Monday, June 29, 2009

Fresh Strawberries

Rene` and Karre took Lauren and Allen with them to pick strawberries. The kids will come home dirty, but that is just fine with me as the strawberries will taste so good that the hassle of the dirt is worth it. We will have them on pancakes, ice cream, and cake, and we will have some plain, too. Fresh strawberries are a summertime treat here in Minnesota. Sorry grocery store guys, yours just do not taste as good as those straight from the farm

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sumday Afternoon

It is a beautiful summer day here in Minnesota the sun is shining in cloudless blue sky, the humidity is low so there is little chance of a thunderstorm popping and there is a little breeze so spending a few minutes laying in the hammock without being attacked by bugs is possible.

Jerry, Rene`, Karre, Allen, and Paul went to a small community near here that is having there annual summer celebration. They will get some junk food for lunch and take in the parade.

Jared has gone up north to spend the day with his girl friend and her family at the lake.

Trevor is here and capable of finding something to do on his own. I most likely will not see him unless I go looking for him.

Lauren is with a PCA.

Hanna is up in her room and it is really, really quiet so I am sure she is being inappropriate, or destroying something. I don`t care what she is doing right now. I am enjoying the silence for the time being. I will deal with whatever she is up to later.

I think I will find that hammock and my iPod.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Could It Ever Happen?

Could we have a day where there is no screaming, kicking, pinching, hair pulling, biting, tantrums, or all out meltdown behavior? Just one day like that would be so wonderful around here. We used to have those days before kids with FAS came into our lives. They are just so impulsive, have such poor boundaries, and do not understand how much they are hurting people. They do not learn from their mistakes so even though they have direct consequences for their action they just keep doing the same things over and over again.

Hanna has the most obnoxious behavior on earth! She hits all the time without thinking first. She picks on things such as the couch where she will just sit and mess with a corner of the fabric until it has a hole in it and then once she gets the hole there she just keeps making it bigger and bigger even though she has been told to stop and been removed from the area many times. She claims to be bored all of the time and when we find things for her to do they just are not any fun. She completely melts down on a daily basis and then there is no reasoning with her at all. It does not help matters that she also has attachment issues and can not stand it when things are going well. She really loves chaos and can create it readily. There was a great deal of chaos in her past and it some how is comforting for her to live like that.

Paul does not have many tantrums but he is very rough even when he is trying to be nice. He does not understand that there can be to much of a good thing. There is not an attachment issue with him and I thank God every day for that.

Allen our other kid with FAS has a huge issue with transitions and we just do not do anything any faster then he chooses to do them or we will get nothing accomplished at all.

Maybe some day we could have a nice, calm, drama free day. When that happens I will be sure to blog about it just to say it actually happened.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Cake Cake And More Cake

It is amazing to see what can be made from lots and lots of sugar, some other ingredients, and creative people. This is what Jared does with his time. He is just finishing up on his education to become a Baking and Pastry Chef. He makes all of thees wonderful creations. The next thing will be to see if he can find a job and put his talent to work to earn a living. Good luck Jared!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Playing Uno

Lauren, Allen, and Hanna are playing Uno by themselves, and not being directly supervised. I can clearly see them as well as a PCA. Allen is sitting on the couch with his cards laying face up in front of him so everyone can see them. He does not care who wins the game so he will do whatever his sisters tell him to do. Lauren is "helping" him. What she is doing is playing the reverse cards and then giving Allen the draw cards to play next so that Hanna has to draw. It is pretty clever for someone who is not supposed to be very intelligent. Lauren can think ahead and plan things out. Hanna who who is just as intelligent as Lauren can only think out one step at a time and only do one thing at a time. So far she has not figured out what her sister is doing, but when she does there will be a massive explosion. Get ready for some action.!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

No Swim Today

We just got back from to pool. Oh boy was it a blast.! We got four kids with special needs dressed in swimsuits, shoes, and sunscreen too. We loaded the van with kids, three PCA`s and me. We got to the pool only to find out that the it is closed due to the fact that there is no power across town. That meant that we had to reload the kids, now not very happy and not understanding why they can not swim, bring them home and attempt to settle them down for bed. What a trip!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Friendships for the older four kids just came along as they grew up. They chose their own friends and have made good choices. They were never kids who had lots and lots of friends, but the ones they chose were intelligent, well behaved, fun to be around kids who had boundaries and morals.

