Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Unanticipated

It works.

There's no way around it.

It just works for this kiddo.

Little Miss Muffet has enjoyed an almost stellar week.  I've kept her reined in tight and she responds exactly the way anyone would hope which shows improvement. She has been by my side or Steve's constantly. Friday, though, things were a little crazy and I needed Bri to watch her and Bri needed to study, so she had more freedom than was allowed previously all week. She handled it very well and kept announcing, "I be good all day... can I go to Sabbath school tomorrow?" 

I never promise anything. My answer is always the same. " I don't know. We'll see."

She was definitely heading there, when out of the blue sky she pulled an old trick out of the hat.

Vanessa was just stunned! "WHY in the world did she do that? That was a most random, unanticipated move. I don't get it!!!"

I actually was not surprised. She was within minutes of realizing her goal, she practically had the prize in her grasp, she figured she wouldn't be denied..... but if she were to test the resolve of the powers that be, this was the moment to do so I told Vanessa it had nothing to do with anything except for her need to be the one in command.

Someday I'll read Missy these stories and she'll laugh with me. Right?

Yesterday, Vanessa ironed a special dress and helped Missy pick out her tights and everything all the way down to the underwear for church today.  It was all laid out in her room. This morning the last thing she needed to do was get dressed before we left. 

Suddenly her little brain quit working. She could not figure out what to wear. She came out with a black turtleneck. I told her that wasn't what I thought had been planned. She came back and forth a few times. I told her to go to Vanessa and Vanessa would remind her which outfit she was suppose to wear. Pretty soon Vanessa came upstairs exasperated. She won't wear the clothes we planned. She insists on the black turtleneck but there's nothing to go with it. I asked Vanessa to just bring me the clothes and tell Missy to come to me. From there a tantrum ensued... and eventually she was sent to buckle up in the car by Dad without her having finished putting her tights or shoes on, her hair a disaster because she just wouldn't. There was a quite a ta-do about that. She had to stay by me the rest of the day.... which isn't over, but it sure makes a difference in her attitude.  I'm sorry she can't make it to her class, but I know the lessons she is learning is as important or more so than what she would learn in class.


As I type new neighbors are moving in  the house up on the hill closest to us. This move has got to be the most intriguing of any we've ever watched from our side of the hill... We haven't figured out just how many kids there are. Our first count was 5, but we discovered a baby and that makes 6... however, that might be the younger 6? We started seeing some older kids and now we're all confused. There could be friends or cousins helping with the move. (At last count it's 11 and it's definitely a lively bunch). From a distance they are the epitome of the homeschooling, conservative, quiver-full,  Baptist family. We're anxious to meet them. The customary fresh homemade loaf of welcome bread will need to be expanded to a 2 or 3 loaves. We haven't really had too many neighborhood kids in our life and I'm a tad apprehensive about what that might mean considering our twins . . .  I've always been quite content to specifically CHOOSE who my children rub shoulders with.  I also know the landlord has had trouble renting the place out for nearly the length of a year (except the short spell he let his teenage son and his friends live there), so perhaps this was a move ordained by God. Who can tell?

I've been forever grateful that the house sat empty that first 6 months of the constant raging and screaming we endured when the twins moved in.  Whoever might have lived there was spared a ton of grief. The unearthly noise echoed around in this hollow. No one would have been able to escape it.

A Word for Mothers

The mother should feel her need of the Holy Spirit’s guidance, 
that she herself may have a genuine experience in submission
to the way and will of God. 
Then, through the grace of Christ,
she can be a
loving teacher.
Christ has made every provision that 
every parent who will be controlled by the Holy Spirit 
will be given strength and grace to be a teacher in the home. 
This education and discipline in the home 
will have a molding and fashioning influence.
10 Manuscript 36, 1899. {AH 206.4}

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief

Boys are funny creatures. The one we've got keeps morphing from one person to another all day. He's the garbage man, he's a truck driver, he's an engineer, he's a pilot, he's an astronaut.  Everything is made complete with mouth noises...

One minute he's holding the hose over the bon fire declaring he's the fireman ready for an "emergency"... the next he's wearing protective eye ware and ear plugs watching Vanessa's every move using the weed whacker and telling everybody who will listen that he's going to do the weedwacking some day.

I showed Steve the post I put up earlier of the pictures of the twins when we first met them. He shook his head, "The kid was stoned! Now look at him. He's actually very quick and bright."

