Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Trouble in Paradise

It's strange how a sweet, little 10 pound itty bitty baby girl can derail plans. I started the Love Dare and it was going well... at least, the first day went well.  I do want to write about it sometime when I get back on track. Baby Girl showed up and things are on hold until her foster parents get back from their retreat on Friday. She is a such a good little girl. So calm and happy and well adjusted one has  to wonder why she's in foster care. She sleeps 10 hours at night and is a total joy in the day. But she is a baby and babies need a lot of attention and loving.

James is on the up and up, doing well and pulling out of his funk.

Missy is not. I got a text from school yesterday that they were having a hard time, so I went to investigate and ended up taking her home. Her eyes were real red almost like pink eye, but she has a habit of sticking her finger in her eyeball when she's unhappy and her nails were a bit long so I couldn't be sure if she had physically done it to herself or if she had introduced a germ with her finger. There was another kiddo with red eyes there, too, but they said it was not pink eye.

Missy will NOT obey anybody right now. She will appear to obey some of the time, but she WILL NOT give 100%. It's a real problem at school. The teacher is a so sweet and kind hearted but I could tell it was starting to really, really frustrate her and she was stressed out. Seeing I know exactly how that feels it was enough reason to take the kiddo home.

I worked with Missy all afternoon but got absolutely nowhere with her. She's as prickly as a cactus and guarded and unwilling to give an inch. She knew she had to be ready for school this morning on time and I let her know if we had problems with obedience then she would not be going to school to continue to give the teacher a rough time. School is on break Thursday & Friday this week, so she had one chance at showing me she would cooperate. You can guess what happened this morning. It was not pretty.  She "appeared" to be getting ready and she totally thought she had me fooled.... in the end she raged for about 45 minutes. We have a whole 5 more days to work on this together. Sigh.... :_(  She isn't planning on giving in. Her world has shrunk to the bare minimum. Choir, swimming, her class at church, and Pathfinders are all on hold until we can trust her not to defy the volunteers and teachers.

Speaking of swimming, she sabotaged our outing Monday night. She went for her swim lesson with the teacher fine, but then between the lesson and the open swim she got out of the pool and warmed up in the shower. She never came back to swim with me. I  kind of had a feeling that something was up. I kept on eye to make sure she was safe but I did want to approach her and call her on what was up. She wants control and there are some things she can control. After 45 minutes I went and told her to get dressed that it was time to leave. And of course, we had to deal with her "song and dance" as she " hadn't had a chance to swim yet"....  She loves swimming. I was very surprised. I have really enjoyed swimming with her but it's too much of a good thing, apparently.

I'm getting geared up to plant seeds. I bought some used chrome, metal racks and I need to get more grow lights, but this year's set up is going to be OH, SO MUCH more EFFICIENT!! I've been listening to the Agriculture Conference on and I'm inspired. Interestingly enough, there are a few lectures and classes on homeschooling and child raising included in that seminar. I'm feeling convicted that our best option for James next year is homeschooling. I'm frightened and have ideas all at the same time. I know how to do this.... but will he cooperate? A lot of my ideas center around real work... agriculture and hands-on learning. I just know it's going to be hard a lot of the time. There was one sermon that was very, very encouraging and insightful and helpful on parenting by some of our friends with an adopted child. It hit home hard and I had Steve listen to it as well. If anyone is interested, here's the link: 5 Principles.


I must go deal with a Missy.... She is cleaning some tiles in the mud room in preparation for our bedding plant grow operation.

Friday, January 23, 2015

School Saga Update

"Mom, I did reading, and writing and spelling and math yesterday".

It's true.

Her teacher texted me that Missy was working hard on her school yesterday.

When she told me this morning that she had done all those subjects yesterday I just had to ask what she had done on the other days. She shrugged. I asked again. She said, "Nothing".

And I totally believe her.

BUT hopefully, this is a new trend.... at least for a few weeks.

She has been to breakfast twice. She's a crabby girl, but she's doing what she needs to do and at this point we'll just take that. I asked her to change her shirt and it took a full 15 minutes of arguing and fussing and both mom and dad and Brianna's intervention to get her to ACTUALLY change her shirt. That's the way she is.

James, was at breakfast, too. He even told me that he was out of chicken feed before the next feeding instead of his usual, "oh, I can't feed the chickens today, there's no food." (Or not telling me at all).