For our younger four kids having friends becomes much more complicated.The rules as a parent change. Do you say "no" to letting them be friends with someone who you know is going to get them into trouble? Do you let them be "friends" with that person and then deal with the trouble they get into when it happens? It has become a situation where some of each of these has occurred.

Allen has friends in that people in the community and at school acknowledge him and talk with him and given his disabilities that is what he wants and needs in friends.

Lauren has disabilities that are clearly visible to the world. She has friends that are much like those which the older kids have chosen. They include her without any adult intervention. These are people who do understand that everyone in the world is not the same and they are not scared away by Lauren`s differences. It is so nice to see that there are teenagers out there who really get it!!!

Hanna chooses "friends", as she calls them, very poorly. If there is a kid who is causing trouble that is her friend, if they are breaking the law that is her friend, if they are hurting other people they are her friends. These are kids who will sneak around and wait for just the right time then they find something stupid to do and they talk Hanna into doing it for them. She ALWAYS gets caught and then they are making fun of her and telling her that they are not her friends and they did not do anything wrong. Well they really are not her friends because they are hurting her and the saddest thing about it is that she will go back again and again to be hurt some more. She just does not understand that this is not what real friends do.

It is not clear how Paul will do with this, I have a feeling that this will be one of those things that will create problems for him given the fact that with his FAS he does not have very clear boundaries and he is pretty impulsive.

There is always something happening when it comes to parenting kids with special needs in our society. The adventure continues.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Car Wash

Rene`, Hanna, and Allen were washing cars so they let Paul get wet and wash his car too. He really had a great time.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Faters Day

To celebrate today the kids took their Dad out for lunch. They are also cleaning his truck and getting new seat covers for it because it really needs a little care. Most of the time that truck gets used for work and those guys do not care if it is a mess, but once in a while we need to take it to Sam`s Club for a large grocery haul and I like it just a little bit more tidy.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Relaxing Evening

Last night we had a pretty relaxing evening even though Hanna is still at it with her attitude. Jared came home so he could watch Allen and make sure that Hanna did not do anything stupid. Jerry, Rene`, Trevor, and Karre went bike riding. Angie, one of our very special PCA`s and I took Lauren and Paul swimming. With her CP (Cerebrall palsy) Lauren is very stiff so getting her into the water allows her to have more freedom in moving. This is the only physical activity that we can get her to do with out complaining that it is to hard. We take her swimming whenever possible. Paul really enjoyed the water. He kept telling us that the water is blue. He also made sure that everyone could hear "my butt is clean" just after he got wet. When ever he touched water he is clean, even if the water is a mud puddle.

Friday, June 19, 2009

When They Are No Longer Little Girls

Having Rene` and Karre for daughters first gave me the illusion that teenage girls are not all that bad to have around. They could be reasonable most of the time, they understood how their bodies worked and were able to change accordingly.

Next came Lauren who now is doing pretty well as she can be reasoned with even though it is at a much simpler level. We have found the proper medication, after several trials, so life goes on.

Now there is the matter of Hanna who has absolutely no understanding of how her body works and for that matter does not want to know. She has Precocious Puberty which is quite common in girls who have FAS. We have been dealing with this issue for nearly two years now and we have gotten no where in figuring it out. We have our pediatrician, an OB/GYN, and a public health nurse working on this as at this point things are not moving fast enough for me. We have tried several medications which do not work. The medical people think that is because of the reactions with Hanna`s other medications (which she must have to function within normal limits at all). Everyone agrees that surgery is the solution so now we are dealing with the very long, complicated task of getting insurance to cooperate with the plan.

I am tired of dealing with the unacceptable behavior, the sensory dis regulation, the emotional meltdowns, and the very BIG attitude. I want the happy, fun, lets try everything kid, who likes to work hard, draw, paint, and do puzzles to return in the very near future!!! It is going to be a very loooonnnng summer with this kid.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Big Boy Now

After working for several months in occupational therapy and at home Paul at 41/2 has learned to turn the knob and pull at the same time to get a door open. Most kids learn how to do this and when they do we as parents do not take much notice of the date of the milestone. When the kid has a severe Traumatic Brain Injury and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome the success is carefully documented. This is a great success for him, one that he is very excited about showing off to everyone. This gives him more independence. It also makes it necessary for much closer supervision at all times, because if he gets outside without someone watching there will be trouble. He is very impulsive, hyper active, and has zero boundaries. I do not even want to think about what kinds of issues this new found independence has is store for us.

