Wednesday, April 16, 2014

[ improving ]

Yesterday was painful. Every bone in my body and every muscle, too, were letting me know that they weren't impressed with my bicycle somersault.  Today is MUCH better. My hand is not broken, just bruised and sprained but it's not very useful yet, just better than yesterday. My ribs are bruised, but I'll survive.

Steve has moved his prayer group meeting to a non-school day. So, the new routine every school morning in this house is this: Steve wakes the twins at 5. They are out running at 5:30. They are ready for school by the time he needs to leave for work, so James is out the door at the same time as he is. He can do homework, or whatever  at the picnic table until the bus arrives, but he can't come in to look for trouble. It has worked well for these two days so far. I make his meals and pack his lunch, but I am not the one trying to help him get ready and so far, so good. When they come home there's plenty of jobs in the yard. They are in bed by 7.

We have them signed up for a 2K run in June for something to look forward to and a reason to practice running. A 2K is nothing compared to what they are capable of, but that's what is available in our area on a Sunday for kids. It will be fun.

Running seems to be helpful in getting their heads on straight for the day. I know two other families that run with their kids for optimal mental health reasons. One little girl runs three miles every morning with her dad. The other runs longer distances with her dad in the evening and loves it.  My kids don't love it yet. Someday.

I got a call from James teacher. She wanted me to know that his day at school was exceptional yesterday. They are doing some testing and she had given him some goals to work towards. Sometimes he puts his mind to it and sometimes he doesn't give a lick... but  yesterday he blew right past her goals for him. He was proud of himself, too. 

Buddy's mom has been clean long enough now to start pulling herself together.  Vanessa is wearing thin, but is encouraged that she is now able to have more meaningful conversation and pray with her more effectively. This has been a journey. I pray God will give her victory in a way that she sees it was from Him. She must know wherein her strength lies.

Vanessa found out she is on a schedule in her nursing program in the summer during Sabbath hours. The teacher told them it was written in stone so not to ask for a change because it will be denied. Pray that she will find favor in her teacher's eyes when she asks for an exception. Thankfully it is a ONE time, two hour slot and not multiple days that would cause a huge problem for the others.

Brianna was at Lake Malawi, but she is now with my mom and some short term missionaries headed to Mom's project. They are having a lot of car trouble. The Lutheran "Motel" they stopped at for the night didn't have room for all of them... So she and my mom and another girl found themselves a "dump" for the night. I told her not to let the bedbugs bite. She said they have the bed bug spray with them.  :-0  They also left their valuables with the other people for safety reasons. Oh boy, sleep well. We'll pray.

I learned how to can dry beans yesterday. I pressure canned 14 quarts of different varieties. I found out that kidney beans swell up  more than the other kind, so two jars did not seal as they were too full. I'm canning some garbanzo beans today. It's good to learn new things.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Wrecked

James came home yesterday. I think he would have been just as happy not to. After everybody left this morning he missed the bus... and then came unglued at me when I asked him to start walking. I planned to catch up with him after taking care of the foster kids.  Our little road is quite safe. He has done it before. When the screaming and slamming and ugly words started, i locked the house, hopped in the van and drove away with the kids. I'm not sticking around to fight with him. I knew he'd start walking if I left. And he did.

I dropped the kids off at daycare (it's close to our place). At the end of our road I found one of my girls bikes leaning against the neighbors house so I thought I would catch up to James quicker with it. I did, but then had a bike wreck.  I went head over heels and the bike landed on top of me. I'm waiting to find out if my left hand is broken. Typing is slow with one hand. James had no reaction to my spill whatsoever.

Teresa picked us up. Then Steve left work and had a meeting with James and the principal. Then he took me to the walk in.

The glass on my phone shattered in a million pieces.

Someone put a big dent in my van door.

Neighbor dogs have killed yet another chicken. Always a different dog. Three dead hens in one week.

The orchard workers risked their lives to save Missy's silly cat that was treed by a dog up a telephone pole  and couldn't come down. It was up there 24 hours.

Buddy's family is back home. Vanessa is staying with them for two weeks. She's teaching the kids to do chores and bake potatoes and as well as having worship with them and teaching mom to depend on God for strength. I'm concerned that we don't become enablers. The line between that and helping is a fine one. She's not stable, or consistent. She wants help and then she resists new ideas. She's very sick. We need to be cautious and wise. This is bigger than we are.

