Sep 132016
 

red bicycle

When I was younger, I always had the thought in my head that I would adopt a kid. It was never a clear desire, no clear details, more of a picture of what my future held.  As time went on, I was even pretty sure these kids had been adopted from foster care.

In this picture, there was a field with a creek and kids playing happily until being called in for supper. Why, yes, the sun was shining as well. How did you know?

Then I grew up.

My husband and I, after we were married, moved to crowded east coast, to BIG town in a different state, to smaller big town in a different state, and finally to small, rural town in yet a different state. No field. No creek. And as it turns out, kids who have their own very clear and very not-what-mom-said-we-could-but-it-looks-so-FUN ideas.

Yup. Life has been and continues to be an adventure. At least it has not been boring.

Right now, my husband’s car is getting some routine work done, so he is driving my car to work. No problem, right? After all we live in town. A town that is basically a 1 square mile. It is not like we could not ride or walk to wherever we need to be.

Wrong!!!

To be continued

 

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Apr 062016
 

What a week this has been! Yes, an exclamation mark is needed.  A rough week emotionally.  So much so, that even though I have a list of blog posts outlined to share with you on gardening, I can’t get them written out.  Instead this is what is going through my head, “What A Friend We Have In Jesus“.

This is a hymn I grew up singing, though one I am not sure I have heard our current church use.  It was playing at Cracker Barrel, of all places, on Sunday as we were headed back home.  My husband said he did not know it.  As soon as it started, I knew this was the exact prayer I should have been praying for the 4 days following.  Yes, it was that rough of a weekend and this week as continued along that path.

I may at some point get to where I can share all the details, for now I am still too emotionally raw about it.  I will share  a small sampling, so you can get a feel for what I am meaning.

A part of my week involved a lady following us out of a grocery store, yelling accusations at me across the parking lot.  I am still shaken up by it, doubting myself yet knowing I did nothing wrong.  I am also grateful for the other patrons who went out of their way, stopping their car and getting out to stand up for me.  Less than christian words were exchanged by those other two parties, but no fight ensued, thankfully. I really thought there would be one.

By the time I was done dealing with what I needed to deal with, all other parties involved were gone. I have no idea who the people who stopped to help me were, and no way to thank them.  But I am thankful.

Take it to the Lord in prayer ….

Pray without ceasing.”  The singing of hymns is one way I have found to do this. Because of this habit I am very much in favor of teaching our kids hymns, as many as possible.

I plan to be at home for the next week, leaving to go to church, a quick trip to Small Town grocery, and maybe the library in Big Town.  Time at home, though, is what I am craving. That and a large dose of calm.  No more crazy welcome, thank you very much.

Mar 162016
 

snow filled basketball hoop

This was written as a rant, after an episode.  It was not a horrible episode, though it was headed that way.  I was the mom who stepped down from the bleachers and walked over to the bench to do what was needed.  As an introvert, it takes a lot for me to do that. I am trying to step back more and let my kids learn on their own, though watching other adults fail, then get mad at my kids for said adults lack of observation, usually gets me over my introverted tendencies.

Parenting is an adventure. You are given responsibility of a crew with the goal if getting from point A to point Infinity. The catch, your crew were not given the choice of joining, and they do not always want to be there.  You gave to somehow convince them to follow you.

This wonderful opportunity for personal growth is made all the more adventurous when you add in kids from hard places.  Their brains are wired differently. That is a fact, not just a saying.  Trauma of any kind changes you, some more severely than others. Ever heard of PTSD?

The minds of children are especially prone to neuroligical changes that can not be undone.  The first 2 years of your life contain over 80% of your brain development.  Whether those years contained time in an ICU, surrounded by beeping machines and people you did not know, all the while not being held or touched enough; chronic sickness, resulting in going to the doctor a lot; stress in your parents’ lives resulting in less attention given to you; lots of yelling, fights, or even frequent moves; being in foster care or even private adoption (loss of main caregiver); not to mention drugs, abuse, and chronic neglect (not enough food, ignored, needs not met, etc.); trauma has a huge impact on the brain’s wiring.

In a neurotyipical child cause and effect are learned at a normal rate. Things ARE eventually learned.  However, those from hard places (histories involving trauma) have trouble with this connection. Studies show they are more likely to have ADD/ADHD, impulsiveness, end up in prison or be arrested, unemployed, drop out of school, etc.

