Friday, December 25, 2009

Celebrating

We have celebrated Allen`s birthday and to his delight we got to sing "Happy Birthday" again the next day for Jesus.

We have plenty of wet heavy snow, the kind that clogs up the snow blower, so most of the gang went outside to shovel and clear things out in the afternoon. Paul was out there and he came in totally soaked. He was tired and ready for bed with no problems though.

Grandma and Allen were playing chase because she took one of his stuffed animals. Grandmas can move pretty fast when they want too. The two of them also played a game of air hockey.

We are going on vacation in a couple of hours. Lauren and Hanna are staying home with PCAs. We will have no girl drama for nine days I as well as everyone else is looking forward to no biting, hitting, kicking, pinching, scratching, or screaming. Those PCAs who are staying with them are appreciated oh so much! They are a valuable part of our team and unless you have kids like this you can not really understand how important these people are. As for the PCAs who are coming with us to watch the boys we love you too.

I am outta here. I may blog while we are soaking up some sun, that is if I can figure out Karre`s laptop.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Our Christmas Boy


Sixteen years ago today a very special baby boy was born. He came to our family when he was four years old weighting 19 1/2 pounds, wearing size twelve months baby clothes. He was still sucking his thumb and grinding his teeth which made an awful racket that could be heard everywhere all day long. He is now a really sweet young man who has a great sense of humor, likes to work, and enjoys donuts too.

Trevor found a Mylar balloon that sings "Happy Birthday" when it is shaken. Allen is thinking this is really the coolest thing. I wonder if he will enjoy the Sponge Bob bed sheets will be as much fun?

Happy Birthday and have fun celebrating in your own way!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

In Less Then An Hour

The school break, Christmas vacation, school holiday, or whatever you want to call it begins here in less then an hour. I am enjoying the last few minutes of peace. I am ready to empty those backpacks full of goodies.

I put the insurance hassles away until next year. The people who are supposed to be helping me get that all figured out have left their offices anyway. The pile of paperwork is on the back corner of the desk and there it will stay.

Trevor and I went to get milk and bread as we needed to stock up on that stuff for the holidays and I guess to weather the storm as well. I got six gallons of milk and I am sure we will be out in a couple of days. It is amazing how fast food gets consumed when everyone is home.

Rene` and Paul went to pick grandma up. She is spending the next couple of weeks with us. Are you ready for lots of noise, busy bodies, and fun Grandma? Leave your napping blanket at home because there is no time for that here.

Dad is at work trying to get three days worth of work done in one. He will be ready to relax when he gets here.

I have to get everyone showered later tonight and then tomorrow celebrating begins. All Allen ever wants for his birthday is to go see the Sponge Bob decorations that two families put up in a neighboring community. If it snows to much we may have to all watch a Sponge Bob movie or something. I would much rather just go look at the lights myself so snow just go away for a week or two.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What Is It That I Am Supposed To Do Anyway?

I have five, yes really five insurance issues that are working there way through the system for three of our four kids with special needs. These things just make me more nuts every day. At this point there is a communication device that is not going to get paid for (we are on appeal #3), this after thousands of $$$ have already been spent figuring out what is needed. To many days to count were spent figuring things out and an endless stream of paperwork has been filed. The lack of this device is very limiting in what options will be available for Lauren as an adult. When people do not understand her she gets very frustrated, which I do not blame her for doing, but this frustration leads to behavior issues.

Lauren has two wheelchairs which insurance paid for, which are both needed. Her manual chair helps her to work on her upper body strength but she is only able to propel this chair on level surfaces. Using this chair helps with her scoliosis and we have worked for years and years and spent thousands of $$$ in therapy, at school, and at home to get her strength built up. The power chair gives her more over all independence but when she is using it all of the time she loses her strength, what was gained in months of therapy is lost in a matter of two or three weeks. The problem here is that insurance now will only service one chair. We have decided that they will service the power chair so now she is losing all that we have worked so hard to gain. In the end this is going to cost big time in future medical bills.

I also have the eye glasses revolving door going with Paul. If they would just buy the right glasses in the first place it would save them lots and lots of money. Insurance will not pay for the flexible frames so now he is breaking his glasses on a regular basis, lets just say far to many times to keep track of. Needless to say when they are broken and we are waiting for parts to repair them they are not on his face where they need to be. It is kind of funny because now at the glasses place they are saving all of the spare parts and keep them in his file so when they bring the file out pieces are clinking and clattering as they fall all over the floor.

There are two more issues that are just as crazy but I think this is a pretty good description of what I get to deal with every single day.

When I asked a social worker what to do about the concerns for Lauren she simply told me that we were doing a super job with her and there is nothing they will help with even though she qualifies for waiver services. Well its great that we are parenting well but if these kids can not go out into the world and live there own lives eventually then it is all for nothing.

A public heath nurse told me today that we certainly do need the equipment but it is not going to happen until it is to late. Now what the heck does that really mean?

I don`t know any more what it is that they want me to do? Do they want these kids to be productive members of society as there dad and I want for them or do they want them to remain in some sort of state of limbo for the rest of there lives? That certainly seems to be a sad state of affairs as far as I see it. Do they want us to work with the kids to help them gain whatever it is they are able to, if so then they need to help us provide for their needs. I have no interest in spending my time on therapy,or dealing with kids who are not finding therapy very much fun if what they have gained is not going to be used.

One worker told me that we could afford to just handle these medical bills ourselves. Are you kidding me, we have to put food on the table, clothes on their backs, and pay for educating eight kids here. This family has sacrificed a great deal to have these four adopted kids. These kids are unendurable and there needs are so great that even wealthy folks would find these bills to much to handle.

Pretty soon something has to give or this mom is going to go totally bananas here.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gifts For Mom




I got all I want for Christmas a little early this year. All eight kids are home for a couple of weeks. The dinner table is full, noisy, filled laughter and great conversation (that is with the members of the family who can carry on a conversation) and for those who have no clue what we are talking about they have an opportunity to join in and add something that is totally off topic and that`s okay too.

After lunch Rene` and I took Lauren, Hanna, and Paul sledding while Dad and Jared cleaned up the kitchen (those two never do that) and Trevor helped Karre with some homework that she wanted to get turned in early for extra credit. I am not sure that she needs extra credit in chemistry but this mom never complains when they are getting their school work done.

Sledding is difficult for Lauren but we helped her get up the hill.

Hanna really enjoys it and can slide down and run back up more times then all of the rest of us put together so she used up some of her endless energy.

Paul did not want to go down the hill so he got out of his sled and started screaming and then he plopped down in the snow and rolled down the hill. After that really big scene he settled down and went down the hill with me a couple of times and then he went by himself . Rene` and I got a workout hauling him and Lauren up the hill. The more we walked up that hill the slippery it got.

We had a great time and were out there much long then I had expected. It is a wonderful, Minnesota,Sunday afternoon in December when it is in the mid twenties, there is no wind , and there is freshly fallen snow for sledding and then a warm, clean kitchen, and hot chocolate to come inside for when you are done at the hill.

This is all I need for Christmas this year!

Friday, December 18, 2009

It`s Coming To An End

This year is coming to an end very quickly. Things are pretty much in order so that we can relax and spend some time together later next week celebrating birthdays and Christmas. I still will need to get bread and milk, but have all of the other shopping done. I can not shop for gifts in the after Thanksgiving rush it just bothers me. I have thought out my list long ago so everything is wrapped and ready to go.

Rene`, Jared, and Karre are doing the baking and cooking. I will be in charge of the clean up I`m sure but I enjoy letting them do their thing in the kitchen. They are pretty good about letting the other kids help so they can have some fun as well. We will have plenty of good things to eat.

The youngest four kids wrote letters to Santa Claus, with Rene`s help last night. They were really cute. Lauren was trying to be a topical teenager but she does not quite have the skills down. She wanted shoe strings, lots of candy a cell phone, and a purple sweatshirt.

