Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Break Was A Gift

We had just to much of a good thing going here to last for to long. The first three weeks of this month were absolutely fantastic as far as Hanna`s behavior is concerned. Then, well then the crazy starts all over again. She had been slowly gearing up so we were preparing for the big blow up which came down this morning.

Hanna and I were playing cards the other day when Lauren came into the room and started cheering for me Hanna started hissing and whining that it is not fair that she was cheering for me. When Dad explained that Lauren can cheer for whoever she wants to, even if it is not her. Hanna started pounding on the table and throwing the cards so we needed to quit playing the game to give her time to calm down.

Hanna has been choosing to wear ALL of the purple clothes (they are the same size so they share clothes) because she knows that Lauren likes them better and because she would not cheer for her in the card game, Hanna wants to make her mad. It did not work. Lauren found plenty of things to wear, even those t-shirts that change color that Hanna claims are ALL hers. The plan backfired big time. Karre explained this best when she and I were discussing irritating your siblings. She said that she did it to but the difference with what she would do and what Hanna is doing is that she would sort of sneak around and do things but with Hanna, she does everything directly, in your face, so obvious that you can not help but figure it out as she is doing it.

Both of the girls had video games and Lauren finally had enough money to buy batteries for her`s so she could play it. Several months ago Hanna, in one of her all out crazy rages threw her`s at the wall smashing it to bits so the garbage collected it long ago. Now that Lauren has batteries Hanna seems to think that she should get to play the game. We told Lauren that she did not need to give it to her. Then we got the she does not want to be my friend line from Hanna. Well just because we are not going to allow you to use your sister has nothing to do with being friends.

This morning she is still fuming about getting a hold of Lauren`s game since Lauren is gone for the day. Are you nuts kid, you are not having it to run the batteries out or throw it against another wall because you are mad. The game is locked up for now.

So now we are back to the screaming,throwing things, hitting, kicking, biting state of being. It figures that a major holiday is coming up and Hanna is losing privileges rapidly. I guess we will be drawing straws to see who gets to miss out on the fun and sit home with her. FASD/RAD is always there to mess with our lives. I am very thankful for all of the time we get without behavior issues. We just make every minute count when we can. Lauren has grown up so much and is almost aways able to deal with her sister`s crazines or ask for help when it gets to much for her. I am very proud of the way she handled things these past few days.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Orange Sneakers

The other day we had several errands to run so Karre and I took Allen and Paul with us. I had already gotten new shoes for the girls and the two boys needed some too. Paul being a little kid had outgrown his. Allen has two pair of sneakers which he has been wearing since the summer before he entered sixth grade, (that was four years ago). He has not grown at all so those shoes were working just fine for him. Both pairs of Allen`s sneakers had long since lost there flexibility and the tread on them was wearing out. It was time for new ones. He has two pair of dress shoes which are still in very good shape so he will likely wear those for at least another four years before we replace them. Allen just does not wear out or destroy his things so most of the time he kind of gets left out when it comes to getting new stuff.

We entered the shoe store and Karre being the wise big sister decided that she wanted to help Allen shop. She left me to deal with the hyper, off the wall, loud, little guy. While we were checking out the little kid section they went to the boys. I was sitting on the floor, because that is the best way to contain the little wiggle butt long enough to try shoes on. The next thing I know Allen is patting me on the head "Mom shoes, Mom shoes", and he sticks his foot in my face to show me some very bright orange and blue shoes he has on his feet. I looked up to see a grin from ear to ear. These were certainly not shoes that I would have chosen because I am just to practical when it comes to these things, but he was so excited that I just could not say no. This is the kid who never asks for anything, ever, who actually wanted something. I am sure that he picked these shoes out himself since I know he really likes orange. These were likely the only orange shoes in the place and he found them in his size. I bought him another pair of sneakers for those times when the orange ones are out of commission. He is set for another four years.

He has had his orange backpack since second grade and it is looking pretty beat up so now I guess I had better be on the lookout for a new one.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Basement Dwellers

Paul pretending he is sleeping and baby Andrew. They are great buddies.

It seems we are basement dwellers an awful lot of the time lately. The storms just keep rolling through. Yesterday we had just finished eating dinner and I was washing the sticky fingers up after having French toast when the sirens went off. We headed to the basement and it is at these times I am really thankful that we have our basement fixed up so spending time down there really is not all that terrible. We have a large playroom/therapy area, rec room, and TV down there. Allen and Lauren watched the Twins play the Mets, Karre messed with her computer, Dad monitored the weather on the radio. Paul ran from one place to another, chattering all the while. Angie was working so she got to keep up with him. Hanna was pretty off the wall because her day time meds had long since worn off and she had not had her evening meds before we got downstairs so Jared was trying to keep her busy, and he did a pretty good job of it.

