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merry christmas and while you're at it, can you bring in some firewood

Friday, December 25, 2009

To all our bloggy friends, we want to send out the Merriest of Christmas wishes. We hope you're staying as warm as we are this holiday season!

We had a wonderful Christmas.
Well, except for that whole midwest blizzard thing, but even that wasn't such a bad thing. We just stayed in side...the six of us...opened presents, ate lots of food, watched movies and played with toys. Fun stuff!

We didn't even lose our satellite or electricity so we were able to watch the Bolshoi's performance of the Nutcracker.
Not that the boys were paying attention. They were too busy playing with the remote controlled this and the wall climbing that.
Shad ventured out twice today to get more firewood. We kept the fire going all day...you know...because of that pesky little two-day blizzard. ;) The kids and I kept complaining he was keeping it only a few degrees cooler than an inferno in here...but he didn't want to hear about it...so we're sweltering.
So much for the kids wearing their new pajamas to bed tonight! :)
One nice thing about a massive snow storm...you are guaranteed to have a white Christmas! :) We have a TON of snow...I'd say we're working on 18 inches, give or take a few. We have a lot of pretty deep drifts - you know, because of that whole blizzard thing.
Our trip to Colorado has been called off because most of the roads around us, if they're not already closed - should be. Actually, I'll be surprised if we can just get out of the driveway for church on Sunday. And we have Blue Mama - the 4x4.
The Emerald City's snow plow crew has been working hard at it, but those plows are just no match for the wind. On Shad's two trips to the shed for wood, a half an hour after he shoveled his way to the shed, the path was completely blown shut. The same can be said for the roads. Our neighbor's car is almost completely snowed under.
I'm just hoping we can take advantage of it here pretty soon and do some sledding.
Tomorrow will probably be a bit more of the same...except for maybe some more laundry added in there, just to spice things up a bit.
To all our bloggy friends, we want to send out the Merriest of Christmas wishes. We hope you're staying as warm as we are this holiday season! :)


she gets it

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Any time she saw other homes with lights on them she would say how 'boo-ti-full' they were and how they looked like "Kwisma-tie."

I think Maddie is starting to get the whole Christmas thing.
Of course, you would think an almost 6-year-old would have gotten it a long time ago, but while she did enjoy Christmas last year, I don't think she really understood what the fun was all about.
Emotionally she was still around three years old, the language barrier was huge and when you factor in her limited orphanage exposure to Christmas I have a feeling she may have just thought it was just one big party.
This year is completely different. Emotionally she's growing up (I would say she's maybe only six months to a year behind now), her English is great and she's been asking about Christmas since Halloween.
At first I thought it was because Anya's birthday was right around then and her brothers had told her she had to wait until after Christmas for HER birthday.
But then, she starting asking around Thanksgiving if we could make the house into "Kwisma-tie." Any time she saw other homes with lights on them she would say how 'boo-ti-full' they were and how they looked like "Kwisma-tie." Holiday movie promos on TV would prompt questions about Christmas-time. Everything was "Kwisma-tie."
Finally, a few weeks ago Shad and the kids set up the tree and Maddie was in Heaven. It was all so 'puuu-wittty,' and 'booo-ti-full.'
The girl was in awe...and was totally in the Christmas spirit.
Last night while we were on our annual Christmas light seeing tour, we went through a particularly beautiful display. The big town just a few miles away from the Emerald City has a great display in one of their HUGE parks. The entrance has a tunnel of lights, displays are spread throughout the park and hot chocolate and kettle corn are sold on the side of the road.
Its a feast for the eyes for these Christmas-lovers.
Anyway...as we were going through the park, we were talking about Santa, and about Frosty, and about all of the other characters on display, when I started thinking that I needed to start talking about the real reason for Christmas.

So I asked Maddie... 'Maddie, do you know why we celebrate Christmas?'

'Oh yet (yes) Mama," she said. "It Jesus Birf-day."

That did this mama's heart good.

She gets it.


Erp, swamps, anniversaries, mean people and confessions

Friday, December 18, 2009

Not five minutes into the game, Maddie said she wasn't feeling well...and then immediately erped all over the guy in front of her.

So here's the story...
A band of crazed third-graders terrorists kidnapped me and took me to a shopping mall remote desert island where they tortured me by making me drink large cups of hot chocolate amounts of sleeping pill laced kool-aid which put me into a massive sugar coma.
I finally escaped by buying them lots of Christmas presents secretly building a raft and, in pure MacGyver style, snuck out in the middle of the night, blowing up the entire camp using just a shoe string and 10-year-old piece of bubble gum.
WHAT?! You don't believe that? Comon'! Every last word of it is not true.
Fine. Maybe you'll believe this...

Erp, erp and more erp
I'm home with a sick kid today. Shad took all four kids to a basketball game last night while I was at a meeting (I'll tell you about it in a minute). Not five minutes into the game, Maddie said she wasn't feeling well...and then immediately erped all over the guy in front of her.
And Shad.
And herself.
And the basketball floor.
Fun times.
Glad I wasn't there.
He no sooner got the kids home and she erped again...and again and again. Sorry to be so graphic, but you have to understand this isn't something we deal with much. Thankfully our kids all have stomachs of steel. Not much comes out of them, so erping is greeted with a great deal of consternation (I love that word. ;)
By the time I made it home she was resting comfortably in the middle of the living room floor on a sleeping bag. Sleeping in her bed would require too far of a hike to the bathroom...with Shad camped out on the couch. Reason 2,584 why I married the right guy. He voluntarily slept on the couch to keep an eye on her.
Oh, and 2,585...he cleaned everyone up and did the laundry too!
He's a keeper.
Maddie is doing much better this morning, but rather than risk another episode at school, I'm keeping her home. Besides, its a good excuse for staying home and getting some much needed stuff done. I'll probably end up paying for it this weekend with a Saturday or Sunday work day. Oh well.
Meanwhile, Maddie is devastated. She LOVES school and watching the other three tromp through the school doors this morning carrying presents for their teachers proved to be too much. My even-tempered Maddie cried uncontrollably until we got home and I found her favorite episode of Blue's Clue's on the DVR.
She is now contentedly sitting in Shad's recliner watching Wonder Pets...holding her baby, wrapped in my favorite throw and nursing a large watered-down glass of apple juice.

