Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Just sharing.......

Lately I have been talking about the effect that Emma has had on Larissa by calling her ugly all the time.  I just had to share that today we went out to lunch at a fast food joint where an elderly gentleman told Larissa that she was pretty.

She doesn't get told that often by strangers.  Her face lit up when she was telling me about what he said to her.  It was a joy to see. 

It is amazing what an impact one nice comment, from one stranger, can have on a child.

Just sharing....

Our Weekend

I am slow in posting about our weekend here. The weather has been so beautiful so I have been doing some outside work. Nothing exciting to take pictures of so I have pictures of our weekend instead.

Saturday we made it to the skating rink again.  This time Michelle was able to skate.

Emma didn't skate.  She had to go with me because up until that morning I thought that she would so I promised my husband a break in the morning.  The morning of Emma had to test the waters and it didn't go well for her.

I have determined that many of my kids just don't trust my word.  This isn't just about postive things but negative as well.  I can promise them something positive or something negative and it doesn't matter, they don't believe either one.  You would think that after years of being as consistant as possible that they would start to realize that I mean what I say.  Do you think that perhaps they will never believe me.  Some days it feels that way.

Sunday we took off and went to Charleston.  I had someone to come in for my mom and off we went to spend the day with Tasha.  Ethan had to work.

We started out at the Angel Oak Tree which is 4-500 years old.  It was pretty big and the kids just couldn't seem to grasp the idea of a tree being older than me!

We went to a beach where the water was very cold.  We told the kids to stay dry since we hadn't brought extra clothing with us and I wasn't buying any.  Emma and Larissa did well with that.  The other two suffered through wet clothing a lot of the day.  Natural consequence.

We did lots of digging for crabs and such.

After the beach we went to the restaurant where Ethan works and had a nice meal before heading to downtown Charleston for shopping and site seeing.

Later we picked up Ethan and went to dinner.  After dinner we headed home. 

It was a very quick trip but it was nice spending time with Tasha and Ethan..  Enjoy your kids, all too soon they are off on their own!

If we don't receive any foster children soon we may do another day trip somewhere else in March.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


On Friday I met with Anthony's school team again. We talked for over an hour and really didn't come to any conclusion.  It felt like the last meeting we had.  Nothing resolved.  I thought that they were going to do some testing but hadn't.  I signed some paperwork for them to do so.

I asked about how he was doing on his ADHD medication.  I don't see any difference in his test scores.  He was off of his medication for 6 weeks and nothing dipped.  He has been back on them and nothing has improved.  They are still not sure.  I am giving them 2 more weeks to determine if they see that they are helping.  I am pushing this issue because if the medications don't help either they need changing or he doesn't have ADHD.  I don't want to medicate him if it isn't helping because the medication takes away his appetite and he is a skinny kid.  He needs his appetite.

His biggest problem is he is slow.  He doesn't complete his school work.  He doesn't complete his homework.  He takes forever to do chores.  He has no hustle.  How do you encourage hustling?

Today I worked on timed activities.  I took him and Larissa to the car wash.  I showed them the 7 dollars in quarters and showed the timer for washing and vacuuming.  We had to hustle if we wanted to get the car washed.

We got the car washed (somewhat) and moved onto the vacuuming.  I put in one dollar and when it ran out told him that whatever was finished with the last dollar would be it.

He actually did work faster even though the car didn't get finished.  He was surprised at how fast the time went and how quickly the money went. 

I may not have accomplished anything but I did get my car partially washed and vacuumed.

During the meeting they wanted to discuss Larissa.  They would like to get her back into school with a 504 plan.  I asked what accommodations would they consider.  They talked about her coming in later and then doing the morning work as homework.  I said that wouldn't work because after many hours in class she was wiped out and more homework is not an option.  A few other ideas were thrown around but nothing that made me interested in putting her back in.  I guess if I could tell them what we needed then they would try to accommodate her.  However, even I am not sure what to suggest.  The public school environment and requirements are just not for her at this time.  This is something that I am going to have to mull over.  I feel that eventually she needs to be back with her siblings so she can learn how to manage outside of the home.  Hopefully we can get her seizures under control and it will help.

In the meantime, I am looking for other opportunities to get some hustle into Anthony.  Suggestions?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Bipolar Update

A while back I posted about our challenges with Larissa -  Break My Heart . I think that it is time to do an update.