Frost fans nearly blew us out of the Valley last night. Figuratively speaking, of course. When I hear them I know to keep an eye on the temperatures. A full moon in April is always so much "fun"! I have more than 500 tomato plants out there, though.... have to be ready to take action should the temps drop. So far so good.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

New Morning



Our Valley is GORGEOUS!! Sky is blue, the cherries are in bloom, the sunflowers on the mountain are in bloom, the grass is so green. So thankful.

We solicit your prayers still. The going is rough for Buddy's mom. Dragged her out for a walk by her toenails this morning. She was angry and crying and did not want to go. I told her I would not force her, but I knew it would help. She cried for a bit walking down the road, but then her mood started to lift. Later she asked me to take her again sometime...  She's asking for prayer. I told her friends were praying around the world.

Yesterday, church went very well. The sermon was a beautiful, needed sermon on forgiveness. Buddy's mom cried through it all. After potluck we went to her NA*'s family picnic. Later she told me they are the most struggling group of people I have ever met or ever will meet. It's so sad. Some beautiful people, but struggling and trading one addiction for another.  Definitely might be in recovery, but not healthy. Heartbreaking. Pieter and Oscar's family members were there as we had it okayed with CPS to let them enjoy their children while we were there. It turned out to be a very bad place for Buddy's mom to be. EVERYBODY SMOKES. She was miserable and she caved, but we couldn't leave because of the other family and our foster children. It was a good thing for Pieter's family to meet all of us and to be able to start to build some sort of .... well, not sure what it is yet, it's not a friendship at this point. But they do know their babies are safe with us. Buddy's mom was feeling worse and worse and by the time we got home she was more than exhausted. People there at the picnic mistook Vanessa and me for sisters. They found it incredulous that I could be old enough to be her mother.  Well, huh. There might be some ways to stay young . . . 

I always thought Missy was the intense brain drain on me....  Since James has been gone I realize HE is SUPER intense and my biggest stressor.  I didn't know. We have 7 little kids in the house and because he is gone it feels like we have half. Poor kid, he is fearful, and anxious, and in your face, and on the verge of crying for any and a thousand reasons all day. He needs constant attention. He is subtly picking fights with other children and is an undercurrent of conflict always. Missy has not been an issue at all. The relationship between the two together could be half her problems. She needs space from him. Steve took Missy skiing today. It's the last day. He's on patrol, but I'm sure he'll have plenty of one-on-one time for her. They are having a flamingo hunt on the slopes for fun. He'll pick up James tonight. I need to go make Peggy and Lui a pie or something as a thank you.

The Lord has been good to us. The temps have never dipped lower than 40 degrees on any night since I transplanted the tomatoes a few weeks ago and took them to the greenhouse. Usually I am carting them up and down the hill morning and night. It's one less job to do. Which is good as there are more than usual this year.  I still cover them with frost cloths because there is NO heat in the greenhouse at all.

Sigh... Oscar has figured out how to climb out of the crib, so into a pillowcase he goes. It's nap time!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spiritual Warfare (Updated)

We are in serious spiritual warfare.

We are working to put Buddy's mom on Nedley's program here at our house. Vanessa told her today was her last chance for a smoke before she comes here. It will be diet and exercise and prayer and Scriptures... so long as she is still willing. Vanessa stayed with her last night and drug her out of bed this morning. 

Much prayer is needed.


James was violent this morning. My back up was slow to get here. I had him locked out of the house and he beat on the door and destroyed the wreath and tried to break the window. When the principal and vice-principal arrived he locked himself in the garage. I went around through the back door and when I got close to the door to unlock it he slapped me hard.

This kid.

He can be so sweet and he can be a real mom's boy. But he can be mean and looking to hurt someone.

Something snaps. First he was passive aggressive and it became pure stubbornness and refusing to get on the bus. When I took action to call for help  he came unglued.

He is in in-school suspension. He's in the principal's office ALL day. No recess, no lunch room, no classroom fun. Just his schoolwork and him and the principal.

After he was gone I smacked my head on the door frame of the van.   I just sat down and had myself a good cry!


