Thursday, May 30, 2013

Trying To Stay Cool

Is it warm enough for you all? I got quite a few things done this morning, the afternoon hours are proving to be quite different! The children were begging to have a water battle. I made them wait until after lunch n naps. I then convinced them to try the sprinkler as I figured that would cause less mess but the sprinkler was broke so it was back to the hose n buckets.



Lugging the buckets big brother ordered her to fetch from the shop


Filling the buckets for the water battle....was the strangest water battle I ever saw....they took turns dumping their water over the other guys head!


After naps I decided to mow the yard as I most likely won't have time tomorrow. I was really warm when I finished so I mixed up a pitcher of iced tea/lemonade.




Luna likes to stomp on the ants crawling on the porch. If you look closely you can see the ant close to her left foot.


This is the raft I am working at loading today. 



My mom bought Joseph a stuffed monkey for Christmas several years ago. Earlier this spring when we went to the cabin with foster families he lost his monkey. After therapy Tuesday evening Braden and I stopped at Good Will and found another monkey! It isn't exactly like his other one but he was still thrilled.









Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Grumpy

The first "real" day of summer vacation is not off to a good start!!!!! I would never ever give up my children but I think if someone stopped in and said they would take them and train them for the day I would say, "go for it!" The children rolled out of bed whining about getting dressed then some had to many eggs, some not enough. Some hit, some "hit" with their mouth, others bit and all but the eldest was in tears several times. I finally said they need to go out to the shop and stay out there until 11:00. Tristan put his watch on so they could come back inside at the stroke of 11. In the meantime I mixed cookies and did some paperwork. Just before 11 Tristan came in looking rather shaken.... umm, there was a fire in the shop but I got it out with a bucket of water. Something to do with the batteries on the four wheeler and the charger. A bit later Kiana came tearing inside saying it is burning again. I made a hasty dash for the shop only to find it was a false alarm. I guess smoke is fire to a 5 year old. After that excitement they came in and fought some more.

  This coming week end is the Foster/Adoption Retreat at Penn Valley. We look forward to it every year. I will admit that I hate the packing part. You need such a combination of good, not so good and Sunday clothing. We are taking our camper. We like being able to get away from the noise sometimes. I enjoy catching up with people we only see at Penn Valley and meeting new friends as well. Kiana loves that there are other little brown girls there. They match her! Skin color isn't quite the issue it was for Kiana at one time. I hope and pray she can overcome her dislike for her brown skin. I think it is beautiful and we tell her so but she still feels different.

Was good I listened in on Laura's training Friday evening as I certainly needed the reminder today that Bradens brain is damaged. Not sure what he is hiding to cause this severe acting out but I hope we soon figure it out. When a child with RAD is hiding something (getting away with something behind parents back) their behavior deteriorates. Braden has been getting worse and we are suspicious of a few things. He is too smart to let us catch him though so for now we just guess at what it could be and hope no one gets hurt.

Luna is now talking, what fun! Last night Dean said he isn't sure which is harder, when the child can't talk and tell you what she wants or when she knows what she wants and demands it! :) We hear a lot of "I want it!", "Mine" and "have it or give it".  Another favorite phrase is, "Go away!" We are on the last week of the thirty day appeal period. Luna's mom emails pretty often and she told me to tell Luna she loves her and is doing everything she can to get her back. Am hoping that does not include appealing the court order. 

 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Strawberry Pie!!!

Last night we had the dubious privilege of hearing the whys and wherefores of RAD once more. Bradens therapist agreed to speak to a group of teachers, family and friends on the basics of RAD and how to relate to those of us who are trying to help our little ones heal. I felt she did a wonderful job of conveying our concerns although I really wish 
she would have had time to go more in depth. We covered 3 hours of material in 11/2 hours. Dean and I spent alot of time discussing the material she went over. It was good for us to hear why Braden acts out. We know it, have studied it, discussed it with the therapist, had it drilled into us but our human emotions trump the knowledge if we aren't careful and we end up forgetting that Braden is hurting inside and forget to empathize with him. I told Dean raising children should not be so hard! Pray for us as we make some decisions about future care and how to keep our family intact while enabling Braden to heal.


