Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Missy's "Looth" Tooth And a Snowman's Stray Nose

Yeah! One of those sliver caps are gone!

This is Missy's very first "all by herself" snowman!

 The Ram we saw on the way to Alberta and on the way back from Alberta.
 Some of the trucks in BC are really big!

 James is quite impressed.

 What a day and age we live in...!

LOL. This is only a partial set-up.
I questioned Peter on his need to take his iphone, ipad and imac to his meeting.... and before you know it everybody was looking at theirs or borrowing his.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hit the Ground Running~

It's good to get away sometimes.
Things have a tendency to pile up while we are gone, though....

Missy was tested today. I know nothing. I figure they didn't want to talk to me about the results in front of her, or they hadn't calculated the scores to know what they meant yet. I'm pretty sure she gave it her best shot. She was in a chipper mood and was pretty anxious to please the pretty girl testing her... I think.

I must tell you that the twins did amazingly well on the trip. Neither child had a single bathroom issue. NOT one. That's progress folks!!!! Missy seemed to connect with Grandma, James with Uncle Peter. James had Aunty Vickie pretty amazed when she tried to spell something over his head. Yeah, right! We have taken to  spelling backwards. He also caught on to Peter's funny streak . . .and he even let Uncle Peter call him Jimmy. Haha. No one else has been allowed that privilege.

We saw the same big horned sheep on our way home, that we saw on our way up North. He was in the same place and let us get even closer. We were super excited to see a mama moose... until we realized why she was out in the open. Her calf had been hit by a car.

The up coming Christmas program details weigh heavy... I haven't organized well enough. Journey to Bethlehem is first and takes up 4 days, so not many have energy to devote to the church program yet.

Sweet Leila's surgery was today. I was grateful to hear that it went well and they did not have to do as much as they thought they would and that is a major good thing since this was brain surgery on a little peanut all of 5 years old! God is good and He is taking care of that little bitty girl!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tis the Season for Blessed Christmas Music!!

We were headed to town. A quarter of a mile from the house I pulled the car as close to the mailbox as possible without taking the mirror off the suburban and rolled down the window, Christina reached her hand out and ..... YES! a package! It was absolutely the perfect size to contain something exciting, something the size of a CD. We aren't exactly in the habit of opening other people's mail and there was no one in the car by the name Vanessa but that was one package opened tout de suite! She'd been anticipating this anyway. We'd meet her with music floating through the windows.

Music does strange things to me. By the time we reached town I was a blubbering mess. We had places to go and people to meet... and I could hardly speak.

Such beautiful, worshipful music.... and a gift from the talented, kind-hearted friends (friends made in bloggy sphere - and Vanessa's involvement in GYC).  Can't wait to actually meet some day. Not that we haven't known WHO they are for years... my kids grew up on Janice's Attic, after all. :-) We have crossed paths here and there,  but the next time our journeys intersect we'll meet as friends. We have nearly worn out their first CD. Literally.

The only CD that made the cut for this long trip into the far North of Canada is called:  I Cannot Tell. We tried to put something else in the player a couple of times, but that didn't last long. Many, many thanks to the Nebblett Family for sharing the gifts God has so abundantly blessed you with and for uplifting our hearts toward heaven.

Thanks for the CD!

PS. It's a balmy 55 degrees in this place that is suppose to be in perpetual winter. What a nice treat.

Friday, November 25, 2011


The Super 8 Motel we moved to last night does not in the least resemble a Super 8 in the USA.

The LAST (forever the last) Super 8 we stayed in in the USA didn't even supply towels, or hand soap.... We had to be grateful for TP and sheets. The place was so dingy and dirty I promised never again.

Here it's another story; piles and piles of pillows and even a water slide.... The twins are getting their fill of swimming and one on one time with mom and dad. It's been very good. Missy is ecstatic. She comes down that slide looking so thrilled, yet with an unusual relaxed look about her. She is completely at home in the water. She forgets she is suppose to be fighting everyone and just laughs and says over and over, "That's so much FUN!"

Really, the twins have been very good.

It's hard to see Grandma having lost so much ground since the last time we were here. It was rather shocking. Peter says he tried to prepare us, but I don't think when you see her all the time, that you realize how much has changed. Steve's ugly beard has her confused.... "Les, Charles, Peter?".... it takes awhile before she figures out it is her youngest.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Journey to the North Pole

It was confirmed by a one of those Huge Billboards; we were on the right route. It said, Journey to the North Pole. 

We have arrived, and by a freak of nature we will not see reindeer fly. It poured rain the entire trip until we reached Red Deer, Alberta, then true to form it started snowing great big fat snowflakes. They are in the midst of a chinook (sp?) to our advantage and really it's not any colder here than home. Thank you very much!

The twins were good as gold in the car. They travel well. I bought a few surprise trinkets that lasted well. Actually, they were good as gold with anticipation from the moment they found out we were going somewhere, even though they didn't know where. They have never been out of the USA before...

Monday, November 21, 2011


This will come as a shock to some.

I'm such an advocate of homeschooling...
I love homeschooling, I believe in it, I think it's plan A, but

we are enrolling Missy in the public school.