And here is what gets me, all the effort to get foster parents, to promote adoption from foster care … I have yet to hear anything aimed at teachers, coaches, employers saying, “When you are in a place to influence these kids, here is what you will most likely see ….. and here is how to handle it …. ”

Not that people purposefully set out to keep these kids on a path to failure, they truly do not realize their brains process data and situations differently. And that makes me so sad. And mad. To the point of tears, which means I am beyond yelling mad.  It means I have to be hyper-vigilant around certain adults to make sure they do not cause my (young) kids to completely escalate and explode.  Again, they are not doing it on purpose. The methods they use, the way they respond works very well with their neurotyipical child.  It does the exact opposite for mine. Trust me, I tried and thought I was going crazy when it did not work.

In these situations I resemble an Army Apache helicopter parent. My scopes are set, ready to step in at any moment. However, it is usually to remove my child from the situation, rather than tell you that “little Johnny can’t help himself”.  Then we go off to a safe place while I spend the next 30 minutes to an hour undoing what just took the other adult under 5 minutes to create. Better for me to do that than let it escalate and have to spend a whole day ‘fixing’ it.

I am a big believer in self-control, personal responsibility, manners, and growing into a responsible, independent adult.  We are working on it. Doing better. Still a long way to go. So, while I understand most other kids that age can handle this situation without reacting this way, mine can’t.  So, please, just do not make it worse. Act like an adult and think, do not react off the cuff, it will do wonders for modeling it for my child.

Oct 072015
 

rotary phone with border

After 34+ phone calls to all the Oral Surgeons George’s insurance’s website says they cover, plus some names I got from various other offices I called, I was finally able to actual find offices who: 1. had practioners who were not retired or had left to open their own practices, 2. took George’s insurance, and 3. would accept a child under 12.

Yesterday I found an office that was scheduling out till February.  I wanted something sooner.

The office I thought would turn out a great option called me back this morning to tell me their practitioner had left to open a private practice.  “Have you tried our office in (town several hours the other way from us)?”  Well, it was close to my parents and would have made a great quick visit.  I called them.

“Sorry, none of our staff can do that.”  Back to the call list.

A few phone calls later, mostly “Try here”, “We often refer patients to this office.”, “We can not help you, but try this number.” and so on, found me talking to the School of Dentistry in the neighboring state. I could not believe they took our state’s insurance, but I was not going to question it. 3 hours away but, hey, it is an easy drive and I have friends there, too.  Seems like all the places that were possibilities are 3 hours away and in different directions.  Again, we live in Small Town that is in the middle of nowhere but in the middle of everything.

Phone call #23 resulted in an appointment for tomorrow morning, but it is 3 hours away. The drive is not bad, but I just was not feeling great about this appointment.  There was such a lack of information and helpfulness.  I was not sure if it was nerves or excitement or my radar going off.  I almost stopped there, but figured calling more places wouldn’t hurt.  (And I checked them out more when I got home to the computer.)

Two calls later found me talking to someone who actually sounded friendly and like they wanted to help, and not just add a name to the calendar.  Turns out they were in the billing office, but gave me the information to actually get stuff done instead of being directed to a voice mail.  🙂  I was given a fax number and told to send the information in for them to review.  They were scheduling out till January but would try to get me in sooner.

I almost stopped there, but figured I would try the rest of the counties in my state (this is how the website was organized).

Many letters in the alphabet later, with only 3 counties left to go, I came across the gem I was looking for – an office that took our insurance but did not have the people in office to do the job.  What they did have were two other locations that did have someone who could do the work.  The first number resulted in another, “I am not sure, but why don’t you try here.  We are not open today but the dentist works at this office also.”  I could not get through.

I was down to the very last number I could get to.  Yes, there were options to chose from, but none really felt great.  I prayed and made the call.

“Yes, we take the insurance, work on kids that young, and … how does October 29th sound?  Can you do 9:30?”  I was so astonished I did not know what to say.  It was close, but did not feel rushed; the person answered my questions and sounded intelligent, and the timing was perfect as it is a few weeks before George’s orthodontist appointment.  I scheduled it, cancelled the one for tomorrow morning and feel at peace.  Here is to hoping this works out.  If not, I have two others I now know to call.

Update: my husband came home and reminded me an Oral Surgeon was needed, not just a pediatric dentist.  I double checked and saw that even though I said as much in the phone call, the final office does in fact NOT have an Oral Surgeon on staff.  So much for the State’s online database being accurate.

