Friday, December 17, 2010

Outta Here

We are outta here in about an hour, oh my goodness do we need a break!! Hanna has just been nuts lately. Every single day we here I hate you, this is the dumbest bleep family in earth, I don`t want to live here, I don`t have to listen to anyone, I can do what I want to, and on and on and on. This is exactly why she is NOT going on vacation with us.

We have nine other members of this family who really do enjoy spending time together, we play and work without issues. We can relax and have fun and guess what everyone appreciates the time we do have together. Of course we have three other kids who require a lot of care, but they will say thank you, please, I love you, and they like to have fun.

when you live with the chaos of attachment issues all the time you do need a break every now and again. For all of those people who have been telling us that we are not treating Hanna fairly just come live here for a month or two and just maybe you will change your minds. We give way more of our time and energy to her just because it is needed. She has been given numerous opportunities to get with the program and just can not do so, at least not at this point. We have taken her with us as we have traveled Virginia, Maryland, Florida, North Dakota, and Missouri. She used to do pretty well on trips, but now days that isn`t the situation so to bad for her.

We will have lots of fun, relax, get a tan, and come back ready to take one Hanna for another year.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Crazy Continues

Things here have been just a bit crazy lately.

Last weekend we had planned to have lunch with Allen`s other mom, and get together with grandma, aunts, uncles, and cousins to celebrate the holidays. Non of that happened due to a bit of a snow storm, well okay a pretty big one at that. I have no idea when we will reschedule all of that.

Lauren is now on medication trials for her seizure issue and so far all is going okay, except that we are still seeing seizure behavior. the dose of medication will be increased and then we will see what happens next.

Both Hanna and Lauren are wearing bands on their braces and suddenly they have all disappeared. I know we had lots of them and my guess is that Hanna is up to no good and did something with them. At any rate I have to figure out how to get more of them soon since they do not have an appointment until January.

Karre and Lauren participated in the choir concert for school last night. They did not have the ramp to the building shoveled out so we had to go around to the side entrance to get Lauren`s wheelchair in the building. It was very icy and there were several elderly people who were also having trouble with the situation.

I am trying to get everything organized and packed up because we are going on vacation, at least most of us are. Rene` and Trevor will be on break from college so they will join us. Jared can not get the time off from his job so he is staying here and we are leaving Hanna home, too. I will write more about that later in the week, hopefully.

I did get the refrigerator, which was really a mess,cleaned out last weekend since we could not go anywhere anyway.

Tomorrow I am going to get something done with my hair. It really needs some work.

That is pretty much how things have been going around here lately, just one thing after another with no end in sight. At least I have some warm weather and a beach to look forward to.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Poor Hanna?

After what happened in school last week with Hanna there have been a lot of comments saying "poor Hanna".

Well yes, it would suck to have FASD, not be able to process things in your life, have memory lose issues, it just is not a fair deal, I fully agree with that, however sometimes no matter what you do she is going to mess up, that is just the way it is with her. No matter how many teachers, paras, PCAs, mentors, parents, etc, etc, no matter how much redirecting, structure, and routine you provide it does not work when she does not use it. She may not choose to make the terrible choices she makes at will some of the time, although there are times when she makes them and I fully believe that she is doing it to create chaos or hurt others because even though she does not function well in that mode she loves it. She clearly sets out to keep anyone who might care about her at all, away. I guess she still feels that she is in this world alone and will make sure it stays that way.

I wish things were different for her, I really do, but at least for now they are not, and when she messes up all any of us who are here for her can do is pick her up, dust her off, and let her try again in hopes that some day she will come to trust us. I wish that day would come SOON!! We are patiently, and sometimes not so patiently waiting for that to happen.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

If You Give Your Hanna An Oatmeal Bar...

If you give your Hanna an oatmeal bar...

She will take it to school.

She will cook it in the microwave for ten minutes.

It will send smoke all over the cafeteria.

That will set off the fire alarm system. (Imagine what about 1,100 teenagers do when that happens).

She will clean up her mess only because someone is supervising while she does it.

She will return to the classroom where she begins to lose it.

She will be sticking her fingers in her ears so she will not hear the teacher and Mom talking on speaker phone (we do this because she thinks that we make this stuff up to be mean to her), about what had happened.

She will be crying, singing, stomping around, and talking to herself.

She will be very mad at her teacher.

She will wrap herself around the toilet so no one can get her to leave the bathroom.

She will then be escorted out of the building by the police officer.

She will be hauled home by her sister and teacher.

She will then make it to her room throwing her boots, cap, mittens, backpack, and coat off along the way, in record time, without even being told to go there.

She will spend the next four hours in her room having one heck of a melt down, kicking the wall, pounding on the door, screaming, dumping her closet and dresser and stripping both of the beds in the room.

She finally calms down enough to tell us that she had a little bit of a bad day and she is never, never going back to school, not for one hundred minutes.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Secret Surprise

I had a conversation with my teenage girls who happen to have four year old minds last evening. It was rather cute.

Lauren, "Mom I got purple paint on my t-shirt".

Sure enough, she had a small spot of paint on the inside of her t-shirt, no big deal unless she wears it inside out.

Mom "so what did you paint today"?

Lauren "it`s a secret surprise and I am not telling".

Mom "so Hanna did you paint too"?

Hanna "yep"

Mom "let me guess, you painted something green".

Hanna "of course, green is the only best color in the whole world, and I think I can`t tell you what I made, but I might tell you after dinner:.

Now I know that they made a surprise and I am pretty sure that Hanna will spill the beans and tell me what it is. She has a really hard time keeping these things a surprise and I am not sure she really understands what a surprise is in the first place.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What I Already Knew

I got Lauren to the hospital without to much of a hassle, she was tired however so keeping her awake for an hour and twenty minutes in the car cost me a buck. I told her that I would give her a dollar for every purple car or mini van she could spot along the way. Luckily there are not very many purple ones out there, but she did find one and the task kept her eyes open . We did not put the heat on because I did not want her to get to comfortable and cozy so it got a little brisk towards the end.

They hooked all the gadgets and wires up to her which was a bit of a task since she was getting cranky and whining. We then waited for her to fall asleep, which did not take long. As I sat behind the tech who was doing the test, I watched the screen while the squiggles ran across it in there regular patterns. Less then ten minutes into the test which was scheduled to take at least an hour I saw it, spikes in activity, the lines going across the screen were going all over the place.

I did not need to wait for the neurologist to tell me, I already knew there was a seizure disorder. After observing Lauren`s behavior changes for some time now and discussing the situation with two neurologists I guess I pretty much knew that was the answer we were going to get before we even did the testing. Even though I knew, getting the definite answer does not make the situation any easier. Why my gorgeous daughter has yet another obstacle thrown in her path is something that is very hard to come to terms with. This kid goes through so much just to function every day that I am amazed when I watch her succeed.

All of this is so senseless, the result of someone taking their anger out on an infant. This was no accident. Many people live with TBIs and many of them are clearly preventable, wear your seat belts, wear your bike helmets, do not drink and drive, and if there is an anger issue get help before you hurt someone else!!

Now we move ahead with life, making it the best it can be for Lauren. We have to figure out what medication or combination of them will treat the seizures while also continuing to maintain her other medications. This could be a long process because this kid has some complexed medical issues.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

No Sleep Allowed

Lauren has a sleep deprived EEG this morning, what fun stuff I get to do, oh yeah. In order to keep her from falling asleep Karre, Dad, and I each took a shift to stay up with her. Hanna had to protest that it was no fair that Lauren got to stay up. If I thought for one minute that she would entertain her sister I would have let her stay up too, since she does not sleep anyway. Hanna does not play games or do anything else with anyone else unless it is fully supervised.

I hope we get some answers today. None of the things they think may be going on are very good, but at least maybe we will have answers, if not we go back for round two of testing. It is like what do we want to deal with an old shunt issue, a mass, scar tissue buildup, or seizures? I don`t like any of the options here. Well, at least everyone will get to sleep tonight.

Monday, December 6, 2010

No Calendar Needed

All winter long the clothes dryer swishes and whirls from the time I get up in the morning until I go to bed at night. I do miss my clothes line. The noise of the dryer is just there, I don`t notice it much. If I pay attention to it it either gets annoying or lulls me to sleep.

Not noticing the dryer running all day is much like not noticing the annoying behaviors that swirl around all day long when you are living with someone who has attachment issues. You get so used to being called names, being ignored, having someone who is always trying to bend the rules, or is doing something nasty that you no longer pay attention to most of it.