Allen wanted Sponge Bob and that could be anything from t-shirts, to movies, or just a picture cut from a magazine. He really is not particular about things.

Hanna had an interesting list. She wanted two blonde Groovy Girls. I asked her about that and she told me that she wants to be blonde like the other girls, the ones that she thinks are her "friends". Hum, maybe she needs to work on liking herself and people who are like her a little more. She has always insisted that she is white. She also wants Santa to get her "to follow the rules so she can have fun". Well I think that she is going to have to solve that one for herself. The last thing she wanted was 100 strawberry candy canes. There is no way that is going to happen either with all of the orthodontic work in her mouth. At the end she wrote "Santa do not eat all of the cookies in the world save some for hungry kids". Hopefully she will not remember what she had asked for. There is a good chance of that happening as she has such a poor memory but the things that we would prefer that she did not remember are the ones that usually stick and then we could be in trouble here.

Mr. Paul wanted mommy cars and daddy cars of course, since he is obsessed with those things it was no surprise there. He ended his letter this way "Merry Birthday Baby, Love Mommy`s Honey Boy. Now that just about covers it in total sweetness for Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Inclusion

Yesterday after school Hanna had lied about something and as usual it was something that she did not need to lie about at all because she knew that I knew the truth anyway. She does this stupid stuff many, many times every day and apparently Mom and Dad and once in a while older siblings are the only ones who seem to catch her at it and then there are consequences for her behavior. At any rate she was having one of her kicking, screaming, destroying anything in her path meltdowns, everyone needed to be fed, and Karre and Lauren had to be at the college by 6:30pm for their holiday choir concert. Karre and Dad helped to get some dinner together, most of us sat down to eat, and the girls got ready to go . The plan had been that Dad would stay home with Hanna, Allen, and Paul and I would go to the concert. We stuck with that plan after much discussion and adjustments. I got Hanna`s pajamas on as much as I could without any cooperation from her.

Dad could have used help in dealing with her but I am sure glad that I did wind up going to that concert instead of sending the girls alone.

Karre is singing in two choirs this year and she did a fine job as expected.

Lauren participates in choir in the classroom. We do not have her sing in the concerts (have you ever heard someone who has a severe speech impairment sing?) so she hands out the programs which is fine and she handled that well. The issue here is that when she looked through the program and she found her choir, her name was not listed in the program. I was pretty sure we were going to have tears right then and there. I told her we could talk about it when we got home. She was able to calm herself down and sit through the rest of the concert. I am so very proud of her, she has grown up enough that she can behave appropriately most of the time and this is one of those times when she really did do a super job.

This leaves me needing to advocate on her behalf and teach some school personal about INCLUSION, what part of that is so difficult to understand, just put yourself in the place of a sixteen year old whose opportunities to participate are limited by her disabilities and then when she can participate on some level that is taken away from her because someone did not stop and consider the outcome of their actions. Putting her name on that program with those of all the other kids was all it was going to take to include her, now is that so complicated!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Question #1

We have two questions that we are pondering and need to resolve shortly. They both concern Paul our gorgeous almost five year old. I have decided to deal with them one at a time because that is all my very full brain can handle

Question #1 is should he go to kindergarten in the fall or remain in preschool another year? There are goods and bads to both answers here. I see this as one of those things where you are darned if you do and darned if you don`t

He will be five the end of this month therefore age wise he falls pretty much in the middle of the kids who will be in kindergarten. Physically he is rather small and given the size of his birth parents and the fact that he has FAS he may always be small so he will have to learn to live with that.

Academically he is no where kindergarten ready. In this area another year of preschool may do him some good. On the other hand it is not likely that he will ever catch up with his peers in this area and so why worry about this in the first place?

Preschool is only half day, four days a week. I think he is ready for and needs more structure to his day so an all day program that kindergarten offers would provide that. If they could make his preschool program all day (we were able to do this for one of our other kids) but with budgets and staffing cuts this may not be possible. Although he will pretty much need the same services either way.

I really like the preschool teacher he has and has had for the past two and a half years. However if he remains in preschool there is not guarantee that he would be able to stay where he is even though they have his needs figured out and he is doing well there.

Socially he could really grow spending another year in preschool. They are moving at a pace that he is pretty comfortable with and he is finally learning how to play st least some of the time.

I am certainly ready to have him in school all day so I could spend some time doing some other things. I have had at least one infant, toddler, or preschooler at home for the past twenty-four years and I think that it is about time I retire from that phase in life.

With all of these things to ponder I think my brain will get a pretty good workout before this one is settled.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Half

I am not sure if our house was half full or half empty late yesterday afternoon and early evening.

Rene` and Trevor are busy at school studying for finals. Don`t study and worry about them to much, I know you both will do a great job.

Jared was at the girl friends house.

Lauren was with a PCA.

Paul was on sort of a play date with another little boy.

That left me, Dad, Karre, Hanna, and Allen here for dinner last night. we all sat at one end of the table together. The other end looked a bit out of sorts sitting there empty. It was very quiet as Hanna was in one of her rather pouty states where she is not talking to anyone but that is just fine because it is better then the other extreme she has. Allen does not say much at the table unless he wants milk or something. That left the rest of us to carry on a regular conversation with no one interrupting, spilling anything,or bothering anyone else. It was nice for a change but it would take a while to get used to dinning in such calm all of the time.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It Is Under Control

I took Paul to the neurologist today, yeah I know another appointment. There are lots and lots of them with these kids.

Paul`s EEG showed very normal activity, he has been controlled on medication for four years and has shown no signs of seizures. That all indicates that he has grown enough and his brain has healed enough for us to begin a long process of slowly taking him off his seizure medications. The whole thing will take six weeks but if he goes without a seizure during that time chances are very good that he will be seizure free for life. There is a small chance that he will have seizures again but we will just say lots of prayers, watch him closely, and see what happens.

Once we get him off this medication we will need to reevaluate his behavior, mostly due to FAS and see if we need to do something else with medications. As it is the seizure medications are supposedly calming him down, but he is far from calm, quiet, on task, or any where near age appropriate.

Well here we go on another adventure.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Day

Just before 6:00 this morning the cell phones, house phone and the email were all activated with the automated message from the school alerting us that there would be no school today. That sets the routine off and there is one kid here who can not handle that at all.

Karre got to sleep in (if you believe that anyone can sleep with all the racket around here) until 8:00 am and then she will work as a PCA for the rest of the day. She wants the extra hours so no school does not bother her at all.

Lauren will watch cartoons, play cards with anyone who will play, and help me if I ask her to.

Allen is so perfectly happy with being home. There is never any complaint from him. We might even find a Sponge Bob movie for him later.

Paul will play with his cars and chatter to everyone even people who are not listening to him all day long.

Then there is the matter of H-A-N-N-A who is really mad that there is no school today, like I made it snow and blow, and I called off school just so that everyone could listen to her nonsense for the entire day. Even if you never believe me I would rather have you spend a few hours out of here just to give me a break from this nonsense, I am not sure why she is so excited about going to school this morning since yesterday she got in trouble fro being rude to some people at school. I guess she has already forgotten all about that matter.

As Paul told her this morning, "Hanna will you stop plainin, please".

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Keep Doing Whatever It Is....

I am not sure what it is that we are supposed to keep doing, but that was the resounding message from the U of M specialists that Paul saw yesterday. He needs new glasses not because his vision issues have gotten worse, it is quite the opposite, it has improved quite a bit. His traumatic brain injury causes him to process the things he sees differently then the way most of us do it. What is it that we are doing right ?

He wears a patch over his better eye two to three hours a day in order to get him to use the other one.

He is in occupational therapy once weekly to work on eye-hand coordination and does those same things every day at home.

He works with a vision teacher who comes into his special education class.

