Wednesday, June 17, 2015

More Broken Glass

Apparently today is a good day to be mad. At what? I don't know... Neither does he!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


After a very difficult couple of days with James where we ended up with a smashed window and other broken and destroyed belongings I made the snap decision to have him stay at respite while we went away for the weekend. This was our long awaited trip to the ocean. It was such a crazy busy start with Vanessa graduating from nursing school on Friday and us trying to get all our ducks in a row to be able to leave. Mostly we were trying to get the water automated on the gardens and packing for the trip. Packing for a trip for 12 people is no small feat.... especially when it comes to food, and then especially when you have the bright idea that it would be a good idea to feed the whole church (100 people) breakfast Sunday morning in honor of Vanessa's graduation! :-) Yes, our whole church was going on this retreat on the beach. Someone anonymous had rented every single cabin at Rosario for all of us. It was wonderful. Missy somehow is not half as intense when she's not with her twin so it was like have two less kids.  Our next leg of the journey took us to San Juan Island... We stood on the whale watching point and watch more orcas then I have ever seen. It was truly spectacular. We are home now. James was no worse for being left behind. He's matter of fact about it all and helped me clean the garage this morning. Missy on the other hand was as crabby as all get-out and screamed and cried MOST of the day over a 20 minute task I asked her to do. Oh well. You win some, you lose some. And you guessed right, I did not give in. She eventually decided to sweep the porch. It would have been easier before it got to almost a hundred degrees, but that was her choice.

My sister-in-law suggested I really needed to write again... You can see I'm really into it.  Ha! Sorry. I tried.

The kids.

Drakie was so into the whale watching!!

This girl. She was SICK, SICK... lost so much weight and was kind of sedate to say the least, but she is recovering.
I'm watching Drake run from the waves. I don't think he had ever seen the ocean before. He expected the water to stay put.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Stuck in the Pound and Stuck in Jail

I only hear from her when she WANTS something. I've been hearing a lot from the 4 kiddos' mom lately. She was calling me multiple times a day from jail. I couldn't answer every time. It costs me $5 a call. She wanted someone to post bail.... The bond was only $250, but NO one was willing to pay it because none of us believed it would be in her best interest. The charges were stolen vehicle and a burglary, etc... It's all drug driven. At the last moment she found someone to pay it. She is a great manipulator and at court she convinced someone she would do good even though her rap sheet is as long as my arm.  She promised to go to treatment, but her promises are nonsense. A few days later she called me again. Her dog had been taken to the pound and it would cost $190 to get it out and she wanted me to go get the dog and she would pay me back later....  Before the day was over she was back in jail for 3rd degree theft. I did not go get the dog and felt some guilt about it, ugh, I did not want a wire-haired terrier who might chase chickens and is 8 yrs old and has seizures. Her Ex was willing to pay the $ if I would take the dog, but Steve and I agreed we didn't want it and who knew when the gal would get out of jail to claim it again.... so I didn't. Surprisingly she got out of jail the next day (three pending charges) and called to get her dog from me, which I didn't have.  When she went to see the dog at the pound someone had already adopted it.  UGH! I feel bad. She loved that dog more than she loved her kids. She is slowly being stripped of everything of her own doing but she accepts no responsibility for any of it. It's always someone else's problem and this time it's my fault she lost the dog.  It feels yucky, but we're walking a fine line of helping and enabling and sometimes it is hard to know which is which. Here's hoping the dog is with a good family who wants it and will care for it.  I'm pretty sure her old master will be back in jail for a long time soon. One of these days her manipulations will no longer work for her.  It's a sad, sad, deal....  The thing she needs to do the most she will not do.
The view from my garden.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Today was OT again. James' new goal is thirty minutes of continuous play on the obstacle course to increase endurance. He lasted 5 minutes. He was COMPLETELY winded. Done.  He is so weak in his upper body, arms and hands that he is FAR behind his twin in this area.

Missy continues to blow through all the goals.

This is really surprising to me. She's  the one who can swim best, ski best, jump the highest, etc... but I thought it had to do with her mindset and his total fear of everything. Intellectually he seems more on top of things, but apparently, according to the therapists she has WAY fewer struggles physically and does not have so many UN-integrated reflexes. That is a real surprise to me because we've always been told otherwise, but she is proving quite strong and determined.