Swamped, snowed under, up to my gills
Have I mentioned I've been a little swamped at work lately? Oh, that's right! I've been too swamped to write! Sorry about that.
Back in August I had this crazy idea... 'Hey kids! Why don't I take a week off in between Christmas and New Year's Day so we can hang out and have some fun.'
The children rejoiced. I put in my request.
The problem is I forgot that I don't work in a normal profession. In order to take any time off, I have to do all of my work before I leave. That means finding time to write a week's worth of stories prior to Christmas Eve. You wouldn't think that would be so tough, would you? Especially given that I had four months to do it in, but somehow I've managed to make it darn near impossible. In addition to my usual three stories a week, I also have two magazine articles and another two articles that are due right when I come back...and then I have my stories for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the weekend as well.
So instead of just a weeks' worth...its more like a week and a half...and then some.
For the last week and a half I've been turning in a story every day. Which, again, doesn't sound like much, but they are three-source stories...and at 20-25 inches a pop requires a great deal of work. It usually takes me at least two days to track down sources, interview them, transcribe the interview and then write my masterpiece.
I haven't been writing any masterpieces lately. ;)
Thankfully, its almost over. I have two stories that I'm going to need to write this weekend...and then two a day for the next three days after that. By Wednesday I'll be a shadow of my former self...but I'll be off work for 10 days. That has to count for something...right?


Two years ago today...
Well, actually it's more like next Tuesday, but by next week I'll be so busy writing I won't have much time for blogging. So...
Two years ago ago next Tuesday, we met Maddie for the first time. I know I say it all the time, but WHERE did the time go?!
Honestly? It seems like she's always been with us. We're almost at the halfway point when it comes to having her with us longer than she was in the orphanage...its a day I need to pinpoint. I'd really like to mark the day in some way. It will probably be around the time she turns eight *sigh* which isn't so far away. Maddie turns six in just a few short weeks.
Speaking of time...I need to give you a Maddie update...maybe even with a video. I'll see if I can find the camera and get something put up this weekend. You NEED to see how far this girl has come in the last two years. She's growing and changing right before our very eyes. I'll give you a more complete update soon, but let me give you a little tidbit by saying in when I talked to her teacher the other night at her music program, Mrs. B said Maddie has made HUGE strides this year. Socially she is doing MUCH better...academically she's doing good...and her behavior is a trillion times better. Okay...the trillion is my word, but you get the idea.
She's still going to need that extra year of Kindergarten. There are still too many holes. For instance...Maddie is able to recognize all of her letters and knows how to make each sound, but for some reason doesn't understand the concept that those letters are used to make anything.
I think we're going to have to double our reading efforts around here.

They're at it again...
Speaking of school...they Emerald City school district is up to their old tricks, again.
Actually its not so much the school as it is the county's education co-op.
In that same conversation with Mrs. B she mentioned Maddie's time with the teacher for the deaf had been cut back to one day a week instead of two.
Ahem...Why hadn't I been informed of this?!
She seemed truly surprised I had heard absolutely nothing...and had certainly not signed OFF on anything.
So. I have a call into Mean, Mean Man to find out what in the world is going on.
Let's see if he calls back, shall we? Anyone want to take any bets?

This is where I admit I may be in over my head
I've been holding out on you.
Sorry about that.
Drumroll, please...
I'm a blog-radio talk show host.
See? I told you I had been holding out on you.
A few months ago I was sitting around with a couple of friends, chatting over a cup of coffee...well, technically I had a glass of water - not being a coffee drinker and all...and we were having such a good time one of us joked that we should have our own talk show.
And then one of us got serious about it.
And for once it wasn't me.
She looked into it and wouldn't you know it? There's a free blog-radio site where we could host a weekly show FOR FREE!
So we took the plunge. Over the past few weeks we've been practicing. And believe me...need the practice. But we're having a ton of fun.
So...here's where you come in.
If you want to join us for all the fun, you can check us out at a few locations...

Blog - The Fresh Cup
Twitter - @thefreshcup
Facebook - The Fresh Cup

Please add us as as friends on Facebook, follow us on Blogger and tweet with us on Twitter.
And we'd love to have you listen to us live on our radio show at BlogTalkRadio.com here. You can even call in and join the show!
Crazy, huh?!
The last few weeks we've actually been broadcasting, but we haven't publicized it at all. I'm letting you in on the secret because we need the feedback and we'd love to actually have an audience and maybe a person or two who will call in.
We're still pretty rough...but practice makes perfect, right? And we're having SO. MUCH. FUN.
The next LIVE broadcast will be on Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. CST. Of course, you don't have to wait until then. You can listen to our archived shows. (If you listen to last night's show, wait a few minutes after you press play...we had some technical difficulties - actually it was more like Tami-has-lost-her-mind-and-can't-remember-anything-technical-she-learned-in-college, difficulties. ;)
So what do you say? Why don't you give us a listen?


bah! humbug!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

If I see another box mummy wrapped in packing tape with five labels written and crossed out in black magic marker in my lifetime, it will be too soon!

That's kind of how I'm feeling this year.
I can't get in the spirit of Christmas at ALL...and I can't seem to get anyone to cooperate in forcing myself to get in the mood.
Usually what helps me, is getting all the holiday stuff put up around the house. You know - wreaths, nutcrackers, thousands of little snowmen, a table runner or two, candles ad naseum and aaaah...yes, the tree.
This year, its not happening.
Shad is on strike. He refuses to bring up the stuff, until I go through the boxes that were still sitting around the living room.
YES!!! Six months after moving BACK to Kansas, I still had boxes sitting in the living room. What of it?! I am using the excuse that since starting my new (old) job, I haven't had the time. But six months after the move, that excuse was getting as stale as a month old donut.
The truth? Moving twice in 10 months burned me out on packing and emptying boxes. If I see another box mummy wrapped in packing tape with five labels written and crossed out in black magic marker in my lifetime, it will be too soon!
I don't WANT to unpack another box. I don't WANT to and you can't make me.
Yep. That pretty much sums up our arguments over the last couple of days. Well...I guess you'd have to include a great deal of whining on my part about how unfair his strike is and him reminding me that he pretty much moved us back from Wyoming himself, because I was too busy feeling sorry for myself. And then him having the audacity to say that all he's asking is that I unpack the 10 boxes in the living room.
He's so unfair! ;>)
Finally, I gave up on Shad. He wasn't going to see things my way, so I had Alek, Anya and Nick help me push the boxes to the dining room - so it would LOOK like I had gone through them, and then took Alek with me down to the basement I lovingly refer to as the 'dungeon'.
Our mission was to get the Christmas stuff out.
I can count on one hand the number of times I have been down in that basement. Its more of a cellar if you ask me, but according to my Facebook friends, its technically a basement because it has a cement floor.
Sooo...Alek and I decended the scary, narrow and way too rickety stairs into the bowels of our 150 year old house.
Yuck! It was not any better than I had imagined.
We quickly found the boxes, got them out of the basement, carried them back up the scary, narrow and way too rickety stairs and plopped them down in the middle of my living room.
And that's where they will stay...until I can find the time to get it all put up.
Which SHOULD happen sometime this week...I think.
Let's see...Monday night I have a hair appointment, and preparing for Ladies' Tea at church. Tuesday night is the Ladies' Tea, which Kedzie and I are both host a table this year - fun stuff. Wednesday night is AWANA - enough said. Thursday is the kids' school Christmas program and the practice for a new project that I need to tell you all about. And then there's Friday...aaaah...maybe Friday.
Yea. Right.