It is now December and we would never need a calendar to figure that out in our home because our kid lets us know that in a very loud, blunt, totally obnoxious manner.She comes up with more chaos, destruction, and rudeness then usual.

It will be nice when the calendar turns to January so we can get back to the normal annoying kid that we have all grown used to putting up with.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ketchup Yogurt Yum!

Yesterday was an early release day at school so I was going to have to hold things together by myself for a couple of hours until two PCAs could get here. When I do absolutely nothing else I can do this. When the bus pulled up to drop the kids off I immediately knew something was up. Hanna is always the first one off the bus and in the house. She was the last one to get off today. After I got the wheelchairs situated and everyone headed in the right direction I went inside. Hanna had already run downstairs with her coat, backpack, and wet shoes still on. I got the other three kids to take their shoes off and hang up the coats. I then found Paul a couple of cars and got Lauren and Allen started on putting away the clean dishes. I figured that would give me a few minutes to see what Hanna was up to.

I went downstairs and directed her back upstairs to get the wet shoes off first and then hang up her coeat. She was steaming about something and being less then cooperative. I took her folder out and read it.

What she did just cracks me up, but being her mom I can not let her in on that bit of information. She was caught stealing ketchup from the school cafeteria, stirring it into the yogurt from her lunchbox, and eating the disgusting mixture. I closed the folder, said "really now Hanna", and went to direct Allen with hauling baskets of clean laundry upstairs. I was not going to get into a shouting match with her or even try to deal with the situation until she calmed down because I know that will lead to more trouble.

Hanna went into this meltdown, screaming that I was a dumb mom because I read her stuff and apparently I am not supposed to do that because it is only her business. Her teacher is the dumbest teacher because she is not supposed to write this stuff down. I am no longer bothered by being the dumb mom, that is better then some of the other things she has been known to call me and I am pretty sure her teacher is not getting to rattled about that either. I am overjoyed that this teacher is communicating honestly with me about what goes on at school. I know Hanna has behavior at times that is not appropriate but until now no one was filling me in on the details. I need to know what she is doing so that the same rules apply all the time for her. She does best with consistent expectations.

The fact that her teacher made her responsible for stealing the ketchup and had her pay for it with money she had earned was just what needed to happen. The next thing we have to work on is placing the anger where it really belongs. Hanna was really upset with herself because she got caught doing something that she knew she was not supposed to be doing. Neither her teacher nor I are responsible for her behavior, She does not feel that she made a bad choice all she is worried about is the fact that she got caught. We have a bit of work to do in order to get her to understand this.

I will not be putting yogurt in Hanna`s lunchbox any time soon. I hope she does not decide to steal ketchup to put on anything else.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thankfuf For Adoption

It is nearly over, this month of November when awareness is being raised about adoption and Americans are giving thanks. These two seemingly unrelated subjects are actually very much related in our home.

The emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, the abandonment and chaos. all of the trauma our adopted children have experienced leads me to be thankful that I never experienced such things. I live closer to all of that trauma, through them, then anyone would ever want to live. It does not go away, it is there always, it is a part of who they are.

Raising children who TBIs, FASD, CP, and all of the other alphabet soup leads me to be thankful for all the successes in life, no matter how small they seem. The success of being able to zip a jacket after years of trying, the success of tying your own shoes, and the success of being able to spread peanut butter and jelly on your own toast are all things to be thankful for. Even the nonstop chatter all day every day, of a child who was never supposed to be able to speak, is a success, although there are times when it sure would be nice to have quiet for just a few minutes.

Raising a child who will not or maybe can not show love is even something to be thankful for. This idea may seem a bit out of line for most people, but this child has brought the rest of our family closer together then ever before. We need each other to get through the challenges that are brought about by attachment disorders. This child has taught all of us how precious a gift it is to be able to give and receive love.

The life we have as a family who has adopted children with special needs is very challenging, every single day. There are medical issues and crisis, and behavioral issues to deal with all of the time. There is the very broken "system" that is constantly throwing us for a loop with some new rule or to take something away. There is always the threat of allegations being brought against us because we have a child who manipulates, lies, and can make up a whopper of a tale when the opportunity arises.

The things I am now finding myself being thankful for are much different then they were before these children came into our lives. Material things are much less important to me now. Many of the material things that I once thought were so important have new been destroyed by our adopted children.

I am thankful for professionals who REALLY do understand and work very hard to provide the medical care, therapies, and educational services that these children deserve and need. They may not have all of the answers, but together we do the best that we can for them.

I am thankful for family and friends who support us in what we are doing.

I am thankful for my husband who can always find something positive about the situation even when things get very rough.

I am thankful for my adopted children who have taught me lessons in patience, understanding, determination, and love that I would have never had the opportunity to experience without them.

As this month comes to a close I am thankful for adoption. Sometimes, okay a lot of the time it is very challenging to parent these very hurt children, but without adoption I would not know how trauma really affects the children, because you can read about and study it but unless you live with it every day you REALLY have no idea what trauma is. These children have opened my eyes to a world of alcohol, drugs, violence, poverty, crime, and social injustice that I would have never known existed in this country of plenty. They give us much to be thankful for every day by being themselves.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Time Flies...

It has been a bit busy around here so I have not had time to blog so here is a brief glance at the past several days.

Saturday morning we went out for waffles for a fund raising event that Karre is taking part in. It went fine, except that Hanna was upset because she only got one and a half waffles (I had one and was full) and Jared got two. She was able to hold it together while at the event. She just sat there staring off into space, but once we got in the van the drama was on. She went on and on about this all day.

Later in the afternoon Karre was in the high school theatre production. she was the stage director. I asked her what her specific duties were and she told me that she just did everything. She had built sets, researched costumes and hair styles of the 1940s, fixed every ones hair for the show, and created sound affects. She also supervised the boys who were doing lights and sound. The kids put on a terrific show.

I went downstairs to find that someone had colored on the book shelf. Hanna claims that it was Paul, however it says "BFF" and there are stick figures in the drawing. I know that Paul is not able to draw this stuff and even if he could he is not at all interested in it. Hanna draws this same stuff everywhere, got caught again.

We celebrated Lauren`s seventeenth birthday with a movie and pizza on Sunday. She has grown up way to fast.

I had court (jury duty) for the past two days.

Paul does not have school today so I am trying to get a few things done here with his help. I will bake the pies that Jared made and put in the freezer. Jared will do most of the cooking tomorrow which I am very Thankful for. We will all be home plus one girl friend. Rene and Trevor are coming today just as soon as Trevor can get off work. The weather is not looking at all good for traveling so I hope they get here safely.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 19, 2010

It Is Going To Be A Good Day

It is going to be a good day. I took the frustrations of the last couple of days out on the treadmill, which is not the choice workout machine for me, but Miss Hanna did a wonderful job of destroying the elliptical machine. The Dad and Jared looked the situation over and decided that we need a part and likely $$ for labor because they do not think it is something they can fix. Way to go Hanna!

I will deal with kid services again next week. I can not do anything else right now so it moves to the back corner of the desk to deal with later.

I connected with two physicians yesterday who have differing opinions of what to do with Lauren`s neurological issues so we are going to have to do further testing and then we are going to have to make some decisions from there. I would really rather not have to be making such choices, all of them seem pretty overwhelming right now.

All of that is set aside for the rest of the day because I am going to do some baking for a fund raiser that Karre is involved in and of course I will be sure to save a few good things for us to enjoy over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The chocolate, Carmel, butter, and sugar will all come together in total goodness.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

REALLY?

It has been a long week already taking the girls to the orthodontist, getting medical records, and trying to figure out what to do next with Lauren`s neurological issues, but then late yesterday afternoon I got a call that just made everything else I had been doing all week seem like the run of the mill stuff.

The call was not from the usual, I don`t get FASD, attachment disorders, vulnerable kids, and multiple disabilities, it was from someone else who has a lot more clout then that. "Do you REALLY need the services that you have and those you are waiting for"?

