Monday, May 28, 2012

Those PROUD Mom Moments

My girls do make me proud often.  I need to remember to visit their school and classes more often to remind myself of how AWESOME they are.  They behave, they listen, and they are very smart.

As we end the school year, I am reminded of when they first came and Layla had previously been thrown out of daycare, she didn't know her ABC's or how to count to 10, and I was scared she was going to be very far behind in class.  I am so happy my fears were not met in reality!  She is so smart!  She reads, writes, does basic math, she can count to 100 and keep going.  I am very proud of her accomplishments this year.  For a girl who went through a ton of change, she came out shining like the sun!   In July she will start the first grade, and I know it will be just as great!   I should also add that she comes home with a positive report every day.  We've had a few minor things but they are so normal for a Kindergartener I don't even care.  I know she is one of the better behaved kids in class, especially after chaperoning a field trip last week where I couldn't believe how unruly some of her classmates were.  I am so proud of her!  Here are a few shots from the field trip.

Makayla ended this school year on a high note as well.  Since she is only in 2nd grade, they didn't have any state testing, but they did do testing to prepare them for 3rd grade and measure their knowledge.   I am so impressed with my girl.  She might be the girl who rocks, fidgets, and blurts out things, but she is also one smart little lady.  On the math portion of the test, she scored a 93% (A- or 4- where we live).  She was in the top of the class as far as her score went.  As for the reading portion, she scored a 98% (A+ or 4+) and her score was the highest in her entire class.  I was so proud of her when I found this out at my conference last week, but more importantly, she was very proud of herself!   We do have some work to do in the area of writing, she has a difficult time focusing and giving detail to her writing.  She tends to "bottom-line" everything in a summary instead of truly detailing what happened.   We're working on this at home though, and I am already seeing progress. 

Last Friday was Makayla's end of the year music performance.  She was very nervous, but did just fine.  Here are a few pictures of her with her class.  She is on the back row (tallest of course).

I am so proud... I can't believe the change in my girls, and the amazing little ladies they are growing to be. 

We took some family shots at a local park in support of unconventional families across North Carolina.  I can't wait to see the final product, but these are a few we took with my phone after the professional shoot, and I think they turned out very cute. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Becoming a CASA

I'll admit I've felt a little out of sorts over the last year.  Leaving my awesome job, moving, helping the girls heal more, and working on finding my role in my own life has been hard.  I wish I could go back to work full-time but it just is not feasible at this point.  The girls have appointments to work around, track out, etc. and I would virtually work to pay for their child-care and camps. 

With that said, I need to do something.  I need to fill this time without a "job" with something I feel passionate about.  I want to go back to work one day when the demands of our family are less, and I hope I am able to pursue something in the human services field, and have considered getting my degree as a LCSW.  

In the meantime, I just sent in my application to become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate).  I feel that I can help children, share my knowledge, and support families.  

I will post more when I know more! 

Baby Backlash!

So it has been a few weeks since we found out the girls have a new baby sister.  She is growing fast and I am excited to see her again.  Layla has done very well since our visit, and any mention of her baby sister is a happy one.  Layla likes being my baby girl.  She doesn't want baby "Sissy" to live here with us... because that would be the ultimate distraction from her. 

MK on the other hand, has dealt with the news in a much different way.  In hind-sight I saw the signs and didn't put the pieces together until I was sitting with her therapist talking about what all has happened since meeting "Sissy".  MK had become very disconnected from me.  Making very passive comments and just generally being disrespectful, which is very out of character for her.   I realize that this brought up a lot of "stuff" about her, her birthmom, her past, her future...

I confronted MK while driving home with her (Layla was with her dad).  I asked her if she was angry at me because I didn't "fight" to have the baby live with us.  She quickly admitted that I was exactly correct.  I explained once again that having the baby with us was not an option.  Because she is in foster care, and we live out of the area, we can not legally bring her to live with us.  Plus, she is with the girl's brother's family, and they are like extended family to us at this point.  MK admitted that the baby reminds her of the good times.  When Layla was a baby, before the drugs, and abuse, she was happy, and she remembers that.   The other unfortunate thing, is that we now know mom is not making better choices.  She is young, younger than I am, and I know that sadly this baby will not be her last, and it is just a matter of time before another baby comes into care. 

It sucks... to know that a piece of my girls is missing for them.  That they can't live with all of their siblings.  Even though we keep contact, it is still so hard for them.  We will continue to do the best we can with the cards we were dealt though.  We love our "extended" family and are so grateful to keep that connection for our girls. 

Since the realization that MK is having a hard time, I've committed myself to showing her more individual attention, no matter how hard that is at times.  That push away she does to me... I just have to ignore it!

We will get back to normal just in time for something else to happen... because that is what keeps our life interesting! 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Human Rights!

Yes, I live in NC, no I am not proud of that in light of our state's "Marriage" amendment passing.  How does a state have the right to tell anyone they are not allowed to marry their partner, no matter the sexual orientation?  How does a voter choose to strip away benefits from families just because their heterosexual parents co-habitat and are not legally married? 