That accounts for everyone except for me and guess what I got to do? I got to hold, rock, and talk to this very sweet baby boy. I think I got the best job of the evening. Andrew or PCA, Angie's baby was here too. He has grown so much lately. He can roll over and push himself around and he is really a talker. He squeals and wiggles, and laughs, and smiles with some adorable dimples.

It was a good evening being basement dwellers here, little damage, lost of rain, kids went to bed late so maybe they will sleep a little later, or maybe I am dreaming there.

We are supposed to be going to a picnic later this afternoon, just about the time the storms have been rolling through and the weather is supposed to be about the same today, so I don`t know how that will work out. One storm at a time, hey it is summertime in Minnesota, you got to love it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Can A Mess Get Any Bigger?

My husband and I spent all of yesterday afternoon and then about an hour today dealing with the Social Security Administration. This is a mess that began when my husband`s dad was killed in a farming accident in the mid 70`s. He was a teenager at the time. It is nothing we brought up or even knew there was a problem with until we had questioned them about another matter and they came up with this thing trying to tell us that they owed my husband money, say what? Since when does the United States government volunteer to give you money? Okay it was there mistake and apparently they do own him money. How much or when he will get it is a mystery and we will just leave it at that and if or when our checking account gets paid we will celebrate the fact that this thing is FINALLY done.

The other issue, the one we brought to their attention is still unresolved after more then a year. We will get it figured out now that we are working with someone who at least has a clue what we are talking about and she is a special claims officer so now we are getting some where.

It seems that this part of government is just about as confusing and messed up as Child Protection and Family Services is. That makes dealing with both of them at the same time just a bit stressful. I am so glad that my husband understands all of this money stuff because I do not have a clue and it just gives me a headache. I am just along to give the mundane information such as where people were born, when were they adopted, etc,etc. I sure would like to know when it is that there will be even one day that I do not have some sort of paperwork that I am dealing with? We destroy far to many trees. Needless to say that I run out of ink often just copying the stuff for our personal records.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

She Is Gonna Blow!

June 1st was the last day I sent Hanna to her old school, even though there were two more days scheduled, but they were full of end of the year garbage and this mom had had enough of that and could not take it any longer so she was done. I then spent a day taking her to her new school and going through some of what they will be doing there. She has also been there in a short summer program and is doing well. She has been doing her chores and pretty much following the rules at home. There was one blow up when she had sorted the colored pencils out into a rainbow and then Allen had messed it up, but oh well that is just the way things go when you have siblings. I hate to break the bad news to her but everything is not going to always be in the order you want it to be. At any rate it has been calm around here so calm that I have had time to get a few things done.

I bought and hung new curtains and rods in the living room. Hanna had bent the rods to the point that they could not be straightened and tore the old curtains almost two years age.
I baked cookies and two pans of bars.
All of the laundry is done, folded, and put away, at least for one day.
I cleaned the closets and drawers in the four younger kids rooms.

What is the deal here, how did we get things to working MUCH better?
1. The rules at school and home are the same, we use the same behavior scale and we communicate to one another what is really going on. I tell it like it is the good, the terrible, and everything in between.
2. Hanna has competition as well as a mentor. Hanna and Lauren are in the same special education setting and competing with her sister motivates both of them, but Hanna more so because she likes to win at all costs. Now there are likely to be some issues with this down the road since they have different strengths and will be successful in different areas. These two girls are the only girls in this setting so they need to stick together.
3. We are keeping things very structured with very limited options. Hanna creates chaos but she functions best with the routine in place.
4. She is sleeping for about six hours a night at least five nights a week.
5. There is no pressure to please her peers. Friends are very important but she had made such poor choices, or more like gotten sucked into being friends with people who do not really want to be her friends, they just use her and she can not stop herself. We had to put a stop to this because she is just to vulnerable so now she only gets to hang out with friends who happen to have parents who are friends with us. It would be nice if she could find her own friends but for now this works for everyone.

We know she will blow up many, many times yet but we are enjoying the calm while it lasts and we are doing everything we can to keep it calm. When she blows we will just take things one at a time and then we will try to figure out what went wrong and get back on the track to the good life.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Lauren showing the green bowl she made.

Allen`s art is in the middle of this collection.

Allen made this bright colored cloth.