My dear friend Rose Ann dropped this yummy strawberry pie off the other evening. We enjoyed it for a bedtime snack. :) I was going to get pictures of the children eating it... you would have thought they never get sweets, but it was gone before I had time to get my camera. You see, after everyone had a slice there was still a large slice left in the pan and everyone (even mom n dad) wanted that last piece! We solved the problem by giving it to daddy who generously split it into teeny pieces and shared it with the children. Luna ate the strawberries out and left the crust n cool whip in her plate. Her mouth was still full when she began yelling for mo'! Tristan licked the crumbs from the pan just to be sure we got every last bit. Thanks Rose Ann!

Summer vacation is here! Brr! The boys were both promoted to the next grade and came home with numerous awards from the "graduation" yesterday. Now we will enjoy a few months of down time before sending 4 little people off to school in the fall. Where has time gone? Kiana and Joseph need to get their physicals n shots before school. I need to make an appointment. Am debating if I take them both at once or do it in two trips. Can't decide if they will be brave because the other one is there as well or if they will both end up howling from the shots!  

Enjoy your vacation, be lazy, spend time with your children, go on vacation, enjoy fresh garden goodies, soak up the sun.... off to begin my vacation!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Daily Life

Does anyone else think it is warm out there? Last night Tristan was panting and puffing around here. He thought Dean just HAS to put the AC unit in. If we had central air I may have been tempted to turn it on as I don't handle the heat to well. The thought of the noisy unit blocking half my window doesn't appeal to me either so we will just sweat through these warm days. Luna almost lives outside now that she can open the screen door herself. She drags all manner of things outside and brings sticks, stones and dirt inside. I find toys, utensils, clothing and trash in my yard. It's almost like having a puppy again.

   The children have rediscovered the joy of chalk. They spend hours writing on the drive. This is what our driveway looks like. I took the picture om the dark and it obviously didn't get very good!


When I was a child we rode bike. This generation shuns bikes and gravitates towards battery operated riding toys and go carts! I found this 4 wheeler on an online yard sale site for $20. It needed a battery but that was a simple fix. Just get daddy to stop at PaulB on his way home from work!



Kiana can handle the four wheeler but Joseph keeps it in low gear and is constantly jerking to a stop and lurching forward! When Dean put the battery in the four wheeler he told Kiana to go see how it drives. She promptly took off at high speed maneuvering around anything in her path. Dean and I looked at each other and  both had the same thought, "16 and a drivers license is going to come way to fast!"


Dean and his brother Keith built this go cart when they were boys. They sold it to a friend and his sons drove it for many years. Now his sons have outgrown it so the friend called Dean and asked if he wants to buy it back. Of course Dean did and now there is another generation of Zimmermans roaring around, trying to pop wheelies, burn out and race. Is this why moms get gray???


Luna chasing our chickens. We have wonderful laying hens, the only drawback is that they do not stay penned up. It really isn't their fault as the gate somehow gets open and they go foraging for greener grass. Joseph and Kiana love looking for eggs. They go up to the chicken house multiple times a day. They were banned from getting eggs for awhile due to a brother getting plastered with an egg because the sister didn't want him to carry the eggs to the house for fear he would break them. Makes alot of sense to chuck an egg at your brother when you are mad cause he might break one. Then Joseph left the gate open one to many times, even though he says he never even opened the gate??? He did move a rock used to prop the gate but he didn't open it.Sometimes I don't get their logic! He also found out that holding a metal pipe to an electric fence causes you to get shocked. I think it is good I don't see what all he tries!


Stacks of dirty dishes.... this is what happens when the dishwasher decides to quit working. I don't mind washing dishes but prefer to wash them before they set in a closed dishwasher overnight! The dishwasher wasn't filling up with water so I called Dean to ask if there would by any chance be a simple thing I could do to fix it. He said  he will need to pull it front to see what is wrong. I thought it best to leave my hands off. 



I figured drying dishes would be a good job for this young man. He is trying to convince me he is tickled to be drying them. Plastering a smile on your face doesn't fool me, Buddy! The boys have two more days of school and then....SUMMER VACATION!!!!!!

By the way, we are 16 days into our 30 day appeal period and thus far haven't heard a word about an appeal. Please pray that we can be ok with whatever the outcome.