James has been very happy and easy going. Our only trial is he can't seem to wash his face. I might threaten him with doing it myself soon. Bet he'd like that. NOT. Every single meal he goes to wash up... and invariably comes back hardly looking better than before. I'm constantly resending to wash properly. I've watched him and showed him a bunch of times, but either he won't or he is not paying attention.

Missy has been doing okay, too. I told Steve this morning that I thought our streak of happy days were nearly used up and that I totally expected a melt down. Sure enough she's had about 3 misery episodes already.  The last was at lunch. Christina asked the kids to please rinse their plate, which was no big deal... it was the waiting her turn that apparently was too much. Christina reminded her to wait until James was done and quick as flash she grabbed a bowl full of dirty water and dumped it all over the clean dishes in the dishwasher rack. Impulsiveness can be such a trial. If she had had time to think I know she would not have done it. She didn't think. She just blew. She was pretty hot tempered and annoyed when I came into the picture. She wasn't going to come to me without a fight. She was wishing with all her might she hadn't done it I think... Getting her into the proper frame of mind was the challenge and then after that it was easy, she just had to wash all the dishes all over again herself, plus the ones on the counter. Took her a long time, but she stuck to the job with a pretty good attitude. Just don't tell her that I'll probably have to rewash all those dishes again when she's not looking.

Monday, April 25, 2011

This Humoungus Job

It seems like every day is an experiment. Every day we pray and claim promises, work and talk and experiment with ways to bring and maintain a peace and joy in the lives of the twins. Every day is a new study to acquire  wisdom.

Teaching older kids the importance of obedience, how to love, to exercise self-control, etc... is NOTHING like nurturing through these lessons with a child from birth where love and a desire to please is a seed already sprouting in the heart. It requires an inordinate, incredible amount of diligent concentration, not to mention patience, to get through each each and every hour until they fall asleep, only to start again at the crack of dawn. Every action, motive, feeling, word, and even inborn instincts have to be checked, scrutinized, redirected, elevated and turned around.  Old ways and thoughts have to be replaced with new unselfish ones. It takes unflagging determination and tirelessness and yet anything we do will not bear fruit unless accompanied by the Spirit of God. When looking at the enormity of the task ahead I have been known to say, "I don't know if I have what it takes."  I have to remind myself that people have no idea when they minimize the stakes with good intention by saying, "oh, yes you do!"  Truth is, I don't. If I didn't have the strength that God offers me every day things would not be where they are. I might have been admitted to an insane asylum long ago. In my view, this is a life and death matter - an eternal life and death matter.

Every bit of progress, every step forward is occasion to celebrate in thankfulness to our Redeemer. Every advancement and breakthrough is also opportunity for relapse and huge disappointment. So long as we don't allow the adversary to discourage we can press forward again. A fact easier to write out than live.

Sometimes I have to go back and read posts from a year ago to remember where we came from. A year ago there was unending screaming, tantrums, raging, violence, swearing, beating of walls, smashing of dishes, and unearthly name calling for hours and hours and days on end. A year ago today I was complaining of exhaustion, of being at my wits end and of one pair of poopy pants after another all day with no progress and only regression.

We've had a few really good days. I discovered that if James is crying or falling to pieces the best thing is for him to get more sleep. Yesterday he spent a couple hours in bed in the middle of the day. He got up much more cheery than he went down. He was able to handle life again.  For Missy the thing that is working best right now is to keep her beside me all the time. It doesn't always work, though. Friday she was completely out of control. It was draining on both Steve and I. Eventually all we could do was put her to bed for the rest of the evening and night. She missed out on a fun time with company. Then next day I kept her by me. I did not even let her go to her class at church, nor up front for children's story. We spent the rest of the day canoeing and then in the evening we went to nearby town to hear a visiting speaker. Though James had a great time at the children's mtg there, Missy was confined to Steve's lap in the main hall. Sunday the girls and I provided music for a church and James enjoyed the Easter egg hunt while his sister stayed by me. She does not even question it anymore. She knows if she has very much freedom she goes out of control. Staying by us, even when it is hugely disappointing, is some security to her even if she doesn't know it.

I claim James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

The Wisdom I desire is this: James 3:17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I am praying for relief from the pain in my neck and shoulders that I think is related to this stress... I've endured it for 2 whole months with hardly a let up. I have even more sympathy for Bri's pain than ever.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I don't know this little girl.


But I certainly do like the new kid that moved in and stayed all day!!

