Thursday, February 27, 2014

Just An Update

Grace shows a lot of promise on the violin. Brianna presses forward with all her violin lessons!

Missy is off with Steve to Children's for the night for a sleep study. She normally uses a C-pap, but with the cold winter weather and the dryness and the face mask all combined her skin was breaking down and we had to take her off of it for a few weeks. Well, sleep kind of went out the door. Not right away, but now she can be found at all hours of the night playing... Once she has a sleep apnea episode sleep is over. for all of us.

I'm a rather weird sleeper myself. I use a blue light in the morning and from what I have been learning I should use it in the afternoon also to get past the 3 AM awakening.

At 3 AM this morning Steve walked in the door from picking up the pastor and his daughter at the airport. They have returned from Africa. They brought Brianna's computer with them. Steve plugged it in and immediately it did the iMac chime and started charging. Of course, that was the end of sleep for me. I gingerly opened the computer .... and it was on. It is completely fine. Not a thing wrong with it. It seems the low voltage power over there caused her troubles. Hers was not the only Macbook having a problem.... anyway, we hope to send it back to her with another family. Now that she knows what the problem was she can look for ways to avoid it.

Vanessa watched a C-section in her clinicals at the hospital today. She was pretty excited. It was her last day on the OB rotation.

Christina's math teacher canceled class so Steve and I picked her up early and we went skiing. It was so warm the snow was melting. I'm not as skilled as Christina or Steve, but I am improving each time I go. We skied hard and took more challenging runs then I have been used to so I am sore. Usually I spend the majority of my time on chair one and managed one or two challenging runs in a day, but today we only skied the easy run once and spent the rest of the time on chair 2 which goes to the top.  When it was time to leave Christina found friends to ski with and she stayed a few more hours. It's good for her to ski away the weight of college.

I put Missy's hearing aid on the dresser yesterday. Today I made an appointment with Children's Hospital to get it looked at because it's not staying on consistently. When I went to get it off the dresser it was gone. We searched the house high and low, under beds, in drawers, toy boxes, every room of the house.... I kept praying that I'd find that $3 thousand dollar bit of plastic. Finally, Steve had to get Missy to Children's without it. When I went to pick up the foster kiddos I got down on Pieter's level and asked if he had seen a little purple thing on my dresser. His eyes lighted up. Oh yes, he had. I asked him where it was, " On your bed!!" and sure enough...  We had looked around the bed, under the bed, in the headboard, everywhere but ON the bed. Next time ask the kids before wasting too much time. I guess we'll mail it in. So thankful it is found.

Missy has not had any major incidents since the stairs thing on Tuesday. Just thankful.

Pieter is really, really making some strides in wanting to do things for himself. When he came he expected to be dressed and undressed and everything had to be done in a certain order and way. It was very rigid and he expected a LOT!! Now he is getting up in the morning, throwing his pull-up out, using the toilet and getting dressed  before coming out to breakfast  - without being asked or reminded. He is learning to make his bed and take his dirty clothes down to the laundry and learning to put his seat-belt on himself. He's NOT ever planning on telling anyone when he needs to use the toilet. I have to put him there over and over all day to make sure he stays clean. He rarely wets anymore, but he's pretty laissez-faire about the other part of it. If I praise him for doing a good job dressing, or tidying up he tries all the harder to please me. That is so different from the twins - they don't seem to notice or thrive on praise, but I'm trying to dish out more of it. I'm trying to ignore the button pushing - unless it interferes with someone else's peace. I'm using time out  a lot. James hasn't needed it. Oscar isn't feeling well, or something. He's crabby today.

I bought lavender oil capsules after learning how wonderful they are for anxiety. I bought them for James... then I found out it's not to be used with boys in his age range... well, I quite accidentally found out that lavender capsules works well for migraines.  At least, it has helped the one migraine I have had since I bought them - as effectively as Advil would have. YES! Missy is trying them out for a calmer spirit. We'll let you know how that works out :-)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Home Again

 The EQ Summit was very, very interesting. I would recommend everyone go! It was very Biblicaly sound and yet backed by science. Professionals can earn CME's and CEUs so, next year make the effort. You won't regret it. I learned so much my head is swirling and churning... well, okay, the vertigo  I acquired just might heighten that sense a little!! The sunshine was amazing,  the food delectable, the walking paths inviting, the people interesting and the conversation stimulating. Yes, the pool was warm and the weather was great.

My head is full, but it doesn't process real well, or communicate on the fly.... so, while I hope to share so much, I can't promise a thing.  I enjoyed the rest and the relaxation.

My family survived and Steve and the girls worked HARD. They are tired and ready for me to take over. They did an amazing job and I am very thankful for their sacrifice in letting me go.

