Thursday, March 19, 2015

OT Again

After what I wrote last we've been to OT twice and both times were super positive. I felt like the therapists were making an effort to team with us and not change everything.

I'm done my quail job. Whew. Remind me never to really get into animal farming - not really a possibility seeing we are vegetarian, but I do love plants. Plants don't poop. I'm breathing easier, though I have to stay away from dust and hay and such now that my lungs got going with the asthma.

Steve is out getting a backhoe to clear our spot for the new greenhouse today . . .  YAY! (and to work on our water problems~)

Brianna finished her finals early and is in Oklahoma visiting her farmer...
Vanessa finished finals yesterday for this quarter. One to go and she will be an RN.
Christina has finals today and tomorrow. I am particularly anxious for this quarter to be done. Too many sciences. All she does is school and study. We want our girl back. Next quarter she's going to take a lighter load.
James successfully entered the science fair project that took nearly the whole family to put together. I still have a beef about the requirements school puts on the kid. Life takes time for him. He can't do school ALL the time. In fact we had to keep him home from school to finish up his science project - it's true.
Missy got the flue and it lasted 12 hours. She's back to school today.

Well, it's a new day. Have to go take down all the frost cloths from over my hundreds of tomato plants.

Monday, March 16, 2015


We started OT at a very good independent therapy office.  The twins have a lot of basic skills and core strength building and reflexes to work on. It's fun and they love it. I think it is very good for the kids.

We have been going three times a week.

This last week, though, I only took the kids once. I needed the break. I think the therapists think they are going to correct the children's explosive behaviors through their work. And, yes, if life is a bit easier on the kids and they aren't tired out from having to work so hard to do basic things, maybe it will calm them in some ways. BUT it is not going to solve our very deep emotional problems  (RAD) and self-centeredness. I was getting the feeling, though, that the therapists do not have a good understanding of RAD and they kind of look at me sideways, or correct my wording of certain situations when explosive behaviors come up. Like maybe they think I don't know anything. The last session I stayed in the car while Brianna went in and then I canceled other appointments just for last week.

I am not going to say much, I'm just going to get the therapy the kids need. I am grateful they get this opportunity and thankful it is paid for.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Finding Balance

It's hard not to wobble around on the balance thing.

At one end we say, "We have to do EVERYTHING possible to help these kids. We can leave no stone unturned. If we come to the end of the journey and we knowingly did not try something that might have improved their lives how could we live with ourselves? They need every chance we can give them."

The other end of the wobble is that allowing myself to become totally immersed in the their problems and being all consumed with trying to help them is not healthy. It's a recipe for depression and despair. It's not a good place for our whole family. I have to have outside interests and a life outside of the kids.

But those outside interests and that other life can't compete with caring for the kids and their needs.

So, finding the balance is pretty much a song and dance...  always jiggling for the sweet spot.

We have some big projects going...  The barn is coming down today and a greenhouse will go up in its spot. I have over 200 organic, heirloom  tomato plants ready to go next week to the feed store. I have 400 + growing for the next shipment. I have 500 other kinds of tomatoes growing for private sale plus other veggies. Briana and I have been making strides in preparing her gardens for providing Youth For Jesus with vegetables this summer. Spring came a 6 weeks early and we were not as ready as we had planned.

 I've been taking care of a quail farm.... think thousands of helpless, suicidal, fragile babies.  Not actually a fun job. My lungs reject all the smells and dust, so I have to wear a mask or wheeze all day. Now it's giving me a sore throat. I have 5 days to go. 

I've been trying to get the kids more involved in community service, so yesterday we worked hard at the community dinner put on by our church and the evening before we were helping at the food bank. I'm just a little tired and grumpy.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Cause and Effect and Proclaiming Your Own Consequence

Very interesting morning here. Missy was not motivated to get moving until the last few minutes and when she saw that she was 15 minutes late she went into a tantrum and started screaming, "I want to go to school. I want to go to school!" 

 I tried to calm her, and get her to eat breakfast, etc but she was bound to have a big tantrum. So I left and went to do other things. After awhile she followed me and was slamming doors, kicking and stomping. 

Finally I just said, "You know, I never said anything about school or anything. I'm just listening to you and I'm hearing from you that you are late, and you know cause and effect and you have decided that you have messed up and you understand the consequences of not doing what you should  and you are proclaiming those consequences rather loudly. So what I'm hearing from you is that you need to work with me today...."

She went absolutely silent. It was like I had knocked her over the head. It was a new revelation to her. We talked about mercy and people who abuse mercy over and over. I asked her what usually happens the next morning if one day she we allow her to be a tiny bit late. She pretty much said she would be late again the next day. Really, I had wanted to get her to school but the lesson would be lost if I did that. So guess what we are doing today?

It's difficult when the kids ride the edge. I don't want to be rigid and uncaring. I want the kids to know there are times when things don't go right for everybody and it's very nice when others give you a little wiggle room and have mercy on you. I know she was NOT obeying, but she started to at the last few minutes and I was trying to figure out what the RIGHT thing to do was - honor that last ditch effort and give her a wee bit of a break, or be absolutely firm and unmoving over the set time frame. In the end I didn't make the decision. She did with all her hollering.