My sister's kids are here. Today they were riding mountain bikes and doing jumps. Missy joined them... Let's just say she came out a little damaged and learned that 15 year old style of bike riding is seriously beyond what she should be attempting. :-)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Gardening Season

 is here. We are busy. I have, as usual, many tomato plants. More than ever, really. We are trying new things in the garden and increasing our plantings by quite a bit. We ordered a new greenhouse, but it won't arrive until the middle of May. It took us too long to decide on which one we wanted, apparently so our limited space has been a real challenge.

My nephews are living with us for awhile so we turned the laundry room into a bedroom with bunk beds.

The twins are doing fairly well. I went to Texas for about a week and it was a rough re-entry with James. And a very, very hard reality to be faced with for me. He usually does well, but when he loses it he can be physical and I usually take the brunt of his crazies. He got in a good punch to my face... but He's not strong or big yet and thankfully on the fearful side yet, so if he threatens me with a stick I will usually use it for my protection once I get it away from him. Either that or I grab the broom and just hold it. No need to use it. Just hold it as a sign that he can't try anything. But it certainly feels like a hostage situation. He zeros in on me and I can't get away without paying the price of a dent to my car or damage to the house. Thankfully, this is not often. I recorded the last tantrum and showed it to him many hours later. He couldn't bare watching it. It upset him and he cried like a baby and was remorseful.  Our quest is to avoid going there in the first place.

The kids are both doing well in therapy. MIssy is especially making strides. Her core strength and abilities are improving very impressively. James needs it for sure. I think he is being helped by it, but it is not so obvious. I take them every time there is a cancellation call, so they get to go about 3 times a week. It's rather disruptive to school, but at this point this is more important.

I learned some concerning things about what is being promoted and taught in Missy's Montessori. It is upsetting enough that one Christian teacher is leaving... (so the gossip goes and I don't have a backup on that.). I have had no issue with Missy's teacher. She's a very sweet gal with an unusual ability to deal with kiddos. I like her a lot, but it is a small school growing too fast (in my maybe not so humble opinion.) And perhaps the number of kids is not conducive to having a special needs kiddo with some behavior issues??  But more importantly, I am really bothered by the New Age-y feel the owner seems to lean towards and seems to be growing stronger in. I haven't spent a lot of time there, and Steve hasn't been there much at all, but he's had this sense that it isn't exactly what we were hoping for. And so...... Oh dear. I don't even know what to write about the turmoil we are in thinking about next year and what we should do....

We had Missy's class here for a picnic on Friday. The balsamroot, lupine and phlox are in full bloom and the kids call our hill Sunflower Heaven. We live on Flowery Divide... the blossoms are incredible. We had the kids collect the eggs and enjoy the chicks and I had them each transplant a tomato seedling and take it home. It was a good field trip for Missy to "host" for her "friends". Poor kiddo doesn't actually seem to be friends with any of them. Same for James at his school.

My kiddos think they are on vacation or something, so I best get off this computer before the behaviors get out of hand. Besides, the tomato plants are calling!

here's a link to the youtube advertisement Brianna made for me: Drakie is our star!  Be sure to watch it on HD.

Monday, March 30, 2015


Spring break is over for the college girls. Today they go back to school.  It wasn't long enough. There might have even been a few tears because it wasn't long enough, but the calendar moves on. There's only one quarter left for Vanessa and then she prepares to take the Nclex exam to become an RN!

Spring break for the twins is this week. Yesterday they were good and helpful and happy all day. It was nice. We worked together in the garden and yard. James really got into weed-whacking and mowing. The lawn mower is nearly dead. It can barely to do the flat part of the lawn in front of the house so Steve said the pasture had to be mowed with the weed whacker and since the kids are planning a "campout" in the pasture with Vanessa and the bonus kids for Thursday James is all gung-ho to get it mowed. What he doesn't know is his dad is bringing home a used riding lawn mower tonight! It's the kiddo's dream. He even asked for one for Christmas so this is going to be a good surprise.

