Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Different Boy Today

After yesterday's hard, hard day, the kiddo woke up happy, congenial and cooperative. He's also talking like a baby and needing assistance with simple tasks. Seems to be a cycle of some sort. Not sure what it means.

I will pretty much be alone all day. Steve has the kids at church and then it's homeless ministry. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. All the wildfires around us aren't helping my lungs, but I can't blame the smoke for everything. I've had serious bronchitis for a solid month with no end in sight. Anyway, I took my handful of herb pills (yes, dad, even my epicore), grabbed my Bible, my cell phone, the laptop and water and I'm going to do nothing but lay in bed, listen to the helicopter fight fire and rest by the humidifier all day.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Patience, Patience

My husband has been at it with extreme patience all day. I've been doing peaches and green beans and visiting with one of the social workers... Steve has Buster  right by his side at every moment and it's a total moment by moment exercise in patience. He's working his heart and calling for him to have a happy heart/attitude and a willing spirit nearly every 5 minutes as they have been cleaning the garage and doing yard work. It's painful to say the least, but he's  treading on thin ice and so far we have avoided a major catastrophe, although that could change in an instant. This week has been hard, but each day has been more intense then the last. As horrid as this sounds, I'm almost sure an explosion would give us all release and giving the consequence would be less strenuous than this.I don't know what is going on. Why is he struggling so bad?

On a happier note: Both girls are officially life guards. Brianna gained a lot of strength in the last two weeks. She can't believe she passed the tests as easily as she did. At first it was a killer, now it's easy. I'm hoping that's the way it will be for a certain little boy, too.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

VBS Tonight

He's at VBS. He tried super hard today and Steve stuck by him most of the day working with him and working with him on self-control and he made it. It was a close one. At one point I asked him to play with his airplane outside and he started running around in crazy circles and he threw his flip-flops. I was on my feet in an instant and required him to STOP! I told him in no uncertain terms that his going to VBS tonight depended on whether or not he could get himself under control before it was too late. It scared him and he immediately apologized. He was good after that.

Steve and I picked most of the apricots yesterday and I've been canning with one helper or another all day. We have 86 quarts... The kids are crazy about canned apricots. We still have lots to make jam and pie with. The garden is calling me. The green beans are ready to be picked again so I talked Steve into going to VBS tonight.  Off to the bean patch I go...

Recording for a Purpose

I'm trying to figure a behavior out and seeing my brain is such a sieve I need to journal the happenings. I'm looking for a pattern. Incidentally, drinking water has not been an issue with Buster before this week. It's always been Missy's "THING". I decided early in the week that I would not be taking that nonsense from her anymore and have been very firm about it. She is doing 100 percent better, and he's decided to make it an issue.

Saturday 10 AM: Buster was playing on the beach throwing stones in the water just before it was time to leave for YD. He still needed to get dressed, use the restroom and drink some water. I called him to come drink after I had helped his sister with her water and hair. He knew it was his turn, but it angered him to be called away from play. He didn't want to hold the water bottle so I poured it in his mouth and he let it run down all over his clothes. I asked him to stop and tried again. He did it again. I let a little splash on his face to bring him to his senses.... it only enraged him and he went out of control running in circles and screaming. Steve took over and after a few minutes to calm down he handed him the bottle and asked him to drink. Buster turned the bottle upside down dumping it as fast as he could all the while screaming.  I checked out. Steve eventually got him to drink his water and he apologized.

Monday AM: I'm trying really, really hard to remember why he flew off the handle... but due to holes in my brain I'm minus the information. ... Will come back if I remember. I might have asked him to drink, or I might have asked him to go poop.

Tuesday Noon: Enjoyed a happy morning at the pool for swimming lessons and playing with Jared and Joyanna. Came home to make lunch. Having been in the sun for 2 + hours in our 100 degree weather, I figured it was time for everyone to have a drink. Problem was, Buster was poised to play airplanes with Jared and even though, I caught them before they started, it was just annoying to be interrupted and he exploded when handed a cup, screamed, wet his pants, and had to be removed from his unfortunate friends.... Used some cool down methods and he drank his water but had to play in his room alone for awhile.

Wednesday 5:45: The whole day was good. The kids had even had a nap so they wouldn't be too tired for VBS.  Just before leaving for VBS (which Missy had been attending, but Buster had not been able to keep himself together enough to go yet). I asked them to drink water. It's been HOT, HOT, HOT. I'm doing good to remember to ask them to drink about 4 times in a day... hoping they will choose to drink on their own in between (good luck!!!) Missy downed hers in a minute and Buster balked. We worked with him, prayed with him and he only grew more and more anxious and out of control until he threw the water barely missing Steve's head. I was 20 minutes late already, so I left without him.  Steve did get him to drink and he ended up at Prayer meeting instead of VBS. Bummer... where would you have rather been if you were 6? First thing he told me when we arrived home last night was, "Tomorrow I am going to drink my water and go to flight school (VBS theme) !"

Thursday: SO far, so good. He is really trying to keep it together to go to VBS tonight. I'm doing everything I can to help him, but simple necessary requests throw him for a tailspin and there's no predicting it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


A New/ Old Book

I started reading a new book to the twins today. They responded exceptionally well. This is an old, old out of print book that I distinctly remember my dad reading to us and the impression it made on me. I have read it over and over to my girls when they were young and we have used this same book as material for VBS in the past. I have an old copy with no cover. It's called: Naughty Heart, Clean Heart. The drawings are simple but illustrate perfectly the intent of the book. The twins are captured by those pictures. They need visuals to help them understand and so I appreciate the simplicity of the pictures. The songs stick in your head. Actually, we sing them a little differently than the printed music indicates they should be sung, but back in the day when my parents were using the book they couldn't read music and made up their own tunes and I'm perfectly happy with those tunes. The book teaches the principles of salvation, how to come to Christ and how to have a living relationship with Him as a 5 or 6 year old.They are excitedly showing Vanessa the book this morning and telling her all about it. It's fun to watch. We've already referred to the happy heart picture a dozen times as we struggle with our human nature and deciding to obey or choosing to be unhappy. So far, they have made the right choices when it's put before them in that light.

