Monday, December 19, 2011

The Holidays

Wow...  I can't believe it has been two months since I last blogged here about how well things were going.  Overall, from day to day, things are still fine.  It's just those small moments within the day that all parents have where you want to pull your hair out. 

The girls are out of school for the entire month of December.  This is one of the perks of having a year-round schedule.  This is also one of the pitfalls.  Our girls trauma flags don't really wave high around the holidays... THANK GOODNESS!   We don't have those terrible feelings of worthlessness like many kids have. 

This year we opted for experiencing things instead of gifting "stuff".  We went to Florida to visit Nana's and Poppy's house for almost two weeks.  This trip we went to Universal Islands of Adventure.  The girls got to meet The Grinch.  They LOVE The Grinch...and anything Dr. Seuss.  Layla has taught herself how to read "Green Eggs and Ham".   It is her FAVORITE book!  She reads it several times a day. 

For Christmas,  Layla is getting a "brown" baby doll that fits newborn clothes, a couple of outfits for the baby, PJs for herself, and a toddler stroller.  I had one I purchased and never used with flowers, so I am wrapping it for the baby doll to have.    MK is going to get a big beautiful jewelry box.  I got it for $35!  I can't believe that deal.  In addition to the jewelry box, she is getting two necklaces, a bracelet, and a ring with her birthstone, and a set of PJs.   Between all of the gifts, I spent about $70 on each of them.  

So that is our update.  They are very excited to have 4 Christmases this year!  Nana's (my mom), our house, Jojo's (my dad), and my in-laws. 

I know they are getting bikes and helmets from my dad... who knows what all else! 

Happy Holidays to You and Yours! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Backing Off!

It is truly hard to believe that it's been over a year since our girls came home to us.

428 days!
  • 36,979,200 seconds
  • 616,320 minutes
  • 10,272 hours
  • 61 weeks (rounded down)
Did I ever think that in 428 days I could have a hand in molding them into two AMAZING little girls?

No... I didn't.   If you look back at my earlier blogs, you will see the struggles, the pain, the sadness I had for my girls... and truly for my family.   It was HARD WORK to get where we are.  We have spent hours in therapy, parenting therapeutically, keeping the girls safe, showing them right from wrong, helping them become honest and upstanding individuals, but most of all LOVING THEM!   I love them with every shred of my soul.   That love wasn't instant, that love was built up over time... but now it's an everlasting type of love that can't be broken, no matter their choices, no matter where life leads us, no matter if I don't LIKE them... I will ALWAYS LOVE my girls.

Things are going really well.  They are incredible little people.  So smart, so funny, so kind-hearted, so accepting of our love for them, and so willing to rise to our expectations because they know they can trust us.
I've started a new fun, light-hearted blog about the girls.  Just a way to chronicle our day to day, but not focus on all of the "foster/adoption" side of things.   I will blog here still when I feel I need to, but it might not be often.   So if you need to ask me something, leave me a comment, I promise to reply!

You can visit the new blog at:  http://whatsquacken.blogspot.com/

Thanks to everyone for your support over these last 428 days, and I hope that when you are seeking support you can find it here in my previous blog posts, or by sending me a message.

Much love and healing to all of you!
-Christie

Friday, October 14, 2011

What Is Track-in/out?

A reader of my blog asked:


"...What do you mean by "track out of school". Thanks."

In our school district we have two types of schools:

Traditional:  You attend school from August/September to June with breaks for the holidays and then the summer off.

Year Round:  This schedule runs on a track system.  There are 4 different tracks that at any given time may be in session (tracked in) or out of session (tracked out).   Our daughters attend Track 1 for their classes.  This means they start their school year just after the 4th of July, then they are in class until mid-September when they "track out" (have a break) for the rest of September.  They go back to school the first week of October, then they are "tracked in" (in class) until December.   They are "tracked out" the entire month of December, and "track in" after the New Year's holiday.   Then they are back in school until March where they are also off for the first 3 weeks of the month.   Then we go back until June, and they track out the first part of June until July when their new school year will begin.

They also observe typical holidays, like Thanksgiving etc.

Here is a link to a year-round calendar: Track Calendar

We personally LOVE the track schedule.  It allows us to have a little time with the kids throughout the year, plus it provides us with the chance to vacation off-season at places like Orlando, the beach etc.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Busy Days

September was a very busy month for us.  I blogged once... considering I use to blog daily, it's a little sad really.   Being a stay-at-home mom has really taken over.  When I worked, I had time at work that I could  blog.  Now that I'm home, I'm always out and about running errands, carpooling kids to the doctor, and soon Layla will start Irish Dance classes, and MK will start her art classes. 

So I am going to try and blog at least once a week. 

Now for the updates.  The girls were tracked out of school on September 14th and went back October 3rd.  I spent those weeks entertaining the girls with trips to the library, museums, outings with our play group, and we even had a play day with their brothers at a bounce house. 

It wasn't as bad as I had pictured it.  They mostly kept their behaviors at a manageable level.  After the visit with the brothers though, Layla had a difficult time controlling herself for about 10 days.   It's a hard sacrifice to make.  The girls love their brothers, it isn't fair for them not to see them and keep that relationship intact, then at the same time, when they do see the boys, it triggers a lot in Layla behavior-wise.  With that said, it is more important to me that they keep the relationship, even if it means a couple weeks of "resetting" Layla's attitude, mood, etc. 

The girls are doing well in therapy.  I especially love Layla's therapist.  They are focusing on her anxiety control.  We are also about to start some speech therapy and assessment.   MK is doing well in all aspects right now.  She is so smart, kind, and I am really proud of her for being able to appropriately voice how she is feeling in different situations.   Layla is also voicing herself much better these days.  Hopefully, those skills continue to grow and the girls can eventually fall out of the behavior and into the talking part of their problems. 

We are starting a new medication for both girls.  It is called Kapvay.  It's an extended release of Clonidine.  MK is taking it at bedtime, and in the mornings.  Layla is taking it at bedtime only.   It has a sedating quality to it, so hopefully it will help with sleep.  That wears off in about a week though, so we may also have to add in an actual sleep aid for Layla, since that is her biggest issue most of the time. 

School is going great for both girls.  Once we get MK's impulsive behaviors (talking out, getting up, interrupting, etc.) under control fully, I think she will excel even more. 

The next couple of months the girls are in school, then in December they track out again for the entire month.  We have a trip to Florida planned from December 5-12.  I think this time around we will FINALLY get to do a theme park.

Our play group (an interracial families group) is amazing.  The girls have made friends, as have I.  They have been out past bedtime without any issues.   It's been nice for them to see families like ours, mothers that care and discipline, friends that get them as individuals, it's just been awesome.

The move to North Carolina was absolutely the best thing we've ever done for our family.   Our house in VA is due to close on October 14th.  Hopefully everything goes smoothly.  Then in the spring we plan to buy down here. 

So great things on the horizon.  We're still progressing more than regressing, so I guess we're doing alright!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Holy Self-Recognition Batman!

So I need to run some errands.  Both girls wanted to stay home with my husband.  I ask Layla if I take her with me will she behave?  She said, "No".   I asked her why, "Because it will be too crowded, and I will feel nervous." 

