Tuesday, May 12, 2009

4 Limbs

It takes all 4, to hold the bottle.



Still purging and packing like a mad woman. We close tomorrow on the new house, and start painting/flooring/putting up a wall immediately. Busy, busy bees.

Meanwhile, my Blessing announced the other day, "I don't know why Daddy loves you." Humph.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Nasty Day

We started off yesterday morning at 5 a.m. I woke up in a panic. Not sure exactly why. And that isn't very typical of me. I've lived in Arkansas almost my entire life, and I've not once gotten into a tub or hallway despite many, many, many tornado warnings. But, for whatever reason, a loud crash of thunder woke me with a jolt, and the lightening streaked so bright across the sky that I could see the trees outside our bedroom door bending over to touch the ground. The roar of the wind was almost as loud as the thunder, and before I could clear my brain from the half-asleep funk, I kicked my husband and said, "Get the kids" and jumped out of bed like a crazy woman. He obeyed. Which I now think is hilarious. No questions, no second guessing, he just jumped right up and ran out of the room. I grabbed the 2 that had already made it into our bed, some pillows, and we got in the hallway. After only a few minutes, with 6 children wide awake, giggling and raring to start their day, the wind already quieting, I was major regretting that decision. And my husband was reprimanding me (and making much fun) of my terrified state of mind. I took the teasing with a smile (or not), and felt pretty silly for being so rash. Come to find out, though... a tornado did indeed touch ground just 7 miles north of where we were. Momma's not so crazy after all.

School was cancelled for the day, and what do you do in the house with all these hyper, woke-up-too-early, can't go outside for the flooding, children? They really are creative. They cracked me up with this game:



For all of you who can't read or interpret children's writing.... that's "Beware Claws and Vicious Cat Den This Way". I should mention that when I saw the sign, our prissy little kitten was just underneath it. Faith was less than thrilled with my laughter. She said, "not THAT cat, Mom, the cats are in the den!" So I walked a little farther into one of the bedrooms that they had destroyed, er... um... ahem.... I mean created a wonderful den.




See all the kitty claws? The sound effects were fantastic, too. Lots of meowing, and maniacal type crying as they pretended to want to bite me to pieces. Thankfully that well built den held them back!

And then, when the arguing was more than I could take, we settled in for a movie and popcorn. A little later, after lunch, we all took a much needed nap. And the sun actually appeared in the afternoon.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

She's 9


We have a new 9 year old in our house today. Yesterday, she was only 8. And according to her, she is much older today. There are so many things I love about this beautiful little girl who isn't so little anymore. This dynamite package is full of life. Whatever she does, she does it with every ounce of being she has, every bit of her heart, completely and passionately. There is not a doubt what she is feeling, she wears it very outwardly, and shares it with all the dramatic flare she thinks it deserves. She loves life, loves God, and loves people. Every. single. person. With all her heart. And don't dare doubt it. She laughs louder, loves harder, cries more dramatically, smiles more beautiful, hates more passionately, ever so sensitive, falls more often, has more mishaps, cares more genuinely, hurts cut her deeper, and gifts lift her higher ... than any other girl I know. We love her so much, and are blessed just to be a part of her life and to watch as God unfolds, teaches, and grows her right in front of our eyes. Happy Birthday, Sweetie!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hide and Seek

How many girls do you think can fit in this little space?



All 5 that are big enough to play hide and seek. Apparently. Of course, all the giggling gave them away. That, and all the loot that is normally hidden in there was on the bed. Not the smartest hide-ers ever. But they are the cutest!


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Breaking the Silence, and Beautiful Babies


Let's face it. I just won't ever be very consistent. At least not anytime soon. We should be closing on our current home tomorrow or Friday (hopefully), and closing on the one we are buying about a week after that. There is a few days to a week's worth of work on the new one before we can move in, but I'm already packing and purging like a crazy woman. I love throwing things away! ;) The complete opposite of my mom, who said, "I guess as long as I don't see what you're throwing away, it'll be ok." Very serious like. I assured her most of it was truly trash. And what might actually still be in tact and working, but hasn't been used since who knows when is being passed on to someone else. I'm really almost embarrassed at the amount of stuff we've accumulated. Good grief. Who even knew this house could hold that much?

A couple of random things I've heard since my little blog-cation:

"Mom, can I make with glitter again for st. bernard's day?" - Grace. I think she meant Valentines Day.

Said at church just after Sunday school, "Where's Tinkerbell? I can't find her!" - Blessing. With all the seriousness that assured me she knew Tinkerbell. About that time, a little girl I had not seen before came literally flittering by in a very pretty fairy looking dress. I leaned over to the teacher and asked what the new little girl's name was. It was Annabell.

"I can't wear those. My hair is brown." -Charity. Who thinks her hair, shirt, pants, and shoes should all match.

"Aren't you too old for that?" -Faith. When I was trying to dance the way they were. Did I just admit that?

