Monday, September 30, 2013

My Week

Kiana is the proud owner of a "new" pair of roller blades. They were setting beside the road with a huge free sign. We drove pass them several times yesterday but waited until it was dark to stop and get them. Makes me feel weird stopping and getting things beside the road.

Joseph is having a stormy day. We all had a very good week end so I knew we would be making up for it sooner or later. As soon as he was out of my sight he would get into trouble, so I told him he needs to stay with me. He huffed and grumped about it. He wondered why we let Kiana and Tristan go play and not him. I thought, "Yay he is thinking!" I told him they usually obey me but he since doesn't like to obey I can't trust him. We gave him a bit more freedom than usual yesterday and he obviously couldn't handle it, so we reigned him in again.

Tomorrow I am meeting with a therapist for Joseph. We will go over his history and she will get a feel for what is happening here at home. They do not work with children under the age of six and Joseph won't be 6 until December. Thankfully they agreed to do the intake paperwork and get everything set up awhile. On Wednesday I meet with yet another therapist, this time for myself. I hate learning to know new therapists! I spoke with Miss Sharon and she thought it would be a good idea to get myself straightened out and then get some help for the children. I am always glad for her input as she is the only person I have dealt with who has both the hands on experience and the book knowledge. Thursday Sheryl from COBYS is coming out to update our family profile for Luna's adoption. Prior to Luna's mom's appeal we had begun to work on the family profile. In order not to lose all the info we put together we need to see Sheryl once a month until the adoption. We haven't heard anything from the judge yet. Our 6 months are up here in October which means we are halfway through the prospected waiting period.

Does anyone have any tips on keeping a 2 year old in her bed? We need to sit beside Luna's bed until she is sleeping or she gets out and wakes up the others. It usually takes 45 minutes to and hour for her to fall asleep. Several times we were sure she was sleeping only to hear her banging around a few minutes later. She likes to go into our bedroom and play with Deans flash light, keys and wallet. It has become a battle of wills, I am determined she will go to sleep and she is just as determined she will not sleep! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Potatoes and Pumpkin Cookies

We got a box of potatoes from a friend the other week. I knew I wouldn't get them used up before they began to rot so I diced them, cooked them just until the water began to boil, then spread them on cookie sheets to freeze. Once they were frozen I put them in gallon size ziplock freezer bags. I got about 8 bags all together. Will be so handy to pull precooked potatoes out for soups and casseroles.

I tried a new recipe yesterday. Snickerdoodle cookies with pumpkin/cream cheese filling. They were fun to make and looked really nice. Luna and I took a plate of them to our neighbors this morning. It was such a beautiful morning, just perfect for a walk so I turned my back on the work that needed to be done and went visiting! 

Here is the recipe:
Grandma Skinner's Snickerdoodles
Makes approx. 4 dozen
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 and 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I use Mexican vanilla but any kind will work)
  • 2 and 3/4 c flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp cinnamon and 3 tsp white sugar  (can be brown) for rolling
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix thoroughly. Stir dry ingredients together in separate bowl and add to creamed mixture. Chill for 20-30 min. Roll into Tablespoon size balls and then toss in the cinnamon/sugar mixture, coating the dough evenly. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned but soft.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese
Makes approx. 1 & 1/2 cups
  • 16 oz cream cheese, softened 
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (you can also use 1/4 cup pumpkin for a thicker consistency.)
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/8 c white sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

  • Beat all ingredients in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Adjust sugar to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 

I can't decide if I like the filling. I used a 1/2 cup of pumpkin and I think if  I were to make them again I would use only half that amount.  Another option would be to use the filling as a dip and serve it with small cookies.

I spoke with Miss Sharon yesterday and she feels Braden is making some progress. A few weeks ago she called to say he is doing better but shortly thereafter he regressed back to where he was in the beginning. Sharon said it will be 5 steps forward and 3 steps backward, then there will be times when he reaches a plateau and will need a push to continue improving. Next week I am meeting with Joseph's future therapist at Presley Ridge. We will be discussing Joseph's struggles and going over his history. I am not sure how to "evaluate" a play therapist for issues other than RAD. We took Braden to several therapists before we found one who had even been trained to deal with RAD. That experience has left me a little leery of  therapists in general.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Reality of Living with Adrenal FAtigue

You know you have Adrenal Fatigue if:

...You spend the evening before getting groceries resting so you have enough energy to make all your stops the next morning

....  Your child has a meltdown and you know he needs some one on one time but there is absolutely no empathy left to give

... You panic when you realize you won't be able to get that 1 hour nap in the afternoon

.....You go to great lengths to be sure nothing gets scheduled over nap time

....You have a head ache, sore throat and nausea from one evening of visiting with friends

The number one rule when caring for a child with Attachment Disorder is to take care of yourself! You are no good to anyone if you don't. I was told that so many times but I have yet to find someone who will tell me how to do that. Most mom's who have a child with AD are burned out. It shouldn't be that way but what is there to do about it?