Why, she even used the bathroom on her own several times without being asked, played sweetly and shared with James, offered to help with tasks, and she didn't go to pieces over being told not to do something.

She did remind me a million and half times that she's been a good girl all day.

She did hear a lot of words of appreciation, and thanks, and affirmation from everyone in the house... not syrupy stuff, just normal kind words of thanks that she doesn't usually earn.

She brought out the Bible story book and wanted to go over the story of the boy who said he would do what his father asked but didn't and his brother who said he would not work for his dad but did. Somehow that story made an impression.

Flipping through the book she came across a picture of Jesus in heaven ... she traced his face with her finger and said simply, "Mama, I want to be like Jesus".

I let James have a toast earlier today and his belly is as hard as a rock. I thought it strange that he didn't have much appetite at supper. I'd forgotten about the toast.  I keep thinking that he will eventually be able to go back eating bread, but obviously not yet.

A blast From the PAST

All those times I couldn't post pictures of the twins were so frustrating!! Now I'm going to show you pictures from the past.

Here are the twins referral pictures. The pictures I carried around in my Bible... They were 5,  four months shy of 6 years old that October '09. We first saw these pictures in December. We received the referral in January.
In February 2010 we met the twins for the 1st time. Note the puffy faces and dull, medicated eyes.
We recognized James had a lot of fear.
Next is our second visit on their 6th birthday. We took them to the park. They couldn't run properly and needed a steady hand and encouragement on the playground equipment. Their coordination was very poor.

This was the typical expression.
So happy for one on one attention.

A week later the children visited our place over night.
A week after that they moved in.
 A very new life off of medications, beginning potty training, discipline on a new level, and a whole new diet along with a family to call their own began.

Just a few short months later their looks changed drastically:

And there you have it. The metamorphosis of a foster child.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wishing We Didn't Have to Go to Bed

because Missy is so very sweet and mellow tonight.

Nearly everyone has had to have a turn at putting her in her place today and yesterday, but ever since she's calm, relaxed and genuinely content.

It's a glimpse of what she will be.

She spontaneously apologized for some earlier behavior on her own.

The Bible story tonight happened to on the parable of the two boys who were told by their father to go work in the vineyard. One said, "Yes, Dad, I will obey" and did not, and the other said, "I don't want to", but felt sorry later and did obey. Missy is perfectly portrayed by the first boy. She often hollers that she wants to obey but she makes to no move towards doing so. I've been trying to help her understand that talking is very different from doing. I'd forgotten about the parable. It was the perfect story.

This morning after visiting for a bit I reminded Missy that she probably ought to get going on her morning routine so she would be ready for breakfast on time. We were leaving the house and she would only have so much time. She said she was going to make her bed, but every delay tactic known to mankind started playing out one after the other. I looked at her and said, "I don't think you want to make your bed, so you need to sit beside me for awhile".

"I DO want to make my bed".

But talking is not doing,  kiddo. Sit here.


Well, not right now. You are sitting with me for awhile.

She sat and every once in awhile she announced that she was ready to make her bed. I just told her that I wasn't sure she was quite ready yet.

When I finally let her off the couch she fairly flew through her chores. Because I had delayed her, though, her meal was meager... but she did get some.

So anyway, tomorrow is a new day not a continuation of today and I'm wishing she didn't need to go to bed because there's no guarantees, though I think the more happy times she allows herself the more she might decide she likes it that way. The more she partakes of the peace Christ offers, hopefully the more she will desire it.

Sir, My Wheel is Falling Off!

I hate that when that happens...

Every time we get the tires changed on the suburban we have to go back and get them all tightened again because invariably one or more of the wheels come loose. We didn't go back soon enough. I was stopping and tightening the lug nuts with my fingers and limping my way to the tire shop.... and I still completely ruined the left back wheel.

The first time was the worst. It was the front left wheel that time. I called my husband in a panic and he sent me to the GM dealer and they looked around and decided I needed a new transfer case. They said it could wait a few days.  We considered trading it in and took it to the car lot. They also said we needed a new transfer case. The noise, the shakes, the whole problem got worse and worse and worse until I was driving home down the highway at 20 miles an hour and barely made it to our town, called my husband and said, I can go no farther...  I hopped out of the car and found the front wheel had only one lug nut left and all the bolts were sheared off. Since then we always check and recheck, but  this time it wasn't soon enough.

I pulled into the tire shop as they were closing. They replaced the wheel for free because they were the ones that changed the tires in the first place.