It will be for three hours total. Thirty minutes in the first grade classroom setting right by a para.... opening activities, calendars, flags, what have you... Then she will go to a special ed reading group. Then an hour of one-on-one with a teacher for math. I'll pick her up before the lunch break. She'll still do her OT, PT and SPEECH there as well on Thursdays. She will be tested next week and hopefully, shortly after that she will start. She is nearly 8 and the special ed gal kind of questioned 1st grade, but she isn't ready for more. I just told the gal I had considered kindergarten before it was suggested trying 1st grade. It won't matter to her that she's the oldest in the grade - if she even figures it out.

I would have loved to homeschool her if she would let me. Life is such a battle and I'm choosing which ones I am able to fight. School is not on my list right now. Not with her anyway. I need to concentrate on building a bond with her and the stuff that gets in the way is out of the picture. We really need a little break from each other to soften the intensity of the issues at this time.

I know.... I had wished I had the guts to enroll James at the beginning of the year and now I am so THANKFUL that I didn't. This other situation has worked out perfectly for him and me. He is learning so much and I don't even mind that it costs us $300 a month, even when I feel like I don't have the $$ some months. I know that I am still having to teach him reading and math at home, and it isn't always easy, but we can do it. We drove into the driveway after picking him up from Mrs. C's today and the neighbor kids were just getting ready to sled in the new snow that fell this morning. They shouted greetings to each other and James hollered, "As soon as I get my school done, I'll be out to go sledding!" And he came in and we sat down and did his lessons with no trial. Now he's out sledding. We'll have our ups and downs guaranteed, but at least there are ups in the picture.

I will actually have days in my week where I will have nearly three hours at home with just Christina. Amazing!  This move to put Missy in school is as much for me as it is for her. Believe me.

Full Blown RAD

Both Kids have Reactive Attachment Disorder.

There. I said it.

When it was laid on our hearts to make room in our hearts and home for needy kids I said, "Yes, Lord, I'll be willing, only please no FAS or RAD. Thank you very much!"

That's sort of like saying, "Sure, I will be happy to take your indoor golden retriever, only promise me I'll not have to deal with dog hair."

It just goes with the territory of foster kids. They probably are all at some level of Attachment issues.

It has taken this long -  20 months for it to fully manifest itself. Yes, I knew there was lack of attachment signs, especially in Missy. I also knew out home was different than anything they had experienced up until they came, and there was an adjustment period for them. They were so busy fighting the changes, and they were sooooo developmentally behind they were just figuring out who they were. Really, they came as babies even if they were 6.  BUT now it is clear with neon lights a-flashing!! RAD, RAD, RAD!

As for the FAS... we may have been spared, but no one will really ever know. The denial of the use of alcohol by their mother is made by everyone I have talked to. There is some suggestion of meth involvement - but we have no concrete evidence. Science now knows that alcohol use by a father does affect the unborn, so, hey, anything is possible.

Missy is worse than James, by far. That's obvious. But he isn't exempt. He has most of the signs, just in a lesser degree.

Vanessa took the checklist of Attachment symptoms yesterday and filled it out. I was interested to see her take on where the kids are.

She checked 15 out of 21 signs. I checked 17 out of 21 signs.

Here's the List of things we see:
  • Superficially charming (phony) - this is irksome as people think I must be a jerk to think my child has problems.....
  • Lack of eye contact - James cannot keep eye contact at ALL!
  • Overly affectionate with strangers - there again, I must be an awful mother not to recognize that my child craves love and affection
  • Not affectionate with mom - this is especially evident when the family is all together. They hug and kiss before bed and pass by me and I have to make the effort to get them to hug me, but you would think I was a porcupine.
  • Extreme control problems "sneaky" - This is Missy to a T. James is in a different sort of way.
  • Destructive to self and others - not obvious, but there.
  • Chronic crazy lying - Don't ask them a question. You won't get the truth.
  • Learning Lags and disorders - Certainly a problem, though, less for James than Missy. She has everyone thinking she is less intelligent than he is.
  • Lack of cause and effect thinking - Obvious in Both
  • Lack of conscience - I think that James is developing a bit of a conscience.
  • Abnormal eating patterns - Especially in Missy - over-eating. No turn off valve.
  • Persistent questions and chatter - THIS is unbearable!!! Especially in Missy.
  • Inappropriately demanding / clingy - This again is Missy to a T.
  • Abnormal speech patterns - both kids
  • Parents appear over-controlling or angry - YUP. Obviously by recent comments people do believe we are over controlling.
  • No impulse control - this also had a subtitle of stealing. BUT they DO NOT STEAL, only they have no impulse control in other areas, better than it use to be, but still impulsive.
The ones we don't see:
  • Cruelty to animals - there were a few times at the beginning where James kicked, or stepped on or tried to kill. NOW they Love the animals. Missy talks to them all the time very sweetly.
  • Poor peer relationships - this is perhaps because they have such wonderful kids for friends.
  • Preoccupied with fire, blood and gore - I don't see this. James is sickened by the sight of stuff to the point of puking too easily. Ha ha!
  • False allegations of abuse - not so far. They aren't effectual communicators and they know it.
  • Triangulations of adults - they are either not good at this, or our united front is deterring them.
James is now happily getting ready for school. Missy is screaming in the bedroom. She has been trying to make herself as unlovely as possible these days from the moment she wakes up to the moment she goes to bed. Yesterday I worked very hard with her. She deliberately tried to repulse me all day long. She is afraid of love. She wants me mad. She wants me as far away from her as possible. She wants to be with other people desperately to get away from me. There are no incentives desirable enough right now to encourage good behavior. I've decided... so be it. I will do what I have to do to facilitate healing and she will desperately push me away. We may actually be closer to healing now than we were when she was acting "compliant".