Then she and MK went and looked through old photos after telling us they like it here more than with their birth parents because they were "evil". 

Guess it is a good time for processing! 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Spoken Feelings

One year ago, the only way Layla knew how to express herself was through behavior.  There isn't a harder thing to deal with than a behavior where you have ZERO idea as to what triggered it.  A year ago, she sometimes didn't even know why she felt or acted the way she did. 

Yesterday afternoon, my husband came home from work a little early and we had a disagreement.  It was just a quick back and forth of how we both felt about the situation, and then it was over with.  No yelling... but we certainly had on our "angry tone" voices.

At dinner, Layla was sitting across from me, and she said to MK, "Mommy and daddy were fighting and (looks at us) YOU SCARED ME!"  

We quickly explained that it was a disagreement, the only thing hurt were feelings, and it was all ok.  That is was okay to disagree with one another, but we talked about it and worked it out.  

She came over and hugged on me. 

THAT WAS B-I-G!  I mean HUGE!!!  That she saw something, took time to process what had happened, then verbally spoke as to what upset her and why she felt the way she felt.  I was really proud of her. 

This isn't to say next time she won't pitch a fit for no understandable reason, but it is certainly a step in the right direction. 


Monday, August 29, 2011

Sure We Will Try It!

A lot has been happening since I last posted.  I will start with doctor stuff.

MK started back into therapy last week.  It seemed to go very well.  She said it was, "The best morning of my entire life".   We're not 100% sure this therapist is right for her, but we decided as a couple to let MK choose if she wants to stay or try someone else. 

Additonally, MK has changed from Vyvanse to Intuniv for her ADHD.  The Intuniv isn't my favorite fit for her.  It makes her very sleepy, and she is still becoming easily overstimulated and that is effecting her impulse control. 

We start seeing a developmental pediatrician for both girls in October.  We hope they will have much more insight into the medications needs for management of the girls anxiety, depression, and ADHD. 

Layla will start therapy on the 8th of September.  I met with her therapist, and I really like her.  She focuses on anxiety and behavior modification, so we're hopeful she can help Layla with some of her quirky behavioral issues. 

Layla is now taking Prozac instead of Mirtazapine.  So far she is sleeping okay again, but it takes her a good hour to finally fall asleep.  We might have to add a sleep aid into the mix, but we will look into that once we see the new doctor.  For now, 10mg of Melatonin seems to do the trick. 

Moving on from the doctor stuff, we are also trying a new method for positive reinforcement of good behaviors.  This method came from Layla's new therapist, as a "try it and see" thing to help curb her defiance. 

So the idea is come up with a small number of simple rules.  Then you get the kids a small container and either mark a line, or have a line for them to fill to.  Then you give them a penny whenever you catch them following the rules (subsequently, you can remove a penny after one warning for not following the rules, after a month, you just immediately remove the penny).   Once they reach their line they get to both keep the pennies, and choose a prize from the prize box.  On average, you want to give them 7-8 pennies a day.  It's great because it's a forceful reminder to us that we need to praise the kids.  The prize box is just cheap stuff.

So far, it's going pretty well for our two. 

We let the girls chose the rules, and I must say it was a great test of their knowledge of our normal rules, because they included all of the for the most part.  We kept it to 5 rules, with some encompassing a few different rules.   These rules apply everywhere, home, school, outings, etc.

Our Family Rules:
1)  Be kind and respectful to all people, pets, and objects.
2)  Keep hands, feet, teeth, and objects to yourselves.
3) Think before you speak and do.
4) Always tell the truth, and do not sneak.
5)  Have a GREAT day at school.

Like I said, simple rules. 

So I will update on our progress.   I bought these cute containers at the Dollar Tree.  They come two to a pack, and we can grab them to take with us when we go places.




Thursday, August 18, 2011

Happy Gotcha Day!

Yesterday was one year since we got the girls.  How crazy is that?  One year.  I mean you have it all here on this blog.  A year of our ups and downs.  A year of learning, growing, and healing.   It's a fun ride though.  The girls are generally doing really well.  Most days we have no issues.  Some days when we do have problems they are age appropriate and tolerable for us.

I will leave you with a cute "Gotcha Day" picture.  It happened to be school picture day too.  Of course the girls had to dress alike!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

New Meds, door alarms, and therapy... OH MY!

Now that I stay home full-time, I am not strapped down to a desk blogging about every thing we do... it's actually kind of nice because I don't really dwell on all of the little day to day things the girls do wrong.  I've certainly become more of a "big picture/grand scheme" kind of thinker.  Which is really what needed to take place.   I fell in the trap that most of us therapeutic parents fall into... I started over analyzing all of the things the girls did. 

Overall, the girls are doing really great.  August 17th will be the 1 year anniversary of their move-in date.  It's crazy to think it has ONLY been a year.  I feels like so much longer.  We've accomplished so much in a year.  It's truly amazing.

The main changes we have had lately are medication switches.  Layla's Mirtazapine (Remeron) stopped working rather suddenly.  It left us with a very anxious child.  We've switched her to Prozac and so far she seems to be doing well.  We had one night of her not sleeping well, but we added 10mg of Melatonin (she was on 5mg before) and that seems to have sorted out the sleep issue.  The other thing we did, after finding her roaming the house at 1:00am, was we bought a door alarm for her room.  We got a 2-pack for $3.99 at Harbor Freight.  Totally worth EVERY penny!  I would say it is the best money we've ever spent.   Layla doesn't sneak because she wants something... she sneaks to see if we will catch her.  It's a little test that in her head goes something like, "I am going to sneak, if they catch me, I can trust that they are keeping me safe, if they don't catch me, it obviously must mean they have no interest in keeping me safe or showing me love".   This lead to several tantrums, so the alarm was a physical reinforcement that we are keeping her safe.  She loves the alarm.  In fact when I told her I was buying it, she requested I purchase a purple one!  LOL

MK has also switched her ADHD medication.  The Vyvanse had gotten to the point that she wasn't able to focus well or stay on task, and she was very fidgety.   We switched to Intuniv and we're on a low dose that will increase in the coming weeks.  So far, aside from needed reminders to stay on task, she's doing pretty well with it.  Hopefully, it will continue to be even more effective as we increase her dosage.

Lastly,  we are starting therapy again for both girls.  MK's therapist is going to help her with her peer relationships, her processing the past trauma, and her feeling comfortable in her new life as a family girl.  Layla's therapist specializes in childhood anxiety and behavior modification.  Since we've already completed attachment therapy, I think it is important for her to get a better grasp on controlling her anxiety so that eventually, we can think about taking medication away.

Despite their struggles, they are doing very well.  School is going great (outside of peer issues with MK).  They are making good grades, and being home fulltime has allowed me to have lunch with each of them during the week.

I will try to get around to updating a little more often! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Poetry From MK

MK's teacher ROCKS this year.  I mean calls every few days with an update and listens and helps MK.  It is SO nice to have someone like that on our team!

For her spelling words, she gets to pick from a big list of activities to practice the words.  Today, she chose a poem.  Not so bad for a 2nd grader!

When I am a wife
I will have a lovly life.
My husband will rake,
while I bake a cake.
He will be all mine,
even when we're ninety nine.
I will kiss his face,
no one will ever take his place.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sometimes I wonder....

