Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Gone

Not Chase, at least not yet.

THE GIRLS..... the littlest ones.  GASP.

They have gone to Outdoor School for the next 4 days and 3 nights.  

I kid you not.

They were excited, happy, excited, excited. Then Kat cried once on the bus:(

I am not worried about Phoebe, she's up for it. Kat has not been away from us since she was adopted.  Yup.  8 YEARS. Has not spent the night elsewhere except the night of Tristan's passing.

And even then she was with her siblings.

She's got Phoebe, although they are in separate cabins. And study groups. So Phoebe can not dump on Kat to do things for her, and Kat will not be picking on Phoebe. Yes, oh yes, they do those things. (Check out photo below and notice Kat making "bunny ears" on Phoebe's head)

Please understand they are almost 11 year old girls. They do things to each other, not one more than the other from what I can see. Some of it typical, some of it not nice and we have to address (often) and some just girlie drama that they test out on all of us.

Let's just say they will be MISSED for sure and it's going to be AWFULLY quiet around here. No girlie giggles. No talking through every meal till told to be quiet and EAT.

Odd. I don't like it. But I did what was needed. Told them to "Go, have fun" and that they would be back soon.

 Hugged them and sent them off.  Yes, I did. Encouraging them to learn all they could and have the best experience possible. 

 Love them.  Tons and tons.

 So very hard to let them gooooooooooo.............


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sentences

Not JAIL sentences (MOM)--- but actual sentences.

Yes, this is indeed, a punishment in our home. It helps two-fold.  It teaches spelling and makes the "offender" ponder their misdeed over and over and well, OVER.

Many times. Depending on the issue. Sometimes it's as easy as an apology around here.  But sometimes there are issues that return to us and that's when sentences come in to play.

And speaking of play, we do not play favorites. We've had a run lately of "sentence writing" from " I will not yell at my mom" to "I will not be disrespectful" to "I will not be jealous of Phoebe" to "I will listen to my parents."

One certain child is wayyyyyy more stubborn than most, she got to write her 50 sentences  4---- as in FOUR times over.  Yes, she did.

WHY? Because first she misspelled. And was given the opportunity to fix that error easily but added the missing letter by making a total mess of the sentences.

And she did this ON PURPOSE. So 50 more sentences later, she wrote them in anger--- tiny, tiny print till the last one then it was HUGE. 

Was told to "Try again."  Snot is not acceptable. Oh, do they ever try to push the rules.  They are kiddos after all. Typical, snotty, tween/teen children.  They rarely ever surprise me now that I have raised 12+ of them, but they DO secretly (not gonna let them know this) amuse me.

We usually start at 50 sentences, now ours are 10 and up, it used to be 25. And they sit and write till they are done. Pee breaks (and not excessive pee breaks either) ONLY.

Matter of fact, Phoebe was not too thrilled she had to wait to finish her sentences to get supper last night (I didn't say she didn't GET to eat ---MOM) but it sure "hurried" her up.  She was only about 10 minutes behind the others getting supper but she was not happy.

The most sentences anyone got to do this week?  Paisley got to write 200 times that she will not yell at me, yes, indeed she did.  Do I give leniency for her arthritis? No, I do not.

 NOT because I do not care, because I do. BUT because she is fully aware she has arthritis and will be given more and more sentences if the behavior does not stop and she made the choice to continue until she got to 200. So 200 she did.

It's a time for them not just to ponder their problem but also to cool down. I mean, you can't rage while writing or the number you will write goes up and up.  Crying is allowed but not howling (Kat likes to do that one) or the sentences will------- you got it--- increase in number.

Don't worry, the "girls" were not the only ones who got sentences to write, a boy here tried his hand at dishing out some snot and got assigned some as well. Equal opportunity parents we are:) 

Lots of learning going on here this week.  Also changing out the "dish night" rotation to add in Kat and take out Chase, who is barely ever home.

So that's our beginning of fall and week so far.  No more sentences about that.............

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Jobs

Well, Chase seems to be doing well with his 2 jobs, he really likes the full time one at the college. Really likes it. Tolerates the second one, because----- you read it here first-----

He's gonna be moving out. Yep. The chickadee will be flying the coop next month for a rented room with someone we know well.  Perfect for him as he will have one thing to pay (RENT) and everything else is included.

He's also going to be a great renter-- he's neat to a fault, he's responsible. Doesn't party, drink, smoke, no pets. He's a landlord's dream tenant.  I tried (MOM), I tried. To make them respectful, honest young people.

He goes next month and will be within walking distance of both jobs. Just in time too, before winter hits and his siblings start working too.

