Monday, July 30, 2007

A Little Levity ala Levi

Just in case y'all think I am all about the serious stuff and pathetic all the time, I do laugh a lot. You can't help but laugh in my house. Here is why:


He is a one-man comic routine and I dare anyone not to laugh when he is around. You just never know what will come out of his mouth.
Yesterday, after I got him washed up in the sink (still no bath tub) and he was sitting there all clean and sparkly inhis towel, he looked at me and said:
"What does it look like inside my butt?"
Chris hid around the corner (Don't deny it! You didn't want to answer and I don't blame you!!)
I spluttered for a second, and then told him it was dark. He seemed to accept that. Thank goodness....


I find myself asking the question Why? all the time. In fact, I torment myself with that one little word. Maybe it's the scientist in me that gives me the overwhelming need to know why. Maybe it is normal. I don't know. I just know that I ask and ask and ask and have yet to find any answers.

Why is the process so difficult?
Why is the process so expensive?
Why does it take so long?
Why aren't there straight-forward systems in place to find children homes?
Why do people have to make it even harder?
Why can't anyone help?
Why is it so hard to get information?
Why all the lies?
Why do some cases fly through and others are mired down for years?
Why do people say such ingnorant things?
Why us? Why our cases? Why our kids?

I had the nursery all decorated for Ahren. Blues and greens, calm, cute. New crib bedding, matching curtains. I donated it all to charity. Now I have PBJ's crib all done. Bedding from Pottery Barn Kids, lavender and green, matching cloth bins to hold her stuff. It is adorable.

Emotional numbness. That's where I am at. Numb. I can't get mad. I can't get sad. I don't cry anymore. Am I going to be able to enjoy PBJ when she comes home or will I be too numb to feel it? I enjoyed spending our visit trip time with her, but it still felt like I was babysitting someone else's kids. Playing at being Mommy.

Have I mentioned lately that I hate what this process has made me become?????

Friday, July 27, 2007

What I love the most about being a Mom

When my teenaged daughter talks to me about boys, and listens to my views.

When my 4-year old shouts with glee and comes running to give me a big hug when I walk in the door after work.

When I see my wonderful husband holding our son and I can see the light in his eyes at the love he feels for him.


A child sleeping in my arms.

A warm body snuggled up to mine just to be close to Mommy.

Little helpers in the kitchen, the garden, the laundry.

The smell of my children's hair, especially after a bath or after they have been in the sun.

Itty bitty little toes.

Little arms that wrap around and hold on tight.

Hugs from kids who are now taller than I am. (Both girls are taller than me)

Tiny shoes.

The sound of my kids saying I love You.

Sticky fingers, drippy popscicles, Kool-aid smiles, running to get money for the ice cream truck.

Sun-kissed noses.

Being able to fix a boo-boo with a kiss.

Raising happy, healthy, spiritually aware children to be the best grown-ups they can be.

I love being a mom!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Deep thoughts from the shallow end

Two years ago we started out on a journey, our hearts full of the desire to add a child or two to our family. We could have created another child, carried him to term and delivered him into our family. This is something I knew how to do, had experience with. Instead, we felt that we were so blessed that we wanted to reach out to a child or children who actually needed us. We wanted to do something to make the world a better place, and also to fill the hole we had that only a child could fill. With excitement and happiness, we began.

Our son found us first. Five pounds of Godly glory. The eleventh child, 8th surviving, of a struggling mother. She had made a careful birth plan. The child was born in the hospital and went directly to the orphanage. We first saw his face when he was 9 days old and he captured our hearts. Each month new pictures revealed a child with corkscrew curls and a calm manner. He grew and grew and grew until he was at the top of the charts. We visited and he was every bit as delightful as we could have imagined.

Then our daughter found us. On the day she was born we were inexplicably led to her and knew she was ours. Tiny and petite, happy and beautiful, everything again that we could hope for. Her case flew along, passing hurdle after hurdle where his had always failed. This was our repayment for the other pain. We felt so deserving of an easy case. It was our due.

But then the dreaded PGN sucked in our daughter and held on tight. The great black abyss refuses to spit her out. For the third time I am doing all the paperwork. It is like a comforting old friend now. Notary, apostille, authenticate, translate. The tasks give me the false sense of doing something, but in reality it is just one more hoop for this trained clown to jump thru.