We all need to contemplate this theme on a daily basis. The book is based on this quote:

Because of his (Adams) sin our natures are fallen 
and we cannot make ourselves righteous
Since we are sinful, unholy, we cannot perfectly
obey the holy law. We have no righteousness of our own with which
to meet the claims of the law of God. But Christ has made a way
of escape for us. He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such
as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and
now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. If
you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then,
sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted
righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and
you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.
More than this, Christ changes the heart. He abides in your heart
by faith. You are to maintain this connection with Christ by faith and
the continual surrender of your will to Him; and so long as you do
this, He will work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. 

So you may say, 
“The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who
loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. ..... Then with Christ
working in you, you will manifest the same spirit and do the same
good works—works of righteousness, obedience.
So we have nothing in ourselves of which to boast. . . . Our only ground of hope is in the
righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and in that wrought by His
Spirit working in and through us."
Steps to Christ pg 62, 63

Monday, July 26, 2010

Re-establishing the Boundaries

I can post three times in a day if I want to. It's my blog :-)

It's been a day for sure. I came home renewed and encouraged by a couple of conversations I had with a certain very special person.... (more about that later, I promise!) Let's just say it was the boost and inspiration I was needing to carry on with desire. Truly I was feeling depleted of energy and zeal for this huge task and daily grind, but infused with new motivation and encouraged that the direction I was going with the kiddos was the right direction I tackled today with a lot of determination. Hey, this blog is okay, I appreciate the comments and the encouragement, and I've learned a lot from other bloggers and readers, but sometimes I need a real live conversation with a warm body on topics that I can't express well on paper and that I have serious questions about. I've been praying for guidance, for assurance that we were approaching issues and behaviors and challenges in a way that would bring about a change, healing and would be pleasing to the Lord. We really, really can't afford to mess up. There are two souls at stake!  The Lord answered that prayer in an amazing way, the details of which I will save for another post on another day. . .

Today had some bumps from the first. The freedom of running around and playing in the lake without chores, without many expectations for a few days can alter a child's perception of what life is suppose to be like always.... And frankly, the day we packed up and left I was challenged on every level by brazen disrespect, so today was all for re-establishing the boundaries. I did manage to get about 6 gallons of green beans picked, snapped, blanched and frozen in the process (with help ;-) . (Someone asked me the other day how in the world I kept up with everything while spending so much time in child training... The answer; I'm not keeping up. Things are piling up incredibly. I'm no superwoman.)

WOW! What a day. But you know, they went to bed happy. They both had tested the limits and both had decided, several times over and over throughout the course of the day, that it is happier to obey. It is happier to be kind and be sweet than to pout, and fight for their way. Impulsiveness is not easily overcome.  I was as firm and as attentive as I could be and they responded. Yes, they made some sad choices and they endured the results. I wish I could say they are deciding to make better choices for all the best reasons, but they did miss out on a pretty exciting opening night of (yet another) VBS and they were deeply disappointed. I doubt we'll miss tomorrow. They could completely articulate what happened and where they went wrong and why we had to stay home. They also learned a little bit more about what it means to have self-control. They actually tried it out with wonderful results. Hopefully they comprehended a wee bit more the  love that Jesus had to offer them when they knelt with me to ask for power to overcome.


Ever heard of them?

Well, for a kid who wouldn't touch a fruit with a ten foot pole 5 months ago, he's gone nuts over the apricots. I think he has finally figured out that they are not called apricadoes, but we think it's cute. Now to keep him and his twin from raiding the tree at every whim! :-)

Cherries have the possibility of bringing on a tantrum if they aren't pitted for him. One morning I gave him two rainiers and told him to eat them before I would give him anything else. He had an all out fit. Later in that same day someone took the time to pit them individually and fed him all he could eat. He realized he was crazy about them and was even willing to work the pitter himself after that.

The peaches are starting to ripen. I was making them a peach shake last night when my blender broke so they ended up with peach slices with milk and cereal. I asked how he like the peaches and he just shook his head, but ate them anyway. Every fruit is new and takes some getting used to, I guess. He is asking for jam on his bread now.

A funny thing he has had zero issues with zucchini and other garden produce. Salad is still not a favorite. I don't push it. If he'll eat the majority of foods without a problem I don't care if he never eats lettuce.

It's a Raw Deal

The rash has got to be painful. I hadn't noticed it until today and I had not even put two and two together when I wondered aloud, "What in the world is that from?"

He never missed a beat.  "From peeing my pants."


Just minutes before this discovery I asked him to go pee. He sat there and sat there and could not produce a drop. It kind of worried me a little. It's pretty hot these days and maybe I didn't push enough fluids on our trip yesterday. I had just given him a big glass of water, so he should have been able to go! I finally told him, "I think you are dehydrated and we will work on getting more fluids into you today."

Five minutes later his underwear were soaked. Right after his shower I discovered his skin is raw. He's the one who told me why it's raw!!

So, what to do....

He's making some terrible choices and he understands the consequences and he keeps making the bad choices.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Home from the Lake

We pitched our tent about 10 feet from the edge of the Lake. It was perfect, just too short of a stay. Steve said he hadn't relaxed like this since Lake Malawi. So far as we can tell, this is the twins' first official camping trip. It definitely challenged them in many ways.

Little Miss shows little fear and jumps into new situations with gusto. She took everything in stride. She paddled the canoe, swam a lot, jumped from the canoe, slept in the tent, used the outhouse, and made do with primitive living easily.  She handled the late nights and less sleep and never had any problems. She giggled a ton!! Every new experience is exciting and brings on a fit of giggles.

Buster Brown enjoyed himself but freaked out quite a bit. Fear overrides logic in many situations.  As evening approached the first day the sun went behind a small cloud and he totally panicked. He wanted us all in the tent NOW! We tried to make light of it and tried many different ways to help him "think" a little. As the shadows lengthened we watched him get more and more uptight and then suddenly he realized how silly he was being and his stress level dropped visibly and he laughed with us.

One time I jumped out of the canoe and Steve decided to jump out too, leaving the twins in the boat about four feet from shore. The the girls and Steve and I were right there swimming within reach of the canoe and he still freaked out so bad he literally jumped overboard in panic. I'm not sure what that accomplished but it was all accompanied by a major amount of drama.