Missy filled 4 inch pots with potting soil for me to transplant tomatoes into, and planted seeds for me in the square foot garden apple bins. Do you know how much coordination it takes to plant seeds? yikes. lol. I made the holes... and then I had to watch to make sure A single seed got into each hole. I only let her plant seeds that are large enough for her to handle.

The twins are in a good place right now. Hoping it lasts because visitors are coming today.

I'm a little stressed. I have to drive to Seattle to pick up my sister and her kids flying/busing from the Yukon. I'm a country bumpkin at best. City driving freaks me out. I'm taking Christina to help me navigate. She might end up driving!!  The nephews are staying for an extended period of time. . .

Coming back to the bonus kids (the little guys that used to be our foster children and their siblings)... They are doing very well. They are here often and they love it here, still. They have calmed right down and they are cheerful and joyful and enjoying just being kids. It's wonderful. Their dad is doing great with them and he and his parents and sister are doing an amazing job raising the kids.  BUT Their mother is not okay. She's in jail and she might be there a long time. She calls and calls and calls. Every time I answer it costs me 5 dollars... which is not in my budget multiple times a day, but I have been trying to encourage her to look to Jesus. However, I am not answering every call. She is desperate to find someone to pay the bond on her bail. It was only $250 as it is just small percentage of the bail. There is NOT a single soul in the whole wide world who would pay that for her. Not her biological father, not her adopted father, not her step-father, not her children's father, not friend or foe - and I've talked to nearly every one of them.  How sad of a story is that??!!  None of her begging or pleading or manipulating is getting her out of this one. No one believes that paying the bond will help her and no one will be party to enabling.  I had to tell her flat out, "It's not about the money at all. Anyone of us would give it to you in a second if we felt it would HELP you." I have never heard such frantic pleading for something that is in my power to give and yet I stand firm on the principle and turn a deaf ear. She's in for burglary, stolen vehicle and driving with a suspended license. The oldest child says, "Hi mom!" as they drive past the courthouse/jail. She believes her mother is safer in jail than out as drugs is the bottom line for that woman.

The weather has been unusual. We are a month ahead in every way. I try not to think what that means for August in terms of wild fire. We are just enjoying it to the fullest.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

OT Again

After what I wrote last we've been to OT twice and both times were super positive. I felt like the therapists were making an effort to team with us and not change everything.

I'm done my quail job. Whew. Remind me never to really get into animal farming - not really a possibility seeing we are vegetarian, but I do love plants. Plants don't poop. I'm breathing easier, though I have to stay away from dust and hay and such now that my lungs got going with the asthma.

Steve is out getting a backhoe to clear our spot for the new greenhouse today . . .  YAY! (and to work on our water problems~)

Brianna finished her finals early and is in Oklahoma visiting her farmer...
Vanessa finished finals yesterday for this quarter. One to go and she will be an RN.
Christina has finals today and tomorrow. I am particularly anxious for this quarter to be done. Too many sciences. All she does is school and study. We want our girl back. Next quarter she's going to take a lighter load.
James successfully entered the science fair project that took nearly the whole family to put together. I still have a beef about the requirements school puts on the kid. Life takes time for him. He can't do school ALL the time. In fact we had to keep him home from school to finish up his science project - it's true.
Missy got the flue and it lasted 12 hours. She's back to school today.

Well, it's a new day. Have to go take down all the frost cloths from over my hundreds of tomato plants.

Monday, March 16, 2015


We started OT at a very good independent therapy office.  The twins have a lot of basic skills and core strength building and reflexes to work on. It's fun and they love it. I think it is very good for the kids.

We have been going three times a week.

This last week, though, I only took the kids once. I needed the break. I think the therapists think they are going to correct the children's explosive behaviors through their work. And, yes, if life is a bit easier on the kids and they aren't tired out from having to work so hard to do basic things, maybe it will calm them in some ways. BUT it is not going to solve our very deep emotional problems  (RAD) and self-centeredness. I was getting the feeling, though, that the therapists do not have a good understanding of RAD and they kind of look at me sideways, or correct my wording of certain situations when explosive behaviors come up. Like maybe they think I don't know anything. The last session I stayed in the car while Brianna went in and then I canceled other appointments just for last week.

