Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Here's my trick or treating crew: from left to right, that's Blessing, then my sister as Cruella De Ville, baby Mercy in little orphan Annie's arms. Hope is a beauty queen (imagine that), the ghost is Charity's biological brother who is spending the weekend with us, and Grace and Charity were fairies (Blessing, too). I'll be taking the ghost back "home" tomorrow, I'll try to share more about his story later. At least a little.

Charity acted very much like the RADling she is most of the day today. Brother was coming for a visit, and she needed to sabotage any fun and express her utter dissatisfaction with the way life is going. Not to mention that when brother is here, she should be the absolute center of his attention, and she is very good at manipulating him into doing just about anything, even putting a bow in his hair and calling himself a girl. Her behavior was horrific, really. By 4:00 I was struggling with staying calm and collected. But the evening wrapped up very nicely and I'm extremely proud of her behavior during trick or treating and afterwards (despite the mound of sugar!). Though I was struggling, I expected as much for the full stay of her brother, so for her to calm down and enjoy the evening is a huge accomplishment for her!

We had fun, but I think next year we'll think of something more creative for Halloween. Start a new tradition.... any ideas?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gracie Pooh

She's such a mess. I thought this picture was a good example of her crazy character. She was headed to her Tiny Tiger class, which we just recently started back at after a break. She and Charity both started, actually, and they are both excited and doing very well. Except Grace can't keep her mouth closed. Even during class. But VERY cute, none the less.

Notice the hair piece. So Typical Grace. She loves the bright, the out of the ordinary, the braids (Dorothy-ish), and the way it "tickles my back, momma".

Notice the eyes are closed. What she's actually doing is clicking those stinky red shoes together and saying, "There's no place like home. There's no place like home. There's no place like home." Complete with all the drama and wishfulness of actually dreaming herself from Oz to Kansas. She is Dorosy, after all. And that is not a typo. She will argue that her name IS Doro-SY. Not Doro-THY. After all, she is 4. She knows it ALL.

And last but not least, the orange shirt beneath the pink one. Because, at 4, that's perfect fashion sense! Isn't she the cutes thing ever?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

So it's pretty sad when Wordless Wednesday has more words than your normal posts. And even more sad when it doesn't happen on Wednesday. I really uploaded the picture and typed the title before I realized it was Thursday. Can I blame that on sleep deprivation? I do have a newborn.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Tomorrow Mercy has her PACE assessment with UAMS. The last one I attended with a foster son was pretty lengthy, so I anticipate a long day. Her mom and dad are also coming and I'll be supervising a visit. I was present at the last visit, and they were both not only respectful and polite to me but also kind and appreciative. Awkwardness is still alive and well, but mostly because I don't want to make them feel like I've taken their place. I can't imagine what it must be like to be on the other side. I must be awful threatening as it is, add that I know what's wrong when the baby cries, and they don't, and it can get hairy. Step in and tell them what to do? Can that be taught without inducing a feeling of inferiority and making them feel like they don't know their own baby? They don't, by the way. They've seen her for 1 hour in 3 weeks. I'm so ambivalent. I want to support, encourage, teach, and whole-heartedly work towards reunifying what could be a very successful family. I also want to steal away in the dark of night with my beautiful little baby to hold and rock and never let go. Ah, the life of a foster parent. The day I don't love my placements (I hate calling them that, they're my children) that much, though, is the day I need to quit being a foster parent. Don't you think?

Meanwhile, we accomplished all but math in school today. I've given Faith and Hope a little more freedom lately, by making assignments that are more lengthy than normal, stating a due date and time, and then letting them work when they want to. That's working very well, and surprisingly they've both asked without prompting how much should be done each day in order to complete it by the due date. Impressive for a 10 and 8 year old - to me, anyway. I've also noticed both working at various times during the day. I'm so proud! And as for math....Dad has to fix the dvd player first. So we're on hold for a few days.

We have lots of ideas up our sleeves, and that's always fun... to think, dream, and plan. Where the rubber meets the road, though, is another story. If money was no obstacle ..... well, what a life that would be! We are currently very interested in therapeutic riding. Becoming a certified instructor through NARHA would only be a couple of months worth of work. There is really nothing like that in our area. We would also love to offer weekend retreats/training/respite and support for families like ours, and other families with handicapped or emotionally disturbed kids on a ranch-type property. Much work is needed before we get to that point, though. Like, um, land. A big enough house and/or camp-style cabins. A barn. And lets not forget horses. Anyone have half a million dollars lying around?

Monday, October 20, 2008


Oh, there's so much to say and really no way on earth I can relay what camp was like. There's good. There's bad. And then there's the ugly. Let's start with the bad so I can end this thing on a good note.