I'm asking DSHS to move faster on the boy's move. I told the placement lady to look for a family that might be interested in adoption because I don't see good things happening at all.


Christina called me crying. Her brand new phone is smashed.

**** I have arranged for respite for the weekend for James.  I have packed his suitcase and put it in the van. When he arrives home he can just  get in the van. We'll talk about on the way there. He'll be good for Peggy and Lui. It's quiet at their house.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Kind of Laughing.... Kind of NOT.


James was so happy have that motor in his hands. His glasses were completely GREEN!! There's 2 and half acres of this for him to weed-whack so he'll stay busy. He is so, so proud of himself.

Missy was not.

In fact she couldn't get over it. Not that she even asked if she could have a turn, mind you.

While she was suppose to be outside in the sun playing with the kids she was drawing this!

Bad picture, I know.... but in case you haven't figured it out, it is a baby bottle and it says James on it. She tried to hide the evidence by chopping it up later ... Silly me was like, "no. That's James'. See it has his name on it! I don't know what it is, but he must need it." To which she admitted she had written his name on it. Only then did I figure out what it was. Sigh...

Still, we are amazed at her ability to create. It not bad art. Vanessa said we needed to keep it as a reminder.


Things are not so good on another front. Buddy's mom is not okay... Prayers welcome.

Impressed!

I spent a couple hours at the little school in town. I was highly impressed.  As I walked through the door I could sense the peace of the place immediately. The child closest to the door was Sadie from my choir. She greeted me with a bright smile and bent right back to her reading. A younger child was on the carpet beside her working with some sort of math manipulative. There were two girls about 8 or ten years old hand sewing at the far end of the room quietly discussing their craft. A boy of about 7 had a scale and a huge pile of coins. His notebook had a ton of figures filling the entire page. The little guy behind him was sorting letters into alphabetical order. One child was at the receiving end of a one-on-one reading lesson. Two girls, one was 11 and the other maybe 8 were busy with an experiment at the sink. Sadie's brother, Garret, was concentrating very hard on multiplication. He did not even turn to glance at me when he heard my voice until he was done with his project.  There were a couple of boys behind the bookshelf where I could not see well, but one had headphones on. A small girl was playing very animatedly with a dollhouse. She was the youngest in the class and her mother was one of the teachers.  There were a dozen kids in the room and I was not the slightest bit of a distraction. That in itself was amazing to me. I have dropped into the twins classes and I might as well have walked in and told them it was recess because kids are generally looking for distraction and they make the most of it.

I had some serious questions about how Missy would fit in. I teared up thinking, she could absolutely destroy this peace in a fraction of a second. How in the world would she ever do anything on her own without nagging the teacher to death. She's unmotivated to do things by herself, never mind reaching out to increase her knowledge or skill. That has been a battle she has fought hard to maintain~ That she can't learn anything new. We see most of her passive aggressive behavior in connection with new material and ideas that must be learned. I was full of questions about how they keep the kids on track, etc... and they answered them all satisfactorily. Little Miss with the long, brown braids sewing at the other end of the room brought me her schedule which was very simply the topics she needed to cover in a day. Garret showed me that his was much more specific with times slots. Sadie doesn't use a written schedule at all. She is completely self motivated.

It was interesting that the very questions I had about this actually working with Missy were repeated by the next mother that came in a little after me to observe. She repeated the same fears and concerns and anxieties about her son that I had just expressed almost to a T! She was afraid he would destroy the peace of the place. She was sure he would not just work on his own. She was concerned he would not be motivated to move on to harder material. For some reason, hearing the teacher reiterate what she had just told me in assuring the mom that it takes time to normalize to the new environment, and that it would work eventually, was my turning point to believing that perhaps this would be the best for Missy. I'm still not sure that she is the best thing for the school... :-) The calmness, the self motivation, the manners, the kindness exhibited between students... exactly what I want for her!

I loved how the students did not call for help. Instead they would quietly put a hand on the teacher's shoulder and wait for her to acknowledge them. It's something I would like the kids in my house to do now.