Okay, let’s try another route ….

dental xray

Here are a few thoughts after the fact:

  • This whole process would have been a lot harder if I did not have an internet connection at home, as well as a phone to use that could make long distance calls.
  • This would all have been near impossible if I did not have a car and very impossible if I would not be able to afford to travel out of the area.
  • We could have looked around here for someone to do the extractions but it would have cost a lot more money.  If someone does not have a car and can not afford to travel out of the area by train or bus, once you could actually get to an area where those left from, what would make others things you could afford to skip using your insurance and pay for this out of pocket?
  • Some might view this as an elective dental procedure … if you could only see the x-rays would would see how this issue would end up affecting George his entire life.  It would be difficult to eat, there would be almost constant tooth pain, his gums would be sore from food hitting between his teeth … not exactly something I consider elective.
  • If I was working a typical job, I would not have been able to take the few hours to call all of the offices.  Or else it would have taken me a lot of lunch hours to do so.  Again, not really an easy thing for those who need to be working outside the home to help bring in an income.
  • Why in the world ?!?!? is the state’s list of insurance providers so outdated?  It really makes me wonder about others who may take this insurance but who are not listed.  25 out of all the office I called either did not have the person listed or take the insurance they were listed as taking.  There were only 2 or 3 of those that did not do work on kids under 12.  Missing 25 out of 34 is not exactly a passing grade.  Okay, to be fair, 4 of those offices were ones I found in our neighboring state and were not listed on the web site.  So I guess it is more like missing 21 out of 30.  Still not a passing grade.  🙁
  • Paying for this work out of pocket would still be cheaper than having added George onto our dental plan, if we had known during open enrollment that he would be getting this work done this year.  We are lucky in that we have the means to be able to pay out of pocket if needed, but it should not be needed.  He has insurance, he has insurance that will cover this work, he has insurance that is accepted by offices around the state.  It just happens that they are not near us and there are so few they are booked up.
  • The insurance George has is the same one he had when he was still in Foster Care.  Of all the annoyances with this whole process, I am just very glad I do not have to add Foster Care paperwork and approval on top of all of this.  Though, if that were the case, I think we could have gotten him into the surgeon in the county next to us and been done with it all fairly quick.

Above, when I said, “If not, I have two others I now know to call”, I did not think I would have to follow through with that statement in less than 30 minutes.  But it is true.  Not all of the hours today have been wasted.

These are the times when being an adult is no so much fun.

Oct 062015
 

produce auction mums flowers

Why, Hello there. How are you?  I’m swell, thanks for asking.  Just thought I would pop in and let you know that I have not completely forgotten about what I said I was going to do.  Rest assured, I am not sitting around watching the weeds grow, though grow they do.

What I have been up to is forgetting to look at the calendar for the week ahead before committing to something that would require me to blog every day.  Seems I am something going on every day, which makes the days so much fuller and energy draining.

That is right, I too am human and sometimes forget something as simple as looking at a calendar.

What this does not mean is that I have not started on my Mega Project, which actually is a smaller part of the large home project we have been working on for more than a year.  We are at a point where the new drywall needs to be painted.  Painting I can do.  It just takes a bit of time. Time is one thing we do not want it to take, as winter will be here soon and we are wanting the electrical and HVAC to be in soon.

In my head, I would spend a few hours at night painting and have it all done in … a week.  Our garage is about 24′ x 24′, the room above it the same size, plus the ceilings in both rooms.  And the two stair ways.  And the (old) upstair’s ceiling and calls.

Yes, you may laugh.  I can take it.

Sunday I cleaned out the garage, and wiped down the ceiling and 90% of the walls.  I came away looking much grayer than I really am, but it was a preview of where my hair color will be heading soon if we keep having days like today.

I had planned to finish the garage today and start on the stairway, but we had a day of attachment and sensory issues that manifested themselves as, or triggered, very strong ADHD behavior.

Need an example?  Think, not being able to handle the mixed emotions of saying Goodbye to a friend you do not see very often, while at the same time being tired but not able to slow your brain down enough to rest.  So you decide to climb on the hood of the car instead of getting in to leave to come home.  Then, when your mom gets out to make it clear it is time to go, you run in circles around said car while your Mom starts to get really frustrated at you. Once home, you throw your eraser down the air register because you do not want to do school work, then demand your mom get it back out. This all makes perfect sense to do if you have trouble handling your emotions and self control.

I would never have considered doing this when I was a kid, I would cry if someone raised their voice to me even a bit.  It has taken me a long time to even begin to understand this behavior in my kids.  Now that I am beginning to understand it, I can see it in their lives from the day they came to live with us.  And it is not me just going crazy, though that seems to be happening over time. 🙂

This was my day today. All day.  By 6:30 p.m. my husband called it bedtime.  Wise person that he is, he knew this was a better decision than sitting on the couch with Jack and George to finish Jack’s read alouds (for school) before going to bed at 7 p.m.

Jack was asleep almost immediately and George asked to go to his bed (he was laying down in our room) at 7.  I am not sure he lasted 5 minutes before going to the Land of Nod.