So you might be wondering why I am writing this almost-poetic tale of our journey. Something happened last night that made me think. This is not about me and my pain. Or even two kids living in Guatemala when they have a loving family here. There is a bigger picture and it took a small boy with white-blonde hair to show it to me. Here is how he did it.

After work, I rushed home, read the mail, let the dogs out, etc etc. Then grabbed levi and headed to the grocery store for a few essentials. The store was packed, I couldn't find what I needed quickly, Levi kept stopping to marvel over the pickles or mustard or something. The checkout lane was long and slow. I could feel my anxiety rising, and the frustration was overtaking me. We got to the car, I loaded the groceries and Levi was supposed to be getting his straps on to his carseat. I got in and he was still farting around. I told him to get his straps on. Again. And again. That's when he said it. The words that caught me up short. He said,

"OK, Mrs. Whiner"

That is who I have become. Mrs. Whiner. Out of the mouths of babes.........

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Landscaping for Dummies

It has still been raining off and on every other day or so around these parts. I think we have now passed the old record for most rain in July. We still don't have any grass in our yard. Even on the days it would be dried out enough to lay sod, the sod farms are still so soaked they can't cut any. Our house looks like a white-trash mudhole missing the old washing machine and Camaro on blocks. Weeds are popping up all over, construction debris that they had covered up with the topsoil is now surfacing, half the topsoil is in the ditch, and the front porch is mottled with red-clay mud. Add in the fact that we are all stir crazy from being cooped up and you have the mess that is us right now.

I have been giving a lot of thought to the overall plan for the landscaping. I know that it will take me years to get it just right, but I want some sort of a master plan so that I can keep adding to it and working towards the picture I have in my head. I sit at night and doodle ideas on copies of the plat map. I have researched plants and the wildlife in this area.

Saturday morning dawned clear and bright. Chances of rain were the lowest they had been in a while, 50%. Carpe Diem!!! Seize the Day!!! We headed out to the local Home Depot and bought fertilizer, soil amendments, basic plants, landscape fabric, and a new pair of good gardening gloves for me. Then we headed to the nearby stone masons. The first stone I saw was gorgeous! Then I found out it was $500 a pallet. Yikes! So on to option B. At 1/3 the price and for a bigger pallet, we bought 4 tons of Rainbow Rock. I added 6 tons of Moss Rock for edging, set up delivery for that afternoon and headed home. I spent 6 hours digging, mixing in soil amendments, planting, fertilizing, watering and moving rock. I was in heaven! When I was done I was sunburned, stinky, filthy dirty and exhausted. I jumped in the pool with my clothes on and floated around for a while, pretending I was scrubbing at some algea spots but mostly just cooling off. I planned on finishing Sunday but guess what? It poured rain. So each evening I move a little more rock. next I need to work on the wash down the side of thr house, with little waterfalls along the way. (A wash is a rock lined natural drainage path that funnels water during heavy rains. It is also a nice little landscape accent) If I can get the beds built (or at least outlined to designate where they go) and ready before they can get the sod in that would be great. Of course, this is just the front yard I am talking about. That's big enough of a chunk to tackle right now. The house sits 110 feet back from the road, and the width of it increases since we are on a cul de sac and the property lines angle out. I estimated that it would take 30 pallets of sod just to cover the front. The more beds I can make, the less sod and less mowing.

To the left side of the driveway, along the fence where the horses are, I am building a raised rose garden. I love roses and especially antique roses. There will be an arbor for climbing varieties and a path winding thru them. I can lay it out now, build it up and mix the proper soil over the winter and be ready to hit the Antique Rose Emporium in the spring. I also want to build some raised beds out back to grow vegetables next year. They will need a protective fence so it doesn't become a big salad bar for the deer. Hopefully I will have it ready for spring too.

Then, there are the other 3 acres of land..... treeless, grassless, weed-infested land. I am still working on a plan for that. Especially what to do around the pond. But, I have the rest of my life to complete it, so no rush.

Did I mention how much I am enjoying this? Who knew I was a country girl at heart! I still don't want chickens, though......