Well now what do you say to that? I just don`t know sometimes what to do next. First of all, all four of our adopted kids meet EVERY criteria they have, in fact they all have multiple disabilities that qualify them many times over for the same services. I was asked to give up services for them so that other people could get help and then they could get them later. NO WAY am I going to do that. We already have a kid who is severely disabled who is on a waiting list for services and I guess after this conversation that is not going to change any time soon. When we adopted these kids we were told that there would be services out there to meet there needs. That has not been the situation at all, in fact they are losing services all the time. We are paying for medical care that is no longer covered by their insurance, maintenance therapy that is no longer covered, and we have legal bills because of their disabilities. and even if you used all of our income that might cover the cost of meeting the needs of one of the four kids. Then what would we do to feed, clothes, and shelter all of us? We will have bills for the rest of our lives because we adopted them. I used to trust that when someone told me that things were going to happen they would, but I have been an adoptive mom of kids who have special needs, to long now to do that any more. I have been blown off by a system that does not work, one to many times to go there again.

Believe it or not we REALLY do need the services. We have two kids who will become adults in a year and then we will have a whole new world of crazy system to deal with. For now all I can do is celebrate one last year of them being kids and then I will REALLY have to get to work because they will still REALLY need services. There disabilities are not going to magically disappear.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Challenge

The smooth sailing has already come to an end once again. Remember last Friday was supposed to be one of the many routine surgery days that we have at least once every six months for Lauren, well it turned out to be anything but routine.

There has been regression in speech, academics, emotional behavior, balance, and ability to do everyday tasks that had been mastered long ago for Lauren. Since Dad, I, and the teacher are all seeing the same thing I had brought it to the attention of the pediatrician at her pre-op appointment. The pediatrician and the physical medicine physician were both quite concerned because people who have Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) like the one she has do not tend to regress unless there is some neurological issue causing problems.

Apparently the two physicians had spoken on the phone while we were driving to the appointment on Friday so when we got there her medical team was ready to have a quick discussion. It was decided that while she was sedated for her other procedure they would also do a CAT scan to see if they could figure out what is going on. There were several areas of concern so further testing will need to be completed. All of the things they are considering will make her medical care more involved.

I got the job of trying to get imaging from CAT scans and MRI`s from before she was adopted, at the time she was injured. This involves working with a major medical center thousands of miles away, going through a mountain of records, and of course dealing with the issue of an adopted child while doing it. Thankfully I have a computer and I can operate it effectively when needed. After talking to four different people I think I finally got in touch with the right one, the one who can actually do something and actually knew exactly what I was talking about. It was a challenge, but I got it done. Thankfully we did not have to go to court to get this done. The staff at the hospital we are working with now had told me that in the situation where the adoption record is sealed it is not uncommon to have to get the file opened to get this information.

Now my daughter who has survived a massive TBI and has reached goals no one though possible will have to deal with another medical issue. This baby was born normal, healthy, with parents who are very intelligent, just imagine the potential destroyed because someone was angry at a new born baby! As her mom it is a challenge every day to accept things the way they are and forget about what should have been.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Gorgeous



This is the gorgeous scene we woke up to this morning. It is snowing and is not expected to quit until tomorrow. There will be plenty of work to do to get the driveway cleared out and all of the vehicles off the street for the snow emergency that will come later today. The electricity has been out twice this morning. All of the plans for today have been changed to staying home except the guys will have to go get the snow blower out of storage and drop Lauren off later. For right now we will enjoy the beauty of the snow. We will be tired of the white stuff soon enough.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Routine Day

Today will be routine as I have to take Lauren to Gillette for as they call it "surgery day". She has done this many, many times. It is an incredible medical procedure which helps to keep her spastic body from contracting. She knows the drill, yet like most big kids who have little kid abilities she protests. I can handle her protesting as it is very mild compared to many others who are dealing with this issue. The staff is great and since we are regulars we tend to get the same ones to work with her every time. They know what movies to bring and they dig through the Band-Aid collection to find purple ones for her. All I have to do is sign a mountain of paperwork and sit on my butt and wait for several hours before she is ready to go home.

The weather sounds like it could get a bit messy for the drive home though.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You

It is easy to say thank you to all of the veterans who have served our country in the armed forces. As a Navy mom and soon to be an Army mom I understand all that they sacrifice for us. Thank you to each and every one of you, you are so appreciated!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Rules

Someone asked what our family rules are and I responded that we had very few and those that we do have we keep simple. This person seems to think that we have children who are very well behaved and they wanted to know how we get all eight of them to do that when they can not get two to cooperate.

Our rules are intended to keep everyone safe and to keep our ship sailing on calm seas as I often say.

When Mom and Dad say no they really mean it. There is no such thing as no, well maybe no, or well if I cry and pout enough I will get my way. Believe it or not parents need to say no a lot. This does not mean that our kids do not get to do anything they want to, they do, it is that each of them is an individual and that is taken into account when deciding what they can decide for themselves and when. Some of our kids will never be able to make choices on their own. They just do not have the ability to do that.

Everyone in our family has chores. They are assigned based on ability. Karre cleans all of the bathrooms, Allen takes out the garbage and recycling, Hanna washes dishes, Lauren takes clothes off the line and puts folded clothes away, and Paul keeps the shoe clutter under control.There is NO getting out of your chores they have to be done. When everyone does their chores then Mom handles the rest of the housework and Dad and the other kids are assigned things to do when they are here as well. It is as simple as this, we work hard together and then we play equally as hard.

Mom and Dad or some other responsible person needs to know the whereabouts of everyone at all times. This applies to both the neuro-typical members of the family and those with special needs. This is not complicated with cell phones and Internet available everywhere. This is for safety purposes. This just makes the Mom and Dad relax a bit. That is hard to do with all of these young people on the loose.

The consequences for behavior are those which naturally occur. We do not do any behavior mod, it just does not work especially with a kid who has attachment issues.and it makes me crazy as well. If you miss the bus you will be paying for the ride to school, if you choose not to come to the dinner table and act in an appropriate manner then you do not eat ( I have never had a kid starve to death even though some of them think they will), if you lose your jacket you will buy a new one, and if you destroy something that belongs to someone else you will replace it.

Everyone needs personal space and that needs to be respected. This is difficult especially for our kids who have FASD. They do not understand boundaries, have trouble figuring out what behavior is acceptable, and are very impulsive. Some kids have this thing for bugging others and it gets annoying, but they can spend time in their room or doing some very physical activity if need be.

That is about it, these are the tools that we use to keep our family running smoothly,no means no, work and play together, know where everyone is, natural consequences, and respect the personal space of everyone else. This sounds simple, yet some days it is very difficult especially when people choose not to cooperate, but most of the time it works for us and that is all that matters.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Summer In November

It is so nice outside that I have not had much time to spend at the computer. I have hung clothes on the line three days in a row, oh yeah that may be some kind of record for November here in Minnesota. Jared put the Christmas tree display out in the yard yesterday. He had lots of "help" from Andrew who was trying to eat the box and Paul who was very, very excited about the whole affair. That boy can talk and talk and talk about anything. (It is amazing since he was not supposed to be able to talk at all). The lights will not go on until after Thanksgiving, but it is much easier to put them up now rather then wait until it is cold and snowing.

The kids did not have school yesterday so keeping track of them, getting them fed. and playing outside was pretty much the whole day gone. I had to leave them with Karre and Angie for a while to take Lauren to a pre-op appointment too. I have already had an IEP meeting thin week and had to deal with a school crisis this morning. It is only Tuesday so the week will be full of lots of other action yet. I had to reschedule some appointments because of jury duty.This week and next. I will really be glad when I am done with that because it messes with my schedule a lot.

I took a long walk today just because it is so nice out and I could do it. The Dad got home from work and calls me up to ask when the heck I was. I told him I was just walking and he goes don`t you have any other stuff to do? Yeah I do, but it can wait until later.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What Day Is It Anyway?

Yesterday I kept thinking that it was Friday. I don`t know why, maybe because things get a bit crazy here sometimes and one day looks just like the one before it.

Paul is holding it together at school at least most of the time. There are things that need to change but that is a long process and right now I am kind of tired of fighting a never ending battle with people who just do not understand FASD /TBI kids and are not listening to any thing I am telling them anyway, so things are going to move really really slow because the Mom in not making a big deal out of it right now. It is another one of those situations where the Mom is going to have to go nuts in order to get anything done.

The kid is sssssooooo cute at home and we love him to pieces and for right now that is enough for me.

He says things like " can you get me some juice"? If you say yes he will come back with "thanks that makes me really, really happy".

He says pogot instead of forgot.
He says punkum instead of pumpkin.
He says that he can`t take his shoes off because he might break them.

I had better get moving to get a few more things done around here before it really is Friday because we have a long weekend here with a teachers work day and no school on Monday.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pay Back Day

We had people over for dinner and let the kids go trick or treating which is a bit of fun and change from the every day routine. For most of us this is a good thing and we enjoy doing things like this from time to time. For Hanna family fun makes for crazy pay back behavior.

