Vindication

Now that may sound like a strong word, but golly, it sure explains how I feel at the moment. (And a heads up, this is an honest post more about the harder side of adoption. So, if you prefer the always positive adoption blogs, then skip this post.)

Let me explain. I got a phone call from one of our children’s teachers. “While ____ is a really well behaved student…” She went onto use words like lying, sneaky, trust, etc. Now they may sound harsh and make my readers wonder why I am vindicated about them. You see, she sees part of what we deal with pretty much on a daily basis.

Most kids who live/have lived with trauma learn to lie, cheat, and manipulate to survive. They learn to be award winning actors to make people like them and again to survive. This is just how it is, not their fault. But bring that home, to a home that is really trying to make a difference, to a forever home. Let it continue year after year. Have people judge your parenting “style” and feeling sorry for the said child gets rough. It gets tiring. Makes one want to give up standing for certain things they believe in and to not keep doing what they are doing. Makes one start to question themselves.

As a mom, I want to believe the best about my kids, each of them. I want to see the best in them. Yet, I personally almost get to the point where I feel like maybe we aren’t seeing what others are seeing. “Am I missing something?” “Am I being too hard?” These thoughts can really wreck havoc on my mind, when I let them. Then I get a phone call like the one tonight (Friday night) and my mind and heart begin to clear.

What goes on behind closed doors, is, well, behind closed doors. Most parents are truly good people who love their kids, each of them. They are honestly doing their best. Take that to the next level with foster/adoptive kids and things aren’t always as they seem. I’ve had one child lie at school saying that I don’t feed him/her; can they please have food…” Thankfully the teacher knew me, doubted this statement, and called to clarify . (This is just one of the multiple lies that have been told, acts that have been played, etc. to get one’s way.) So, please don’t judge (unless it’s definite child abuse). Unless you know what those parents go through every day, week after week, month after month…until you know what the kid/s are putting the parents through…until you know just how lonely these parents can feel many times. Please support them and trust that what they are doing is right for the child, right for the family. Please abide by their wishes, even if they don’t seem to make sense. We don’t want to tell everyone all that is going on with our child/children.

Tonight I am adding Mrs. F to my grateful list.

Lesson Learned

Okay, I am going to admit to something most, if not all, of you are going to face-palm yourselves over.

I download a malware onto our Mac three days ago and it has taken up most of my days. Literally. I have talked to three senior advisors. The first two, no fault of their own, felt satisfied that they had helped me remove the nasty beast. The third, bless his heart, spent a good part the day on the phone with me, trying everything he knew to help, all the while remaining as calm as if he was sitting in the shade sipping his favorite cool beverage enjoying everything about his view. Only at the end did he “lose his cool” with a  discouraged, “Man.” Needless to say, our Mac is still not fixed. I am running in “test” mode for now which is VERY limited at best. Our data, etc. has been sent to even higher Apple support. So, we wait.

While this whole thing has been going on I have learned a thing or two about computers and life:

*Apple products already have all that you need running in the background. No need to download web protection.

*BUT you HAVE to keep those updates up-to-date for all of the background goodies to function properly. I thought I had updated and was all good to go, but no. Now I know where I went wrong and will be much more on top of it from here on out.

*Apple has a parental setting and guest mode. No need for added filters.

*If you do want/need to download something onto your Apple, download it from the App Store and NOT the internet. The same web protection (K9 Web Protection) is available in the App Store. However, the ones outside the store well, you see where that got me.

*Apple’s staff (via phone) were all very nice and helpful with the exception of one gal. Maybe it was me too just getting frustrated at the whole situation.

*One’s back, elbow and ear can get mighty sore from sitting at a desk and talking on the phone all day. Again, those dear Apple workers. Their backs and ears must hurt after working all day.

*I also learned a thing or two about where to find this and that on our Mac. Very helpful. We have no Apple Store nearby and don’t have anyone we know of by us who can come over and show us what the heck we are doing. We usually make a long distance call to one friend and one family member for Apple help.

Overall, even though the malware really stinks, I had to buy a new external hard drive, I have spent MANY hours on the phone and thus a bit behind on my house work, I feel like a more confident Mac user.

(If my grammar is off on this post, which is highly likely, please excuse it for the next few days. I don’t have Grammarly to help correct my writing until I get this whole thing worked out. Thanks.)

Guess What!!