Allen standing in front of his orange art. Orange is his favorite color. He also made the yellow one. I guess he was not to excited about doing art that day.

For the past couple of years the special education students grades 7-12 have been spending some time doing art with artists. This is a program offered with grant money. It is a great way to let the kids express themselves and have fun too. They worked with clay, paint, Tye-dye, drawing, making prints, etc. There art is framed and nicely displayed at the local art center for a month. They did a super job and both Lauren and Allen were proud to show their work to everyone.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Clean Books

I was washing some cloth baby books so that I could pack them up for a swap meet/picnic we are having here later this month. I figured that Paul was no longer interested in those books and some other little kids might enjoy them so I was cleaning them up. Paul came along with his very large dump truck full of his books, the kind with the paper pages and he started throwing them in the washer. He just does not understand that those books can not be washed, the whole idea has gone right over his head. He wants those books washed because they are dirty too. Some of them are rather dirty and have a lot of scribbling in them since they have been through many kids, but washing them would make a huge mess and guess who would be cleaning it up?

Now I will have to make sure there are no books in the washer before I fill it again.

It Is Calm Now

It is calm this morning with hazy sunshine outside. This is after spending three hours downstairs listening to the weather on the radio and waiting for the tornado sirens to send that awful, piercing, eerie noise through our community. We got hail, plenty of rain and lots and lots of wind, but thankfully no tornadoes here. There is plenty of garbage to pick up but all is well here. For many in our state this morning after the storm brings with it the reality that things have forever changed. At least three people have also lost their lives. Many tornadoes did there thing tossing buildings, trees, and livestock around.

I clearly remember that morning after twelve years ago. The heavy equipment had already begun the massive cleanup and the chain saws were buzzing. You could that buzzing everywhere. That wood chipper machine ran from sunup to dark making a loud grinding noise for many days. Rene and I walked through town that morning since we could do nothing at home except wait for insurance people and city inspectors to arrive and we were far down the list. We found our church and the Catholic school our kids attended destroyed as well as all of the community center, and homes around it. We then came back up the hill towards home and walked through the area just across the street from our house which was completely leveled. It was something you can not really understand until you are a part of it yourself. I think those first couple of days everyone was walking around in shock and in awe. The more one looked the more damage you saw. It was everywhere.

Besides the destruction and devastation there was something wonderful happening in our community. There was help arriving in the form of the marines, national guard, and bus load after bus load of people. They all came to help us put our lives back together. Most of the helpers were from other communities in our state, but I also met people from New York, Montana, Georgia, and Colorado. It was amazing to know how much people cared. We will do what we can to help someone else get things back together today and in the weeks to come because we remember how they helped us.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


We left the house before eight yesterday as we had appointments and errands to run all day. Angela and Dad held down the fort at home and got Paul to therapy.

Hanna and Lauren both had orthodontist appointments in the morning. They worked in Hanna`s mouth for two hours. She was losing it by the time they were done.

After that Lauren needed adjustments on her KAFOs (knee, ankle, foot, orthosis). This mom would be more then thrilled not to ever have to deal with those things, ever. They cause skin break down, are smelly, heavy,in the summer they are hot, and always need adjustments. The only good thing about them is when wearing them Lauren can stand quite straight.

We then got some lunch and ran a couple of errands. I had promised Hanna that she could get a new t-shirt since she had put up with two hours visiting with the orthodontist. She really likes those bright colored t-shirts that change color when you wear them in the sun. She picked one out with sunglasses on it. I let Lauren get one too and of course she chose something purple.

The afternoon ended with Lauren`s appointment to work on her communication device. We worked on internet stuff, passwords, and how to use volume the shout and whisper.

By the time we got home they were eating cereal and bananas for dinner. That sounded fine with me so we had that too.

Today the sun is finally shining and I will get the clothes lines full. Karre and Hanna are cooking (I have no idea what), the boys are waiting for me so they can go outside and Lauren had gone with her PCA. This should be one of those days when I can actually get things done at home. I have no plans to go anywhere.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Get Real

I sure wish birth parents would get real and tell it like it is because it would be VERY helpful right now.