I started to write a post, then opted to sit by my husband and watch a movie.  When that was finished I looked up some books on Amazon, then felt calm and collected enough to start writing a post again.  Being kind to yourself is important at times like this, but often something I forget to do.

cart of produce auction hay tomato apples

I met up with a friend at the produce auction today; it was only the second or third time I have gone this year.  I was hoping for some time visiting while Jack played in a neighboring field with a new toy he had.  Instead, he could not seem to accept the fact that I needed/wanted to pay attention to anyone/anything else besides him, and actually would not go that far away from me.  He tried several tactics to make sure I knew that he really did not like what I was doing.  It could have been worse, I guess.  At least he was not playing behind cars?  He is getting better at listening, slowly.  Once, when I told him not to run, it only took him about 4 steps to stop running and 3 more to stop skipping … but then … well, let’s focus on the positive, shall we?  He helped two people load things into their cars and received tips.  He was so excited by the few dollars he earned.  I can see him becoming the local lawn mowing and snow shoveling kid in a few years.  rotary phone with pinstrip border

Something I did get accomplished today, I hope, was finding an oral surgeon that takes George’s insurance card.  Up till now I have heard stories about how hard it is to find doctor’s that take the state’s Medicaid insurance, but I had never really run into it.  At least, not to this extent.  With an OT we use for one of the kids, it took us calling a second OT office before finding one that took their insurance.  Same for the new optometrist, though they stopped taking it a few months ago.

Seems the oral surgeon at George’s dentist office retired.  The one in the neighboring county is only open to residents in that county.  The 5 others in our area whom I called do not take his insurance.  One office did give me a head’s up about an office in our neighboring state with whom they have worked before.  I gave them a call too.  Seems the nearest one in our neighboring state, who does take our state’s Medicaid insurance, does not have an oral surgeon or anesthesiologist in their office.  However, this particular dentists office does have another branch in another town a few hours away which may have an oral surgeon.  I am waiting for a call back tomorrow to see if we can set up a time.  In order to avoid having to pay $1200 out of pocket, I am willing to drive a few hours to find someone who takes George’s insurance. Besides, we have some friends who live there so we can make it a dual-purpose trip.

garage and basement collage

So, where does that leave me with the 21 Day Challenge? I am still working toward it, even if I have not posted the first post.  It seems the cup of regular (caffeinated) coffee that I have been working on all day has finally kicked in, as have the pain meds.  I have some muscle pain that was only made worse by sitting down at the computer.  It is amazing how much more you can accomplish when you are no longer in pain nor having a kid (seemingly) do everything in their power to annoy you so you will give them attention.

The 21 Days To A More Disciplined Life will start a few days later than I had planned.  What a great reminder as to why I really feel the need for this challenge again.

Even knowing that I will be working through the book has motivated me in a few areas to stop slacking off.  I have been using the chaos created by our home renovation as an excuse to slack off in several areas of life.  While some of these were justified or due to a change in how we carried out the actions of a routine, others were due to my lack of discipline to keep up with some of the habits I had in place.

Tomorrow Jack has a class in the morning, then home to do some of the multitude of minor things requiring my attention.  By Thursday I think I will be ready to jump into Crystal’s book and actually focus on changing some bad habits and tackling the Mega Project with gusto.

Aug 172015
 

childrens museum play kitchen3

There are things you imagine being a parents means.  Before you actually have kids you imagine all the wonderfully good, sunshine and gentle breezes type of things.  The people around you who already have kids try to add in some reality – no more sleeping in, the ‘Terrible Twos’, helping with homework, worrying about who their friends are, and so on.  While you know these are going to be a part of the reality, in the big scheme of things, they do not seem too horrible.  After all, for most people, they made it to adulthood and their parents are still sane.

However, this picture is not always what happens.  What about when those ‘trials’ turn into larger things?

Sometimes those sunshine and gentle breezes turn into cloudy or stormy days.  At first, the umbrella you have on hand is sufficient. “A little rain is normal in life.”  But when it begins to rain harder, sometimes you need to find a different umbrella.

Part of some changes we have made in the past year was looking for answers.  This involved having people become a part of our lives whose services we previously did not need.

When the changes first started, we thought the process would be a few weeks from start to finish.  Here we are, almost 9 months later, and we are still in the process of changing. We are in the process of changing, all of us. Seems that it was not necessarily our umbrella that was broken, but that we were just using the wrong umbrella for this particular storm.

Not only were these people not a part of my initial picture of how our lives would look when kids were added, but neither were some of the questions that accompanied them.  Here is a paper we  have seen several times, and which makes me always pause and think, “I never thought being a parent would include filling out this.”