The girls took the twins for a two mile run yesterday and I sat down to watch a video on bonding and healing. I cried through the first half hour talking about what parents have to do to protect themselves from being destroyed. So much of it was validating my experience. Later the big girls joined me and we watched the steps to bringing them to healing. It's a good thing I am a strong person. We are in this for the long haul. The Lord be our helper!

Carrots with Garlic Glaze & Roasted Carrot Soup {Food Idea of the Week}

This post is dedicated to Jason
since he loves carrots so much.
I dare him to try the glazed carrots at least.

We had a lot of carrots to use up, so the notion to look up carrot recipes came naturally.
I grabbed a shovel and a couple baskets and headed out to clear the last of the carrots from the middle garden.
It's a good thing I did.
It snowed a day or two later.
I also gathered an armload of leeks for the
Carrots with Garlic Glaze

The recipe I used is here:

Carrots with Garlic Glaze

This was a total hit with my family and even me!
The sensational essence combined with incredible Asian flavor transformed my kitchen,
and had me thinking I could almost match the elegance of the food at the
Wild Ginger,
a high end restaurant in Seattle.

I messed up on the recipe when I inadvertently added minced lemon grass
when I thought I was adding minced ginger.
I went ahead and added some fresh ginger,
and I think the lemon grass only added to the flavor.
I'm not so sure the hot pepper sauce is necessary-
perhaps a shake of cayenne would do.
The leeks are very nice, but if you don't have any, don't let that stop you from making the recipe.
And I think discretion in the use of oil to saute the carrots is wise.
A little goes a long ways.

I envision this served with rice, fresh spring rolls, and potato curry, but really the carrots go with any savory meal.

I had two recipes to try and a lot of carrots and I couldn't quite decide which one to try,
so I did both.

You will find my next recipe here:
Roasted Carrot Soup

This is simple.
Roast your carrots, yams, onion on a pan in the oven along with garlic cloves still in their paper beds.
Then add it to your broth and blend. That's it.
The hint of ginger and nutmeg make this a very pleasant hot soup
even if I don't actually like cooked carrots.

Yes, it's true. Grated into soups and sauteed lightly has been the extent of my forays into the land of cooked carrots before this. .

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hit the Reset Button

The attitude was still horrendous when the children woke up this morning. The aggression and the dreadful defiance permeated everything.

They were stuck in a pattern and nothing was making a difference.

I brought them into my room and put them each on a stool and I knelt before the Lord and poured out my heart in their behalf. I asked Him to hit the reset button.

I was lead to read a few passages in scripture out loud... ones I have taught the children well. They understood. I read and prayed over the promises. I called the children to give their hearts. Missy responded first. Honestly, I was skeptical. She doesn't like sitting on the stool and I thought she only wanted to get off, but I saw that she was trying and she managed to get through her little chores and get dressed and eat without further ado.

James was hard faced. It took much longer, but he eventually prayed a beautiful prayer and after he had dressed he came to me with an apology.

I felt encouraged.

They are now trying to slip back into their old thought patterns and demanding ways BUT I am keeping the tether SHORT. And I am willing to do whatever it takes to bring them around. Missy is back on the bench. James is close. We might be doing this all week. We might not do any schooling. Character comes first and until I have a semblance of a cooperative spirit there's no point in asking anything of them. I am willing to wait.

God has promised through His WORD to give me wisdom and patience. 


Missy threw a minor tantrum at the church for Vanessa before I had arrived yesterday. It was like, phew! At least now I know that I'm not the cause of all her fits!! Vanessa handled it right. I had stayed home an extra half hour to make sure I was ready for the guests that were coming to lunch. You have no idea how wonderful it was to have a half an hour at home by myself. Later, I thoroughly enjoyed our time with friends. It is encouraging to talk and pray together. I need that sometimes.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Extremely Hard Day to End the Extremely HARD Week

The stubborn stupidity resumed 6:30 this morning and there was no reprieve all day.

Miss Muffet was actually doing okay, (give or take 15 battles but for her that is nothing out of the ordinary) but all my energy was being drained away by James, so when Steve came home I invited her to go with me to the grocery store. I prefer to shop alone, but I know she loves to go and to her it's like going on a special date. She had been sledding, so was dressed for the North Pole and she was all worried about going shopping with her snow pants on.

I told her to buckle up and a mile down the road I turn to see that she has her seat belt strap off and she's working on getting her coat off. I stopped the car in the middle of the road and told her to please put her seat belt back on.

She made some impertinent remark with great disrespect.

I told her no, she would put her seat belt on or I would turn around and take her home. She sullenly put the seat belt back on.

It wasn't about her being hot. She didn't want to wear the snow pants in the store and I had suggested she might take them off eventually. I know she can wiggler her coat off with the seat belt on, I've seen her do it. This was about doing HER WAY..

About a 1/4 of a mile further down the road I glance back to find that she is once again out of her seat belt.