Unprofessional. Poorly staffed. Poorly planned. That pretty much sums it up. Don't get me wrong, the directors' hearts were in the right place. They have a love for "our" kids, and want to see families healed. They were kind people who know a lot about RAD and the things that make these kids better. However, I was assured there would be activities and crafts for my non-RADlings during class time for us (3 hour classes from 9 to 12). Because they did not have enough staff, they were expected to sit with us, still, not making noise, ect. for the class time. Um, not happening. And shouldn't be expected. 2nd of all, because Nancy Thomas was not present (we did know that ahead of time), her classes at a previous camp were taped and shown to us. The tapes, however, were like home-made (not professional) and the audio was terrible. We couldn't understand her about half the time, nor could we see the power point slides she was pointing to on the video because of a glare. So, between tending to 6 kids with us during the classes, and the lack of professionalism of the videos, we got very little from them. In the afternoons there was supposed to be planned family activities, in fact as much as 2.5 hours was scheduled for just that. The actual activities, though, lasted a mere 30 minutes. Not cool. We bailed on Wednesday, deciding we'd be better off ordering Nancy's curriculum online and learning it ourselves.

On the flip side, though, we met some AMAZING families! Some of the families had been implementing Nancy's methods long before attending camp, and have seen INCREDIBLE results in their kids. We learned lots of techniques just from the other families, and it was so reassuring to rub shoulders with moms who understand what life with RAD is like. Armed with the relatively small amount of things we learned, we returned home and began to train all our children, but intensively worked with Charity. Already her improvement is very noticeable. I'm so encouraged by her progress, and by being with kids at camp who had RAD but have now become enjoyable, loving, trusting members of their family. All in all, a worthy experience. I do still think that these types of camps could be an amazing experience for families, but I strongly suggest attending one that Nancy is actually present.

Not Me Monday

This is not my bed, and we do NOT sleep like this. Ever.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Must Be Quick

I have so much on my mind, but I simply don't have the time to sit and write it all out. My days have been a whirl wind of court, visits, doctor's appointments, and somewhere in there meeting the needs of 6 amazing little girls and brushing my teeth, too. Oh, wait, did I brush my teeth?

I was plum giddy about receiving an award. Thanks, Scrapper Mom. As soon as we return from camp, I'll pass on the award, and link some great blogs I read. This is my first bloggy award, and I'm so excited! ;) Who knew a little square widget could make my day? :)

My life as a foster mom is causing a lot of deep thought lately. My husband and I are still trying to work through exactly what our next step is in terms of ministry/mission/and INCOME. We have lots of ideas, and change is looming. The time I've spent with Mercy's mom and dad, and in court with all of them has me turned inside out. I hope to articulate all that's been going on much better for you soon. Hopefully this week at camp I will have time to write and will post it for you when we return. I hope you guys come back after a week of silence. Please do! I've so enjoyed getting so many new "faces" lately.

For now, though, I must attempt the daunting task of packing a family of 8 for a week of camp. Hmmm.....we'll see how that goes!

And since I won't be here for this coming "Not Me Monday", here's just one thing I would absolutely never ever do:

I did not strap my poster-child-for-ritalin in her car seat, and put it in front of the TV so that I could shower without any destruction of property or emptying of soap bottles. NOT ME!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

How is it?

How is it that one little tiny girl can generate as much laundry as the other 7 people in the house put together?

That is not a complaint. Again, I say, the mundane and normally frustrating tasks babies and children bring suddenly becomes a privilege when tomorrow is no guarantee. It's no guarantee for any of us, or any of our children, but it just isn't taken for granted with children we foster. Mercy (that's her official blog name, now) will have had 2 court dates, 1 doctor's appointment, 1 visitation, and 1 WIC appointment before the end of this week. I'll be wearing her sling style in the Race for the Cure Saturday, and then we leave bright and early Sunday morning for camp in Tennessee. She's a busy little bee! She's already growing and changing, and we still can't take our eyes off her!

Not Me Monday

I am so NOT posting a "Not Me Monday" on Wednesday. How lame would that be?

I did get out of bed and fix breakfast and feed the kids this morning. I absolutely DID NOT go back to bed with a book and a baby while the rest of the children were left to govern themselves, frying their brains on TV and computer games and running amuck.

Much like my views on TV, I have never thought credit cards came from Satan himself. I don't get my panties in a wad about using credit. However, it's still not normally a lifestyle we choose. We were married for 7 years before we had a credit card at all, and have never carried a balance more than a couple of months. I IN NO WAY just made the stupidest financial decision ever and purchased 2 recliners on 0 down, no payment for 12 months. NOT ME!!!!

I did not just tell one of my kids to hit the other.

I have never rolled the windows down and cranked Laurie Berkner all the way up to drown out a crying baby, a whining toddler, tattling preschoolers, and bickering grade schoolers. Never. I am always of sound mind and wouldn't stoop to reciprocating elementary behavior that solves/teaches nothing.

And I absolutely, would never, ever in a billion years have reese's cups for lunch while demanding my children eat their peanut butter and honey sandwiches and yogurt and pretzels. How rude! (At least I was sneaky about it) Oh, I supposed to say I wasn't sneaky about it? And that's another thing. I'm NEVER confused. I'm perfect. I always understand.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

No Calling?