She's grumpy as all get-out, but we'll get past it.

By the way, we did have the kids birthday dinner last Thursday as planned, but the kids who were going to come didn't, so it was just us which was good. James was a little unstable most of the weekend, but Sunday he started to even out. Today he was up at 5:30 and ready for his day with a good attitude. When he's not quite stable, she is really careful, but when he gets it together she lets her guard down. I think they stress each other out a lot.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

11 years Old Today.

 The twins are 11 today.

Things have been going good. It has been amazing. I was basking in how wonderful it was that they were doing so well.

And then today showed up.

James was celebrating by raging for no apparent reason at all.

He did not eat breakfast. He did not get on the bus, and sadly,  he did not run away, either. (That's kind of a sad joke, but it would have been easier had he gone for a run in the trees and calmed himself down).  He just kept screaming and raging and spitting and smashing apples and beating on the door. I drove away for awhile, but he knew Vanessa and Christina were in the house, so it did no good. He was lock out to keep him from causing bodily harm.

So I had to call the school and they sent out Rhett to come and get him.

Strange how this stuff sucks the motivation out of me. I've done nothing since.

Missy loves her birthday. She wanted to take baby pictures to school today...  All the baby pictures I have are the ones Children's Hospital gave me on a CD. If I had known a day earlier I could have gotten them printed. Instead she had to be content with a little book I made from when she was 6 and first came to live with us. 

As for the birthday celebration... not sure where to go with it. My plans for baking a cake and all kind of fizzled. BUT they are twins. . . . she deserves her celebration even if he wants to sabotage his.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Activating Ski Patrol

Brianna turning over the garden with a pitchfork
Missy has done well! She worked hard every day last week to get ready for school and then church on the weekend. She even started this week out well, too. It is very hard work for her. I could see her wearing out by the end of the week. She had a good old tantrum on Thursday night, but Fri morning she was back to working hard. Friday she was DOG tired...

She does NOT like to miss school. She most certainly does not like to do yard work in place of school.

She was starting to lose momentum yesterday but did okay when I reminded her there are still leaves to rake. Today is going to be a close call as she used up 45 minutes of her time doing nothing. I just shared my plans of the day with her - move rocks, rake leaves, wash laundry room floor, re-organize the shoe closet, move the logs from the barn... and it's like she got stung by a motivational bee. NO way is she willing to stick around for that!!

Here's a laugh for your day. Steve was working the First Aid room up at the ski slopes Sunday. It's been a lousy ski season. Our winter has been too warm, but they make snow up there for the main run every day, however they are closing early so this was Steve's last shift. He had vowed he would not take Missy up there again if I was not there as she was a trial for him last time.  I had been up all night with a migraine and it wasn't getting better so he changed his mind and took the twins with him to give me a break. The first text I got from him made me laugh... I guess James wasn't waiting around for the slowpoke.

"She  didn't know whether to wait for him to come down so she could chew him out or just venture out on her own . . . at last, with tears in her eyes she boarded the chair lift on her own!" :-)

Second text.
"Well, James is up the lift again on his own and she's wondering why she's left behind again...?!

Then it really started to get interesting:

"Missy knows how to activate the ski patrol!! She has had EVERYONE looking for James! Meanwhile, James is having a great time... SLOWLY coming down Mimi!"
Steve said the ski resort administrator came  to the aid room with Missy tagging along behind him. He asked Steve if this was his daughter and then asked about James. Steve assured him that James was just fine. Steve had been seeing him come down the hill and getting back on the ski lift totally focused. James doesn't look around much, he was not the least concerned about Missy. He was there to ski.  The guy was like, "Okay thanks. Just wanted to make sure everyone is having a fun time!"

Steve then had a chat with Missy and told her James was fine and that she needed to go ski. So he sent her off and he watched the chair lift for signs of her pink helmet but she never appeared. He went around the other side of the building and scouted out the area for her. Sure enough... she was back at the administration building.  There was a  poor, cold, office lady outside trying to assure her that they would find James.

Somehow she activated the ski patrol and the whole team was looking for James. And James was totally minding his own business having a great time skiing. **Sigh** Steve was just shaking his head, but he told the woman, I'll take care of it from here. A few minutes later the head ski patrol guy came down the mountain and dropped by the aid room. Everybody had a good laugh when they realized what was really going on.

Missy would not believe, nor relax, or get it out of her head that something dreadful had happened to her beloved enemy... until she saw the whites of his eyes.  She does NOT hear what we say,  and she will take matters into her own hands. She's smart enough to be dangerous and to cause people a lot of work.

Both of the twins started OT at a new, exciting place. James has some pretty big vestibular issues. It was interesting to see how he does not recover from being spun around. He gets VERY dizzy and then does not recover like other people. His eyes jerk and twitch and you know he's got to feel sick. I'm looking forward to seeing what can be accomplished with our new therapists.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

New Motivation

One day I told Missy to put her lunch in her paper bag. Then she asked if she could add a juice. I said yes. She was very excited....