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Just for Ellie

It was an itty-bitty teeny-weeny PBJ in a bikini!

Look, Mom, the socks match my outfit.
Happy, happy girl.


I love the tub!

This is my sister. Tickle, tickle tickle.

I hate the tub, but I am happy in my towel. (She looks like an elf!)

Whee! I can do a toe-touch!

We got them hooked on The Wiggles....


Monday, July 23, 2007

The pictures I promised

Edited to add: Why oh why can I not get this to format correctly? I hates you Blogger, you booger!

Ahren is getting so big. He is very large for a Guatemalan child. In fact, he is just plain large for his age no matter what. I think he weighs only a couple of pounds less than Levi, who is 4 years old. He's not fat, just solid. His hands are huge!

PBJ has a ton of hair. Very thick but fine. Soft and shiny. She has her crazy hair moments too!
We had a crib at the hotel, but as you can see, Ahren didn't exactly fit safely in it. We had him sleep in bed between us (think of sleeping with a 30 pound squid that wriggled all night)
The night we got PBJ she was a screaming mess. It wasn't us necessarily she was having trouble with. The FM said she had been crying for an hour before they came. She was sick with a cold, teething, it was her bedtime, and she was dressed in so many clothes she was burning up (onsie, velour shirt, flannel lined overalls and a denim jacket). Here is a picture of the baby they handed us, and then a picture of what she looked like by the next morning. Not once while we had her did she scream like this again. Oh, she cried now and then, like a normal baby, but not this terrible screaming.

I had always wondered why Ahren's foster mother had never cut his hair. I mean, the poor kid was sporting a giant fuzzy fro! So I asked her. She said she was afraid I would not like it. So I asked her if she minded if I got his hair cut and she thought that would be wonderful. Katie and I took him to the place in the mall and he got to sit in a little car while they cut his hair. I only got him a trim, not a buzz. They love his curls and I just couldn't cut them off. So here are the before and after pix. We are definitly going to have to keep his hair short when he is older!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Home Sweet Home

We made it home safe and sound. No problems, smooth flight, breezed thru immigration and made it home by 6pm. Poor Katie had to run in, change into her cheer practice clothes and head straight to the gym for 2.5 hours of practice. She didn't seem to mind, though. I dropped her off and hit the grocery store briefly. I was craving normal food. Plain ol' comfort food. I bought a roasted chicken, mashed potatos, gravy, stuffing and corn. Went home, unpacked gifts, left the rest for tonight, heated up my quickie down-home meal for the fam, and planted my hiney on the couch. We loaded up the hourlong video I took of PBJ and Ahren and watched it. Levi kept saying he wanted to watch the Ahren movie after we were done. How cute is that! The Ahren movie.

When we walked in the front door, Katie was ahead of me and I heard loud squealing and saw a flash of white-blonde hair hurtling towards Katie's head. Levi! Did he run to me first? Nope. His sister. Once he was done hugging her, he came to me. It didn't bother me at all. It made my heart expand 3 sizes to see them loving each other so much. That is what big families are all about. What I can't give them, they provide for each other. The rest of the night Levi was glued to me, and I laid with him in bed as he fell asleep, just snuggling him and letting him know how much I missed him. This morning, when he woke up, he came looking for me first thing. Once he saw me and I reassured him I was home, he went back to bed and fell back asleep.

I have a billion pictures but haven't downloaded any yet. The ones I have posted so far were taken with Katie's camera and we could download them on the laptop while we were there. My camera needs special software to download that we only have on the desktop at home. So there will be many more pics coming.

Memorable moments from our trip: On the way back to the city from Antigua the traffic was really bad and it was raining. Couplle that witht he complete lack of traffic laws and the fact that the car we were riding in had NO shocks, and it made for a wild ride. I was holding Ahren and Katie had PBJ. Both kids were asleep. A huge truck pulled right in front of us and the car hydroplaned sideways as the driver swerved to miss it. Katie and I looked at each other and we both were thinking the same thing. Pray. Pray hard. The prayers worked and we made it in one piece, but we will always remember that ride down the mountain.