"You're gonna pull your back!" -Hope. Darn that wittiness. You can expect her birthday post coming up... we'll have a big 9 year old girl soon!

Monday, April 6, 2009

46 months, Take 2


At 46 months old, Blessing had lived with us for half of her life. Charity, on the other hand, was 46 months old when she came to live with us. Just 2 months shy of her 4th birthday. That means, theoretically anyway, that we can't really expect the fears she has of being ripped from us to leave until she's lived with us half of her life.... 92 months old, 4 months shy of her 8th birthday. I can't think about that now. Our life with her is very much so day to day. I get overwhelmed if I think about continuing to live like this indefinitely. When I look back at Blessing's pictures over her first days and weeks with us, I think about how far she has come, I'm overwhelmed with love and joy and thanksgiving for her accomplishments. Sometimes, it's that bursting heart feeling, like I can't even stand the blessing she is to us and our family. Too good to have. Too wonderful to explain.

Can I be completely honest? Don't misinterpret. I can't even begin to tell you how much I love Charity. In fact, I think that's why this walk hurts so much. She's this amazing girl. I know it. I see it. She's in there somewhere. I know what she's capable of. I know the impact she can have on this world. I know she hurts. I see that, too. I know she's been wounded far beyond what most people can even comprehend. That knowledge, though, makes it SO STINKING hard to watch her self destruct. Maybe it's because we haven't seen the improvement so easily. Blessing changed by leaps and bounds at a time. Every day her learning, loving, and change was noticeable, and tangible. For whatever reason, though, when I look back at Charity's pictures, all I see is this very sick little girl. It isn't the same feeling. It's frustration, sadness, and anger. To the point that I don't like looking at them. All I can think is how sick she is.

Here's where we are with our precious Charity: her attorney has made the recommendation that we be able to adopt. Fantastic. One check on our very long list. Next up: I finally approached her case worker about my disdain for her psychiatrist, and she gave me the approval I needed to find someone else. We found an attachment therapist who was willing to take her, however does not do her own evaluations or diagnosing. In other words, we would first have to find someone who would diagnose RAD, or at the very least say it needed ruled out for her. Another wall. Let me remind you we're here in po-dunk AR, where there seems to be lots of slamming of doors at the mention of RAD. But my pessimism turned out to be uncalled for, and a local therapist did a diagnostic evaluation on our Charity. She came up with 4 possible diagnosis that she felt Charity might be dealing with, all of which need to be ruled out by a psychiatrist. They were RAD, PTSD, FAS, and Bi-polar. And I'm sure any mother of "normal" kids reading is probably blowing a gasket, I'm here to tell you I was not at all phased by the possibility of us facing one, or a combination of any of those. In fact, as strange as it may sound, it's almost comforting. Mind you I do not want anything to be wrong with my baby. I do not want to deal with any of those disorders. But my husband and I are long past the stage of denial, far beyond hoping love will be enough. We know we can't love this out of her. We know just living with us won't somehow penetrate and heal her wounds. We know we need help. We know she needs help. We are more than ready to just accept whatever this is, and get on with how to handle it. Just like if she had cancer or some physical medical condition, we just want the best care, the best doctors, the best chance for her to live a full, joyful life. And in that moment, it was nice to be heard, to know that someone was agreeing that these things are not normal, and that we need more help than, "Oh, she's just a tough nut to crack. Come again in 6 weeks."

So we're in another holding pattern, but this time optimistic about having an actual attachment therapist. The referral has been made, so we wait. And hang on for dear life in the mean time.

Yes, I'm still here

And I have pictures to share, and stories to tell! Unfortunately there are only 24 hours in a day, and I need to sleep for at least 4 or 6 of them. Lots of changes are looming for us... exciting, wonderful changes that are also scary and stressful. We will definitely be moving soon, but exactly where is still up in the air. TJ will be moving into full time ministry, and while we think we know where, it isn't an absolutely positively done deal, yet. We should hear about the church we just expect to be our home by next Monday. We spent the weekend with that church family and had a great time getting to know some amazing people. They had a sign out in front of the church, that I SO wish I had a camera with me to take a picture. They had put all 8 of our names on it, and just barely had room for all the names! ;) Too funny.

Meanwhile I made yet another trip to the doctor this morning with one of our little ones. I think that my family alone funds that entire medical center. They should put like a statue out front honoring our contributions. This time, we have a referral to a surgeon, and will be discussing a hernia repair for Blessing.

Mercy had court last Thursday, and maybe I'm not crossing any privacy line if I say it is looking more and more likely that we will have the opportunity to adopt her. I had to testify, my first to do such a thing (I am the only one who is still in contact with her birth mom). It was raining, and they were ahead of schedule by 30 minutes. I had run from our parking space to the building with baby wrapped up against me to avoid her getting wet. Out of breath, I walked into the court room to an already proceeding case. They immediately asked me to testify, and I could hardly talk! SO embarrassing. Nothing is set in stone, but the next court date, in early June, will likely be a termination hearing. They are actually calling it a fast track termination. In June, she'll be 9 months old. What about that is fast? Sheesh.