She was up singing and dancing a bit before 3:00 am. It was pretty loud. I know this because it woke Dad up and he usually has absolutely no idea of the chaos that goes on around here during the night. When it was time to get ready for school she was doing everything she could to be annoying and guess what it worked. She did not put underwear on so she got sent back to her room to do that, then she put hot pink socks on, which did not match anything she was wearing, so she got to change them, she brushed her teeth without using a toothbrush or tooth paste so she got to do that again too. she finally missed the bus and then went nuts because she was not going to get to talk to her friend. I told her that she could just talk to me until Karre was ready to go and then she could ride with her. Hanna was not talking to me because " I don`t talk to dumb moms and families are really dumb". Maybe she should come up with something more original that that one which I have heard hundreds of times already.

After school Hanna was coloring on the table so her PCA told her to put the crayons away since she did not want to color on the paper any more. Hanna got mad and started chewing on a yellow crayon and spitting it every where. Have you ever tried to get yellow crayon off the braces on the teeth of a kid who is going bonkers? It is one of those things that I would rather not have ever experienced. Hey, at least yellow did not show up as much as most of the other colors do.

That is how Hanna pays us back for letting her have fun. There are times when it would be easier to just never do anything special. When I look at the remainder of the year I see a lot of bonkers behavior coming up.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween

Here is our cute buddy Andrew in his spider costume. He came to our house to collect some Cheerios for a treat.
This is Paul in his hot dog costume. He did the hot dog dance for us too.

I would pretty much rather not do the trick or treat thing any more, but I have a five year old running around here and he needs to do all of the fun stuff that the other kids did when they were little too. We had the Coffee family over for tacos. I told Jared that we needed some desert so he baked three pies for us. The older kids took the younger kids out to get the loot and we even older kids just sat around and talked. It was a nice evening. There were no kids losing it and they all held it together until bedtime.

The college kids are here showing off their pumpkin carving skills. We have a future dentist (Kathryn), a communications, French, international relations guy (Trevor), an occupational therapist (Rene`), and a medical doctor (Lisa). There is a lot of studying going on with this crowd, but it is nice that they also take time to have some fun as well. They insisted that I put this on my blog, so here you are UND seniors!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

3:00 AM

The day started at 3:00 am around here. Hanna had climbed to the top closet shelf (I need a stool to reach up there and she is a lot shorter then me) got down a green bin which I had put summer clothes in, dumped them on the floor, turned the bin upside down on the bed, and was dancing on it. All of a sudden there was a very loud THUD, that was Hanna falling off her dance floor. All of this racket got Jared yelling "geez Hanna go to bed", the dog barking, and then we got a visitor in our room since Paul is up at the sound of a pin dropping.

Well Hanna was not done dancing and singing and Paul was not going back to sleep so I got up and went downstairs to start the day. I figured that if I took the noisy people with me then at least some of us could get a few more hours sleep.

Dad wants Hanna and Lauren to switch rooms to see if that cuts down on the racket. I don`t think it is going to help but we will give it a try. There are two good things about doing this, first the lights in Lauren`s room can be turned off so that she can not be playing with them all night and this room is in the back corner so it is further away from everyone else. I do not think it will do much good since Hanna is so loud, If it does by some miracle work then we have a job on our hands to make it permanent.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Line In The Sand

I am trying to figure out why there has to be a crisis and complete chaos before you can actually get the services a kid needs to function? I do not do well operating in crisis mode at all times. I would rather prevent any crisis from happening in the first place. Now I know there are time of crisis because that is part of life, but not everything has to reach that state of breakdown does it?

We as a family had talked over a couple of months about what it is that we need in order for our family to function in a healthy manner. We then put this information in writing and presented to Hanna`s worker. Guess what she FINALLY got the idea that we were serious about changes needing to be made and we were very clear in the fact that we can not continue to live in crisis mode any longer. This meant that changes needed to be made NOW or there was going to be a need for plan B which as a family we had decided was not good at all, but it would allow the nine of us who are attached to one another to live without the constant chaos that we endure on a daily basis now.

The plan is not perfect, but it is very doable. I am pretty sure that there will be a need for drawing the line in the sand many more times in the coming years. Now we know what we are doing and will be able to go into it with a bit less stress. Raising kids with disabilities is no picnic at the beach.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Case Closed

One of our bigger stresses around here is over and it has taken 24 hours for that to finally sink in. Wow I sit here and I hardly believe it, so yeah here is the scoop. We needed the court to give an order for medical treatment for our daughter. This is a long, okay very, very long process (2 1/2 years) and you do not want to go here unless it is the last option and you really, really feel that it is in the best interest of your kid.

There are mountains of paperwork that have to be completed.
Appointments with MANY medical people that have to be kept.
You have a kid that is less then cooperating.
It takes lots of time.
It costs lots of $$$$.
You have to have lawyers and guardians in your lives.
These are just a few of the many things that are involved in the process that we had to go through to finally get this done.

Anyway yesterday we finally went to court to get this piece of paper, it is just a piece of paper for heavens sake, but it means the world to me because now we can get the medical care we have been seeking for this kid and she can get on with living her life with one huge issue that she will not have to deal with..

I took Hanna with me because her lawyer said she had to be there, even though our lawyer, the guardian, and I all had hoped that we would not have to drag her along since she has no clue what we are talking about. Well Hanna did her thing, she stood up, sat down, stood up, took her shoe off, put it on again, undressed her Groovy Guy ( I allow her to bring one when she has to go some place or do something that she does not want to do) and then she started putting Groovy Guy down her shirt as my lawyer was speaking to the judge so I quietly retrieved and took Groovy Guy and his clothes over to sit with me before she could do anything else inappropriate with him.

Anyway the 2 lawyers, and the guardian were all on the same page and coming to the same resolution to the issue so I did not have to say a thing. The judge agreed with all of the rest of us, maybe Hanna being Hanna helped the cause, I don`t know but I got what I wanted out of the hearing.

Then the judge came out from behind the bench and gave Hanna a green Tye-dyed bear that had been sitting there holding a bag of green Life savers. What that judge said next was what finally sent me into tears. "Hanna you are a sweet girl just like this teddy bear and treats. you have a family who cares very much about you and they love you just the way you are. They would do anything for you. I hope that some day you can understand that.

Anyway we have the paper, case closed. Now we move on to the next stop on this journey, surgery.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Blog About Nothing

There is a lot going on around here, there always is but almost all of what is going on here lately and for the next few days is unbloggible. It will certainly be material to blog about after the fact. That is because I think other families can learn from the craziness that we are living right now. Things are a little stressful, okay a LOT stressful so we are taking things one at a time in the order that they come up and dealing with it that way.

It does not help matters that the kids do not have school until next week either. I can deal with all of this other stuff in a more organized, calm, clear headed manner if I am not getting interrupted every other minute by kids who have absolutely no clue how to give me a break just for a little while. They do not understand any of this stuff and how it impacts all of them long term. There is no explaining it either so I just deal with them and their little issues and then move on to the more important things.

Our ship will be sailing in calm waters once the storm passes. I keep telling myself that all day long.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wake Up Wednesday

It is as Paul says "wake up Wednesday". Yeah I have to get going as things are getting a bit crazy here.

Karre and Allen have dentist appointments this morning. Before we leave I have to get the clothes on the line. This might be the last day I will be able to hang them outside so I want to get as much of that done as I can.

I have to box up Lauren`s communication device to send it back for repairs. I don`t know about this thing, it seems we spend a lot of time with breakdowns. They have put her material on a computer at school so she can keep doing her work.

It is also early release day so the kids will be home from school shorty after lunch time and then I will get nothing done until Angie and Karre take over and watch a couple of them.

Some time today I need to figure out something for dinner, get a few groceries, fill out two forms that need to be done, and clean up the cereal Paul spilled all over the dinning room. Wake up Mom and get a move on it!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Work Fast

I have to work fast and get everything done early this week since the kids only have school for two and a half days. It is still nice outside so hopefully we can do something at the park when they are out of school.

We celebrated the nephews ninth birthday over the weekend. Paul had a great time playing with his cousin Nicole. they built a bus out of folding chairs and blankets. They gave all of her dolls and stuffed animals rides on the bus. It sure is nice to see that he can play with some one else. He does best when there is just one other child and that child has the ability to direct the play. He thinks the world of Nicole and I hope that lasts for a long time. She is a really sweet little girl.