My poor car. The door handle broke again. I have to roll down the window to open the door. We have three seat belts chewed up that we are trying to find replacements for. The back doors are not opening properly.  The air conditioning doesn't work. I need another 40 thousand miles out of this thing - it only has 263 thousand miles....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Food for Thought

Found an email in my inbox this morning with a quote written 103 years ago. There's fodder for thinking in it. I'm pretty sure the education it is talking about is not reading and writing and arithmetic. I'm pretty sure we're talking about character building.

make the education of your children the highest aim of life.
Their future happiness depends upon the education they receive in their early years. 
Do not send them away from you to school when they are young. 
If your habits and dress are as simple as they should be, 
you will find ample time to make your children happy, 
and to lead them to obey you. 
God will help you to teach them how to submit cheerfully and willingly. 
Take up your duties, 
inspired by the noble resolve to do your work faithfully and well. 
Do not become discouraged.
In due time you will reap if you faint not. 
You will see your children growing up into Christian men and Christian women.
  {Review and Herald, February 28, 1907 par. 7}

Monday, April 18, 2011

Better Day

It's been a better day. The sunshine has been wonderful. I found my lost jacket that had my driver's license and bank card in the pocket. SOMEONE... I have my suspicions, put it in the basket we keep by the fireplace full of jump ropes and weights and other exercise tools. It took 3 days and a lot of time on my knees to find that! Thank the Lord He showed me where it was. I would have never guessed on my own.

Missy made a decision to be amiable today. She lost her cool a couple of times but chose to turn things around.

The twins have been playing outside together nicely while I've been washing laundry and cleaning the laundry room. There's a half dozen, 3 week old kittens in there that can spit nails if you get too close with the broom. It's really funny.

It was too cold in the greenhouse last night. Lost some of the tomato plants. Kind of random in which ones froze and which ones were fine. Plants in the very same tray side by side reacted to the cold differently. Tonight we'll carry the whole lot up to the house until we get out little wood stove going.

I think I'm spread a bit too thin to even consider doing respite for our friends again. The twins are all I can handle right now. I'm sure the poor kid was only too glad to go home to food he was familiar with!

Brianna is sick.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

End of the Day

Well, it took until mid afternoon but she came around.

Basically I set her on the harp bench outside and every once in awhile I would ask her to stop screaming. Finally I had to leave to run a quick errand. Brianna mowed and let her sit until I got back and then I gave her a job picking up branches in the orchard. She screamed over this for about an hour. I tried disciplining her for the screaming but there was no use. She was bent on having her way and beyond reason...

Finally about 2:00 PM she decided to do the job and by 3 she was done. I did not let her in the house - I was working out in the greenhouse and I would not let her run off and play, either. She had to stay right by me. Her pajamas were a dreadful mess this evening and so she had to hose them off as well as herself before I would let her in. She took care of things bravely.

After her hot shower she came and apologized and says tomorrow she'll be a good girl. I told her I would not be telling her to do anything before breakfast. She knows what she should do and if she doesn't do it it will be today all over again. The ball is in her court.

I know she was thinking because she was sitting outside the greenhouse kind of talking to herself about Jesus' happy heart.....

So our foster care respite babysitting episode is almost over.  Having another special needs boy in the house has shows us just how soft hearted James is. This boy is hardened. He's 11, very obviously FAS,  and unattached to anybody. He has called me mommy from the second he was in my charge and that feels so ick because it's just a term to him, normally he would call me Mrs. **** when he's with our friends- his regular foster parents. This kid is even more unmotivated than my kids. Apparently his favorite thing to do is play the wii, which we don't have.  He is 11 but very developmentally delayed and still in diapers. It's soooo about control. He changes himself every time he uses them. If he can do that, he can use the toilet. They told me he would not poop in his pants... but the very first day he did just that. He ripped the hood right off of James coat - the entire seam right off of James. Anyway, he hasn't liked being outside all day, but that's the way it is when I'm working in the gardens.

I'm praying my tomatoes survive their first night in the greenhouse. Boy, do we ever have a lot of tomato plants! It felt just like summer working in the greenhouse. The thermometer said it got over a hundred and ten  - so we cooled it down. I hope it doesn't get too cold tonight. The contrasts might be a little much. I'm keeping the eggplants and peppers inside. You can bet I'll be listening for the frost fans in the valley tonight. Used to be I woke up early every morning about 4 and then last year I started waking at 3 and these days.... it's 2 AM!! It's nuts, but the one thing good about it is I actually fall back asleep by 4 or so, but if the frost fans start I'm done for. Nothing like the sound of a few helicopters hovering over your bed! Ah, but I like fruit so I put up with it (as if I had a choice.)