I have been super busy. Sorry for the great lag in my blog posts.

There are many reasons for my business but the best is this:IMG_2437

YES! I am going to be a grandma! We are super excited here. The preparation for the precious little cargo (due in April) has kept me happily busy.

IMG_2436We have two middle schoolers! Such a fun age. I really do like this stage. (Ignore the Chief’s serious face, he really is a happy kid.)

IMG_2441And two in elementary…yes, the general started kindergarten! Here’s to many wonderful school years.

IMG_2344Gardening has kept me a bit busy as well. I LOVE seeing the green and color in our yard. Gardening does something to me. Something fresh and rejuvenating. So far everything is still alive! Which living here is big.

 

Prickly Pear Lemonade

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Yes, you read the title right. Prickly Pear Lemonade…as in the cactus. We live in the desert and have an abundance of prickly pear cacti very near us. We have been getting a bunch of needed rain as well. Our oldest son and Miss D went out and picked some pears off of the cactus. He intended to make jelly but didn’t want to go to the store for the needed supplies. After a quick internet search, they settled on prickly pear lemonade.

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The prep was much less intense than one would think. They also used powdered lemonade. The results? Mixed. Most of our household liked it but didn’t go back for seconds. The two that would’ve gotten seconds had a bit of an allergic reaction on their tongues. Me, I thought it was okay. It is pretty though and teaches our kids to be resourceful and use what nature has provided for us.

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Move Over Coffee

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That’s right I have a new favorite caffeinated drink. I have found a second 2:00 pick-me-up. I had been seeing this frog green drink popping up here and there. Heard the word matcha tossed around but it wasn’t until Hubby and I went to Starbucks and ordered one with my new Starbucks app (only works out of town) did I actually experience this green goodness for myself. While it looks more like a science experiment it tastes so refreshing.

If you are accustomed to the sugary coffee drinks topped with a mountain of whipped cream drizzled or sprinkled with more sugary decor than this may taste a bit more like grass to you at first. For me, I drink green tea every morning and steer clear from those sugary drinks so the lemonade makes this is actually like a dessert treat to me.

So what is matcha you may ask? It basically is concentrated green tea powder. It is a powerhouse of antioxidants. The caffeine lasts longer and doesn’t hit you like coffee. It is described as an alert calmness. Pinterest and other places on the web have great benefit infographics to show you just how great this drink is.

Being the spendthrift that I am I found a copycat recipe on Pinterest from beautyandthebeets. It really does tastes like Starbucks. I lessened the sugar by 1/2c and could still lessen it more. I ordered my matcha from epicmatcha. This site is great. It has a bunch of info and great customer service.

If you haven’t tried matcha lemonade you just have to! So good.

 

 

Randomness

Summer is winding down, two more weeks left until school!!! Each summer gets better and better. We’ve stayed busy while learning to embrace calm steadiness.

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The General wanted swimming trunks to match big brother’s.

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I ordered as many groceries as possible from WalMart for the first time. I was able to get about half of our groceries sent to us through the mail. I ordered them on a Saturday afternoon and they arrived Wednesday afternoon. So a bit longer than their 2-day delivery offer. If I chose the pickup option I would’ve had to make two to three trips, which completely defeats the point. Everything except the taco seasoning pack was intact. I will more than likely stick to shopping in person.

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We have also been doing crafts. Our craft supplies and ideas are getting low.Thanks to Pinterest we found this cute idea to match the remaining supplies.

Thank You Lego

If you have kids, especially kids like ours, then you have Legos. We have a lot. We love them. I am always amazed at what the kids make with them. I am also thankful for the hours of quiet play they help to create.

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Recently, I bought an early Christmas present. To my delightful surprise, it contained a wheelchair! If you have been reading my blog you know our lives have been touched by wheelchairs and I will be forever grateful for them. You can read about our wheelchair adventures here and here.

While our life with wheelchairs was a temporary one I know so many other parents will be grateful for the new Lego wheelchair piece. Keep them coming Lego!

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The General Turns 5!

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Let me tell you about our most recent birthday boy. When he came to us at 2, he spoke about 5 Spanglish words. He was receiving OT, PT and Speech therapy. He was still drinking from a bottle. His coordination was off to the point where we had him tested for a number of things. He had it rough right from the start of his little life. (I will leave out the saddest details.)