Other then those specific things we treat him as much as possible as an average four year old, provide food, clothing, and shelter for him, and probably more important than all of that is that he is our precious little boy whom we love dearly so we will keep doing whatever it is we are doing right.

With all of that great news I now need to go round 896 or whatever it is with insurance to try to get them to pay for glasses that he will actually keep on. If they only had some common sense they could save themselves a lot of money too. Then when I get done with that I need to schedule surgery so they can shorten the muscle of his weak eye to get the two eyes to work together better, help with his depth perception, and get his appearance looking better.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Moving On

It`s Monday and the week ahead looks to be a busy one. As soon as Paul gets home from school we are headed to the U of M Pediatric Eye Clinic for Paul`s exam. He is doing well so I don`t expect anything out of the ordinary with this appointment. The thing at this clinic is that that are very, very slow, always running far behind schedule and they really to not get very hyper-active little boys. It is the best place to deal with the vision issues he has so we just have to l put up with the garbage along the way.

We will stop and get groceries on the way home as it sounds like the weather could be a mess by tomorrow afternoon. We can`t run out of milk and toilet paper, ya-know.

Tomorrow the special education kids are supposed to be going on a special shopping trip. Lauren has been talking about it all weekend and if they do not go we could have trouble in the making. She could care less if it is snowing she has plans and that is that. Dad told her this morning that she had better hook a snow shovel to the back of her power wheelchair just in case she gets stuck.

Lauren`s answer to that, "Dad you are crazy this chair can drive through anything".

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Out For Lunch

Allen took his Mom (that`s me) and Mum (his birth mother) out for lunch. He is a pretty sweet almost sixteen year old who never wants or needs anything so I figured he could spring for lunch for himself and the two of us. He has lots and lots of allowance saved up. He enjoyed eating of course. Mum enjoyed spending a couple of hours with him, telling him how grown up he is and how much he has grown, actually he has not grown at all for more then two years but I did not bother to fill her in on that. I sat and listened to her as she worried about her future and I totally get it, she has much to be concerned about.

She has two hours of services provided through her county each week to help her schedule her appointments and work hours, manage her budget and bill paying, buy appropriate groceries, and plan out the meals so that she can prepare them and make her food and money last throughout the week. As of January first she is losing these two hours of help which she REALLY needs. She is very concerned about all of this and I am sure she will struggle a great deal trying to function on her own. If she fails or more likely then not when she does there goes a tax paying, working, home owner, member of society who will then require services which will cost much more then those two lousy hours each week are costing both in $$$ and in assets to society. Mum has stayed alcohol and drug free for nearly eleven years now and I am really proud of her for that! Her intelligence is questionable and she has FAS (yes, she finally was diagnosed). If only we lived closer I would spend two hours each week keeping her on track, It would be time well spent. Some times just a little assistance goes a very long way and this is one such example of that. Sigh, oh maybe that should be a REALLY BIG SIGH!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Running In Circles

No appointments today so I will try to catch up on the laundry and vacuum.

I also need to do some running in circles with insurance. Our pediatrician and a speech therapist form the children`s hospital had collaborated to fill out the mountain of paperwork needed to request a communication device for Lauren. The main reason for this is that anyone who is not familiar with her can not understand what she is saying and even those of us who do know her well are often asking her to repeat things many times over in order to understand. That kid has a lot to say and it frustrates her to no end when people don`t get it. Anyway the insurance approved the piece of equipment needed for her to communicate, however they did not approve the software needed to make it work. Does that make any sense at all? What good is the device without the software. This is one of the many arguments that should not need to take place if only people would look at the whole picture the first time around.

Sometimes I feel like those clothes that are spinning in the dryer, just going around and around with no end in sight.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My Honey

It`s Wednesday so it`s my turn to wait outside with Paul for his bus to arrive. This morning he was chattering away as he always does.

Paul said "Dad is your honey".

I replied "he sure is".

Paul while hopping "I am your boy honey".

I responded "you can be my boy honey, forever and ever".

Paul still hopping around "I yove you Mom and I hug your mommy car too:.

It is sure nice to have adopted kids who are truly attached. They are so easy to love and so much fun to have around!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

IEP

Yesterday I went to the last IEP meeting of 2009, at least the last one scheduled. It went pretty much as usual. Our kid who has tantrums and meltdowns daily, screams for hours, tries to hurt herself, those around her, and destroys property all of the time, the one who steals, lies, and cheats constantly, the kid that is not trusted at all and needs to be watched or shut in her room with an alarm on it is "a great kid", "a wonderful student", "polite", and get this "very will behaved" at school. They have no clue what a ticking time-bomb they are dealing with herr. I really tried to give them an understanding of what this kid is really all about just in case she blows up on them. I am not sure any of it sunk in though. Some people will be shocked when it happens and eventually it will.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Way To Go!!!

Congratulations Karre on a job well done! Last night at the season end swimming banquet Karee received two awards. She lettered for the first time. There is a lot of work involved in receiving a letter and she has certainly earned it. The second award is one that was totally unexpected. She got "hardest worker" award. This is an award that is voted on by all of the swimmers and coaches. It goes to the swimmer who has the best attitude and work ethic. The younger girls are watching and very much respect Karre and she is a great role model for them.

Now we need to go letter jacket shopping as it has always been the rule that if they earn a letter and want the jacket we will get one for them.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Long Weekend

Rene` decorating the tree. She did not want any pictures wearing her pajama pants so she kept hiding behind the tree.
Paul got a lift from Trevor so that he could reach higher while decorating the tree.
It is a mans work to get that tree skirt under there just so. These two have mastered the task.

We had a really nice long weekend with everyone home. We had the Thanksgiving feast with all of the required good things to eat plus some extras too. We had leftovers enough to take care of feeding everyone the next day too.

Dad, Rene`, Jared, and I went to see The Blind Side, it was well done, but if you want details read the book.

The kids wanted to decorate while Trevor and Rene` could be home to help so they put the tree up. Rene` and Karre made some cute paper decorations and snowmen to decorate the stairs. Jared made some hooks so that the stockings could be hung up on the fireplace. This is a project that I had been hinting about getting done for several years. Last year I had actually purchased the materials to do the project and had asked Jared to do it. Needless to say he did not do it, oh well. When I asked this time he did it without any complaining and it will work well. Those things that you can buy in the store really do not work.

Of course we could not go without some Hanna drama. Everyone is used to that so she pretty much just does her thing and we all go on with whatever we are doing around her. Sometimes it gets a little loud and she needs to be re-located but that is easy enough with her brothers around.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

it`s Not Fair

It`s Wednesday, the one day of the week Dad needs to be to work early, no issue there because it is worked into the schedule. Jared has gone off to a part time job he got catching chickens, don`t laugh to hard, it pays pretty well, he is in good shape and can catch those crazy chickens and it gets him outta bed early so it makes Mom happy. Karre, Lauren, and Allen have school today as well so that leaves me home with Hanna and Paul.

Paul is his usual busy self, running, playing with cars and chattering non-stop. I have learned how to work around him and get things done.

Hanna is wandering around here wearing only a pair of pink pajama bottoms with green frogs on, yelling at full volume "it`s not fair". She has been throwing things and kicking the wall so I have to stop everything and keep track of her in order to make sure that she does not hurt Paul, herself, and hopefully to preserve the walls as well.

I am sure she is referring to the fact that the older kids have school and she does not. Well who is it not fair to her or me. In my opinion it is not fair to me because I have to deal with her outrageous behavior all day instead of getting things ready for Thanksgiving in peace. It looks like I am not gonna get much done here today.

Whatever the older kids and I can put together tonight after some crazy acting loud, people go to bed is what we will have tomorrow. It does not matter anyway because all of the kids will be home for the day, healthy and full of youthful energy, and that is itself is worth being thankful for.

Monday, November 23, 2009

No Call But....

I did not get any calls from schools today, that does not happen often around here.