He wet his pants as many times as he needed to go pee.  He would go into the outhouse and sit, pretend to go, then come out, lie about it and then pee in his pants. Very frustrating. When we went to bed he would lie in frozen fear, eyes bugged out, right up next to Steve.

He would tell you camping is FUN and he wants to go again.

He also had a few fits of temper. I had a few moments of total discouragement, but the Lord did not leave me there. More on that later.

Steve told the story of Jesus and the storm one night. In the storybook Jesus asks his disciples, "Why were you afraid when I was with you?" Steve worked that point quite a bit and we prayed for help in overcoming fear, etc...  A few minutes later Steve picked up the fire grate that was lying open on the ground and he said without thinking, "I'm afraid....." and in typical Steve fashion left the rest of the sentence unsaid. (We joke that he has an Expressive Language Disorder). Buster looked at him in utter astonishment and Brianna went into hysterics. "Dad, you just told him he doesn't have to be afraid. You just told him you are not afraid because God is with you and now you are letting him think you are afraid. You must finish your sentence!!"  Yikes. He nearly undid everything he's just worked so hard to do.

"I'm afraid someone is going to trip over this grate if we leave it open like this."


Steve and the girls left early to get back to work and class. We stayed and picked up Christina from camp and drove home in our favorite suburban today, - the only one, the one with no air conditioning. I somehow missed the shortcut. The temperature rose to 103 degrees and my lovely 40 gallon gas tank did it's fabulous summertime tricks. When the weather is hot like today and I get low on gas the vehicle stalls. We were in the middle of wheat fields and I figured we were 15 miles from the nearest gas station. We started and stalled a few times, but it was getting really bad when we finally reached the town, however the gas station was clear on the other side. The State Road  bends and turns a half dozen times in this funny little town. We stalled at every turn and then coasted all the way down to the station... It's kind of creepy cause the brakes are not so good when I am stalled. Sure enough, I needed gas but it was clear that the tank was NOT empty. (Yes, the gas gauge hasn't worked in a couple of years, but I'm good about watching the miles. It was only at 420 miles and I know I can go to 600 miles.)  I'm thinking the gas that was in the tank was all vapor, or causing a vapor lock or something. I drove around on the flat for a few minutes before praying, putting it in low gear and heading down the twisty, curvy, steep canyon. We made it and we never stalled again.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

To Obey

It's been a rough night.

I'm still coughing to the point of wheezing and Brianna was coughing pretty hard, too. Hearing that Christina has a fever didn't help me sleep any better. My mind is whirling with all that we have to do to get ready for camping today.... but the body is not willing to cooperate. Today is the court case on the twins and for some reason I'm not getting any response from the social worker and wondering if it's because our email isn't working quite right...

So that said, I wasn't quite up to dealing with the demands of the twins right off this morning and after greeting them and asking them to use the bathroom I asked them to please play in their room to play for a bit until I'm ready for them.  They both did not obey.

Both children came running downstairs to me as though it was as natural a thing to disobey as it is to eat and sleep. It floors me every time.

I was like, "Whoa! Wait a second. What did Mommy ask you to do?"

"Stay in our room".

They understand me. They know what they are suppose to do. How is it okay to just do the opposite and expect hugs and cuddles?

I don't get it.

I talked to them about trust. Again.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Just play

I'm all into "play therapy" right now.

With the big girls out working most of the time, Christina at camp and Steve at work, there is a lot of time for the twins to have to come up with their own entertainment. It's good for them. I am slowly but surely seeing some brain expansion.  They are finding new things to do and create and even imagine. They've gotten two days worth of entertainment and creativity out of one sticky notepad so far. There is a sticky note on ever door and every chair of the house. Missy was good about decorating her papers and "writing" on them before assigning them a spot. Buster needed a little prompting from me that blank sticky notes on things was a waste of time :) so now they all have something written on them. They are signs, they are name tags, they are money, they are band-aids they are ....

Little Missy had a couple of stuffed animals in a tiny wagon yesterday and she went "shopping", cooked "food", and played house by herself for the first time EVER!

They are getting into their share of mischief, too. I found them emptying the dog food barrel all over the garage floor. Brianna caught them playing in the Honda pushing buttons and popping the trunk open and slamming it over and over. They thought the kittens would love to play in the sprinkler with them... I try to keep an eye, but I am finally getting to my spring cleaning and I also want them to learn a little independence.

It's sad when a child has been so carted around from place to place with no time to just be home to play and so spoon fed activities and doped up with drugs that they have never learned to play and think for themselves.It's taken us nearly 5 months and I am so excited to see  play, pretend, imagination, and experiments emerging. Truly, schooling these kids would be impossible without this. If there is no imagination, no excitement for learning, what have we got?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

As Good As Dead!

I'm talking about  Little Missy's cute little chick, the one we called Pancake for the way she held it and loved it, the beautiful white chicken she carries around and kisses, loves, talks to, and swings in the shade of the oak, that rooster that crows so funny in the morning, THAT nasty, mean old creature that attacked me tonight as I was carrying an armload of beets, peas, green beans, and zucchini up from the garden  - he's the one who is as good as dead.

I'm thinking it's too bad we are vegetarians. (Not really.) I'm sure there is someone out there who is not vegetarian who would be happy for a free meal.

I had my arms loaded with veggies when out of the blue something snapped in his pea brain. I was worried about my legs. I've fought bloody battles with roosters before. His spurs may not be full grown yet but his talons looked hideous the way he was coming at me. I kept the beets between me and the crazy animal and they were attacked several times. Finally the dog came wandering over and I used her as a shield. The two cats, 3 roosters, one hen, one dog and me with my vegetables were having quite a time! Both cats were attacked. The dog numerous times, and the roosters sparred amongst themselves. The hen - Buster's pet, thought I had an armload of feed and she was not helping matters. I knew Brianna, our resident game bird whisperer, was in the kitchen baking bread and waffles so I was hollering for her like crazy.  She only came out when she heard the real screams as I was being pummeled when the dog had had enough and left me to my fate.

I'm just a tad worried about Missy's reaction when some guy comes to pick up the stinker tomorrow, but then think of her reaction the day he decides to attack her!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Pickle Answer

I'm laughing.

These kids have a knack for asking nonsense questions. It's all day long and often quite wearying. When they were first came to live here we answered each and every question and used the opportunity to expand their vocabulary and help them know we were attentive to their every need. The most common question is, "Why?"
It's short and easy and it takes no brainpower to ask it. It forces someone to respond... and it is OVER USED!

