thyroid is not working as it should and it affects my metabolism.  For the first 10 years I was on a very low dose of medication.  However, the last 8 years I have had several times when my thyroid was "out of whack" (doctor description).

Lately I have been gaining weight and have been overly tired.  Once the throat pain started I was reminded of my thyroid.  I have never had thyroid pain before so that is new to me.  Wednesday I go in for blood work to check my thyroid function and then next week I talk to the doctor.  Hopefully the neck pain will go away by then.  Is it bad to hope that my numbers are off and my medication needs to be increased? That would be an easy fix. 

Anyone with hypothyroidism or neck pain?  I am really curious if anyone else with hypothyroidism has had neck pain as well.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fun Days

My three little monsters.....seems so appropriate!
 (We took these pictures on that wall because it is the only clean spot in the house!  Something always seems to get in the way of cleaning.  Sigh.)
Larissa and Michelle actually played well together today!  It is rare and nice to see.

We had movie night tonight, The Croods. 
Waiting for the popcorn to pop.  Ignore the clock, it needs new batteries.  Actually it has needed new batteries for a very long time.

Once again Emma did not make it to the end of the movie, she fell asleep somewhere along the way.  She is my extra early riser and really doesn't do late nights.
This has been a very busy week.  I took Larissa to her neurologist.  Actually the neurologist has moved out of town so she saw the nurse practitioner.  Honestly, I had moved from this office to one out of town because of the old neurologist.  I went back because I had heard that he left.
I actually liked the lady she saw.  She actually took the time to talk with me about all of Larissa.  Since we had taken her off of all medications early in the summer she was able to start her on a new seizure medication that is also used for mood disorders.  That is what I was hoping for and I was pleased when she brought up the idea.  There are several seizure medications that are also used for mood disorders.  I find that very interesting.  Now we will work on the dosage needed to stop the seizures.
I did learn more about her seizures.  Apparently a lot of kids with nocturnal seizures eventually outgrow them unless they are coming from the frontal lobe.  Naturally Larissa's seizures are in the frontal lobe.  She will have to take medication to control them all her life.  On top of that we will have to watch to see if they eventually start to happen at other times.  She thinks that the few seizures I saw last year were from the ADHD medication.  Right now she is not on any ADHD meds so that effect has been taken out.
I guess I need to get used to the work epilepsy.  I always say that Larissa has seizures.  The NP kept talking about her epilepsy.  I don't know why the word seizures is less scary to me than epilepsy but it is.  Tasha used to have febrile seizures that she outgrew.  I guess I keep hoping that Larissa will outgrow it.  Sometimes we parents are simply in denial.
The weather is changing here.  Fall is definitely on its way.  I believe that I may have to pull those winter clothes out of storage soon.  I am not looking forward to it because here the weather changes so often that summer clothing may be needed in December. That is a lot of clothing out in my closet.  Anyone pull out winter clothing yet?
With the arrival of fall I realized that this month is Michelle and Emma's two year anniversary.  They have now been in our home two years and adopted 5 months.  It doesn't seem that long ago that I received the placement call.  I am finishing up my paperwork for our last adoption and wonder what the future holds for us.  I am sure that it won't be boring.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Moving Day

A few months ago Joselin was having problems with her roommate and was about ready to move back home.  However, she got a better job that would have been impossible to keep living out here in the boonies. Instead she chose to move into a hotel that you rent by the week.  She has been living there for 3 months while saving for a place of her own.

Today I helped move her into her own place.  She is renting a cute little 2 bedroom duplex.  I am so proud of how far she has come.  She is a hard worker and has really grown.  She has rebuilt her relationships with her siblings and has really connected with Sarah.  She didn't ask me for money to help her (we would have if asked). 

I went shopping and got her some basics and a few nice things for her new place.  It is amazing how much stuff you have in your kitchen alone.  When all the kids get their first place we typically get the basics; toilet paper, cleaning supplies, broom, dishes, silverware, pots, can opener and such.

It will be interesting to see how she chooses to decorate her place....she looks so happy.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

What a Mess

I don't know what it is about our couch but at least once a month I have to pull it out for cleaning.  It is amazing how much stuff gets found at that time.  I grab a broom and sweep everything to one big pile.  The kids are told to pick their stuff up or it will go in the trash.  They have learned that I mean what I say but they are so slow about the picking up.  It is as though they are in a competition to see if they can pick up the least.

I occasionally sit on the couch to watch TV, otherwise I would wonder why we needed one.  What are your hot spots for messes?  This is just one of ours.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Running on Empty

I just can't seem to get any motivation these days.  I find that I am forgetting things and simply not keeping up like I normally do.  I am not sure what it is but I hope that it quickly passes!  Normally I am caught up on something but at this time I am behind on everything.  I wonder if it is the change in season.

Do you ever reach that point where you have so much to do that you can't seem to get started and do any of it? I am at that point.

John and Anthony are gone for the weekend at Boy Scout camp so I hope to get some work done around the house.  I am not sure if that will actually happen but I will try. 

Anyone else feeling a fall slump or is it just me?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Foster Care - Temporary?

Foster care is supposed to be temporary. Anthony and Larissa were foster children for 3 years before they got TPR.  Emma and Michelle were pretty close to that too.  I just don't understand this.  It shouldn't take 3 years for the courts to determine that the parents are not able to work their plan. 

I think that if these children were able to be adopted sooner then less damage would be done.  I know that the extended visitation for three years had an impact on Anthony and Larissa's behaviors.  Anthony acted out for 3 years and Larissa developed severe anxiety issues.  Three years of these behaviors makes it harder to change once they are adopted.

With Emma and Michelle long placement in foster care meant many moves.  Seven different homes in a span of a few years caused extreme harm to these girls.  Sometimes I think that they were hurt more by their time in foster care than from their biological family.

When I read about kids coming into care as babies and then aging out of the system 18 years later I feel both angry and sad.  Our system has failed these kids.  They go out into the world without a family. 

The following article is about a child trying to find a family before he ages shouldn't be that way.

Orphan Pleads for a Family

Monday, October 7, 2013


The weather here was hot over the weekend.....about 90 degrees hot. It gave us one last opportunity to enjoy the pool.

The kids are coming along.  Anthony swims well in the shallow end.  He can swim underwater the entire length.  However, he is afraid of the deep end.  I imagine that he will conquer the deep end once the slide is put in.

I have told all the kids that to do the slide they have to be able to jump into the deep end and then swim the entire length of the pool.

Emma has been my most timid swimmer.  She has not been really getting in and trying...until yesterday.  She is now moving along and quite proud of herself.

Larissa is my best swimmer.  She is the only one who loves jumping into the deep end and swimming the length of the pool.  She wakes up wanting to swim and wants to swim before bed time.

Michelle is somewhere between the abilities of Emma and Anthony.  Unfortunately she lost swimming privileges for the weekend. 

I laid out some of our old pavers and placed my swing in a position to sit and watch the kids.  I need to reseal the swing put have been really enjoying the location.  The budget for the pool landscaping is zero so everything we do at this time is with our labor with what items we have around the yard.

The weather is turning cooler this week so this may be the last swim of the season.  Today it is rainy and cooler.