Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Adoption Arena Resurfaces

Since we disrupted, we have put all things adoption on hold. We are not trying, waiting, holding our breath. We have been moving forward, grieving, healing, and creating a new life. This week the adoption arena resurfaced. I was not expecting this, but it has been a joyful blessing, albeit, a little bittersweet.


The executive director of our domestic adoption agency got in touch with us. She told me our SW never told her we disrupted. This was news to her this week. Our SW buried our files off-site in storage, and only just now are the head honchos finding out what really happened. They called to find out from us, in our words, what happened. They want us to foster and/or adopt again. But more interesting, they want us to be a source on disruption for their staff and PAP's. Again, interesting. She apologized for what we went thru, what the state put us thru, and how inept our SW was. She said what happened to us just should not happen to people. Putting a completely disturbed dangerous child in our care, and the state denying her medical/mental resources was just ghastly. I emailed her documents we had on our case and the girls, and emails I'd sent our SW during our case. She sent us the following email:

"Thank you for taking the time to put the documents together for me. I know that it is hard to have to rehash and some what relive this sad time of your life. I am praying that the Lord will use you to bring light to any other situations like yours. I pray that the Lord will give you strength and guidance. Also I pray for healing, I am so sorry how you have been hurt for opening your home and heart for these girls and also the rest of your family.
I am so glad that you called and shared with me so honestly what happened to your family. I would like to continue to have other conversations with you so that XYZ Adoptions* can learn and be taught through you very sad experience.
My prayers for you, (signed by exec dir)"

signed. received. We are blessed to hear this news and know our adoption agency wants this. We are more than happy to help in any way possible, help their staff, help families, whatnot. I told her we are not ready to foster and/or adopt at this moment, but we have not closed the door on it. We just need more time to heal, more time to spend on our marriage, more time in general.

As a bonus, the girls bio family has gotten our address and phone number (I have no idea how, but guessing DSHS gave it out). They are using our address & phone number for their bills. Nice. I should not be surprised any more. And of course these people do not pay their bills, so bill collectors are calling. Good times. Thru my investigation of all this, without giving out alot of details, it looks like the girls have been thru yet another disruption. I was told they are back with the foster family.

*not real name

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Sheriff Said to Beat Our Son's Ass

Today I'm uncharacteristically tired. Maybe it's par for the course considering all that has happened this last week.

The good news is, work is wonderful. I've been subbing pretty much every day, and I love it. Did I mention how much I love it? I really have a particular fondness for the older kids, junior high and high school. I took myself off the sub list for the 19-21yr old students. A few are sweet, but alot are there because they have not passed the WASL (standardized state testing), so they cannot get their diploma, they are there trying to study to get a food handlers license. These kids along with some of the severely mentally retarded leave too big of a chance of getting violent with me. Chairs are thrown, kids run away (& the policy is to chase them down), they manhandle the staff. The staff is just supposed to deal with it. I already have a permanent spine injury and disc issues. Not going to chance worsening that. All of these "kids" are far bigger than me for the most part. I discussed it with the district and my DH. Best for me to choose to not sub there. Other than that, I LOVE WORK! And to boot, I can ride my bike to work at several of the locations. Love that.

Now for the meat of the post. I thought things were going so well with the kids meds. Until last Thursday. Just because I asked our 13yr old (who is bipolar & has ADHD) to pick up dog poo, this set off a chain of actions that were just ridiculous. This was in the morning before school, so DH not around. Much defiance, not gonna clean up dog poo off the carpet. He does not like the consequences I throw down. So he then throws about half a bottle of carpet cleaner (gallon bottle) over a five foot section of the carpet (the dog poo covered a few inches). I tell him he will have to miss out on allowance to pay for the cleaner he just wasted. The younger two kids went to school. The 13yr old starts threatening me. I call DH. He says "why do you let it get this far out of hand?" I said "fuck off" (not my finest Titus Woman moment) and hung up on him. Boy is still threatening me and refusing to get in the car for school. I called the police. I stayed on the phone with them, waiting for the cop to show up, so they could hear the boy threatening me and screaming. I wanted it on record. The boy is threatening me and wanting to call dad (like that will rescue him?). He grabs another phone, but it will not work for him since I'm on the same line with the police. He tries my cell, but this has never worked at my home because we live in the boonies. For the coup de graw, he jumps me and takes the phone away, running away from home. Calls his dad. I took my cell, locked him out of the house, and drove down the street to call the police back. Big mistake to jump me to get the phone. Not regretting calling the police one bit.

Reminder: this is all because he was told to clean up dog poo.

DH came home from work, I pulled in right after him, then the sheriff got here. Son came home once he saw dad and sat at the dining room table. The sheriff came in with bullet proof vest and hand on his gun. I now have a crush on the sheriff, but that's another story. I briefed the sheriff on the situation, including the fact that the boy is bipolar & ADHD. Not an excuse for his behavior, but disclosing the facts. Then here's how the conversation went:

Sheriff: Do you beat your son?
us: nope
Sheriff: Do you slap him across the face.
us: nope
Sheriff: WELL WHY THE HELL NOT?
me: the boy is bigger and faster than me, and I don't want CPS taking all my kids because we spank and discipline harshly the one who is really out of control.
Sheriff (looking at my husband): What's wrong with you? If my son treated my wife like that, I'd beat his ass. (Sheriff looking at boy): Boy, if you talk to me that way I'll throw you on a wall and beat you. If I see you in public treating me or your mom that way, I'm going to beat your ass and throw you in jail.

Oh, I heart the sheriff. He ripped my DH and DS up one side and down the other. Sheriff is proceeding to nail my son to a cross. He asks my son if he's peeing his pants yet. Son says "no". Sheriff says "well, then you can control yourself. You just choose to treat your mom this way. You are lazy. You have no idea what a well kept extravagant home you live in here, and you think it's all not good enough. Try running away again. Your parents can change the locks, report you as a runaway (so they are not charged with neglect and abandonment), and you'll be in a gutter peeing & pooping your pants, starving. No one will care about you. The only ones who care are your parents." This went on 30-40 minutes. It was awesome.

We told the sheriff we do not spank because in our state you can have ALL your kids taken away for that. Told him I feel castrated as a parent. He shook his head and said basically the schools misinform people, telling kids they have all these rights and that they, as kids, can call CPS for protection when kids don't like what is going on at home. Truly tragic for the parents merely setting boundaries and consequences. The schools don't tell the kids that they need to call CPS for ABUSE. They fail to inform the kids that they can't call CPS just because they got their iPod taken away. He proceeds to hand us a copy of our state laws on spanking. Here is what the law says for the state of WA:

USE OF FORCE ON CHILDREN
rcw9a.16.100 Use of force on children--policy-actions presumed unreasonable

It is the policy of this state to protect children from assault and abuse and to encourage parents, teachers and their authorized agents to use methods of correction and restraint of children that are not dangerous to the children.

HOWEVER, the physical discipline of a child is not unlawful when it is reasonable and moderate and is inflicted by a parent, teacher or guardian for the purpose of restraining or correcting the child.

Any use of force on a child by any other person is unlawful unless ti is reasonable and moderate and is authorized in advance by the child's parent or guardian for the purpose of restraining or correcting the child.

***The following actions are presumed unreasonable when used to correct or restrain a child:
1. throwing, kicking, burning, or cutting a child
2. striking a child with a closed fist
3. shaking a child under three
4. interfering with a child's breathing
5. threatening a child with a deadly weapon
6. doing any other act that is likely to cause and which does cause bodily harm
greater than a transient pain or minor temporary marks.

"The age, size, and condition of the child and the location of the injury shall be considered when determining whether the bodily harm is reasonable or moderate. This list is illustrative of unreasonable actions and is not intended to be exclusive."