Well, they have started talking more and more and the vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds, but the nonsense has neither ended or diminished one wit. Part of it is their need to converse but they are sadly lacking in knowing HOW to carry on a conversation. Of course, we are trying to help them with that and try to engage them in conversation as often as possible, but some of it is just chatter to fill time and space and it is impossible to read, or talk to someone else or have a moment of peace!

They are famous for stating the obvious in an effort to start a conversation.
 They are famous for asking obvious questions like, "Are you wearing a red shirt?"

Sometimes they ask questions just to control people and maintain their attention, etc... At which point I often tune out.

We put up with some of it. Some of it I throw back at them.
"What do you think? Am I wearing a red shirt?"
And a funny thing; they will answer it correctly :-).

I don't answer all questions anymore. I don't have the energy. I pick the questions that have the most educational value and answer those, the rest go unheeded and if they persist they get a pickle answer.

Someone shared their success with pickle answers and we've been using them for a week. Ask a silly question, get a pickle answer.

Kid: "Mom, are we having shake for breakfast? (while holding a cup of shake in their hands.)
Me: I think you are having a pickle for breakfast.
Kid: "NO!"

Kid: "Is that a blue car?"
Me: "Maybe it's a pickle on wheels."
Kid: "No, it's a blue car."

They've caught on.

We are starting to say, "Is that a pickle question?" and suddenly they can think of something more appropriate to talk about.

So, just now, little guy brought his floor puzzle box to me and asked, "Is my puzzle only this big?" Measuring the two inch picture with the span of his hand while the three inch puzzle pieces are strewn at his feet.
Me half distracted: "Hmmmm... I think... is that a real question?"

I Wish He'd Tell Me

Walked into the twins room to find Buster covered in blood. Sheets, pillow, pajamas, not to mention his entire face was caked in dried blood. He refused to talk. He was grumpy. I finally figured out he had a bloody nose sometime between putting him to bed and waking up this morning. I left him alone for an hour to get over the grumps and  now he's telling me it happened right after he went to bed. SO, why doesn't he ever tell me when he has a problem?

The girls thought today was the last day of cherries, but apparently they are needed first thing tomorrow, too. I have to cover their music job at the UCC church today. Christina left for YD camp for a week. There was so much to get ready this AM as they went out the door that Steve took them all out to eat breakfast at (oh, yay!) the hospital :-).  It was a father daughter moment, at least.

The twins passed their swimming lessons and are starting a new level tomorrow. Christina finished Guard Start and did very well. Besides swimming safety and rescue they taught first aid. She was amazed at all the ways one can get hurt swimming. Brianna and Vanessa will start their class tomorrow. They have worked hard in cherries and are excited to get back to lap swimming at 6 AM. They've improved their swimming so much Steve can't keep up with them anymore.

We enjoyed a leisurely picnic and canoe ride with Andersons yesterday. The evening was perfect. The Icicle is getting low, but not too low for canoeing, yet. It was very refreshing. Came home to hack my head off with my usual summer bronchial stuff.

PS. Buster Brown has not wet his pants in defiance since our talk.... Not holding my breath 'cause it doesn't matter to me, remember? Ha ha! I keep having to remind myself that it doesn't matter and I don't mind.

Friday, July 16, 2010

She's Back

The new Missy is back.

Her demeanor is softer, gentler, quieter and at peace.

Our morning was rocky. She tested my every word. She pushed every limit. She tried every tactic. Finally I decided that nothing was working and we both needed a time out. I sat her on her bed and I sat on the floor in the hall and I did nothing but pray for a change and read promises from my Bible. In one hour she went from giving me the "evil eye" and seeing if she could get off the bed to playing with her dolls and finally softening to the point where she could tell me what her dolls were doing. We prayed together and I told her she could go, but she continued to play on her bed for another half hour and then played with them in the livingroom. It was so peaceful that I didn't want to serve lunch. I didn't want to ruin it.

When she was out of sorts nothing held her attention.

It's so nice to have her back.


I haven't seen this kind of ongoing disrespect from Little Missy since about the middle of June. I'm looking for the positive here.... so that's about a month of fairly smooth sailing. I have a lot to be thankful for. There were a couple of isolated incidences, the pool episode and the water tantrum in the last 4 weeks, but she was able to snap out of it and carry on. Yesterday turned out to be a hard, hard day for her (and everybody else who lives with her). She reverted back to her old ways. She became hard, distrustful and disrespectful. I have no real clue why except that pride comes before a fall and she was definitely feeling superior to her brother.  I'm back to stating my expectations at every move. We are back to the basics and everything is a privilege earned. She has started her morning over twice already.

Little guy went quite awhile without peeing his pants, but suddenly he's peeing every single time he doesn't get his way. We've come down hard on it because it is utter defiance. It hasn't helped. Impulse is stronger than rationale.  Steve and I talked and decided to change directions on it. If he gets a reaction and a consequence for reacting to our decisions and authority than maybe he is, in a sad kind of way, getting what he wants. Some extra attention for disagreeing with us and a reaction to him getting mad may be satisfying enough to him that he'd put up with the consequences.

I told him this morning that if he wants to pee in his pants it's fine with me. (He didn't like that.) I told him I have no problem with it. He can go ahead and pee his pants whenever he wants to, but just know that when he is done he will have to change his clothes and rinse them out and since he is allotted one pair of pants/shorts a day he can spend the rest of the day in his room since no decent person runs around naked. The pool is still off limits on days he does this.

It doesn't seem like I changed anything. In a big sense I have, though. I will no longer be sad about his choice. I will no longer try to help him see the light. I will not have any expectations. I will say nothing. It's his choice. He can live with the consequences of his choosing and it is my hope that soon he will see that the only person he is hurting is himself. For me it is not worth it. I am not going to try and help him overcome this one anymore.  There are more important things to work on.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lapse in Better Judgement

Today has proved that I am a very unwise mother for letting Missy Sleep in the tent last night.

Dear Missy.