I have lots to share about our Charity, too, and will try to get that hammered out for ya soon! I know I'm losing readers by the day, but I'll eventually get back on track. ;) It's just such a blur of a season for us right now. We're trudging forward, though. One step at a time. One prayer at a time. And trying to enjoy life along the way!

Friday, March 27, 2009

My week in a Nutshell

This week I have:

- called poison control. Blessing drank about 3 quarters of a bottle of cough and cold syrup. And the poster child for ritalin became even more hyper. Didn't think that was possible.

- sold my house. Er, um, at least signed a contract with a tentative closing date - April 30.

- took Grace to the doctor, where she proclaimed to the doctor before the exam that she had an "ear defection and I need Auntie Body Tics." Doctor S replied that she loved people who self diagnose, and I admitted we "borrowed" the otoscope before the doctor came in and I had already seen the "defected" ear. She had a little help with her own diagnosis. After all, Doctor S is the one who taught me what to look for in the first place. Ah, I miss being a nurse some days.

- took Grace to the doctor AGAIN. This time because she let Blessing stuff toilet paper all up her nose. Actually, my husband made this trip, and did nothing shy of laugh his head off as Dr. S made Grace repeat after her, "Nothing goes in my eyes, ears, mouth, or nose unless Mommy or Daddy say so." And when she got home, I added, "or any other orface." Oh, yes, I did go there. ;)

- house shopped twice to no avail. Am getting worried. With foster children in our home, where we move to is EXTREMELY important. As in, could lose children over such. I'm losing sleep.

- realized Blessing was too quiet, found her in her room, painting the walls with something blue and lots of sprinkles. LOTS of sprinkles. Realized it was the contents of the lava lamp, which she pulled off the shelf, broke, and then proceeded to rub her hands in, getting them nice and covered with the sparkly blue mess, and then rub all in her hair, all over the wall, and all over her little book shelf. MInd you, the blue liquid actually came up fairly easily, but the sprinkles? oh, my. EV.Ry.Where. And they do not vacuum, wipe, or sweep up. You must pick them up One. By. One. with your finger and thumb. Lovely.

- Later the same day, wondered why Blessing was broke out in hives? All over her legs. And then I remembered, the blue liquid she bathed herself in. Yep, severe reaction. Benedryl, and then again the poster child for ritalin becomes even more hyper. Gotta love that!

- played in the rain.

- burnt soup. Now I ask. Really, has anyone else EVER burnt soup? How is that possible?

And while this may sound pitiful, it's really beautiful insanity. A welcomed chaos that I'd be lost without. And when I finish my race at least I'll be able to say I completely emptied myself, and ran with all my might! And I'm betting I will miss these days. Though a break sounds really good. Just typing it all makes me tired. ;)

Monday, March 23, 2009

46 months




Blessing was 23 months old when we first met her.

Which makes this month the month that she's been with us half of her life. This is supposedly a big mile marker for us. I can't say I see any difference. I suppose it's sort of like a birthday. Today, she's really no different than she was yesterday. Or at least, the growth is to tiny we can no longer see it. But we're here! She's lived with us half of her life! Woo-hoo!

But it is amazing to think back on what she was like in those first days, months, and even her first year. She's not the same kid at all! Just a few days into her stay with us, she was sick and I took her to the doctor. I'm not sure there has ever been a single situation that was harder than that one. This was a little one who would scream when I held her for any length of time. A few minutes she could handle, if we were looking at a book, or walking to the swing. But quickly holding became threatening, I suppose, and she'd go rigid with her tiny little body. She'd scream. She'd kick. She'd bite. She'd spit. A place like a waiting room was horror. There was no keeping her in my lap or holding without the rage. There was no letting her down, either, because she'd quickly run over to someone else and bite or spit at them. Hours I felt the scrutinizing gazes of other parents who were certain I was a terrible parent. Certain I had caused this little one to be so defiant and out of control. Lovely day, that was. I also distinctly remember that after an hour of trying to console the inconsolable, as I was walking around the waiting room with her fitting self in my very tired arms, she reached her tiny hands out to an older black gentleman sitting in a chair, also waiting. Blessing had lived with a black family prior to living with us. He was familiar.

He reciprocated the reach, and I let my baby go. She laid her head on his chest and went to sleep. It took all I had to choke back tears. It was bitter sweet. Thankful for a moment of comfort for her. Thankful for his willingness. Yet feeling not only scorned by the mass waiting parents, but also wondering if she would ever view me as her mom. I loved her so much but she reciprocated nothing.

And something else I couldn't really explain.... she walked. It was like walking was her therapy or something. For months I could stand in one spot, and hold her hand as she walked around and around and around me. Eyes down. Arms out and up for balance though she was too old to still do that. Or if I walked with her, she'd walk for miles. We spent hours walking. And hours in our front porch swing. TheY were about the only 2 places she was relatively happy.