Speaking of chickens, he has 14 new hens. Last week the quail lady gave him 6 white leghorns that are amazing layers. They are nearly a year old and they all lay every day. Then yesterday she gave him 8 fancy hens that are 7 months old or so. Two are olive-eggers, there's a Polish, a Blue Easter-egger, a silver-laced Wyandotte, a couple of large white, and a few fancy, expensive breeds - like a Crested Creme Legbar, which I had never heard of before. I was going to order chicks this spring as he has had a few casualties with his original hens via neighbor dogs, etc... and his hens are getting older and not laying as consistently. Business was doing poorly this winter, but he's back on a roll. I might not get chicks.

 I've been texting with James' teacher and all is not good on the homework scene. Apparently when he tells me he doesn't have homework he probably just left it at school. The teacher has been keeping him out of certain activities and doing homework with him every day... Funny I had to ask to know, but I think she might think it's a battle we can't manage right now as we have had some pretty hard mornings getting him to school at all and she has been aware of that.

There's a Youth for Jesus vespers and supper tonight at the church. Leasa and Viviane will be here. We should have about 20 youths attend...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Montessori Honeymoon is over

"The honeymoon is over." Said, Missy's teacher. "I had so hoped we could make a difference...... But she just won't do her work."

Missy has been a trial at home, too. She does not answer to anyone if they call her name. She does not do what she is asked and she feels she is completely independent of everyone and chooses to go with the whims of her own appeal.

So, we upped the ante.

Both the twins had not shown up for breakfast in 3 weeks. They dawdle and sit and waste time and react negatively to promptings, and then do a song and dance when it's time to leave and they have not eaten. It's a rock and hard place kind of a deal. You can't have your cake and eat it, too.  So, often I make a shake of all things healthy and tasty for them to drink up as they go out the door. It's full of nuts and seeds and fruit and protein and even greens, but  they started fighting that. And the last straw was James gagging and vomiting all over because he didn't want a shake, he wanted a regular breakfast while the bus waits at the gate. So for a few days I made NOTHING when I saw they wouldn't be on time. They could have a glass of milk on the way out the door.... but they were hungry and it's not healthy to skip breakfast, especially at their age. So, with the news from school and the culmination of Missy giving Vanessa such a hard time while I was sick in bed with a migraine I told them they would be climbing our mountain next time they did not eat breakfast with us.

Apparently they hate climbing the mountain behind our house.

Because both children ate breakfast this morning.

We had pancakes with peanut butter, applesauce and whip cream.

I won't hold my breath tomorrow. I know that it's only a motivator for one day, maybe two at the most. At some point we will be climbing that mountain and it's not going to be fun. And truth be told, I don't know how hard they will fight me, or if they will run away, or what will happen. And I don't know how that is going to help for school.... but the teacher has some ideas and the fact that we are collaborating has Missy on alert. Really, there's no answer to her heart trouble... she needs a new one by God's grace. Today in exchange for being balky she is smart-Alec and a Know-it-all.

We went swimming last evening. Even James swam and he got brave and went to the deep end with his paddle board and even jumped off the diving board. BUT the mean lifeguards (haha! Brianna and Christina) said he could not swim in the deep end until he took the swim test. He wouldn't try. One little step at a time....

My book has arrived. We start the Love Dare tomorrow.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Love Dare

I miss blogging, but I've really struggled with it at the same time. Mostly because I've really struggled with everything the last 9 months or more. I've been worn to an absolute frazzle. I have had no strength or energy or will and my patience is paper thin. It's not good to have paper thin patience when your children require an inordinate and incalculable amount of patience just to get through the morning to 7:30 am....   I've been exhausted to the core. . .

Sleep had been a problem here for several months. I was averaging 4 to 6 hours of sleep and laying in bed frustrated and anxiety riddled for the rest of the night. Nothing was helping very much. Recently, I had a B12 and B complex shot and lo and behold I have slept fine every night since! I feel like a new person!!!!

I've been working out hard. Exercising hard nearly every day of the week and yet try as I might I could not lose an ounce. Finally I have dropped one pound. WHEW! I don't know whether to cheer or cry.

We're working with a Naturalist doctor to do something about my migraines. Praying to find something that lasts.