One huge change has been homeschooling.  The stress of school last year about tore Larissa apart.  She recently mentioned that she might like to go back next year.  I mentioned today that if she did that we needed to start working with the school to make sure she has everything that she needs in place.  She got real quiet and then said that maybe she doesn't want to go back.  I support her in the choice.  Actually right now I wouldn't let her go because her seizures are still not under control, I would hope that we have that under control by next school year.

Her medications have been completely changed.  At the end of last year she was on ADHD, seizure, anxiety and mood disorder medication and she was a mess.  Over the summer we took her off of everything.  She took nothing all summer, not even seizure medication.  She was having seizures on it so there really wasn't much of a difference.

First we went to a new neurologist who believes that Larissa can have a mood disorder problem (and thinks that all her issues are connected).  She put Larissa on a seizure medication that is also a mood disorder medication.  She still has seizures every night but not nearly as many as she was having.

We tried to put her back on ADHD medication but even at the lowest dosage she said that it made her feel sad.  Since we are homeschooling we decided not to medicate for ADHD.  We can make adjustments in the home and work for short periods of time with lots of breaks.  It is working great.  This was an area of concern for me with returning to school.  To be successful in the classroom she needs the ADHD medication.

We never tried to put her back on the anxiety medication.  I can see that she still has some of her selective mustim but it is not as bad as it was before we medicated for it.  I must say that when she started on the anxiety medication it broke her out of that world of silence.  At this time she will quietly answer a direct question.  She appears shy to others and is very quiet around people she doesn't know.  This is something that I constantly monitor.

So right now Larissa is on one medication, a seizure medication that is also a mood disorder medication.  Her seizures are not gone but what a change. I don't remember when she had her last crying period.  When she is upset she can break herself out of it.  I can also see that the manic periods are gone.  I guess that those periods can seem like total joy to some but they come at a cost.  What goes up must come down.  It isn't that Larissa doesn't laugh and enjoy life, she does.  She just doesn't have the uncontrollable ups that she did before.  She still is a sensitive child, but it is a normal type of sensitive. 

Now that she is in control her personality is coming out more.  She is such a loving child and has so much empathy.  She helps with the foster children and attaches with them.  She is able to engage in her classes without tears.  She is more confident and her natural curiosity is coming out.  She asks to learn about things that interest her.  Her current interest is presidents and she wants to take a field trip to Mount Rushmore.  She is happy.


Monday, February 17, 2014


I believe that children should have lots of free play time. Not time that we parents orchestrate, but play that the kids make up. I love to see creativity.

Last night as I walked through the house I could see evidence of play throughout the house.  Yes, my kids are great at play but not so great at picking up. 

With 4 kids with ADHD there is also a lot of flitting from one activity to another.  They were tired of their memory cards so decided to make their own cards.

I find scraps of paper everywhere. 

And random toys everywhere.

Play is very important for a child's development.  Many times we receive foster children who do not know how to play. When Anthony came he had no clue how to play.  There were a lot of guns in his home and all he knew was how to play guns. You could give him cars and he would hold them like a gun.  Give him blocks and he would put two together to make a gun.  It took a long time for him to learn how to play but he did learn.

When Emma and Michelle came they did do some playing but a lot of it was inappropriate and they didn't have much imagination.  They have come a long way and learned a lot from Anthony and Larissa. 

From play comes imagination.  From imagination comes dreaming. I can't imagine not knowing how to imagine, how to dream.  So, I put up with the messes and look at all the evidence that the kids are playing.  So if you come for a visit, please ignore the piles of papers, toys and general clutter.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Power of Words

Yesterday Larissa and I were shopping at Walmart. She was sitting in the front of the basket sitting on a big box.  A group of girls walked past and stared at Larissa.  One of those in your face stares that you really can't help but notice.  We get stares all the time and have talked about them at times when it has been so obvious.

Normally it is not a big deal.  Something was different this time.  Shortly after they walked past Larissa but her hat on her head and tried to hide her face in her lap.  It broke my heart to watch that reaction.

I went to her and asked her what was wrong.  She didn't answer.  I asked her if it was the girls that were staring at us.  She said yes.  I asked her why it made her hide herself.

Her response was they were staring because of her nose and she is ugly.  In spite of us telling her that Emma is just being mean and what she says is not true, Larissa has taken it to heart.

She has had black women come up to her and tell her that she has beautiful hair, that she has beautiful skin tone and that she is beautiful.  It doesn't happen as often as with Emma but it is heartfelt when they do.