Yes, there's more of them hired on--- Chloe has been hired to do the dinner shift for a local nursing home. After field hockey, before bedtime, she will be working.

She was driving me bonkers last night worried about the TB test she had done (it's negative)-- I had to circle it to even see the spot. She has to have a second one done if this one is positive, she must have asked me 10 times if I was sure it was negative. I told her if I had to circle it to see it, it was pretty certain to be negative. She STILL asked me 3 more times after that.......

 Chance had a job interview, same place as Chase's second job. He said it went "BAD" but then Chase said the same thing and was hired. Silly guys. He's hoping to hear from them soon.

All 3 still on driver's permits. Surprisingly Chase has turned out to be the better of drivers, although dad says he's a bit too bold for his own good. Uh oh.

You will notice dad mentioned here because for some odd reason God didn't give ME the nerves to tolerate teaching 12 children to drive. Nope, He did NOT.

Therefore, I have not, and will not, be teaching any of them how to drive, sitting in the passenger seat with them behind the wheel. Not gonna happen. Call me a control freak or whatever, it's just not going to be. Might have something to do with this guy looking totally relaxed behind KAT driving the 4 wheeler. I mean, he's a NATURAL at this, right?

We did the final Post Placement report for Paisley for China. Yes, we did. Now before you all say "Hey wait a minute, wasn't her adoption domestic?" Yes, it was. But China wanted to know how she was doing and the reports tell them that she's doing great. We want them to know that sometimes a disruption happens but it was a better fit for the child and that's a good thing-- that both first family and we took her adoption very seriously. 

We were asked previously to write a letter of intent for her by China which we gladly did. It was odd but I wrote it to say "We have and will continue to care for her, love her, etc." As well we have provided all the information they wanted to show her progress here. Again, happy to show them she is doing well. 

Her essay was cool- she said this-- "I have a big family and they love me very, very much and they're the best family in  the whole wide world. "

She also said she doesn't have a favorite food because she doesn't like the food here and wishes she could eat Chinese food every day.  

Now don't get too excited that she wrote all these wonderful things, I think she might have been trying to butter me up (No, not put butter ON ME, like Chloe thinks I mean when I say that) because of her getting in trouble last week and I would guess she figured it couldn't hurt to try some flattery to ease the sting of being in trouble, huh?  Totally a teenager, that girl is.

We won't have to do the 5 year report because she will be 18 (WHOA) next year and they aren't required once the child is 18. So those are done. 

Camden is doing well in football, although first year of HS football, he doesn't play much. Still loving it though. 

 He enjoyed his family birthday party, football themed, of course.

The "little" girls have some news--- Kat is taller than Phoebe. First time EVER. About 1/2 inch taller!  Kat is 5 months older than Phoebe and it had been an issue right off that bat that Phoebe was "bigger."  Even assuring Kat it didn't matter did not help.  So growth spurt has occurred and happiness is abounding.

Both girls are tall and skinny as can be, size 10, some 12 skinny jeans, because otherwise they swim in the pants. They aren't tight at all, and all of the girls are very modest (so thankful for that) they won't even wear sleeveless tops. 

Kat and Phoebe have been doing so much better this school year with being in separate classes. Right across the hall from each other, but with 2 totally different types of teachers. They both really like their teachers.

They bring home much of the same papers but are working independently in their classes. It's helped them have a better relationship at home, getting along more and even working together to do things. 

We doubled up their beds into bunks to give them more room space and they have done a super job keeping everything organized in their room and beds made every day.

Phoebe has come such a long way.  She still tries to pull the "I don't know" stuff but more often than not she is catching on and showing some increased maturity. Her English is coming along, her verbal English is downright amazing. No problems there. Her reading is about 2nd grade level. Her writing about first grade.

Building the base which is the most important thing for her English learning. Not bad for 20 months home. 

You all can thank Camden, Chloe and Hubby for this blog post-- they  LAUGHED at me last night when they were talking about getting the mowing done for the week and I said "I could  mow" today. Yes, indeed, they ALL burst out laughing. 

I didn't see what was so funny---I have mowed before, well, not HERE, but I do know how to mow.  So ANYWAY-- once they laughed at me I told them I was going to sit around and do NOTHING all day (AS IF) because they made fun of me saying I could mow.

So there family.  Sorry to say-- I can not get behind on wash, dishes, cleaning, no one else will feed the troops, so there's still "a few things" I have done/will do but I did a blog post and I'm gonna go NAP now, yes I am!! 

 Sure not going to MOW-- Not nice family, not nice.

Enjoying my (kinda) day off, so there..............
 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Happy Birthday Camden!!