I am not going to say much, I'm just going to get the therapy the kids need. I am grateful they get this opportunity and thankful it is paid for.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Finding Balance

It's hard not to wobble around on the balance thing.

At one end we say, "We have to do EVERYTHING possible to help these kids. We can leave no stone unturned. If we come to the end of the journey and we knowingly did not try something that might have improved their lives how could we live with ourselves? They need every chance we can give them."

The other end of the wobble is that allowing myself to become totally immersed in the their problems and being all consumed with trying to help them is not healthy. It's a recipe for depression and despair. It's not a good place for our whole family. I have to have outside interests and a life outside of the kids.

But those outside interests and that other life can't compete with caring for the kids and their needs.

So, finding the balance is pretty much a song and dance...  always jiggling for the sweet spot.

We have some big projects going...  The barn is coming down today and a greenhouse will go up in its spot. I have over 200 organic, heirloom  tomato plants ready to go next week to the feed store. I have 400 + growing for the next shipment. I have 500 other kinds of tomatoes growing for private sale plus other veggies. Briana and I have been making strides in preparing her gardens for providing Youth For Jesus with vegetables this summer. Spring came a 6 weeks early and we were not as ready as we had planned.

 I've been taking care of a quail farm.... think thousands of helpless, suicidal, fragile babies.  Not actually a fun job. My lungs reject all the smells and dust, so I have to wear a mask or wheeze all day. Now it's giving me a sore throat. I have 5 days to go. 

I've been trying to get the kids more involved in community service, so yesterday we worked hard at the community dinner put on by our church and the evening before we were helping at the food bank. I'm just a little tired and grumpy.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Cause and Effect and Proclaiming Your Own Consequence

Very interesting morning here. Missy was not motivated to get moving until the last few minutes and when she saw that she was 15 minutes late she went into a tantrum and started screaming, "I want to go to school. I want to go to school!" 

 I tried to calm her, and get her to eat breakfast, etc but she was bound to have a big tantrum. So I left and went to do other things. After awhile she followed me and was slamming doors, kicking and stomping. 

Finally I just said, "You know, I never said anything about school or anything. I'm just listening to you and I'm hearing from you that you are late, and you know cause and effect and you have decided that you have messed up and you understand the consequences of not doing what you should  and you are proclaiming those consequences rather loudly. So what I'm hearing from you is that you need to work with me today...."

She went absolutely silent. It was like I had knocked her over the head. It was a new revelation to her. We talked about mercy and people who abuse mercy over and over. I asked her what usually happens the next morning if one day she we allow her to be a tiny bit late. She pretty much said she would be late again the next day. Really, I had wanted to get her to school but the lesson would be lost if I did that. So guess what we are doing today?

It's difficult when the kids ride the edge. I don't want to be rigid and uncaring. I want the kids to know there are times when things don't go right for everybody and it's very nice when others give you a little wiggle room and have mercy on you. I know she was NOT obeying, but she started to at the last few minutes and I was trying to figure out what the RIGHT thing to do was - honor that last ditch effort and give her a wee bit of a break, or be absolutely firm and unmoving over the set time frame. In the end I didn't make the decision. She did with all her hollering.

She's grumpy as all get-out, but we'll get past it.

By the way, we did have the kids birthday dinner last Thursday as planned, but the kids who were going to come didn't, so it was just us which was good. James was a little unstable most of the weekend, but Sunday he started to even out. Today he was up at 5:30 and ready for his day with a good attitude. When he's not quite stable, she is really careful, but when he gets it together she lets her guard down. I think they stress each other out a lot.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

11 years Old Today.

 The twins are 11 today.

Things have been going good. It has been amazing. I was basking in how wonderful it was that they were doing so well.

And then today showed up.

James was celebrating by raging for no apparent reason at all.

He did not eat breakfast. He did not get on the bus, and sadly,  he did not run away, either. (That's kind of a sad joke, but it would have been easier had he gone for a run in the trees and calmed himself down).  He just kept screaming and raging and spitting and smashing apples and beating on the door. I drove away for awhile, but he knew Vanessa and Christina were in the house, so it did no good. He was lock out to keep him from causing bodily harm.