SO, we asked what are appropriate means of disciplining the child that will not have CPS entering the picture. He said if it was one of his six kids, he'd have our son running lines until he passes out or pukes, spanked with a paddle, take the bedroom door off the hinges, keep calling the police to keep a record going, and defend myself. Alot of this will be handed down by my DH considering the boy is larger than me. The sheriff left us with the remark that I'm the boss of the boy. If the boy doesn't like that, than the sheriff will be the boss of the boy. The boy only gets this one warning, and it is on record at that. Next time I call the police, he'll go to juvie hall (under age 14) or jail (age 14 and older). At the jail, I can press charges, then the boy will be sent to juvie to await a hearing and sentencing.

This has really taken a toll on me. To further it all, I decided to sign up for a self-defense course. Unfortunately there are none around here. But I found some down at UW, and I will be taking the classes (January). If the boy jumps me again, he'll regret it. Hopefully he'll be able to have children when I'm done taking him down.

I'm struggling with this as well because my DH thinks I should just be able to magically put up with all this, magically keep the boy in order, denies the notion that the boy has bipolar disorder despite three shrinks and our PCP agreeing with diagnosis. This is hard on our marriage. He told me if I get the boy thrown in jail, he'll divorce me (if I get the boy thrown in jail? uh, it's the boys actions that would get him thrown in jail). I told him if he can't support me, him divorcing me would be a gift. Apparently he supports me because he's spanked the boy twice since Thursday. He is not supportive of me taking the self defense classes. sigh........

Let's hope things are looking up from here!! I'm still a #1 supporter and promoter of Love and Logic parenting. The boy got kicked off the school bus for three days a couple weeks ago (for dangerous behavior). I told the school my DH will drive him in the morning because it's dark, but the boy can walk his butt home every day. All six miles. I think he now thinks the bus is alot more fun than walking home. Just because the kids create a problem, doesn't mean I have to be punished. I told the principal I would prefer if they did not suspend kids, but instead had them wash busses at the bus barn in 40 degree weather for four days. But I'm sure the school district is not interested in Love and Logic parenting..............

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekend Hangover

Ever feel like you have a hangover on Monday morning just from doing so much all weekend? I think I have one of those. Too much weekend!

I actually had one of the most fun weekends ever, just packed full of activity.

Let's back up to Wednesday. Dyed my hair with a home color (box from drugstore). It was supposed to be light brown. Turned out almost black. Got really emotional & all across the board with it. Then realized: it's only hair! I think I look like a Hispanic with blue eyes. I'm sticking with it for a while. However, I'm making a coloring appt with a stylist in a few weeks to see what I'm doing wrong. Washed my couch slipcovers (remember this for future reference).

Thursday. Shopped and cooked for my 10yr old's bday party. Took the puppy in to get spayed.

Friday. Went to work at one of the local high schools. Got a call from my 11yr old saying the dog threw up on the couch. Poor kid (& puppy). So the 11yr old had to clean up the couch & wash the couch cover. When I work at the high school, the 11 & 10yr old are home for less than an hour, and then they get on the school bus. Anyway, I worked at the high school. Showed up to find Mardi Gras, ie.., HOMECOMING! Wish I knew this ahead of time so I could have dressed accordingly. This was actually really really fun, and brought back so many great memories. I was in the Self-Contained room for the day. So I walked with a mentally retarded girl & a downs syndrome boy thru the city parade. Yes, our local high school goes ape with homecoming, including a mid-day city parade. 2400 students plus many locals are in the parade. CRAZY! Went to work and ended up in a parade. Quite a day. After the parade we went to the pep assembly. Best day of work I've ever been to!
Friday evening we had our 10yr old's bday party/sleepover. Three boys came, thank GOD! Apparently he is able to retain friends! Whew! Then I went in the wee hours of the night to retrieve my 13yr old from the local homecoming game. He went with his football coach & friends from the middle school.

Saturday. Got thru breakfast & exiting the 10yr olds. Sleepovers always seem to end in such lack of sleep that children are psychotic. We noticed this all morning. I proceeded to tell the boys to take a nap. They asked how long? I said until dinner.
I went for a job interview (part-time) at Home Depot. On top of our eye surgery bills & putting two kids in braces, I now reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally need hearing aids. I've needed them for about five years, but put it off. They cost about $7K for the type I need, and our insurance covers 30%. Apparently I work to pay the medical bills. The thing that gets me is we have really good insurance. Yet how can there be so many services not covered? ARGH. Anyway.
Early evening I went to my make-shift high school reunion at a local roadhouse. My husband said I must be off to go whoring at the roadhouse. Nice. Actually the whole thing was so much fun, dozens of old classmates came, and was a huge success. People have requested doing this more often than annually. So we will make it semi-annual. My friend C & I ran the whole thing with the roadhouse owner (went to school with him). I rolled into my bed at about 2:30am. I was the designated driver, so stayed until the end. Fortunately no one needed a ride home.

Sunday. Got up at 6:30am to go to church. Don't remember much after that seeing as I was so tired! I recall taking a nap, doing some ironing, and taking the kids out to lunch. Maybe it was a dream. Tried to figure out how the DirecTV box is not working in the family room. Figure it got broken during the sleepover. Won't bother me for the kids to be out of a TV! This is my dream come true!!! Told the kids and my husband there's really no incentive for me to get the box fixed. I would have to take a day off work without pay to wait around for the repair man, pay $75/hr for a repairman, and pay for supplies/product. Works for me to go without the kids tv. (Silently rolling on floor laughing a maniacal laugh).

Today. I thought I would be going to work to recover from all the weekend activities, ya know, go to work to relax! Then I remembered it's a teacher in service day. I will relax tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Relief

Things are going really well right now. We are now beyond the one month mark of when we started our two bipolar sons on Depakote. The difference is night and day, & yet, no serious side effects. We don't see any side effects at all. What we notice is a normal life. Alot of peace. Almost zero chaos created by mentally ill children. It's a luxury I think most parents take for granted.

Work is going well. I have worked almost every day for the school district the past few weeks. I really enjoy working with the high school kids the best. That's my favorite so far.

My youngest son's birthday party is Friday night. Some kids have RSVP'd. Phew!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Friendship Drama

My heart hurts when the kids come home with their friendship dramas. I guess I should get a thicker skin, because this will only go on for forever. But, what do you do with the autistic child (of any form) who just doesn't understand alot of social skills, nuances, and aspects, yet he WANTS friends? And friends usually think he is weird................

He is weird, and it's heartbreaking.

All three boys, and one of our girls when she was here, go thru the "nobody wants to be my friend. I have no friends." I can honestly say that is false for all those children.

Perhaps they want something different, or situations hurt their feelings, and/or they feel disappointment. I've expressed many times this week to come home and tell me how they FEEL, not to just scream, shove a brother, and say "people treat me like dirt!"

Could they be more specific please?

So I tell them to tell me what is going on and tell me how they feel. They I ask them, "so what are you going to do about that?" I want them to first look inside them self for alternatives and solutions. Then we can talk about lots of options, including ones I throw out there.

What I really loathe is the drama queen routine. sigh. Any suggestions? This really only goes on currently with the 11yr old & almost 10yr old. Could be kids at school, could be neighborhood kids. What I really dislike about our neighborhood kids for the most part is that they are spoiled rotten little rich kids. We live in a neighborhood where the homes are $500K thru a million dollars. Pretty nice. Most of these people do things like shove tons of gifts and monetary extravagance at their kids. Hmmm, wonder how their kids will like it when they want to move out of mom & pops, and discover the world does not hand them a silver platter. We insist on the kids pitching in, rare trips, and we do not keep up with the latest gadgets and electronics. Apparently in most circles, this is extremely important. We are trying to drive home the point that kids who are nice & share something in common with you are going to make the best friends. We've noticed that the kids who are filthy stinking rich and spoiled are not really nice for the most part. We don't like their parents (typically) and we do not have the same values. We live in the Pac NW, and one of these families will take their kids to DisneyLand just because it's someones birthday. Ah, my kids have been once. ONCE! And that's probably the only trip they will get there on my dime! I'm not being stingy. I feel we have good financial grounding and we are realistic. At the same time we are saving for retirement and the future.