It's a certain young man's birthday around here today.


Camden is 14. WHOA.


Where did that time go? 


 From the minute he was born with that downy red hair, till he's nearly as tall as me and he is turning in to such a wonderful young man, we have adored this boy.


He will say I am NOT allowed to embarrass him, I imagine I will end up doing something that does no matter what----


He is a teenager after all.


I'll probably be in trouble for these pictures, no doubt but I didn't blog when he was little so you all missed out on these.....


We will have a small family party (no laughing, we know that any family party we have is NOT small by anyone else's means) and celebrate this guy turning 14.


He is now old enough to be basically "picking" his gifts-- a mountain bike it was this year. Like dad's, to keep up with dad since it's one of the many things they enjoy doing together.


Usually our Camden is seen with a football in hand, or listening to his favorite Christian music, he's been a true gift from God from day one. 


While we blended our family together with marriage, Camden made everyone brothers and sister--- because he was everyone's new baby bro.  And love him they did/do.



Even as we added in children from fostering or adopting, each one was his "new brother/sister." 


Never any hesitation with acceptance of them, no matter their needs or looks being different. He's a wonderful example of God's love for ALL our children.


Can't imagine life without this guy in it, seriously.


He's fun, energetic, smart, and a blessing from God.


Happy 14th Birthday Camden-- we love you always and forever!!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Parenting 101, or NOT?

First I will tell you about Paisley's hips since I know you are all waiting to hear the news on that.

Doctor said we are not hurting her to wait- the hips have degenerated more, for sure.

But he also said we will "know when it's time." That might be confusing for some but as a former Labor & Delivery nurse, I get it:)

The meds she takes for her arthritis suppresses her immune system and an infection in a new hip could take her from a new hip to no hip (removed until infection under control which could take months) and he will only do one hip at a time:(

She kinda got a little green around the gills when he explained the whole " new hip in, if infected could possibly take new hip out, wait possibly months, re- do hip" process." I could tell there she wasn't ready.

She has slowed down, for sure. And she will continue to do so. The hips will not be any "miracle cure" for her because she has ankle, knee, even toe involvement of the arthritis:(

Now to the "Parenting 101- or NOT title.  Oh, WOW. It's not a GOOD---  Oh WOW.  Nope it's not.

Have I mentioned how HARD older child adoption is? Yep, I'm pretty sure I have. So I'm gonna share this because it really came at us out of the blue.

Chase has been working a lot. He's also looking to move next month closer to work. So he's been absentee most of the time.

I work much less during the school year so I am home almost always after school. But I worked late a day this week. And dad worked then was on "Pick children up from sports and work duty." (Chloe, Camden and Chase)

I walk in the door from work and find Phoebe crying. Brandon was fighting a migraine-- poor guy had his head on the table and says "I don't know what is going on, but I heard screaming."  I'm thinking "HUH?"

Over the course of 2 days (yes it did take that long) to get the whole skinny on things that went down--- Chance decided he was "big man on this campus" and he was bossing/ bullying the girls.  Until Phoebe got so upset she got hysterical.

Kat knew better than to let him bother her. (Oh, the difference in when children come home--- age 3 home, verses age 8 +  such a HUGE difference)

Paisley did NOT help matters. She told Phoebe that he was being a bully and just to tolerate it because it happens. And then told her to lie to me so they wouldn't get in trouble???????

OIY.

Talk about  SERIOUS DAMAGE CONTROL NEEDED. 

So we addressed Chance first-- that he was NOT allowed to bully anyone. Quite frankly I was surprised  he needed to be told this because Chase did this to HIM when they first came home and we had to protect him from Chase. I did remind him of that:(

We addressed with ALL of them that this house/ family IS NOT, NOR WILL IT EVER BE--- an orphanage. And how they lived in the orphanage was NOT going to happen here-- EVER. We do NOT live with bullying. We do not LIE------- EVER.

Chance was VERY stubborn about this. He got mad and said some really rotten things. He made me mad and I yelled (YES--- I DID! MOM don't call) and later had to apologize ( he did too) but I was wondering what in the world brought this on?

I can usually pinpoint something and I didn't think the start of school was it. Then I remembered that Chance stayed quite some time with Uncle this summer. And it clicked. He was a guest in their home. They didn't have to PARENT HIM.

And he was loving it. Of course he was. Earning money, no one pointing out anything he would be doing that was "less than nice" because that's what you do when you have a guest, you are tolerant of them no matter what. Not one "little sis" to annoy him in sight anywhere:(

And he came back to the real world (our home) and he wasn't liking it. We WILL parent him, that's our job. And he was told that.

