Monday, February 29, 2016

Look at Me

One of Benjamin's new sayings is "look at me". Naturally I always do. I praise his newly learned skills. I acknowledge whatever he wanted me to see. I give him worth. When he was a baby I answered his cries. Everyone talks about how this develops attachment. I agree, it does.  However, I feel that it does much more. It shows a child that they have value, that they matter.

When kids don't get early attention they fail to develop attachments, they fail to thrive in many areas. Our 4 school age kids did not receive that early attention, attachment and sense of value. Larissa came to us as a baby yet she still struggled to overcome those few short months she spent laying alone on that bed. Anthony was 2 1/2 when he came into care.  Emma was 3 and Michelle 4.

Today I feel that all of my kids are attached to me. In some ways that was the easy part. I am finding that the harder issue is the lack of value leading to issues related to low self-esteem.

A two year old calling out "look at me" is much more socially acceptable than a 10 year old doing the same thing. Recently it came to my attention that Michelle was screaming "look at me" in a dangerous way.  The kids wait for the school bus in front of the house next door. Michelle as the main instigator was trying to get the attention of passing cars. Standing in the street, trying to touch the cars, dancing in the street, playing chicken with the cars.  Michelle, Emma and Anthony all got involved to some extent with Anthony doing very little.

After my initial shock I realized the need for attention is so great with Michelle that she will do anything to get it. It won't be long before we are in the teen years, I worry. We work on attachment and worry so much about developing a healthy attachment and yet we are struggling more with the strong need for attention. Issues related with self worth. It is hard. I have watched, some of the attention seeking behaviors that she has makes others uncomfortable. She has no friends who call the house, she struggles with her relationships with her own siblings. Her jealousy when others get attention hurts her relationships with them. The way she carries herself, eats strange, and other small things makes others look at her strangely. She loves that moment of attention but in the end she is actually pushing others away.  I have talked to her, tried to help her to find positive ways to get attention. However, I have not seen any change in her attempts to gain attention. We are a work in progress, just not seeing much progress at this moment.

Anyone else in that situation? You have attachmet but are dealing with the need for attention. Find any good strategies?

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Getting Back to Normal

I have been neglecting my blog. It is not that I have nothing to say but rather that by the end of the day I can't write coherently.  Most of the time I post at night and lately I have been painting at that time.

I think that after the next week I will be getting back to normal, if such a thing exists. It will be a different normal for us as I continue my new venture.

Every day this week I will be posting. So until tomorrow, have a great evening.

Benjamin is 2

How time flies. Our little one is now 2 years old. The tantrum stage started long ago so I wonder what this year will bring!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Busy, busy and more busy

I have been busy painting furniture...

small paining ideas for kids...or adults

Taking selfies with grandbabies...

Sitting around the VA so John could get shots in his neck (ouch)...

 Coming up with ideas for candle holders.....learning how to use my silhouette

holding my sleeping son...

Taking Sarah to Panera's and bringing her home...

Ordering a sign and putting it up ourselves because they wanted $165 to do it....

Taking Larissa to a dance performance. I was ready to no go when I realized it was an hour away.  Larissa insisted she had to be there.

We have been handwashing dishes around here. Ours is leaking and broke, finally died. No money to replace it because all our money is going into the store!

Thne I have been painting some more. Midnight is the normal paint time for me. Tasha is painting as well. We need to fill those walls.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Painting Away

I purchased a gray piece. After I started the base painting I still wasn't sure what direction I was going until yesterday.  Suddenly it spoke to me and requested a saying on the drawers. I quickly finished it after that. Whoever had the piece before smothered it in gray. I don't think that they saw the female features of the piece.

George approves.

I spent a little time at the shop today while the kids were in dance.  Benjamin helped.

I have tow issues, the lack of covering of the electrical wires coming out of the circuit breaker and the hot water heater. The owner is supposed to take care of the circuit breaker. I need to get with him to do it soon so I can get inspections soon.