Her hair would fall out in globs when I brushed it or pulled out a rubber band. Her gums bled when I brushed them. Not to mention the screaming she did about it all. A bath? pure torture. I had to sit on her and hold her arms down with my knees, and pry her mouth open to brush her teeth. If my husband or I started at her quickly, even if it was in play or to grab for a quick hold, she'd fall to the ground in the fetal position and throw her hands over her head. She only grunted one or two (I only remember one... "dog", oh wait, maybe she said, "shoe"). They were deep throat grunts, not toddler sounding words. Know what she said the other day? "I'm not going to be your friend No more! I called thousands of times, and you didn't answer!" Full sentences. Completely understandable. Very big words for someone not talking at all at 2. I know you can't be as excited about that as I am.


And what else today? Well she can certainly be a defiant little cuss. And there are some neurological/developmental issues that show their head occasionally. I think there will likely always be some hints that she was exposed to drugs and alcohol long before she took her first breath. But they aren't going to stop her from living a life that's full, abundant, or from accomplishing anything she wants. She's bright. She's beautiful. She eats with a fork (hey, let's celebrate the little things, too). She is very likely our most affectionate child, very sweet and can be very sympathetic towards her sisters (something we were beginning to think we'd never see). I'll never forget the first time we hurt our feelings. Oh, she cried, and threw fits all the time when she didn't get what she wanted. Or when I was brushing her teeth. But not that sweet cry even Mercy already does if my voice is too harsh. Or the cry you get from most toddlers when they realize they did something wrong. They wanted to please. They were trying. We didn't get that from her for a very long time. When we finally did, and she tuned up and cried real, genuine tears; my husband and I looked at each other and cried, too. I've never been so glad to hurt a kid's feelings! ;)

These pictures are literally her first hour with us. Sweet aren't they? They look very different than the picture I've painted. But, you know, she didn't decide she didn't like us until that night at bath time! tee-hee! ;)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ode to Nana

Things are just so busy! Mercy has had some continuing medical issues... I plan to explain more later, complete with pictures of her during an episode... but the bouncing from the hospital to doctors and more doctors added to the normal chaos that surrounds having 6 girls, and I just haven't had the time to sit and type. I want to move the blog over to private complete with pictures and layout change, but I just can't get it all together! ;) Soon. Maybe.

Meanwhile, my mom is my biggest blog fan. Ever loyal, she is. And when it's been only a couple of days since my last post, she says, "when are you going to start blogging again?" Like I quit or something. Truth be known, I love knowing she's reading. I love knowing she likes what I write (though she said the cat story was only mildly amusing????). I love knowing if no one else clicks over here today, she'll make up for it! ;)

Let's not forget that this woman gave birth to me. And where would this world be if I hadn't made my entrance?

And then there's the bail outs. Many, many, many over the years. The last referral we got for Mercy came in the form of a phone call on Monday, for an appointment at the Children's Diagnostic Center in Little Rock the next day. Who do I call to bail me out? My mom, of course.

And she shows up the next morning not only ready to keep my kids, but to actually enjoy them, play with them, and love them up. In she comes with a box of goodies. I'm still hearing stories I'm not so sure about from the girls. Something about a dance-off (in which Nana participated, and the stories are told with great animation), something else about a house and a fly that they can't find, there were markers made for the body (and marks all over them as proof), home-made tambourines, and a "for real" dance she's teaching the oldest 2 for a program at church. All that, and supper waiting on me when I got home with the baby. She even called today to see if our RADelicious little one was in need of detox today from all the fun. She did start the morning with a bang, but she seems to have settled right back in. I need to do a post all about her and her improvements lately, but I'm a little afraid saying the g-o-o-d word out loud will suddenly reek havoc on our house again. Who wants that?

So, you owe my mom for this post. Who thinks something is wrong if NOTHING is here for a few days. At least someone misses me! ;)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I'm Not Missing Anything

For those of you who think that because I have 6 girls, and not one boy, I'm missing out on something.... Let me remind you of what I do have:

A husband.

Who makes up for it a few times over.

This morning, after the usual 15 minutes of standing under the warm water in the shower, willing myself to start the day rather than climb back in bed, I threw on my robe and stepped out of the bathroom just in time to hear the screeching of the cat as she wheeled around the corner of our bed, ran head first into the glass sliding door, screeched again, flipped over pretty much in the air, and ran like a Satan himself was after her the other way. I've only seen her that possessed one other time....when she got stuck in the Christmas tree and ornaments and pine needles and lights and cat fur were all flying in different directions.

Curious to the core, I ran after her into the living room, where my wonderful boy of a husband sat in the floor, laughing, with a lighter in his hand. "You didn't."

"Well, I learned something new today."

Already regretting that I was biting his bait, I answered, "Oh, yeah, what's that?"

"Cat hair is very flammable. I assure you she should be no where near a fire!" He retorted, with all the glee of a boy at Christmas.

Of course my look was less than enthused, and quite sympathetic for the cat, who is living with a RADling as it is, now I have to add my husband to the list?