Steve and Missy met me in the city for Missy's Cranial Facial all day appointments at Children's Hospital. Missy was great all day. She loves all the attention at Children's. It's not a drag to go to all her clinic visits. She loves it.  The other kids were so glad to see us when we arrived home...  Pieter was doing somersaults and dancing. James was thrilled to have me home.

And then I asked Missy to do something....

While away I had thought through a lot of things. I learned a lot and thought I had some good plans in mind. It's easy to forget when I'm gone how it actually is. It's easy to begin to question myself and wonder if I'm part of the problem... If I only did things differently, or responded in such a way... if I just did this, or that,  the problems might go away.

Um... sigh.

This morning was a near disaster. Missy literally threw herself headfirst down the stairs and laid there screaming like someone had pushed her. I don't know how she didn't get hurt. She quite defied my every effort. She would alternate between screaming and stomping and disobeying to laughing at me. I had hoped for a new start with her, but we are right where we left off.  I'm going to try to turn things around with what I learned. I'm not going to give up too soon, but I am near tears. May God help us.


The drive home....

I'm listening to "He's Always Been FAITHFUL" full blast!! It's what we have to hang on to.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Early for the BUS!

The kids are out there early.  James is a whole 20 minutes early. You think having the school officials coming to find him in his bedroom last Friday made an impression? James likes these guys very much. I think he's embarrassed by that whole scene. . .

We celebrated their 10th birthday on the ski slopes. Both of the twins were brave and managed the chair lift and the green run. They enjoyed themselves. There was a lot of fear and bravery... and even the tiresome tantrums, but overall it was good and a milestone in accomplishment. We finished up with pizza at home. They both got nice bikes. Steve's co-worker gave them to Steve and he fixed them up with new parts so that they look really nice. I was not going to do presents. Stuff is over-rated. I figured skiing was enough, but these are nice bikes and we'll do lots of biking in the spring together. Steve had my 20 year old Trek repaired and tuned up, too. So we are set for some adventure.

I don't know how much to say on the little kids. They are doing super well. It is noticeable how much happier they are and content and funny, even. The baby's vocabulary is just exploding!!The older one did not want to go to his visit yesterday. Pouted and made it clear he didn't want to go. Visit supervisor said he was crabby. He did some crying about things his mom wanted to talk to him. When he came home I asked him about it and his eyes filled with huge tears and I decided not to make him talk for now. I just held him. I'm scared. Things look good on the outside of the case....BUT!!! and that's where I'll stop for now.

I'm headed to Texas for the EQ Summit. The mountain passes are dicey at best... so now I'm flying out of our town.  Five whole days... no kids. Whoohoo!!  Who cares if I learn anything :-)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Be Mine, Valentine

The twins valentines turned out really cute. Pun on pun intended.  The teachers and the kids were all crazy about them. We did our part to combat the sugar problem :-) Christina actually found the idea for us on Pinterest.

Our Valentines Day did not go super duper well, actually. Missy had ideas tending towards misery and resistance but changed her mind when she recognized her twin was suiting up for battle. He had been somewhat unbalanced the day before. Switching from angry and threatening to giggly and silly. He was definitely lethargic and lazy. In an angry moment he jammed a cup into the garburator that had to be cut out. So here we were Valentines morning and he was in a "MOOD". He spilled water on the floor and when I had him clean it up he threw a tantrum. When I tried to help him with something he flat out refused to cooperate.  It was all downhill from there. I called the school at 7:20. The principal answered the phone. The secretary was out for the day so I told the principal I was sure I would have more than a little trouble getting this kid on the bus. He said, "No problem, just tell him I'll get his teacher and we'll be out to get him shortly. See what his reaction is to that, and if he decides to get here on his own then great, if not, I'll be out. Just call me back in ten minutes and let me know which way he's going to move."

When I told James I had called the principal he went berserk. He screamed that he hated me and that I was a stupid idiot. etc... and he trashed his room. He slammed his door, he tore up magazines, threw his toys and took the pictures off the walls. Interestingly, he tore up things that did not matter to him. He had a set of screwdrivers on the dresser, but he did not use them for his destruction. He carefully took the sheep he had made off the door, but didn't wreck it. The pictures were under the bed, the glass not broken. He was verbally aggressive but he made no move to hurt me. Mostly I just left him to his folly. I have learned not to get involved too much.

I called the principal back. When I told him of the violence he opted for another big guy over the teacher. So that is how we had the principal and vice principal over Valentines morning at 7:45. The screams from James room suddenly had a different tone when he saw their truck pull up. "Mom, MOMMY. MOM!!!!!" I ignored him. When they knocked I pointed in the direction of his room where the screams were escalating and the door slammed harder.... then all went silent and soon a very mellow child appear in boots and a coat and he was ushered out to the truck. The men called instructions to me on their way out to leave his room trashed. They would be working on a plan with James to clean it up himself.