password protected 3

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I have a password protected post published here.
If you don't have the password, be sure to ask.


we needed a lot more than cheese

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Do you know how hard it is to get six people to look good in a picture all at the same time?
It's nearly impossible. Especially when four of them are 11 and under!
Getting our family pictures taken is like pulling teeth - a long and painful process. And this time was no exception. A decent picture usually requires an act of Congress and a miracle from above.
This time it didn't require either,...but we came pretty darn close.
You can almost see the level of cooperation in their faces. Alek and Anya did great...Nick was on the fence, but Maddie wanted nothing to do with sitting still. It wasn't until the photographer started the kids' only photos that she warmed up - and even then, not until after Shad and I left the room. ;)
Oh well. Its a decent picture of the six of us, especially since I forgot about our appointment until 20 minutes before we were supposed to be there. Hence, the mismatched and less than stellar photo outfits.
Thankfully, it will be just fine for the church directory. And we're set for another year.


move over Paula Dean

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

According to the experts, I am a great cooker who knows how to make a mean brownie mix, has a cookbook...and could possibly beat her up.

'Mom is the best cooker in the world,' Nick said last night as he was picking at his supper.
Somehow he was convinced it was the best supper ever, despite the fact that it was taking forever for him to eat his stew.
'Nuh, uh,' said the ever practical Alek. 'Paula Deen is. She made a cookbook.'
'Mom has a cookbook,' Nick argued. 'Mom could beat her up.'
'Yea,' Anya agreed. 'Mom's brownies are good.' (They're a mix)
'Yea,' Maddie said. 'Mama good.'
So there you have it. According to the experts, I am a great cooker who knows how to make a mean brownie mix, has a cookbook...and could possibly beat her up.
Move over Paula Dean. ;>)


as soon as I open my mouth...

Monday, November 23, 2009

the other shoe drops.
Alek is sick.
Well, I'm not sure, exactly, HOW sick he is - but he was sick enough that the school nurse called around noon to inform me he was complaining of a headache and had a low-grade fever.
'Do you want me to give him some medicine,' she asked.
I talked to Alek to get an idea of how bad it was. He assured me with some medicine he would be fine...so a dose of ibuprofen it was.
An hour later she called again. He was still complaining of the headache - the fever hadn't gone anywhere, he was looking flushed and was asking for someone to come get him.
So...in spite of the fact that I had a deadline looming in three hours AND I had just finished the interview right before lunch AND I had NO idea how the story was going to come together AND I knew there was no way I was going to get any writing done with a sick kid at home...I drove the 30 minutes to the school to get him.
By the time he came into the office, he was just fine.
Little stinker. But somehow despite the many, many distractions this afternoon, I did get the story done...with 30 minutes to spare.
That, in and of itself, may be a miracle - I don't know - I may have to look it up in the Bible. Is there anything in there about God performing the impossible for a Mom with a sick kid, who needs to meet a deadline and needs all four kids to behave themselves and not interrupt her long enough so she can finish an article so she wouldn't get fired?
Hmm...probably not.
But I'm still thinking its a miracle.


quick takes to catch you up

Sunday, November 22, 2009

By the time Christmas comes around, we're going to NEED that week off so we can decontaminate.

ellooooo? Anybody out there? My name is Tami and I'm the author of this-here blog. Its been TWO weeks since my last post and I'm afraid that every reader I've ever had has run for greener, and more entertaining pastures.
Just in case there are a few of them left, though, I thought I would put up some quick takes to let them know I AM still alive and thinking of them. And I promise, promise, promise that I won't let two weeks go by again, without blogging.
Bad, bad, blogger!

1. I know this comes as a big shock, but I've been just a tad busy lately. I don't think I've ever been this far behind in blogging. Not even during our adoption trip and two moves. Some of it has been work-related...some of it not. All of it time-consuming and otherwise energy draining. I'm hoping I can keep it in check over the next month of so...but no promises. I'm hoping to take a week off at Christmas so I can stay home with the kids and in 'feature reporter world' that means I have to write all my stories ahead of time. UGH!

2. Four doctors office visits and five prescriptions later, I think we're starting to feel a little better around here. Of course that's assuming that no one catches anything else that anyONE else has had in the last two weeks. Every child has been sick...Shad has been sick...I'm not allowing myself to be sick...and everyone has had something different! As you know Alek had strep - so far no collateral casualties. Shad had the massive migraine - I've kept him drugged up on caffeine to prevent a repeat. Anya had yet ANOTHER ear infection...hence the failed repeat hearing screening that I forgot to tell you about. Nick complained of a headache and being dizzy the other night but thankfully he was able to sleep through the night and woke up the next morning without any other issues - keeping an eye on him. We thought Maddie had pink eye last week, but turns out it may have just been a nasty cold. Just in case though, we're following through with the drugs. In the meantime, she developed a pretty good fever on Saturday and another seal-like cough. As of today her fever is gone...and the cough is now productive, so off to school she goes tomorrow. By the time Christmas comes around, we're going to NEED that week off so we can decontaminate. UGH.

3. I just realized its been months since I gave you a Maddie update. I think its about time. I'm putting it on the agenda for this week. Let's see if I can follow through. To say she's doing great really is an understatement...but I'll elaborate later.

4. Job is going well. I'm writing more than I ever thought possible, which I guess is a good thing. The only problem is it is definitely affecting my blogging, which I hate. I love to blog. I need to blog. I want to post about our daily lives...and I adore the feedback I get. I've got to find a way to get back my blogging mojo.

5. Tonight I embarassed my children. Horribly. Hee-hee. ;) It was Family Night at church, which means everyond gets together for a big Thanksgiving dinner and then each Sunday School class puts some sort of 'act' together to entertain everyone else. Maddie's class did a line-up of fishing songs - you know, like 'Peter, James and John in a Sailboat', 'Fisher's of men' and 'God made the fishies in the deep blue sea." Cute stuff. Nick's class did the traditional say a verse and sing a song, number. Anya's class did a skit about John the Baptist. Alek's class had a spitting contest skit. And then there was me.
My class decided to add add something 'beautiful' to the church. We worked long and hard to bring a fountain into the santuary. After all, we have put in new carpet recently, painted and had other 'beautifying' projects. So we all dressed up in togas, put a faux wreath in our hair, and carried a pitcher of water on our shoulders all the while doing the 'wedding walk' down the aisle.
When we got to the stage, we formed a circle, one of us got in the middle (thankfully, not me), took a drink of water from our pitcher and then spit it up in the air.
A more beautiful 'fountain' I have never seen.
Of course, I giggled so hard through the whole thing that our fountain was a little lopsided.
And NO! There are no pictures! :)

6. I'm working on a post for the mirror site. I have a few things I need feedback on but for one reason or another don't feel comfortable putting up on here. I'll let you know when it's ready.