He went on to say he was lighting a candle, and it was just an impulse to click the lighter at her as she walked by. But the "poof" that followed was as if her hair were lined with hair spray. She's OK, he assured me. Only the whiskers around her eyes were gone. She can balance without those, right?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Stuck

Grace somehow managed to do this to herself. You can imagine the initial squealing when she realized she was stuck. I came running like a bat out of hades in response to the scream, certain blood was gushing, or a bone exposed, or something equally painful. When am I going to learn?



When I saw what she was squealing about, I ran for the camera. Forget saving the kid. The picture is more important. Grace immediately went from child-in-danger-save-me-drama mode, to what-do-you-mean-get-the-camera-instead-of-rescuing-me mode. Seriously, the face switched in 0 seconds flat from horrified to complete disgust and confusion. And with all the teenage sounding sarcastic tone she could muster, said, "Really, Mom? Must you?"

Monday, March 2, 2009

Walking Commercial


... for Ergo, that is. Because this is how we spend most of our day. And when people say things like, "Do you hold her all the time?". They really sort of mean it in a you're-spoiling-your-child-and-you-don't-know-what-you're-doing kind of way. But that's ok. I don't mind. Because I do know exactly what I'm doing. I'm making my bed. And I'm the one who will lay down in it (I think, it's looking that way, anyway). You see, parent a RADling, and you'll be all about attachment and bonding, too. I promise. Especially for a little one who is quite at risk for the same thing.

But the truth is, even if she wasn't, I'd be doing the same thing! ;)

Oh, and, by the way... the kitchen and cooking were photoshopped in. Because I would never wear a baby on the front and cook at the same time. What mother would do that? So unsafe!!!!!! Maybe I should have done a "Not Me Monday". ;) And, the picture was taken by a munchkin, hence the cut-off head. At least you can see my smile!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Hospital

That's where we've been. Mercy was put in on Monday, very dehydrated. She had both a bacterial infection of the colon (c-diff, for those nurses out there) as well as rotavirus. Lovely combination. I assure you. But I'll spare you the details. We came home last night, very tired, but very happy to be at home. Our ordeal may not be over, as the rotavirus often takes 2 weeks to runs it's full course. It's quite likely we'll be back for more fluids before it's all over. We're happy to be in the comfort of home for now, though. No rest for the weary in that place!

I so have been dying to post a particular experience I had this past Sunday. My husband and I led worship at a little church in the country Sunday morning. Very laid back. Just his guitar, and he and I singing. We were a little apprehensive that being so traditional of a church, the body wouldn't participate in worship, but rather view it more as a performance by us. We so wanted to lead others... not put on a show. Turns out, this little church knows the God we do, and they were anxious to glorify Him.

Very aware of the tendency as a musician to be caught up in performance and perfection of the music/singing, my knees were still a little sore from all the pre-prayer. I so wanted to reflect my relationship, not show my skills. (I realize that may sound conceited) Anyway, about half way through one particular song my husband quit playing his guitar all together. Up until that point, I could really only hear myself, his voice, and his guitar. Though I could see the body of Christ worshipping their bride. I had closed my eyes about the time his guitar dropped out, and left only the sound of voices singing out praises to their Creator.

And then.... a dying cow. Really. Some horrible sound I didn't think was singing at first. There's no way to describe it over the computer. You really need the audio version. It reminded me of my first attempts at the french horn. Or a momma cow giving birth. And words indistinguishable. A very monotoned, flat sound, the ends of the notes (can't really call them notes, just wails) falling even farther from the original pitch. Let me remind you my eyes were closed. I almost laughed. I know I stopped singing. And thought, "What the heck IS that?". But not wanting to just bug my eyes out like every cell in me was begging me to do.

So, being ever so proper, I only opened one eye. I had to pretend to still be in the worshipful spirit, right? Stupid. But I'm awful glad I took a peek. I would have missed the most beautiful thing ever if I hadn't. Proper or not, I'm glad I looked. Never much was one for proper, anyway. Why start now?

There, just a couple of pews from the front, stood a beautiful young lady with Down's Syndrome. Singing and loving her Jesus with all her heart. In a much more pure, innocent, and full of trust kind of way than I could ever do.

And suddenly, what I had just moments before thought was, well, a dying cow outside the church window - became the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. If only I could sing like her. And hear like Jesus. Amazing.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Things Moms Know

I overheard a conversation a day or two ago. Who knows what I was doing... maybe trying to decide for the thousandth time this week who the pair of socks I just picked up belonged to. And better yet, whether or not they'd been worn long enough to be declared dirty, or should they be re-folded and put back into the clean basket. Or maybe I was chasing a kid with a lotion bottle, or maybe I was running from one end of the house to another with no real purpose at all. Trying to remember what it was I walked back there for.