Now I have to decide, should I clean the floor or let it go for the week, knowing that the kids are going to be home to make a mess of it anyway? I can find more interesting things to do with my time, that's for sure.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Good Havernoon

I got a call from Paul`s school yesterday telling me that he is poking his friends in line and being disruptive, no kidding, they are finally figuring this out! Paul did quite well in the preschool setting where there are three adults and eight kids in the class. He can handle this, but now he is in a regular kindergarten class and he is not able to cope. I had requested a new IEP last spring and we had agreed that he needed to be re-evaluated since much has changed with him. That evaluation has not even been started yet. I need a functioning IEP in place as soon as possible so now I work with people who are going to drag this out as long as possible. Why is it that as a parent of a kid with disabilities you have to go completely nuts before things get done? I do not know what kind of reinforcements I am going to have to call in to get this done right, but I will do whatever it takes to get it done now.

I told Paul that his teacher called and he said "did you tell her good havernoon"?

He missed the point that she was trying to make. She is trying to tell him that I will not be happy if she calls me. I do not care one way or another if she calls me. It is not going to change his behavior because he can not think things out like that and then follow through.

After I got done dealing with Paul I had to take Hanna to the clinic for two shots. She ran ahead and though she was going to hide out in the bathroom so she would not have to get the shots. We decided that rather that fight with her kicking and screaming she was getting her shots in the bathroom. Now this is a bit out of the ordinary , but it takes three clinic staff to deal with this every time. I can not tell her ahead of time what we are doing and bribe her because I have already experienced her trying to get out of the car while we are driving and I do not want to do that again. Hanna my girl, you cause me to shake my head is amazement at the things you will do.

I don`t know if it was a good havernoon, but I can say that it sure was full of drama.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pumpkins




We went to get pumpkins over the weekend. It was really warm out there. I don`t recall the last time we did this and could let the kids wear shorts, maybe never. Paul checked lots and lots of pumpkins out, but in the end he decided that he wanted one that he could carry all by himself, which is fine because that means there will be fewer seeds to remove later. Hanna did not really want to spend her allowance on a pumpkin she was pouting as usual. " I`ll get one only if I have too". We told her she did not have to get one but she did anyway. It was like we were forcing her to do something that might be fun.

After we got the pumpkins and ran a lot of other errands Dad decided that he was taking everyone out for pizza. Hanna did not want to do that either. There are not many thirteen year old kids who pout when they get to go out for pizza. She was not being appropriate in the restaurant so she and I had to leave.

This is exactly why we do not take her with us when we do family things very often. This time we had decided to go at the last minute and all of our available PCAs were with us so we did not have much of a choice in the matter.We are also really watching the number of hours we use for her care because we are going to run out of them. Having to schedule everything makes life a bit to complicated at times.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Pudding

Today was the last of the homecoming week stuff. Karre went to work on her senior project, then to the football game. and dance. She is a senior so enjoy all of it one last time.

They played Bingo in one of Hanna`s classes today and she won pudding. Her teacher made sure she knew that the fact that she had won was being written in her take home folder. She did not need to eat it at school as they already had another treat. The teacher called me as she often does to make sure we know what is going on in school. We had talked about the pudding coming home. Dad got home from work a few minutes before the kids did and when I told him that Hanna was supposed to be bringing the pudding home he just chuckled with some sarcasm added for good measure.

The pudding DID make it home technically speaking. Hanna ate it in the garage before she came in the house. She did not have a spoon so she used her finger and then licked the container spotless. When I asked her about the pudding she simply said that she did follow the rules and brought it home, but it was hers and she was going to make sure she got to eat it.

Have I ever mentioned that this kid has just a few food issues?

Round And Round

Hanna started the week out with some all out crazy behavior on Monday and things have just been going round and round, really not getting any where since then.

I spent Tuesday with Hanna getting her back on track so that she could function in the world again. She does not have a clue as to how her behavior messes with everyone around her. I don`t think she even cares either, which does not help matters. Late in the afternoon her DD worker came and she and I just are not on the same page at all as far as what as what is needed and is going to work. I will need to keep working on her to get this right for Hanna and the rest of our family.

I spent Wednesday at the courthouse (jury duty). Some old guy was to busy picking corn and did not show up so he got escorted in by the sheriff. The guy was, lets just say, less then thrilled to be there. If they tell you to show up for jury duty you had better get there unless you like to hang out with the friendly sheriff.

Yesterday I got a lot of paperwork done, oh yeah there is always a lot of that here. I also had a meeting with Lauren`s CADI worker. Everything is moving along as well as it can be there. She gets almost all the service that she needs and a couple of extra things too.

Today it is already Friday and going to be eighty degrees or better for the next couple of days so I had better get things in order here at home so that we can put our shorts and t-shirts on and spend the weekend outside. I don`t have any idea what we will do but it doesn`t matter. When it is this nice in October you have to take advantage of it. The only thing I do not like about this nice weather is the bees are really going crazy and I am allergic to them so I will have to be on the lookout.

The last few days have been well, just there, nothing exciting (unless a kid melting down or an old guy who can`t follow directions are exciting) no great leaps towards progress or anything like that, but then again nothing terrible either, so we are just going round and round.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Oh Goodness!!!

After school yesterday was one interesting affair. Sitting in our dinning room were a court appointed guardian and a court appointed attorney for Hanna. They had met the adorable, sweet,cute kid with the gorgeous big brown eyes last week. Well this week they got to meet the Hanna in all out melt down form. They got quite the show. I think both of them were pretty shocked as what they were witnessing. I do not mind when the rest of the world sees whet we live with here, maybe it will open some eyes and eventually get help where it is needed.

She came off the bus into the house throwing backpack, shoes, and lunchbox. she was crying and screaming and just plain being crazy. This was all because she had done something at school and she knew she was not supposed to be doing it and because there was a special event that had taken place and she could not handle that either. This chaos lasted until about 10:30 last night. Then everyone fell asleep exhausted.

Today we are regrouping so we can get back on track.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Purple Day

Today it is purple day, at least for the seventh graders in our school. The simple matter of wearing purple in order to be identified as a member of this class has been a big ordeal for Hanna.

They had talked about this event and others that will take place this week during homecoming, in the classroom last week when it was still September. Hanna had been told that purple day would take place when it was October.

When Hanna got up the next morning I heard her ask Lauren if it was October and she had told her it was, so Hanna comes downstairs for breakfast wearing purple flowered shorts and a purple striped t-shirt. She also had purple socks stuffed in her pocket. We had to explain to her that yes, it was October, but there are many days in the month and it was not the right day for the purple event. She had to scream for awhile and throw a couple of shoes before she managed to go put something else on.

While I was gone this weekend they got to do this same routine everyday. Thank goodness today it was finally purple day. Now we can move on to the next what ever day it will be.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Retreat Weekend

It was a great weekend!! I got to spend some time away at a retreat for adoptive moms. I connected with some moms whom I had known for a long time and I met some new moms too. We stayed at a beautiful camp bursting with all the beauty of the fall colors. We talked and learned about some difficult issues that come with raising kids who have experienced trauma and we had some fun too.

I came away with the feeling that we are doing what is right for our family even though it may not be easy. The other thing that I heard, and I know that I had heard this before, but had forgotten is that the child`s trauma and issues are theirs and as a parent I can not own that trauma for them. They need to learn to deal with it in their own way at their own pace. Now that is all good, but I sure wish they could pick up the pace and move on to things that are more healthy and productive.

I came home to kids who were excited to see me, a reasonably orderly home, and dinner ready to be served. I don`t think I could ask for anything more then that.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Detour And No Meds

It got to be a long day yesterday. There is one way out of town go west, that is it. Everything else is closed down doe to the flooding. Minnesota Ave. which is also known as main drag here looks pretty well deserted, you can even park along there without the fear of being hit by a semi truck.

Anyway Dad and Jared gave us directions and we followed them precisely, however when we got to the place where they had said it would be safe to cross the Minnesota river that bridge had just been closed, AURGH! We had to drive another 40 miles before we could get back on tr4ck. All of this extra driving made it impossible to take time to stop and eat. None of us had eaten since breakfast.

We got the girls to the orthodontist where they got the hardware in their mouths rearranged a bit. For Lauren it was a fairly short appointment, but of course Hanna had to have everything redone. Her mouth looks a lot better since her surgery two weeks ago so that makes the work worth doing.