Later Rhett  pointed out that James was NOT really out of control, he was disrespecting me, but the moment the two men walked into his room he stopped instantly. He cooperated with them fully.

I picked up the twins early from school as I didn't believe they deserved to go to the Valentines party at school.

Everyone at school knew. They were all very sweet and supportive. I could tell there was a new understanding of what we are dealing with. Even Missy's teachers were fully aware of the morning's craziness and encouraged me to keep calling them for help.  I had a conversation with Missy's special ed teacher (someone I had not met before) that had a better handle on Missy than anyone to date. She explained their tailor-made system of rewards and punishments - and how they have learned to avoid Missy controlling all of it. She insinuated that they have had trouble with getting her on the bus on time at school in the past but have come up with a plan that works. I was much relieved. I have felt that in the past she has manipulated her way around the school.

James came home and cleaned up his room. He is not right, though. He is angry and sullen. He is grasping at control. Steve took him hiking alone this afternoon. The kiddo is announcing that he's moving on to the junior class at church next week because he's turning ten. He just forgot to consult us. If we decide to move him to juniors it will only be  because his dad is the teacher and not because of his maturity.  :-P

Here we are. The downhill gets steeper and steeper.  There was a time I thought we could help these kids. Anymore, I fear for their future. It still stands that we gave them an opportunity. What they do with that is up to them.  Over and over we think of How God Must Feel over the waywardness of His children.

Brianna's new computer died completely. She's devastated. A lot of her dreams and plans have evaporated in her face. She had a significant video project in the making for OCI that she was quite excited about and poof.....  The Refiner's fire.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

What HAPPENED to Missy?

Steve woke up this morning later than the rest of us because he had worked past midnight at the hospital. Evidently he had been listening to the hum of the morning from the bedroom because his question to me when he appeared was, "What happened to Missy?"

Notice I said, "hum of the morning" and not turbulent cacophony of the start of our day!

It's true. She made a real switch. She was in control of herself and she was moving along decently and when corrected she didn't turn into a raging, screaming wild animal. I employed a few jumping jacks and push ups a few times throughout our routine for both her and James. It was enough to remind them I am to be respected. Turning on me will result in serious consequence; Namely the dreaded thought of someone from school showing up at our front door.

I feel like the school has our back.

We needed that desperately. I pray our reprieve lasts.


The twins were both invited to skate with the local hockey team last evening. Neither of them had been on skates before. It was an event sponsored by the feed store and the hockey team and the riding therapy school for special needs kids. They had the time of their lives. They actually could learn to skate pretty easily. James struggled with anxiety to start with.... and he was hyperfocused on the clock and when the event would be over, but he had fun, too.

Landon Michaelson snapped this pic. James is front and center in the green helmet. Missy to the left in a pink helmet.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Negative Trip

I'm drawn to write, but sadly, I can't be too thrilled at the content of our life at the moment. What's there to say? Sometimes I wait for something fun, or light, or positive to share.... but sometimes life is hard and made of grit and grunt, and that's pretty much it day to day.

I'm struggling with Missy. She's been on a downward spiral, and we've been desperately trying to stave off the ultimate smack at the bottom. We'd like her to hit "smack" somewhere sooner than the bottom as a wake-up call, if that were possible. Yesterday, I spent all day trying to give her that opportunity.

I'm struggling with myself, with my lack of desire to continue trying. . . It's not good when you dread weekends because there is no school, dread crawling out of bed in the morning because it's a fight to get her to school, and dread 3 PM because that's when the bus returns her from school. It's bad when you dread the Sabbath because there WILL be a dreadful, horrific, all-out-rage just before you leave for church, just because.

The battle to delay getting on the bus in the morning, and the sure, all-out tantrum when she misses it in her game of chicken has reached a zenith.  Her mouthiness, whining, faultfinding and brutal arguing from dawn till dusk has us all on edge. The self-pity is never ending. I rue the days we made so much effort to teach her to talk.

 We walked all over the countryside yesterday. She missed the bus and the spewing was bad. So bad I put a end to her right of free speech until Friday. She is allowed to say "yes mom", "thank you" and "please". Keeping her to it is harder than you think, but I hold up a hand and say, "You want to go for another hike in the deep snow?"  She doesn't. According to my fitbit, we walked 28 thousand steps (around 9 or 10 miles). She arrived at school by 2 PM. She raged. She spewed. She pushed. She bullied. Sometimes I was patient. Sometimes I wasn't. I sang. I told stories. I recited scripture. I even yelled, "STOP! Just STOP your mouth". I prayed out loud, and I prayed silently with tears. Once or twice, we made a breakthrough and hugged with tears, but the commitment to love never lasted more than 5 minutes. We kept walking until she decided to get her attitude together. We had arrived back home through the orchard in the deep snow around 1 o'clock in the afternoon. I made her a raspberry, almond yogurt shake and had her change her wet socks and boots, and we started off for the school again. This time she kept her tongue in check long enough to get in the door.