I make a U turn without a word.

The screaming rage that erupted was almost more than I could bear.

Part of her was still buckled up, so while she was making her best effort at slapping me, she couldn't reach. I rolled all the windows down - partly to cool her anger down, perhaps distract her,  and partly to make space for the sound waves!

Christina came rushing to the door to see the spectacle. She said they could hear us in the house long before we arrived.

I said nary a word from the start to when I  undressed her from her snow clothes and put her in bed.  I left Steve to deal with the rage fest.

When I came home from getting groceries it was back to the nuthouse. BOTH kids grasping desperately for control and by all appearances succeeding because I couldn't get Missy to brush her teeth and James was still refusing to do what I requested. He had been  in a literal stand-off all day.

All week I have tried to be extra patient and understanding while holding firm, but at 3 o'clock today I finally lost my cool. Missy was back in bed in a flash and her second rage of the day was cut short. James hates it when I get loud, but wonder of wonders he started to move!!! He suddenly declared he would obey. It wasn't without a couple of hurdles that he got his things done, but it did get done for a change.

In one hand I was devastated. . .  On the other I was reveling in the results. I felt like justice had been wrought, but I was on the verge of tears for cracking.

We have company coming for supper in a few minutes. Both kids have early bed in store for them and it was their choice to lose the privilege of enjoying friends. Tomorrow neither child will be going to Sabbath School. They are both on apron strings... which means they are stuck with us in juniors. At this point they have to stay near us because we can't trust them, and because they feeling like they don't need us.

I am utterly weary and I don't know if I can handle another day of this without some change towards hope.

If only you knew what I knew you might have done what I did.

Overlook or Confront

For two days I've told myself

"I'm just  going to ignore her duplicitous conduct."

But it is sooooo hard because I feel so compelled to let her know that I am cognizant of her intent.

She puts a major amount of effort into her knavery, but

I'm pretty good at spotting deceit, even when I am not looking for it. It always takes me aback when I see other people's children deceiving their parents and those parents act absolutely clueless. I am absolutely horrified and sickened when I sense adults deceiving one another and I struggle with offended feelings when people are not forthright with me.

As my husband says, I have a VERY strong sense of justice. I got it from my mother.

However, the other day Missy got me and got me good
and she revealed her conquest several hours later
in public.


I am alarmed.

If I completely take no notice and remove myself from her ploys will it take the fun out of it for her? Will it make it less important to her?

Easier said than done.

Sometimes it's an issue of safety. Sometimes it feels like we are condoning the behavior to let it go. She's  so good at it she has it down to a science and sometimes she's got people's feelings hurt before they even know what happened.

How can you teach new behavior if you just ignore things? Or, how can you keep your expectations at a livable level if you don't require them to live by those expectations?

Here is an over simplistic example of an expectation I have. When I call, I expect my child to respond to me in some way.  But in truth,  I call the child and they don't respond. I call and call again. They continue to ignore.... when I am right in their face they act like they just finally heard me. This happens EVERY TIME I call either child. They undoubtedly heard me. I often hear one say to the other, Mom is calling you. When I question them on it, they say, "Because I don't want to answer you!" YET, they say"MOM! Mommy, Mom, Mama" a thousand times a day and demand that I answer them whether I am on the phone, talking to someone at the table, reading, writing, working, helping someone else, they demand recognition immediately, but they will pretend they never heard me. If I put the child in time out for not responding to me.... then they start playing the One-UP-on- You-game.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

You Would Think

snow would be a motivator.

I thought it would be.

You know,

sledding, sledding and more sledding... snowmen, sunshine and all the rest of it. Five inches of wet snow and a perfectly sunny, gorgeous day greeted us through the windows this morning.

For Missy this has worked out great. She's already soaked through a pair of snow pants. She got all her chores done and off she went dragging Christina with her. Christina had no problem being dragged off to play.

But Buster just dug in his heals.

It's every time I ask him to do anything right now.

I haven't figured out how doing your work wrong, and taking longer helps you get what you want sooner. If anyone understands that one let me know. :-)

Steve tried working with him. In the end he left him to write a word 5 times. He has been sloppy, written the letters out of order, written the letters backwards, and written them in upper case instead of lower case as asked. We are all quite aware of what he is doing. Everyone is making a real effort to be real sweet with him and very sympathetic to his lengthy, arduous plight, but firmly reminding him that no one can do anything about it except him.

Right now they are at the school for their services. When I pick them up, I will also pick up Jared and Joyanna to play in the snow. I'm sorry I'm such a witch... but I expect James to get his work, that should have been done a few hours ago, done before he will join them. I feel for him. It certainly isn't my choice for him to drag this on for hours. I really don't believe in confining young children to the indoors and to close seat work for very long at a time. But at this point, it's no longer about learning to read, and doing chores... it's all about following directions and being willing to do your best.

Both children went two weeks without wetting and messing their pants and they both blew it on the same day. James wets his pants whenever I let him wear underwear and when he's mad, Missy wets her pants when she thinks I'm being unfair. Apparently, on Tuesday I was an unfair mother.

I have an appointment with the special education director of our local school to talk about Missy on Monday.