7. Did you know...Mucinex is actually a fancy brand name for guafinacin (spelling not guaranteed) - a drug Shad gives horses when he wants to knock them out. Strange, but true. I find this kind of stuff out ALL. THE. TIME. Probably more often than I want, quite frankly. When he informed me of the alternative use tonight all I could think of was that I had given my youngest daughter a horse drug to help control her cough. Images of large glass bottles of drugs and massive syringes flew through my mind. There are days when I wonder if the DVM thing was a good idea. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.


so this is why I never became a doctor...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

FALSE ALARM EVERYONE! Alek doesn't have the swine flu!

Because I can't diagnose stuff to save my or anyone else's life...
Well, THAT and then there's that whole fear of needles thing.
Anyway...just popping in to say 'FALSE ALARM EVERYBODY!" Alek doesn't have the swine flu...and Shad's clear too. Turns out Alek has strep...which, as odd as it sounds, I was thankful to hear. He's been on antibiotics for 24 hours and headed back to school this morning well on the road to recovery.
Shad's headache continued to get worse after I last posted - and then he ended up losing his lunch (or in this case supper). Turns out? He was going through caffeine withdrawal. My wonderful husband, unbeknownst to me, started drinking caffeinated pop again a few months ago. Since I didn't know, I bought him a different brand of pop (caffeine free) on my most recent shopping trip. He didn't notice the difference and well...went through detox! :)
I have no sympathy. Well, okay. I did while he was urping...but afterwards, nah. He knew what he was getting into when he went back on that stuff.
Of course, our medical adventures weren't over with just these two.
Anya decided to get in on the action last night. She started complaining of an ear ache. Knowing EXACTLY what it was, we drugged her up, sent her to school and then Shad took her in to the doctor this afternoon.
Sure enough. An ear infection.
Problem is...our health insurance changed their prescription policy a few months back and now we have to meet a deductible before they start paying anything. Usually its not that big of a deal. Everybody has those $4 prescriptions anymore. But since she was just on an antibiotic for an ear infection they decided not to give her the amoxicillan this time. The new drug? $104!
Unfortunately we can't do that and eat this week, so I get to call the doctor tomorrow morning to see if there are any other options.
Oh! And on the medical front...the school district sent a note home today saying they will be offering H1N1 shots to all their students next week. If we want one for the kids, we're supposed to sign and return a form.
Something bothers me about that...and I'm not exactly sure what.
Part of it, I'm sure, is that I like being there for my kids when they get a shot. Shots aren't fun. They should be able to have their mom there, if needed...especially Ellie.
The other problem is much more undefinable. I think its that I like being there WITH my kids with they get a shot. I don't like the idea of someone giving my kid a shot without me being there...ya know?!
And then there's the whole - mass, government-endorsed, inoculation thing. I get my kids shots...Shad and I consider it our responsibility as parents. (We are NOT going to have a discussion here about inoculations people!) but I'm not comfortable with the shots are being provided through the schools.
Schools are for education...not for health management.
Anyway...I'm still wading my way through what I'm thinking about all of this, but in the meantime we have to have the forms back in by Friday. I imagine we'll go ahead and get the shots. Its nearly impossible to get four kids rounded up to go to the doctor to get a shot...besides, the shots are free...and THAT's something I'm all for.
Especially when antibiotics cost $104!!!


virus 2...humans 0

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My big guy never gets sick, so when he gets knocked down by something I know he's really ill.

The pigs have moved in...made themselves at home...and are taking us out, one by one.
Alek was first. He got up in the middle of the middle of the night with a fever of 101. I gave him some medicine and settled him down on our bedroom floor, just so I could keep a better eye on him. He slept the rest of the night - although I didn't. My big guy NEVER gets sick, so when he gets knocked by down by something I know he's REALLY ill.
When he got up this morning, the fever was up to 102.
I really probably should have taken him in to Urgent Care this morning, but honestly the fever was pretty well under control at that point and his only other complaint was a sore throat, so I decided since I had a built-in babysitter in Shad, I had better head to the office (yes, on a Sunday) so I could get SOME work done . I figure if I've put in the time, its less sick time I'll have to take this week (once again, I'm thankful for a supervisor who has children...and understands). I brought home all of the stuff I'll need to work at home this week, if necessary, but working at home is NEVER very productive.
By the time I got home, Alek's fever was up to 103. Thankfully, it comes down with medication...although this time it also took a luke-warm shower.
His temp has been hanging out around 99.7 ever since. Let's hope it stays that way.
Meanwhile, Shad started slowing down.
He ran that minor temp last night, but honestly? He runs minor temps All. The. Time. I don't know what it is about the guy, but you can look at him wrong and he'll spike to 101. Crazy stuff.
I figured it was his bi-monthly fever...but what do you know, this afternoon he crashed on the couch with chills, headache and the start of a sore throat.
So. Should we start taking bets on whose next? So far, no one else has symptoms. I am a bit run down, but I think its just from a restless night. I'm off to head to bed early to try and cut this pig thing off at the pass.


heeeeere piggy, piggy, piggy

Saturday, November 7, 2009

There's nothing official, but Alek was looking a bit peaked tonight.
He was laying around on the couch, eating next to nothing, had red rings around his eyes and was just overall feeling kind of icky.
So far no fever...keeping our fingers crossed.
Shad on the other hand is running a mild fever.
Security may have been breached...we may be under attack...will keep you updated.


who's brilliant idea was this anyway?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Its just like her to come up with brilliant traditions like stuffing as many birthday balloons in the birthday kid's room as she can...and then for it to come back and kick her in the tail a few years later - like when she has FOUR kids and has to come up with enough hot air to fill those darn balloons every three months!

I'm already flailing...
Going under...
Sinking fast!
I have somehow written myself into a HUGE corner at work and for the life of me I have NO idea how I'm going to survive...let alone get ANYTHING up on this blog this weekend.
I have two stories due tomorrow...one on Monday and two on Tuesday.
BIG stories. Its not like they're little ones I can just blow off and do only my regularly scheduled work day. Oh NO! I will probably be working on them all weekend long.
In between, of course, the laundry, housework and whatever special treat Anya has planned for us. Birthday people in our house get to pick a special place to go to for lunch on their birthday. Since Anya's was during the week, we have to do it this weekend.
Whoever came up with that family tradition should really start thinking about the long-term ramifications of her bright ideas. Its just like her to come up with brilliant traditions like stuffing as many birthday balloons in the birthday kid's room as she can...and then for it to come back and kick her in the tail a few years later - like when she has FOUR kids and has to come up with enough hot air to fill those darn balloons every three months!
I'm just sayin'.
I'm thinking this NaBloPoMo thing may been another one of 'her' not so good ideas. Especially during the month of November. Not that I'm giving up or anything...I'm just thinking whatever you do get out of me during the next 30 days may not always be witty, pithy or particularly creative-y.
Wish me luck ladies...work's calling - and I'm diving in.

I am thankful for...my job. This time last year I didn't have one - so many people around the country are still looking for one - I just wish I was better at it so it didn't claim so much of my off-work time. Sigh.