Hanna is having a number of medical issues and several doctors all agree that they are reactions to her medication or something genetic. For many reasons they are eliminating the medication theory and leaning the other way more and more as time goes on. We now have a geneticist working on this along with the rest of the crew. She assured me that we would figure this thing out. She also noted that it may take some time and it may be a lot of work. We are meeting again tomorrow and I was to gather all of the birth parents medical, educational, social, and psychiatric information I could. I have all of the paperwork that they were to fill out at the time their rights were terminated. A few of the forms are blank so they are of no value. The ones that they filled out are saying that there is no history of any medical conditions at all, no cancer, heart problems, no diabetes, etc, etc. These people are as healthy as they come. There are no educational concerns either which is odd since both parents dropped out of school and neither finished, that would be a concern in my opinion. They did no better in admitting drug or alcohol abuse. I have police reports, UA results, and court records to prove otherwise.

I don`t know what is worse going into this with no information or information that may have some truths in it. If any of it is correct then what parts are they? This is just going to be one of those puzzles that we will have to keep working on until we find the solution. I do understand that these people may not be able to provide the information they were asked to, or they may have some issues with feeling shame for the harm they have caused there kids, or maybe they were angry because their parental rights had been terminated. For my little girl it is just one more thing that she should never have had to experience in her childhood.

A New Car

We got a new car yesterday, no it is not exactly one that needs to find a parking spot on the driveway or the street in front of our house we already have enough of those. We have a truck, a Caravan converted to haul a wheelchair, it is the van everyone dislikes driving the most, and a huge van, by huge I mean really huge as the neighborhood kids call it the bus. Then there are Rene` and Jared`s cars which are here often enough.

The new car is white, worn out, and a bit smashed up. It is an old clothes basket that I had set by the door to take out to the trash, but Paul got to it before I could get it there and hence it has become a car. He has been pushing that basket around, loaded with stuffed animals. It can four wheel up the stairs, go down the hall, and back to the stairs where he gives it a push and it crashes down to the bottom, landing with a thud into the wall at the bottom.

I took his car downstairs, (where toys are supposed to stay) and it very quickly came back up. He took it outside for a little while when it had stopped drizzling in the afternoon. It is raining again this morning. I suggested that his car should sit outside and take a shower but he is having none of that. Maybe it will stop raining later today so EVERYONE can go outside. Paul can drive that car of his around the house all he wants. Clothes basket, you are very lucky to have been rescued from the trash by a five year old who happens to know how to make a car out of just about anything. I wonder if he will be obsessed with cars forever?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hyper Land

I spent yesterday in Hyper Land with Hanna. She had a medical appointment and for this they did not want her to take her ADHD meds. Some times I wonder if these medications help her at all and then when she does not have them the reality sets in, she needs them!

She spilled cereal all over the place at breakfast time, could not get the toothpaste on the toothbrush and brush her teeth, and was making a great suicide attempt with her seat belt on the way to the hospital.

When we got there she was pacing in circles for the entire five minutes it took me to get her checked in. In the waiting room there is a square book shelf which has sections of a variety of bright colors. Hanna took all of the books of out this shelf and was in the process of putting them back. She was putting the books which had covers that were mostly red in the red section, the blue ones in the blue section, green, purple, orange, etc, etc. Then she found two books with covers that were black and there was no black section. She started spinning that book shelf faster and faster until the books were falling out. Of course she was being loud and she could not calm herself down. This is when it is handy to have a tall, strong, young man for a PCA and this is exactly why she needs a PCA in the first place. I had Jared carry her to the bathroom and I sat in there with her until she calmed down while he went to clean up the book mess.

When we got to the room where the appointment was taking she could not sit still at all. We were meeting with a social worker, geneticist, and two surgeons. Hanna found the stickers and started putting them everywhere. We finally got the blood work done that we needed (of course that takes three people to do), next the surgeons looked at the mess in her mouth and then we had Jared take her for a walk the the Golden Arches about a mile and a half away so we could talk.

The out come of all of this is that she is being scheduled for the first of I don`t know how many, surgeries on her mouth and jaw. We do not know the cause of most of the issues yet but are trying to figure it out in order to create a better treatment plan.

We were able to drive the hour and a half home having to stop only one time. When we got here we let her run for the rest of the day. The next time I get to thinking that she would be okay without some of these medications I will keep Hyper Land in mind when I say no way.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Job

Lauren has a job this summer, no it is not any teenagers dream job like working at the movie theater or amusement park, but all the same it is a job. She will not be making mega bucks (she is not getting paid anything).

She has a job sorting the mail at the high school. This is something they have been working on throughout the school year. Her teacher feels that she can now pretty much do it on her own and asked if she could do it this summer. I though about it and did some schedule figuring and decided that it would be okay. What the heck she is sixteen and the experience is work the effort involved.