Do any of the children adopted by "celebrities" have the emotional and behavioral issues we have endured with our children?  I've never heard a celebrity speak out about PTSD, RAD, ODD, etc. with their adopted child.  I'm not saying it hasn't happened, I've just never heard it. 

I realize many adopt infants, but some adopted older children.

List of adoptive parents off of the top of my head:
Angelina and Brad
Hugh Jackman and his wife
Katherine Heigl and Josh Kelley
Sandra Bullock
Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman
Kirstie Alley
Madonna
Mary Louise Parker
Meg Ryan
Julie Andrews
Cheryl Crow
Calista Flockhart
Diane Keaton
Sharon Stone
Rosie O'Donnell
Steven Spielberg
Jamie Lee Curtis
George Lucas
Barbara Walters
Denise Richards (making news now)

I know there are many, many, more.... just don't recall them off of the top of my head.  Crazy for there to be that many, with multiple adoptions for some, and to not recall a "negative" experience they've had.  



For your fun reading pleasure:   Celebs that were adopted...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Monsters...

Since MK came to us (almost a year ago), she has always had bad dreams.  I have doctors notes dated to before her time in care that state she would bang her head and rock all of the time.  We still have those issues, but not nearly as frequently.

This weekend we are in Savannah, GA to meet my parents and pick up my younger sister for her to visit us in NC for the next 3 weeks.  Naturally, we decided to stay in a hotel to visit with family for the weekend.

Last night, I barely slept.  About every 20-30 minutes, MK would thrash around and bang her head violently in her bed.  I was HEART BREAKING!!!!   She literally looked like she was have a seizure at one point.

Finally, around 5:00am, I crawl into the bed with her to comfort her and help her get some sleep.

I don't know for sure if this happens nightly, my husband said it does.  I just makes me so sad that despite all of the happy days we have, at night, she is haunted my memories of "bad" times before us.  What do you do when the monster your baby dreams about isn't a "monster", but rather their birth family?


I asked her this morning and she said she just kept having bad dreams about her birth parents.

This mama is feeling so lucky to have such great kids, but I really wish I could make all of the bad go away.  I guess as parents we all do right?

Monday, July 18, 2011

This Move ROCKS!!!

Moving to NC is about the best decision we've ever made.  I love it here!  There is so much to do (hence the lack of blogs lately). 

Most of all, we've made all of these new great friends!  With kids!  And my girls finally know what it's like to have a neighbor to play with.

Speaking of my girls... have I mentioned how amazing they are doing?  I mean absolutely, completely, amazingly different kids than the kids I blogged about a year ago. 

This move was very much a fresh start for all of us as a family.  They have new names, a new school, new house, new parents... and it totally freed them! 

They are just incredible. 

With that said, we are going to be starting back into therapy soon.  Not because of anything in particular happening, but we need to keep their medications in place, and continue to build their skills at managing their emotions so that within the next 18 months we can wean them off of their anxiety medications.   Their doctor is supportive of staying on for now, and if we remove them and have issues, she is more than happy to keep them on longer, but we're hoping by that point they will both have the security and confidence to be weaned. 

So yea... I don't have much else to say I guess... school has started, they love their classes and teachers.  I love their new school. 

We're all just really happy!   A year ago, I didn't think we'd ever get to this place we're all in...but we did!  The H-A-R-D work paid off!!!!  As we all know though, our work is never done! 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Our Hearts Are Sad...

Over this past weekend, we found out a close friend of ours passed away.  He and I met through work about 8 years ago, and he quickly became a good friend to my husband and I.  They would play guitar and pretend to be able to sing.  He and my husband were both fans of sci-fi.   Just a good guy that could always make you chuckle with an off-beat joke. 

"Uncle Sean" was also a photographer, and he was there the night we got engaged with a camera in hand (and we got engaged rather spontaneously),  he was there to photograph our wedding, and just last month, we took a ton of family photos with him.  

It's hard to imagine loosing a friend this early in my life.  He was only 43 and died suddenly of a heart-attack while on vacation with his wife and friends.  We didn't talk every day, or even every week, but we could always pick up right where we left off... we will miss you Sean!   As both of my daughters said, "My heart is sad!"

I will leave you with my favorite photo of the girls and I, taken by him.

Friday, July 1, 2011

New Doctors

The scariest thing about moving was loosing our professional support system.  My personal support system is spread out all over the country, so I knew I would still have access to them.  (Side note: Most of my personal support is by the moms over at  http://therapeuticmoments.blogspot.com)

I joined a local trans-racial families group which led us to finding our new pediatrician.  We had our appointments on Tuesday, and she is phenomenal.   I was so concerned I wouldn't ever be able to replace our doctor in VA.  Our new doctor is the younger, more energetic version of her though!  

She is prescribing the girls medications, with an ultimate goal of trying therapy as well, and slowly weaning them from the anxiety medications in another year and a half.  Which I am totally on board with trying, and as she stated, "If it doesn't work out, then we will continue until they are ready to be weaned."

She is so sweet and kind and very great with my girls.  She is able to read between the lines when I speak with them in the room.   She's even gone the extra mile to seek out great therapists for us.

One thing we have to do is get MK a vision exam.  Her eyes are still not doing well even with the glasses.  So we hope to get that fixed in the next few months.  We are seeing a pediatric ophthalmologist this time, so hopefully that will contribute to a better result.

Overall, the move has been great.  We hope the other house will sell quickly.   The girls start school July 11th.  So next week we will be shopping for supplies and getting them set for their first day.  They are so excited!

I am training for a 5K.  I'm doing the C25K program.  I'm very excited and I feel so energized.  I'm also watching what I eat and we are packing lunches and not eating out during the week.  The only time the hubby and I will be eating out is on our date day.  

That's all for now!  I will post more updates soon.  For now I will leave you with a picture of the girls. From Christmas 2010 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Keep Your Sister Safe...

This morning was the girls first day of day camp.  On the ride there, we passed several school buses.  The girls asked if any of those would be their bus.  Since school is year-round here, I told them one might be their bus.  Then I explained that when they ride the school bus, that I would like them to only sit with one another.  Since the bus can be an overwhelming place for kids, and last year we had some issues with MK on the bus, I thought this would best suit each of them to sit together.  So I told them sit together and keep one another safe.

Well, today at camp, MK wanted to venture out and meet people.  Meanwhile, Layla was clinging to her and hitting her anytime she tried to leave her.

She took my conversation about keeping one another safe on the bus to mean that they should never leave one another's side E-V-E-R!

So we had a talk tonight and explained that it is ok for them to play alone with different kids, and then sometimes together.  We also practiced some social skills of how to meet new people and start a conversation.   "Hi, my name is Layla, what is your name?"  "I have four dogs, do you have pets?"  "I like to do arts and crafts, what do you enjoy doing?"

It was really cute reviewing things with them.

I am so in awe of my girls.  Can you believe it's been 10 months?  I mean ONLY 10 MONTHS!  What an impressive difference in the girls.

Tomorrow we see their new primary care doctor.  She comes highly recommended by fellow adoptive parents, and I am hopeful she will be willing to prescribe their medications.

We're absolutely LOVING North Carolina.  It's so great here.  Love the people, love the places, and love having more room to spread out in the new house.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

School!