On instagram I have learned about a book called the Love Dare and it's about a marriage dare for 40 days. I thought it sounded like a neat idea, but I really needed it to be a Love Dare for parenting.... and so I went and looked and sure enough, there is a book on just that. So, I'm taking the Love Dare on a certain little Missy. To be super honest, sometimes I shut her out because every interaction is hard. She is still so very much about control and manipulation and pushing buttons. She doesn't trust me for a single second and that is harder than you can ever imagine to deal with.  But I'm taking the dare and I'm going to post about it... I'll take that as a dare, as well.

Last Wednesday after her swimming lesson I invited the twins to try lap swimming with me.  James was freaking out and crying and saying he couldn't do it no matter how much I assured him I would be right beside him taking care of him. He can swim just fine. I saw him doing the breast stroke just minutes before, yet I was not the teacher, so he could not trust me - even though I gave him a kick board to hold. So, he got out and sat on the bench.  Missy on the other hand, LOVES the water. And she swam laps with me and another little girl for an hour and half - laughing and happy the whole time. REALLY HAPPY. The only time you see the real happy kid is in the water.  It was a time to wish it was always like that for her.....

Friday, January 9, 2015


If Christmas was smooth, the transition back to a routine and school was not. My kids fight an oxymoron: Change and Routine.

It was a LONG week, but we ended it with another visit with the naturopathic doctor for James and we have a whole plan that gives me hope.

If a mom is only as happy as her least happy child I don't have a lot to go on... :-)  BUT you may notice on instagram and facebook I am not putting my focus on the kids troubles any more than is healthy and I'm enjoying finding joy in taking winter photos. I joined the #capturinglifelaughterlove instagram challenge and it's fun.

The girls and I are on a real exercise program and we are enjoying it a lot. We are tired and sore and happy.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Easiest Christmas

I am here to report we had the easiest Christmas break with the twins that we have had yet.  They are learning to be easier to live with than before, but we also know how to be pro-active.

I scheduled Missy's care-giver for two and half hours at least every other day which is VERY helpful. Steve spent as much time as he could with the twins... helping them do their chores, reading to them, playing with them... He had a whole week off. I pretty much do not give Missy opportunity for argument and crabbing. She follows her schedule and all goes as planned or she doesn't and life hands her natural consequences and I walk away. I don't talk about it or engage. Period. I also don't try and make her keep up with the family schedule. We eat with or without her and I don't fret if she skips meals, but I don't cater to her later if she does that because she really likes to play that card.

Missy had a major meltdown when she missed her ride to church last week. It was what we call a royal tantrum. I was alone with her and put her to bed which was not easy and it took over an hour  before she finally calmed. She did not miss her ride to church this week, but  Steve had to turn around and bring them home again when he saw both of them had food all over their faces and had skipped brushing their teeth. Not sure how they managed to get in the car that way... :-) Once back at church she tried to bargain with me over which class she would attend like she does every week. (We have moved her down to primary because junior is over her head and she is being a distraction to the rest of the kids).  I just told her,  "you go to Your class or I drive you home" - and then I walked away. I do not discuss anything with her in order to keep things from escalating. It's not ideal, but it is a way I can keep things peaceful.

We went skiing and we had snow for sledding so they spent large portions of the day outside. Missy is good at skiing, but doesn't sled so much. James is not as good with the skiing and sleds a lot. He had one major meltdown/ unreasonable screaming fit on the ski slopes for Vanessa. This is fueled by fear but not anything you can really put your finger on.  She just walked away and left him where he was because that is the ONLY thing she could do. Eventually she went back to get him and he had stopped screaming and we put away his skis for the day. The next time we went skiing he did a lot better and he even learned to ride the chair lift with Missy instead of with an adult. It's kind of crazy to watch him bossing the chair lift guy around out of his anxiety. The chair guy is like, "Just get over here. You are fine!" lol

So, they had one major meltdown each for the whole holiday break and that is an excellent record for us.

I kept them away from sugar almost completely. I let them have a cookie on Christmas day and New Year's Eve. And we made snow cones one day. The results are calm, healthy kids. Missy has yet to be sick since her cold in September. James has missed a day of school - the last day before the holiday.

Steve has been having the twins watch a Bible DVD first thing in the morning for 15 minutes. They like it and it's working so far. I did find a large stash of dvd's in Missy's room. We have to collect the player or she will sneak more time on it. Fifteen minutes is all she needs of screen time... more is not good for her.