On a more cheerful note, Miss Luna no longer has her bottle. On Sunday I decided the thing had to go. She hasn't had it since yesterday. I told her she is a big girl and doesn't need her bottle anymore. Now to teach her to stay in bed and we will once more have relaxed bedtimes.

Tristan got his lip bumper yesterday. It is a wire that fits into brackets on his bottom molars. It goes between the his teeth and bottom lip. He was not impressed to say the least. He came home from school grumping and complaining that his teeth hurt and the brackets make him bite his cheek. He said he wishes he could just take it out and get rid of it. I told he had better not because we are paying a lot of money to have all this wire put in his mouth. Then he started to feel bad and told me he will give me all his money cause we are spending so much on his teeth. I told him my parents paid for me to have braces, we will pay for his and he shall just save his money to pay for his children's braces. He thought I was weird, not the first time nor the last he will think that!

In a little while these three will be home from school. They grew up quite a bit since these pictures were taken. Aren't those chubby baby cheeks just adorable? Excuse the crooked pictures. I tried once more to place the pictures side by side. Needless to say it didn't work and now they aren't even in a straight line. :)



Monday, September 23, 2013

Pictures Of Braden

I got these pictures of Braden from TAP's FB page. This morning I asked Tristan if he misses Braden. His reply, "He needs a hair cut!" Would you be ready to see him again? "He really needs his hair cut!" I got the message loud n clear. Tristan did think we should send him some pictures of what we do here at home. We talk about him a lot more than we used too. Our hearts are slowly beginning to heal. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Happy Day To You!

I love this time of year! I can get out my candles, buy mums and bake pumpkin pies. I am able to enjoy most of those things any time of year but there is something special about cool fall days that make me want to celebrate. A not so pleasant part of this time of year is the allergies and/or colds. Not sure which I have but whatever it is, it is dragging me down. I haven't accomplished much of anything this week and I am still exhausted. The children are coughing, sneezing and wiping their noses. Last winter we were blessed with good health when most everyone else battled one thing after the next, maybe it is our turn this year.
   On Tuesday I hosted Care n Share at my house. There are 6 of us ladies who get together the 3rd Tuesday of every month. We are studying the Book, Lazarus Awakening by Joanna Weaver. After a light lunch together we head home to put our little people down for naps. I always enjoy catching up with this group of friends. We share our struggles and encourage one another to be good moms and wives.
       Kiana and Joseph wish you a Happy Day! I took some pictures of Luna and they thought I needed to take a few of them as well.

Someone posted this picture on their FB page. It described my week perfectly. Am so thankful we have an all knowing heavenly Father! So often in the midst of a crisis I whisper a frantic, "God I don't know what to do, please help me!"

We haven't heard anything about Braden lately. Miss Sharon told me they have some pictures on TAP's FB page. Was good to see Braden again. He grew! God has been working in my heart, slowly softening that cold hurt I felt towards Braden. Seeing pictures has certainly helped as well. I sent a letter to him this week. I told the children they may send something along if they wish. Kiana and Joseph immediately began drawing pictures. Tristan didn't think he had anything he wanted to add. He can remember the pain better than the 5 year olds and it will take longer for him to be able to feel empathy for Braden. It was actually Miss Sharon's idea to casually mention that I am sending a letter and if anyone wants to send something along they may. That way no one felt pressured to contribute.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Flowers For Mom

Joseph brought me these flowers this morning. He saw them growing on the bank and got them for me! His smile and obvious pleasure at bringing me flowers bring tears to my eyes. All the sweat, tears and pain of this past week have been so worth it to see Joseph smiling and truly happy! Thank you Jesus for healing those wounds that were beyond our human power to reach!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Applesauce n Birth Parents

On Wednesday the children and I did six baskets of apples. I got my apples from Stauffers Fruit Farm in Denver. They have an "applesauce mix" which is several different kinds mixed together. I added cinnamon heart candy to several quarts of sauce. The children liked it but Dean wasn't impressed. I ended up with about 60 quarts of applesauce so I was happy. Kiana took care of Luna which was a huge help.