I am so sorry I let you stay up a little later last night to make a rag doll. I am so sorry you didn't sleep in your own bed. The pleasant summer night out on the lawn was just too much excitement for one little girl to handle and poor Christina didn't get much sleep either.  I'm sorry you can't follow directions today without arguing, can't seem to obey without a fight and that you are very disrespectful. I hope the hike on the mountain with dad sorts out your feelings so you can take a nap (instead of a swimming lesson). I'm sorry it has come to this. We tried to help you get through the morning without falling apart. I think you've been overly cocky about your good behavior of late and it's all come crashing down. After your nap, we'll start over. Each time we start over it lasts longer. You'll get there my dear. I know it. I'm praying for you. God is doing miracles in your heart. I see it every day. When you are happy and sweet you warm my heart, when you are cranky and irrational you break it, but I still love you and I remember what you are like when you are pleasant.  I thank the Lord you are more pleasant than not these days and I know the bad days will soon fade away. Hopefully I will learn what you can and cannot handle. Someday you'll be able to do the exciting stuff other little girls do and you won't suffer for it. Someday, I promise it will be true.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

She's All Fish!

Missy is a swimmer!

She dives under the water and swims around kicking her legs and using her arms like she's been swimming all her life. I can't believe how fast she learned. She loves to jump off the edge and meet me at the bottom of the pool to see how long we can sit there blowing bubbles at each other. Her giggle is like no other and I can hear it even under water.

She is a really brave kid.

At the moment she is by herself in a tent on the lawn waiting for Christina to get home. She isn't the least bit afraid.  (Brother on the other hand, could not know she wasn't planning on sleeping in his room tonight or he would have laid awake all night in total fright. He was sent to bed early for necessary reasons and was a bit stressed that she wasn't there, too, but eventually he went to sleep never knowing the girls had set up a tent outside and planned to sleep in it. He wouldn't think of sleeping out there!)

Little Missy and I are working on a rag doll. One of those "so ugly, it's cute" sort of creations. She likes it anyway.

Tents and Forts

Buster has discovered creating tents with blankets and sheets. The dining table turned into a VBS tent complete with "projector", stuffed animals and pillows. It takes a few minutes here and there to expand his limited imagination... but then he becomes obsessed. I like to see him trying out new ideas and expanding on what we show him. He needs it, but hubby and I decided we have to mark off definite play times because if Buster is asked to do anything other than what he is concentrating on and obsessed with at the moment his happy face turns sour. In fact this morning he lost his swimming privilege because I asked him to do something and even though it is something I require him to do every morning, it interfered with his play, so his face turned sour and he instantly peed his pants. Funny, he did it to spite me, and he admitted he did because he was mad at me, but he tried to hide it which doesn't make much sense. I didn't make a big deal of it. Just quietly reminded him that the rule is no swimming, so he sat by the pool and did crafty stuff during lessons. He takes his consequences well. I made it clear he had made the decision and he knew ahead what the consequence would be and he agreed. While he was out the tent "mysteriously" disappeared. He can remake it after lunch.

The twins are busy cutting pictures out of a magazine and pasting them in a notebook. Today we are practicing cutting. They seem to be concentrating pretty well - him more than her. It will probably become the next obsession. :-)

Something that drives me crazy is the constant asking over and over for something, or to do something. It seems to matter not if I have given an answer or no. Yesterday I had to go in the bank. I parked and turned around and looked them in the eye and said, "I know that the second we walk in the bank you will want to be asking to go potty and you will want to ask me over and over and over, not because you need to go, but because you will be bored with waiting for me to do my banking. I am telling you right now that I will take you potty as soon as I am done my banking so DO NOT ASK to go."

We were not in there for 30 seconds and she was begging to go pee. I looked at her and asked, "what did I say in the car?"

her: "Don't ask to go pee."

She continued to plague me about it with a smirk on her face. At the end of my banking I reminded her about our deal and she lost the privilege of going into anymore stores. Big bummer!  Christina was like, "Hey, that means I have to stay in the car, too!!!"  LOL  So I stayed in the car and sent Christina in on my errands. At every stop she asked to go in and at every stop I asked her what had happened at the bank. . . .

The two oldest girls are working cherries at a higher elevation. If he's real lucky, my dad just might see some of those cherries.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Legally Free

As of today the twins are officially legally free.

The Face Says it ALL!

It's another outlandish pool story, but it had little to do with the twins so it's on the other blog .

The twins have been so good it leaves me with little to say :-) Hallelujah!!!

Little Missy's face reads like a book. It's hilarious to watch her "choose" her attitudes. Christina and I were sitting on the love seat in the living room and the twins were sitting on the couch looking at a stack of library books I had just brought home. Buster had one book in his hands and another on his lap and Little Miss really, really wanted the one on his lap so she just took it. Buster's rights were violated and he protested and I asked her to please put it back and ask kindly for it or choose a book from the stack. She put it back and Christina and I sat back and watched a display of emotions flit across her screen until she settled on a "pretend I'm happy and contented look" which gave way to a "I really am content " look. Of course this all transpired in seconds. Christina and I looked at each other and laughed with joy. Self control. She's getting it!  Thank you, Lord.

Swimming is still the prize of all prizes to work towards and the twins swam a lot yesterday. It's good.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

An Attitude of Willingness

Little Guy just practiced doing up the button on his church pants 20 times. We made a big deal of it and had fun. He proved to me and to himself that there is no need for a major crisis Sabbath morning over that one single button.

Little Guy also tied his shoes 5 times this morning. Definitely a bigger job and still takes a lot of help. The lack of eye hand coordination doesn't help matters, but we can learn!! We kept the practice to 5 to minimize the frustration, but we'll practice 5 times every day until next Sabbath and hopefully that will eliminate reason for crisis number two each and every week (and every other time we ask him to try tying his shoes with help).

Little Missy's efforts to keep her twin from having a crisis by buckling his car seat for him, carrying things for him, making his bed, etc... will not be accepted. He is capable, only unwilling, but by prayer and faith, this will change.

Buster kept his pants dry for a whole week, but swimming lessons only happen Monday through Thursday thus Little Man had no incentive to keep from peeing his pants Friday.... at least until mom figured it out and he found himself having to shadow her every move so she could monitor his every move.  He did not find it much fun considering she was doing a mountain of laundry.