30 pink balloons

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Its late.

I should be winding down - getting into my pjs, brushing my teeth and crawling into bed for a good night sleep.
Instead, I'm sitting on the couch, watching the evening news and blowing up 30 hot pink balloons.
We've got a birthday tomorrow. My big girl becomes an even bigger girl in the morning...my precious Anya turns 9.
I can't begin to tell you how much this girl means to me.
Seven years ago when I met her in that Russian orphanage, she was a pipsqueak of a thing. She sat on a bench picking little toys out of a white bag...first a tiny doll, then a white horse, a little bear and a red truck.
All the while, I kept wondering if we were doing the right thing. Shad was absolutely in love, convinced she was the one.
I was absolutely terrified! I knew nothing about girls. I had no desire to buy dresses, had little interest in dolls and had proved to be an abysmal failure as a hair stylist. I just KNEW I would be a disaster as a little girl's mom, but there was something about her...and quite frankly, I'm still not sure what it was.
From the moment we brought her home she was VERY temperamental...VERY emotional...VERY strong-willed. It was all I could do to bond with her. It took months and months of forcing myself to try all the techniques to connect with her, before I really felt like her mom. Actually, it was more like a year.
Sad...but true.
Now? I couldn't imagine life without her.
Sure...she's still overly emotional and very strong-willed. There are days when I'm exasperated by the constant drama, frustrated by my inability to french-braid her hair and am tempted to thrown every last Barbie out the window.
But I'm also incredibly thankful. She's blossomed into a sweet, compassionate, giving, nurturing, thoughtful, loving, gentle and loyal girl. She's smart, funny, friendly and witty.
She is FOREVER helping Maddie. Patiently working with her to pick out an outfit for school, brushing her hair while I curl mine and often pouring milk on her morning cereal while I try to corral the boys to put on jeans that haven't been in their laundry bin with mud stains on them for the last week.
She loves to help with Saturday chores, often doing way more than requested.
She thrives on nursing her sick brothers and sister back to health by bringing them cool washcloths and a drink of water.
She makes her bed without asking.
She colors new pictures each week to tape on the refrigerator.
She worries about every kitten she spots on the street.
She enjoys hunting bugs with Nick and can't understand why I don't want to join them.
She is working really hard to stop chewing her nails...so she can get her ears pierced tomorrow.
She plays football with the guys and loves to play dress-up.
And she loves her Lord with ALL her heart.
All of these are just the tip of the iceberg of why I love this little girl.
Just. The. Tip.
So I will gladly and thankfully inflate these balloons tonight. I have been blessed to have another year as Anya's mom.
Blowing up 30 hot pink balloons is a very small price to pay, indeed.
Happy Birthday Anya!

I'm thankful that...my Heavenly Father trusted Shad and I to raise this precious girl. He knew exactly what He was doing when He lent her to us. We're thankful for the time we have with her and are REALLY looking forward to enjoying getting to know the young woman she is becoming.


in which my daughter trips out on happy gas

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Feeling a bit like a junkie buying a hit on a street corner, I said, 'Let's do it.'

Usually I'm not much of a drug user. Honest. I tend to forgo the Advi! for my own headaches, hoping they'll resolve themselves.
But when the dentist told us a couple of weeks ago that Anya would need to have a couple of little cavities filled, the first thing I asked was, 'Do you have happy gas?"
'Suuuuuure,' she replied. 'That's an option.'
Feeling a bit like a junkie buying a hit on a street corner, I said, 'Let's do it.'
We haven't had a lot of experience with kids getting fillings...which is a bit of a surprise, given the kids rough backgrounds. But I've personally had enough filled to know - this would be one thing Anya WOULD. NOT. enjoy.
And I was right.
By the time we pulled into the parking lot this evening, Anya was a mess...and I was ending up prayers of thanksgiving for whoever discovered (invented) laughing gas.
It was good to have Anya higher than a kite tonight.

Very. Good.
Not only did it make the whole process a lot less stressful for Anya...
It made it a lot more entertaining....for me. ;>)
I have never seen anyone on nitrous oxide. Oh, I've watched the movies and TV shows that portrayed the poor souls who inhaled the funny stuff. But until tonight I had never witnessed it in person.

Honestly? I think the TV shows didn't quite do it justice! :)
It all started out innocently enough. A little smile here...a flick of the fingers there...
But soon she was patting her tummy like a drum, conducting an imaginary orchestra (there was no music), wiggling her fingers at me in a cute little greeting and holding a piece of gauze like it was a long-lost toy!
Finally, she looked at me through the space between the mask and the elbow of the dental technician and smiled a silly lopsided little grin as she waved the piece of gauze at me like she was Scarlet O'Hara.
That was it.

First I snickered...
Then I snorted...
and finally...
I lost it! I'm sorry! I couldn't help it. I swear! It was just too funny sitting there watching Anya as she wiggled her fingers an inch in front of her face, giggling hysterically all the while with one of those bite things in her mouth and a blue napkin around her neck.
The laughter was contageous I'm afraid. Anya snorted some more and burst out in a gafaw...the technician was next with a chortle and a cackle...

The dentist just smiled her wise, knowing smile.
I think I even heard someone in the exam room next to ours let out a little teeter.
Meanwhile, Alek kept peering through the receptionist desk back into our bay, I'm sure wondering if his poor mother was losing her mind.
I was close.
My only regret tonight? I didn't think to pull out my cell phone until they had shut off the happy gas and turned the oxygen back on.

Darn it! Anya could have been the latest YouTube sensation!

I'm thankful for: A dentist who is INCREDIBLY good at pain management...and for happy gas. I just may ask for the stuff myself next time.


a word to the wise...

Monday, November 2, 2009

IF, in order to appease your conscious, and to get your husband to shut his trap about the price of said dehydrator, you decide to start drying everything in sight...