Katie was kissing PBJ on the cheeks and PBJ lifted up her little face and kissed Katie back. She did it over and over again. It was so sweet! Of course the kisses were wet and slobbery, but those are the best baby kisses ever!

Katie and Ahren were resting their foreheads together in a sweet moment when Ahren leaned forward and bit Katie's nose. She had teeth marks for the next day. She didn't think that was very funny, but I did!

I got Ahren on video calling me Mama. His foster mother shows him pictures of me everyday and says Mama to him. She shows him pix of the whle family so he will know us. She is wonderful. Of course, she is not much bigger than he is! She is a tiny little thing and he is a moose. It's too funny to see him in her arms!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Last day here

I am anxious to get home and yet I want to stay. It is a terrible feeling to have your family spread apart like this. We got bad news yesterday. PBJ had another KO we didn't know about and she just went back into PGN 3 weeks ago. I was hoping she was almost home. Sigh....patience. I am so glad I decided to go ahead and visit. I almost cancelled because I was so sure we would be picking up any day now. I am so happy I went ahead and came. This has been an amazing visit.

There haven't been as many other adopting families here htis time. The hotel was apparently completely booked due to a Telethon they just had for the Childrens Hospital. Now more families are arriving. It's so nice to have someone to talk to.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Baby laughter is the best

Today we toured Antigua with another couple and a friend of ours who served as tour guide. He knows the best places to go and who has the authentic goods. We had such a wonderful time (although the ride there and back was a bit of a white-knuckle experience) We visited the Jade factory, the outdoor market, a museum that used to be a monastery and ate lunch at a tiny little wonderful cafe. Thekiddos were fantastic and we had a wonderful time.

Here's a few more photos.

Having a blast

Remember when I said I thought it would be too hard on Ahren to keep him with us? Well his foster mother convinced me that he would be fine and that we should keep him. That great! Indeed he has not cried (except when he hit his head) and he kisses and hugs me all day long. He has been all smiles and giggles, talking up a storm and practicing his new-found walking skills. The only problem is I didn't bring enough clothes for him. We are just going to have to do some shopping! (Oh gee, how sad am I?)

PBJ settled down and sems to be getting better. No fever, still stuffy in the nose, but a dose of medicine before bed, a bit of Vicks Vapor rub and she sleeps like a champ. She still gets up once a night to eat, but slurps it down pretty fast. She eats a ton for sucha tiny peanut. She has been eating 7-8 7 ounce bottles with cereal a day. She has never had anythingon a spoon yet, but I can tell she needs to start eating solids. The formula/cereal is just not enough.

Ahren is so ornery but adorable. Right now he is trying his hardest to push the keys on the computer. When I tell him no he just grins and tries more. Then he 'sneaks' around to the other side to try again.

Both kids are changing so fast. The first full day PBJ was just a total rag doll. No body tone at all. Now she is starting to try and hold her body in the sitting position and can sit there for a few minutes with some support. She didn't reach for anything at all at first, but now she is reaching and grabbing, and will pull things to her mouth. She seems like she has just discovered her hands because she plays witht hem like they are the most amazing htings she has ever seen. She is 9 months old but at about a 3-4 month level. I can tell she will catch up fast.

Ahren is repeating words we say, babbling constantly and into everything. His walking gets better every day. He has only been walking for about a week now, so we are seeing his development first hand.

Enjoy the photos!

Friday, July 13, 2007

We have babies!!!

We had quite the day yesterday. We arrived on time but ended up hanging out at the airport because the hotel shuttle was very late. Because of all the construction it was also very very dusty. The worst part though was everyone kept staring and pointing at Katie. Not in a mean way, but in a 'wow look at her' way that still made us both very uncomfortable. She ended up with her sweatshirt over her head and that helped. Then, when the shuttle showed up, it picked up another couple and took off with us madly chasing it. They had to call it to come back for us.