I have a plan. I have decided to tackle the lazy habits that prevent progress. My husband's words confirmed to me that this is the major thing that must be tackled now. After encouraging and working with the Little Guy for quite a while one day and zero effort was being put forth in the right direction, Steve turned to me and said, "You will not be able to homeschool this child. It will be absolutely frustrating and he will spend his time bucking your every instruction instead of learning."

My thoughts exactly!

Obviously, we haven't been ignoring this particular character trait, but potty training has been a pretty big focus until lately. I must give credit to the Lord for success in that area. Both children are potty trained!!!! The impossible became the possible and then became success. God gave them the power to overcome old habits, health problems and gave them the will to make the change. He gave me strength and tenacity to see the job done.  This past success gives me the courage to tackle the mountains ahead. I've been wondering if God saw fit to put the very obvious and very difficult mountain of potty training at the very forefront of our journey so that we would have a very obvious success to look back on and KNOW that even the impossible can be accomplished by God's grace. I had been told it couldn't be done with these two. Everything had been tried that could be tried to no avail, but with God, all things are possible.

Our new assignment is to learn to TRY. May God give the poor, pathetic child grace and an attitude of willingness. 

I'm looking for dozens of miniature life skills to put on my list of new things to practice on. Something new for every day and to add to the list of things to practice. "Forgetting" how to do a simple task will only make it a priority and give us reason to practice, practice. practice.   Little Miss is going along for the ride. . . she loves a challenge and can follow directions to a T. She rarely forgets. Only she wants to control everything. We'll work on that, too.

Time to go collect Bible Promises . This is not going to be easy.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Hot Off The Press

This just happened and it happens on a regular basis. I thought I would throw it out there and see how other moms deal with this kind of thing.

I just described Missy in a lengthy blog post.... and I mentioned how she desires control. Here is an example... minor, but classic:

Me: Let's brush out your hair.
Her: Why?  (that's just standard. I don't even answer that anymore.)
I start undoing the braids and brushing it out.
Me: It sure is curly today.
As I start to do it in a pony she says
Her: I want two braids.
She always waits until I start a hairdo and then states that she wants the opposite. If I am smart on some days I ask her what she wants before we get to this point and then I'm still in charge but giving her options.
Me: Oh, sorry, kiddo. I already started this and I'm not doing braids today.
Me: No, I am not doing braids today. I'm the mom and I decide. You are the little girl and I take care of you.
Her: I'm in charge!!

She's serious and very bold, but she knows she won't get away with it. She knows I'll make her turn it around and tell me who is really in charge. Somehow she has this great need to assert her power. It reminds of the kids who say to their adoptive moms, "You're not my real mom. You can't tell me what to do." However, she does not even give another person a smidgen of authority. She's6 and she's it.

A Bit On Missy

I peeked through the twins' door this morning just in time to see Little Missy sit up in bed, stretch a bit and crow like a rooster. It was a good sign that all was right in her world and she was happy. Mostly she is happy but occasionally, especially when she has to go to bed early on account of naughtiness turned plain old crabbiness, she wakes up as grouchy as an old bear  and that can set the tone for the day. Since our big screaming fit on Wednesday I have seen her make some real connections between actions and consequences. She's understanding that she is in control of whether or not she needs a consequence. It's up to her to decide to do right or wrong.

What a novel thought! So profound. :-)

She's had her moments since Wednesday. Short-lived, reactionary, old habit kind of moments that she made an effort to correct. Sparks aren't flying from her eyes and the revolts lack intensity.. She's a stubborn child. I believe she doesn't really know how not to be. Her whole being grasps at control  - perhaps an inborn survival instinct.

In a phone conference with a doctor this morning he stressed that we could not know the half of what this child has been through in her early years. She was a very sick, sick baby in a rough, rough situation and that impacted every part of her learning and growing. Of course, is all he could tell us beyond the medical needs affecting her today. Until we get custody everything is confidential and we can't know anything. 

We worked on a puzzle together this morning. She knows her alphabet song and she can recognize most letters, but she's inconsistent in her ability to produce connections. We did an alphabet puzzle and I taught her to sing the song to help her put those pieces in order. It took an hour. It was a great struggle. Part of it is understanding what I am asking. Part of it is the internal fight to stay cooperative. Part of it is just remembering what comes next. It's not easy, but she did it.
She's been trying to draw stick figures and even attempted a flower. Mostly she lays her crayons on the floor and makes designs by laying them end to end rather than drawing..

In conversation Little Miss can give answers without actually listening to what is being said. Our faces can be  4 inches apart and  I can speak clearly, but she's so used to not hearing everything that she guesses at what she thinks you are wanteing from her and has never learned to concentrate on the exchange.

I'm at a loss to know what I could be doing to make a difference in her developmental delays. Obviously, she is gaining. Four months ago I thought she acted much like a 2 year old in many respects. Now she acts like a 3.5 to 4 year old.... but then when I put her beside a 4 year old I'm not so sure. She had her twin dolls in a basket one day and a little 4 year old that was sitting nearby was very attracted by them and she came over and they started playing together. The 4 year old chattered on and told Missy what to do and Missy copied her every action. They each had one of the dolls and whatever the little girl did, Missy did and she hardly said a thing while the other girl led out in the make believe.

One thing I have noticed is that she more aware of her body space than she used to be. It used to be downright annoying when she pushed into people and knocked things over all the time. She can walk in straighter lines with her head up now.
There is so much to learn for the both of us.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Too Good To Last

The kiddos had been wonderful. Really wonderful. The key words  are had been. It was all too good to last forever.

Today was choir day and all the girls planned on going swimming after choir. We just weren't thinking we needed to hurry a little more .... Open swim closed 15 minutes after we arrived and the twins both totally blew a gasket. We walked them straight out and left all the choir girls for lap swim. The hysteria increased to the point that, even though I had them both hiding behind my parked car, I had people asking if they could help.  The twins would not quit screaming at the top of their lungs. I was spit on and slapped and yelled at and everything. I'm sure I saw lighting flashing out of Little Missy's eyes. She'd have chopped my head off if she could have. Vanessa heard the commotion and came out to see if she could help. It was so unreal that she got the giggles and then we were both laughing. Really, there was little else to do.