It makes me sick to think of all of the close minded people in this world.  The people who say, "If you are a man and can marry a man, what's to stop you from marrying a dog?"  Come on... let's be serious!  I can't even believe someone let those words flow out of their mouth. 

I think the thing that starts to frustrate me more than anything though is when an adoptive family opposes homosexuals adopting, or marrying. Or saying a child deserves a mother AND a father. 

I come from a family of divorce, my father cheated on my mother...  I am no better off with or without him in my life.  If my mom were a lesbian, I don't think she would have "turned" me into a lesbian. 

I also say to those people opposing homosexual adoption... what about that little girl, who the men she trusted molested her?  Do you think she deserves to be forced into a male/female home?  Or should she be allowed to live with a mother who helps her feel comfortable and fearless, and able to relax and heal?  Even if that mother is a lesbian. 

While we're on the topic...  why do these close minded people think gay men are child molesters?  When I look at the pedophiles in my area... would you believe they were ALL men who preyed upon girls?  Not boys. 

I know some of the most wonderful homosexual couples and individuals.  They are kind, and hard working, and compassionate.  They have struggled to find their personal identity in ways that we can't imagine, all because society made them feel like they weren't "normal".   They have fought to be parents to children in desperate need for families, no matter the sexual orientation, to love them, and support them. 

I'm just disgusted by the voters in our state who supported this amendment.  So disgusted. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

A New Baby Sister

Well, now that things have settled down I guess I will blog about it.  A week ago I got a message from our daughters bio-brothers adoptive mom.  (Did you follow that?)  

She asked me to call her immediately.  I thought maybe she had something to tell me about their new daughter placed as an adoptive placement about a month ago.  What she told me instead was that she had a 2 day old baby girl coming to her that night.  That 2 day old baby girl is the 100% biological sister to her sons and my youngest daughter (1/2 sister to my oldest daughter). 

I guess we knew it might happen eventually, but it still came as a shock.  Sadly, it confirmed birthmom still is making poor choices and isn't doing much better.

We told the girls at dinner that night.  They were excited, concerned, confused, just a mixture of emotions.  MK said it wasn't fair, we should have the baby since they already have two babies... but we explained we like our family just the way it is. 

We quickly planned to go see her, and we went Saturday for a day trip to VA to meet her. 

She is so sweet.  So tiny, 5lbs 9oz.  She looks SO much like Layla, but has MK's nose. 

She's beautiful, and our girls have a little sister and we have a little niece.  I am so thankful we will get to be a part of her life. 

I can't share many pics because they all have her sweet face, but here are a couple.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring Has Sprung!

I suppose it is time for an update.  I now have a 6 and 8 year old!  How the time is flying.  

Makayla is hitting puberty.  I helped her shave her underarms and the bottom of her legs since it is summer like weather here.  Some days she makes me go "?@&$(%)@_!?!" with her actions, but I'm so impressed with their recent self-awareness.  MK has noticed some traits that she doesn't like about herself.  Most are personality traits.  She's a little more aware of her impulsiveness.  She recognizes when she needs to stop talking or doing something repetitive.  With that though, she is learning to embrace things as well.  She really LOVES spending time with her dad.  Being in the garage with him is the #1 thing she likes to do.  She enjoys taking things apart and figuring out how things work, which makes her totally compatible with my husband!  She's growing up so fast, her body and her mind just can't keep up with one another.  She's such a sweet and caring little girl though. 

Layla is as silly as ever.  She is doing phenomenal in Kindergarten.  She can read and write now.  I'm so impressed by her intelligence.  She's had a few struggles lately with her feelings, but her ability to voice what she feels and come up with ideas on how she can fix how she's feeling or how we can help her is proving to be a huge help!   She's more of a mama's girl, but she also enjoys time with her dad doing little projects or playing a game.  She's the most loving little girl.  She just wants to hug and cling to us most of the time... which does get annoying... but it's nice to feel like at least one of the girls is still "little". 

We are doing well though and I'm really happy with all of the progress we're making as a family.

We took some spring pictures for family and friends, and I thought I would share a couple here on the blog for my followers. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

11 Random Facts

My in-real-life friend Carly from CandC Family Blog tagged me, and I am finally getting around to this.  I realize I am supposed to tag 11 people, but most of those who I follow already have something similar to this on their blog... so forgive me for not continuing the chain on this. 

There are some rules:

1. Post these rules
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself
3. Answer the questions set for you in the post you were tagged in
4. Create 11 new questions for your tagees to answer
5. Tag them on Twitter, Facebook or your blog

Eleven random things about me:

1.  As a child/teen/adult I did a parody TV show.  It was called "Funny Stuff" and aired on cable access in my town.  Once we ended that show we started a scripted "mock-umentary" in the style of "The Office" about a gospel radio station that was changed to a pop station yet kept the same quirky, religious staff.  I filmed up until I moved to NC, but make guest appearances from time to time.