Willing taste testers!

I had Tristan at the orthodontist this week for a consultation. We are entering the world of spacers (which he already hates!), expanders, braces and retainers. Fun! Tristan has an extra baby tooth on the top. When they took xrays they discovered there is an extra permanent tooth as well. Not good when his teeth are crowded as it is. The dentist said it is like a log jam. The dentist wondered which side of the family he gets the extra tooth from. Turns out it is hereditary! Tristan needs to get several teeth pulled and he is not happy at the prospect. Earlier this year he needed a tooth removed and I told him it doesn't hurt cause they numb it real well. He didn't believe me. When the dentist went to pull the tooth he didn't wait long enough after giving him  novacain and Tristan ended up in tears. Now he isn't about to believe me when I tell him it will be different this time around.

This is what Luna does when I am busy and not paying attention to her. She has this thing about dumping her food/drink out onto the table and then eating/drinking it like a dog. The children think it is funny and the more they laugh the more she acts out. Her vocabulary is growing rapidly. She was looking at pictures on Dean's phone the other day. When she came to a picture of ponies she said, "Chincoteague?" She is getting very independent and she often says, "No, me do it!" We haven't heard anything about the appeal going to the superior judge yet so we continue to wait.

Miss Sharon encouraged us to send some cards to Braden. She said I could tell the children I am sending a card and if anyone wants they can send something along. I think the children will all be willing to send a picture but this way they won't feel obligated if they are not ready for that step. 

Yesterday the Kindergarden class each drew a picture of their family. Joseph's picture was of two obvious people and alot of little circles. I asked him who was who and he pointed out Dean and I then said he must have forgot to make the rest of the family. All evening he was in a dreadful snit. After spending the whole evening trying to figure out what was wrong he let it slip to Dean that they were to draw pictures of their families in school and it made him cross. Right away we knew what the problem was but I wanted him to tell me himself. While Dean put Luna to bed Joseph finally told me his teacher talked about how families love and care for each other and that made him think of his mom. Thinking of his mom makes him angry because she didn't take care of him. I asked him who he drew on his picture and he hemmed and hawed around so I asked if he drew his mommy and daddy. He nodded and looked guilty. I asked him if he was scared to tell me who he drew. He said he was. I said, "How did you think mom and dad would feel if you told them who you drew?" He thought we would feel bad. I assured him it was perfectly all right to draw his first mommy and daddy and that dad and I want him to love his first parents. God gave him a heart big enough to love two moms and two dads. The weight literally rolled off his shoulders and he gave me a huge squeeze, beaming from ear to ear. Dean said we will soon qualify as psychologists at this rate! 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