He miraculously remembered how to write an "H" soon as Jared arrived. 
He was all drama about it in order to save face, but I told him to stop since I didn't believe he was being honest. 
He dove into his reader with lightening speed.
But when it came to phonics
he got very angry with me.
I just fully sympathized but told him that he had no one to blame but himself for not doing it earlier.
I rocked him in the rocking chair until he chose to put on a happy face and get down to business.
And suddenly he did.
I am happy to report that I did not even require him to do every little itty bitty thing, because I saw that he had resigned to doing his work and doing it well.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Did I Pass The Test?

We once had a Pony of America, otherwise known as a POA. 
Her name was Goody-Two-Shoes. 
Whatever was anybody thinking when they named her?  
Don't ask me, she came with the name,
and she did not try much to live up to it.
She had to have been the stubbornest mule  pony in the whole county. 
I should have known the day I rode her home from the people who sold her to us.
She scared the living daylights out of me
and I was all of three feet off the ground.
The girls learned a lot by her. 
How I remember those lessons in patience.
And all those little girl tears....

For all their frustration, the kids did derive some pleasure out of her.

Perhaps the horse felt a little abused??
Why is it I keep thinking of her ??
We have been at it for 5 hours.
From the moment we sat down to do his phonics and reading he decided to try me.
At first the battle was at every letter. It took a half an hour to write the first three words.
At first my heart raced. I got sweaty. a little panicky. and frustrated.

But it was clear
none of that was going to help me
I started asking him if I passed the test yet.
He'd throw a question designed to make me give him the answer,
or write the letter backwards deliberately,
or the wrong letter,
-like as wrong as you can get-
or feign forgetfulness,
I would just smile,
throw the question back at him,
give him the look that said,
don't move on until you make that right.

Then I ignored him (and prayed like crazy) until he started to cave...

then I'd ask him,

"So, did I pass the test?"

It started to get funny and we actually made some progress.

BUT the starting and stopping eats up a ton of time.
I was suppose to be at the English Language School tonight.
Vanessa had to go in my stead.
This stubborn stuff is getting far too frequent.

Always he says,

He's all done except one square. 
He deliberately did it wrong.
Probably to have the last word.

I am waiting.
And I have been for an hour. 
There's no pressure. He just can't go until he corrects the "mistake".
It's all of two little lines he has to make connecting a picture to a phrase.

Strange, eh?

He's standing there crying and fussing and holding on to stubborn.

I have brought him to the point of surrender and giving his heart,
over and over
but the moment he is faced with correcting his ways 
it all comes flooding back.

And I think, WHY, child? WHY?

Today was town day. Missy had fits of whining and crying and even screaming in the car
for. no. reason.
I could not even go into stores or do anything.
At one point I asked her to play on the piano teacher's lawn -
She fussed and cried and whined and carried on.
I offered her a stack of new library books -
She screwed her face and fussed.
I told her to get in the car and buckle up -
She screamed.
I took a library book and went and sat on the lawn and read it to myself
while she had her fit in her car seat.
There were several hours of that this morning.
To be very honest the irony of calling her by her name
hits me smack between the eyes.... Joy? What joy?
It's reminiscent of the days when the girls sat atop a horse
with tears streaming down their faces, slapping their legs against her side
saying, "GO Goody, go Goody, just go!!"

I like concrete answers to changing mad to glad
and grumpy to happy.
There are none.
I just hold the fort and pray that some day
they will learn.

I have to immerse myself in reading about Christ or I fall apart or grow impatient.
I am not nice when I am impatient.
I am horrified at my own heart.
I need the strength that only Christ can give me
and I need to abide,
I need to remember this:
Jesus bears with the erring through all their perversity. 
His love does not grow cold; His efforts to win them do not cease. 
With outstretched arms He waits to welcome again and again 
the erring, the rebellious, and even the apostate. 
His heart is touched with the helplessness of the little child subject to rough usage. 
The cry of human suffering never reaches His ear in vain. 
Though all are precious in His sight, the rough, sullen, stubborn dispositions 
draw most heavily upon His sympathy and love; 
for He traces from cause to effect. 
The one who is most easily tempted, 
and is most inclined to err, 
is the special object of His solicitude.

PS. The morning started off with a bang. Missy has been having a tantrum since 6:30 this morning. There is no sign of a let up.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

About Open Adoption

This silence....

It isn't for lack of words...

Or posts in my head.

Time is the culprit. Time and the fact that I want to be sure what I write is worth my time and yours. And that takes more time, but I have to do the motherly thing, and the wifely thing and the housemaid thing, and most importantly the daughter-of-the-King thing... and good posts can wait sometimes.

But I had to share something, whether I have time or not.

There was a time that I wasn't sure about having an open adoption. I didn't know if I wanted to deal with the unknowns. For the mother's sake, we said yes we would be part of an open adoption. There is no real benefit for the children's sake that anyone can see. The guidelines were drawn up pretty conservatively. One visit a year and two letters or cards, but not for holidays. Then the adoption was final and the ball was in our court, no one could hold us to the agreement and if we felt anything was inappropriate about the relationship we were encouraged to drop it, because this person was not really seen as a "safe person".

To me, though, an agreement is an agreement and we set out to do our part. Our first visit was well prayed over and successful. There were NO reactions from the kids whatsoever. Riding the carousel horse for the first time in her life, with her biological mother by her side, it was "Daddy" Missy screeched for and turned to for safety when the horse lurched forward and frightened her at the start. That woman was no one to her, really.