It is just not safe to put them in the car like that. They won't stay in their seats or they'll throw things at me while I'm driving so I decided to walk home instead. It's about three miles, give or take. I was going to call my husband to pick us up when they ran out of steam. The problem was neither of them had shoes. I didn't realize how hot the ground was until we got a ways and I was carrying him, she was wearing my Chacos and I was burning my feet. I now have blisters. Eventually they calmed down enough but Steve did not answer the phone and we went back to the pool and the twins apologized to the manager for the major uproar  they caused when he said swimming was over. They didn't do it very well even though we had practiced, but anyways...

They are both in bed an hour early. I don't think I will risk taking them to open swim again this week. It was ugly. It was disrespectful of other people's right to peace and quiet. It was a bad example to all those sweet little kiddos out there with their moms. It was a tad embarrassing. I am thinking now of all the things I should have done or tried or whatever, but when I have two going at once in public place all I can think to do is to keep them safe, stay calm, speak firmly and wait it out. It honestly took me an hour to get through all that nonsense to home and she was still so angry she refused the cold glass of apple cider I offered her when we got there. He accepted it sweetly, but she was still struggling with attitude.

Maybe I should just get them a kiddie pool and forget about taking them out in public for a couple of years.

* * sigh * *

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Not What I Planned

I had planned to take the twins and Christina to their swimming lessons. Instead I dropped them off at the pool and left them for most of the day. It's not what I had planned at all.

I was scheduled for oral surgery on the 27th but received a call asking if I could be at the office in an hour. It was a no-brainer. I wanted it over-with.

I dropped off the kids and Vanessa at the pool at 11:30 for their lessons at noon. Then a friend, Delores, found them there and took them home for lunch and brought them back with her own children to swim at open swim. Between her and Mary that showed up with her kids and Vanessa and Christina, the twins were more than well taken care of and had lots of kids their age to play with. Later, while in pain and looking forward to laying down, I returned to pick up the kids. They were having too much fun. The twins in two lessons are already turning into fish and the two gals suggested I leave them and go rest by myself. I took their advice.  And it all goes to prove that the Lord provides friends in time of need who will go over and above board to bless a fellow mom.

So, what was I thinking? I have lots of friends :-)

I'm actually doing very well. I haven't taken any of the vicoden and it doesn't look like I will need it.  Probably a good thing since I got tired of waiting for it at the pharmacy. It took them so long I was in tears.... and finally left without the pain killers. I suddenly felt better. I tried to stop and buy a birthday gift for a friend... but my head as a little woozy and I couldn't see anything right off and people kept looking at my bloody teeth, so, again I left. I really did want to get her something nice. She's in the adoption trenches as well and most likely feeling the walls caving in on her, too. She'll never know the difference if I'm late, will she?  I'm sore and swollen and have several stitches to baby, but I'm fine. It was kind of nice this way. I never even had time to get worried about the procedure. 

I'm celebrating. Little Guy hasn't peed his pants since Friday. HE LOVES SWIMMING as much as his twin. It's so worth using the toilet.

A Divine Friend

     This is a very lonely job. Sometimes I feel pretty cut off from friends and friendship. Our church situation does not help to keep us connected as a community and every time I drive past the building my heart sinks a little deeper because the construction is moving along so slowly. People are busy. It's summer. Life changes, friendships change. You gain, you lose. We chose to step out and be different and lost friends over it. It still stings. It's still uncomfortable. And it is still happening. 
     I remind myself that I still have lots of friends. They are busy. It's summer. I just don't run into them much and I lack time and energy to be intentional. We still have lots of family. They are just far, far away. It isn't looking like Africa will let mom come home as planned... what a bummer. I still have a couple of friends who call and they take the time to talk when I call. It means a whole lot. It's encouraging on hard days. I certainly hope and pray that I can be that for others when they need it.

   Through everything I have Christ and that means more and more every day.

Your compassionate Redeemer is watching you with love and sympathy, ready to hear your prayers and to render you the assistance which you need. He knows the burdens of every mother's heart and is her best friend in every emergency. His everlasting arms support the God-fearing, faithful mother. When upon earth, He had a mother that struggled with poverty, having many anxious cares and perplexities, and He sympathizes with every Christian mother in her cares and anxieties. That Saviour who took a long journey for the purpose of relieving the anxious heart of a woman whose daughter was possessed by an evil spirit will hear the mother's prayers and will bless her children. 

 . . . .He is woman's best friend today and is ready to aid her in all the relations of life. 

No work can equal that of the Christian mother. She takes up her work with a sense of what it is to bring up her children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. How often will she feel her burden's weight heavier than she can bear; and then how precious the privilege of taking it all to her sympathizing Saviour in prayer! She may lay her burden at His feet and find in His presence a strength that will sustain her and give her cheerfulness, hope, courage, and wisdom in the most trying hours. How sweet to the careworn mother is the consciousness of such a friend in all her difficulties! If mothers would go to Christ more frequently and trust Him more fully, their burdens would be easier, and they would find rest to their souls.  
AH 204 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Monkey See, Monkey Do!

Our church is being remodeled so we are all attending a church in nearby town. 
Even though we are front row kind of people, the first week we sat in the very back pew. 
I like the front row. 
I can see better,
I can hear better and there is less to distract small children from the front. 
In the back pew I feel like an observer instead of a participant. 
So anyway, this first week at the bigger church we were in the back and when it came time for the children's story the twins practically ran up to to the front. 
I was keeping my eye on them when I suddenly noticed Little Guy chewing. 
I thought, "Wow!
How did someone manage to give him a piece of gum
in the time it took to get from me to the front?" 
He can't have gum or hard candy since he swallows it immediately
and he chokes on it, 
but here he was 
through the entire story.
When he came back to me I asked him where he got his gum.
He opened his mouth wide to reveal
There was no gum.
Only then did I look around and noticed nearly the entire
like a field of resting cattle chewing the cud.

He's done it every week since except for last week.
We've moved up closer to the front
and we no longer have a good view of the jaws...

Monkey see, monkey do!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Tables Turned

I know, I know. Three posts in one day is not allowed, but these days my brain is a sieve and if I don't write it down now I won't remember it tomorrow. Steve keeps saying, usually when he's laughing his head off at something the twins did or said, "I hope you are writing these things down!!"  Well, what does he think a blog is for? But anyway, that thing he wanted me to write down yesterday, something Buster said that was so funny... yea, well, I can't remember it 'cause I didn't write it down right then. And neither can he.