2.  I have a radio show that airs in Virginia.  It's a show about random stuff regarding the entertainment world, mostly TV.  I record it via Skype now with my best childhood friend.  It's an hour a week for me to have fun and talk about funny things. 

3.  I love really off beat music.  Most of my favorite songs haven't ever been on the radio.  In fact due to the editing required some of them wouldn't even be the same song if they aired on the radio.

4.  My favorite movie of all time is "Mermaids" starring Cher, Wynona Rider, and Christina Ricci.  I just love it.  I will watch it any time it is on TV, and was lucky enough to find it on DVD about 2 years ago for $5 at Big Lots. 

5.  I have a tendency to get REALLY into something and then lose interest rather quickly.  For that reason I have many things I start and don't finish, and many hobbies that lay by the wayside after a short period of time.  I usually pick them back up again eventually.

6.  I REALLY love doing home improvement stuff.  I especially love anything that gives me an instant result.  Painting is a good example.

7.  Although I grew up in a Christian family, my grandparents have a gospel group, and my best friend's dad is a pastor, we are a non-religious family.  We do encourage our kids to learn about several religions though so that they are informed. 

8.  My nick-name in middle school was "Giraffe".  I was super tall, long neck, and very lanky.  It was fitting for sure. 

9.  I wear flip-flops year round.  I do own some "real" shoes, but they just collect dust.  I invest in pedicures instead of shoes.

10.  My husband is my rock, I would be lost without him.  I don't think there is anything he doesn't know about me.  We have a great marriage and I only wish every child and wife had a person like him to depend on. 

11.  Of all of the places in the world to live, I really like where I live now!  Raleigh is so great for families, I've made amazing friends here, and our family fits into the community and was welcomed with open arms.  We're a few hours from the mountains and the beach. 

Eleven questions from Carly:

1. What’s your favorite meal of the day?  Dinner

2. Who do you talk to most in your extended family? My sister

3. What was your last New Years Resolution?  I wanted to get healthier.

4. What is your favorite pet?  My dogs

5. Have you ever travelled outside of the country?  Only to Canada and the Bahamas.

6. Ideal Vacation?  I'd really love to go places we've never been and learn about other cultures.  I feel very niave sometimes about places around the world. 

7. If you have kids, do you regret the names you chose for them?  Thankfully, I like my girl's names.  Layla chose her name, and Makayla came to us with her's but I liked it.  Layla's name before was Alayaze (Alize) like the liquor beverage... so we're happy she chose to change it.

8. What kind of music do you listen to?  I love weird music, but country is probably the most mainstream I get these days. 

9. Favorite drink?  Sweet Tea... although I am off of it now since I started weight watchers. 

10. What kind of books do you read?  LOL... parenting books usually.  Otherwise they are audio books. 

11. Hobby? If so, what?  Crafting with my friends. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

18 Months

The girls have officially been home 18 months today!  It's crazy to even think it has been that long, but at the same time, it just feels like they've always been here. 

We're all in a really good space right now.  We've been working hard on our new house (we closed on the end of January).  The girls have new rooms that are what THEY wanted, not what we had already done prior to their arrival, or working around the rental home. 

We changed schools, and that is going well so far.   Layla is READING!  How crazy is that?  She came to us barely counting and with a distorted version of the ABC's.   MK is doing larger math equations and working at building up her reading stamina.  Both girls got straight A's (or 3's here in Wake County) on their report cards.  I am just so stinkin' proud of them.

We are still in therapy, and will be for some time.  We have the right medications and strengths right now, so that is a huge factor in our stability.  

There isn't much more to update on.  I should write more often, I realize that, but for the most part things feel pretty "normal" kid and less "trauma" kid these days, so I forget to blog about the silly kid stuff. 

Hope everyone is well! 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

This new year brought an emotional rant from MK.  Yesterday we caught her in a lie.  She went into "drama mode" and let her dad have it in a verbal rant.  I must say, as dad's go, my husband is an awesome one!  He handles MK so well when she looses it.  

During her rant she explained that she didn't feel we were very good parents because we choose not to do the things she wants us to do.  She said she wasn't choosing for us to blame her for the lie, we were choosing that!

She is sick and tired of us.  When my husband asked her why, she said because of all of the stuff we do, and she isn't making it up, it is true.  She told my husband he knows what we're doing wrong and she wasn't going to tell us again!  Apparently, nothing we do is working for her, like when we explain things she is confused.   She asked, "What do I have to do to make you happy?"  and he told her "You make me feel happy all of the time" and she said, "Well obviously it's not enough!".  

Bless her heart.  She is so mature sometimes, so emotionally immature sometimes, and so funny it hurts almost all of the time!

She went on for some time until she curled up in her dad's arms crying.  She's so dramatic, it's almost unbelievable that she is only 7... she really sounds 14.

Outside of that, they started back to school today, and boy what a relief for all of us.  Having them home all of December was tough! 

In March, Layla is going to Horse Camp during the day, and MK is going to spend some quality one-on-one time at home with me. 

I love these girls.  There isn't ever a dull moment in this family!