I got to do the most exciting thing today.  For the first time, I got to write down my girls NEW names, and leave their case worker off of the forms!  I enrolled them in school.  This year they will be in Kindergarten and 2nd grade.  They are both very excited.

In our new county, school is year-round.  I think it will be good for the girls to have a little more consistency throughout the year.

Since school doesn't start until July, I enrolled them both in day camp.  Fun activities to keep them engaged and happy.  They are in the same group, which hopefully will not backfire on me.

We also stopped by the library today and got a new library card, and the girls each checked out a book.  So they are happily reading in their rooms right now.

Outside of that... we've just been enjoying the summer and getting settled into the new house.  It's been fun most of the time.

Hope everyone is staying dry in the flood zones, and wet in the drought zones!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

They're Adopted

Welcome our girls to the family forever!  I love them so much and I'm so happy to be their moms.  


LAYLA

MAKAYLA

I have so many pictures, but they're on my other laptop.  I will post more occasionally!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Come On Moving Day!!!!

Can I just tell you how excited I am to move?  The girls are out of school, the sun is shining, and I can not wait to get settled into the new house.

This is just such an exciting thing for our whole family.  This morning the girls were stomping around getting ready, and I was thinking about how at the new house they are so far away from our room, so when they get ready it won't sound like a herd of elephants outside of my door.

I am also SO happy they get to have their own "fun" room in the new house.  Their own TV, Futon, Toys, and finally a nice place for their Barbie House to reside.  It's just a dream to let them have some space of their own.  It will also be nice not to watch cartoons every time I turn on the TV.

I am hoping we get a finalization call any day now.  From my understanding the next step was to get the judge's signature.  Hopefully that happens quickly so that we can move on with life.

Anyway, I just needed to write down my excitement!

The girls have been doing VERY well with this transition.  I mean it is just incredible to see all of their progress.  Parenting therapeutically is tough some days... especially for this potty mouthed, opinionated mom with high expectations... but seeing the difference it makes in them... AMAZING!

I will post pictures of the girls as soon as we're finalized.  I can't wait for you all to see their beautiful faces and big bright smiles!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'm Proud Of You

This morning, I looked in the back seat at my little ladies.  I told them, "Girls, I am so proud of you.  You've done really great this year and we've had a lot of work to do, but you've worked hard and I am so happy with you both!"   Then Layla looked at me and said, "Mommy, I'm proud of you too, you a good mom".  *tear*

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Congratulations MK!!!

My very bright little girl has her last day of 1st Grade tomorrow.  I am so proud of her.  The progress she made in these last 10 months is nothing more than astounding.  She is so smart, beautiful, and has become a normal 7 year old kid most days.  She made A/B Honor Roll the ENTIRE school year.  That means I will be forced to deliver on my promise for her to do gymnastics once we move. 

Mommy loves you MK and I am so thrilled to call you my daughter!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Anyone In The Raleigh Area?!?!?

Well, we got a few things set up at the house in Holly Springs, NC.  Our moving truck will be here in VA Monday the 13th and then we will have our bigger pieces of furniture at the new place.  I picked up some Craigslist finds for MK's room, a desk, dresser, and nightstand.  I'm planning to sand it all down and paint it a cool purple color that she picked out.  I want her to feel like she has a fun room to hang out in.

The new house is H-U-G-E!!!  We're just renting it for a year, and then we plan to buy something once we learn the area better and see where we want to live.  So far, I LOVE Holly Springs.  Everyone is kind, helpful, and just over all it has a home-like feel.

So if any of you are in the Raleigh area, please send a comment with your e-mail.  I have to approve all comments, so I will e-mail you then delete the comment so it's not public.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Popping My Orlando Cherry...

What a dirty title...  I'M GOING TO ORLANDO!!!  Not until 2012, but I have enough excitement moving to North Carolina to keep me happy until then!  I will be staying at the Oasis house... so if you're going to be there too... come find me.

Now my plan is as soon as we're moved into the new house, I am walking at least a mile a day.  Hopefully more!  That should go a long way to my eating at home, and loosing some weight.  I hope to be 50lbs lighter by time Orlando rolls around next March.  That means a lot less blogging for me.  MK has committed to being my personal trainer and dietitian.  She is really disciplined so hopefully she can encourage me.  Pretty sad to need a 7 year old to motivate me, but hey... I have to motivate her sometimes too!  :)

So wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Guess Who's 7 Year Old Wets The Bed????

NOT MINE!  :)    About two weeks ago, the straw finally broke this camel's back.  MK went to bed at 7:00, and I entered her room at 10:00 to wake her up for her nightly pee, and she was half-awake laying in a big puddle of her own urine.  I'D HAD ENOUGH!  Since we've already covered the "Lazy Pee" issue in the past, and it has continued over time, I was DONE.  In my eyes, it was no longer that she COULDN'T wake and go to the potty, it was that she DIDN'T wake and go to the potty.  She woke, went in the bed, and proceeded to lay in it.  Typically, I am empathetic, but it had grown increasing obvious that this was just her choosing to wet the bed. 

So I call my husband, and MK (for the first time) was forced to make her own bed, take her own bath, and put on fresh PJs.  I heard all about what a mean mom I am.  She stomped, cryed, screamed, flustered over trying to make her bed (which for the record she has done before).  She stood in her floor screaming, "All you ever do is work me, work me, work me... we'll it is NOT my job to make this bed, do you hear me?  Get in here an make this bed mommy.... you are stupid... and I don't have to make my bed..." 

Finally after about 10 minutes of that non-sense, I walked across the hall, looked in at her standing naked in the middle of her room crying and I said in a sweet calm voice, "You don't have to make your bed honey, but if it's not made, you can't sleep in it, so I hope you don't mind the floor."  

About 30 minutes later, I rallied the dogs to bark and took them outside.  I walked by her room, she was sitting on the bed, fully made, smiling, and she goes, "Look mommy!  I did it!"  I smiled and said, "Now go back to bed."

While all of that was going on, my husband was ordering a urine monitor on Amazon.  It is made by Malem.  It clips to her gown, and has a cord that runs down with a sensor on the end, we clip it to her panties.  She LOVES this thing.  If she were to pee, it would vibrate and make a sound. 

Here is a video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7AEh5OvcZ0

We've never had to hear the sound... because for two weeks... SHE HASN'T WET THE BED!!!   Our version sounds and vibrates.  Some models don't.   It was the best $100 we've ever spent, and I think it makes her feel more in control. 

I highly recommend it for any of you with bed-wetters! 

Monday, May 23, 2011

We Got A Note Home!

And it said, "MK is just such a cool kid.  I really enjoy her so much!"  :)

We had a good weekend.  Yesterday we did an in-home family photo shoot thanks to our friends and their new portable studio.  It was fun and I can't wait to see the pictures! 

I started a new anti-depressant (Celexa) and my doctor also gave me Ativan to take as needed.  It's made a HUGE difference.  The Welbutrin gave me the extreme aggitation and irritability side effect.  We had a rough couple of weeks between me being crazy, triggering the girls being crazy, and my husband being away for work and unable to step in and back me up.  No one was injured... so we weathered the storm alright... but it was rocky for sure. 