Saturday, May 18, 2013

Caring For Others

As time goes on more and more people are becoming aware of Reactive Attachment Disorder. Many people are skeptical because it is unfathomable that a child would fight so hard not to get close to his parents. Surely the child will eventually learn that mom and dad are trustworthy people and will always supply for his needs. As he gets older he won't peer pressure have a bearing on how he reacts to situations? Most people just don't get it. Some days I don't understand either! That is ok. Those of us who were blessed with healthy minds cannot think like a person who's brain was damaged by neglect, abuse or any manner of things. So often I am asked "What can I do"? Or a kindhearted person says, "If only I could help carry the burden." Well friends you can and I am continually amazed at the many ways people lighten the load and brighten our days. God is faithful and sends frequent reminders that he is in control and he pours love into Braden when we are emotionally exhausted. Anyway, since so many people have asked what they could do to help families who have children with RAD or other special needs, I am going to list some of the ways people have blessed us:
Prayers are always appreciated
A paper with a few words of encouragement
A card in the mail
An offer to babysit the healthy children or the sick child if possible
Expressing an interest in the disorder/asking questions
Meals
A surprise visit with an iced coffee to share 
Just listening, even if you can't understand a listening ear is very therapeutic




Monday, May 13, 2013

Cold Monday

Brrr! Has winter come back? I am honestly thinking of turning the heat on cause my nose n feet are cold. I bought some more flowers on Saturday and was really tempted to plant them now I am glad I waited. Saturday evening Deans parents babysat while Dean and I went on a date. Tristan thought that was so weird, after all we see each other every day. Dean explained that we wanted some time by ourselves and he promptly replied, "Well you do at night, you sleep together!!!" We went to Ruby Tuesday for supper and then to Lowes where we got ideas for the bathroom. Till then it was time to get back.
   Dean has been working on a bunk bed for the girls. Luna will be out growing the pack n play in a little while and there isn't any room in the girls bedroom for another bed. He is going to put rails on the side of the bottom bunk so Luna will still be in a "crib" of sorts. Kiana is convinced she wants him to make it purple. I agreed so long as I get to choose the shade of purple.



Here is the partially finished bed.

Last evening Dean and Tristan spent some time fishing at a nearby creek. They caught quite a few fish but none of them were big enough to keep. Tristan was in dire need of some one on one time with his daddy. We need to be careful we spend time with him as to often our focus is on the other boys and their struggles. I often wonder how parents of large families find time to spend with each child. 



Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Flowers

Bradens first field trip is now history and guess what? He survived! Monday evening he "showed us his big feelings" a polite way to describe tantrums, lying and noncompliance. In the morning he did ok, was able to dress himself and eat breakfast in a reasonable period of time and didn't have any melt downs. When he kissed me good bye something he seldom does, he asked me if I will pray for him while he is on the train. I assured him I would and that he would be perfectly safe. I spent my day resting and doing a little organizing. My anxiety was increasing when I knew it was time for the school children to come home. I prayed for wisdom and patience. God answered my prayer and gave me an added bonus... a happy boy. Not the wild, overstimulated bordering on a tantrum 6 year old I was anticipating. I was so happy. He showed me a train his teacher bought for him. Braden informed me that the other children had round hard money AND paper money and I didn't send any along with him. Oops! I can rest assured he will never let me forget again! While I was making supper Braden came to me and asked if he will go on the same train next time he goes there on a school trip or will it be a faster train..... never get a break from the worries!
   Andrea was here today. She babysat Joseph and Luna while Braden, Kiana and I ran errands. I stopped at the greenhouse and bought some flowers. I am so ready for some color around here. Some little animal of some sort always eats my bulbs so I don't have any early spring color. I heard someone at the greenhouse say you shouldn't plant your flowers till after the week end as it is to get pretty chilly. Guess what I just finished doing? Planting flowers! I never was one to be patient. I didn't get many plants and some I put in planters so they can be brought inside.


Planted a sweet potato vine in the well bucket. Whatever gets planted in here usually dies. Either from lack of water or from little hands that pick the flowers and dig in the dirt around it.


I put a bunch of Wave Petunia's in this flower bed. Only hearty plants do well here as the trees seem to drain all the nutrients and water out of the soil. If I had a green thumb I would be able to keep my flowers nice in spite of the poor soil.


Tristan really wanted to hoe the garden but it is so muddy and not all the plants are up. I was afraid he would hoe the seeds out. He assured me he would stay along the edge and be really careful. Thankfully he settled for hoeing an empty flower bed instead.


Kiana and Joseph are into collecting things. Doesn't matter if it is acorns, seeds, weeds, leaves or worms.... then they put their treasures in plastic bags and dump a cup full of water in. Here they are washing their treasures.