We then went to a sit down place and had a nice dinner. That went well except that Hanna`s meds had long since worked their way out of her system so she was beginning to lose it. Putting food in front of her face calmed her down at least for a bit.

The drive home was not fun. Hanna was being loud, VERY LOUD. I did not think to bring her meds along so we were going to be in for a ride. Everything was like riding on a roller coaster, every bump, curve in the road, taking corners got her to yelling, Karre was not driving crazy or anything, but Hanna was just losing it altogether. By the time we got home at 8:45 pm, nearly three hours past the time when Hanna usually takes her meds, I had had enough of her so I told her to forget about doing homework and go to bed. That idea did not go over well with her at all because she thought she was going to get in trouble at school for not doing her homework. I explained that I would write a note and things would be okay.

I get to make the same trip again today, but this time I only have to take Lauren so it will be a breeze. She is quiet in the car and from time to time she even falls asleep. I also know the detour route that is going to work so that will cut about 40 minutes off the trip. We will make it home for a late dinner, oh yeah I have confidence that we will. This flooding is ridiculous, it is September here and we do not do this in September. Spring time would get very interesting at the rate things are going right now.l

Monday, September 27, 2010

Steamed

I am steamed, okay if I were a tea kettle I would just about be boiling over right now. Why is it that teachers have to put a happy, smiley face on EVERYTHING? Okay that is not all teachers, because I work with one who is able to tell it like it is, but 99% of them just have to tell me that my kid had a great day every day and how is this that a kid who is impulsive, hyper, has sensory issues and an attention span of about two minutes on a good day is sssssooooo perfect all day long? I guarantee that if you REALLY follow this kid and document the day accurately everything would not come out quite so perfect. I know this kid has behaviors and issues that are neither age appropriate nor school acceptable.

I need to know the positive, the negative, and everything in between. I need this information in order to make adjustments in medication, meeting sensory needs, and making transitions. These are all issues we are dealing with on a daily basis.

Kids are kids, I have eight of them and not a one of them is perfect. I do not find it offensive to hear that my kid is not perfect, as a matter of fact I want to know what is going on so I can help them to learn from their behaviors. Lets get it straight not everyone is going to be performing above average, not everyone is able to sit quietly and follow directions all day long, and not everyone loves being a student. That does not mean these kids should not be educated, they should be, but it does mean that sometimes we need to think outside the norm to make it work for them.

Done with the rant, now I have to communicate this so that maybe, just maybe, (I can hope can`t I) some teachers will find it possible to get real.

Here Comes The Water

It is flooding here, thanks to the ten inches or so of rain we had last week. Both of the bridges over the Minnesota River are closed. That leads to some major traffic headaches to deal with.

The school alerted us, ( setting off three cell phones, the house phone, and two e-mail addresses at one time), that buses will be running forty minutes early until the bridges are open again. The driver of the special education bus left us a message that their bus would pick them up twenty minutes early. This leads me to believe that these kids are going to be late to school unless this guy has some secret formula or magic powers which will get his bus around the river faster then everyone else. At any rate they are going to get a long ride. None of my kids who ride this bus have trouble riding so since this will keep them more in their routine we will do this instead of transporting them to school.

I have to figure out how much driving we are going to have to do on Tuesday since both Lauren and Hanna have orthodontist appointments in the metro area and the high way heading from here to there is closed too.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Home Alone

This morning being home alone is so nice. I can listen to whatever music I want to, clean things up in a hurry, go ride bike, and I will have time to bake. I figure the lunch boxes could use some cookies next week.

We go about ten inches of rain, way to much. I am used to seeing sand bags around town every spring, but it is a bit strange to see them out there in September. We live at the top of the valley but much of our town is having flooding issues. It has stopped raining at least for now. We now have a wind advisory. We can`t say that we have boring weather around here since it is always changing.

Next week Lauren and Hanna have medical appointments, yippee, I don`t have to go to the court house at all for jury duty, a bigger yippee, and the biggest yippee of all is I get to go to a mom`s retreat for the weekend! I will use my at home alone time next week making a few meals for Dad and the kids to have while I am gone.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Talken Baseball

Jared and I were having a brief chat about our fabulous Minnesota Twins when Paul had to get his two cents in as well. We have the baseball game on the radio in Paul`s room almost every night because the noise calms him enough to get him to sleep. I don`t know what we will put on when the season ends.

At any rate Jared had said something about the Twins playing very well on the road. Paul chimed in " that`s naughty to play ball on the road".

We went on to discuss the fact that they were playing at home for a few days. Paul says "it`s naughty to play ball in our home too, they should play at the park".

He is just such a concrete thinker. Where ever they are playing way to go Twins!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Revenge Hanna Style

Yesterday Hanna`s behavior chart from school showed that she had left a mess in the bathroom sink. (Hanna is not exactly a neat freak when it comes to brushing her teeth). One of the boys had reported to the teacher that she had left the mess there. Now Hanna is angry with the kid because as she puts it "he is a tattle tale".

Well I suspect that he nor anyone else wanted to take responsibility for a mess Hanna had made so he told. I do agree that he did tattle, but there are times when it is appropriate to tell and then there are those times when one should not be doing so. The trouble is Hanna does not understand the difference and trying to explain it is getting absolutely no where with her.

She is just plain mad at the kid so I had to send a note to school today to warn them to be on the lookout for revenge Hanna style. She told us several times that she will get him back on Tuesday. (every day in Hanna`s world is Tuesday). I just hope she does not do anything to stupid.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fall Weekend

Paul plopped down to try out the apples. He thought that he should have a bite or two out of several of them, but we set the limit at just one.
Hey boy, stop!! Paul kept running off with the wagon instead of waiting for the apple pickers to fill it up.
This Oscar the Grouch got Paul`s attention. He did not care at all what is said, he just liked the grouch.

We went to pick raspberries, strawberries, and apples. I froze berries and Jared made apple pies to put in the freezer for the long winter ahead. The kids enjoy going to pick apples and they get so excited that they fill up the basket in a hurry. Jared and I picked the raspberries because they require a whole lot more patience then the younger four have.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Hello Kitty

A Hello Kitty (imagine how inappropriate that comes out with a severe speech impairment) coloring book, a bin of markers, and a bucket of crayons is what I gave Hanna this morning. I don`t care if she colors the entire book (and she will) as long as it keeps her calm. She is supposed to keep calm and quiet today as per doctors orders. Those orders are REALLY difficult to follow for Hanna. Her FASD brain keeps her on the move all the time and she can not stick to anything for very long unless she is obsessing with it, which she does with coloring.

We were up three times during the night cleaning up the drool from her mouth and changing the towel I had put on her pillow in an attempt to keep her bed clean. I have sheets to wash today. Her face looks even more swollen today then it did yesterday. I was informed that this would certainly be the situation and they said this is the day with the most pain. I might have to look for something else for her to obsess with later on.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Finally Quiet

It has been a very long day Hanna was up at 4:00 am. I tried to get her to lay down with me and and Thor (the cat at Jared`s) but she could not calm down. Since she was not being allowed to eat or drink anything I knew being up so early was going to make things difficult. I got her to watch cartoons and then I made her take a very long bath before going for a long walk and then heading over to the hospital. Things did not get any calmer there. she complained, paced, sat in a chair and spun herself, and rocked in the rocking chair until surgery time.

Surgery was expected to take about an hour, however it was just over two hours before they were finished, then we had tears, an IV to deal with, and a kid with a very swollen face.

We are home now and she has lots of meds on board so is pretty out of it. I am going to put her to bed and go there myself since I have this feeling that it is going to be a very long night. Hopefully some of the swelling goes down tomorrow and then we get to work on cleaning her mouth while it heals.

Even with all of the swelling the appearance of her mouth and teeth is definitely much improved. It is quiet now except for Paul`s chatter so I will enjoy it while it lasts.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

We Are Off

Hanna and I are spending the night at Jared`s "grand Mansion" since it is only about thirty minutes away from the hospital instead of an hour and a half. We need to be at the the hospital bright and early in the morning for Hanna`s first surgery on her mouth. I am really ready to get this over with. I can not give this kid her morning meds so until they get her into the operating room I get to deal with anxiety gone crazy, impulsiveness, hyperness, and attachment disorder all rolled into one, along with all the kicking, screaming, biting, hitting, and swearing that go along with taking her to any medical appointment.