How to Help Her

Yesterday was a beautiful happy day... Everything went smooth.

Today she won't do a thing. Won't make bed, won't get dressed, screaming fit over having to go to the bathroom, now she's sitting in poop on the bench...

I have no clue what I'm suppose to do next.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Talk About Vindictive

And destructive!
That would be destroyed seat belt number one, two and three....

in the twenty minutes it took  for us to remember the dog in the car
she managed to do all this and teach us never ever, ever to forget her in the car again!
In her ten and a half years
this is the first time she's been deliberate about her naughtiness.

 The hike was great.
The weather was perfect and the kids enjoyed exploring nature. 
We only found out about the seat belts when we got back in the car to go home.
We honestly only forgot the dog in the car for a few minutes,
then Vanessa rushed back to let her out.
That'll teach us!

Friday, April 15, 2011


We're going over old ground with both twins at a very intense level this week.

& over,
& over...

old ground.

Stuff we had made progress on previously.

unwillingness to help
bad attitudes
fighting the morning routine

They do not learn.

Stuck in the old destructive behaviors
knowing they won't get their way... but trying anyway.

I have a sense of compassion for their plight and attraction to foolishness... but I'm also very frustrated that they keep choosing the hard road. When it's this intense I begin to lose my sense of direction, even begin to question my own sanity, and especially theirs. I'm pretty dogged, but I begin to question if it's worth it, if I'm doing the right thing, if we'll ever get out of this deep dark hole.

Steve reminds me that even if they do not learn, if they never become whole, contributing members of society, even if it comes to the place where they sit their whole lives warming a jail cell, it will have been worth it.  They will have been given an opportunity to know Christ and  love. He reminds me that we are to be a part of the demonstration of Christ's character and love to the watching universe... It's true that Jesus gave His all for a foolish, stupid, willful, brain damaged world of sinners - many of whom will NOT choose life everlasting, but death.

I pray for peace in their little hearts.

I have to say, James has taken his responsibility to use the bathroom without being told seriously and I have only had to prompt him once in more than a week. (Okay, so maybe they do learn some things.) It's just disheartening when you ask him to do a simple task and he melts into weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth because he doesn't feel like moving his behind off the floor where he is doing nothing. Even if I told him to go play, it was the same thing, so I chose to have him work. Yesterday was a series of weeping episodes...
"Please, take out the compost,
go for the shovel,
help Vanessa bring up the plant pots,
pick up the branches under the apricot tree,
hang your coat,
pick up your dirty clothes"
after each job was completed things were no better than before
and finally in desperation I said,
"Fine... go empty the hay wagon. It will take you a few hours."

It did. The two of them got half way and it started to sprinkle then they decided they couldn't finish it and the weeping and wailing started in earnest...
but a funny thing,
since the only way to get away from the job was to finish it
they did. 
How proud they were of themselves! And you should have heard the declarations of  how much they enjoyed doing that job. We reminded them that they did a lot of unnecessary complaining, but someday, eventually, they really would learn to enjoy working hard.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Busy, Busy...

It's been crazy busy and we are still wrestling with the greenhouse plastic, but it's slowly taking shape....

Everything takes twice as long with the twins around.

It seems like this week they have both been fussy, whiny, fighting, and disrespectful and everything we do is punctuated with correction, discipline and extra attention. It seems like no matter what we've done it's been a downward spiral to the point that everytime we asked James to hold his corner of the plastic on the greenhouse so the wind wouldn't blow it around he would wet his pants 'cause he didn't feel like holding and waiting like the rest of us. (Not that it made much difference to his holding the plastic or let him off the hook...)

Both twins did work hard at pulling up all the fence stakes that needed to be pulled before we till, though. At first there was a lot of complaining and a lot of teaching.... but finally they got it figured out and they even learned to use the shovel as leverage and could pop those things right out of the ground after loosening them a bit.

Missy has been oppositional entirely. This morning she decided things would be different and I'm literally holding my breath that she'll stick with her plan. She's warm and friendly so far.

I've been teaching James how to mow. Don't worry. I'm right beside him with my hands on the mower... it's almost more work than doing it myself, but it makes him feel important. His eye -hand -feet coordination have been called into severe discipline.  Keeping the mower going on track and keeping in control of everything else is more brain taxing than I ever knew :-).