I have shared with Steve all I learned. We both see how it might be the best move for Missy. And so we are praying about it, because it won't fit in our current family budget as we will have two in college next fall (3 actually, but Christina is still free for another year) and my husband works  too hard already.  I think the answer will come in some sort of home business, or part time, or short term work. If it is the right thing, it will happen because the Lord is invested in this kid.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Looking at the Options for School

I'm actually researching the possibility of  moving Missy to an alternative school. The one I am looking at is very hands on. They call it a Montessori school, but maybe, from what I am gathering, with a bit of different twist? They use Academics Associates certified teachers. This reading program has been proven to be effective with children with dyslexia and dysgraphia, etc...  I'm going to spend the morning observing the school tomorrow.

Missy is doing okay in the public school. She IS learning. She is reading and she is coming around on math to a degree. In fact, her brother's current homework page is on finding the AREA of certain objects. He has no clue what he is doing~period. (It drives me crazy that he has to do these worksheets for concepts he honestly has not the slightest grasp of!!) BUT I showed him how and he is mechanically doing the work, though it means nothing to him. He just did three out of six problems incorrect and Missy corrected TWO of them for him because she knows the ten times tables and she was able to recognize that it was a simple multiplication calculation. SO, I do not discount that she is learning.

That said, I feel she is missing some basic foundational building blocks that we won't ever have a chance to put in place if we keep pushing her from grade to grade. Someday I fear her weak foundation will not be able to support progress. Alas if she's more concerned with "fitting in" then learning it's only going to get worse. She spends a fair amount of energy trying not to look different from the kids in her class. If she is just accomplishing things at a second grade level now, how does sending her on to 4th grade next year help her be successful?

From what I am learning of the school it's the closest thing to the way I homeschooled the girls. My one concern is that Montessori is generally known to be child-driven. The child chooses what they decide to learn. Um... yeah. lol. Right. This child??!!  She'd take the easy way out every time, So I asked some pointed questions, and it sounds like there are actually requirements. The example I was given sounded doable.

If we were to send Missy next fall I would need to figure out a way to make some money because it isn't free!!! And if it worked well for Missy, then I would consider it for James the next year as well as I am not interested in sending them to middle school. I am sure that leaving him with his current teacher for another year is the best plan for next fall. She is an amazing teacher. I bet that his second year with her will be his best year yet.

***

Pieter is having a great week and there hasn't been any more talk of throwing him out of his daycare. Phew. I had to be pretty firm with him Sunday and keep him separate from the other children because he was looking for trouble. Since then everything has gone much smoother. He learns.

Monday, April 7, 2014

And Lived to Tell About It.....

Spring break is over!  Yipee! That was a long one.

*

Steve has been spending a LOT of time being very intentional about teaching the twins about life and right and wrong. He's been digging a new path up the mountain with them. As they carve the steps he talks about building a high road for others to follow. He is talking to them about character and the power of choice and influence.  He is also encouraging them to memorize scripture and tries to get them to sing with him. Sadly, they often roll their eyes and their body language speaks of total disdain. There are flickers of interest.... but fleeting.

He's planting seeds. Some fall on stony ground, some are eaten by the bird, some are choked out by briars and weeds. Prayerfully, there will be some left to take root and hopefully a drought won't fry the seedlings.

Vanessa has been very intentional about reading to the kids, taking them on walks and pointing out object lessons. She prays with them and points them to the higher road. She encourages them in their memorization of the 10th chapter of John. The twins blank stares and listless attitudes make the work difficult. At least Pieter is interested in the stories. He'd never heard about Jesus before and he hasn't quite gotten over the pictures of the cross, yet. Isabel, too,  is a sponge soaking it up.

Vanessa is faithfully watering the seeds and fertilizing the ground.

I deal with tantrums and put out fires. I keep food on the table, and the kids' hair cut and their bodies dressed in decent clothing. I make them practice their instruments and drive them to therapy. I ask to see their homework, I pack their lunch and hand out their vitamins. I provide them with useful occupation that I feel is vital to their learning and sense of responsibility. At times I get excited about something I think I could share with them that they might be interested in, but they rebuff all efforts and I give up.  I feel shriveled and I care not to teach, or lead as I have seen no results from my previously spent blood, sweat and tears. Lack of faith?  I know it isn't right. I'm glad the others are the net to catch where I'm failing...  Something has to give and since the kids don't care to change, I guess it's going to have to be me. 