I am ready, lets just do this so I can relax!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Saturday

It is Saturday and we survived the first week of school. Lauren earned herself some trouble by not telling the truth and Hanna earned some trouble at home being a tattle tale. Allen did fine and Paul lost it every day after school. He had worked very hard and kept his behavior under raps but when he got home he could not control things any longer. He is going to need more sensory time throughout the day so now I have to explain all of that once again. I have been there done that many times already.

This afternoon we are attending a wedding and then I need to get groceries. Hanna has already thrown a fit because we do not have any milk. She does not like to drink juice and apparently she is going through milk withdrawal. Trying to get the kid who drinks milk at every meal, even at a restaurant to take a break for a whole day is a lot of work. It is rather strange because all seven of the other kids would drink apple juice or orange juice before milk if given the opportunity to do so.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Big Kid Now

Paul started kindergarten today, so he is officially a big kid now. According to school staff he had a great day. He has lost it altogether since coming home. I will be recording this to show them in the very near future as I expect that this will be the situation on a regular basis. He is just so darn cute that I would like to hug him to pieces, but right now I think that I had better give him some space.

Where Have All The Flowers Gone

That song Where Have All The Flowers Gone, the one sung by Peter, Paul, and Mary pops into my head now and again. Just knowing that song makes me really old according to my kids. It is a war protest song from long ago but when I hear it it makes me think of something which causes just as much anger, sadness, fear, and grief as any war would, that is FASD.

Fighting FASD is like fighting a war, in that the battle is long and difficult. Many babies are born with the affects of the alcohol their mothers consumed. These babies will live all of their lives with the impairments known as FASD. They are Innocent victims just as many are victims of war.

Their families will carry on while dealing with the mental health issues, anger, and frustration their loved ones are living with.

Everyone else continues on seemingly unaffected by all of this, however they to live with damage caused by those affected with FASD. Everyone pays to house, feed, and clothes those who are incarcerated. Everyone pays for residential treatment centers, mental health facilities, and education. There is a tremendous amount of potential lost.

All of this for what? It is absolutely crazy when we consider all the harm caused by behavior which is socially accepted. For those of us who know all to well the hurt that FASD causes the war continues to stop potential moms from consuming alcohol. The one line from this song that keeps rambling around in my brain is this simple question.

"When will they ever learn? Oh, when will they ever learn"?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Summer To Fall

We finished off summer over the weekend with a last trip to take a swim, or for most of the group to play in the sand. Paul did not want to leave even though he was so cold he was turning purple. He really enjoys playing in the sand with the trucks. We grilled some burgers and had fresh fruit and vegetables.

Now this morning four of the five kids have headed out the door to start a new school year. Paul will start in a couple of days. Once he gets going I will be able to get some sort of routine going around here for myself.

It was a very, very long summer here. I was not able to let kids do as many things as I usually do simply because I did not have the hours to use my staff to do it. Lauren has the same hours for which we are very great full, paul`s were cut a bit so those two were able to have the regular routine going for summer. Hanna and Allen`s hours have been cut dramatically therefore I could not let them do things that they usually do. They need direct one on one supervision and support in order to participate in any activities either in the home or out in the community. One example of this is that the kids usually do horseback riding, but we were only able to go one time and could not go again because it takes three people to supervise and support the kids in this activity. Karre and I tried to do it alone but it just did not work and we will not do it again that way. This activity requires lifting kids, dealling with sensory issues, impulsive behavior, and being able to take turns. They have both riding the horses and wagon rides. Hanna and Paul could not understand why they had to wait for us while Lauren and Allen had turns at riding the horses. They thought they could go on the wagon ride without us and when told that they could not of course Hanna just impulsively took off so that left me with three of them while Karre retrieved her and of course she was mad so we ended up leaving so then we got to drive home with three of the four pitching a fit, oh and that is so much fun. Hanna refusing to wear her seat belt and Allen yelling at her to put it on, and the rest is chaos.

Now that the kids are back in school I will be working to get their PCA hours back if I can as well as the continued issues that I am working at to get their medical benefits issues taken care of. The task of dealing with the system goes on and on no matter what season of the year it is.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Rene`s Day

Today is Rene`s birthday and she is celebrating it going to class.. Happy birthday today anyway!

When Rene` came into the world twenty-five years ago today I never dreamed that we would have at least one infant, toddler, or preschooler in our home for all of those years. Well we have done just that with adopted kids, birth kids, and foster kids (there have been 42 in all).

I have fed, rocked, bathed, cuddled and changed diapers of babies who had blue, brown, and green eyes to gaze into.

I have gone through the "no" phase, danced, and sung with toddlers who had dark brown, olive, and fair skin.

I have watched Sesame Street, Dora, and Mickey Mouse, made play dough,built forts and castles, played dress up, played with baby dolls and trucks, read books and colored, answered "why" questions with preschoolers who had black brown, blonde, and red hair.

We have gone through to many strollers to count and two wagons taking kids to the park, play ground, and pool. These kids have worn out or grown out of mountains of clothes. They have lost socks and mittens. I still find them in the couch or under the seat in the van when I am cleaning.

It is a lot of work to be a mom to all of these kids. There have been times of frustration and I have dealt with many a crisis, but I have enjoyed doing it and I hope that I have given them a good start, I have certainly given it my all. Now our baby boy will go off to school all day with the rest of the big kids so I will be retiring from being a mom with kids at home. It will be something new for me and I am looking forward to moving on, yet I am pretty sure it will take a bit of time to get used to doing things without toys to trip over, someone needing something,and kids by my side all day.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hanna Is On A Mission

Hanna has plans today, at least some sort of crazy idea that she is leaving because this is just a dumb family according to her and she does not need a family. She has decided that she is going to run away to her old school where she can as she puts it "be the boss and do what she wants to all to time".

There is one problem with this plan of hers she can not find her way to this school, for that matter she can not find her way anywhere. She thinks she has solved the problem because she asked Lauren to help her get there. I think Lauren could get to the school without getting lost, but she told Hanna that she had to charge up her power chair before going so far away. (That was good planning on Lauren`s part). Hanna went out to the garage to plug in the wheelchair and she was sitting there on top of a pile of boxes waiting for the light on the charger to turn green indicating that the chair is ready to go. I do not know how long it takes to charge a wheelchair battery since we usually plug it in over night.

Dad came home and offered to take the kids bowling so now Hanna has to make a choice to go with everyone else or watch for the green light. I hope she goes bowling and forgets all about running away.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Weekend Rewind

We had a great weekend, well that is all of us except for Hanna who just could not help but get herself into a heap of trouble. I will spare you the details because it is all just to exhausting to rehash, lets just say it involves the usual lying and stealing.

Anyway Karre drove the first 1/3 of the trip and then we picked Jared up and he drove. We stopped to pick up Uncle Dave, Kris, and the two kids and we drove to northern Minnesota where we met Rene` and about 350 other relatives. The kids of Dad`s aunt and uncle were throwing a party to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. These people have 12 kids, 39 grand kids, and 39 great-grand kids. In another week or so there will be two more to add. Anyway we ate, visited, and let the kids run around. There were plenty of kids of all ages so everyone could find someone to hang out with. There was a softball tournament and volleyball, too.

A few more details about the food. There were 3 grills going with pork chops, chicken, and burgers, fresh sweet corn, salads, fresh fruit and vegetables, and of course cakes, cookies, and deserts of all kinds.

After hours of enjoying ourselves outside and then taking the kids swimming there was a dance too! These people play as hard as they work and that is pretty hard. I am usually in the majority in this Scandinavian state of Minnesota, but this part of the state is Polish through and through and we Scandinavians are those who just happen to marry into this clan of wonderful people.

By the way after all of this partying almost everyone made it to Sunday Mass as well. We sure had fun.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Wait Till Dad Gets Home

I am trying to get things organized as we need to go to northern Minnesota this weekend to attend a "Polish Party" with all of my husbands family. It will be great fun once we get there, but first I have to pack everything for everyone up. I have been trying to get this done for hours now, but Paul keeps unpacking while Allen yells at him to stop, and the two girls are arguing over who gets to wear what.

Paul found out that I had not put in his favorite car shirt, which has a rather large stain on it, so I threw it in hoping that he would get lost. He has unpacked the shoes and is as he puts it playing shoes, (that would be clomping around the house in every ones shoes) and when he is done with a pair he just throws them where ever they happen to land.

Allen is trying to be helpful and retrieve the shoes and other stuff and put it back, but I told him to stop because Paul started throwing shoes at him and I do not want to deal with Allen throwing them back at him.