So, what else can I do to help with the friendship dramas that will go on until they move out? Diana, perhaps you can write a post about this? You always have such great insight....................

Friday, October 3, 2008

Work Update

The accounting agency has still never sent me on a job. I interviewed with two other gals for a company. This company has still not selected any of us. This was three weeks ago I interviewed. I gave up on that and called the school district to see if I could sub (they said they would hold my file open for 12 months). So I went to a training orientation on Wednesday, and substituted yesterday at the alternative school. They loved me and asked me if I would like to work there in a permanent position. There are half a dozen programs at the alternative school: middle school, high school, blind/deaf elementary, teen parents with daycare on site, severely disabled (age 14-21), & parents attending school with child. I worked in the severely disabled classrooms (2 classes). These are kids where half of them will never speak or live independently. Either strokes or highly mentally retarded. The lowest functioning in the district.
I worked with three girls yesterday ages 19, 20, & 21. Heartbreaking work, but necessary. I think the 19yr old had a stroke or something......she is strapped to a wheelchair, in diapers (someone else changed her, thank GOD!), can't speak, and has to be hand fed & bottle fed. Poor thing. I was reading to one girl and pulled the girl in the wheel chair over to us to listen as well. She was just sitting alone in the middle of the room. I thought "If she were my kid, I would want someone with her doing just what the other kids are doing". I think she liked me; I got a smile out of her. I had to roll my eyes at this male teacher. When I was reading to the girl in the wheel chair this guy is shaking his head "no" at me & says "you know she can't interact or participate, right?". I said, "If she were my child I would want her included." I kept her with me & read to her. I was trying not to cry, thinking of this poor woman, age 19, so severely disabled, and no one cares if she sits all alone. Sheesh. Then briefly I helped six kids who are working VERY hard to get their food handling license. They want to work at Alfy's, Top Foods, etc., nearby. One of the boys (downs syndrome) put boxes together at Alfy's each day. Some of the kids work at GoodWill and Safeway a couple hrs a week. But they have to have adult supervision on the job until they pass a test. So I went thru a couple of practice tests with the kids. I think maybe half of the six will pass the test. I wrote the district today & officially am in the ring for the job. 8am-2:30pm Monday thru Friday. Perfect. And the alternative school is less than 15 minutes from my home! If I don't get that job, I'll keep subbing. There wasn't any need for subs today, so I'm at home.

Happy Harvest Everyone


WARNING.....DO NOT LEAVE ALCOHOL NEAR YOUR PUMPKINS

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

And So It Goes.....

Remember when I wrote that the 13yr old was a prick over me taking him to school when he was late? That night he came home and apologized. I was ready and waiting for him to come home, seeing as I've come up with "options" for him. In love & logic, they are big into sharing options/choices with your kid. So I told him "no problem. Next time you are late, you could have one of two things: a) walk to school (6-7 miles?), or b) yes I could jump out of bed and drive you to school as is. And this means I'm in my tanker summer nightgown, greasy face, no teeth brushed, hair pulled back in a clip, and to boot, no underwear on. I'd be more than happy to hop out of the van, go into the office, and sign you in."

He looked like he was going to die or vomit, and was speechless as he shook his head "no". Yea, that's what I thought.

Lauri's blog post (clickable) has me traveling down memory lane. I'm big into getting kids to solve, or at least think thru, their own problems. At school as well. Most if not many complaints and/or problems kids have are able to be addressed by the one who owns the problem. I've avoided being a helicopter parent. I think the kids have learned alot of social skills in dealing with their own stuff. However, on a rare occasion, I've made inquiries with the teacher and/or principal. Only once have I ever had to go above the Principal's head. When do you feel it's appropriate or necessary to go above the teacher's head or the Principal's head? I'll share with you when I've done this.

Going above the teacher's head, cause it was just not being resolved:
stealing in the classroom
violence and/or bullying

Going above the Principal's head:
Stalking

We dealt with the stalker for two years. It all started when J was best friends with my 11yr old. J was a bit possessive, and had no other friends. 11yr old is basically a pretty nice kid, and had lots of friends. So he was like "whatever." Until J became an obnoxious mean spirited child who lied to other kids, telling other kids that my son didn't like anyone else. So, being the tender hearted boy he is, not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings, he told J that he likes all the other kids, and to knock it off. This did not go over well, and J turned into psycho stalker in the 2nd grade. I won't go into a million details, but he was a really ugly child in the classroom, playground, and bus. Sadly we live half a mile from the child, and yes, they rode the bus together as well. My son continued to distance himself from J, and this angered J further. Vicious cycle. Since it was all words and no violence, we kept tabs on this, listened to our son grieve over this, and kept giving him "atta boys". I checked in with the teacher about once a month about it all. After a few months of this, I called the parents, who are entirely clueless. They were like "why can't the boys be friends and just like each other?" Um, because your son is a mental case! I did not say that, and just shared the facts, stating the boys would not be friends because of their son's meanness. They are totally in denial. All I requested at the end of the school year was that the boys be in separate classes the next school year. Hopefully this would phase out stalker child.

No one listened to me, and the boys were put in the same class. I held my tongue, and waited for the problems to ensue. They went on all school year, into the spring. I worked with the teacher & principal (or so I thought). The boys sat across the room from one another. But that really didn't help. Finally got to the point where I was dealing with the principal exclusively, over the classroom, playground, and bus. This got me nowhere.

I resorted to pulling out the school district policy book, called the school Superintendent, and cited all the harassment that has been going on for two school years. By this point too, our son was so depressed and beaten down, he was not even the same child. J was now on my son's ball team (by request of J), and yelling at him & taunting him every day at practice. He also threw baseball bats at my son in the dugout, at close range. The buck stopped here. I told the whole saga to the Super, including all my conversations with the principal, and said "I'm now ready to get the police involved. I will get a restraining order against J & his family, and that will be a far bigger problem for the school district to deal with. J will be moved to another class & possibly another school to keep X amount of distance away from my child, J will be kicked off our city baseball league, and J will have to find alternative transportation to school. His parents both work full-time, so they will be highly inconvenienced finding a way to transport him around without the school bus." The buck stopped here. I never regret making this phone call. Surprisingly, the principal was most accommodating at this point. Immediately. No restraining order, but the school kept J away, the city league kicked J off the team, and he sits in another part of the school bus. The school required personal & group counseling for J, including social skills classes. ya think?

We are really proud of our son for how he dealt with this. He did his best to ignore, and never once used physical force against J (even though our son is physically much bigger & stronger, our son turned the other cheek). He talked with his parents, teacher, and principal, about all this. He also got to see that there are higher powers that be, above and beyond the almighty school principal. He also saw his parents love him thru this, we were his safe haven, cheerleaders, and we showed him that the police are there to help us when others aren't.

