Thursday, April 28, 2011


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
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.


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


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?