We got to the hotel (Love the Grand Tikal!) and got settled then went downstairs at 2pm to wait for PBJ. And we waited and waited waited. No baby. We ended up after a couple of hours going upstairs and orderig sandwiches and we began calling the agency and anyone else we could think of. We got ahold of them and the coordinator forgot we were coming. They hustled around and we finally got her at 7pm last night. She has a cold, lots of congestion and cried solid for over two hours. Katie finally got her to sleep, but even in her sleep she kept taking those giant ragged sob breaths. She slept for 30 min then woke up and began to cry again. We figured out that she loved the stroller so we pushed her around in it for about 3 hours, then back into the bouncy chair. She finally went to sleep about midnight and slept for 7 hours. Today she is still congested but much happier and eating well.

We ate the wonderful bufet for breakfast and then headed to the loby to wait for Ahren. He was righton time and when he saw me he held out his arms to me. I almost cried with happiness. He has been laughig and smiling ever since. He has just started walking and has the typical Frankenstein walk. He is really enjoying all the toys and food we have. he eats anything and everything. I don't know how much he weighs but I am guessing upwards of 30 pounds and it's all solid. What a little tank.

Enjoy the photos of our wonderful babies!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Poor pathetic me

So the other day I fessed up about my secret hateful thoughts about others whose adoptions go smoothly. Now I am going to tell you something even more shocking. I sometimes think God has forgotten us. There. I said it out loud. I have doubts. Serious doubts. Why is this whole adoption thing so hard? Why did we end up with the case where it took 18 months just to get the baby's birth certificate? Are we being punished? Is this a test? Why Lord, why????

And to make me feel even worse, my husband is one of those calmly serene believers who never has a doubt or worry that God's will is being done. We just need to be patient and his path for us will be revealed. Yeah, well, patience is highly over-rated in my book. I want action. I need a plan. I have to have a checklist.

I have faith but not so much trust. I believe but I question. I try and live each and every day by what the good book says, knowing I will never be perfect but striving to at least be better than I was the day before. I am stronger than I knew but still faltering on this long road. I guess the emotions that visiting are bringing out are almost too hard for me to deal with. Or maybe I am just human....or crazy. Or both!

One day in church, when we were teaching Sunday school, the lesson of the day was how God was all around us if we only paid attention. Look at the ground. See the ant? That is God's work. It is amazing. Last night, when I was driving home, I reached our new neighborhood, and right in the middle of the road stood a tiny little fawn. She just stood there looking up at the sky, not noticing my car as I slowly approached. When she finally spotted me, she skittered across the road on her tiny little hooves and bounded into the woods. What an amazing little creature, so beautiful, so graceful.

I need to remember that two small innocent children are counting on me to be strong for them. Two little lives that I need to think of. This isn't about me or my pathetic insecurities. It's about them and their lives, not just the adoptions or bringing them home, but raising them up to be strong, confident adults. I need to pay more attention to God all around me and to keep my eye on the big picture.

And occasionally vent so my head doesn't pop off!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Three days from now I will have PBJ in my arms. Four days from now I will have Ahren in my arms. I have been obsessively packing and re-packing. You see, each traveller gets 2 suitcases to check, not to exceed 50 pounds each. Since Katie is going with me, we get 4 suitcases to check, plus one carry on each. A total of 200 pounds of luggage. And that's not enough. Katie and I are packing very light for ourselves. The rest is full of donations, baby stuff, gifts for our foster families and more donations. We have received so much! You people are absolutely incredible. We have soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, feminine products, clothes, shoes, underwear, socks, blankets and money to buy mattresses. I will be sure and get lots of pictures while we are there. This time we will have a laptop with us and I will be able to post pictures every day.

In other news, those of you who have read me for a while know that our Nanny is really part of our family. We have known her for many years, and when we found out we were having Levi she was our obvious choice for child care. Each day she comes to our house and watches Levi, another little girl named Mina (22 months old) , and (a couple of days a week) her grandson Grayson (age 3). Levi is the clown, Mina is the daredevil and Grayson is the sweetie. Grayson suffers from Type 1 Osteogenesis Imperfecta, or brittle bone disease. He has the mildest form and has done remarkably well having only one break up until recently. Then he broke his fibula in his right leg (smaller bone in the shin) and was in a cast for 8 weeks. It didn't slow him down one bit. Then, last week, he snapped the tibia (major bone in the shin) of his left leg. This is a bigger break than before and is a weight bearing bone. Poor little guy is miserable. He can't put any weight on it at all. To top it all off, it was his birthday and they had planned a Chuckie Cheese party. They rescheduled it until he can enjoy it. I always worry when he plays with Levi and Mina that they will 'break' him. One wrong step and his leg can snap. One fall and his arm can snap. How do you let a child have a normal childhood and protect them at the same time when they are like this? I'm afraid I would have him wrapped in pillows and not let him do anything. His parents are not like that though. They take some precautions, but nothing that prevents him from being a boy. Their philosophy is that he will have some breaks, they can't prevent them all, but it's more important that he has a normal life in spite of the breaks. Pretty cool, huh?