What I did get was a kid who had borrowed (if you want to call it that) a green marker from someone on the bus or at school, I don`t which and it does not matter. She had taken that marker and drawn stick figures of all shapes and sizes, with Botox lips (big lips) all over her arms and legs as well as on her stomach. She had also written BFF all over the place. When asked what she thought she was doing she claimed that those were her tattoos. There is only one problem with those tattoos, they washed right off with a little soap, water, and Mom power.

Waiting For The Call

There are only two days of school for the elementary kids this week with conferences and Thanksgiving break. Hanna was acting very weird, okay even more weird then her usual self, this morning. She was being really, really slow about doing everything. She actually combed her hair without being told to do so ten times, and volunteered to tie Allen`s shoes. When I searched her before she went out the door I found a toothbrush and a piece of paper with a bunch of junk written on it that made no sense at all.

I do not know what she is up to and I am sure it is nothing good, so now I am waiting for the call from school, that is if they happen to catch her in the act of doing what ever dumb thing she is bent on doing.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sweet Sixteen


This beautiful little girl is sixteen today. She is the most lady like of our girls. Her favorite color is purple, she likes to dress up in pretty clothes and get her hair and nails done, and she likes all things girl.

It is a miracle that she survived infancy and given the fact that she was not expected to live everything she accomplishes is all the more wonderful. As a little girl she was such a happy, cheerful kid who would work harder then everyone else just to do the things that we all do every day, such as learning to feed herself, crawl, stand, and walk,to open a door, zip a jacket, or ride a bike. From twelve to fifteen years of age there were lots of really rough days as Lauren realized that she was different from other people. She could not walk or run like other kids, it took her a long time to write or color, she needed help to dress herself, feed herself, and all of the other things that come along every day. This frustrated her to no end, she just wanted to keep up and she couldn't. She has become much more comfortable with who she is and what her abilities are. We still have those days when she gets frustrated but they are rare rather then the every day routine.

I enjoy this young lady, watching her blossoming into a gorgeous blonde haired, tall, slender, more sure of herself person all the time, and she still has those same amazingly large baby blue eyes that melted my heart the first time I saw them. It is really special to have sixteen year olds around. They are amazingly immature, do some really dumb things, yet they are so sure of themselves and know what they want even if it is off the wall it is just a riot watching them and remembering being that age. Lauren enjoy being sixteen, its a wondrous time in life, Happy Birthday!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Patience Do I Have Any More?

I filled out every form imaginable, answered every question a hundred time over, gone to numerous meetings, conference calls and appointments. I am working with two physicians, a public health nurse, a social worker, and a medical ethics board to get the issue resolved. I will only say here this involves one of my girls and it is a mom`s worst nightmare. The kid has missed a LOT of school and we have been working very, very hard to get this issue resolved for more then ten months now. We are making head way towards a resolution but it is taking FOREVER and I do not know how much more of this I can take.

One of the doctors told me yesterday that things will be taken care of in the next ninety days or less. I am trying, I mean really trying to be patient and wait it out. I hope that she is correct and and we get this resolved sooooooon, before this mom goes crazy!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

December 24-31

Since we have four adopted kids all who have special needs, two of them have birthdays, one adoption was final during the last week in December we have a lot to celebrate. We do celebrate all of these things, but we do it our way. There is much routine here and we keep things the same for the holidays as well.

!. We have the same get up time in the morning and the same bed time too.
2. We draw names so each person is responsible for the gift or gifts for only one other person. This teaches the kids that they have to save their own allowance to go shopping. For the kid who has lots of anxiety in the store we let her shop on line.
3. We attend children's mass on Christmas Eve because it is geared toward younger kids, is a little shorter, and is at a good time for us.
4. Since Allen`s birthday is also Christmas Eve I have something in the oven to eat after church. We let him open his birthday gifts (wrapped in birthday paper) and then we load up the van, turn on Christmas music, and drive around looking at the lights while eating a plate of cookies we bring along. It is Allen`s day and he is perfectly happy with this celebration.
5. Santa has left presents for everyone under the tree Christmas morning. This Santa is very practical. They get things like tooth brushes, deodorant, pencils, socks, t-shirts, etc, etc, that the mom and dad would have to purchase if Santa did not. They will all get something that they do not need such as a gas card for the drivers, the purchase of the high school year for the junior,etc. Santa wraps everyone`s gifts all in the same paper for example Karie's is red plaid and Lauren`s is silver with snowmen this year. There are no name tags to mess with, how you figure out which one is yours is by digging in the stocking and finding a little gift wrapped in your paper.
6. To save on the chaos of opening gifts the youngest goes first and opens all of his and then we move up the line from there. Everyone to the best of their ability, waits until all gifts are open before leaving.

We do not go to visit the relatives during this last week in December because there are to many of them and we do not exchange gifts other then with the kids Godparents. They now understand that our kids can`t handle the get togethers at this time. Now that our kids are getting older and we are dealing with girl friends/ boy friends they know the routine and are welcome to be there but if they choose to have other plans that is okay as well. We will be home for them when they want to be here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Car Wash

Paul LOVES cars, trucks, vans, trailers, tractors, and anything else that has a motor and wheels. He never cares where we are going just as long as he gets to go for a ride. He keeps track of all of the vehicles in the neighborhood and watches for them when we are waiting for his school bus to arrive. He knows the sounds they make and will let you know that the bus is coming before it even gets around the corner. Today he will get a special treat as it is going to be nearly fifty degrees outside again, so we are going to take my very dirty van to the car wash, that will make his day and he will talk about it for the rest of the week.

I like this thing where you can make a kid really, really happy just doing chores that need to get done anyway.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Once Again...

Yeah, once again I am headed to the orthodontist with Hanna. She really did a great job of messing up her dental work this weekend. I could hardly floss in there the last couple of days because of the mess. All she is worried about though is the fact that she is getting only liquids for dinner tonight, because that is what needs to happen after the medication she needs to take today. Trying to explain that if you leave your mouth alone you will spend less time out of school at the orthodontist, and you will get food for dinner more often certainly is not sinking in here. I can only hope that some where along the way she figures things out, but I am not counting on that happening any time soon. She has four to six years to work on it and the way she is going it is looking more and more like a six year plan.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Weekend Recap

Karre corssing the Root River on the zip-line.
Hanna with the rabbit which she took on a wagon ride. She deided its name should be Bunny Poo-Poo and I have no idea where she came up with that.
Lauren and Karre with their rabbit on the ride.
We had cake and lots of other junk food, too.

It was great to get together with some people that we do not see often and some who were new to the FAS retreat as well. Three of our kids behaved very well and the two who were along working as PCA`s did a fine job.

We had one kid who just could not hold it together. She usually saves the behavior for when we get back home, this time she was at it all weekend. She was caught with a pocket full of Oreo cookies, a pocket full of rocks that were being used to play Bingo, and a deck of cards that did not belong to her. Why she takes these things I do not know, she certainly had enough treats and fun things to do this weekend. It is just one of those things that the why of it is probably not worth trying to figure out. Then this morning she wanted to hang out with some other kids and I told her she needed to wait until I got the dirty clothes packed up so Dad and Jared could take them to the van. Instead of waiting the ten minutes it was going to take me she threw a shoe and hit Lauren, started screaming that our family was "the stupidest ever" and then she stuck her fist in her mouth and broke a major wire part on her braces. That was the last straw, we were going home. We loaded up the van and headed out. Lets just say that it was a very loud two plus hours and not the way the rest of us wanted to spend our day.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Outa-Here

It has been a rather stressful week around here, lots of Hanna drama that I do not have time to blog about right, but I will fill you in later.

We are packing up to go to the FAS family retreat this weekend. We need to do this right now as everyone needs a break from this life sometimes. The kids will all likely do pretty well this weekend, but when we get back home we will pay BIG time for going.