Missy came to me and announced she was singing Jesus Loves Me for me. She sang it almost completely on tune with the words in the correct order. I'm wondering if I am suppose to take that to mean she thinks she's ready for children's choir? She knows the starting age is 7... in my mind that's developmentally age 7 :-).

I'm having to have eyes on all sides of my head.... If James is not drinking "apple cider" from the bins of apple cores for the compost from the edge of the trailer that we used to haul horse manure , then he's picking apricot blossoms off the tree, or wandering around with sharp sticks too close to the greenhouse, and he's throwing his coat behind the furniture so he won't have to hang it up. Missy has to be watched just as closely, not so much for physical danger or mischief... just attitude.

It's spring and the work has begun in earnest. My challenge is to keep the twins occupied with healthy activity and still keep up with everything that needs to be done.  They need to feel a part of the program - not just a prince and a princess to be waited on hand and foot. Where they get this idea I have no clue, but they certainly feel entitled to service and freedom to do as they please.

God help us.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Hair Affair

Twalisa might not be impressed with my decision, but Little Miss tangles got herself a whopping haircut.
I cut 7 inches off last night.

She went from this:

To this:
It grows fast. This is the second time I have cut her hair and hopefully this will be easier for her to learn how to care for it. When it was so long she could not brush it or learn to put it in a pony. Now it is manageable.

Monday, April 11, 2011


I woke up not *feeling* like dealing with unhappy kids... It's a dread deep in my bones that somehow tells me what kind of day we might have.  I took some time to ask the Lord for wisdom to help me with the trials otherwise known as kids.

I have a little Miss demanding a cup of water from me (ain't that a switch!). I told her to get it herself and the wailing and carrying-on ensued. She told me she couldn't because she is "all the way over there!" and I told her that I was "all the way over here" and that she could pick herself up and walk. I finally went all the way over there and made her get off her duff.

Yesterday was similar. I put the both of them to work. While the girls and I dug in the garden, Missy and James took their little shovels and carted the compost pile, bit by bit in their buckets to the new tomato patch. It took them a few hours, but they did it.

Okay.... so water has been drunk.... now for the time-to-g0-to-the-bathroom song and dance.... I think I'll go mow the lawn.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Smart Girl

She really is.

Yesterday was completely stress free.

When her brother went off to the children's meetings without her she smiled and wished him well. She sat by me on the couch and we looked at books.  When I asked her if she had been obedient for her sisters when I went to my appointment she was honest and told me that Brianna had told her not to play with the guitar, but she did anyway and Vanessa had her sit on the bench. She complied without a fit. But the best part is she didn't lie to me.

She let me know she knows I am the boss, and that the girls have authority over her that she does not have. She brought that up herself.

She is hoping with all her heart that she can go to tonight's meeting.

This week she missed: speech, the children's meetings, school on Wednesday (she may or may not connect that it's spring break), she did not get to go grocery shopping or with me to choir. More than any other consequence, losing the privilege of going out hits it where it hurts.

Two days ago I started her on niacin. It has a calming effect, but I seriously think the loss of privilege has her toeing the line.

James came home from the meeting and told me all about it. He also started watching our set of animal videos called the Trials of Life. He is totally intrigued. I thought it might be over his head, but he's enjoying them and telling anybody who will listen about the animals. I might have to get the Blue Planet and Planet Earth series for him someday. He's becoming more and more observant of nature. He's come a long ways from calling deer kangaroo.

Friday, April 8, 2011


There was no song and dance over the lavatory this morning.

No games.

She also asked to do school work.

on her own.

no joke.

I'm waiting for the punch line.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

TMI - Might Be On to Something

James came running into the house, dropped his jacket and bee-lined for the bathroom. After doing his job he proudly told me he was living up to my expectation and I presented him with a much coveted all natural coconut milk ice-cream bar that we've recently discovered. It was almost lunch time and he was thrilled.

The look on his sister's face was priceless. WHAT is that James? Like she didn't know. Why you have that?? His explanation was one or two simple sentences.

I shewed them outside... and two seconds later she popped back in.

I need go poop.

Everybody laughed. Yeah right. She had already.

But HEY, when there's ice-cream involved, anything's possible!!


And she further proved that she has been playing some serious games with me!

Like I warned, this post is TMI!

This morning she sat on the throne and fussed and fumed and carried on for 30 minutes about not being able to. This is normal. We've gone through this every single day for the last 13 months. Used to be times two, but recently her brother gave it up.