Nevertheless, I was within ear shot of Blessing and her daddy. She was declaring to him that she needed to play with the snow whites. Perplexed, her daddy had allowed her to pull him by his pinky finger, as she pleaded all along the way for the snow whites. She led him to a closet where we keep books, puzzles, and lots of keep-em-busies. She stood there, pointing, jumping, and growing more and more irritated with sweet daddy because he had no clue what the snow whites were.

Shameless and rude, maybe, but though I knew right away what she wanted I reveled in the fact that I knew, and he didn't. Let him struggle for awhile, right? Swooping in to save the day at the perfect moment, I leisurely walked by and ever so cleverly and not at all in a I-know-everything kind of voice said, "She wants the lite brites, honey."

All that to say... It really is wonderful to know my kids so well. To have the honor (which, by the way, I have the honor because of my husband, this is not meant to somehow bash what he doesn't know) of being with my children, and knowing that "snow whites" really means "lite brites". And that only this blanket will do. To add more peanut butter than honey on this one's sandwich and not to give that one more than one helping of grapes...unless you want to spend the afternoon in the bathroom with her. I know that face means she's guilty, and that one means her day hasn't been great and she needs warm cookies and milk and an sympathetic ear. And while I certainly don't know everything, isn't is phenomenal how moms can go on for hours with examples like this? And that there really isn't anyone else in the world who knows that much about our little ones?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Dear Blog,

Oh, how I have loved thee. Oh, how I do not wish to call it quits. You've been my therapy. You've been my voice. You've been my connection to other women just like me... (and a few men who know just how to girl talk occasionally).

I've grappled with this. Really. Like it's some kind of life changing, really matters in the long run, so much weight on it, kind of decision. That alone says a lot about blogging. Or maybe it says a lot about my lean towards addictive behaviors. Because, addicted, I am.

I've needed this break. But, I do think I'm ready to go at it again. This time a little less often, and also a little more private. So, I don't really know how that works just yet. I'll figure that out as I go. I want to keep all 5 of you readers.... so, shoot me an email so that I can bring you along. It's brandy, then the underscore, then my last name. Which is files. And that's a yahoo account. That way I can post all the pictures I want and not be so worried about who might see them. Or you know, be that foster mom on the news being judged and jailed for posting pictures of the states' kids (oh, I HATE saying that - they're MY kids) on the internet for the world to see. I might even use their actual names! Then maybe their blog names wouldn't come flying out of my mouth. I actually had a kid ask me the other day, "did you just call me Grace? Whose Grace?" Cause, you see, she has no idea her mom posts her private life ever so blatant and carelessly. Using a name other than her own. Please tell me some of you have called your kids their blog name? I'm such a great mom!

So, shoot me that email, and over the next couple of days I hope to switch over to private, fix the site with a few more pictures, etc.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

No Time

Since apparently everyone in my house is reverting back to baby stage, I don't have time to write some amazing post that could make you laugh, or cry, or elicit sympathy for me. Nor can I make myself look like supermom, and neither do I have some major short comings that would leave you in hysterics. Ok, so maybe I do, but I'm not opening that can of worms this morning.

So, today I'm opting to send you elsewhere. Go. Please. This lady had me in stitches this morning. As she does often.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Husbands

For the record, I have like the best husband ever. Really. And besides, he reads my blog. tee-hee!

As do about 3 other men that I can think of. Other than that, it's pretty much estrogen-ville. So to you 4 guys, sorry.



To the women... do your husbands do things like this? I mean, it really isn't a bad idea, but you'd think he could at least pick pink rubberbands. Or 2 of the same color. I was such a typical wishy-washy woman, trying to decide if I should post this on Works for Me Wednesday, or on crazy husband quirks. What does that say about me? Hmmm....

It's no secret that we have 6 girls. And I assure you that I am not one of those moms that has girls always in the cutest clothes, clean faces, matching shoes, and big bows. Do you read my blog? Have you seen the kid with the sparkly red shoes and her night gown in our yard? But really, I try. I promise. I occasionally even spend FOREVER french braiding everyone's hair. Especially if we're leaving the house.

But really, when he dresses them.... my word! He can't even make sure they fit. I once came home from an all day shopping trip to find an 8 year old in the 4 year old's pants. We're talking I have no idea how she zipped those things, much less pulled them down when she needed to potty. Like I couldn't have pinched the material if I wanted to it was so slick tight. And then there was the length. Um, it's winter... there are no capri jeans out! Sheesh. I can't remember what the others were wearing, but it was like a swim suit with a dressy skirt and cowboy boots or something equally ridiculous. And I'm absolutely certain not one of the 6 had even attempted to brush their hair or their teeth. And I have one kid who ties her hair in these huge knots over night. Yes, lovely.

Where had they gone? Only all over town. To Wal-Mart. To the park. Ate out at Wendy's. I'm sure there were lots of funny looks. And think... my loving husband thought it was because every one was proud of him for taking all his kids out all by himself. And they probably did dote on him, and wonder what kind of a terrible wife and mother there was back at home, refusing to brush hair or provide appropriately sized clothes for her kids.