I had been communicating with the school all morning. They knew what I was dealing with. I put in a plea for help - for tips, suggestions, anything...  I don't know if they understood my need to break the chain of negative speech or my bid for respect, but when we arrived at the office, little Miss met a scowling secretary who took her to the teacher who got in her face just a little. When Missy arrived home, she came in the door, looked at me, and said, "My teacher was really MAD at me". Then she burst into wailing, picked up her cat and went downstairs to have a good cry all by herself (phew! genuine tears and real emotion!).  I picked up the phone and thanked the school for finally making it clear that it's as important to them as it is to me that she gets on that bus in the morning. (Enough of that syrupy voiced, "Oh, sweetie, we are so glad you finally arrived. We missed you!" stuff.)  They said, "Tell her that we don't really want her to have to go to third grade again next year, but if she misses much more class-time it is a real possibility (kind of a mystery to me as she is not 3rd grade material to begin with), and tell her the next time she misses the bus someone will be showing up on the doorstep to get her."

This morning she did not miss the bus. It's a good thing. The school called early to find out how it was going. They were prepared to take action - As in, sending someone out to physically take her to school.

She did manage to make the bus driver mad though. Sigh. "Get off the road kid, and stand where you have been told to and not in the middle of the single lane bridge over the irrigation ditch putting you and the bus in danger on the icy roads."

There's a reason we are in this fire. Whether for her or us or both. It's kind of hard to say in the midst of it, but here we are.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Caregiver's Prayer

By God’s grace and the strength that the Holy Spirit supplies, I resolve: 
To look upon this time as a caregiver, whether short or long, 
as God’s appointment for this season in my life. 
To consider it an honor to be the Lord’s servant 
and to be an extension of His love to someone in need. 
To do what I do from a thankful heart, 
with all my heart, as unto to the Lord. 
To be quick to extend forgiveness to others, 
and to guard my heart against bitterness or resentment. 
To maintain a quiet spirit that trusts Him fully for every need. 
To seek those times, 
whenever possible, to take breaks, be refreshed, 
 and “come aside to rest awhile.”
 To choose joy, and not lose the gift of laughter. 
To seek God’s strength in my weakness, 
to receive His mercies when I have fallen short, 
to draw upon His grace in my inadequacy, 
to receive His refreshing when I grow weary, 
and to keep the eyes of faith upon Him in every need I face.

 The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, 
and my Deliverer; my God, 
my keen and firm Strength in Whom I will trust and take refuge, 
my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my High Tower. 
I will call upon the Lord, Who is to be praised; 
so shall I be saved from my enemies. 
Psalm 18:2-3 AMP 
From Dayspring.

My turn to be sick.  First Christina on Monday... then Missy, then Tuesday James threw up all over his classroom at school. My turn - only I don't puke... ever. 

Oscar is really bonding to me. So cute. 
He dishes out hugs and love and kisses, even.
It's not as good with Pieter, yet. We have some work to do ...  He's not testing as hard, but he's not warming up a lot, either. Although, he decided not to fight using the toilet. He won't initiate, but he will go when asked to.

Their mom is still on track to get them back in a few months. I'm cheering and praying in the background. I think we might be close to connecting as moms. It's not so easy sometimes - the timing must be just right and I have to have patience... Buddy's mom has had a chat with her. She let her know what it was like to work together with our family towards reunification. We are not here to adopt her kids by no stretch of the imagination. I'm here to take care of her kids while she gets her life together and the sooner we work together, the better things are for her children and the more she will be able to be with her kids as DSHS lifts the boundaries. The SW is very positive about this mom.

Missy is struggling. She won a battle over me and laughed at me all the way to school. 
She was absolutely giddy over it. Not me, so much. Ha! Actually, I was VERY upset with this reaction. SO very upset. I bawled my eyes out... which added to her strange sense of satisfaction. I could not believe it had come to this.
 It made me realize the horrible truth of where we are with this kid.
What kind of relationship is this that it's about winning and holding the power over another and triumphing in victory?

Today she pushed the limits. I stood my ground. She pushed as hard as she has ever pushed. I don't know, but she won last time (circumstances beyond my control) and she was willing to bet on winning again.  I stood my ground. I was calm and even tried to rub her hair as she thrashed and raged and screamed that I was STUPID.  She tried to hurt me - but not really. She threw things at me. Her aim is really bad. I splashed water in her face to draw the line physically....("you may not come up the stairs!")  otherwise my words, my presence meant nothing.

BUT she was not out of control. It was a show ~a  bullying really. When I picked up the phone it would stop. If I tried to video, it stopped. The second I put down the phone ... it started right back up. 

She missed the bus and in the end, she missed school altogether and I was sick in bed, so, it meant a boring day for her.