***

PS. Christina has completed her lifeguard class. She can save you if you are drowning and perform CPR and bring you back to life, if need be. :-) She and her friend had a rare opportunity. A group of search and rescue divers came in to use the pool for some practice operations while the girls were practicing their life saving skills. The teacher allowed the divers to take over the class and teach them some very interesting things that wouldn't be a part of the usual curriculum. The interactions and exercises were stimulating. While the rest of the class kind of put up with it, Kendall and Christina ate it up!! They worked hard and totally impressed the divers.  In the end, the divers left partial scholarships for those two girls to get their diving license. Who knows, they may be a part of a search and rescue dive team some day.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spring Break With the Younger Set

Christina's April Fools joke on her dad!

The girls making cookies with "no help".

The boys teaching the Duckie his memory verse.

It's Reboot day #10 for me. I cheated a bit today. What's a mom with too many kids to do? No time to make my juices . . .

My Garden "helper". Mr. Destructo.
This kiddo was very serious about helping me transplant tomatoes, and then we got in a water fight. I won. :-) He giggled hysterically..
James and his experiments.

He tuned the glasses to the piano (sort of) and played Jesus Loves Me on them.


It might be spring break.... but it's a great time to learn! There were potato peelings all over the kitchen.



There are two kids not shown in pics. The foster kids. Pieter and Oscar. 

Pieter was suspended from daycare for half a day and he may yet get kicked out for good. 
I actually think he's bored there. He gets in a lot of trouble here when he's bored. He really, really has a penchant for mischief, but he is also a foster child with foster child behaviors which is trying his caregiver's patience.
Oscar is still crabby. He loved going to the pool tonight, but he spit and screamed and yelled at everybody all the way there. He's more work than the other daycare kids combined, so he may get asked not to come back, too. See the thing is, foster kids don't pay as much as regular kids and they can be more work. If the daycare workers LOVE their job and the kids it's one thing, if they are just making a living, it's sure not worth the extra work.

Things are not going well in their case. My heart breaks for their situation. Their mommy seems unable... in bondage and unable to break free but maybe clueless. She doesn't seem to understand. I wish there was a way to help her.

Yes, we've had a lot of sad happenings. No, Buddy and Duckie are not living with us. (someone asked). BUT they are here a lot with their siblings. Mom is picking herself up.... and finding her way around the odds and college. THANKFUL!

We've had some outbursts and some struggles that made Steve really, really think that taking the twins to Michigan with me for a month in the summer was not going to go well. At first I was doggedly determined that it was going to work fine. But we've had some outbursts that put me in an impossible pickle in public recently and it is possible that the same thing could happen there, too - only there would be more at stake.  I prayed about it for days. Then finally I decided that I would not go if that was what God wanted. Within a half hour I was talking to my sister and she asked me if I would take her son for awhile to get him some vision therapy that is not available in her town... and the lightbulb went off. Tit for tat! We can do a trade. ( NOT exactly a fair trade, but I'll try to cover her expenses!) She agreed to come and watch the kids for me. Steve will be here nights and days off. Vanessa will be here evenings and weekends. We can keep our in-home care-giver for Missy, and schedule swimming and other activities to keep them busy. My sister will be able to can fruit for the winter (she lives in the Yukon) and also have a chance to go to Lightbearers' campmeeting...  She's happy and I'm free to go with the girls! I'll be taking my sister's oldest son with me.  :-) Just to think, the Lord probably had this all planned out  long ago. I just had to come to the point of letting go.

Well, my brother -in-law turned 50 today. He celebrated by puking every hour.
I take it growing old is painful..... (actually he has a stomach bug! poor guy. Way to enjoy a milestone).

We went swimming tonight. Going out anywhere with our crowd is a riot. Well....
with an introvert like me playing mom to that many it feels like a riot.
BUT THE KIDS LOVED IT. 
That's what counts.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Not Forgotten

 There's so much to write. Stories, experiences, lessons learned.... Thoughts overflowing. SO many hurting people - damaged children, addiction, healing and relapses and pain. But when I sit down I can't get it together and my minutes to sit are few and far between - VERY few and far between. I am the proverbial Old Woman who lived in a shoe that had so many children she didn't know what to do!