More Progress

Joseph has certainly reached a new level of comprehension. We had another "go" at breaking down the walls between us last night. I wish I could have recorded our conversation. I was amazed at his insight and ability to tell me how he felt. It started outside when Dean was fixing the fence because one of our calves got out. In hopes of helping Joseph understand why we have so many rules and boundaries for him, Dean asked a few simple questions such as, why we have a fence for the calves. Joseph said, "to keep them from running away." Dean asked if he thinks the calves would go in the woods if they got out of the pasture. Joseph thought they would. Would the calves grow big and strong if they got lost in the woods and didn't have food and water? Joseph got a little grumpy then because he knew where this conversation was heading! :) Dean explained that we have rules to keep Joseph safe and to help him grow big and strong just like we have a fence to keep our calves safe.
    When they all came in for snack Dean told Joseph to tell me what they talked about. He got all snooty and refused to talk about it or else told big whoppers. I told Joseph that he is holding his hurt inside him and making it grow when he doesn't talk. I ended up holding him. Usually he throws a royal fit and it takes all my strength to hang on, this time though, he sobbed and cried. I left him cry because it seemed like a healing kind of angry. We talked about his mom again and I told him that she has a big hurt inside and she didn't want anyone telling her how to take care of her children. She felt just like Joseph does when he doesn't want anyone telling him what to do. I explained that if he can talk about those fences he will feel better inside. His response? I don't want to talk because it feels good to be mad inside. We then talked about how keeping the mad will keep him from growing big and strong inside. He said he wants to be like his mommy and keep the mad. So I told him that maybe her mom and dad never told her how to get rid of the mad so that she feels better. About then I got a brilliant thought! I told Joseph if he learns how to get rid of his mad feelings maybe someday he can meet his mommy and help her. That struck a chord with him and he was ready to go see her right away. I told him I don't have her address. His solution was to use my GPS. :) We did eventually get around  to talking about why we have fences for him, he admitted it is to keep him safe. Then I asked him to show me how big his mad was before we talked. He spread his hands apart and then I had him show me how much mad he got rid of by talking. Was a good sized chunk, if I can go by his "measurements." He was happy, smiling and very obedient while getting ready for bed so we shall see what the morning brings. While this drama was going on in the family room, Dean and Tristan were having a talk in the boys' room. Tristan had gone stomping to his room complaining that life isn't fair and everyone is always mean to him etc.earlier in the evening. I didn't even ask Dean how they resolved that issue. I did ask him if he thinks all parents spend as much time talking as we do. I guess so long as we are getting results, we will be thankful we can break through by talking. Where were the girls while all this talking was going on? They were carrying on, giggling and climbing on the bunk beds. Luna has finally begun sleeping in the bottom bunk. She refused to stay in her crib so we got rid of the pack n play. I usually need to lay beside her bed until she falls asleep other wise she goes to visit her siblings in their beds and we need to begin the bedtime routine all over again.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


                                Archery season is just around the corner. Time to get some practice!

Yesterday Joseph needed to stay by my side due to some poor choices he was making.  We spent a lot of time working together. Being together helped with the bonding and gave me opportunities to praise his efforts. Last night we had our first night of Revivals. Joseph was once more making poor choices so he and I hung out in the sewing closet and talked. He wants to go live with his birth mom so badly. I told him I don't know where she lives and he said, "Yes you do, you took us from her!" Aha! I explained how the process works when a child is removed and I saw a little anger drain from his face. All this time he thought I took him from his birth mom, no wonder he was angry with me! We are thankful for each layer of pain we can chip away.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The End Of Family Therapy

Fall is coming! We often see deer this time of year. Yesterday Tristan was eating breakfast when he spied a doe and her two fawns walking up the back drive. They came within several yards of the house. We stood just inside the patio doors watching them wander around.

This ball player got separated from her team and was found wandering through my kitchen. She is showing me her throwing arm! A bike helmet and the lattice from her play house make the perfect helmet and face shield.

Last night we had our last session of family therapy with Miss Laura. Laura doesn't feel she is able to help the children work towards reconciling with Braden while he isn't living at home. I agree but we thought family therapy was to help us deal with the trauma we endured. For some reason I keep getting the impression that the therapist feels if we would have been the "christian parents" we should have been Braden wouldn't have had to leave. I really struggle with the thought of having him come home again and am looking into some therapy for myself. I know enough about psychology to know the feelings I have towards Braden need to be resolved before he comes home or it will never work. I am comfortable calling Braden my son but not being responsible for him. He scares me in ways I never dreamed possible, besides I enjoy connecting with my children. I couldn't do that while Braden lived at home and am so afraid we will lose all we gained if he comes home.

And then there is Joseph. Sad, angry Joseph. He feels that if he could only live with his mom his world would be perfect. In his opinion, the only thing standing in the way of his being with his bio mom is Dean and I. We have gone round and round on the issue and keep getting stuck at, "But I want to live with my Mommy___!" Dean suggested he pray for his Mommy when he feels angry about the situation but in the heat of the moment he never remembers and once he is in a full blown rage there is no reasoning with him. He brought a paper home from school that was full of black and brown scribbles. That pretty much sums up his feelings: mad n sad all swirled together. Laura suggested I take him to see a therapist maybe we can receive some guidance on how to deal with his tantrums. She suggested Pressly Ridge but they don't take anyone under the age of 6. They did agree to do an intake/info app. before then. Seems like we have been down this road before... I have a chiropractor app this morning. My neck is once more out of whack due to "keeping everyone safe" during a tantrum. Oh well, at least life is never boring around here. If I could honestly choose between going through these struggles and growing closer to Jesus or skipping the struggles and not growing I would probably choose the struggles. So for today I will be thankful for the thorns that allow me to fully enjoy the roses!!