Eventually she produced a rabbit pellet or two. Finally I said, You know, I think you are just not ready to go. You can sit on the bench in the hall until you are ready.

Of course, that's not the place to be so within a minute she was saying she was ready.  I said, no, you need more time. I've been through this enough to know that we could go through the same song and dance on the toilet for another 30 minutes if she feels so inclined, so I made her sit longer. Eventually she was saying, Mom I ready now! I'm like, Oh, I don't know. maybe you should go jump on the trampoline for 5 minutes and make sure your body is doing it's work.

After the timer rang she bee-lined for the toilet and was done in 15 seconds.

Wouldn't you like to live at our house???
 What fun we have!! :-P

I tell you what, I play the game all day long with this child. I make sure to get the upper hand each and every second and it's just plain exhausting sometimes.

So the very fact that she could go to the bathroom at WILL when she's already done sufficient job to pass my inspection 3 hours previous YOU KNOW we're playing games!

She's really good at what she does. Wonder what she'll be when she grows up?

And yes, she got an ice-cream bar. I'll have to go and stock up and maybe buy shares in the SO-Delicious company.


 I can't treat the twins like twins anymore. They may both be 7 years old, but one is responsibly older than the other. This one is gaining more responsibility and the privileges that go along with that.

James is growing, shining, and increasing in blessings.

A change I have made is to no longer require that he go to the bathroom on my schedule. I told him so long as he keeps his pants clean and continues to take initiative to go on his own it's not my responsibility. He could lose that at any given moment based on his the laundry :-)

James loves the children's meetings at church and he LEARNS. I am thinking of enrolling him in the Adventurer Club that is just being started.

The one trial he has is laziness.  It keeps me on my toes, but other than that he's usually happy, and fun to be with. He actually has a sense of humor that we are only just discovering.

Missy is still on my schedule. She will Not initiate going to the bathroom. She'd rather hold it or poop in her pants. It's a fact.

Missy is missing the children's meetings because she is not willing to respect me or do anything anyone asks her. Missing out on privileges makes an incredibly bigger impression on her when her brother is getting what she wants, as was demonstrated by the 45 minutes of wailing her head off last night when he left for church without her. This morning she is very controlling. Lots of pickle questions and nonsense.

I am not enrolling her in the Adventurer Club. First things first. And obedience comes first.

Missy is NOT lazy. She is a hard worker.  Sometimes, though, she won't do anything because it's a convenient way to be in control.

So, they may be twins, but  it's kind of like having kids 3 years apart. The disadvantage is that I can't say, well, he's older. It comes out sounding negative ...  he does what mommy asks and you don't. You still have to learn to obey.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wonder of Wonders

Little Miss Britches has decided that today will be a whole lot different than yesterday.


She's obedient and says "Yes, Mom!"

So far the first hour or so has been wonderful and she was pleasant company on our walk.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Miserable Mess

That would be a certain little girl that lives at my house.

We're toe-to-toe on this obedience issue.

Neither one of us will back down.

I was hoping to start off on a good foot this morning. I thought if I invited the twins to go for a nice little walk in the sunshine this morning it would do something for Missy's outlook on life. Unfortunately, she has a way of sabotaging stuff like this and being extra slow to get ready. For the first time, I caught her dumping the cup of water I gave her out behind my back. I set her on the bench to drink her water and James and I went for a walk.

A few rounds later I sent Christina out to jump on the trampoline with her. Oh, did I mention within hours of the kids no longer being foster kids that the trampoline was back up!! They love it. IT's really good for them. I'm hoping Missy's attitude will be different when she comes back in, but I'm not counting on it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Black and Blue

Missy and I have had quite a day. She has not been allowed more than 5 feet from me all day and still she's at it. She thinks she sneaky. She does everything well and right up to 95%, but the last 5% of what she does is purposely wrong, disobedient and dishonest.  I haven't accomplished a thing. James was thinking he was missing out on something so he pulled a similar stunt and has since decided it wasn't worth it....

But that's not what I came here to write.

I was going to tell you about bike riding and all the bruises the the kids have given themselves wiping out. I had bought James a 5 speed at the Goodwill but he was afraid of it. He couldn't get on, he couldn't balance and he couldn't get the idea that you brake with your hand and not with your feet. He went back to his old bike.... Then one day last week he took a look at the 5 speed and decided to play around with it. He walked up and down the driveway all morning pushing the bike. We pretty much ignored him and eventually we noticed him trying to mount the bike. By late afternoon he was riding up and down the bottom of the road quite happy with himself.