I gave the mother an email address to contact me to help us in the arrangement of our visit. From that point on she emailed me every week or two asking how the children were, asking for photos, etc... I only emailed her back about once a month. The more I interacted the more she expected ... demanded, actually. I understand her personality. Her daughter is my daughter  - if you get my drift! I did send some photos, but I know she was posting them everywhere which was a little strange to think about.

The kids have never received the cards or letters that were agreed on.

I was busy this fall. I didn't respond to any of the emails for 2 months.... and then I got an email from her telling me to never contact her again, to quit texting her, that she wasn't interested because she is a married woman. Oh the drama. I laughed. Clearly she had emailed the wrong person. I am not a guy stalking her for what I can get out of her. I emailed back to clear things up, BUT she has blocked me.

And there we are.

I have her email address and I could email her from a different account, but I don't want her on our family account.  This one address was perfect. It came to my phone and no one in the family would stumble across her emails that way.

How hard am I suppose to try? I have no responsibility towards her outside of our agreement, really.  Obviously, she still has my address and the mailing address through DSHS to connect. She can still contact me.

Anyway, that's the story in the life of our open agreement. I suppose it could go either way now.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hasselback Potatoes {Food Idea of the Week}

How many of you notice I use my blog to motivate myself in various ways? :-) 
I've decided to post a NEW whole food recipe or idea a week. 
It might even require me to do a little research... 
I'm looking for a means to stay out of the same-old-same rut. 
This week was easy. 
Fay posted an idea on facebook and I ran with it!!! 
What's more, we LOVE it and it's so simple!

Bless your family with an old favorite in a delightful new guise.
This idea might be a nice change from the mash potatoes,
or baked potatoes you normally serve for Thanksgiving. 
It has eye appeal to go with the great flavor.

I'm not going to reinvent the wheel and write out the recipe. 
I'm going to send you to the place where I got it.

Here are my tips.

Smooth pretty potatoes make pretty hasselbacks.
I was kind of disappointing in the look from Russet potatoes.

Slice your potatoes between two cutting boards to keep from slicing through.

Most would probably peel their yams, but we just scrubbed ours well.

I did not use butter or margarine on my hasselbacks. 
I did brush them with oil.

Bon appetite!

Friday, November 11, 2011

At The Heart

The song felt too familiar. It had lost it's allure.

I jockey for their attention, but the competition is stiff -


friends not seen for a whole week...

bosom buddies,

and life is about relationships and we are talking about kids...

The bell ringers are distracted... Was that suppose to be the G6 or a G5?  Some beat the time steady as rain. One or two, feigning confidence but befuddled by their own anxiety, clang out of step.

The ending is a bust, but I recognize my limitations...

I signal for a change. They figure they know what's next. There's a rush for music, and though we've been singing for all of 5 minutes, an exodus for water and restrooms. I don't wait. Looking towards the sound man ~ I indicate my choice.

The first few notes waft over the hubbub and the results are immediate.

"Really? We are singing that today?!! Yeah!"

It's only November. Actually, it's already November...

The singers fall immediately into their place. They sing it every year, that is, a third of them have sung it consistently the last few years. The other two-thirds are brand new. But for most the song is still familiar.

Pleasure is evident.

To me, though, one face stands out. A newbie in the singing world.

He can only stay on tune with an inordinate amount of concentration.  But he works at it. I am grateful for Mrs. C's efforts to help me train his ear. There are a few who actually haven't figured out what singing in tune means. They haven't any idea they don't sound like the rest of the choir. It's like performing a life threatening delicate surgery... leading them to ability without destroying their musical potential (possibly for life). To sing means to share an intimate part of one's self. It's very personal. Confidence is fragile.

But his face.

At first he stood shock still - listening. Slowly the smile spread across his face as recognition dawned. His elation beams through his eyes. He's busting with excitement and can no longer contain himself,


Our eyes lock. We connect at the heart in appreciation.

I instinctively glance over the crowd to see if anyone else  was "there", but they are blithely lost in the music.

It's the timeless old, glorious classic; the Hallelujah Chorus.

It never ceases to inspire and uplift. One can almost imagine the angel's singing above the grazing fields of Bethlehem.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
And He shall reign forever and ever~

Never mind that it's frontal lobe enhancing music... It's awe inspiring, transporting one's heart to the very gates of heaven.

And he felt that. I saw it in his eyes.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Blogging Blues

You ever get those?

My blog is feeling dry... and boring... and well, it's kind of like running a treadmill to record the life of this adoptive family. Sooner or later that same old, same old story shows up again; same old tantrum, same spark of hope, same downhill slide, same surge of progress, - and rats, it's the same ol' kids! (kidding)  You know? Get's to sounding as repetitive as my life feels.


Every once in a while I go back and read past posts and I see, that yes, same story however, the intensity, the rawness, the newness, the chaos, the overwhelming hugeness of it all has diminished  with time. YAY!!!  Those kiddos are changing and finding the treasures of joy and peace in life, our family is growing in patience and love, the welding of hearts is being performed, and How Very Thankful I Am!

And still in all

it contributes to  DRY and BORING

and I feel like I'm losing my purpose.