I had better get my little guy dressed and jump in the shower myself so we can get outa-here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ratty Old Sheets

Mr. drench, soak, saturate the bed every night, even though he is wearing two adult diapers, and is escorted to the bathroom around 11:30 pm by Dad, every night, has had a dry bed THREE days in a row. It has never happened before so it is huge news.

The other day, the one when everything was going wrong.all three sets of his Sponge Bob sheets, all six waterproof mattress pad covers (we use two at a time), and all three comforters were in the laundry. I just did not have time to get them washed. I dug around in the linen closet and found a set of ratty, old, gray, sheets the ones that should have gone in the garbage long ago, and two tattered blankets that the kids use to build forts. I folded one of the blankets in thirds and put it on the bed as a sort of mattress pad, then I added the sheets, and topped it off with the other blanket

It does not look at all pleasant, but as long as those sheets stay dry they will stay on that bed. It will not last I am sure so I will enjoy the break for now. I have even had time to wash all of the other linen and I folded it up and put it away in the linen closet as well. This kids bedding rarely gets folded much less put away.

Kari you should get yourself some of these ratty, old sheets, maybe it will do the trick for you, too. No, I will not let you have these.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Mom Salutes


We are a military family since our daughter Rene`entered the United States Navy on August 11, 2003. I think that I will forever be a military mom and I carry that label with honor, once you become military you remain there always.

Rene` began her service before she had turned eighteen so I and her dad had to sign the forms for her. That is something that I would hove never thought that I would do,let alone do for one of my daughters, but given the fact that she had carefully thought out her plan, she was responsible, hard working, and intelligent I let her carry on as she desired.

She was in boot camp on her eighteenth birthday marching and taking the swimming and diving tests which she passed easily since she had been on the high school swim team for six years and knew what she was doing. She completed basic training in October and was stationed in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Just four months later her ship was deployed to somewhere. In the Navy you never know where they are going or how long they will be gone, but they ended up in France, Italy, Croatia, and the Middle East before it was all over. Every day I prayed that they would be able to complete with courage, the mission and return home safely.They are gone and you get about twenty-four notice upon their return. That meant that we were packed and on the road in less than an hour in order to be in Virginia Beach when the ship came in.

I will never forget the warm spring day in May, when the ship pulled into the harbor as they returned from deployment. The shore was packed with families waiting. There were infants dressed in sailor suits, flags and banners to welcome the sailors home, and people everywhere wearing red, white, and blue. We waited it seems like forever, while they carefully maneuvered that huge ship into position, and anchored it in place. We searched the decks hoping to spot our sailor among the hundreds. They were all dressed in their summer dress whites so they all looked alike. When the captain announced "liberty for all" the sea of white disembarked in mass. There were tears of joy, hugs, and kisses, and a massive sense of relief that they had all come home safely.

Our daughter was deployed two more times and spent three of the four years she served at sea. We had to carry on at home while she was gone and we tried to include her in every way we could. You will never know how valuable a phone card, access to a computer, or the Red Cross is unless you have someone deployed. We sent care packages which were greatly appreciated when they finally got there. Her birthday gifts did not get to her until six weeks after her birthday, but deodorant, a tooth brush, and some sunscreen were welcome gifts from home along with some art work her little sisters had made and school pictures.

Rene` is on reserve duty now and attending school in North Dakota only about six hours away from home. I now know where she is every day and that she is out of harms way which gives me much peace as her mom. I know that she learned a lot serving her country and brought home with her a great appreciation for being an American. We as a family have that same understanding as we have been on the military journey. Not a day goes by that I don`t give thanks for those people and their families who have served our country,serve today, and will serve tomorrow. They are all truly heroes who allow us all a wonderful life filled with much freedom. It is a privilege to be Americans!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Late Late Late

I am the type who has a schedule and I actually follow it, not because I can`t be flexible or anything but because the schedule allows me the time to get things done when they need to be done.Today was one of those days were things started off schedule and never even came close to getting back on track.

The first school morning of the week is always the worst and since it was quarter break and they did not have school yesterday things were moving along pretty slowly. Allen insisted that he only needed one of his shoes so he was not going to cooperate and get both of them on. Hanna was rummaging around in her lunch box and discovered that I had not put a green spoon in there so she was going nuts, like you can only eat your yogurt with a green spoon. She found one in Lauren`s lunch box so she took it and did not put a different one in there so Lauren was screaming at her for taking her stuff and being stupid, which she was being. I have no idea if either of them had a spoon in their lunch box when they left but they finally got out the door.

I rushed around for the next two hours and fifty minutes while Paul went to school, trying to get the laundry under control, lasagna made and ready for Dad to put in the oven later, check beds , and fill out two forms that needed to get to school today.

I made it outside at the appointed time for Paul to return and I waited and waited, when the bus had not shown up in fifteen minutes I got worried because they are always right on time. I called the school and found out that a kid had a seizure (not my kid thankfully), on the bus so they had to stop and wait for assistance. Paul was forty-five minutes late. I had to get him fed. Then a PCA who was supposed to be here was not so I had to call Dad home from work. He was not a happy camper.

Jared called to tell me that he was running twenty minutes late coming home from his girl friends so I was waiting again. He was going to go with me to take the girls to some appointments. He got here and we headed to the high school to pick Lauren up for an appointment to take photos of her broken teeth. The insurance people are crazy because they will not accept the photos that were taken in September so we had to do it again, as if those broken teeth are looking any different less then two months later. Anyway we go to Lauren`s school and even though we are twenty-five minutes late Lauren is still not ready to go so I have to get it into her head that she needs to get a move on it.

We next went to get Hanna`s school to pick her up as she has an appointment as well and I have to hunt someone down in order to check her out of the building.

I get back in the van and Jared says "I need your credit card because we are running on E".

We haven`t even gotten out of town yet and we are forty-five minutes behind. we have to deal with city traffic yet , oh my goodness. Jared just do not get pulled over. He drove us safely to where we needed to go. Traffic was not bad in the middle of the afternoon.

We make it to Gillette only about fifteen minutes late and they were running late so we were okay. We got to sit around in a very crowded waiting area that is cluttered with construction all over the place, what fun. We get Lauren`s photos done. They did some major work on Hanna`s upper braces and also put them on her lower teeth. We finally left the clinic at six.

Just like my day has been running the clock on this blog is running about four hours late. It has been doing that for some time now. It is bothering me but I don`t know how to fix it so I will have to get one of my computer smart kids in here to do it some time soon.

I am ready to call it a day and hope I can get back on schedule tomorrow. For me a schedule is security and today I did not seem to have that security.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday Madness

It has already been a pretty long weekend mostly Hanna acting up. Today it continues as there is no school here since last Friday was the end of the quarter. Lets just say that not much housework, cooking, and the like is going to get done here.

Karre is taking my van for an oil change and she has volunteered to take Paul with her. He will enjoy walking around the parking lot of the car place for a half hour looking at the cars.

This afternoon Paul has as EEG scheduled. That is two hours of great entertainment. It is a rather complicated task to hook up all of those electrodes to a very wiggly head containing a massive amount of hair. The second task is to try to get him to lay still for an hour or more until they can find what they are looking for. Finally all of the electrodes have to come off with some stinky fingernail palish remover. This is the part that he dislikes the most. We will get it done and hope that it will finally be clear so that we can begin to take him off his seizure medication. If it is not clear we wait another six months and repeat the entire procedure again. I hope that he does grow out of this seizure issue at some point.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Miss Sabotage

It is a gorgeous day and the plan was for everyone to go biking and hiking and to have a picnic lunch, but as usual we have Miss Sabotage here who is in full out melt-down mode. she has been at it for more then an hour now, since I made her take a shower. What is it about being gross and disgusting that make her so happy, I will never understand. The plan has been revised and I will stay here and work in the kitchen and let her do her thing. Tomorrow Karre and I are going shopping so I will get a little down time from this.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Laundry And The Lady

We are well into November now and it is warm enough to hang laundry out on the line. I can not ever remember being able to do that, it just does not happen here in Minnesota, God has blessed us. While hanging the laundry on the line I am usually greeted by the old lady who lives next door, (well actually I do not know how old she is, but she is retired), She always says something about how much laundry I do and I go about explaining that when there are eight to ten people who live in a household there is going to be a mountain of dirty clothes. I do at least three loads of laundry every day in order to keep the pile under control. She then walks away and goes to sit in her rocking chair. She sits there for hours and hours taking in all of the activity which occurs in our back yard. She yells and swears at the kids and the dog and when they are not out there to give her a show (they can give her a pretty good show at times) she just sits there and watches the laundry on the line.