 We are busy creating and painting. Not sure where we will stand on the 1st yet.

Monday, February 15, 2016


Today I only spent part of the morning at the store with Larissa and Benjamin. We got internet and phone hooked up. I wanted to go back up to paint this evening but chose to stay home and paint. I painted a project for a painting class. Tasha and I are both painting.

School is coming along in all fronts. Emma is doing well except for math. She needs evaluated in that area. She is happy in the 2nd grade and I know that she is in a good placement.

I was supposed to have a meeting this week at school about Michelle. Very poor grades, think 20's, led me to believe that perhaps she needed to be held back as well.  I think that she realized that I was serious and last week she brought home the best grades she has ever brought home.  She was so proud of herself and was loving the praise. I hope that it doesn't backfire because historically when she gets praise she tends to backslide. I cancelled the meeting. It felt good to cancel a meeting because your kid is doing well.

My mom continues to slowly decline. I can see it. Her eating fluctuations, her lack of interest in many things, Benjamin continues to climb into her bed a lay with her. I also see the return of eating and brief periods of interest in life around her.

Kassi received a sad phone call, her grandfather passed away. She was telling me about all these family members who came to his house to look for stuff that I had to wonder where they all were when she came into care. She is not in his will so I advised her to stay out of the property battle. Just make sure that she has all of her stuff. When money comes into the picture, people lose their common sense.

We have a lot going on in all areas of life.

Ha, well I started this a few days ago and forgot about it. I will just post it although I imagine I had more to say!

Uncle Benjamin/Store Progress

Noah spent the night with us Saturday. He also went to church with us on Sunday where he slept the entire time.

As usual for our Sundays we have friends over and have a big meal. At one point I was sitting next to my friend Angela holding Noah. Benjamin was sitting at the table on my other side. I asked Angela to hold Noah so I could make my mom a plate. Immediately Benjamin said OK and put his hands out. I placed Noah in his arms (I was supporting him but Benjamin thought he was the only one holding him). He looked at us and requested Noah's bottle. We handed it to him and he fed him.

Later Noah was on the table about to be changed and was fussing. Benjamin came and held his hand. He was so proud of his caregiving. I was too.

It is nice to watch your children learn from you. He keeps us on our toes but he is very loving too. He is a hitter and I can see he is learning.  This morning he came at me with all his exuberance and when I said ouch he backed off and started patting my leg. He is such a sweet boy!

On the store front, I am working away. I forgot that this was a short month! I don't seem to have enough hours in the day. I got a few old doors and have been building a counter. Jason helped with the construction.

I did some block painting in the front and the floors are done. I haven't had time to do much with the bathroom and the hot water heater will be installed on Thursday.

A friend gave me a small plaque.

 I have a few furniture pieces finished and some samples for classes. However, I need to figure out what I am going to fill the shop with! I don't have much time. Hmmm...what was I thinking!?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Don't Spoil Your Foster Child

Don't spoil your foster child.  Seems like a mean thing to say. This doesn't mean that you should love, care for and buy things for your foster child. Perhaps the title should be parent your foster child.

The other day I was talking with Emma and Michelle. I wanted to know why they persist on screaming when they are corrected. We talked about how it didn't help them at all. Somehow this lead to a conversation about their last two placements. I have read their record. I saw the report that the last adoptive home read. There was no mention of tantrumming for hours on there. I can see why they were overwhelmed, especially since they never fostered before. They were not ready at all and that led to another move for the girls.

I asked them if they did that tantrumming in the foster home they were in before going to the adoptive placement.  Michelle has the most memories of that time and she told me no. I said that I wondered why they tantrummed in one home and not the other.

Michelle had the answer, she said it was because they were spoiled in the foster home. I asked what she meant by spoiled because that can mean many different things. She said that whenever they started to have a fit they gave into them. They also got whatever they wanted. She said that they received everything there. Ride on cars, dress up clothing and junk food all the time. Funny thing is, all that stuff they "got" didn't go with them. They came with the garage sale clothing and broken toys.