He had been tossed around from bio home to bio home, then in two foster homes. He really never lived with his siblings. He had no idea why he was in our home. No idea what was going on. He had no words to express his confusion. So he used his body and lots of yelling. He has had back to back leg fractures, a number of blood tests done, a couple of minor operations, MANY tests of all sorts done.

He has had back to back leg fractures, a number of blood tests done, a couple of minor operations, MANY tests of all sorts done. ENTs, ER docs, Urologists, orthopedic Drs., eye Dr.s, a number of thereapists, etc. have been a big part of our lives.

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To say he has overcome a lot of obstacles would be an understatement. To say he has come so far seems so insignificant. When I sit in parent/teacher (preschool) meetings and they show me where he is, I never look at it as a negative. To them, they may see the deficiencies, to me to see only his gains.

He will be starting kindergarten this school year as a very young kindergartner, but I am not worried. I know he will do so well.

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I know our son will win people over, as he does everywhere. I know he will be a huge help, take charge and show kindness to those he is around. He knows no stranger and makes friends easy. His heart is big and is now such a loving, compassionate boy.

I have never met a more grateful child or adult for that matter. He is always thanking us for the littlest of things. He compliments freely and is comfortable with affection. He knows no other family but us. He doesn’t see the differences our family has. He is a unifier.

Our son makes us laugh all of the time. Though he is the youngest he steals the show all of the time and demands our attention. He knows what he wants and isn’t shy to tell you. He is super smart and we can tell he isn’t going to fight some of the battles his siblings have had to fight. (Thank you, Jesus!!)

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At his party, he saw this little boy and wanted to give him one of his cakes. Even though the mom pretty much treated him as you see in the photo, he brushed it off and found someone else to give it to.

I tell you this lovable fighter, this protector (he already protects me), this ever friendly guy is going to go far. I can’t wait to see what God has planned for him. We thank God all of the time for letting us parent him.

Cleaning Grout

(While not intentional the photo below turned out to be an optical illusion.)

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This morning I woke up to heavy urine smell in our dining room. I couldn’t really see the pee spot but there was no doubt that something happened in the night. After steam washing twice, the smell still lingered. I ended up getting out my bleach gel. Then one thing led to another.

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I started trailing the bleach gel along the grout. Some spots immediately started to bubble. My daughter got in on the cleaning as well. It was rather addicting. I had to stop her from cleaning more of the house. We left it on for about 10 minutes then steam mopped it. While all of the dirtiness didn’t come out our dining room is so much brighter.  Definitely doing this again.

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Now instead of the scent of dog urine, bleach permeates our noses. I think I need to turn on my candle melts as I am not a bleach loving gal.

Going Gray

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I am in my mid 40’s, have 6 kids and am going gray gracefully. Gracefully is a relative term. Somedays it does not feel graceful at all.

When the grays (my strands of wisdom, I lovingly call them) started showing up it was just a wild hair here and there, standing up making itself known, reminding me that one cannot stop the clock from ticking away. I then started to get low lights in my hair to mask some of the grays. I have never been into covering who I am growing into or pretending to be younger than I am. But I wasn’t ready for the grays. That was my happy compromise.

After awhile I stopped the low lights, just letting nature take its course. Then we brought our youngest kids home. Our youngest daughter was good at letting me know she had a real problem with some of the ways I looked, my graying hair being the biggest of them. Saying some pretty hurtful things along the way. While I know those words she aimed my way were coming from the hurt she carried inside, they still stung. I let her words get to me to the point that I started dyeing my hair. I did it twice to be exact. I really liked how it made me feel and look, but something just didn’t feel right about it all. It just didn’t match with who I am inside and who I want to portray to my kids.

Now I don’t look down on ladies who color their hair, to each her own. But for me I want my kids to see a mom who is comfortable with who she is no matter what age and how she looks. It’s the beauty on the inside that I would rather shine through than rich brown hair, etc. Today our daughter’s words are much kinder and accepting.

Today our daughter’s words are much kinder and accepting. And though I don’t fully like the amount of gray I see staring back at me in the mirror I too am learning to accept and see the beauty in the aging process. I mean, golly, I have earned every silvery strand. Funny that gray has been my favorite color for many years and yet it is hard to see it in my own hair.

Thankfully more ladies are joining the silver fox club and deciding to go gray gracefully. Just take a peek on Pinterest on the subject and see the beautiful ladies there. Inspiration at it’s best.