A couple of months ago I went out on a limb and invited her to join us as we were heading to a local park to build a fire, roast hot dogs, make s`mores, and let the kids run for a couple of hours. I figured since she gets such a bang out of watching us then she might just as well join us. She declined to show up at the park and no one was at all surprised, but hey we offered.

Well anyway yesterday, today, and maybe even for a few more days next week we will provide her with the entertainment of watching the brightly colored t-shirts and blue jeans waving in the breeze while they dry on the line. I will be sure to send kids out there after school to do their thing as well. I actually wonder what she does all winter long while the clothes are spinning in the dryer.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Why Question

I was up at 3:30 this morning and it was not because I had to deal with Hanna. It was a surgery day for Lauren. This is now part of the routine for her. I get up get showered and dressed, grab a glass of orange juice, and a banana to consume. At 4:00 I get Lauren up showered, dressed, and out the door, no food or drinks allowed. That is a hard one to explain to her because she just does not understand. Jared was my assistant this morning as I need someone who can help me with the lifting involved throughout the day. We headed north on the mostly deserted highway in order to arrive at Gillette Children's Hospital by 6:00. Lauren was prepped and in the operating room by 7:30. She was having Phenol and Botox injections done and some other stuff to help reduce the tightness in her lower limbs. We have been doing this routine for nine years now, sometimes it is a lengthy surgery, casts, Bradley Bars, to hold her legs straight, hospital stays, and therapy, and sometime we get in and out all on the same day, such is the situation today.

Then comes the waiting game. I waited with the dad of another girl who was having the same type of procedures done today. In fact Lauren and Jenna have been doing this routine together for several years now. The hospital is willing to schedule this way for them. Jenna is a beautiful young lady eleven months older the Lauren. She has very similar issues as Lauren does. The difference being that Lauren`s are caused by a non-accidental traumatic brain injury and Jenna`s are a result of a stroke that she had before her birth. Anyway the two girls have become friends and they look forward to seeing each other at the hospital, and therapy. Usually Jenna's mom and I catch up during their procedures, but today mom could not be there so I visited with dad.

He commented "Why the heck would anyone throw a seven week old baby at a cement wall? That is just so unthinkable to me".

He is correct of course, for most of us that is something that is just not going to happen, but it does bring up the why question. This is something that I have considered from time to time.

Was it that he was young and not ready to be a father? I do not think so because he was twenty-four years old and he was already the father of another child. (I dread to think what has happened to that kid)

Was it that he was heavily intoxicated? Yes he was, but he chose to consume that alcohol of his own free will and certainly knew the affects of its consumption.

Was it that he was not intelligent enough to understand the consequences of his actions? This is a extremely intelligent well educated person.

How it happened, when, where, and who did it are all questions that are easy to get an answer to, but the why of it is something that there just is no acceptable answer for, None of the excuses given above nor any of the hundred others that have come up for that matter can justify such behavior. There is no just cause for attempting to kill a child, any child so the why question can not be justly answered. Therefore that is one of those issues that has to be let go of. Things are the way they are just because and we move ahead rather then in reverse.

As a side note I left Dad and Angela our PCA in charge at home today and Dad got four medical calls to schedule this and that, and rearrange as well as one behavior call from school He says I can keep this job because he would goes nuts if he had to do it every day. Yes I will send him off to work tomorrow and get back to doing my own work.

Now it is time to get people to bed so I can crash. Its been a long long day.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Is She A Hamster Or What?

I just spent about four hours cleaning up downstairs where the kids spend a lot of their time. I really do like the fact that we have that space available just for them. It contains the clutter and allows for less congestion throughout the remainder of the house. Picking up toys, books,crayons, games, and all the rest is not the issue here as I have been a mom for twenty-four years now and I have that task mastered. I am a pro at shelving, sorting, and throwing away the junk.

What I found down there is just so disgusting that I can not even describe it. Hanna has chewed up the movers for the Trouble game, three doll shoes, four or five of Paul`s board books, a notebook, and the pegs for Battleship, she even chewed up two of the ships, Not only did she chew all of this stuff up she stashed it in two different piles in the corners of the room. It looks like two very colorful hamster nests. I have no idea what she intended to do with this gross pile of yuck. Maybe we need to provide her with a cage and some empty toilet paper tubs so that she can really enjoy this chewing thing. Her orthodontist is going to go bananas when she hears about this one!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Raisin Bran?

I was putting Lauren`s hair up while Hanna got herself some cereal for breakfast. I was not paying much attention to what she was doing until I noticed that she was eating really, really, slowly, then I saw the reason. she was eating Raisin Bran. Hanna HATES raisins and never eats this stuff so I asked her what on earth she was doing?

Hanna`s reply " I eat this stuff because I being bad".

Now where in her really messed up brain did she come up with that one? She choked down a very full bowl (she always takes as much as possible), of Raisin Bran washed down with a glass of milk and a glass of water. She is not supposed to be eating raisins with her braces on and I never thought that I would have to worry about keeping those away from her.

What a kid.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Silly Old Bear

We have this Winnie the Pooh costume which was purchased in 1994. At the time it seemed to be a little crazy to pay $16.00 for a costume, but it has been well worth the cost. It is roomy enough for coats and even snow pants if needed. Trevor was the first to wear it, Allen wore it for a record three years in a row, several foster kids have had turns along the way, and yesterday Paul got to take it out for the fifteenth Halloween.
1994, Jared as a hockey player, Karre as Piglet, and Trevor our "silly old bear".

2003, Allen is ready to get some treats. He is two months from being ten years old here. He has grown a bit in the past five years. Allen has always been extremely small for his age.

2009, Paul got to be the Pooh bear. He is joined by Lauren (pink/blue princess),and Hanna as a witch. Kari`s Ben is the parrot, and Anna is Sponge Bob.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pumpkin Party

The pumpkins are ready for there big day. They are left to right, Lauren`s which is supposed to be Mickey Mouse (we think it looks like a piece of toast), Allen`s, Paul`s, and Karre`s. Hanna did not get one because she was raging the afternoon they went to the pumpkin patch. Halloween is a rather useless holiday, but it gives the kids an opportunity to have some fun and do something different from the everyday routine so we let them do it.
Allen, Jared, and Paul hard at work on getting the guts out.
Paul actually put his little hand inside the pumpkin and took out seeds one at a time. Last year he screamed and cried and wanted nothing to do with this pumpkin mess.
Karre is very creative and can make some really cool things when she wants to.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Little Bits

Now that we have taken Hanna off ALL her medications we are starting to see what we will be dealing with. She sleeps no more nor less then she was while on them. She is a little more impulsive, but she is not so grouchy. We are not sure yet if the better attitude is because of the lack of medications or if it is just the hormone cycle she is in. It is a wait and see game.

Lauren has a medical appointment this morning and then I will get her to school.

Paul is having a Halloween party in his classroom. Treats will come home for kids to fight over.

I need to get groceries and run errands the rest of the afternoon, and of course it is raining. I always love to load five hundred dollars worth of groceries into to van while getting drenched.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Another Metal Mouth

A recipe for disaster is a kid with Cerebral Palsy, school bus steps, and a very icy sidewalk. That is exactly what we had going on almost seven years ago when Lauren fell on her face while getting off the bus at school.