IF you decide to make a New Year's resolution because that's what everyone else is doing...
And IF you can't seem to ever stick to one that affects you, so you resolve that your children need to be the object of said resolution...
And IF you decide that the resolution needs to include getting the kids to drop their fake juice packets, toss their 'fruit' roll-ups and start eating healthier...
And IF you go a little overboard about said New Year's resolution and decide to start making your own snacks because then you would know what is in their snacks - even if they don't...
And IF on a whim you decide to buy a new dehydrator - say, off of e-bay - and have it shipped to your house and are super-giddy about the brand new dehydrator that cost WAY more than any little appliance has a right to...
And IF, in order to appease your conscious, and to get your husband to shut his trap about the price of said dehydrator, you decide to start drying everything in sight...
AND IF you realize there's a certain thrill in drying everything you can find and start doing some research about what all can be done with your dehydrator and the cool, relatively healthy new recipes you can make with your new dehydrator and start looking videos up on youtube about dehydrating and finding all kinds of movies about long-term food storage and start thinking that it really isn't all that far-fetched that you may, some day, need 200 pounds of rice in a heat-sealed mylar bag, just in case, I don't know, a rogue hurricane hits Kansas, or say, Obama can't seem to get his rampant spending under control and goes ahead and forces us all into universal health care and implements his secret socialist plan...
Oops...got a little political there. Sorry about that.
And IF you start to go overboard on this dehydrating thing and start drying everything that isn't moving in the house including bananas (because they're an easy thing to start with), every tomato your neighbor brings in from their garden over the course of the summer (thereby depriving your family of garden fresh tomatoes while they're in season - because you moved back to the Sunflower State WAY too late in the season to get a decent tomato crop), apples from your first trip to an orchard (because you just HAD to have something to dehydrate) and even start buying frozen vegetables because the lady on the youtube video says they are the easiest things to dehydrate because they're already blanched and if you buy them on sale you can save tons of money and you buy those vegetables because it seems like a really good idea at the time but then when you get home you don't have enough room in your freezer to hold them until you're ready to dehydrate them so you stick them in the refrigerator and PRAY they stay fresh until you can get around to them and you start kicking yourself for not buying a BIGGER dehydrator...
And IF your family starts to eat the foods you start making from all of these newly dehydrated foods...
And IF they start complimenting you on your new culinary skills...
And IF, for some unknown reason, because you really AREN'T a whack-job...the kids start talking about your food 'collection' and about how cool it is and how they want to start collecting things too...
Then PLEASE in the name of all things good, holy and otherwise normal - stay away from the produce section of your local Wal-Mart store where the yellow onions are on sale...
And IF you don't stay away from that section, at least have the decency not to buy a big bag of yellow onions...
And IF you can't help yourself from buying that big bag of onions because the price is so good, please DO NOT immediately take the bag home and starting cutting up a yellow onion...
AND IF you can't stop yourself from pulling out that cutting board to chop away, by all means stop yourself before you cut them all up at once...
And IF you do go ahead and cut them all up at once, for heaven's sake, please, Please, PLEASE!!! DO. NOT. and I repeat DO. NOT. put them in your dehydrator.
Or your house is going to stink to high heaven...
AND your four children will moan and complain about the stench...
AND your two dogs will run whimpering from the room...
AND your husband will laugh at your through teary eyes caused by said dehydrating onions...
AND you'll probably have to burn every candle in the house to get rid of the smell.
For the next three weeks.
I'm just sayin'.

I'm thankful for...Febreeze. Enough said.


day one

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I can hear that snickering. You just cut it out. Last year I took the challenge head-on and conquered it! So. There.

'm at it again.
I'm taking the NaBloPoMo challenge.
I'm going to try to put a post up here every day during the month of November.
I can hear that snickering. You just cut it out. Last year I took the challenge head-on and conquered it! So. There.
I'm up for it. Really. I am.
Alright...so this time its going to be a little harder. After all...last year I was jobless. Blogging was a HUGE part of my life last year. This year I'm writing for a living, so I rarely have much left over after a day at the paper, but I'm STILL going to give it a shot.
I don't want this blog to go by the way of most post-adoption blogs. I want to keep it up and running - vital and pertinent. I'm hoping this challenge will be just the kick-start I need to get Sunflower Seeds up and running again.
I'm also going to be trying a modified version of something I did last year - with limited success. Every day during the month of November I'm going to share something I'm thankful for. Last year I tried five things a day - and quite frankly, I'm not THAT good at this thankful thing, so I'm going to try one per day - as kind of a post-script on each post. We'll see how that goes.
So get you laptop battery charged and keep that Google Reader window open, because you just never know when or what will come from my madly typing fingers this month!
Blog on!

I'm thankful for...
My laptop. Yes, its shallow and self-centered of me, but without this lovely little machine I would be forced to sit at a computer desk to type these blog posts up. And since I spend most of my work day chained to a desk, if I didn't have this little blue machine, you would NEVER hear from me! :)


can I just say...

Friday, October 30, 2009

I can't stand them - my imagination is waaaaay too overactive to handle it.

I hate Halloween!
Not only do my kids get WAY overstimulated...and loaded with insane amounts of sugar...they're also subjected to all kinds of scary stuff, that quite frankly, their little minds aren't ready for. My tween, Alek, is starting to be exposed to more and more of this stuff. And honestly, I'm not really okay with that.
Shad and I have kept things pretty tame around here. We don't allow the typical kinds of movies most kids are allowed to watch. A PG-13 in this house, means our kids won't be watching them until they're at least 13. Scary movies are pretty much out for the kids - I can't stand them - my imagination is waaaaay too overactive to handle it, so if Shad wants to watch something on the frightful side the poor guy is pretty much on his own.
But this year Alek has started showing an interest in scary things. Nothing gory - thank goodness - but they must be talking about this stuff at school quite a bit because he's come home telling some amazing ghost stories...some of the stuff, quite frankly, I'm a little freaked out by myself. (I TOLD you my imagination is over-active. If I can be freaked out by an 11-year-old telling a ghost story, I must be REALLY pathetic! :)
This year we took a big step and allowed him to go to a haunted house with some of his sixth grade friends and tonight he's at a Halloween Party.
Last night, after I finished putting Nick to bed, prayed with him, kissed him goodnight and shut the door, I walked down the hall to the girls room to tuck them in.
And then I heard it...an audible wail.
I went back to Nick's room and found him curled up on his bed, sobbing.
Turns out the boy and his big brother were downstairs this morning, while I was getting ready for work, watching a scary show Alek had taped on the DVR. They watched it...laughed about it...and were fine.
Until last night.
It started out innocently enough. As they were getting ready for bed, they had started talking about Halloween...and then one of them remember the show - and in typical boy fashion, decided to recite every line in the movie verbatim.
Before they knew it they both were freaked out, but were too afraid to tell us what they had done, so they had put on a brave face as we had tucked them in, turned off the lights and shut the door.
As Nick confessed what had happened, Alek came in the room a little freaked out himself.
All I could do was love them, hug them, rock them a bit and tell them it would be alright.
We let Nick sleep on our bedroom floor, but Alek (the one who should have known better) had to return to his own room.
And then I snickered to myself.
That'll teach 'em.


look what I found when i got home tonight...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


this and that

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What am I saying? Maddie adds chaos to every situation. A good kind of chaos...but chaos never-the-less.