On the flip side, my 13yr old dealt with 2 school bullies from the 2nd thru 6th grade. No where near the extreme of J, but annoying to say the least. This all stopped in the 6th grade when the 2 bullies tried to beat my son up together, out of the blue, and my son kicked their asses. Both of them. All three kids were suspended, which I protested in person to the school. I was not listened to, but I feel that since all the witnesses agreed that the other two boys instigated & were beating up my son, my son has every right to protect himself. The school policy is to suspend everyone physically fighting. We were able to walk away from this pretty well, because the bottom line is those two assholey kids will never bother my child again. People are still talking about how my son beat up those two punks. Everyone thought they deserved it. Kids and parents alike. I still have to chuckle. And given the same scenario, I would still tell my child to fight back when a couple of kids are beating his head into concrete.

Fortunately, after it's all said and done, I feel I have good repore with the school and district. I feel I handled myself well, and consider the principal to be an acquaintance. She was even a personal reference for me during my hiring phase this last month with the district. I think we've come a long way.

So, where do you draw the line? Where do you let your kid deal with it on their own and where do you step in?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Computer Problem

My computer is having a personal problem. Running. Slower. Than. Molasses. I'll be back after we get this resolved..........................
As long as it took me 20 minutes to get this far, I'll add a couple things:
1. The accounting agency has still not ever gotten back to me about work.
2. I got on with the local school district as a sub. Long story. I have a 2hr orientation Wed, then I can start to sub on Thursday. Better to work & get some income, than wait around for no job at all. I can be employed by both.
3. My middle schooler woke up late today. I showered & got ready before driving him to school. As he was getting out of the car I told him I love him & said to have a great day. What did he say? "I could have still gotten here on time if you wouldn't have showered" and slammed the door. What a prick. Guess that's teenagers for ya.
4. Saw the movie "Fireproof" this weekend. It's a must see. I will warn you ahead of time, a majority of the movie is Christian, revolves around being a Christian, I have to admit the acting is poor (worse than LifeTime Network), and my husband felt preached at during this movie. I went knowing it was about a firefighter having marriage problems. Saw 2 clips on the Dr. Phil show. I cried thru about half the movie, seeing as we've walked the walk this guy is walking in his marriage. Tough stuff. It was quite pivotal for me to see this movie, and I imagine I'll buy it when it comes out (I rarely buy movies). But it was so chalk full of good nuggets, I really need to watch something like this a few times a year. Maybe once a month! Personally I'm really at a place in my life where marriage needs to come to the forefront and be placed as a high priority that is worked on daily, hourly, regularly, not just when we can actually get around to it. I think we've been doing our dance, neither of us doing anything stupid or immoral, but that's not enough. Marriage still gets to the breaking point when needs aren't met. Marriage gets to the breaking point when people are in pain & tired of being hurt. Marriage gets to the breaking point when tragedy strikes. Marriage gets to the breaking point when you don't know how to deal with disabled children. Etc. We naively went into marriage thinking "we'll try hard, work hard, stay moral, and it will all be good!" Stupid stupid stupid us. Boy were we stupid. Some how it wasn't enough. Sure, we worked hard, tried hard, and did the "right" things, but life throws curveballs. I think that is where our stumbling blocks have been, over the curveballs. I won't list them all. We all get curveballs thrown at us. Anyway, I signed us up for a marriage course thru our church. Seven week course starting Saturday. It includes dinner, so will be a nice free date. Well, the whole course, ciriculum, and dinners cost $45 for 7 weeks. Bargain. Hopefully some good will come from this ..........................................

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Valium Turned My Husband into a Teenager

This morning my DH had LASIK surgery. All went well. Other than the affect of the Valium. He has been turned into a 14yr old boy.

He took the first Valium an hour before we left for surgery. Didn't notice much affect on him. Until we got to the surgical waiting room. Where he proceeded to make roving hand & squeezing gestures at my boobs. In front of other people.

My DH is the most conservative person I know. We rarely even hold hands in public.

After surgery he grabbed at my boobs once (in the Taco Time DriveUp window), and tried to stick his hand down my shirt once (in traffic as I was driving him home).

I'm glad he's in bed taking a nap currently. Shaking my head........................

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Working Mama Debate

Yesterday on Laura's blog, I found a link to Jeanette's blog (post now removed, but still on Laura's blog in entirety). Click on either name to get to their blog. The posts were quite something, not to mention the comments. WOW! What a debate! It's as old as dirt. I frankly have so much to say on the topic, I did not post a comment on Jeanette's blog. **And while we are at it, my respect and admiration goes to single working moms. You wear all the hats in the family.**

1. Let's take religion out of the equation for a moment. Yes, alot of what guides and directs us is thru our belief system. However, how can one say that being a Christian (or not, as Jeanette was accused of) clearly dictates if a woman works outside the home? Does the bible state if we should breastfeed? Eat organically? Those are rhetorical of course, but other topics people really get hot over.
2. Can we not be kind to others when stating our opinions? I think the crisis here is women who cannot support other women. We don't have to agree with them, but can we not be compassionate & graceful thru adversity? Truly in our day in age, high cost of living, stress, lack of extended family support, you'd think women could at least support women.
3. It's not a crime/sin to have a child, adopted or bio, in daycare. I'm a SAHM and I can see that one pretty clearly.
4. What's up with all the anonymous commenters on this topic? Personally I'm glad people came out of hibernation to comment, but can't people use their blog ID and feel bold enough to post their true feelings?
5. Honestly, I do not know many women who can afford to work AND put their child in daycare. I know countless women thru church, biblestudy, MOPS, etc., who are like "I choose to be a SAHM." Really? I know these women don't have marketable skills and/or a college degree. They truly cannot afford to pay for daycare after one child (if even for one). This is not a put down to those women. I'm just saying, I see these women patting them self needlessly on the back, alluding to what they allegedly gave up (all this free flowing cash) to be a SAHM, when that's just not the true picture. In real life*, I only know one professional woman in addition to myself who chose to put their career aside to be a SAHM. ONE. I am an accountant, and my friend is a lawyer. Now that is giving up a great career to be a SAHM! I'm not patting myself on the back. Just stating the situation. *Thru yahoo groups & blogs, I've met countless professional women who put their career aside to be with their children.
6. That being said, there ARE many things we SAHM's give up. I don't have to rant about it though. Conversely, there are many things working moms give up too. Life is hard, and no one said it would be fair!
7. Where are the women who choose to work and have the balls to just come out and say "Yea, I work outside the home. I want to. It's a choice I make. I feel like it." I know you are out there. I know personally there are many women who want a career, the professional environment, the socializing, strong work ethic, 401K, and sense of accomplishment that a career provides. It's not wrong to have those desires. They are positive dynamics and I commend that.
8. Jeanette's original blog post is about ex-orphan kids being left in daycare. Somewhere the argument went sideways and all the SAHM's and working moms came out with gloves on. Our original international adoption agency had a policy to only approve adoptions to families with a stay at home parent (they did approve single parents). I personally feel that it is highly beneficial to do this for kids with any special need. I think most people would agree with that. Again though, it's not a crime to put a child in daycare. A child who is here in the US, with a loving family, is far better off than in an institution!! Praise God these children have been adopted and have a forever family!
9. I think there are exceptions to any situation. When we had the girls with us, the older girl had so many behavioral, sexual, and safety problems, I literally could not do anything other than watch her like a hawk 24/7. In the evening when my DH came home, he watched her like a hawk so I could get the home front taken care of. This truly impacted the other children in the home. They had nearly zilch quality time with me. During the day they were at school; in the evening I was running errands, cleaning the house, cooking, getting to doctor appts, etc. At this point, it became necessity to put the adopted child in daycare 4hrs a week so I could have some uninterrupted time caring for my family. She is a highly traumatized and disturbed child. Be that as it may, I could not sacrifice the other children in the home & the care for them and our family, to watch one child 24/7. So, daycare came into the equation 4 hours a week. I have no regrets about that.
10. Final point. I do not want this to come down as harsh. The truth is, we all make our own choices. Working moms and SAHM moms all have bills to pay. Mainly I hear from working moms that "we have bills to pay." Well, that's true, but it's true for all of us. And yes, I live in a Seattle suburb, one of the most expensive areas in the country. Yes, gas prices have gone thru the roof. yes. yes. yes. I know there are countless families who have financial hardships, out of their control, and they are stuck with the bill: medical costs, a legal fiasco, a natural disaster, whatnot. Honestly though, when people say "we have bills to pay", well, who created those bills? Usually the person who the bill comes to. Usually it's an intentional purchase, and not a natural disaster or crisis generating the bills. I'm NOT saying it's wrong to have bills, to make purchases, to make choices. But that is what this all comes down to: MONEY!