I whispered to her that the girls didn't think she was ugly, that wasn't why they were staring.  She looked at me with doubt and I told her that those girls were wondering how that white mama had such a beautiful black child.  They were curious and confused, they didn't know about adoption like we do. 

She must have believed me because after a bit she sat back up and took her hat off.  I was happy to see that.  It made me realize that we need to talk more about our unique family with the kids.  It also made me realize that Emma's words are taking root and I need to do something to stop the bullying in my house.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Looking for Suggestions

Many days my daughter is told that she is cute, beautiful, pretty.  She is told this just about everwhere she goes.  She does have the blue eyes, blond hair, fair skin that actually tans in the summer.  However,  I would like to buy her a shirt that says "Please don't tell my child she is beautiful, she already know it." 

It has become a problem.

Truly, I don't mind that my child knows that she is pretty.  What I do mind is that she believes that she is the only pretty child in our home.  She cut our last foster child's hair out of jealousy, she also had blue eyes and blond hair.  When playing games with her sisters she will not allow them to play the "pretty girl" parts. 

She has been caught telling Larissa that she is ugly (over and over) and the other day she put her fingers up to her nose pushing it back while telling Larissa that is how her nose looks.  When watching TV if she sees someone who she doesn't consider to be pretty she will say that they are Larissa or Michelle.

We have been cracking down on this.  I have a zero tolerance level for this type of behavior.  The problem is she is not only hurting her sisters but I worry about her in the long run.

I wonder if she will develop an eating disorder to stay pretty (which also means slim).  I would rather she she the positive in herself that is not physical.  We have talked and talked about other positive attributes that I consider more important.  A cheerful and loving heart, kindness and compassion, generosity and tolerance. 

I tell her that physical beauty will fade, it is more important to have a beautiful heart.  I would rather that others would say things such as I love how you are sharing, I like how you show kindness, I see you are being patient.  That doesn't typically happen so we work on it at home.

I spite of all our talking and consequences for hurtful words nothing has changed.  So here I am asking for suggestions.  Movie ideas?  Book ideas? Different consequence ideas!  Anything?

It truly needs to stop.  I had an incident today that about brought me to tears and showed me the impact she is having on her sisters.  I will post that tomorrow.

In the meantime, suggestions?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Tasha and Ethan

Perhaps you have noticed a young man in a lot of my family vacation pictures.  Let me introduce him, his name is Ethan and he has been in a relationship with Tasha for three years now.

Disney trip.

Not too long ago I took a trip to Charleston to take Tasha my ring, I am now wearing my grandmothers ring.  Funny, they look a lot alike.

 Today Ethan proposed.  We are so excited to have Ethan join our family.  We all love him and he is not scared off by our family.

So now there is a wedding to plan.  They hope to marry in early summer because.....they are expecting a baby in September.  We are all excited about the new baby.  We fully expect to spoil the baby.  A lot of changes will be happening for Ethan and Tasha in 2014 and I believe it will be a great year for them.  (Love you both!)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Right in Front of Me

We have been weathering the snow storm in the south. Snow, ice and snow on top of it. It has been quite a storm for our area.

This morning I walked around our property to see if there was any more damage.  I took my camera to take pictures.  Sometimes those storms that bring so much damage can also bring beauty.

On the side of my yard I ran into these berries. Literally, they were right in front of me.  I didn't realize that this tree even had berries. They are normally above my eye level and I just never took the time to look up at them before.

I really don't think that they are normally as bright red as the snow and ice have made them.

They were beautiful, colorful and put in a place where I couldn't help but see them.

Right now we are weathering a different type of storm in our home.  It is not a weather storm but a fight for our children's futures.  For their emotional health.  For their hearts.

Sometimes I wonder what I overlook when going through the storm.  Sometimes I wonder if the answer is right there in front of me and I just don't see it.  Do I get too caught up in the storm that I miss something?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Storm Pax

The kids got out of school early yesterday and had no school today. Classes have been cancelled for tomorrow as well. I wonder if they will go on Friday.

Here in the south we really aren't prepared for snow.  Basically we stock up and hunker down.  The problem with this storm is there is ice mixed with the snow.

The kids have been enjoying the weather.  They typically go out for short periods of time and come in to thaw out.

Yes, Anthony is without gloves.  I didn't realize this until I went out to take his picture with his miniature showman.

Our gazebo is a casualty of this storm.  The roof colapsed in early this morning.