Friday, July 06, 2007

I feel so guilty!

I would like to think that I am a nice person. That I genuinely care about others and give selflessly of myself at all times. But the truth is I harbor a secret hatred of those who are having an easy time adopting. Some of them deserve a little loathing as they crow about their perfect agencies and fantastic timelines, but others started out the same way we did. With a simple wish to bring a child into their families. As luck would have it they breezed through without many of the pitfalls most of us face. because believe me, whether it is domestic or international, Guatemala or China, there are pitfalls and delays and roadblocks aplenty!

I was reading the Guatemala forumn (which I keep vowing to never look at again because it upsets me too much) and I saw a woman announcing they are out of PGN and their baby is only 4 months old. Umm, is that right? Can that be? Why??? Why her and not me? Why that baby and not mine? Did we do something wrong? Is there a secret no one has told me? Are they more deserving than us? I feel so guilty for hating them just because they are blessed. I want to kick something. I want to slap someone. I want to be angry at the whole world.

There are times I wish I had never thought about adoption. That I had been satisfied with my three wonderful children, loving husband and beautiful life. I wish I didn't have this void inside of me that I thought needed to be filled by another child or two. Instead the void is now full of worry and stress, tears and pain, endless paperwork and sleepless nights. And yet, I cannot imagine things any differently. This is my path. My long and winding road. My steps falter but they won't stop. Each step brings me closer to my babies. Left, right, left, right....

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Is it Monday???

Weekday holidays always mess up my internal calendar. I can't remember what day of the week it is! This is really bad because I don't use a physical calendar to keep track of everyone's schedules. I just use my brain. (Scary, huh!) I also never use an alarm clock. Haven't for years. I just tell myself what time to wake up and I do. Go ahead and say it. I'm a freak.

Thank you to everyone who commented on my Ashley post. I feel so much better knowing that others have felt the same way she does. I struggle to understand her. I have since she was first born. I love her so much and want her to be happy but she always seems to be in pain emotionally. I wish I could kiss it and make it all better. My hubby thinks she uses the emotional pain she creates to help her with the guilt she feels for living with her father. Some of you mentioned the same thing. It makes sense and it fits, too. She is always so happy when she gets here, and then over time the other issues pop up. The closer it gets to going back, the worse things get. I tell her how much I love her and miss her because I don't want her to feel like I don't, but maybe that puts more pressure on her and more guilt. So I tell her how happy I am she does so well there and that it's OK but does that make her think I don't want her? The proverbial rock and a hard place, I tell you.

Levi still refuses to take a bath. I have tried many different things. We have resorted to washing him up in the kitchen sink each evening. Not perfect but at least we can get him somewhat clean. I have resorted to telling him he cannot have a bath. He is not allowed in the tub. I started that 2 days ago and his initial response was, "Hey, I am stinky!" I figure I will hold out for a few days then see if I can get him in the tub...... a little reverse psychology. If the weather ever dries up I figured I could buy a big metal washtub and put him out on the back porch to take a bath. Yeehah, we are some country bumpkins takin our Saturday night baths in the washtub. Hey, whatever works. As long as he gets clean, I am not going to sweat it!

One week from today I will be heading for Guatemala to see my little ones! I have received a lot of donations and am packing strategically to get it all down there. I may h ave to pay a little extra on the way down but it's worth it. I promise to get many, many pictures of the orphanages and kids receiving the donations. I am so excited I can hardly sleep most nights. The visits are the best thing ever and yet the hardest thing ever. Saying good-bye is awful, but that's not stopping me. I am on a mission to sqeeze my babies!!!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Ashley does not like being broken (what she calls having thyroid disease).