Here is a copy of the Parental Stress Scale sheet we have been given several times to gauge how stressed we are as parents.  Just out of curiosity, have any of you, who are NOT foster/adoptive parents, ever thought of filling something like this out?  How would you feel if you were asked to do so?

Some of the questions make me pause and really think.  Then I begin to wonder if I would even stop to ponder these things if life had held all the sunshine and gentle breezes I thought it would?  Do ‘normal’ parents even consider how satisfied they are a a parent or whether their view of the future is more optimistic because they have kids?  Then comes question 14.  How is that for being asked to bare your soul?  While you know you are not being judged, you still feel as if there is a “right” and a “wrong” answer.

The scale is meant to give a general sense of how stressed the parents are, in hope of gauging whether things are improving at home.  They assume that if the parents are not stressed as much then progress is being made.  The problem I have is that it is all subjective.

“I am happy in my role as a parent” will have different answers on any given day, depending on what just happened.  Did we just go through an few hours of kids yelling at me, ignoring me, making a mess in the rooms I just picked up?  Then I probably am not very happy and it is hard to remember the day before when we baked cookies and the kids surprised me by showing me which numbers were even.

However, if we have just had a great day where everyone was on schedule, the kids were happy with the ‘new’ toys in the toy room and have been entertaining themselves all morning, then I am most likely seeing rainbows in the sky from all the sunshine after a storm and feeling quite chipper, forgetting about the battle of wills the day before.  So, which day is it that I happen to be asked to fill out this paper?  Toss a coin and you will find out.

It is still an interesting thing to go through, making you stop and look around.  At times I forget that my parenting experience does not mimic that of my parents, my siblings, nor most of my friends.  This is just another example of  how unusual our parenting experience is at times.

Jun 092014
 

Weekly Menu Plan May 2013

While looking for a recipe to use for a cut of meat I got at a reduce price last week, I ended up at one of my favorite sites – Crockpot365.  I found what I was looking for, and boy oh boy does it ever smell good in the crockpot right now.

The Red Wine & Cranberries Glazed Pot Roast cooked overnight while we all slept.  I wanted to make sure it turned out okay before lunch time when there would be 3 hungry kids and 2 hungry adult wanting to eat.  It did look “burned” at first, just like she said it might, but in turning it over I realized it wasn’t really burned at all.  The flour and juices that were on top had just turned a dark color.

Being up late at night last night, when I should be sleeping, I of course had to look through the list for some other new recipes.  That always seems to be the way it works.  The search initially began for soup recipes to try now before winter time.  It did not stay in that category very long, as I began to see other recipes I was interested in.  Several made it on the list this week, while other were added to my upcoming menus on Plan To Eat.

The use of the crockpot during this season, both in life and the year, is helpful.  Not only does it help keep the house cooler, but with an extra kid most days it means I have more time to pay attention to them.  Added in the fact that all 3 kids have food issues, meal times can still be a trial at times.  Our kids have gotten over most of their issues, though I saw a resurgence yesterday while at a party with a counter full of food at their finger tips.  It is a battle they may never fully overcome, but hopefully we can begin to instill habits that will help them combat this as they get older.  One of the habits I want them to learn is to plan a menu.  They may be too young right now to do so, but by making it a normal part of their life and them seeing me do it, I’m hoping it will be a pretty seamless transition when they are older.

Meals marked with an * are recipes I’m trying this week.

Breakfasts:

  1. Shakes
  2. Leftovers from freezer – french toast, frozen fruit (diced apples, etc.)
  3. Cereal, bananas
  4. Chocolate Chip Monkey Muffins (made with coconut oil)
  5. Shakes
  6. Oatmeal
  7. Basic Crepes

Lunch:

  1. Eat out
  2. Red Wine & Cranberries Glazed Pot Roast*, mashed potatoes with sour cream, steamed carrots, peas
  3. Pulled Pork Egg Rolls
  4. Salad
  5. Dad’s Meatloaf with Tomato Relish
  6. Healthy Slow Cooked Tikka Masala*
  7. Grilled Peaches and Pork

Supper:

  1. Leftovers
  2. Chicken Enchiladas, rice
  3. BLTs, cucumber salad, cantaloupe and Creme Brulee* (in the crockpot)
  4. Tomato soup, corn bread
  5. Salad
  6. Falafel, Fresh Vegetables Over Couscous
  7. Leftovers

couscous salad with lemon juice

Linked up with OrgJunkie, April’s Homemaking, and Feeding Big.

For more ideas also check out This Week For Dinner.

Also check out Confessions of a Homeschooler’s  June’s Monthly Meal Plan.

This post contains affiliate links.