So, I am not sure where to go with this blog right now. Or if I need to make a change from it just being my self inflicted therapy to something more useful, or what. Things might get a little sparse as I pray about that.

The children are getting older. There are no secrets about the blog. They know I write everything, and they say, "Hey mom! take a picture for your blog!!"  I am not sure they really understand that it means people also read?? Some day they'll read it for themselves... and laugh, (or not), and know how far God's grace has brought them. It's not just my testimony, it's theirs, too. It's my job to do it justice and I take that seriously.

Monday, November 7, 2011

It's All the Rage {At Our House}


that is.

Over Night.

We're a little crazy about jump rope, so this is right up our ally.

James is doing pretty good at it.

Had to make yet another hula -hoop today. We're getting good at it. Good thing Steve has lots of 3/4 inch irrigation pipe in the garage.

Reminds me of a few years ago when the girls formed their own little jump rope team they called the Tripsy Jumpers. They were really into Chinese wheel and fancy tricks back then.

A pic from the past...

10 Day Reboot Update

Today is day 7 of my fresh squeezed vegetable/fruit juice, raw salad reboot. I feel good. Very good, actually. I have moments of real hunger  and I drink my juice sooner than I would have planned.  While I don't mind cooking, I have a bit of a struggle when I am serving guests and a sit down family meals. Savory, hot dishes are sooooo tempting. I only cook healthy food, so I can't even argue that it's bad for me.  My psoriasis is calming down. There are no open, or raw patches on my neck and scalp, but I am still itchy and can still simulate a snowstorm on demand - (and I like to wear black :-(  I haven't had a headache in a week. My energy is good. My chiropractor is not happy about this program because he wants to push for more protein while doing therapy and building new tissue - but hey, it's only ten days. I'm thinking of staying off gluten for awhile after the ten days.... I don't know yet.

Three days to go.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cuisinaire Rods

Are a big hit - even with Missy.

She is step by step getting the process in place.

First read the number. Pick out the matching number of plastic ones and place them on the practice grid. Next read the sign. Decide ( + or - ) is that  add or take away?
After that read the next number. Count out  the matching number of plastic cubes to add or take out.
Write the number.
Remember what color that number is represented in. Choose the correct rod.
Find the correlating letter on the grid to the letter on your problem.
Place the rod on the letter to the right (Not to the left as she naturally does everything, being a lefty).

YOU have NO idea how challenging it is to think through all those steps in the right order and not get lost part way through, but she persevered to the end of the exercise and looks forward to more.

Today was GOOD. Calm, peaceful, hardworking applesauce day. We even made a hula hoop from irrigation pipe and florescent pink duck tape. James is pretty determined to learn and he is doing it.

Friday, November 4, 2011


This very tired Momma is thankful that today was peaceful.

Missy did well today.  She wanted to help me clean the house and cook and bake which was great. She struggled  with accepting the little chores given her. There was always something else she would rather do, but she kept it together and did her work well.

I fell off the magnesium wagon again. I know! How could I forget??????. Missy had some first thing this morning and I really believe it does help. Perhaps her nerves are just a bit less inflamed or something. She has her struggles with big feelings, but she can at least keep from falling off the edge of the cliff with a little help from the magnesium. (Maybe some day I'll tell you I'm totally out to lunch).

James came home with a good report from school. The teacher is understanding his response to stress a little more and that just might help things go smoother.

I introduced the kiddos to cuisinaire rods.  James is in LOVE. lol. Imagine. It's math after all.

When asked to fold up the plastic again today both kiddos headed out and got to work. Missy put her head to it and was done in 10 minutes flat. James was doing great until she finished before him and then he got frustrated and cried and carried on and had a total melt down. I went out and gave him a hand. I tried to encourage him. I did everything except actually do his work for him and he refused to cooperate.I gave him permission to cry and have his big fuss, but reminded him that it probably wouldn't do a whole lot of good. Finally I went back to my work. An hour later he decided it wasn't going to do itself and he did it. Took him all of 10 minutes - maybe not that long.  He was all, "Mommy. I did it! I did a great job, too!" silly boy.

I am thankful Vanessa did well in her chemistry test. This quarter has been a tough one. This girl is not an auditory learner at all. In fact, she can not even decipher what the chem teacher is saying half the time he talks so fast. It's been a lot of hard work, but she's doing it. Both girls had a lot of tests this week and this weekend they have no homework. NICE.

I'm thankful it's Friday! Happy Sabbath.


Yesterday Brianna and I reviewed the results from all our therapy. The X-ray comparisons were amazing!! Even without the x-ray, though, we can see a huge difference in Brianna. She is completely different and though not altogether pain free, she has a life now. Last year she would do one day of school work and then it would take her a week to recover. She is working really hard every day at the college and she's not even hugging her ice-pack so much anymore. She was afraid to get the x-ray. She said that she was afraid the chiropractor would say she was all better and she felt like she was HALF way there. Well, the chiropractor said she's half-way there, too, so pretty perceptive, I think. I feel a difference and I will be done sooner than Bri. I am so tired of appointments!!


Before the 2 miles... after she had a shiner in her cowlick as she threw herself on the pavement and konked her head.