Ashley chose to live with her father in Dallas so he wouldn't be alone.

Ashley is 12 and already taller than I am.

Ashley has a big heart and a big temper.

Ashley is very angry at me.

Ashley was 2 years old when her father and I separated. She was 8 years old when she decided she wanted to live with him. We all went to a child psychologist before we allowed her to go live with him to insure that this was in her best interest. I was positive the psych. would say a little girl needs to be with her mom, but I was wrong. She felt that Ashley had a very strong attachment to her father and also had a need for more attention, which she would get as an only child with him. My heart broke into a million pieces but I let her go. I cried so many tears, I had nightmares, I ached so badly. But she was happy and doing well. Being a mother is all about sacrifice and I figured that if this was best for her then I would deal with it. Her Dad is a good guy. We are still friends and have done things all together with the kids whenever possible. We talk on the phone frequently and try and back each other up in our parenting. It's not easy but we do it for the girls.

Every time Ashley comes to visit us, if it's for a weekend or a summer, she acts out. She only behaves this way towards me and around me. She's an angel with her dad, at school and with her friends. But with me, she is demanding, rude, belligerent, mouthy and downright mean at times. This isn't all the time, but she has episodes of this every single time she visits. She has a lot of anger inside her all directed towards me.

She thinks that because she doesn't live with me that when she comes to visit it should be an all-out Ashley party and this would prove to her I love her. Instead, we do a few special things but mostly just behave like a normal family. To her this means I don't miss her and love her. To her this is not fair. I think that it wouldn't be fair to treat her differently just because she chose not to live here. What would Katie and Levi think if Ashley gets special attention/gifts etc when she visits, but they never get the same treatment. I treat her exactly like I do them because I love her and want everything to be fair.

I also think that Ashley invents unfair treatment at our house so that she can justify living with her dad. Her bad behavior always escalates in the few days before she goes back to him, so that by the time she goes she is escaping what she thinks is a horrible situation. In her mind we all abuse her, she is neglected, treated unfairly, mistreated and miserable.

Here are some examples of what Ash perceives as mistreatment. 1) I refused to buy her a Coach purse this weekend. Remember, she is 12 and a Coach purse costs mucho $$$. How vile of me. 2) She and Katie went for a walk at 10:30 pm one night. We were in bed, heard the door and went to investigate. We couldn't find the girls anywhere inside or outside the house (panic!). Finally, they came walking back up the road, both dressed all in dark colors. We took their phones away for a day. 3) Ashley wanted to go swimming yesterday but I said No because it was storming. Rain and lightning, etc. 4) It took me 2 weeks to find and assemble all the parts to the computer so she could get on the internet.

I have taken Ashley to counselors, doctors, etc. I have taken time off to spend special one-on-one time with her. When she visits we go get her nails done, get her hair done, do some shopping. I take her to the eye doctor, the dentist, the endocrinologist, the pediatrician. I realized a long time ago that it is never enough. For some reason she does not feel my love and she is very angry at me.

I remember when she was 44 days old and had RSV. Her father had already moved to Dallas and I was still in Phoenix with a 2 year old and a new baby trying to sell the house. Ashley was sick from the time she was born. She couldn't tolerate any formulas and had intestinal bleeding. She had to have a special prescription formula (I wasn't able to nurse because my seizure meds would have been toxic to her) Then she got RSV. She spent a week in the hospital. I never left her. I arranged for friends to keep Katie and I never left her side. They had to stick her 7 times to get an IV going (in her head!) and I held her thru it all. At night, her alarms would go off and the nurses would rush in to get her breathing again, and I was there. I slept in the chair beside her bed. The nurses gave me scrubs to wear because I had only the clothes on my back. I learned to do chest percussion and suction out the mucous and give her breathing treatments by myself. I never left her. When we were able to go home, I had to give her breathing treatments, chest percussion and suctioning every two hours around the clock. I did it and took care of Katie, all by myself. I drank gallons of coffee and lost a lot of weight, but I nursed my baby back to health. This is the baby that has a love/hate thing going on with me now.

Why is she so angry? I didn't know a broken heart could continue to break.....