I can tell you NOW what he said to that-- and we can laugh together-- I wasn't laughing when he said it-- matter of fact I think there may have been some flames shooting off the red hairs......

He said "They (meaning the teens) wanted to tell me what I was doing wrong parenting."  OH REALLY?

I will tell you I pointed out I was raising number 12+ child, I was MANY years older than him, that "they" had NO parenting experience and that being former ORPHANS raised in an ORPHANAGE did not give them the correct information on the best way to raise children.

He was basically wanting us to house, feed, clothe, run everywhere for them but we do NO PARENTING.  He somehow got REALLY BIG for his britches being away, didn't he? 

We quickly dispelled him of this totally crazy notion of his and got him back in line. Yes, we did. He wasn't happy and probably won't be for a bit. (No MOM we did NOT smack him senseless, or hit him at ALL) He was also warned he is 18 years old and that comes with a whole range of responsibility that so far he's not shown, at all------and he was told the opportunity to work with uncle again will not happen if we see this negative behavior again.  Not fooling around with him understanding this will not be accepted.


Did I mention they are totally immature for their number ages? I think I have.

We also addressed Paisley- I knew where her comments came from, she had a "misguided sense" she was protecting Phoebe as the older girls in her orphanage did for her, I am sure.

 Because her orphanage was well funded, but came with a whole other set of issues because little guidance beyond older children raising younger children situations which are NEVER good.

Orphanage care is NEVER GOOD. It causes all kinds of long term issues.

Paisley was reminded AGAIN that she is not a parent, she is NOT raising Phoebe and Kat and that she was NEVER to tell them to tolerate someone bullying them or to lie to us. She KNEW better and was responsible to be a GOOD influence for her little sisters to look up to. She had to apologize and tell the girls what she told them was wrong.

She didn't have much to say (her usual behavior when in trouble) but she said she understood.

 I guess what was so surprising (or not to us) was how long these teens have been home and yet how quickly they will fall back to that crappy orphanage behavior.

It's so difficult to reset their mindset to what FAMILY means. And none of the orphanage behaviors they had were acceptable for this family's life.

Brandon is getting a first hand experience how tough this is-- he sees they aren't "bad" kids, not at all--- but he's also seeing the deeper level of work involved with teaching them what family is, getting them on the right path.  He's been kinda shell shocked looking for a few weeks, it's a familiar look-- we wore it for a long time after coming home with the teens.

He has asked "Why would anyone do this?"  Poor guy. I DID tell him they were totally worth it. He didn't seem 100% convinced. 

 Guess it takes longer to get there?

Before all this joyless crap happened we took the kiddos and their church youth group (19 kids in all) to an amusement park, there was a free Building 429 concert!  Wow, was that a blast! Yes, even with 19 kids.

We were blessed to get seats up front for the concert and Phoebe ended up standing on a cooler to see the singer and guitarist--- her very first concert was quite the "hit" for her.

She was so thrilled they were singing about GOD-- what a heart this girl has for Him,  she gasped when she asked me "Are they singing to tell everyone about GOD?" And I said "Yes." So joyful this girl is:)

She wanted to meet the group-- and we got to- they were yelling "NO pictures" but she asked and guess what?

Yep, our special treasure got her picture with both the band members she could see through the concert.

I didn't catch the boys in any amusement day pics, they were busy riding rides from the minute we got there- well once we FED them, that is. We packed coolers to keep down the costs (concert was free, rides were not) but as usual, God had us covered, we were given $6 a person OFF coupons at the entrance by another church group who got a group discount for 50 people and had 24 left over tickets, of course just as we arrived they were looking to give the "extras" away:)

God is so good like that, isn't He?  Always!!  Just as He guided us through the rough parts this week, He's always with us........

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Another driver

Don't yell (MOM) I still haven't gotten to the last 5 elaborations from the "You shouldn't adopt older if...." post.

Quite frankly I am not feeling motivated so unless I hear differently from anyone needing me to go over the last 5, I'm going to leave it at this--

Adopting older is HARD. It takes tons of patience. It take tolerance. You have to be as prepared as you can be for the worst and then if you get an easy teen--- WHOOOO HOOOO! Congrats. If not, then you can fall back on all you learned and use it!

Yes, WE HAVE been through VERY tough times with certain children. For sure. I've fretted, I've lost sleep, I've cried, hubby and I have had many discussions about "What should we do differently? What is going to get through to them, Will they ever mature? Will they ever have a good future?"  It's taken A LOT for me (hubby is more laid back so it was mostly ME fretting) to LET GO and give it over to GOD.