My husband and I are both financial professionals with great financial expertise. So, we know enough to know that we all have options. Alot of people, if they are truly interested, could go to one income by doing the following:

Pay by cash only. No cash? No purchase.
Go to one car. Take a bus. Ride a bike.
Bring a sack lunch to work, and no lattes, soft drinks, cigarettes, beer.
Shop at Value Village. Most of my families material possessions are from VV. Artwork, kitchen gadgets, mine & DH clothing, household decor, tools, the kids church clothes, shower curtains. You name it, and thrift stores carry it. I have never bought underwear there. I do draw the line at that.
This would be hard, but if you want to cut back, sell the house & buy a smaller one. Yes the economy sucks, as it does for EVERYONE! It just is. As a couple, we seriously know if my husband lost a job, was disabled, we'd sell the house & buy a tiny one. It just is.
Check out Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, Dr. Phil, Oprah, Google, and look up Money, Debt, Finances, Debt-free, etc. Too many good nuggets there (free!) to help. I'm totally serious.
No expensive vacations. No eating out. Cut the kids back to one sport/extra circular activity per year (or none). It will not kill them. They can ride a bike, play outside, and find something to do for free.
Buy what's on sale each week at the grocery store & live off of that. Buy meat in bulk or thru a grower/supplier and utilize that freezer. We have half a pig coming in October. YUMMY!
Give up expensive hobbies.
Give up professional services & take care of things yourself (ie..hair color, manicures, mowing the lawn, cleaning the house.)
Take an evening and/or weekend job. Both of you.
Give up the subscriptions & annual fees: magazines, athletic tickets, the golf club.
Buy drugstore toiletries & essentials, use some generic here and there, and skip the mall.

There are countless ideas and options, which I do not have the time to get into here. We've implemented many in our personal life.
When times are tough, we realize there is truly little we HAVE to have. There is little we need. We have to have shelter, food, water, and clothes on our back. None of these have to be fancy or designer. It's not about what we deserve, it's about getting our needs met. True needs. Not wants.

The bottom line is, there are also MANY families doing all these financial tips & then some, who are still in dire financial straights. I applaud you. I respect you. I know you are working your fingers to the bone, you are dogass tired, and you are frayed. You are in pain, and to add insult to injury, some SAHM's are attacking you. I think this is the crisis. This is the tragedy. You are doing all you can, and your efforts will eventually pay off. You will get out of debt. You only answer to yourself and God. You will be blessed for your efforts.

As women, please support each other. Notice I have not attacked anyone here, or any side. These are observations, with a little financial education thrown in there, because yes, I am a financial professional. Not tooting my horn. I have two college degrees in business & accounting, as does my spouse.

If anyone has any questions about finance, please write. I welcome any and all comments here, and encourage it. I truly want to see women supporting women. We all need it. Desperately. Laura & Jeanette, I believe you are both Christians! As women we need to take a stand and not be on a high horse. Last time I checked, none of us is a moral/religious professional; we have not cornered the market on that and no one is entitled to get on a high horse over it all. I'm sure Dobson or Beth Moore could post on all this with far more tact than I've recently seen in Bloggerland. We all have our opinions, and we can all have a blog. That is obvious. Personally, I would prefer to discuss topics, not wage an emotional war against others. I hope I have been atleast a tad helpful here sharing my feelings.

The most noble calling is to be a mother. And there are lots of ways to be a mother.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I'm a Roadie

I feel like there are so many things going on in my life, each deserving their own blog entry. Ever have so much happen in a day, week, month like that? Sheesh. I'll try to briefly hit the topics, and discuss further later:

1. I have still not heard back about the job. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.............I called the agency today. The client did not like the other two candidates, and I am their front runner. So why the holdup?
2. Both sons improving a bit on meds. Thank God. People with perfectly healthy children have no idea what it is like to live in the chaos of a home with 2 bipolar children. By last night I was so drained I told everyone I was on Sick Leave for the evening. Seriously too tired & beat up emotionally do anything other than get off my butt.
3. I've signed up to volunteer at a Women's Shelter & Halfway House. The director wants me to tutor, mentor, live there to supervise, and lead bible studies. She wants more than I can give at the moment. So we are working something out. I will not be living there.
4. I started attending a bible study & program thru church on Mentoring. It will normally be Tues pm. It's offered Thurs am as well. First meeting yesterday. Great group. Essentially it's about being a Titus Woman. I will feel more comfortable volunteering at the Women's home after the mentoring class is over. I feel I need the training and education on resources.
5. Monday & Tuesday I dealt with an abandoned vehicle in my yard. Who parks their car, head in, in someone else's driveway? We assumed they were drunk or high. After waiting 14hrs for the owner to appear, Monday I had it towed. The tabs were expired since February, so I didn't feel comfortable letting it sit like that in my yard. Tuesday I had to deal with the asinine neighbor who it turns out, left their car in my yard! What a moron. Said it was their teen. Um, OK. Everyone has to pass my house after they enter the development. How could neither parent notice their son's car in my yard for 14hrs? Maybe they are high as well. So they turn up Tuesday all belligerent about us towing the vehicle. I wrote them a pretty stern letter. They came by to apologize yesterday. I was quite surprised. I think that takes alot to apologize.
6. Yesterday learned a dear sweet beautiful friend of mine has breast, lung, and liver cancer. I found this out at bible study, and cried when I heard. I'm 38. She's my age. How on earth do these things happen? I rarely ask "why Lord" because I figure after all the suffering on earth, we will die and see that heaven is just that much more glorious. In the mean time, good grief. Her son is a year older than my oldest, and we've spent much time at their sporting events together. Not to mention church & bible study. I called her yesterday & left a message asking if I could bring them meals each week. I have not heard back. Hopefully she'll be well enough to return a call soon. Then I think, what else could I do to help? Clean her bathrooms? Teach her 9th grade son to cook? Help with errands? I want her to know how much she is loved, and how much God's people care for her.
7. My husband told me two nights ago that he wants to adopt again. My first reaction was to burst into tears. Apparently I need to work thru grief a bit more! To rewind, our agency did say they would be more than happy to place a child with us after we had time to go to grief counseling & wait at least six months. It's been 7 months. We'll see.................
8. I went to my second post-op appt for my eyes. Doing pretty well. The left eye is still a black eye, so he said no makeup for one more week. ARGH!
9. Hit a great sale at a local nursery. Adding two more rows of berries (gooseberries & more blueberries).
10. I'm now a roadie. Or a biker chick. Not sure. You decide. One of my best friends missed our 20yr reunion. Only 55+ folks came out of our class of almost 300 graduates. Many people communicated to me that it was too expensive ($90-95) for the formal affair. And many told me they were not interested in a formal affair. So, my friend "C" and I decided, hey, why don't we organize something cheap, casual, and local. I heard one of our classmates owns a bar. We went to visit him there and eat some lunch. It's a roadhouse. I'm rarely even in a bar (maybe once every 20 yrs!), let alone a roadhouse! It was surprisingly decent, large, and the food is excellent. He is offering a no cover charge night for our classmates, and providing a dinner for $10/head. So I organized the whole thing thru Evite, sent that out plus 15 snail mails. We are off and running. I put in the Evite that friends don't let friends drive drunk. We have three options on that: I will be a designated driver for the first 6 people to sign up, there is a hotel across the street from the roadhouse, and we have a friend who offered up their limo service for $15/head to drive folks home. Can't beat that. I'm a roadie............If this goes well, C & the roadhouse owner, along with myself, would like to make this an annual event.