The phone rang that morning just as I had gotten out of the shower. When I answered it there was my kid screaming and a teacher who said "you need to come now", that was it. Usually teachers are not at a loss for words but that is all she could say so I knew that something was very wrong. Our emergency plan went into action. I had two foster kids here at the time so I got shoes and winter garb on them, called Dad, got myself dressed, and was out the door faster then I could have imagined possible.

When I reached the school they met me at the door with a kid covered in blood, a towel covering her lower face. The most freaky thing was when one of the teachers handed me a paper cup filled with ice water and Lauren`s teeth floating on top. I gave the dentist mane to the school nurse who called them and we were on the road. When we got to the office there was no waiting around they scooped her up, took the cup with the teeth, and went to work re implanting those two front teeth back in the mouth where they belonged.

At the time we were told there were no guarantees that those teeth were going to survive, but if they did we would need to take her to surgery seventy-two hours later. Lauren headed to the operating room three days later for major repairs on those teeth. Those teeth have lasted far longer then anyone could ever have thought possible. That is because everyone was in the right place at the right time and knew what needed to be done and did it. The whole event took less then an hour to unfold. She was left with a very bruised face and two front teeth that were going to need a lot of care, but she would be okay. That is when I breathed a huge sigh of relief, and thanked God for getting us through a very scary ordeal.

Now those teeth are giving out and will need to be removed soon so while that is being done we will have orthodontic work done to straighten out her narrow over crowded mouth. The good thing here is that they will not be removing healthy teeth to make room for her other teeth, the two that need to come out anyway will be the causalities. We knew that braces would benefit her but just let that go since she has so many other medical issues to deal with all of the time, but I guess now it is time to fix this mess too. She will look gorgeous when it is all over with so it will be worth the effort. Looking on the bright side of this is that since the same team that is working with Hanna will be doing the work here I can coordinate the appointments and will have fewer trips to make as a result. Two metal mouths at one time, I am not sure I can handle all of this fun.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Medications

Having kids on medications is always a work in progress. Our four older kids were rarely on any type of medications except for the occasion when they had an ear infection or something like that. This was never an issue until we began to do foster care. Many of those kids were on medications. For our special needs kids it is a must and adjustments are just a part of the process as they grow and change quickly. We have kids on meds for everything from seizure disorders, sleeping issues, hyper-activity, anxiety, etc, etc.

It is not the best time of the year (usually we try to change meds when there is no school), to adjust Hanna`s meds but we have to. Her behavior is just so awful, she is not sleeping even on massive amounts of medication, and she has grown. She will be taken off everything and then we will start over. It is not easy to make adjustments when the kid is not able to tell you how they are feeling and what they think is working. In Hanna`s situation she does not care what she is behaving like, if she is acting really weird it does not seem to bother her, or if she bothers or hurts someone else along the way is of no concern to her. We can only observe and make or best judgement from those observations.

The next couple of months might be a rough and scary ride so hang on and get prepared.

Monday, October 26, 2009

And Off They Go

The older kids have just gone to school and Paul will soon be heading out the door too.

Lauren was wearing a long sleeved t-shirt, a sweatshirt, and her winter coat.

Allen had on a long sleeved t-shirt and a light jacket.

Hanna had on a tank top, Capri's, and no jacket at all.

It is thirty-eight degrees out, cool but not that bad for Minnesota at this time of the year. None of the three will be harmed in any way because of the choices they made this morning, so I just let them go the way they were,however I find it interesting that the kid who is supposed to be the least intelligent of the three is the only one who got it right.You are the man, Allen, way to go!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

What IsTheTruth?

When it comes to telling the truth Hanna just can not do it at all lately. We can not trust her at all since she is lying about everything.

Me "Hanna did you brush your teeth"?

Hanna "Yeah I did".

Me " Are you sure you brushed your teeth"?

Hanna "Yeah"

Me "How on earth did you brush your teeth when the toothpaste is laying right here on the kitchen counter still in the box, unopened"? (I had thrown the empty one out earlier this morning)

It is like that with everything.
Did you change your underwear? (She still has on the ones she had on yesterday. I bought them all different so that we could tell if she had changed).
Did you make your bed? (It is still unmade).
Did you comb your hair? ( It still looks like a bird is living up there).
Did you unload the dishwasher? (It is still full).

The thing is that these things are just so obvious and she is a terrible when it comes to lying. She is going to get caught every time and the only one who is going to lose in this silly game she is playing is her.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fun Friday

Hanna is home from school today because right now she can not act appropriately there. she will go back Monday, oh am I glad. She seem to think that it should be fun around here because she is home.

Doing the peed laundry is fun.

Sitting on the phone, on hold with social security for fifty-five minutes. while Paul is trying to destroy the computer is really fun. What makes it more fun then ever is that I did not get to talk to the person who might have a clue as to what is going on in the first place so I am going to have to repeat the process. That fun will wait until next week.

I have to take Paul to therapy this afternoon and as an added bonus I get to bring Hanna along and take her to get groceries. She will pout and complain the entire time, that will be extra fun.

I am making vegetable stew for dinner tonight so I will get to hear the "I don`t like that" and "aucky" from some picky eaters. That will be fun.

Finally I will get the fun of getting wet while trying to give Hanna a shower when she can not stand taking one. I will get to have her screaming at me because she wants to stay dirty.

The real fun will begin when the four younger ones are in bed and I can curl up with a book for a few minutes before crashing myself. When I asked Hanna if she thought that all of this was going to make a fun day she told me that she would just go sort out the Legos, now that sounds like Hanna`s kind of fun.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Another Meeting Over

It`s another day another meeting around here. Today I had a meeting to re-evaluate Lauren in order to keep her CADI waiver services. Things are changing so fast that it is hard to keep up with all of it. The worker that was here today does net even know how all of these changes are going to affect Lauren`s services. At this point things will remain the same. She will get what she needs simply because she has diagnosis that fit in the plan. I am very grateful to have such services for her. It allows her to be the best that she can be.

I am very concerned about maintaining services for one of my other kids because there are very different diagnosis and therefore the means of qualifying for those services are going to be different.

These kids are very different however, they both require supervision 24/7, they both are very vulnerable, and both have about the same IQ. So why is it that one of them will qualify for services that allows them to function to the best of their ability and the other will not qualify?
Is it that the kid with the massive behavior issues is less valued in our society" Is it that it is easier to see the disability when it involves something that can be seen, such as a wheelchair? Is it that there is not a means of documenting the behavior issues in order to make them real and believable for most of society? I do not know what the answer is, but I do know that both of these kids matter equally for their mom and it is very hard to be a part of this. I know that the kid who does not get services will suffer greatly. There will be consequences for what happens here. I also know that parenting the kid with physical challenges is altogether different then parenting the one with behavior issues. They both need people to be there to keep them safe, to help them meet both their emotional and physical needs, and to give Mom and Dad a break. Th

The the thing that scares me most about all of this is that all of the people I work with in advocating for these kids agree that things are going to get a lot worse. I wish that some one who has the power to do something about all of this could just be a "fly on the wall" here so that they could understand and make things better for all of these kids and their families.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Growed

Hanna had an orthodontist appointment today, Those are kicking, screaming scenes every time. Until she is medicated at the clinic it is a trip that I would not wish for anyone to have to take. Anyway today while we were waiting for her meds to really get working Hanna was telling me what she did in gym class.

Hanna " I growed"
Me "How did you grow'?
Hanna "I am 11 feet 4 feet"
Me "I know you are not that tall because there is no person in the world that tall".
Hanna "I did growed".
Me " You are 4 feet 11 inches tall and that is as tall as you are getting".
Hanna "Mom my teeth growed too".

I hope the teeth are done growing or we will have more then and orthodontic issue to be dealing with here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

One Of Those Days

It has been one of those days where Hanna will not talk to people, is pouting, and being a big grouch. She has lots of those days, actually most of them are like that but today she was especially getting on my nerves.