Today started off with a little sibling rivalry. They weren't even out of bed yet. Buster says to her, "You aren't going swimming today!! (Kind of like, "neener, neener, neener.... I'm looking to make you mad.")

Her: "Yes, I am! I'm calling the cops!!"

Him: "NoooOOOOooooOOOOoooOOO!" ( Sound of a police siren in the word no.) "You are NOT going swimming today!"

Her: "I'm calling the cops!!!!!"

Him: "NoooOOOooooOOOOooooOOO!"

ad nausea-um...

Until finally Christina notices it getting louder and louder and investigates and tells them to "STOP it".  We are working on her bossiness. She should have deferred it to me, but anyway I was still in bed.

Our guests left later in the morning and I was reading something on the couch when I finally clued into another rather obnoxious conversation.

her: "You aren't going swimming today. You pee your pants!! You stay home all by yourself. You naughty boy."

him: "No, I not! I go swimming today. I not pee my pants today. You stay home by yourself."

her: "NO!! You stay home. You pee your pants!!!!!!! I go swimming today and you not".

him: "Mom, I not go swimming? I stay home by myself?"


Guess who landed in time out.

Little Miss definitely had a case of attitude today. She became downright disrespectful when I asked her to drink her water. I thought I had nipped it in the bud, but she gave one last defiant growl that brought Dad into the picture. We worked with her and she said sorry.... but threw in a parting insolent remark. As our eyes met, Steve and I  smiled a knowing look. I said, "We are choosing to now do battle."

It was a conscious decision to on our part to enter the fray. We could have backed off and ignored it or smoothed over it somehow, but I'm sure it would have only reinforced her disrespect. I knew that my next words would bring out the worst in her. She had been fairly warned and I dropped the bomb. "I'm sorry sweetie, you have just lost your swimming privilege for the day. You can choose to be respectful and obey or you can choose to make it hard for yourself."

She went into a full blown tantrum. Steve removed her from the kitchen to the front porch where she threw herself on her back. He put her hiking boots on while I held her head. I prayed aloud for a change of heart. Then Steve took her  by the hand and firmly said, "Screaming is no longer allowed." She stopped. (Nothing short of amazing, really.)

They hiked the mountain in complete silence. He sat her on the first ridge where she whimpered and after awhile he asked, "May I ask you something? Why do you choose to make it so hard on yourself?  . . . You must always obey and respect Mommy."

The next thing I knew they were back in the garden where I was weeding and she was her happy little self. She apologized and was great after that. She did not go swimming, but guess who kept his pants dry for a second day in a row and did go swimming? Yup. The tables were turned. She got to watch while he got to swim.

I did sign them both up for swimming lessons starting tomorrow. Am I nuts for thinking they'll both make it to lessons?

Steve and I debriefed.
We decided we are learning. We are slow, but we are learning.
We agree that allowing all-out screaming, even outside, is only fueling the rage and reinforcing their anger.
We think we are understanding suicide a little more... because when we begin taking away privileges, etc... their rights and their passion becomes their whole object and all they may lose means nothing ( for the moment - later when they come to their senses it means a whole lot).
We still feel the mountain is ideal for discipline, because it takes them away from the situation and allows them time to cool and begin to think.
We are seeing that the tantrums are fewer and shorter. Progress!!
The Lord is working. We see it. (Believe it or not!)

Grace and Mercy and the Contender

I appreciated the feedback on the post Grace and Mercy.  It think all agreed that consistency and love are all key to success in this endeavor. Being strict without love would in the end just be abuse. It would only further the work of hardening the hearts of these children. We are warned in Ephesians 6, directly after admonishing children to obey, "not to provoke them to anger, but to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Wishy-washyness would only serve to confuse the situation and the kiddos would be constantly guessing and testing to figure out what the limits were.  I have decided that we are on the right course, and that I must keep the expectations, requirements and standards high. They must be clear and plain and the rules as few as possible. I can extend grace and mercy when they fail while still remaining firm.

I think it is important to remember that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, as Ephesians 6 carries on to explain. I believe in a literal controversy going on between Christ and Satan. Satan has made his claim on the human race, but Christ has also made His claim with blood.  In the Contender's claim to these little children he argues their heritage, the bondage of the parents, the degradation of their past, the warped character traits,  etc...  But we are not to despair. Christ already won the victory and we can declare His triumph in their behalf as their new parents. Satan, however, does not accept that he is a defeated foe and this accounts for the battle we often find ourselves in.  For me, it is to remember not to take the fight personally. The battle is rather a rescue scene and it is God's battle. I'm the basically the flag bearer and I hold it up best on my knees.

I take comfort in the verses in Isaiah 49:24 -25.  "Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? But thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered; for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children."

Do we need any more promise than that?

"There hath not failed one word of all His good promise." 1Kings 8:56

First Weekend Guests

Since the twins moved in, this was our first opportunity for weekend guests. The kiddos did great. They  love Uncle Bob and Auntie Joy and they put on their best behavior for them. The guests have left but I am grateful Steve is home for today because I think the let-down would be a bit much if we three were the only ones left at home. We have big plans to get the place cleaned up and to go swimming as a family then, depending on how the twins are doing, we might go to the river to see the fireworks display.

I think that Little Guy will get to go swimming today. Missing out on playing in the water on our big family outing Friday was a real lesson. Probably, it was harder on me than him. He played airplanes on the grass and took it all quite well. I had tried to get a babysitter, but I'm afraid  there isn't anyone who can do that for me, so we took him with us and we all took turns sitting and walking him around to see all that he was missing. He said he would not be peeing his pants anymore. I've heard that before, but he did keep dry yesterday and he has plans to go swimming today. The ball is in his court. He knows it. He is capable and he understands that I believe he is.

We feel blessed because these two take their disappointments well. For example, last evening the men and the teens took the canoes down the river and the twins were sure that they were going, too since we always do everything together. There just wasn't enough room for all of us in two canoes, so my sister-in-law and I decided that we would go for the drive and the walk part of the outing and help with transport then take the twins home to prepare supper. There were tears, but they quickly switched gears and decided to make the most of it. They don't pout or stay disappointed. That's positive.

I'm just about cherried out and now our cherries are ripe. :-)