"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." –Talmud

It cracks me up when Christian people talk about not having a calling. Huh? I'm so confused. Do they read the same bible I do?

Monday, October 6, 2008


The clan:

1 sleep deprived, and rather naive, normally laid back but pushed to the limit mom

1 RADling who never does very well in public

1 tiny dynamite package who was exposed to drugs in utero and can only talk at decibel 5, and "hyper" is the understatement of the year

1 thus far very relaxed and content baby who suddenly thought the world was out to get her

3 other girls without any specific ailments unless no tolerance and no patience is considered sickness

About 50 more coughing, sneezing, THROWING UP (I kid not, 2 seats over from my preemie, no attempt to even leave the room just cradling the trash can she brought from home!), feverish people in a much too little waiting room

3 hours, people, THREE HOURS!!!! I really thought I was going to have a full out panic attack. I'm an idiot. I think that was even more stupid than going to Wal-Mart with all of them.

Satisfaction? Shmatisfaction. I'm sure that feeling will return, but for now the girl who wrote that is no where to be found!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


- Six beautiful little girls snuggled safely in their beds,
Good night kisses still fresh on their heads.

- Coos of an infant, and big brown eyes.
Baby smells, and baby sighs.

- A glance in the mirror, each buckled in their seat.
"Little Bunny Foo Foo" becomes a goon in defeat.

- A tiny babe's warm breath against my neck,
stealing midnight glances, just one more check.

- Dances, giggles, squeals, leaps and twirls,
and all the glamour in a house full of girls.

- The tug on my finger, "Come on, Mom, Pleeeeease?"
Butterfly kisses and a little hand's tight squeeze.

- Daddy lets me sleep in, after a wakeful night.
But sleep eludes when little girls are all squealing with delight.

- Knees worn from prayer, tired bodies falling in the dust.
A knowing Father, for He walked ahead of us.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Ok, so you really can't understand this post unless you read this first. It's another RADical mom, one of whom I've sort of attached myself to in my effort to find some support, non-aloneness, and ideas for helping our RADish heal. I read that particular post a few short days ago, not having any similar experience. Then, BANG, and the last few days my RADling has been ridiculously giggly. She has also taken some significant steps backwards, leaving me frustrated again. And the giggling drives me INSANE!!! It sounds insane when she does it. That mom describes it well. It's exactly what my baby's laugh is like. "maniacal fit of the strangest laughter". I'm left wondering if the cause is the same as her Em.

And the title is what I'm left with. Really? I mean even after everything I've read, and everything I've first hand seen that gives the crazy stuff I've read validity, I'm still just having a hard time swallowing this one. I almost can't believe that this crazy giggling thing Charity has suddenly started could really be a reaction to feeling love. A feeling she's never felt before. And so her body doesn't know how to react, and the maniacal giggling is what comes out. I want to believe it. That would mean maybe we are on our way to some healing. And it might even explain the steps backwards in behavior. For RADlings, feeling something like affection or love brings with it great fear. It might as well be killing them, and they have to push back. And I do believe this mom is likely right on target with her little one. But is that what this is with my Charity? Really? Because I'm telling you everything in me wants to tell her to STOP!!!! You're acting CRAZY! Of course I don't say that, but sheesh, I'm thinking it!

I usually don't beg for comments, but if you are reading because you have a RADish, too, please, speak up! I'm dying to hear of others' experiences.

Friday, October 3, 2008


I usually go kicking and screaming. But in this case, my little blog space has been looking "ack!" for a long time. Change was needed. Some people think I am very creative because of my music. And I suppose that part of me is. But artsy? Not a bit. A friend once even forbid me to cut out any more of the Christmas ornaments our children were making for a charity. Really. That bad. That term about not being able to draw stick people really does apply to me, no exaggeration. And, I must also admit, that I'm not exactly happy about practicing or trying very hard if I already know I can't be really good at it.

So, I followed this friend's link to here, and it looked easy enough! Now maybe I'll be more inspired to take the time and add some things to my side bar. You know, in all my spare time! ;)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Acorn Pumpkins

I know, it's a terrible picture. My good camera had a mishap with the ground more than a year ago. I cried. I still cry occasionally. My wonderful mother in law is sending it in to be fixed for my Christmas present this year. Oh, I can't wait! Till then, these blurry ones will just have to do. School has pretty much been out the window this week. But we at least were a little crafty today. It was such a beautiful, cool fall day, and we spent much of it outdoors. Well, once I talked myself into actually getting out of the bed, anyway. The newest addition still thinks night time is for playing, and day time for sleeping. If it were a born of the body baby, I'd probably be frustrated and cranky about that. Born of the heart babies are different....especially ones that I know might not be staying. They are not taken for granted. The once dread of having to get up at night suddenly becomes a privilege. It should be so with born of the body babies, too, but for some reason that isn't always as obvious with them. There's a sneak peek in one of the pictures, at least you can see how TINY she is!

Do you see that Blessing is painting her fingers more than the acorns? Oh, and she actually has her clothes on!!!!! ;)