I have so many feelings, especially on adoption, that I will have to post more about that later.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

IEP, volume 1

Had first IEP meeting today for our youngest son (bipolar, Aspergers/Autism). Went well. He will be getting Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy for fine motor, and Social Communication Therapy. HOORAH! He can be serviced at our home school, so he does not need to switch schools into the Autism program (another location). So glad they can help!!

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Why did the chicken cross the road?
BARACK OBAMA : The chicken crossed the road because it was time for change ! The chicken wanted change !
JOHN MC CAIN: My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.
HILLARY CLINTON : When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure right from Day One that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.
GEORGE W. BUSH : We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.
DICK CHENEY : Where's my gun?
COLIN POWELL : Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.
BILL CLINTON : I did not cross the road with that chicken. What is your definition of chicken?
AL GORE: I invented the chicken.
JOHN KERRY : Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.
AL SHARPTON : Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.
DR.. PHIL : The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on this side of the road before it goes after the problem on the other side of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his current problems before adding new problems.
OPRAH: Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.
NANCY GRACE : That chicken crossed the road because he's guilty ! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.
PAT BUCHANAN : To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.
MARTHA STEWART : No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.
DR SEUSS : Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.
ERNEST HEMINGWAY : To die in the rain, alone.
GRANDPA: In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.
BARBARA WALTERS : Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its lifelong dream of crossing the road.
ARISTOTLE : It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.
JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.
BILL GATES : I have just released eChicken2008, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your checkbook. Internet Explorer is an integral part of eChicken2008. This new platform is much more stable and will never reboot.
ALBERT EINSTEIN : Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?
COLONEL SANDERS : Did I miss one?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Job Interview

The agency sent me out today to interview with a client. I really like them. Hope they like me. I'm the second interview of three people for them. I should hear yes/no tomorrow. Hoping hoping hoping...............

Cyber Stalker?

There is a lady who has been reading all the blogs on my blog roll, then posting anonymous comments to my adoption blog buddies as "Esther". Um, what the heck is that? I've been telling my buddies that anonymous Esther is NOT me.

So, I have condensed my blog roll down to my daily "must-reads", as these people are folks I mainly know & communicate with in real life. Ok, I don't know Martha Beck in real life. But anyway.....The rest of the blogs deleted from the blogroll I have in my files.

If you get a comment from an Esther, make sure MY little picture ID is on the comment, and you will know it's me ;o)

Weird people. weird people out there.................

Friday, September 12, 2008

20/25

I had my checkup with the surgeon this morning. I have 20/25 vision, and everything is great. They only drawback is my left eye is now a black eye. Looks like I've been shot. Not kidding. It's my eye that's a floater, so it was difficult to laser that eye. Seriously that eye looks so bad, I scared two of my kids yesterday when they saw me the first time. The surgeon had to keep stopping & restarting the laser during surgery, waiting for my eye to hold a gaze. The surgeon is referring me to a pediatric eye surgeon. He says they are the best at fixing "lazy eye". Or whatever you want to call it. So, in 6-12 months I can get the floater fixed.

I told my husband I want to sign up for adult swim lessons. I can swim, barely, and I would love to do a mini-triathlon. I can't run anymore, but I could race walk that portion.

In the meantime, I have to wear sunglasses outdoors for a month, and safety goggles during sports, house cleaning, gardening, etc. Guess outdoors I can wear the sunglasses over the goggles? Lookin good..............................

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'll Be Stoned Shortly

I'm getting LASIK done this morning. I just took my Valium. I'll be stoned here in a few minutes. Looking forward to it.

I'm really enjoying taking the computer classes online. I did a couple hours class on Quick Books, a 4hr intro class on Excel. Now I'm taking a whole Microsoft Office Certification series (Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Word). Each class topic will take anywhere from 5-6 hours, to several days. Maybe in a week or two I'll get the Microsoft Certification, depending on how quickly I can see perfectly. I always liked school (I was a nerd hiding in a cheerleader uniform), so I like taking these classes.

I'll be back online in a few days. It could take up to a week to get 20/20 or 20/30 vision. Have a great week everyone.

And don't forget to take a moment to remember those lost on September 11.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

For Crying Out Loud

I just got a call from the local School District. They offered me a substituting job. For crying out loud. Where were these people a couple weeks ago?

I'm rolling my eyes. I told them I'm working for another temp agency since I never heard anything for 5 months from them.

The school district is keeping my file on hand for 12 months in case I change my mind.

If the accounting thing never worked out (or turned into some scam.............doubtful since this company is a national company with a high reputation..........been in business for decades), I could change my mind and go work for the school district. We'll see...............

Nice to know I'm wanted I guess.

Good News Bad News


The Good News is:
The accounting agency has set me up with an interview Monday with a client who is only 30 minutes from me. Part time work. Sounds outstanding.

The Bad News is:
After my LASIK surgery Thursday, I can't wear makeup for a week. AHHHHHHHHHHH!

I told the agency I will be at the interview with nice hair, clean well groomed attire, and no makeup. My boss let out an audible gasp.

My reaction exactly. Oh well. If I get this gig then I'll know they really want my skills & personality (lol).

Monday, September 8, 2008

Job Update & UW Huskies

THIS (clickable, and on the front of Yahoo news today) nearly killed my husband & his best friend this weekend. Left us speechless as we watched live. The kid who made the touchdown got the TD, tossed the ball in the air (not AT anyone, not a throw), and jumped in his teammates outstretched arms. What did the team get in return for this normal endzone behavior? A penalty of unsportlike conduct for celebration. Excuse me? This call is only applicable if a guy makes a TD, and runs the ball threw the other teams face, throws the ball at someone, etc. Frankly I don't know what to say either to such a ridiculous call. UW is appealing the decision, but I imagine just like in Little League and other sports, the call will be considered official, nothing will be changed. Still a loss for the Huskies, my alma mater.

The agency I now work for, called to tell me why I did not get the job they recommended me for last week. The client wants to hire ONLY people that work in that city. I just laughed at this news and said "obviously that's NOT me!"

Fortunately it's nothing personal, and now my resume is over to a different client who needs a part time accountant. Good news with this one? Only 30 minutes from my home. Part time is ideal too, but I'm also interested in full time. I guess I'd like to work both situations to see the pros & cons of both and how those play out for my schedule & family.

This weekend I took two seminar classes online for Quickbooks (for you accountants out there). I'm now going to take classes on Word, Office, and Excel. Onward............

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Politics

Ya know, I've never been interested in debating politics. Each party thinks they are right. Each party thinks the other party is wrong. My husband does enough political debating to last us both a lifetime. So, I've never passionately gotten into politics socially.

Even at church, the Republicans say "if you are a Christian, you are a republican". Again, even at church, the Democrats say "if Jesus were on earth, he'd be a democrat".

So, I stay out of these arguments. I will say however, when I was in middle school, and learning the official business of both parties, I saw incredibly good points about both parties. However, one issue I could not get around. This one issue steered me to which party I would be and away from a party I knew I never could vote for. Abortion. Please watch the clip below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIdbYjmbFzo

I'm not out to bash democrats. Frankly, if it weren't for the abortion issue, I could have chosen to vote as a democrat. I have faithfully supported my friends who have chosen abortion. I love them, not what they did. I think it's really narrow to not be there when your friends need you most, just because I don't agree with what they did.