It took an entire mile of running for her mouth to stop...  It wasn't going to stop except when we went past the one mile mark she decided I meant business. We walked back and she was compliant and even held my hand until we got home and she went straight into her control freak mode. I went to pieces. We'd been battling for three straight hours. I took them into the school for their services and the teacher took one look at me and said, "I'm getting you the number for the behavioral specialist at the clinic."

Steve took over the afternoon. Got an email from James' teacher that he was trying out for the class clown which was a total distraction. Peyton and Grace thought he was funny. The teacher asked him to do some push-ups and he freaked out and wouldn't do them. So, I had a chat with him about distracting and interrupting and about doing push-ups for Mrs. C. He did them for me. I told him that the girls have had to do push-ups at Bible Camp when they were late for line-call or left their things dragging, etc.. It's not a bad thing. It's a tool to remind him of what is expected of him. This morning he apologized and did the push-ups for her while I was waiting. I hope that from now on he can view the discipline in this way rather than panic and freeze up. But that might take awhile for him not to just switch into fight or flight, I mean, that's been the biggest thing I have had to work with. Used to be when I required a time-out or something he would get violent, scream, and throw and break things and it could last 5 hours. It's still the same thing  but on a lesser scale. His brain is conditioned to panic.

Steve had the kids fold some plastic sheets that were covering the new concrete. Oh my. You would have thought he was killing them. It took them at least an hour of crying and saying they couldn't and fighting each other before they finally put their heads to it and folded them. They did a great job. The plastics were used again last night and so they get to practice again. It's great for large motor skills.

I have been having them fold all their own clothes. James in particular has been a bit careless about how messy he is at meals and wetting his pants etc... and we were going through the clothes!! Since he has been taking care of his own clothes he hasn't been wetting hardly at all, except when he was mad about folding the plastic. So,  yesterday he had quite a pile of clothes to put in the washer and follow through with. He doesn't like to take the time to fold them right, but since I keep throwing them back in the basket if they are just rumpled into a ball, he is starting to do a good job. Anyway, he threw them all in a drawer and tried to hide them. lol. I told him I was coming to see how neatly his drawers looked and he ran off and redid everything and was proud of his work when he was done.

Ugh. Christina is learning to whistle. Yeah, she's 14! Why is it none of my kids can whistle?  CAUSE MOM HATES WHISTLING! 


Day 4 of reboot. We did our green drink in the Champion juicer this morning. WOW. Powerful good! It was celery, kale, apple and lemon. The pulp in the blender gets old, so I think we'll go with the champion from now on.  I feel great. I feel more clear than yesterday and maybe more energetic than before reboot.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Oh, Wisdom, Where Art Thou?

Sweet kids! Lots of fun. The sound is getting better. I need a little wisdom in dealing with some mimatched pitch!!!

It's hard to write when someone is screaming in your ear!!!

Let's just say we might be going hiking on ol'd tantrum hill today.
The Control Freak is rearing it's ugly head.

Oh, for wisdom to know how to deal with it!

Okay. I need to go hike someone.


Day three for reboot. Boy, that Armenian lentil soup that I was serving at the church supper sure was appealing to me!! I was cold and it was hot and smelled yummy! BUT I am here to say I stuck it out. I'm a little blurry today, but that's not uncommon for me. I only managed to squeeze in 35 minutes of walking yesterday. Ah, but today, we might end up going miles and miles and miles if that's what the children keep "pushing" for.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Disobeying a Total Stranger

I'm glad to report that the twins are more settled. The days are going a little easier, though they got in big trouble yesterday. - By someone other than me, for once. I had sent the kids out to play in the sunshine. Told them to stay on the South side of the house and to stay away from the concrete operation.

Well, as you can imagine that only lasted so long. I got a knock on the front door by a  frustrated concrete guy. He says, "I asked them to stay out of the concrete, I asked them not to touch the tools and every time I turn my back I hear the tools being moved around and that little girl has been up to her ankles in my mix. I can't get my work done and watch them, too!"

I looked around and there's Missy red faced and tongue hanging sitting by his tools. James is no where to be seen. I call out to him and he doesn't answer. The guy says, he's hiding behind my truck.

I apologized and the both of them were sent to their rooms. James wouldn't admit to anything. Missy knew she was caught red handed.

The guy felt bad later and helped them make their hand prints in the corner of the sidewalk.He had nothing to feel bad about... the little turkeys got what they asked for.

Day two of reboot. Vanessa has joined me. I feel great today. They were serving food last night at the English school and it sure smelled good, but wasn't what I would have loved to eat, so that was okay. I think my greenhouse may have froze a little too hard last night? I'm hoping the tender greens were fine with it, but not sure yet. I lost an impressive amount of water weight yesterday.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Today is Better

The morning went fine.

James had a longer day of school.

I haven't asked them to do anything this afternoon, yet though....


My dad recommended I watch Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. Um, yup, that's me.  I watched it last night online and started my reboot program this morning.

Today is day one of my green drink fast. I went out and picked carrots and beets, kale, mizuna, and parsley, then I added apples and blended it up with a lemon. I had to ration out my potion because the kids liked it so much . . .  I'm going to do this for 10 days. I'm hoping for relief from my skin condition, migraines and I am hoping it ups my energy level.

Except for the lemon, everything is in abundance and free. This cleansing diet shouldn't cost me a dime.
I'm making an effort to exercise, too.