You want to marry him, don't you? Oh... right, you already have one a whole lot like him! ;)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Encouraged

I can't believe all the fantastic comments and outpour of support and encouragement. Isn't it amazing how people I've never met, some of who I still don't have a name for, readers I had no idea even frequented my writing, can provide some non-aloneness? And let me tell you, non-aloneness is quite the step up from thinking no one really gets it. Don't you love that word? I tend to make those up occasionally, along with fragmented sentences, or run-ons a mile long. How nice that I don't have to go open a can of worms because of it! ;)

For those of you who suggest running, that really is the biggest problem at this point. My anonymous fellow foster mom hit the nail on the head. We're talking about a ward of the state. I can't make that decision. Though I expressed my concern and frustration after the very first appointment. Apparently, a foster mom's opinion doesn't hold nearly the weight that the therapist's opinion holds. See, she has letters behind her name. And it's obvious we need therapy. I can't stop the therapy, of course, because there can be no disruption of services. I tried to explain I did not want to disrupt the service, just have a different provider. But you must move mountains to change providers, or at least have a valid reason. I suppose incompetency isn't a good enough reason. ho-hum.

But I must have really sounded pitiful. I posted that particular post just because I thought it was funny. I mean, the cat part, anyway. I certainly don't think our situation is funny, but then again, if you can't laugh....

I'm not feeling hopeless, though. You want to see a hopeless post, just visit here. That was the first day we saw this lady, and I crashed and burned the entire 2 hour ride home (that's how far I'm driving to get such good advice). An angel in disguise has already refueled me, sent me some names to research out as possible therapists (once finalization happens), and apparently has even put a care package in the mail. I'll tell you more when it arrives! ;)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Therapy

So I would be completely ashamed of myself if Charity's psychiatrist somehow ended up here on the blog. But I so must blog this. It's just too ridiculous. And that seems to be the theme of my life lately.

The therapist and I have had little success getting on the same page. She's a kind lady who I think genuinely wants to help kids. I think I'm somewhat at fault because it's hard to really describe fully how things are going, especially when I know my own actions, feelings, and responses are being evaluated. And not as a mom. As a foster mom. One whose care could be considered not the best for this child. Then, bye-bye baby. So perhaps I'm a little guarded.

But I decided before this particular session that all gloves would come off. VERY frustrated with not really having any help. Oh, we go. And we talk. And there she sits across from me talking to Charity as if she's trying to talk her into better behavior. For 30 minutes every 4 to 6 weeks. I'm left wanting help and direction, and feeling like I'm not getting any. I'm reading all these amazing things about tapping, weighted blankets, specific parenting techniques for kids like mine. But what we get is 30 minutes of batting eyes, a high pitched voice, and pleas for better behavior. That's likely to work. Right?

So I went in hoping that clearing the air and setting out better expectations might help things. I started by saying maybe she didn't completely understand what I meant when I say we've had some really bad days. Maybe she didn't understand just how she's been acting out. My husband and I are very concerned and very alarmed at some of the things she's done. We're talking false allegations of abuse (Mom doesn't feed me, she doesn't let me play with toys, she'll be mad at me, etc.). We're talking pet abuse. Enticing first, then a swift kick. "here, kitty, kitty", then a few blows to the head. We're talking peeing in a drawer. Serious stuff, people. My kid is sick, and we need help. I even teared up. I didn't beg with my words but she had to see the stress and frustration and need for some direction.

So, she said that next time she hurt the cat, I should put the her in a kennel. For about an hour. So that she would have a consequence that she could physically see a response to her action.

I used so many "she's" in that previous sentence because that's exactly the way the therapist said it. My response? I busted out laughing. And said, "which one? The kitty or the kid?" I mean does that sound logical to you? Am I crazy? Is that a fitting consequence for Charity?

In my hysterical laughing I noticed her eyes bug out. A look I'm all too familiar with from my husband. It was that look like I had just dropped from outer space or something. A martian in her presence. And then I realized she was searching for whether or not I would put Charity in the kennel. And then I stammered and stuttered all over myself trying to explain that I didn't mean which one to put in the kennel. I meant, which one did she think that was a consequence for?

And she responded in her well trained way, "So, what I hear you saying is... (thoughtful pause while eyes blink)... Charity wouldn't really care if the cat was in the kennel? She isn't really attached to it?" Her EXACT words.

Again hysterical laughter. Um, NO. She has little to no attachment to ANY OF US. That's why we're here. For heaven's sake. Are we on different planets, here?

I went on to outright ask. What can we do? We don't know how to handle this. We are not even considering disruption, in fact, we just received word that we have been approved to adopt her. So finalization is coming and we celebrate that joyfully. But our kid is sick. And just like if she had cancer or some other disease of the body, we want her very best chance at life, and the very best treatment we can find.

And she says we're doing just fine. It will just take time. And unfortunately, Charity may be a tough nut to crack.

Really. Her words. Not one exaggeration.