Our little princess has come a long way. When she came to our family at age six no one would have imagined that she would ever be able to take on such a responsibility, even this small one in a very controlled setting. She was dong nothing but laying on the floor sucking her thumb, getting all of her food from a baby bottle, tripping herself when she tried to walk, and communication was zero. It is a giant leap from being a little princess to becoming a mail lady, way to go Lauren!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Summer Vacation

School is out so Kids were home today. For four of them a schedule is a must because free time leads to loads of issues. I gave them lots of chores to do. I figured that they might as well make themselves useful.

Lauren and Hanna made the beds, unloaded the dishwasher, and cleaned up the shoe mess.

Paul "helped" me hang clothes on the line. He kept pushing the basket down the hill so I kept making him pull it back up so I could get some more clothes. Hanging those clothes out took forty-five minutes when without his help I can do it in ten.

Allen took the garbage and recycling out and brought hangers down from upstairs. This takes him pretty much the entire morning.

We then had lunch and Angie took Paul to therapy. The rest of us went outside. Allen was busy doing his favorite thing, swinging. Lauren and Hanna sat and played math card games. I had the tough job of sitting in the hammock to watch them and make sure they were adding and subtracting correctly. If I don`t sit there they both try to bend the rules a little and it turns into a screaming match. They then decided to color, play Sorry, Uno, Bingo, and then they colored some more.

This is what every day is like for them. They just have to be doing something all the time. The trouble with it is that after awhile I run out of things for them to do and I get tired of such a up tempo pace. They can not play without supervision, ever. It would be nice if they could understand what it means to relax, but they don`t and likely never will. I am looking forward to fall and school starting again so I can move at my pace again. For a few months I will do my best to keep up with them. My PCAs will rescue me from time to time.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Not Today Kid

The laundry mountain is a steep climb today since I only got one load done each of the past two days so I really want to get that down to manageable especially since the sun is shining so I could fill the clothes line.

I also have dishes to do and nothing has been swept or vacuumed for more then a week so that needs to get done.

For now Hanna refuses to go outside so the wet clothes sit in the basket. I am not going to let her stay in the house alone even for ten minutes. She can consume a feast in that time or take a scissors to someones something, wreck a computer or two, etc, etc. She keeps shutting the door on Paul so he will not go downstairs to play with his cars. I went and got a bin full of cars for him so he is under the desk chattering and driving those cars happily. The fact that he is no longer available to bother is annoying to her. I am in no mood for manipulation, or a war of wills so I will just go through the mail while I sit here and wait her out. If it takes all day I guess that is better then a screaming tantrum. I can live with the mess but at least for today I can not live with being tortured with attachment craziness. You lose kid!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Middle Of The Week

The middle of the week has quickly come. Where the time goes sometimes I have no clue.

Tomorrow will be the last day of the school year for everyone here. Lauren and Allen are winding things down. I am taking Hanna to spend some time at her new school after we go to a medical appointment. Karre has a history project to present. She has been working on this for quite a while with two other girls, they will do fine.

We got word this morning that Dad`s mom is in the hospital and not doing well at all. There is a kidney issue and things are not working right. I have to take some time today to try to explain this to the kids. We need prayers for Grandma.

It rained hard here yesterday and we had hail too so I need to get outside to see how the vegetables are doing. They were looking very good.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Weekend

Paul and his cousins bounced all afternoon.
Allen watched and watched the repair work. He was just a little puzzled because they had to take his favorite swing down for awhile.

We had a busy weekend. Dad, Jared, and Uncle Dave made repairs on our outdoor play equipment. It is twelve years old and we figured that it needed to be fixed before Allen came crashing down.

We had a major tornado in March of 1998 that made a real mess here. All of our windows, screens, and shingles had to be replaced, as well as some siding and the deck. Everything in the back yard was gone. We had a huge play area very similar to this one that we watched blow over the house behind ours. It came crashing down in their front yard. After the tornado Dad, Uncle Dave, and two volunteers from Colorado built this one. We were very fortunate to be able to live in our home as many families in our community had to start over.

We were all spending the day outside grilling, watching the little kids, and the guys worked. Since we all were going outside Hanna did not want to be out there at all. Since she can not be trusted in the house alone I made her go out. She sat on the deck all day (9:00 am to 8:30 pm) pouting and obsessing with a plastic toy. Her cousins were here all day and she never even said hello to them.

The next morning she went bonkers on her dad. I still do not even know what that scene was all about. The only thing we know for sure is that she is not happy that the school year is coming to an end and she really does not want to go to the new school. She told Dad that she never wants to grow up. She had been doing a little better until she realized that school is really ending. Change is just so much trouble for her.