A few days later Missy, who NEVER had any interest in her bike, brought her bike out and started pushing it up and down the road. Previously she always needed help to get on and a push to get started and her landings were always crashes. After a few hours she started trying to get on by herself. No one paid her any attention... we were all curious if she was going to persist.

AND SHE DID IT! Pretty soon she was riding up and down the road with James.

I was so surprised. I said, "I can't believe you are riding your bike all by yourself!!"

She never missed a beat...

"I want NEW bike."

O my lands! I have seen some of the worst bicycle accidents this week!! Yesterday Missy came flying down the hill - first time she'd ever actually come down that hill on her own. She completely lost control and flew along the ground on her belly. When she finally stopped she just kind of looked towards us and groaned. She didn't cry but she didn't get up for quite awhile. Big sister helped her untangle from the wreckage.

You'd think the twins were leopards if all you saw was their legs!! They are dotted with bruises all over. Some are black, some are blue and the old ones are yellow and brown. I started rubbing them down with arnica.

Too Much of a Good Thing...

I was so glad Steve was off yesterday.  It took the two of us to keep an eye on the twins. All the excitement and attention, mostly the attention, that they had been basking in on account of the adoption had gone to their heads. They were feeling pretty important.

It's such a fine line to walk.

You want them to know that they are loved and special and important to us.

Yet, they can't handle very much before it turns into pride.

Two whole days of fellowship and love and time with people other than our family and they woke up too big for their britches.

Self-importance showed itself in expecting to be served, and lying to get service, and disrespect and unhappiness when things didn't go their way.  To borrow a statement from my dad's latest blog post:

"It is the love of self that destroys our peace." 
Mount of Blessings pg 16

There was little choice but to do the unthinkable and keep them home from the meeting last night. It was heartbreaking!! Okay, it wasn't so heartbreaking for me to keep Missy home because she lost her cool when I told her and she managed to erase any pity I might have had, BUT James' disappointment was deep. He loves his class and loves to learn, but he was also congested and he needed an early bed.

Today is a stay-at-home-and-play-outside day.

Let us always bear in mind that Jesus offers His light yoke in place of the galling yoke of SELF;

"Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me, 
for I am meek and lowly of heart and you shall find rest".
Matthew 11:29
Deny the demands of self and bear the yoke of Christ's meekness and life will be SO much happier.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

New Job

I just started



the worst piano job of my life!

Way to much stress and formality for me.

A New Name

The twins have been so excited to share with everyone at church their new names. James had quite a time getting his 4 names in order, but now that he's told 100 people or so, he's got it down pat.  He is really into making conversation with people about the adoption and the courthouse and everything.  People have been wonderfully supportive of the twins excitement and it's good to see them feel like the church is "their" church and the people are their extended family. One couple asked if they could be their surrogate grandparents, which suites everybody just fine. A lady we barely know attended the meeting at our church last night and brought a little gift for each of the twins. Missy's is a cute stuffed bunny that says an evening prayer. She's so thrilled with it.

There is a series of meetings going on at the church and my family is heavily involved in the children's meetings. The twins LOVE to go and I do believe they are learning a lot!! They love Sabbath school, too and they are starting to be able to really tell us what they learned there each week. Although I'm not ready to move on from last week's verse, the new verse of the week is:

The fear of man brings a snare, 
but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. 
Proverbs 29:25

I'm thinking this verse is probably more for me than for the kids. They could give a hoot what anybody thinks about anything. Inclination leans towards the feelings of the given moment when you are a child. It's teens and adults that struggle with putting human opinion in it's proper place.

Here's a fun photo taken at the church open-house of all our adopted kiddos.

P.S I just noticed I called Anna-Joy Missy. It's natural... besides I call her that in real life ALOT, too!~

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ta-Da!! It's Official!!

We  adopted the twins today!

And so I introduce to you: James and Anna-Joy!

We had some very special friends come and celebrate with us...
The twins were really excited about changing their last name to match ours.
In the car on the way, Steve said,
"Oh, let's just cancel."

James said, "Don't joke!"

And the girls had fun explaining to him that it was April fools day and lots of people make jokes on this day. 
After that he was just fine with the kidding around.

And so we are a family.

Thanks to all who have traveled this adoption journey with us.

Surprise, surprise... another family we know was there for their re-adoption from China.
The process was a little different from ours since they did not need an attorney, etc...
What a sweet family!