But worse, they left that home with the expectation that when they wanted something they just had to throw a fit. Because of that experience they struggled in their other placements. Emma started the major tantrumming. They both came with terrible eating habits that we still struggle with today. Michelle's biggest struggle is with the sense of rejection.

Those foster parents might have thought that those "poor foster children" needed spoiling. However, their lack of parenting created problems down the line with behaviors and expectations. Foster children don't need to be spoiled with things and low expectations. They can be spoiled with love and acceptance. Children need to be parented to show them how to behave in acceptable ways. They need to be parented and guided.

I wonder how many foster kids go home and have terrible behaviors because of lack of parenting from their foster parents. I can't imagine how difficult that would have to be if they were struggling to keep their family together and have kid who tantrum to get their way and expect to be given everything that they want. When we had foster children who were heading home I would talk with the parents and tell them how we deal with different issues. If they are little I tell them what their bedtime routine is, what they like to eat, what soothes them. I try to ensure that their reunification is as smooth as possible for the child and the parent. This would apply for the adoptive placement as well. I still have relationships with some of those families today.

Foster children need to be set up for success not failure. Having a disrupted adoptive placement because of behaviors that were reinforced in the foster home is not setting a child up for success. If you want to be a foster parent, don't forget the parent part.  They need it.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Loving Life

Videos tell it all.  I love my kids and grandbabies.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Day 7

On Saturday we had a party for a friend of mine, 13 kids showed up. I started out by giving a small lesson in mixing paint and using the brushes. The kids were very attentive and excited.

Some of the kids painted Star Wars theme pictures and others painted owls. A few little ones painted abstract art. Larissa and Sarah helped out with handing out paint and supplies as needed. I plan on taking different kids to the parties to help out.

We have a handprint wall where the kids can put their handprint on once they have painted at the shop. They loved it.

There was lots of clean up which made me realize I am going to need a hot water heater soon. I had to take the brushes home to clean them properly. (No I didn't leave them soaking in the water, that ruins them)

The party went great. We have discussed some flow issues and are working on making it better. One of my challenges is how to occupy the kids that have shown up while waiting on the later kids. We are still trying to figure that out. We don't want kids running around all over the place when we have art in the front of the store.

Apparently news of our little studio is getting around town. I had numerous women come up to me at church wanting to know when we were opening and asking lots of quesitons. Opening date is March 1st. I have a lot to do and some of it is waiting on the next payday! Tomorrow I am getting a phone and internet. Getting a phone number will allow me to design my business card. This week I plan on opening a bank account and researching debit/credit card systems. I also need to work on the front of the store and do some painting.

I can't believe that I am doing this! A small part of me worries that it will fail.  Another part of me says that the worse failure is not trying. And yet another part is just plain terrified.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Day 6

I should have ordered some orange aprons!

Today we put up more supplies and organized a bit. 

We took the kids to Chick Fil A for dinner.  Benjamin loves cole slaw.

The painting studio is pretty much finished. We still need to get pictures on the walls but that will come with time. I painted the last wall area white and now need to finish the floor at some point. Then I can do some colorblocking and get some stuff painted and on the wall. We have been rushing to get the studio finished because I promised a friend that I would give her son a painting party. Tonight I painted some samples so tomorrow will be a trial run.

So tired, good night!

Day 5

Another wall to paint. I have been told that the pink paint was put there 25 years ago. I wonder when the top wallpaper border was put up. I am guessing the late 80's. This wall is getting painted white. Larissa was shocked. There will be blocks of color put up at some point.

Supplies are coming in, I am broke.  Need cheap meal ideas!

I love the floor painting and the green childrens table.

Larissa came from dance next door and wanted to paint some of the floor.

I got home to a whiney, fussy baby. He had a slight fever so I oiled him up and cuddled a bit. I figured that I would have to make a doctors appointment in the morning.  However, he woke up happy and fever free so I oiled him up again and watched him.