And what's really telling, is I just told this woman my kid is abusing animals, lying like crazy, and peeing in a drawer. She said I could make another appointment if I wanted to. I asked how soon. She said in 4 to 6 weeks.

She's getting paid for this.

Reactive Attachment Disorder

RAD is kicking my butt lately. The blog is like my free therapy. I mean, I know I haven't said much about what's going on in my house, but I read some amazing blogs written by awesome moms, and this new one that you should REALLY read. If you know us, if you know my Charity, if you want to understand a little bit about how a RAD kid thinks and acts.... go read this beautiful little girl's journey to healing from RAD. She's 8, and she's making a huge difference even in my own home. This post, in particular, where she answered a lot of commenter's questions left me floored.

I'll try to post again later today and tell you about therapy yesterday. Hilarious. In a nervous, ridiculous, this can't be happening sort of way. But of course, at the moment, a baby is crying, a RADling needs attention, and Blessing is nowhere to be heard. Uh-Oh.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Saturday

Another fabulous present we received for Christmas was a family pass to the Museum of Discovery. So we loaded up Saturday and headed to Little Rock for the day. The kids loved the museum! Here's just a few quick pictures, but if you live in AR and haven't visited here yet, it's definitely worth a trip. There are a couple of areas dedicated to kids 6 and under, rooms to check out building materials and create, plus all the great exhibits and fun things to see and do. Faith and Hope really enjoyed it, too, but these are just some pics of the little ones in the little kid rooms.

Grace and Blessing on the monkey bars, in what they called, "the work up room". Work out, maybe? There was a tread mill there, I have no idea what they meant! ;)



Charity climbing the wall. That was her favorite part. Well, other than the food.



How Mercy spent her day:

Friday, January 2, 2009

Girls, Girls, Girls

A boy would just die here. Really. Kill right over.

After the kids so pleasantly and quickly, er..., um, ahem... so that wasn't exactly how it happened. Ok, after repeating myself way too many times and finally bribing, the kids completed their zones and the house looked amazing. Alright, so that's a stretch, too. It still looked rather lived in, but better than when we first got up! ;)

Stay with me, I'm getting somewhere. After chore time, I pulled another Christmas jewel from the middle girls' stack of treasures. They had been begging, and they quickly emptied the dress up bucket for the perfect ballet outfit. I popped their new instructional dance dvd in the player, and they lined up like little ducks across the living room. I sat behind them in my chair, snickering and snapping away. They were so cute I could have bit their little cheeks. Oh! So cute!

First they stretched just as the teacher and students were doing on the dvd.





Then, on to warming up and learning the names for a few moves. I didn't crop this one so that you could see the class on the tv, too.



Then, a real dance.



And last, but not least, Hope joined the class and Faith had to step in and do some instructing of her own. She's such a first born. Sorry about the cut-off heads. I was only bouncing a fussy baby in one hand, trying to hold the camera in the other, and wiping tears from my own eyes over all the sweetness of them holding hands in that previous picture.



And if their little tooshies wiggled any more i really would have to pinch them. Maybe I did.

The Good News is....


the batteries will die. One day. Right? Who gave this thing to this kid, anyway?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009

I'm through reflecting, now... on to the new year! I used to never ever make new year's resolutions. I figured why make them only to feel like a failure when 6 weeks in life was still the same.

Then I grew up. A little, anyway. I realized the problem wasn't with the idea, it was the unrealistic expectations I set forth. Or the perfectionism in me that throws me into fits of guilt and failure when I don't live up to my own bar. Grace, love, and mercy from my God was something I knew for others, and knew He had for me. I had not yet really accepted it for myself. And some preacher man called that what it was.... faithless. Not really believing God is who He says He is. And I let go a little and allowed myself to fail without it affecting my worth.

Well, some days, anyway. That's a daily struggle. Along with patience and kindness and most of the other fruits of the Spirit. Some moments it comes easily. Some moments it gets acted out with clinched teeth. Some moments it just doesn't happen at all, and I'm looking around for all the fruit. Where the heck did it go?

And I'm rambling on like this was not a planned post. That's sarcastic, by the way. I really had no direction at all as I sat down to type. I just knew today's post had to have something to do with the coming year.

I did make resolutions of sort, I suppose. But they aren't any different than the resolutions I make every morning before my feet leave the warmth and comfort of my bed and dive into the morning. Today, I'll be more patient. Today, I'll get agitated less. Today, I'll enjoy my children. I'll love harder and gripe less. I'll be gentle and soft spoken and meet my family's needs without a hint of frustration. I'll spend more time with my God, and less with the TV. I'll have supper on the table when my husband gets home (always, but most of the time it's half eaten and he eats by himself - something isn't quite right about that), and we'll all greet him with enthusiasm.

Maybe. Maybe not. The good thing is, I can try again tomorrow. That's what life is, anyway, isn't it? Striving for better, for more of what we know is good, and less of what makes our skin crawl with regret. Here's to a new year. A new journey. And giving God all the glory along the path.