My heart is sick of the evil and pain and destruction of character and lives. There are bright spots and glimmers of hope... but there are also mornings like this one when I put my head down on the steering wheel and let the tears roll. Investing in lives is not for the faint at heart and sometimes I am the faint of heart. I let my tears be the prayer I could not put into words and as I rested my head there, the CD in the player gave me a song. Naomi Jackson was singing Not Forgotten. The song is about me and it's about these suffering ones. Wish I could play it for you. Love Naomi's version....


When you think your dream is dying
He has not forgotten you
When your body aches from tryin'
He has not forgotten you

When you worry for tomorrow
Even though the sky is blue
See the sun is shining
He has not forgotten you

When July feels like December
He has not forgotten you
When it's painful to remember
He has not forgotten you

When it seems you can not win
And there is not much left to lose
He has got a plan
And He has not forgotten you

And hope will spring eternal
In the home of those who know
That loving eyes will follow
Every where we go

And even in the darkness
His promises are true
Keep this in your heart
He has not forgotten you.

He is faithful
He is present
He is listening
He is love

He is faithful
He is with you
He is listening
He is love

If your tired flesh has squandered
What your spirit would have saved
And your aimless feet have wandered
Far from all you truly crave

Turn and run toward your Father
Do not wait another day
See His arms are open
And He is calling out your name

And hope will spring eternal
In the home of those who know
That loving eyes will follow
Every where we go

And even in the darkness
His promises are true
Keep this in your heart
He has not forgotten you

He is in your heart
And He has not... forgotten..... you. (by Twyla Paris)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Principal's Office

lol. Okay. This CHILD of MINE!! 
 I got a phone call from the principal today. 
Missy had been in his office. 
She had been sent there by her teacher with a report on her academic endeavors. 

It was GOOD.

All good - surprisingly, actually, but we had been noticing better work from her lately. 
They said she was putting effort into reading and math. 
This school loves to turn things around on the parents and 
call the students in to the principal's office for being awesome. 
Several months ago I got the call on James and I bought him a box of granola bars all his own, 
so I was grateful to just so happen to have a box of those same bars in hiding for this occasion. 
She decided to share one with dad, 
 but James wasn't so lucky, 
nor was Pieter. 
Begging didn't move her in the least. 
Oh, well. They'll have to earn their own somehow. 
Here's the crack up: She thought she could sit down 
and eat however many she wanted in a row after supper. 
Good thing we caught her on the second bar!
Wouldn't have surprised me if she had eaten all 6 bars in one sitting AFTER eating her supper, but her mom is sooooo mean. 
:-)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Reboot Day #1

Yesterday Wanda said she was about to start a reboot and I jumped right in and joined her.

Today was day one.

I am doing the 15 day plan. It starts off slow with salads and roasted yams along with the juice. Going straight to a juice fast is really rough the first couple days. I think this is going to be easier.

The juice is good!!  I enjoy it very much. I don't exactly like making it because it takes so much time and I spend enough time in the kitchen feeding this gang, but here goes. I've done reboot before and I felt great.

(If you don't know what reboot is watch Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, then go to www.rebootwithjoe.com)

Christina passed her driver's test today. She and Kendall spent most of the afternoon training for their Lifeguard certificate. Christina then went on to Nikki's to begin training for her triathlon. The kid is on spring break.... 'How many things can you cram into one day' seems to be the name of the game. She and Vanessa have tickets to the Youth Symphony tonight. I think I'll just go to bed. I get tired watching. At least I won't have to drive her around to everything anymore. :-)

Vanessa is much more domestic. She's digging up the front flower bed. She thinks it needs a total makeover. She also helped me plant lettuce and greens yesterday. She's happy to join me drinking my fresh juice concoctions and then she does a little cooking and a little reading for fun.

We had an unusually calm morning with the twins today. It was a treat. They were out early for the bus. Even rinsed their dishes before going out.

Their horse back riding lessons started back up last week. Today they were able to go for a trail ride.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Yet Another Story....

I can usually come up with something to say even when there's nothing...  Been sitting here with a blank page for like 10 minutes. That's just not like me.  I think I'm bored silly of my own stories. Let's see....