This is my crooked shepherds hook. If your children ever get bored tell them it is lots of fun to swing from these things. Or you can see how strong you are and try to bend it so it lies flat on the ground. Joseph couldn't understand why I was slightly annoyed. he told me to just go buy another one. Kiana was afraid she would have to fork over some money from her piggy bank.

What is everyone doing tomorrow? We plan to stay home and work. Dean is extra busy at work and seldom has a chance to cross items off of his "To Do" list. Luna has her final visit with her mom from 4-6. We might find something to do in the evening if we feel energetic. Time to go grill some burgers. Dean is at Wengers Green house picking up a truck load of flowers to take to BCCYS for their annual plant sale. He will have just enough time to pop in for a quick bite and then needs to be on his way in order to be at BCCYS by 7:00.




Monday, May 6, 2013

Rejoicing!!

We are rejoicing! The Judge granted TPR! Whooppee! One step closer to adoption day. The down side is the appeal I am sure is going to come.  In the midst of our joy comes a deep pain knowing our gain comes at a high price, another mother somewhere is most likely weeping at the loss of her daughter. Luna's final visit with mom is on Thursday and we would greatly appreciate your prayers. Also keep praying for Luna's mom, she will really need those prayers in the coming weeks and months.

  On to the cabin trip. It was wonderful! I haven't laughed so hard in ages! Sharing your joys and struggles with people who truly "get it" is so therapeutic. This morning I was able to take on the battle against RAD with a vigor that has been missing here of late. Our morning went very well beings we just spent a week end away from home. Kiana and Joseph were quite disgusted that I wouldn't take them back to the cabin this morning. Kiana thought we should stay at least five days. We did our share of strong sitting and time out and the smiles came back to everyone's face. I didn't even lose my cool when a large bag of flour was "accidently on purpose" dropped on the floor.



Bocce Ball


Chatting and watching the children play. These dad's dedicate alot of time to child care when we are at the cabin. They take their "daddy role" seriously and the little ones benefit greatly. The moms benefit as well ....we get more uninterrupted grab time! 


Waiting for breakfast

I don't have many pictures that don't have at least one foster child on them so here is a brief glimpse of our weekend.



How do you get your whoopie pies to rise? Mine come out of the oven looking like large mud puddles. They are flat in every sense of the word. I have tried different recipes and they all turn out the same. I turned the oven temp up before sliding the last sheet into the oven. They looked better than the previous ones but were not as soft. The children will eat them anyway. One hopeful young man even suggested eating them for breakfast as he doesn't get dessert until a few behaviors change. Nice try but no go!


Chocolate pancakes or chocolate whoopie pies???


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

School Trip Woes

Change and anticipation is tough for little ones who have not had parents to give them love and security from day one. For them anything new and different means a loss of the old and familiar. When you don't know exactly what is going to happen you lose control of the situation and that causes big feelings. We have some mighty big feelings manifesting themselves around here all because of the field trip the Kindergarden class is taking next Tuesday. I told Braden he does not have to go along. He really wants to but at the same time he is so anxious he is going over and over the whole day and asking a zillion questions. The moms who are going along are packing the lunches and that has him all in a tizzy as food is a major issue with him. Will he like the cheese on his sandwich, what kind of drink will he have, what color will the grapes be, how fast is the bus going to drive, how far away is the place, what if he gets to many chips (at Herr's) and can't eat them all, what if they give him a kind he doesn't like, what if he falls out of the train, where will he eat his lunch and on and on and on. I called the psychiatrist's office to see if they would give me an idea how long the waiting list is. They wouldn't tell me so I asked if they would give me an idea how many weeks. He said, "Ma'am, we will call YOU when there is an opening, thank you". Ok, guess I was getting a little overbearing but this anxiety is making me anxious.
     On a more cheerful note, we are going to the cabin this week end. We are going with a bunch of other foster families. I am so looking forward to hearing how other moms cope with troubled children and still keep their sanity. We plan to take our camera/monitor along so Braden can get some down time in our bedroom and we can still see what he is doing. Other parents who have traumatized children advised us to invest in a camera. I never felt it was necessary but now that we have one I wouldn't want to do without. Braden can sit in his bed and look at books and get a "break" from the work of bonding. I can go about my work and not worry that he is getting into trouble as the monitor goes everywhere I go. Yay for technology!
   I was scheduled to take a meal to a family from church tomorrow. They just called and said they had other plans that came up at the last minute. I have the food already made so am trying to think of someone who needs a meal. I know how very nice it is when a friend drops by with food.