So I had to call the school and they sent out Rhett to come and get him.

Strange how this stuff sucks the motivation out of me. I've done nothing since.

Missy loves her birthday. She wanted to take baby pictures to school today...  All the baby pictures I have are the ones Children's Hospital gave me on a CD. If I had known a day earlier I could have gotten them printed. Instead she had to be content with a little book I made from when she was 6 and first came to live with us. 

As for the birthday celebration... not sure where to go with it. My plans for baking a cake and all kind of fizzled. BUT they are twins. . . . she deserves her celebration even if he wants to sabotage his.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Activating Ski Patrol

Brianna turning over the garden with a pitchfork
Missy has done well! She worked hard every day last week to get ready for school and then church on the weekend. She even started this week out well, too. It is very hard work for her. I could see her wearing out by the end of the week. She had a good old tantrum on Thursday night, but Fri morning she was back to working hard. Friday she was DOG tired...

She does NOT like to miss school. She most certainly does not like to do yard work in place of school.

She was starting to lose momentum yesterday but did okay when I reminded her there are still leaves to rake. Today is going to be a close call as she used up 45 minutes of her time doing nothing. I just shared my plans of the day with her - move rocks, rake leaves, wash laundry room floor, re-organize the shoe closet, move the logs from the barn... and it's like she got stung by a motivational bee. NO way is she willing to stick around for that!!

Here's a laugh for your day. Steve was working the First Aid room up at the ski slopes Sunday. It's been a lousy ski season. Our winter has been too warm, but they make snow up there for the main run every day, however they are closing early so this was Steve's last shift. He had vowed he would not take Missy up there again if I was not there as she was a trial for him last time.  I had been up all night with a migraine and it wasn't getting better so he changed his mind and took the twins with him to give me a break. The first text I got from him made me laugh... I guess James wasn't waiting around for the slowpoke.

"She  didn't know whether to wait for him to come down so she could chew him out or just venture out on her own . . . at last, with tears in her eyes she boarded the chair lift on her own!" :-)

Second text.
"Well, James is up the lift again on his own and she's wondering why she's left behind again...?!

Then it really started to get interesting:

"Missy knows how to activate the ski patrol!! She has had EVERYONE looking for James! Meanwhile, James is having a great time... SLOWLY coming down Mimi!"
Steve said the ski resort administrator came  to the aid room with Missy tagging along behind him. He asked Steve if this was his daughter and then asked about James. Steve assured him that James was just fine. Steve had been seeing him come down the hill and getting back on the ski lift totally focused. James doesn't look around much, he was not the least concerned about Missy. He was there to ski.  The guy was like, "Okay thanks. Just wanted to make sure everyone is having a fun time!"

Steve then had a chat with Missy and told her James was fine and that she needed to go ski. So he sent her off and he watched the chair lift for signs of her pink helmet but she never appeared. He went around the other side of the building and scouted out the area for her. Sure enough... she was back at the administration building.  There was a  poor, cold, office lady outside trying to assure her that they would find James.

Somehow she activated the ski patrol and the whole team was looking for James. And James was totally minding his own business having a great time skiing. **Sigh** Steve was just shaking his head, but he told the woman, I'll take care of it from here. A few minutes later the head ski patrol guy came down the mountain and dropped by the aid room. Everybody had a good laugh when they realized what was really going on.

Missy would not believe, nor relax, or get it out of her head that something dreadful had happened to her beloved enemy... until she saw the whites of his eyes.  She does NOT hear what we say,  and she will take matters into her own hands. She's smart enough to be dangerous and to cause people a lot of work.

Both of the twins started OT at a new, exciting place. James has some pretty big vestibular issues. It was interesting to see how he does not recover from being spun around. He gets VERY dizzy and then does not recover like other people. His eyes jerk and twitch and you know he's got to feel sick. I'm looking forward to seeing what can be accomplished with our new therapists.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

New Motivation

One day I told Missy to put her lunch in her paper bag. Then she asked if she could add a juice. I said yes. She was very excited....