Lauren and Hanna have two closets and four dressers full of clothes that they MUST share. They do not share underclothes or long pants but everything else belongs to both of them since they wear the same size. One would think that they could each find three complete outfits to take along as well as pajamas, and a swimsuit. They both seem to think that they need to have the hot pink shorts and neither of them will give an inch. No one gets to bring those shorts as they are now on my top closet shelf. Hanna is not packing anything, (I guess she does not need clothes) since the only thing she wants to wear are those shorts not even the hot green ones that are the same as the ones I took away. I am finding all of this rather crazy since her favorite color is green and she always wears those. Lauren thinks that she should bring long jeans and hoodies. It is supposed to be 85 plus and humid, but since she is always cold I will let her do her thing. I told her that she had to put in at least one pair of shorts and a t-shirt just in case she decides that she is looking silly dressed for winter.

I give up on this project. I am leaving them for Angie and Karre to handle while I go get groceries for the weekend. I will wait till Dad gets home then I might have a chance to finish what I started early this morning with a little less assistance.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Spuds


Yesterday afternoon I was busy so I had asked Karre to wash some potatoes for dinner as we were going to have loaded baked potatoes since i couldn`t think of anything else to make and we had lots of fresh vegetables to put on them. She washed the potatoes and put them into the oven to bake. After awhile she came and told me that it smelled like french fries. When I went to investigate i discovered that she had stabbed thirteen of the spuds and they were cooking just fine, but number fourteen was splattered all over the oven.

I had just cleaned the oven about a month ago and sure had no intention of doing it again anytime soon.

Karre says "so that`s why you stab potatoes, I thought it was just some crazy mom thing that you did for the fun of it".

Oh yes, I have great fun stabbing spuds, maybe to take out some of my frustrations after dealing with the nutty system all day. In that case we will be having baked potatoes very often.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Two More Weeks!

Two more weeks today and I send them out the door to school, at least four of them, the kindergartner does not start until two days later. Are we crazy here in Minnesota or what? Why the heck aren`t these kids in school? I guess it is because some folks are supposedly making some bucks by having the kids on vacation until after Labor Day. For me the bucks have already been spent for the summer and now it is time to get back into the school routine.

Karre will be a senior this year and she has been working so she is not getting to me, but the rest of them are running out of things to do and even when there are things to do they need to be supervised ALL the time so it gets a little crazy. Hanna and Lauren have both gotten themselves into trouble lately, Lauren just being immature and not getting what she wants and with Hanna it is the same old battles that we always have. Allen is Allen, he does not cause much trouble, but he still needs to be supervised, dressed, fed, entertained , toileted, fed, entertained, toileted,fed some more, showered, teeth brushed, toileted, medicated, put to bed, and then we get to start all over again the next day. Paul my busiest of busy bodies is now able to play for about thirty minutes at one thing (thanks to new meds) but he is so impulsive that you never know what he will do next, he needs a great deal of intervention and redirection all day long, and he talks ALL the time. If he is awake his mouth is running and that nonstop chatter, which for the most part has nothing to do with anything that is going on around here is driving me nuts.

It is time for them to go to school so I can have a little peace and quiet around here. I am counting the days of in my head 14, 13, 12, 11, etc.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mori


A few weeks ago Karre brought home this Caterpillar. She named it Mori which she says means forest is Japanese. The kids put it in the fish bowl and fed it Milk Weed leaves for several days until it turned into a chrysalis.

This morning Mori turned into a butterfly. Karre says he is a male. I have no idea if she is correct or not so I will go along with that.

Karre, Allen , Hanna, and Paul took Mori to the park this morning to set him free. They were there for nearly two hours. I guess Mori wanted to stick around. Finally they left him on a tree.


Paul got very close to Mori. He looks a little bit traumatized here. Paul avoids any kind of critters if at all possible. For him to get this close to this butterfly is amazing. Hanna does not believe that the Caterpillar really is the butterfly since she did not see it change. I guess a little magic is okay since getting her to understand is never going to happen.

Friday, August 20, 2010

No Parking

This is the "No Parking" sign that is in our front yard this morning. They are resurfacing the streets in our neighborhood so that means that all vehicles had to be moved off the street, we have to keep all kids off the road, and we get to enjoy the smell of tar all day long. After today we get to drive on the rock pile that is being spread on the street. This street project reminds me of a summer a long time ago.

Jared was eight, Trevor was seven, and their neighborhood friend Krystalyn was also seven. The city had put "No Parking" signs (likely these same ones from the looks of it) out all around our neighborhood because there was a national softball tournament at the park at the end of our block and they wanted people to be parking at the high school and bus over here instead of on the lawns here. Well anyway the kids decided that there was no need for those signs to be out there so they went around and pulled all of them up and piled them in the tree house. As soon as I figured out what they had done I gave them a couple of hammers and loaded those signs into the wagon and I sent them around to pound all of those signs back into the ground where they had come from in the first place.

The kids had just finished putting every last one of them back, I think this was much harder work then pulling them out had been, when a guy driving a yellow city truck drove up and started pulling them out again. Jared was furious, he couldn't believe that this guy was taking those signs down after all of the work he had done to put them back. Trevor and Krystalyn asked the guy if they could help him collect the signs and he let them, so they went around the neighborhood walking the curb picking up signs.

I called Jared this morning to see what time he was going to get here to work this evening and I told him about the "No Parking" signs being out there and he just chuckled and said that he remembered putting those signs back. We will never have trouble with these boys and signs, ever.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Supplies

The school supply list for kindergarten boggles my brain. It contains Chlorox wipes to get rid of germs, 2 packs of crayons (whatever happened to one box a year?), 6 notebooks, 6 folders, scissors, tennis shoes, a pencil box, 10 pencils, and 20, yes two zero glue sticks as well as 2 bottles of glue. I can only imagine what my five year old who is developmentally acting like a 2 1/2 year old is going to do with all of those glue sticks. He will either be painting himself or gluing his hair into some sort of wacky fashion statement. They also want a blanket for napping, are you kidding, we can not even get the kid to sleep for more then seven hours, that is on a very good night. He is not going to be allowed to take a nap, which he will not do anyway. I have Hanna up after 1 am every night and certainly do not need Paul joining her. He will not be bringing a blanket.

I read an article in the paper that was telling that some schools are adding to the school list staplers, paper clips, and toilet paper. Do we not pay enough taxes to even provide our schools with toilet paper?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Salsa

Since I have cherry tomatoes everywhere I decided to make a batch of salsa with them. I chopped tomatoes, peppers, and onions, simmered them, and added the spices. The results smelled and tasted wonderful. I have the usual takers who will eat anything, Lauren, Allen, and Angie (PCA), everyone else who is at home right now, Karre, Hanna, and Paul turned up their noses and gave me that "no way" look.

I then ran the salsa through the blender, and oh yeah I suddenly have takers. It is amazing what a blender can do. I have only Paul who will not eat the salsa, but then he eats no vegetables, except, now here is the irony, the cherry tomatoes that I put in the salsa.

I have plenty more of these tomatoes for Paul and everyone else to eat, coming right up as soon as I get time to go pick them again.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

One Thing At A Time

There is just far to much stuff going on around here right now and I am swimming up stream and this is very hard work.

Monday Rene` came home to a house full of sweaty cranky kids. Allen in particular is not happy because I will not let him go outside all day. It is just to hot for that right now and he does not understand when to stop and come inside. Physically dragging him back inside is building me some extra muscles that I do not use. I decided that once Dad got home from work and Rene` got here we were going swimming and a picnic. We also stopped for ice cream on the way home after all of that hard work. It was lots of fun and it tired some of us out.

Tuesday I left the house at 6:30 am as Lauren had several medical appointments at Gillette. That was the usual hurry, wait, fill this out, do this, do that routine, but we got it all done so other then the orthodontist she is good to go until November. We met a relative for lunch and picked up some needed groceries. I had planned to go to the adoption support group in the evening but when we were more then a half hour from home yet at the time the meeting was starting I decided that was not going to happen, oh well we did get a lot done for one day.

Yesterday we did the school shopping for all five kids, yeah it is all done. Hanna absolutely hates to go shopping and she gets an attitude so this was no fun trip. The rest of the bunch did well.

Today it is paperwork, oil changes for two cars, and trying to catch up on laundry and housework.

I can only do one thing at a time and there are only so many hours in a day to do it, never enough time to get everything done. I am glad that Rene` and Karre are both is a helping mood. The three of us can get a lot done when we work together, now all we need is an attitude free day from Miss Attitude and things will go smoothly.