Court happened. The case has gone backwards ten steps.  No real surprises there. Social worker came by and visited and he pretty much said these kids are in care for a long time, so he knew the kids would have to be moved sometime in June. I suggested he start looking for an appropriate home sooner and then we can transition the children gradually and carefully. I hate to move them, but the case did not go as the SW thought it would and I already have commitments for the summer. He thanked me for the suggestion and said he'd get to work on it Monday.

The kiddos are doing well in our home, but there are struggles related to the twins. Although I never ever let the kids act out inside our home -they are immediately taken outside so that the little kids don't see, we simply cannot protect them from all of it. When things are good, it's great. When things go South it's very difficult. Some of the good is that James has learned to play with little kids appropriately.  He can now entertain them instead of freaking out over them touching his things or just getting near him. Missy has learned a lot about child care and she's quite motherly (to the point I have to remind her that I'm the mom).

Yesterday getting ready for church, Missy was crabby. She stomped purposefully and hard on Christina's bare toes (in sandals) on her way into the van. We pulled her back and had her wait for everyone else to load up. When she got in she slapped James for sitting in her favorite spot. Poor guy can't win for losing. There's twelve seats to choose from and he picked wrong! sigh. We decided if she could not be appropriate in the van she would forgo the ride. I walked with her instead. She screamed and hollered most of the way while I sang our new little theme song over and over and over. She was bent on destroying her pretty shoes. I told her we would have to return home if she was going to keep trying to wreck them so we could get her hiking shoes. She stopped, but a few blocks from the church she started doing it again. I reminded her clearly what I had said, and she even repeated after me so that I knew there was no question. I asked what she planned to do and she gave all the right answers.  As soon as I turned she did it again. I looked back at her and asked, "Were you just checking to see if you can trust my word? I do mean what I say. "

Turning around was difficult. We had walked more than 2 miles. We were almost there. She was furious with me. "Unfair, unfair!!!" Maybe. But she was testing and knew what she was gambling with. We were in the cemetery. She screamed and threw herself on the ground and threw pine cones at me and even ventured to slap me once. I just walked  but I said she was absolutely NOT to touch me. After that she acted like the stones and pine cones were meant for me as she screamed her hatred, but she threw them beside me rather than at me and so I ignored them.  Basically she screamed non-stop for those 2 miles home where she changed her filthy clothes and shoes and we turned around and walked back to church. She was done with yelling and screaming, though, it might have helped that I took her a different route through the orchards and I told her we needed to be quiet and watch for dogs. We nearly ran smack into one dog with a strong looking jaw and a furious bark. Thankfully his owner called him back before he ate us up, though. The next dog was a puppy and we were in no danger, but we had a hard time shaking him off.  It was noon when we arrived and she was much calmer, but still very willful. 

I'm sure most of you would think this was an extremely hard and stressful event. Truthfully I felt nothing. You repeat this sort of thing day after day for 4 years and you get kind of dull. I sang, I chatted with Brianna in Africa on my WhatsApp,  I also tried to make light conversation and redirect Missy's thinking.  For a brief moment I got a little teary as I thought of what she could be. I prayed silently. I thought a lot about what this would look like in a few years...  If she  becomes more aggressive I wonder what will become of her. There's only so much we can do. Only God can work the miracle needed on her heart and mind. We're doing all we humanly can.

We went for a walk as a family later and found this little sleepy guy:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How Goes the Battle?

James is conquering the piano.  :-) Whoohoo. He'll get his bike back by Friday.

Missy is actively looking for a battle and every situation is a potential battleground in her mind. The rest of us are dancing on landmines . . . We're not adept at the sidstep. We've caused a few explosions, but if we are going to live, we may as well dance even if there is war.

Tomorrow is court. Nothing is going to happen. There's going to be a very disappointed mommy, because I am pretty sure she thoroughly believes she has a great chance at getting her children back that day. I tried to explain it otherwise. . .

Vanessa has finished one final for the quarter and she did great. She has one today and one tomorrow. Christina has one final in all! Spring break, here we come.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

More Than Hard

and we haven't even gotten to piano yet.

BOTH kids.

Sticks and stones would hurt my bones...  (good thing their aim is poor! )