Its been nice and quiet around here today.
We finished up the boys' flag football season yesterday and so this is the first Sunday in quite awhile where we've been able to just stay home and veg.
Actually its the first day in awhile, period.
Its been nice.
Real. Nice.
I'm ALMOST caught up on laundry. I say almost because with a family of six you never REALLY catch up.
I mean, really. Never.
And while we're at it...why is it that adding one family member can make THAT much of a difference in the laundry level?
Before Maddie I was able to get the laundry done, most of the time. I may have a load left at the end of the weekend, but it was manageable and the kids had freshly washed, clean, unwrinkled clothes in their dressers by Sunday's end.
Now? Not so much.
Actually, they're lucky to have the clothes in their dressers...much less clean and unwrinkled.
Part of it is that I've decided to make them a lot more responsible for their laundry. They're putting their dirty clothes downstairs on Saturday morning...helping with loading and unloading the machines and putting their own clothes away after I fold them, but still...I'm WAY behind.
All. The. Time.
Little Maddie couldn't have added that much chaos to my weekend routine.
What am I saying? Maddie adds chaos to every situation. A good kind of chaos...but chaos never-the-less. ;)
In other news...
The boys football tourney went well yesterday. Nick's team finished third...and Alek's won the championship. Both boys did great and enjoyed playing, so I guess I know what I'll be doing next fall.
Now we're on to finding the girls some extra curricular stuff.
Anya got a jump start on hers. She began piano lessons a couple of weeks ago - and she LOVES it! She goes right after school one day a week, which means she goes while I'm still at work. (the babysitter takes her) Gotta love that schedule! :)
I'm still thinking about doing some sort of gymnastic thing for the girls. I think they'd both like it...and they both could use the creative outlet.
Hmmm...what else? I can't think of any other news right now. I still have the IEP meeting to write about. And I'm making a commitment to join the NaBloPoMo writing deal in November. I need to get back into the habit of writing.
Keep your fingers crossed that it works! :)


awwww...THAT's my little man!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Nick: Mom...I have a headache.
Me: Awwww Nick. I'm sorry. How long has it been hurting?
Nick: Since I went to town with Dad.
Shad: Nick! Why didn't you say something?
Nick: Because Mom is the only one who can fix it. She's fixed it before and I can trust her to fix it again.

Snicker. Snicker. Bwaaaahaaaahaaaa!!! I think the good doctor was a bit bent out of shape! :) (And yes, he actually did use the word 'trust'. ;)


baby steps

Friday, October 23, 2009

I don't know if we've just endured another time of testing...or if this is just the calm in the middle of the storm.

Thanks everyone for the supportive comments and virtual hugs. You all are awesome! :)
Some of the things you wrote about we've considered...others we hadn't. All of it was read, mulled-over and ingested.

We are so blessed to have such a great group of adoptive parents and wise friends surrounding us who have been there, dealt with that.
We still have a lot to consider in how to deal with Maddie in the coming days and weeks, but I am happy to say things have settled down in the last couple of weeks.
I'm not sure exactly why yet.
I don't know if we've just endured another time of testing. You know...the two steps forward, one step back thing. Or if this is just the calm in the midst of a storm.
The last two weeks things have been incredibly quiet on the school front.
No late afternoon phone calls. Great reports from the teachers when I call. My informants kids say she's settled down.
And so I'm confused.
I'm hoping its a permanent change. I'm imagining she's learned she's not going to get away with all of these negative behaviors.. I'm thinking the praise she received from her daddy and I about how good she's been behaving the last couple of weeks is working.
But I'm also not naive enough to think that it is over...whatever it is.

I'm seriously leaning toward this being just a time of testing. Trying out old behavior to see how it works in a new environment. Or maybe it was a temporary slide back into the orphanage. A bit of a post-traumatic response. I keep reminding the teachers that school can be very reminiscent of the orphanage to these kids.
Fifteen to 20 kids, all the same age, all crowded into a concrete block type room for a long day with only breaks for a few recesses and communal lunch.
Sounds awful familiar to me.
The teachers seem to be getting it. Really, they do. Her kindergarten teacher is awesome. So patient and understanding of Maddie's history and special needs. She's the one who is starting to wonder if the constant stream of extra teachers is contributing to Maddie's behavior. We're considering cutting back on some of it and will talk to Mrs. B again on Tuesday at the parent-teacher conferences. Maddie has a long list of teachers including a special needs teacher - which I'm not so sure she needs. This teacher offers more one-on-one instruction, which is nice, but Mrs. B says Maddie is doing great academically. Right on track with the rest of the class. YAY! :)
She obviously needs her speech help...and the teacher for the deaf - at least for now. But there's also a person to help keep an eye on her at PE (a teacher's aide). I'm not sure that person is needed either.
So we're considering it.
And then there's the lunchroom.
During her IEP meeting a few weeks ago (which I still haven't blogged about and which I am still working on) I mentioned the lunch room may be too loud and that may be why she was acting out so much. The teachers actually came up with the idea of having her eat in a quieter setting, possibly with a couple of friends (different ones each day), so Maddie could work on her interpersonal skills (having conversations, developing friendships, etc.). It is supposed to be a part of her final IEP - which I was really excited about. I'm not sure its been implemented yet, so I'm going to check on it.
Another thought...one of the behavior modifications that the teachers had put in place was a reward system based on gummy bears. I put the kibosh on that immediately. There is still a behavior modification in place but it has absolutely NO food attached to it now. Thankfully.

The teachers were mortified at what they may have done in using food as a reward...seriously - one of them used that word later on. Again, I'm thankful for the teachers we are working with here. (Notice I'm saying teachers...just keep that in mind, okay?! ;)
So, for now, we're going to continue at the status quo. Things are going well. All is quiet (quick...someone find me a piece of wood) and Maddie is showing signs of making permanent behavior changes.
Its not that we're out of the woods completely, but I have to say Maddie seems to have attached pretty well. Extremely well, considering where we were a year ago.
She comes to us for comfort...
Seeks us out for approval...
Absolutely never mommy shops anymore...
Will seek us out if she can't find us...
There's no more bullying of other kids - at least not in our family circle...
She's treating animals with affection now (instead of absolute fear) - well, at least ours...
She responds appropriately to discipline and affection...
And will occasionally climb into someone else's lap for a second, but then will look at me and then come over and climb up in mine.
Leaps and bounds...
Millions and millions of miles...
Heads and shoulders of improvement.
And that's what I need to keep reminding myself. Isn't it? Baby steps. Keep an eye on the improvements...and keep working on helping her grow, learn and adjust..
Sure. We still have a ways to go...but we're getting there.


an explanation

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sometimes life just creeps up behind you and kicks you in the tail, ya know? And the last few days have been a virtual kick in the pants - and not the good kind.