Now I feel MUCH better.  I actually enjoyed my time with the girls this weekend.  Lots of cuddling and hanging out.  We wandered around on Saturday, just drove until we came to something interesting.  That landed us in Paint Bank, VA at a Fish Hatchery and then we had lunch at The Swinging Bridge.  It was just a really good day.  One of the more enjoyable days we've had in the last month.  I had my girls and my husband and I was happy! 

We're close to finalizing.  Hopefully in the coming weeks we will be done.  School is out on June 9th, and I am so happy to get to live under one roof again! 

Here is a picture of the new house.  We're renting for a year and then buying once we know the area better (and get our FAT adoption tax credit refund!)  :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The "D" Word

Last night I made the girls take baths.  Layla had to potty while MK was in the tub.  MK comes out of the bathroom and goes, "Mommy, Layla smacked my butt and called me the D word."   I went through the "D" words, damn, douchebag, etc.  I wasn't sure.  So I said, "What D word did she call you?"   MK goes, "DUMMY!" 

It was funny.  I laughed out loud.  She was still upset, but considering the names she will be called through life, I told her dummy would be the least of her worries.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

So How Was Mother's Day?!?

Well, I am happy to say my kids were GREAT!  They bought me roses, made me cards with words of love and kindness, and tried to stay out of my hair for the day.  My AWESOME husband let me sleep in until almost 11:00, even though he was only home for the weekend and was tired himself from traveling home, Mawmaw's funeral, and listening to me talk about my crazy family!

My girls made me really proud.  The cards I received from MK read:

1)  I love you The mom how (who) I was dreaming to have in my heart You are pretty.

2)  Your helpful to me. You make my heart feel happy. I love you so much!

3) Dear Mother, Thank you for cooking good food for me. Love, MK

4)  I love my mom because she protecks (protects) me and keeps me safe. She feeds me. She stays with me. She will help me when I feel sad. She gives me hugs and kisses. I love my mommy. (From MK)


So needless to say, #4 made me cry a little.  Hopefully things continue as well as they are right now.  I've been on edge since my husband is gone all week, but I am trying hard to keep my patience.  IT IS HARD!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Signed, Sealed, then Delivered!

We signed the Petition to Adopt that the Lawyer needs to present to the courts. 


My Mawmaw passed away yesterday... suddenly... but she had been very sick for the last few years.  She is in a better place!  She never had to suffer in a nursing home, she never lost her abilities to walk, see, hear, etc.   She suffered from Sj√∂gren's syndrome more of her life than not.  It basically attacks your glands.  She produced little siliva, tears, sweat, and it caused her many health problems in the final stages.  Her throat was so dry she couldn't eat.  It was very sad. 


This is the eulogy I wrote.  My Pawpaw said I could speak at the funeral.  Hopefully the pastor can fit me into his sermon etc.  I don't really care for their pastor... Mawmaw didn't either but Pawpaw refused to change churches.  If I don't get to read it, it will be ok.  Writing it flooded me with memories of my childhood and although I am not really a "mourner" kind of person, I think it was my way to mourning and moving on.  I am a realist.  I know she's in a better place and I am happy she didn't have to suffer in pain for years to come. 


Love you Mawmaw!  If there is a Heaven, I know you're hugging all of those you loved here on Earth.


When we were kids we spent so much time at Mawmaw’s house.  She was the person that a gift to all of the kids on your birthday so no one would feel left out.  She took us to gospel sings, showed us off to all of her friends, and always made sure we had everything we needed.

As we got older we spent every summer living at Mawmaw and Pawpaw’s house.  She took us shopping for school clothes, cooked us her spaghetti and my favorite Salmon patties, and even though it was bed time, you couldn’t get to sleep because Mawmaw would check on you to make sure you were warm and had enough pillows.  I remember in those summers Pawpaw would leave for work and I would go lay in his spot just to spend time with her before the other kids woke up.  We would watch soap operas and just lounge around for the morning.  

Then we became adults.  When we needed a bed and a meal Mawmaw’s door was always open.  Some of us stayed a few days, others a few years, but Mawmaw always knew how to make us feel right at home.  

She had a big heart.  It was her strength and her weakness at times.  She was a giving and caring person that was loved by so many wonderful people.  She loved her kids, grand kids, and great grand kids just the way a Mawmaw should... unconditionally.

My husband and I are adopting two little girls, and even though she only knew them for a short time, she WAS their Mawmaw.  She showed off their pictures and never made them feel any less than family.  

I think the thing I will miss the most about Mawmaw is her voicemails.  They weren’t messages, they were one sided conversations, but as much as we giggled over the years at the long messages she left, I am very sad today that I won’t get to hear her voicemails again.  

We love you Mawmaw and I know you are hugging Cathy and rejoicing over your reunification with her!  Her home is decorated with angels, and now she is one.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Vacation?

Well, the week started out fine, but the girls are obviously wanting their routines back.  So is mommy!

My niece also used them to her advantage and had them do her dirty deeds.  They both crave "friendship" so they went right along with it.  Layla jumped on the top bunk bed and came through to the bottom.  MK greeted me with, "Mommy come fast, we have an emergency!"  I gave my sister $100 for the bed.  She just broke through the mattress supports at the end. 

Grandma gave the girls the Dollar Tree Easter globes.  I should have tossed them, but I didn't want to be rude.  Layla decided to see if the 2 ounce glass globe could withstand the 52 pounds that is Layla.  IT DIDN'T!  Glass and glitter... EVERYWHERE!

MK hasn't thrown a fit on me since the start of March.  Yesterday she decided it would be a good day to make sure her fit skills were still intact.  They were! 

She pitched a HUGE fit.  My sister got to witness the mess!  MK felt AWFUL afterward.  And embarrassed that Aunt Amber saw what a wreck she was. 

This fit was fueled by her being tired, telling me Layla wouldn't let her fall asleep, then lying and saying she DID sleep when I knew she hadn't.   Then arguing with me that she did.  When I decided not to engage she started the, "mommy you better be listening, you are a fat b*tch, I hate you, I am not your kid, I wish you would die, MOOOOOMYYYYYY YOU BETTER COME IN HERE!  I KNOW YOU DON'T WANT ME TO PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE!!!"  Then she got what she wanted because she tried to physically engage me with other kids running around even after I told them to go into the bedroom.  So I put her in a hold, but my gosh is she strong!  It was a pretty bad one. 

Layla has also been in a fun mood. 

I can't say that I blame them.  Family around, going new places, seeing new things.  We skipped Universal due to me getting a stomach bug.  It was for the best. 

So, needless to say, I am happy to be heading home tomorrow.  This vacation has been exhausting, but I have had fun some too.  It was a good reminder that I need to keep their world small still.  I am trying to expand it... but this fast isn't a good idea. 

We will be home Saturday.  I can't wait to see my husband! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

And Then Some Triggers Stopped!


Our girls both suffer from PTSD.  It's there, we know it, we deal with it the best we can. 

When you suffer from PTSD, you are often subconsciously triggered into various emotional states and the reaction to the trigger becomes out of your control.  Reactions can be rage, fear, withdrawing, spacing out, for a moment your brain becomes locked into a negative place and it is especially difficult for a child to get "un-stuck".

I am mostly going to focus this post on my younger daughter because she has had the more difficult time with her PTSD.  My older daughter talks through her feelings, but Layla didn't have the words or the understanding of why she went through so much hurt. 