Obama supports infanticide. I just can't go there.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Vertically Challenged

There are many ways to say short, petite, but I like vertically challenged. Here is a helpful link:

Here clickable

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Job

Update at bottom:

I'm officially hired as an accountant for Robert Haff. They subcontract out to clients, so I'll be the roving accountant. I'm waiting for them to call about two options they have for me:
1. Start as an accountant Monday on a six month gig while someone is on sabbatical, or
2. Take some online college courses before starting a different job.
Additionally, the above mentioned client was looking for someone who speaks Spanish. Not a requirement, but preferred. I speak a little French, so I don't think that qualifies (oh well).

Waiting for the phone to ring.......................

5:11pm update-
Didn't hear a thing. Weird since they are supposed to call either way. So, I figure the job didn't work out & I'm supposed to start classes. I called before 5pm, to verify, and the receptionist put me thru to my manager's voice mail. I told her VM I figure I'm not working Monday since I've heard nothing, and I'm starting the classes.

Maybe speaking Spanish turned out to be a requirement, not a preference?

I'm actually looking forward to doing these classes. I'm weird, always enjoyed school.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

We are the Griswolds~~Only We Could End Up in a Police Chase

We just returned from a 6 day camping trip at a great hot spot in our state. Central WA, here. I'll write about what I learned, what we enjoyed, and our Griswold moments.

What I learned on a 6 day camping trip:
1. I must buy an iPod before our next road trip.
2. Local hot spots are way too crowded on a holiday weekend, and/or any approximation.
3. A child who is autistic needs more social protection than we realized (ie..accepts treats from strangers, ends up getting pushed off 2-story play equipment, rides bicycle into a BMW, etc.).
4. Bring minimal treats for the kids.
5. Bring more treats for mom. And alcohol.
6. Bring more cash, because you never know when you may find great local fruit stands. And ice cream stands.
7. Even though there are limits on campsites, we may still end up next to a commune of 7 families on 2 campsites.
8. We are getting old. We do not enjoy teenagers screaming and blaring their music at 2am.
9. A campsite ranger will kick out teenagers the next day who do the above, even at the opposition, whining, and arguing of said teenagers parents.
10. Mood medication kicks in after a few days for a bipolar child.

What I enjoyed on our 6 day camping trip:
1. The mood medication kicking in for our 13yr old son who is ADHD & bipolar. I now have an appt with the doctor for Friday for our youngest son to partake as well. This will hopefully help his bipolar moods, and anxiety/depression with Aspergers.
2. Loved the water slides. We went sliding for two days.
3. Sunshine every day.
4. Campfires every night.
5. A nearly pain-free experience with my back/hip on this trip.
6. Catching up on Oprah magazines.
7. A lot of laughs
8. The park ranger kicking out the obnoxious teenagers.
9. Knowing this is our last camping trip where I have to wear contacts.
10. The lovely man at the Circle K who told us exactly how to find Costco. Best directions we ever had.

We are the Griswold's. Remember family man Clark Griswold? Well, seems like we end up with "Vacation" moments too:
1. Passing thru the same town three times looking for Costco.
2. Trying so hard to have a wonderful family vacation, yet mishap after mishap happen (ie..went to water park. went down a water slide with hubby. I flew off the double inner tube, and DH hit the wall. He took out a chunk of the back of his head, leaving an open bleeding wound. It's now a pussy open wound.).
3. Kids complaining incessantly that I didn't do anything for this trip, then they ruined the one treat I brought for myself for the weekend. So, what did I do in said situation? I thru out all their treats. Told them they are welcome to get them out of the dumpster. Surprisingly, I did not have any takers on this.
4. Went to a local park to play tennis & golf. I warned the family ahead of time that we need to kennel the dog at the campsite. Oh no, they wouldn't listen to me, and they brought the dog. So we arrive at the park, pay for parking, get on a tennis court, and then park ranger comes over to inform us no dogs beyond the park entrance. That's right. We couldn't even have the dog on a leash. I've never heard of a park not allowing dogs, but whatever. First though, park ranger had to yell at me about parking without paying (guess he was blind & couldn't see my tag on our window). Then he proceeded to lay into me about the dog. I said we'd leave. He continued to bark at me about the dog. I said "WE'RE LEAVING". He continued to bitch about the dog. I said "TAKE IT UP WITH MY HUSBAND. HE'S THE BIG GUY OVER THERE PLAYING TENNIS." The @sshole ran and hid behind the men's room (how appropriate). After we packed up the whole family, I walked over to tell the guy that we were packed up & outta here. He was squatting, literally hiding behind the mens room. Pathetic.
5. Probably the coup de graw~~We were leaving the water park one evening, driving down the highway. We notice an oncoming police car with flashing lights. He does a u-turn, and drives off in front of us. We thought that odd, but maybe dispatch changed their orders. Then even more odd, a Winnebago from about 1970 pulls up right on our ass. I noticed this in the rear view. Less than a car distance between us. The driver looked scarier than the Unibomber. He was screaming, kids were running around, then he made some phone calls.....yelling profanities into his phone. He was that close, I could make out his swear words. I kept voicing all this to my hubby, and we noticed right away the similarities to this & the buttholes in "Christmas Vacation", riding Clark's butt on the highway, as they are off to get a tree. Remember how Clark's wife says "Clark, I don't want to spend the holidays DEAD!".....as he's dealing with the truck driver. We felt just like that! This went on for miles. There was no where to turn off, until we'd gone about five miles. We of course turned off. I turned to watch the guy pass us, to notice immediately that he was being chased by the police. No wonder he was riding our ass! Apparently the first cop we saw, who turned in front of us, was out to head him off at the pass. Geez. Only we would end up in the middle of a police chase.
6. The only thing we missed on this trip was having cousin Eddie along (for you Vacation lovers out there).
7. Two of our boys got braces last week. One of them broke a bracket on his mouth. So we went home early, hoping to get him into the orthodontist before school. Got home, called the orthodontist. He's on vacation all week. How poetic.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sex Anyone? (Warning, if you are lacking a sense of humor, don't read)


The lovely and wonderful Anne-Marie cracks me up HERE.

So, this got me to thinking about another parenting topic: sex. That would be sex with the spouse.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong in that dept. However, how do you keep the sex life fresh, creative, spontaneous, when you a) have to be silent b) you are exhausted and c) your spouse is often annoying right before bedtime?

We have to regroup and figure something out. My aunt suggested we take several overnight retreats away from the children. Ya, right. Doable.........NOT! First, no one wants to watch my children. Second of all, we don't trade with other couples for babysitting or overnighters because my DH has had it up past his eyeballs with other people's kids. I mean other people's precious cherubs.

Just have to ask for your intake here. I walked away from the dining room table last night, to hear hysterical laughter when I reached the other room. My DH is yelling "honey. get in here." OK. this aughta be good. Here is the conversation:

DH: Boys, tell mom what you said.
13yr old: We can hear you guys having sex.
Me: (can't believe I said this)~~ How do you know?
13yr old: We hear the bed squeaking and making rocking noises.
9.5yr old: We hear mom saying "oh god. oh god. oh god."

I think the children are listening with their ear to the wall. I swear I'm whispering during intimacy.

I think I will be celibate for the next 14 years........................
ps..I think this lovely pictures of the giraffes was the only G-rated photo I found on the internet when I searched for "parental sex" and "intimacy photo"......

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Differently Abled

Yesterday was hard for me to listen to the school principal. She continued to discuss our youngest son's "disabilities". I really loathe that word. I hate labels. Why can't we just stick with words like diagnosis? Our oldest son had his first football practice yesterday, came home, and was pooped. We felt inspired to watch the movie "Rudy". We own it and watch it atleast twice a year. One of the most inspirational movies we've ever seen, this movie is based on the personal story of Daniel "Rudy" Rudiger (link HERE). And to boot, he shares his birthday with our little girl in Russia.