I'm sorry...this post is really long. I guess that's what you get for letting me spend the last week working this situation over in my mind six-ways to Sunday. I do want to thank you all for last week's virtual hugs. I needed them.
I still don't feel like I've fully wrapped my mind around what's been happening during the last month. To be honest, what Maddie has been up to hasn't been so much so horrible, as it has been disconcerting. I thought we had a better handle on all of this stuff and to find out otherwise was just a slap in the face.
I hate it when that happens.
Sometimes life just creeps up behind you and kicks you in the tail, ya know? And the last few days have been a virtual kick in the pants - and not the good kind.
When Maddie started school this year, she was excited. So very excited. In fact, she's still excited. The girl just loves kindergarten, often getting a bit pouty on Friday afternoons when she realizes it will be a couple more days before she can go back and see her friends.
I'm choosing to believe its because she loves learning (which she does) and has enjoyed making new friends (which she has done). I don't think there's any kind of bonding issues going on here. She comes home so excited to share her day with us...to show us her papers and to relate her experiences. It's so fun to watch. We've encouraged her love of school and have been so proud of the progress she's made.
Her teacher told us that in the testing, she's doing pretty well. She's hanging tough with the other kids on the materials she's learned so far. She can recognize her letters and is making good progress on understanding the sounds. Truly, the only cognitive delay seems to be in language...which makes sense, on so many levels. (Actually there is one other concern, but I'll save that for the IEP meeting post - which is also way too late in coming. UGH! )
But then two weeks ago it all started to unravel.
We've known she's been having trouble transitioning from one event at school to another. It's just too much for her little system to take. She's finally doing much better with changes that take place within the classroom...its any time they leave the room that her little life goes into a tailspin.
And she has an incredibly hard time recovering.
Most of the time she reacts by being silly. At first it was just yelling and running in the hallways...occasionally it would get a touch more serious than that. Messing with other kids' artwork on the walls or opening a door and popping into another class to say hi, but overall she was manageable. The teachers implemented a behavior management strategy - which we learned about at her IEP meeting, which I am in the middle of writing the blog about - and felt like they had things under control.
Until that Friday.
Two Fridays ago started out fine. I dropped her off at school with the big kids, just like always. She skipped into the building, all smiles...just like always. And the teacher said she had a pretty good morning...just like always.
But when it came time for lunch, it all went down the proverbial toilet.
Lunchtime has been a problem for awhile.
The room is noisy. There is a lot of conversation, a lot of excitement and not enough supervision.
It's a nuthouse...to put it mildly.
You can imagine what it does to a post-institutionalized kid.
Add to that the serious amount of noise coming at her, magnified by her hearing aids and the fact that she still has trouble distinguishing sounds and tuning things in and out...and well, you can imagine. (Which reminds me...I need to tell the teachers about her inability to tune in and tune out. UGH! I don't think I'll ever be able to keep this stuff all straight!)
The teachers had managed to use the behavior modification plan in the lunchroom with limited success...but this particular day nothing worked.
It started out with Maddie standing up on the bench instead of sitting down to eat. When the lunchroom monitor told her to sit down, she sat. For a second. Then she stood up again. The teacher told her to sit down again...and she did. For a second.
Finally the teacher walked over to her and firmly told her to sit down, to which Maddie replied 'no'.
At that point, Maddie told the teacher that she needed to go to the bathroom. The teacher told her no because she had the opportunity to go before lunch (this has been a daily problem - she doesn't go before lunch and then demands that she be allowed to leave to go potty - I think its because she likes the freedom of going to the bathroom by herself.)
The teacher then made the mistake of turning and walking away.
Maddie stood up and walked out of the lunchroom.
A hallway monitor caught her just outside the door.
Then, later in P.E., Maddie (for some unknown reason) decided to bite a girl.
That's when the superintendent was called.
They tried calling me, but I had just the afternoon before, changed cell phone plans and hadn't given them the new number yet - although they did have my work number and didn't even try to call that one.
The Superintendent decided to keep her in her office for the next hour or so, in which she worked with Maddie on her letters and numbers and talked with her about making good decisions.
This is where you can start coloring me increasingly frustrated.
While Maddie understands a good amount of English - using words like good choices and bad choices are completely lost on her. Completely.
Anyway...finally the Super decided Maddie was starting to miss her classroom and that it was time to take her back. She returned Maddie to the classroom which was in the middle of reading time. Maddie walked right in, sauntered up to another kid, shoved him out of the way and sat down.
Sigh. Sigh.
I had a conversation with the Super that night on the phone. As she repeated the day to me it was all I could do not to cry. Seriously.
And then she said these words...
"And what concerns me the most is that Maddie doesn't seem to care. She shows absolutely no emotion whatsoever. No compassion. No empathy. No regret. No nothing."
I tried explaining her background - for the thousandth time, but you know...I'm getting tired of it. I'm tired of explaining how she spent the first four years o her life in an orphanage...
How the orphanage was survival of the fittest...
How she had to fight in order to get what she needed/wanted...
How discipline is either non-existent or severe.
How we're working with her..trying to retrain her..but it takes time.
And I keep telling them its not an excuse, its an explanation....
But I'm sick of it. Really, really, sick of it.
That was a Friday.
Maddie had a miserable weekend...and not by her choosing. She went to bed Friday night at 5 p.m...as soon as she got up on Saturday she became my shadow and spent her entire day that way...she went to bed early again Saturday night and we continued talking about being nice to people and doing what your teachers' tell you do do - all weekend.
We made sure she realized we were NOT happy with how she was acting. It was COMPLETELY unacceptable and she would change her ways on Monday or she would be getting in more trouble. However, if she had a good report on Monday she could earn the privilege of working on the computer - which she loves.
We thought we had gotten through to her.
Monday wasn't good...much of the same behavior - except, thankfully, no biting. More sneaking out of the lunchroom and ignoring the lunchroom monitor.
Shad had Tuesday off and so I told the teacher to give him a call if there were more lunchtime antics. He would come over and take care of it right away.
Tuesday's lunch was fine...and she had a great day...until the last 20 minutes of the day - when she leaned over, during circle time, and bit a girl on the finger.
She says it was because the girl stole her ring.
So Shad had to go in and get her from school and bring her home.
It wasn't pretty.
Maddie cried. Hard. Much to the delight of the Super who must have thought we had adopted a monster.
Shad took the blubbering Maddie, brought her home and sent her to her room until he could get his thoughts together.
That night we came up with a plan.
We decided that we would take turns being on-call to come on a moments notice to deal with Maddie's behavior issues. If the school called, we would come and deal with her before going back to work. We also came up with a simple reward/consequences behavior plan. If she obeyed and got a good report from school, she could earn a coloring book at the end of the week - she LOVES to color.
If she was not able to make it through the week then she would have consequences.
We explained it all to Maddie - in simple words of course.
Darn it if that girl didn't have a great rest of the week.
The little stinker knows exactly what she's doing.
How do you handle a child that knows exactly what she's doing and is testing to see how much she can get away with?
At home, she's pretty well behaved...because she KNOWS she's not going to get away with it. But at school she's got a 50/50 shot. She behaves just fine for her homeroom teacher, but gives just about everyone else she comes into contact with a hard time.
Maddie's teacher is concerned that she may have too many people associated with her IEP. She thinks all the changes that she goes through everyday is just feeding into this chaos. Not that she doesn't think she needs the help - she obviously does. She's just trying to help us figure out how to help her the best.
I'm so confused. So frustrated. So worn out.
I have no idea how to help Maddie. Non at all.
I knew parenting an older post-institutionalized child would be difficult. And I knew parenting a child with a disability - no matter how minor - would be difficult.
I really did KNOW this.
But knowing and doing really ARE two different things.


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