The next day she asked if she could pack her lunch again. Of course, I let her.

Vanessa said, "Boy, she's really excited about packing her lunch!"

Today, she started to resist getting ready for school.... and I quickly reminded her that if she had extra time she could pack her lunch. And since she got her act together in a fraction of the usual time I let her make a sandwich. That's kind of a scary deal when you are dealing with an impulsive creature... She could be eating out of the peanut butter jar with her bare hands in a flash if you didn't pay attention. And so there are just two rules. No bare hands in the food and no licking the fingers. BUT it got her out the door with a smile. She was quite pleased with her messy sandwich.

Tonight she had an all out tantrum over bringing the garbage can up from the drive and James had two melt downs over homework and teethbrushing. We're  nearing the finish line of this week. I'm banking on the fact that Valentines will be exchanged tomorrow and that, along with another messy sandwich, should pull us through to having both been in school ALL week.

NO candy will be exchanged at Missy's school. YAY  for smart teachers! James is not a real candy eater. He will bring it all home.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

It's One or the Other

Missy had an excellent day yesterday.  I felt bad to disappoint her over swimming but I did not feel great. Today she got up and got ready for the day without even resisting at all. I'm writing to see if there is a pattern here...

Her brother did not have a good morning.

Next time he tries to run away when its time to get on the bus I am just going to let him do that.  I'm not physically strong enough to pick him up and put him on anymore. Just as he saw the bus coming, yesterday he lept over the bank. I had a fraction of a second premonition that he might do that and grabbed the handle on the back of his backpack in his mid-air flight. Then wrestled him back up the bank in the mud on my knees then carried him biting and kicking and hitting to the bus. I was all out of air and I had nothing left. I prayed out loud, "Lord, give me strength!" and picked his writhing screaming body up and deposited him on the bus floor. The driver shut the door lickity split.

~But that is the last time.

If he wants to throw himself over the bank and run through orchard after orchard, he's welcome.

I've thought it through... What's the worse thing that could happen while he's running away?
*He might only run a hundred yards and then I'll still have to deal with him.
*He might come home before he's spent his anger.
*He'll miss school.
*He might get scared.
*He might come out of the orchard on a country road.  He knows road safety. He knows the lay of the land well. Our house is on a VERY distinct hill. He absolutely cannot get lost.
*He might meet up with a dog or two....
*He might decide running away doesn't solve his problems.

I texted the bus driver and let her know the plan and she agreed that would be the best.

Steve had him up at 5 am this morning so that I would not have to deal with any nonsense. When Steve left for work at 6 James was ready for school and all I had to do was give him breakfast and tell him to brush his teeth. I think we'll do it that way for awhile.

Friday, February 6, 2015

This Week

Monday went well.

Tuesday went well.

Wednesday went okay but she pushed the envelope just a wee bit.

Thursday she did not even try. And we endured a horrific rage. It wasn't hard for me to stick with my resolves to not let her get away with it. She moved some logs from the upper property to the barn at the bottom of the drive. She raked leaves, she washed the doors where she beat them with her muddy boots and cleaned the porch. She got to go to Pathfinders and that may have been our mistake. She figured she was scott free.

Friday, today,  was half-hearted. She made some effort, but just enough to make it look like she might have her act together. It was HARDER, much harder to stick with the plan. I wanted her to go to school and working with these kids sometimes seems so futile. . . I asked Steve what I should do and he said, "make a plan and stick with it." So, I did because I already had the plan I was just getting tired of it myself!! :-) Today she washed dishes, raked another section of leaves... the tree still seems to be dropping  dead leaves providing us with a good job for her. She folded laundry. She was hoping - really hoping we were going to have company tonight. Nope.

Steve and James have gone to the Men's Retreat at the church camp. The speaker is Pavel Goia so we know it's going to be good. James was a pickle to deal with until they finally left. He's been sick with a cough that won't quit and we were hemming and hawing over whether or not he should go and that put him in full anxiety mode. He could not cooperate for anything. When I started packing his clothes he resumed his good behavior.

The house is clean. The girls are all home. It's a quiet evening.