When my youngest daughter is triggered she reacts poorly, typically with a tantrum, but recently with going into a "frozen" state.  A trigger can come in the form of any of the senses.  We're not just talking the simple 5 senses: taste, touch, smell, sight, sound.  We're talking about at least 9 senses, and maybe more.  Here is a great read on the various senses at Today I Found Out.  

Some of the triggers we have encountered (and these are just the big ones I know and understand):
Black Men
Police Cars/Lights
Sirens From Police Cars
Certain words like "Stupid, brat, crazy, shut-up"  (not necessarily spoken by us to her, rather overheard somewhere)
Shut Doors-except when sleeping
Darkness
The Intersection near Department of Social Services
Major Changes In Weather (for example we went from 40 to 70 in a days time and it heightened her)
Fear of being alone
Fear of rejection (this could be asking us to pick her up, but we can't so we hug her instead)

I've written about the black men trigger before, and we've watched that almost cease since she started EMDR therapy.  About a month ago, we were eating out of town at Red Lobster and a black waiter passed our table, I immediately watched her entire body and face look scared.  I looked at her and simply said, "That's not HIM, we're far from home."  Her body then instantly relaxed. 

We've worked hard on the concept that police are good, they keep us safe as a society, their job is a hard job, but they do it to help protect people.

Our biggest hurdle right now is her fear  misconception of rejection.  This morning she wanted my husband to pick her up.  He can't because he's pulled his back before lifting her.  So he offered to hug her instead.  This to her meant "he must not love me or her would hold me".  So she started to unravel a bit.  She course corrected quickly though and did not melt-down.  That is MAJOR progress.  For awhile, we couldn't even tell her "No" without getting a horrible tantrum.  I realize a "fit" is normal when you tell a child "no" but for her "no" translates into "you don't love me".  

Triggers are hard to pinpoint sometimes.  It is all about becoming in-tune with your child and watching what happens before they react.  Most of the time when I step back from the crazy stuff, I remember I said or did something, or we passed by something in the store that set her off.

I said all of that to say this.  For the first time since the girls came home, I took them to the mall alone without any issues.  We were shopping for summer clothes to wear in Florida.  I didn't have one single bit of trouble from them.  Neither child got triggered into a fit.  We were there for about 2 hours.  That is a VERY long time for them to keep themselves in check.  I was so happy to have that day.  I think that it proved to me that the EMDR therapy has been effective.  We have watched a lot of progress in the last month.  I am sure we will have trouble in the coming month, but at least I know that the "good" days are possible!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Versitile Blogger Award!

I received this award from Lastmom over at Last Mom's Blogspot page!




Ten things about me:
1) I love television. It's so bad we have two DVR's and Netflix.
2) My adoption friends are the best friends I've ever had in my entire life. They alone make my journey to motherhood totally worth it!
3) I do a radio show with my best friend where we talk about our lives and Entertainment news.
4) My husband is my rock. Without him I am not complete.
5) I am currently addicted to my Blackberry. I just got a smart phone a few weeks ago. It's changed my life.
6) I fight hard for my kids to heal. Even though some days I feel like I add to the mess.
7) When my youngest tells me "You're a really good mom." It's pretty much the best compliment in the world.
8) My husband and I use our "date days" as a time to cuss and vent. It feels good.
9) My daughters therapist helps me more than she helps my daughter. She's awesome and encouraging, and some days I need that.
10) Everyone I consider family lives far from me. Meanwhile the blood relatives nearby feel more distant than anyone else. It's a good reminder that family means so much more than blood!
 
I want to pass this on to a new blog I started reading. She's such a busy mom of 9 that she may not have time to complete it. I've really enjoyed catching up on their journey and she's very funny!

So Lindsay Mama of 9 from Home: A Soft Place to Fall you've been awarded the Versitile Blogger Award!

Award winners should copy award, tell everyone ten things about themselves and pass the award on.

YAY!!!!

We get to sign our "intent to adopt" paperwork on Thursday at 2:00!   I am so excited to get us a step closer to finalization. 

I have so many things I really want to blog, but I will admit I have fallen into a slight depression.  I have about zero energy to do much more than parent and wash clothes.  The only reason I wash the clothes is because my kids need clean underwear and socks.  I tried the "buy em an extra pack" thing, but then I piled up two weeks of laundry. 

I started an anti-depressant and I hope the "fog" clears soon.  I am just un-motivated right now.  It will be alright though. 

My last day at work is Wednesday, MK is home sick, I am working from home today, we're going to Florida for a week, then we get back for two days and my husband leaves for a new job in Raleigh, NC.  Needless to say, I'm a little on the edge right now.

So I promise to blog more soon.  For now I will be happy that we're getting closer to the end!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Change...

Normally, I L-O-V-E change.  I'm the one who buys a new couch every 6 months, rearranges furniture all of the time, has moved more times than I can remember, decided to adopt two kids!  Now though, change doesn't come so easy for our household.  Change typically means "trauma" for my girls, so when they see change, they act-out. 

With that said, we're about to go through some MAJOR changes in our family.  My husband accepted a job 3 hours away.  He will be working away all week starting the first part of May.  So the girls and I will be here all week and he will come home on the weekends.

The job pays great, we will buy a house in Raleigh (or near by), we will be able to slowly move things down, and once the girls are officially adopted, we will all be back together full-time again.  

Thankfully, in all of this, I will be staying home full-time.  So during the day I can energize before the ladies come home. 

I guess it is better to test this little idea out now over later.  So far they've taken it pretty well.  Both are sad and will miss their dad during the week.  We have Skype though, and they normally only see him in person an average of 20 minutes each night... so here's hoping it isn't too hard on them!

Bring on the U-Haul!  :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Has Anyone Seen My Patience???

I’ve been in a bad mood for the last day. I guess it is the stress of leaving my job. Some days I feel like this place truly won’t function without me, other days I know it will have to!

Our weekend was pretty good. MK got extensions box-braided into her hair on Sunday. It took 6 hours! She sat like a calm angel the whole time. No lunch, no pee breaks, no screaming “ouch!” when it hurt. She was AWESOME!

Yesterday when I picked her up at daycare the very front extension was out because she said she tried to un-tangle it. This was of course AFTER I told her not to touch, brush, etc. It was barely hanging on to her little baby-fine hairs in the front. I had already been to the store for groceries, pharmacy for medicine, and work all day with co-worker drama, and I was exhausted by the time I got to the kids. I flipped my lid over a damn hair extension! You would have thought she told me she was pregnant or had failed a grade or something horrible that I wasn’t prepared to hear!

I was in NO mood to be therapeutic. I was D-O-N-E. This of course triggered something in the child it had nothing to do with. While in the bathroom working on MK’s braid, Layla proceeded to try and ride my basset-mix Brooke like she was a horse. I heard “Ya-ya giddy up” and peeked around the corner to find her at that point dragging Brooke by her collar. She admitted to me after that she had sat on Brooke’s back.

She started a tantrum because she knew she was wrong, and she was now in trouble for being mean to the dog (this is a HUGE oh-no-you-didn’t in our house). And of course in typical Layla tantruming fashion, IT WAS BED TIME! So she went into tantrum-ODD mode and finally after about 45 minutes she went to bed.