Our cats do not like the snow at all.  They made it as far as the trampoline and then used the protection as their bathroom location.  I told the kids to stay out from under there.  I didn't think it was an issue since they don't typically play there.  However, since I said to stay away Michelle had to do just that.  Sometimes I just don't understand my kids!

I am ready for spring. 

We are critically low on bread so I guess the kids will have soup for lunch tomorrow.  Actually we are running low on a lot of food items.  Tonight we were able to make a cake so all is well at this moment.  Tomorrow I will have to venture out for groceries.  Good thing our toilet supply is good!

Next week it is supposed to be in the mid -60s. 

How is the weather in your neck of the woods?

Monday, February 10, 2014

"Three Day Placement" Has Left

The girls who were to stay for three days left today to go with family.  It took a little longer than three days but still pretty quick for our county. The girls were in treatment (which means they were trying to keep them in their home with services) but were ordered into care by the judge when some things happened in the home.  A home study had to be done on the family member and they had to go back to court for the girls to be moved.

There was lots of activity in our house as we were packing the girls up and getting them ready.  Larissa was crying.  She is still mourning the last foster kids and was so helpful with the latest two.  She even changes diapers!  Larissa gets so attached to the foster kids and is the hardest hit when they leave.

In all that chaos Emma took advantage of my distraction and found candy in my desk area.  Obviously I need to clean out my desk. I am getting so frustrated with Emma's inability to make changes.  Any opportunity to take food she does.  Food is all over our house and we are having to make huge changes to fix that. 

When the weather is nice I pretty much have her play outside, no food to take out there so I don't have to be vigilant.  We have a snow/ice storm heading our way so that means a few days of constant supervision.  I like the carpet idea but if I had to leave the room she would get off the carpet to sneak.  Yes, she is wearing me down but I am not letting her know that!  Now that the little ones are gone I am going to totally revamp my kitchen and desk area.

Our plan is to take a break from foster care.  Our family really needs it.  Larissa needs time to process the loss of the last 4 kids.  I need time to take care of my chaotic home.  Have perpetual babies/toddlers/preschoolers gets tiring.  They like to send the younger kids to us because we don't work.  For the three day placement I totally understand.  It was a short term placement and someone who is working would have to get them in daycare for a very short term or the social worker would have to pick them up and keep them at the office all day until the foster parent gets off work.  I know that I wouldn't want to keep a 1 and 2 year old in my office!

So right now our plan is to say no to placement calls.  This is going to be so hard for me!  Wish me luck.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Pictures of Happenings at our House

If you have noticed that I don't post as many pictures lately it is because I don't. It isn't that I don't want to post pictures it is that for some reason internet explorer won't let me. If I want to post pictures I have to head over to Firefox to do so.  Since I don't typically hang out there a lot of posts don't get pictures put in them.

However, since I like to see pictures, I assume many others do as well.  So what follows is pictures from the last week.

Larissa in my college sweatshirt.  Sigh, I can't even begin to attempt to put that shirt on today.

Our play area.  I purchased a used swing set from someone I met online a while back.  The price included delivery and set-up!  Actually I couldn't afford it just yet so I messaged her and told her that if it was still available mid-month to let me know.  The next day she had a vet emergency and offered to deliver it for half down now and the other half at mid-month.  I went for it.  Now we are eating ramen but we finally have enough swings.

The kids are happy.  This area still needs a lot of work.  I need to get something down on the ground to slow down the amount of sand that comes into the house.

I haven't figured out a spot for the trampoline yet.  If you notice the ladder to the trampoline sits on the sidewalk.  When it was in the middle of the yard the kids were running around in the sand in their socks.  It works for now.  All the areas big enough for the trampoline are across the yard which means across the pool.  I am not comfortable with that.  Right now all the play stuff is right off the door to the left.

We had a beautiful sunny weekend.  Larissa just didn't understand why I wouldn't let her swim, she had a quiet little sulk over it.  Life is so hard when that bright blue water beckons you.

I told my poor husband that I wanted a faucet on the other side of the pool.  He is still setting up his well and spent a lot of his weekend digging the lines to my faucet.

I pulled my unfinished faerie house out of storage.  The front door needs a door knob, it really opens.  I am stumped, any suggestion on what to use?

Emma at bed time tonight.  Notice the wall that she tears up when she is raging and the poor mattress cover that is shredded.  Good thing I do all my own painting.

There you have it, most of our week in pictures. 

Soon...... a post about Tasha, she has given me permission.