Should I cheer or cringe?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Good Grief

It`s another beautiful day in the valley! It is just starting a little bit to early. Hanna is up already ranting about some garbage that her "friends" told her. There is a ghost and a disappearing man and a bunch of other stuff. It is all just crazy stuff that she gets all carried away with because she is thinking in a vary concrete manner and does not understand the difference between reality and fantasy.

Since I am up I will read a few blogs and get the mountain of laundry started. I will just let Hanna do her thing until it is time to really get up.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Banana Bread

The screaming started out rather early this morning in Lauren and Hanna`s room. They were getting dressed for the day when Hanna pulled Lauren`s hair. The reason she was pulling her hair is so impulsive and dumb that the rest of the early risers around here got a good laugh out of it. Lauren had told Hanna that she was going to have Banana Bread for breakfast but Hanna wanted it, so I guess that she though if she pulled her sisters hair it would some how he hers. There are a couple of issues going on here. Hanna has some real problems with food and she will not let anyone or anything get in her way when getting it. (That is why we have to lock things up around here). The other thing that Hanna in her FAS brain did not think about is the fact that there was enough Banana Bread for both of them. Sometimes the day gets off to a terrible start when you have a kid who can not get her brain to work right.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Early Start

It is 5:00 am. and we are off to the start of another day, of course it is way to early to get moving but when there are kids in the house with FAS and sleep issues one will NEVER sleep in again.

When our older kids were younger sleep was not such a concern. They have normal brains, and therefore they have normal sleep patterns. If they got up early they could play in their rooms independently or watch cartoons until it was time to get up. That no longer happens with Paul and Hanna in the family.

This morning Paul was up at a Little before five and he had to go potty. I`ll gladly take him because the alternative is much less desirable. After that he surely is not going to go back to sleep so we let him crawl into our bed so that we can keep track of where he is and what he is doing.

"Dad, do you have your blue jeans on"?

"Mom, your earrings on:"?

"I love you , I love you, I love you" (over and over again while he is pulling my eye lashes out)

Next he bounces (all 30 1/2 pounds of total energy) and bounces, and bounces

" I want bites" (breakfast)

"I want yellow bites" (Kix cereal)

"Is your nose clean, do you need a tissue, your nose is clean" etc, etc........

Finally giving up and getting up is better then trying to relax when some little person, who does not understand what relaxing is will not give up.

So we begin another day!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Zoo

It was cold, raining, and there was no end of the much needed wet weather in sight so we decided to go to the zoo anyway.

We packed:
4 kids
4 PCA`s (personal care assistants)
2 wheelchairs
1 stroller
2 coolers full of drinks and lunch
a Mom, Dad, and one teenager (Karre), too

We headed to the zoo and everyone had a good time. There were plenty of animals to see from inside so those who chose not to get wet stayed dry. There were no meltdowns and no tears from anyone so that made it a very good day!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

DQ Disaster

The school year is winding down this week so Hanna`s class has planned a trip to the local Dairy Queen for a end of the year treat. For the average fifth grader this would be great fun, time with your friends, no school work, and ice cream too. For a kid with FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) and moderate developmental delays this is a disaster!!! Hanna needs LOTS OF STRUCTURE and routine to function well. Talking about the class rules and reminding the kids to bring their money for two days has just gotten Hanna so wound up and excited that she can not function. School people can not understand why she is not there like all of the other kids.

It would be Sooo socially unacceptable for her to have a tantrum or start crying and screaming that rather then have that happen we will listen to the screaming and crying disaster all day at home. The DQ will just have to wait until another day.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Getting Started

This blog is being created to share bits and pieces of the daily affairs that go on in our family. Since we do not have the two kids, two cars, two jobs, and two pets kind of a family it might be worthwhile to put down here some of what goes on in a family where there are four birth kids, as well as four adopted kids who happen have multiple disabilities, as well as spent more then enough of their childhoods in the American foster care system. "Its Our Life" and I would not change any of it because all of the joys as well as the challenges of being the Mom to all eight of these kids is a roller-coaster ride for the adventurous