This morning didn’t go much better with MK. She literally sat on the potty for 20+ minutes…20 minutes… ugh!

All of yesterday and this morning just renewed my faith in the fact that I need to stay-home full time. Their stress, my stress, my husband’s stress is too much for me to handle because I can’t focus on it because of all of the other barriers. I’ve been a working mom for 8 months now, and I am telling you, I have an amazing appreciation for single mothers that are left with no choice but to work. I also have an amazing appreciation for my crazy awesome husband.

Oh, did I mention that he has an interview 3 hours away today, and if he gets the job WE’RE MOVING (once we finalize)?!?!? Yes, that has added to the stress a little too!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Can I Just Tell You...

I am SO in love with my little Layla today.  She's smiling, happy, loving... just such a sweet little girl.   I wish I could bottle it up and sprinkle her with this "happy dust" when she isn't happy.  Her face is shining like a light!  Such a good girl today. 

We missed therapy today.  They had our appointment time down wrong.  So we had a little snack at Target, then bought the movie "Tangled" which is one of her favorites.  Now we're laying and watching it together and I am just happy to be with her. 

So excited to be a stay-at-home mom so that we have more time together like this. 

What's Happening In Therapy?

Well, if you ask me, I think some light bulbs are going off! 

Last week, MK decided to draw a picture.  She has a hard time with things don't turn out how she pictured them.   So she drew this picture and it just didn't turn out well, so she wanted to just throw it away.  Instead Dr. P asked if she could have it.  MK agreed that Dr. P could have it.  So Dr. P started making a collage around this picture MK drew.  The picture was to symbolize adoption in some way.  Once MK saw how Dr. P had "rescued" the picture, MK wanted it back.  The conversation went like this per Dr. P:

Dr. P:  Well I think I am finished, how is your new picture going?
MK:  I want my old picture back now.
Dr. P:  But you told me I could have it.
MK:  Well I only told you that because I thought you wanted it, not that you would change it.
Dr. P:  Well you said you had messed it up and couldn't fix it, so I decided to keep it instead of throwing it away.
MK:  But now that it is fixed I want it back.  I didn't want it if it was messy, but it looks pretty now so can I please have it back. 

Per Dr. P this is when they looked at one another and this light bulb went off.  She said it was an unspoken light bulb moment, but what she took from it was that MK suddenly realized that IF her birth parents aren't "messy" or if she isn't "messy" they will or she will want them back.    That little "what if" is our biggest barrier to overcome. 

Last night she cried she doesn't want to let her birth family out of her heart.  I told her she doesn't have to.  We're not asking her not to love them.  We're asking her to understand that their choices were NOT good for her, it wasn't a safe place to be, that even though they loved her, they were not able to care for her in the way she deserves.  We can all hope that they are doing better with their choices, but sometimes we can't "fix" the really bad choices we've made, especially when they hurt other people, and even more so when those people are little kids. 

All of this would explain the erruption she had over adoption after that session last week

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

YAY For Uplifting Therapists!

MK had therapy today.  YAY for no backlash afterward.  We're cuddled up on the couch right now. 

Today Dr. P said, "I wish all moms were as good as you are with your girls."  She said people come for HER to help their kids... they have no desire to help THEIR kids or change themselves... they expect her to fix it...then she added, "You expect me to guide you... not to fix her". 
 
She's said before that her work means nothing without my help.  I AM her therapist, I dry the tears, listen to the heartache, help her heal EVERY DAY!   Her therapist is there for me, to help me be a better mom to MK, to help me understand what is behind her behaviors, and she helps MK too with relaxation skills and transitions. 
 
Just made me smile!

Florida... we're coming for you!

I finally told the girls this morning we're taking a trip to Florida for their spring break.  They were excited until I said, "Daddy isn't coming it will just be us girls."    They quickly turned around and were excited again though.  

My dad is flying up and riding down with us, then riding back and flying back home.   I think we would be fine without him, but after MK pulled her in public run-away tantrum while in Raleigh, NC I can't trust that I could handle one of those again by myself.   Thankfully my husband was there for that one.

While we're in Florida we get to meet my GREAT friend Last Mom and her daughter "Princess".   Princess was adopted last year by her LAST family and I am very excited for her to meet my girls so that they can see that adopted life is pretty much the same as foster life.  Minus the case worker visiting. 

I hope that Princess will be happy to meet them and tell them about her life with her forever family!


I will also get to see my friend from high school that is also in the process of adopting from foster care.  She is a wonderful person and will be a fantastic mother.  She meets the little boy and little girl she and her husband (also a friend from high school) will hopefully be adopting today!!   They are going to meet at a park and get to know one another.   I am VERY excited for them, and for the kids.  They don't know it yet, but these two are going to make amazing parents! 

So while we are in Florida outside of seeing friends and family, I plan to take the girls to Universal Studios Island of Adventure to SEUSS LANDING!   They absolutely LOVE Dr. Seuss!   Layla can't "read" very well yet, but she has "Green Eggs and Ham" memorized!  



We leave on April 22nd and will be down there for a week.  I am so excited and I hope the girls are in happy, sweet, kind moods for the whole trip. 

Where have I been???

Well, we had a pretty calm weekend!  I was basking in the glory of CALM!   To date, really no hell has broken loose this week.  Of course today is Therapy day so I am sure I might see some crazies this afternoon. 

We've started giving Layla her Melatonin for nap time as well when she is at home.  That little sassy butt can not survive without a nap.  If she has a nap she is angelic, loving, sweet, cuddly, obiedient, and pretty much a joy!   If she DOESN'T have a nap...BRING ON THE TANTRUM!   So Saturday she took 3.5 hours to NOT nap, threw a huge tantrum, and then passed out cold at 4:00 in the afternoon.   She mentioned the reason she couldn't nap is because it was boring (I will agree to disagree on that one), and she only sleeps at night because she has her medicine (Mirtazapine for anxiety, and 5mg of Melatonin).  

So, Sunday, I thought maybe we should try the Melatonin at nap time.  Our sitter comes on Sunday as they are going down for their naps (MK loves to nap), so I gave Layla her Melatonin at lunch time.  SHE NAPPED!!!  FOR 3 HOURS!!!  Then she woke up happy and they went outside on a nature walk with their babysitter (who we all love to pieces).   When we arrived home at dinner time, she was in a fun mood with sweetness overflowing from her tiny little self! 


I told you all of that to tell you this.   Seeing myself be able to show them patience, kindness, and a little bit of understanding makes a HUGE difference in them.  Between work, home, doctor visits, kids, and husband I am WORN OUT!   I love my job, but I love my family more, so one of the two had to go... and it was the JOB! 

I gave my two-weeks notice yesterday, and my last day is APRIL 20TH!!!    Then we go to Florida for a week.  (I will blog that in a seperate post)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Our Helper

When MK is not processing her traumas, she is SO delightful to have around.  Cuddly, sweet, kind, and VERY helpful. 
This morning, she really wanted to clean the bathroom before she took her nap.  She wasn't fighting the nap, she just wanted to help.  I will say, she did a GREAT job!  She even organized the sink area. 