If you have not seen this movie, please run out and see it.

Anyway, while seeing this movie for the umpteenth time yesterday, I thought "hey, I'm going to print a list of successful people with ADHD, bipolar disorder, Aspergers, etc., for my sons to have." They need to know every day that they CAN! They may have disabilities, they may have to find different ways to complete tasks, and it may take them longer to get things accomplished, but success can and will be achieved.

Here are the lists I have found (all clickable):

Famous Bipolar people Here & Here & Here
Famous Aspergers people Here & Here & Here
Famous ADD/ADHD people Here & Here & Here

I imagine all these people had a mom who told them "You can do it!"

My boys have a mom like that as well. To me they are differently abled, not disabled. I feel constantly referring to kids as "disabled" gives the impression that they are unabled. There is a difference. My boys will know they are abled, differently or otherwise.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Medical Day

The DH and I went in this am for our LASIK eye surgery consult. All was well, and I'm scheduled for surgery 9/11. My husband will have surgery 2 weeks later. Can't tell you how much we are looking forward to this. Let's get it done already!

Yesterday our oldest son was in trouble. Again. This time in addition to the natural consequences, I told him he has to reimburse me at minimum wage for my time spent on this, and pay me gas money for having to pick him up. On our long drive home, I also let him in on a little adult perspective. I reminded him that his grandfather has some undiagnosed neurosis (a few probably). My father has never sought help. He doesn't get it that lacking social & life skills is a requirement in life. With that, he lost his marriage, children, and now his only grandchildren. There is only so much that people will put up with, and able bodied people have to have the life skills to survive in life, work, relationships, down the road. Later in the evening my son told me "I'm ready for medication." Oh, why? "The consequences are getting too hard." Whatever works. Hopefully he will see it as a gift later that he took it upon himself to get help at a young age, before seeing tougher and tougher consequences handed down.

Then late this am, I took my oldest son to the doc about some meds. We were given a prescription for a drug to calm his moods (bipolar), and will recheck at 30 days & 90 days. At those two appts we will then discuss adding (or not) some ADHD meds.

Please God, let this help....................

The wheels are in motion for our youngest son to get an IEP. The school principal called today and we had a long talk. The Aspergers teacher fell & broke her leg yesterday, so that class is up in the air temporarily. Sigh. Maybe they can get a sub? It would be sad to see those 15 kids moved around into other classes just for a few weeks. Anyway, I need to drop off the psychiatrist/psychologist/PCP reports that I have, which include his diagnosises of bipolar disorder & Aspergers. When we have a team meeting, we will discuss if he will remain in his mainstreamed class with help on the side (at school), or if he will be moved to the Aspergers class at another physical location. Onward...................................

My Girl Elena~~ I can't divulge more about our Russian adoption. All I can say is what I wrote. Thank you for caring ;o)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Meds

After a large consequence being handed down for his irresponsible impulsive behavior, our oldest son is now consenting to meds. In our state, age 13 is the age of consent & medical privacy. He is 13.

Answers to Questions (Failed Russian adoption/ADHD)

Yesterday I checked the Russia data base for our little girl. She is not currently on there. One of her brothers is though, and it states he has no siblings. The database can often be quite unreliable though, or just not updated (correctly or otherwise).

ADHD magazine is something a counselor recommended for my son. She gave me a postcard to send in for the magazine. I know nothing about it. Although, HERE (clickable) is a link to the magazine. Looks neat!

I can't say much about the Russian adoption because there are two lawsuits pending: civil (to get our money & attorney fees back) & federal (to imprison the owners & employees of the adoption agency). In a nutshell, we went to Russia a few years ago, finalized the adoption of a little girl, including court paperwork. We were never allowed to bring her home because it turns out our agency was never on the books with the Russian authorities. They were baby trafficking. Just sickening. We had no clue of course. Alot of red flags were raised during the process. However, we had no clue that our agency was operating illegally. I truly hope they rot in prison, or hell. We are in contact with the Russian authorities, and last we were notified, our little girl lives in an institution with another relative. The "relative" is required to live in an institution, but wanted parental rights of said child. So a judge gave parental rights, requiring they live in an institution together until the child is 16yrs old.

We miss our sweet baby. We will continue to see if she is ever available for adoption (she never was, which was part of the illegal activity which constitutes as baby trafficking, per the FBI). Currently there are no adoption agencies working in our little girl's region, so I don't know how we'd bring her home if she were to become adoptable. Independent adoption is rare, even more rare in her region. We do have a Russian attorney as well as American attorney, so we are covered legally & informationally.

I can still feel holding her in my arms, her tiny little body. I can still hear her laugh. I can still hear her yelling at her friends that we are her mama & papa. I can still feel the breeze on those freezing days, playing with her on a jungle gym in Siberia, Far East Russia. I can still feel that bitter breeze as the day came to a close & she begged for me to swing her longer. I can still hear her shoes running down a hall way to hug me, one last time.

I miss you sweet baby girl. Yesterday I made a birthday cake in your honor. I rode my bike in your honor, since you do not have that freedom, luxury, or opportunity. We will never forget you. I take comfort knowing we will see you again even if it has to be in Heaven. God is watching over you since we cannot. May you be safe & well. I love you.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

All in a Day & Russia Baby

Yesterday I had the pleasure of being treated to lunch at the Seattle Symphony. A highschool/college friend of mine & I reconnected at the 20yr reunion. We'll have to stay in touch this time. We stayed in touch for about 5yrs, and then got busy. And busier. And got to only the Christmas card list, and then that disappeared. We're going shopping in downtown Seattle in a few weeks. I LOVE downtown shopping. So does he. This is not a date or affair. He's flaming gay. ;o)

I ordered ADHD magazine for my oldest son. After I noticed much effort to focus, with little success, I feel inclined to help him further. He couldn't deal with a voice prompted phone labyrinth the other day. But he had to be the one to deal with it, seeing as we were in the car using the cell. In our state it's now illegal for the driver to be using the cell, unless you use a BlueTooth. I don't have one. This resulted in screaming and crying from an 8th grader, arms waving around, etc. I think jumping out of the moving vehicle would have been more fun.

The Aspergers teacher called me back. But I was at the Seattle Symphony. I'll have to call her Monday.

We took the kids to the state fair last night. They are at the point where they only like rides. So in the past we've held that over their head to "inspire" acceptable/cooperative behavior until the end of the day. Then we did rides. Well, yesterday we only had a couple of hours to do the fair, so we opted to not do rides. A wrist band costs $22, so that's $66 for all the kids. We just spent $60+ on dinner at the fair, and we are going on a weeklong vacation next week to a pretty neat hot spot in our state (this means throwing down lots of money for that). We warned the kids in advance, for days, that we would not be doing rides (hoping it would sink in and they would have worked it out of their system). Boy was the joke on us! This resulted in much begging, whining, and the like, over riding the rides. Got to the point with our youngest that I told him we could go to the hot car, or I could pull down his pants and spank his naked rear end out in the middle of the fair grounds. His begging and whining and yelling improved at that point. He was still annoying. Hard to have consequences for "annoying".

Next time we will go alone, as adults, and enjoy the fair. Looking forward to it.

Today is our Russia Baby's birthday. We love her always and forever. We will miss her always and forever. I hope the owners & employees of our old adoption agency rot in hell. I know the FBI still has their prosecution in the works, and our civil case is still moving forward (at a crawl). The wheels of justice may be slow, but those wheels will eventually get us to our destination.