The next day she asked if she could pack her lunch again. Of course, I let her.

Vanessa said, "Boy, she's really excited about packing her lunch!"

Today, she started to resist getting ready for school.... and I quickly reminded her that if she had extra time she could pack her lunch. And since she got her act together in a fraction of the usual time I let her make a sandwich. That's kind of a scary deal when you are dealing with an impulsive creature... She could be eating out of the peanut butter jar with her bare hands in a flash if you didn't pay attention. And so there are just two rules. No bare hands in the food and no licking the fingers. BUT it got her out the door with a smile. She was quite pleased with her messy sandwich.

Tonight she had an all out tantrum over bringing the garbage can up from the drive and James had two melt downs over homework and teethbrushing. We're  nearing the finish line of this week. I'm banking on the fact that Valentines will be exchanged tomorrow and that, along with another messy sandwich, should pull us through to having both been in school ALL week.

NO candy will be exchanged at Missy's school. YAY  for smart teachers! James is not a real candy eater. He will bring it all home.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

It's One or the Other

Missy had an excellent day yesterday.  I felt bad to disappoint her over swimming but I did not feel great. Today she got up and got ready for the day without even resisting at all. I'm writing to see if there is a pattern here...

Her brother did not have a good morning.

Next time he tries to run away when its time to get on the bus I am just going to let him do that.  I'm not physically strong enough to pick him up and put him on anymore. Just as he saw the bus coming, yesterday he lept over the bank. I had a fraction of a second premonition that he might do that and grabbed the handle on the back of his backpack in his mid-air flight. Then wrestled him back up the bank in the mud on my knees then carried him biting and kicking and hitting to the bus. I was all out of air and I had nothing left. I prayed out loud, "Lord, give me strength!" and picked his writhing screaming body up and deposited him on the bus floor. The driver shut the door lickity split.

~But that is the last time.

If he wants to throw himself over the bank and run through orchard after orchard, he's welcome.

I've thought it through... What's the worse thing that could happen while he's running away?
*He might only run a hundred yards and then I'll still have to deal with him.
*He might come home before he's spent his anger.
*He'll miss school.
*He might get scared.
*He might come out of the orchard on a country road.  He knows road safety. He knows the lay of the land well. Our house is on a VERY distinct hill. He absolutely cannot get lost.
*He might meet up with a dog or two....
*He might decide running away doesn't solve his problems.

I texted the bus driver and let her know the plan and she agreed that would be the best.

Steve had him up at 5 am this morning so that I would not have to deal with any nonsense. When Steve left for work at 6 James was ready for school and all I had to do was give him breakfast and tell him to brush his teeth. I think we'll do it that way for awhile.

Friday, February 6, 2015

This Week

Monday went well.

Tuesday went well.

Wednesday went okay but she pushed the envelope just a wee bit.

Thursday she did not even try. And we endured a horrific rage. It wasn't hard for me to stick with my resolves to not let her get away with it. She moved some logs from the upper property to the barn at the bottom of the drive. She raked leaves, she washed the doors where she beat them with her muddy boots and cleaned the porch. She got to go to Pathfinders and that may have been our mistake. She figured she was scott free.

Friday, today,  was half-hearted. She made some effort, but just enough to make it look like she might have her act together. It was HARDER, much harder to stick with the plan. I wanted her to go to school and working with these kids sometimes seems so futile. . . I asked Steve what I should do and he said, "make a plan and stick with it." So, I did because I already had the plan I was just getting tired of it myself!! :-) Today she washed dishes, raked another section of leaves... the tree still seems to be dropping  dead leaves providing us with a good job for her. She folded laundry. She was hoping - really hoping we were going to have company tonight. Nope.

Steve and James have gone to the Men's Retreat at the church camp. The speaker is Pavel Goia so we know it's going to be good. James was a pickle to deal with until they finally left. He's been sick with a cough that won't quit and we were hemming and hawing over whether or not he should go and that put him in full anxiety mode. He could not cooperate for anything. When I started packing his clothes he resumed his good behavior.

The house is clean. The girls are all home. It's a quiet evening.

Monday, February 2, 2015

New DAY!

Missy is cheery this morning, and she's getting ready for school.

It's a  record.

She is no longer grounded and we have swimming planned for tonight.

IT's been a LONG week for her. I had arranged for the care-giver to come extra, but she fell on her bad hip and we didn't even get her for the usual times. The poor lady has a rough time... but I won't let them send any other care-giver from the agency. If we can't have her we do without. She knows Missy and can usually get her to do a craft or something with her on the hardest of days.

Missy has raked a lot of leaves for me. There are a lot more out there, but I would mark off a section and that would be her project of the day.

Today, our plan is that if I get a text from the teacher that Missy is not cooperating I will go and get her and take her home. She knows and she agrees. She worked hard to get to breakfast because she knew I would not take her to school if we had obedience issues. She is also on the line regarding the Pathfinder club. If she can't do her school work then we won't be adding club work to her list of duties...

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.