Like most trials and difficulties-- God can and will get you through and with TIME every one of the "issues" with adjustment, bonding, cultural differences, ALL of it will get either better or you will learn to cope with it better.

FOR SURE. God doesn't call those equipped- He equips those HE calls:)

We stepped out in faith 6 times and with each one we have HAD to hand over to HIM the reins and have become better parents for doing that.  And as I have said many times they ARE teen treasures. So very worth it. Even the tough times, worth it.

We are on the "getting them there" side and it's a darned pretty sight to see:))

We want our treasures to thrive, to enjoy every possible benefit of being adopted in to our family as the true gifts that sharing their lives with us is to us.

Here's one thriving---

Another driving permit obtained today......Mr. Chance this time. He's so proud of himself but in true Chance fashion he had to let on he didn't pass to everyone--- such a stinker, he is.  A fun stinker though.

Other news, I did meet the new ESL teacher. She seems very nice and very interested in helping the teens. (Phoebe has a different ESL teacher in elementary level) I've heard nothing from the kids and am figuring no news is good news in this case.

Usually they come to me fussing if they are worried about assignments/classes being too hard or they aren't understanding things and don't feel they will have the help they need. So we will see how it goes.

We did have 2 kiddos banged up, well, 4 if you count field hockey (Chloe) and football (Camden) bruising-- but the 2 others-- Derrik took a dive over the front handlebars of his bike on his way home from work and got a mild concussion.  He landed on his FACE-- ouch.  

And Chance--  I got a call yesterday to come get him-- he tore a FLAP (ouch) off a finger tip-- the pad part of the finger, in a machine in Vo Tech.  Said something was in the machine that wasn't supposed to be there and he reached in to get it out-- it wasn't able to be stitched because the flap won't have enough blood flow to survive- but it definitely is big enough to hurt quite a bit till it heals.

I HAVE to tell you where I was when the school called ----I was off enjoying my new little buddy..... (I will ask his momma if I can post a picture of him)

I've become an Ayi!!!(Auntie) to the CUTEST little man from CHINA.... a dear new friend in our very rural area announced she was adopting from China and everyone she told said "You gotta talk to" {this family with all these Chinese kiddos} 

Which was US, of course, and we have been excitedly waiting for months now to see this little guy come home.

I was hanging out with him while his momma got caught up on a few things, oh does he remind me of Kat when we first brought her home. So precious:)

 He's funny--when he got tired of me he said "Ayi, bye bye." Trying to get rid of me- ha ha. He's smart too (figured out how to scroll through my phone pics) and just adorable.

 So happy to see another little family made by the blessing of adoption.  It never ceases to be a blessing to behold:)

Tomorrow we head out for the much anticipated consultation of Paisley's hips being replaced.  Send up a prayer for her, this will be a major surgery for her. Hopefully we will have more info on when/ one hip or both, etc.  Once this appointment is over.........

Thursday, August 21, 2014

First Day

And it came again.

The first day of school. Came early this year, and by the look on a certain child's face (huh... Chance) some were not ready for this.

Chloe and Chance- 11th grade. High school.

Paisley 9th grade, High school.

Camden 8th grade, Middle School.

Kat and Phoebe 5th grade (different classes) last year of Elementary school.

Wow, is that odd. Last year of having anyone in elementary school?? How will I cope?

I just will, right?

We have a new ESL teacher, I guess we will all meet her tomorrow, the kids didn't even see her today at all???

Doesn't sound positive to me, so far:(   Guess we will see how that goes, I have a meeting with her tomorrow.

I didn't hear too much complaining although CHLOE did say on the way out the door this morning-- "Why won't you let me just quit school and work a job?"

I said "No way!  Have a great day:)"

I have surprisingly managed to fill out all the forms for the 6 of them-- there were MANY less this year-- yeah!!! Most of the stuff is now online and I signed a single form saying I would read the "guidelines" there. What a relief.

Paisley was doing her dish chore tonight, it's funny that Chance goes and helps her by putting away any leftovers and wiping the counters (without being asked because she would NEVER ask for help) as they always BICKER--- he said something to make her mad, and she said something about smacking him-- his response?  "You little girl, I'm not scared of you, who do you think you are?"

Her reply?  "YOUR SISTA."  Cracked me up. Totally. Can't let her size fool ya:)

The older kids all said "What about Chase?" When picture time came, then laughed when I reminded them--- "He graduated."  He was off to job training for BOTH his jobs today.

Busy kiddos.  It was very quiet here, I slept quite well (worked night shift) with them gone all day.

So a quiet, so far easy, new school year begins.