She took her nap (unlike her sister who decided a tantrum suited her better than sleep) and woke up.  We watched some cartoons on Netflix, and then it was time for dinner to get started.   She said she wished she could help, and daddy agreed to let her pitch in. 

Instead of jumping right into helping, she took a bath, got dressed, did her hair, and then she was ready.  She was obviously VERY excited. 



We're trying out the new charcoal grill tonight on some Beer Brats and Grilled Corn! 


Friday, April 1, 2011

You Gotta Keep Em' Regulated

This week, my husband and I finally broke down and entered into the world of "Smart Phones".   We were paying WAY too much for no features with Verizon, so we decided to give Boost Mobile (Sprint without a contract) a shot. 

We bought Blackberry phones and let me tell you THEY ARE AWESOME! 

We get unlimited talk, text, web, e-mail, and IM for $60 a month!   Plus when you pay on time, every 6 months you drop DOWN $5 on the plan.   So in 18 months, we will just be paying $45 a month!

The phones are awesome, but the thing I want to talk about today is how one phone can regulate a child!

We have therapy on Wednesday for one and Thursday for the other.  Wednesday when I was in talking to Dr. P, I let MK use my phone to listen to Pandora Radio.  When she came into the room, Dr. S commented on how calm she seemed. 

Thursday, I take Layla to therapy and while we waited on Dr. R, Layla curled up to me and we watched some Youtube videos.  This was the first time she didn't run and hide when Dr. R came downstairs and she was really calm and regulated for their entire session.

So, I think I might be on to something here.  I am curious if others use electronic devices to help regulate their kids?  

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

To Make You Feel My Love

Today MK had a tough time after therapy.  The back and forth out loud about being adopted.  Not sure if she wants it... betrayal to her birth family... she can take care of herself... why would I want her anyway... she will just tear up those papers if the judge signs them...hiding in the closet when we got home...crying... not understanding (still) what adoption means for all of us...scratching her arm so it would bleed...utter confusion over her place in this world...

BUT I know she loves me, I know it's the hurt parts talking when she says she doesn't need/want me... and I love her too.    

This song came on my Pandora as we were driving home and it was just SO perfect as to our walk together. 

To Make You Feel My Love

When the rains blowing in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I would offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love

When evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love

I know you haven't made your mind up yet
But I would never do you wrong
I've known it from the moment that we met
There’s no doubt in my mind where you belong

I'd go hungry, I'd go black and blue
I'd go crawling down the avenue
There ain’t nothing that I wouldn't do
To make you feel my love

The storms are raging on a rollin' sea
And down the highway of regret
The winds of change are blowing wild and free
Yeah but you ain't seen nothing like me yet

There ain’t nothing that I wouldn't do
Go to the ends of the earth for you
Make you happy, make your dreams come true
To make you feel my love


 

G'night and G'mornin' To Ya!

Our Tuesday morning was AFWUL!   Tantrums and all!  Not my idea of fun.


Then Tuesday night rolled around and it was REALLY GOOD!  We had tears from MK because she "thought" she was in trouble for getting a "Yellow Face" :-/ at school.   She talks a lot and sometimes forgets to stop even when she's been asked to stop several times.  It was short lived.  We try to leave school at school.


Layla was in a delightful mood.  They ate their dinner, cleaned their rooms, and MK read Junie B. Jones while Layla layed on her bed  mattress on the floor and wrote her letters on the pad of paper I unearthed when I cleared her room of all things "breakable." 


The best part about Tuesday night was I was able to use a MARVELOUS  Love and Logic (L&L) delayed consequence on her.   Over the weekend we had 4 tantrums.  Not including the Tuesday morning tantrum. 


So 4 days, 5 tantrums = not good for Layla's social life! 


She brought home and invite for a PARTY her friend is having on Saturday.   I sat her down on the couch and we sort of did a "week in review" about how she's been feeling, acting, treating others, and how she ruined the last "party" she went to (MK's) by throwing a fit when she didn't get her way (it's not my party and I'll cry if I want to?!?). 


After our conversation, I asked her... "Would you like to accept my NO for going to the party, or will you be choosing to throw a fit about it?"   To my surprise... SHE ACCEPTED THE NO!!!!  :)


Bedtime was a breeze.  We were going to bed at 7:30, but due to the obvious need for more rest, we went back to ol' faithful 7:00 last night. 


This morning they were both in good moods.  MK's focus was off because her medicine hadn't hit her system yet.  Overall though, it was a GREAT morning. 


Fingers crossed for no post-therapy regression this afternoon!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Cool-Down Zone!

Layla has been having a tough time with her emotions and behaviors lately.  We will say 50% is age appropriate testing.  She wants to see what will happen if she "bucks" the system.  The other 50% is certainly trauma induced.  Because many children throw fits, tantrums, etc.   But not all children plot out how they plan to kill you during the tantrum. 

I am not sure what she is processing, I don't know if it is just her personality trying to develop, I just don't know.   What I do know is I am OVER IT!   I am sick of her refusal of "no, stop, please don't".   The words "I don't want to"  or "Yes you will"(directed at me) make my blood boil!

So, in an effort to help her regulate her emotions, and work on her "happy face"  I saw this at ROSS the other day and bought it for her.  I set it up last night in her room (because if she's really pitching a fit, she can't be out with the dogs in the living area)  and we did a few "practice" runs of her getting mad and me asking her to take a break in the "Cool-Down Zone".  



She did very well last night during practice, but this morning she was in a "my way or the highway" defiant mood... and sadly for her this momma doesn't have a highway option.   We will continue to practice tonight over and over a few times to get her into the groove.  I do think it will work, because it's like a cocoon with little distraction. 

I will keep you posted!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Happy Birthday MK!

A positive blog only!!!  

Here are my TOP 7 things I LOVE about MK!

1)  She has a goofy smile that can light up a room!
2)  She has a giving heart.  She makes me a "gift" almost every day.
3)  She is super smart!  She's gone from not knowing how to read to being above grade level in 7 months!
4)  Her love of animals is very adorable.  If the shirt has a dog on it, you can pretty much guess she wants it!
5)  She's a GREAT eater!  She picks broccoli over french fries and loves to try new things.
6)  She pays back my "energy drains" with a fantastic foot massage!  I think she could make some big bucks!
7)  Even on her darkest days I can give her a hug and talk about things in the end and she opens up to me about her feelings.  Sometimes I'm not 100% sure that she is being truthful, but she gets to see that talking is better than acting it out... and she talks a lot more these days. 

I love you MK!  I see through all of the hurt to the little girl inside that has so much potential to do amazing things with her life!  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Blog... For Therapeutic Tips!

Hi Everyone,


I hope you will come and follow a new blogging endeavor I have embarked upon.  


Yesterday at MK's therapy session, her therapist said,  “You could write a book on the therapeutic moments you have with [your daughter] and help a lot of people.” 


Well I thought about it all evening, and this morning on the ride into school, I thought I should start a blog and let some of my other friends that have adopted or are fostering also list the various "Therapeutic Moments" they have had with their children.


I think in this journey, we have to work together to help our kids heal.  I never realized just how large my "village" would be.  I have so many amazing friends that have come from this journey, and I know there will be many more to come.


So head on over to http://therapeuticmoments.blogspot.com  and follow us!




Thanks,


CQ