I made her hang out with me so that she would not be destroying things while everyone else went out for lunch, to get pumpkins, and see Rene and Trevor off to school. She did not want to be with me and did not want to do any of the chores I told her to do so she just sat there and pouted. She would not get dressed so I had to put off getting groceries until just about dinner. time. That meant that we stopped for a quick bite to eat. I offered to give her half of my fries (which she loves) and she refused to eat them because she does not like me. Well be that way then if you want to, I am not going away, and the only one who is not getting what she really wants is Hanna herself.

When Jared stopped to fill the van up with gas he offered to get her an orange juice and she did not want that either because she does not like him either.

She is really mad because she got caught taking the money that she was giving away to her "friend" and she has asked several times if she can have some money to take to school. The answer is NO WAY. If this kid were really her friend then she would hang out with Hanna even if she never had a single penny. Hanna keeps telling us that her "friend" is going to get mad at her. No one here cares because we can understand that there is no friendship here worth attempting to salvage anyway. I can not quite understand why having a friend who is not really a friend is more important to her than the family that she has, who have gone through a great deal of trouble to care for and love her just the way she is.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Baker


Today we attended the commencement ceremony for Jared`s graduation. He is an official Baking and Pastry Chef now. The clothes and the very cool hat give him that chef look. The original six as we are known Mom, Dad, Rene, Jared, Trevor, and Karre. went. Following the ceremony we went out to a nice restaurant for dinner. It was nice to be able to wait for the food to arrive without having to make kids sit still, be quiet, and no one jumped around and spilled things either. Congratulations Jared!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

We Figured It Out


Hanna has things a bit mixed up when it comes to friends. Her friends are not good for her in any way. They take advantage of her all the time and it is really sad when you think about what they are doing. She has been stealing money from her own piggy bank and those of her siblings, who knows maybe she even took some from my purse for all I know, and she has been taking it to school a little bit at a time and giving it to her friends so that they will be her friends.

Who would want anyone like that for a friend? What kind of a thrill are these kids getting from taking advantage of some one who it is not even a challenge to take advantage of? I sure wish these kids had parents who would do something about their behavior. If any one of my kids were ever caught doing anything so mean, rude, and hurtful there would be direct cconsequences for any such behavior. No one seems to care at all.

We have explained using every term and example that we can think of and Hanna still does not understand that these people are not friends. They are using her and she is getting hurt. It is hard to believe that she is giving up money which is something she really really likes to collect, sort, and save. She knows that you can buy things with it but she does not understand that it does not grow on trees. She does not get the idea that you have to earn it and when you get it you do not just give it away and go get some more. I guess this friend thing must be pretty important to give up her treasures for.

We had to lock up all of the kids wallets, piggy banks, our purses, and we even took the change out of the jacket pockets. Hanna has lots of food issues so we already lock up refrigerators and freezers and keep guard on the kitchen. I am getting the feeling that we are living is a jail here. She gets a large number of her PCA hours because of her behavior and will be losing those behavior hours soon. I can not be the jailer 24-7.

A Break From School

There is no school and will be none until Monday. That is supposed to be a break. The first kid was up at 4:00am and they trickled out of bed so that by 6:30am they were all dressed, had eaten, made there beds, and now they can not find anything to do.

The normal, average teenager who can get up unsupervised at what ever time they want to is a treasure around here. Jared and Karre are still in bed. I can not imagine how anyone could possibly be sleeping with all of the noise around here. I guess they just fake it so they do not have to watch kids.

Rene` called at 7:30 this morning to say "hi" while she was walking across campus to her first class. She said that she is going to have to dig out her long johns soon, yes it gets cold enough in North Dakota that even young people who want to look cool will put on long johns. Rene` has some fancy striped ones.

While the kids are having their break from school I guess I will be taking a break from getting anything done around here. When I get some PCA help here later I will have to shut to office door and do some paperwork that must get done this week.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday Snow

It is snowing at a pretty good clip here. It is way to early for this to be starting already. There is a winter storm warning out so I guess I had better keep the radio on just in case they call school off. The kids are there now and I am crossing my fingers that things stay that way. Lauren and Hanna were having trouble finding gloves and mittens this morning so I will likely have to stock up on those things as well. Hanna loses many, many pair of gloves and lots of hats every cold season. After a while I just send her with things that do not match because I just can not afford to buy any more of them. She does not care if they match anyway, the more crazy she is dressed the happier she is.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

It Has Been To Calm For Comfort

Hanna is someone who just loves chaos even though it overloads her and gets her into trouble. With just Paul and I home with her this weekend it has been pretty quiet except for the usual racket that Paul makes just being himself. I guess that she just can not stand having that kink of quiet so she had to go crazy. She started off by throwing toys at the wall down in the therapy/play room. When I told her to knock it off she threw a block and hit Paul in the head. That is just super wonderful as he has school pictures tomorrow and besides the pictures I will have to explain the beautiful square bruise on his forehead to the school before they get worried. Now she has thrown everything off the shelves so it is all piled in a heap in the middle of the floor. I guess this is one way to get everything cleaned up and put back into its proper location. I have informed Hanna that when she calms down she will be cleaning the mess up. She said " I never am going to calm down cause I do not like it".

BIG SIGH!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Chilly Saturday

It is down right chilly here today and surprisingly the snow that fell over night is still hanging around.

Dad, Jared, Karre, and Allen took there muscles to Duluth to move Jared`s stuff back to our garage. He is now finished with school altogether and looking at his options. In the mean time he is working as a PCA here. I can always use big, strong guys around here to haul stubborn kids, chase after the very busy one, and keep a watch out for crazy behavior.

Lauren is out with a PCA in tow. She has been really doing some dumb stuff lately. I think most of it is that she is just being a teenager but all the same it is dumb. She does not do her chores, make her bed, or do her school work without being directly ordered to do so or being threatened with losing something or other. She always says she will get to it tomorrow, needless to say tomorrow never comes so she never gets things done. If we tell her that she will not get her allowance she says she does not care because she has enough money. I am glad she is out of here for a few hours as it gives me time to not have to deal with her right now.

I have Paul and Hanna home with me. Hanna is playing Uno by herself. She does not want anyone to play with her. I think she is most likely being obsessive and sorting the cards. I do not care at this point as she is not bothering anyone. We still have some of her clothes to get washed and folded from her rainbow mess making. Paul is, as usual just being a tornado, dragging things out, opening and shutting the fridge, and generally getting on my nerves at the moment.

I think I will make some pizza for dinner soon, clean the kids up, and get them ready for bed and then Hanna a I will watch a movie, okay Hanna will watch the movie and I will be chasing the tornado.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Technology Choice Made

We have finally made a choice for a communication device for Lauren. This has been a long process which began way back in May. We have been looking at many different types of devices. The technology out there is amazing. The issue here is that the more technical the device is the smaller it tends to be and therefore more fine motor skills are needed to operate it. People like Lauren who have cerebral palsy have hands and fingers which do not exactly do what their brains are telling them to do. She has been frustrated with this trial process. She really wants the devices that are small and look cool (she is a teenager after all), but they are in general not the best ones for her.

We finally found one that has the communication program that works best for her. It also can be used as a computer with wireless access, has an MP3 player, a camera, speech read out of whatever is on the screen, text messaging, a cell phone set up and it can be personalized with all sorts of programming. It is not the smallest device out there and in her eyes not the coolest. The best thing about it is that she is able to get her fingers to do what they need to do to operate it independently.

We have begun the massive amount of paperwork that is needed to get insurance to pay for at least part of the cost. We have been documenting everything at home, at therapy, and at school for months so now that information has to be compiled in a format that is clear, gets all of the points across, and is as brief a possible.

After that we sit and wait, and wait, and wait, for a reply, and then when they turn the package down be prepared to appeal.