Sunday, March 28, 2010


A very dear friend, Dawn, who happens to be the BEST, got her hands on a bunch of pictures from the orphanage where we think PBJ was sent. She asked if i wanted to see them, to see if I might spot her.

Oh my aching heart YES! Just to know a little bit about how she is doing, where she is, if she is even alive! Yes it hurts, and it always will, but oh yes, yes yes.

And sure enough, in one photo, partially hidden by a house mother, sitting on a window ledge, there she is. Hair in pigtails, sneakers dangling down, eyes looking at the camera. She looks so good.

For those of you who do not know the story of our sweet baby girl, I will create some links later to her story. Right now I need to cry and look at her sweet face for a while.

Oh Dawn, thank you so much!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Motherhood necessitates invention

After two weeks of chaos, suffering and anguish, I was faced today with parenting the three boys all by myself. I was OK with it. I hoped we could have a lovely, home-bound day of bonding, peace and quiet. (OK, delusional comes to mind, but a gal can hope can't she?) So after running a bunch of errands this morning amid much whining, complaining, picking on each other, and general poor behavior, I decided to try something different. We planned a campout. The original plan was to put up the big tent in the yard, but since i could not FIND the tent nor was sure I could actually assemble the tent, we went with plan B. Tent in the living room.

We palyed a game where they had to go find all the things we needed, set to a song. OK, a very BAD song, but I san it anyway! They had a blast.
Then we created a fire pit on the patio. I sent the boys into the woods to find firewood. They loved that! I added charcoal so the fire would last.
Next i sent them into the backyard with the instructions to get as muddy as possible. I had to tell them three times before they believed me! When they were done we washed off in buckets full of warm soapy water in the yard then came in and changed into jammies (their idea!) It's Team Monkey, so named by Levi.
We lit the fire and then cooked hotdogs over the open fire. They had lots of help by Mommy and no hotdogs ended up harmed in the making of dinner. Eating dinner was another story! These were some hungry boys!!!
We finished off dinner with toasted marshmallows. Yum! What a great meal...
Now they are having a pillow fight and giggling like crazy. It's only a matter of time before someone ends up crying. Oh well, it was a good day. The boys are planning on sleeping in the tent for the night and I will let them. They want me to join them, but my old creaky body is not so good sleeping on the floor. I will lay with them for a while, then sneak off to bed with a glass of wine and watch something I have on our DVR. Something NOT kid-friendly. Life is good!!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Another Update

Things are a wee bit better. We spent the day at Texas Childrens Hospital, which happens to be the #1 pediatric kidney location in the United States. Ahren got a lot of tests, had his info reviewed by several levels of doctors and made an appointment to be seen by the renal team. The good news is his kidneys are getting better, not worse. He is stable. Yeah!!! His blood glucose was still low even though he had eaten breakfast this morning and had drank some juice not 30 minutes before the blood draw. It was still low. Points to something metabolic going on and his kidneys are compensating. Oh, we also need to see an endocrinologist for the underlying metabolic issue. If there is one. Who knows?

So now we are home, Ahren is oblivious to how worried his poor parents are, and we are all set to keep a close eye on him, his urine and his blood sugar levels. Huge sigh of relief!!!

Update on Ahren

Our doc is working really hard to get this figured out, but he admits this is beyond him. So yesterday he called and consulted with a pediatric neurologist, a pediatric diagnostician and one other specialist. We did ultrasounds of Ahren's entire abdomen, re-ran the urine analysis and checked his blood glucose (which was normal this time, yeah!) We have ruled out strep or other infection, diabetes, tumors, and congenital malformations. On the list are still Renal Tubule Acidosis, Adrenal disorders, Glomerular nephritis, and others.

I talked to the renal department at Texas Childrens and am faxing them all the test results this morning, and then our doc is calling them. We are about a hair away from hospitalization due to the level of metabolic acidosis but right now his kidneys are compensating for it. That's why they are spilling everything. But why is he so acidic? That is the question.

Thanks for all the prayers and ideas. I really appreciate it, more than you can know. I feel like I am always posting some drama around here like some sort of attention junky. Really, I love boredom, I love a good rut, I would love to be searching for something to blog about because there is nothing going on!!!! Again, thank you my friends!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Worried Sick

I thought once we survived Spring break that everything would fall back into place and everything would be hunky-dory again. Instead, something worse is threatening to destroy us. Ahren is sick. With what? I wish I knew. Here is the background.

A few weeks ago I noticed that Ahren was drinking a lot. And with drinking a lot comes peeing a lot. At first i didn't think anything of it. Then we began struggling to contain his night-time pee. He sleeps hard, ten to twelve hours a night. He has never been consistently dry at night, so he has always slept in a pullup. Well, a pullup was nothing compared to the tide of pee. We stopped all liquids at dinner time, had him pee before bed, etc. We had to resort to a size 6 diaper with a super-maxi night-time feminine pad inside it, and a pullup over it. Only then did the sheets stay dry. That is a LOT of pee. As in abnormal amounts of pee!

So I called the doctor and they decided to do some blood work. (Remember the whole sausage stealing incident? That was the day they did his bloodwork) I got a call on Wednesday that the doctor needed to talk to me. I hadn't heard anything and I had assumed all was normal and not thought a bit about it. Now I was worried. Before the doc called me I went to their office and got a copy of the results. Not good. His kidneys are all out of whack, his glucose way too low, and a protein that should have been made by his muscles was really low. His urine also showed protein and ketones, signs his kidneys were damaged and his muscles starving.

Chris and I took him back yesterday. His urine was worse. He is spilling a large amount of protein (30 mg/dl, normal is zero, above 10 is serious) and ketones. It looked milky and smelled awful. We have 4 days of testing scheduled. He had ultrasounds of all the organs in his abdomen this morning. We will be doing lots more blood work and a 24-hour urine, rushing all the results back. Then we will be loading up all the results and heading to Texas Childrens for a consult with the nephrology department, the neurology department and possibly the endocrinology department.

Today he is lethargic. Spent 2 hours lying on the couch with a blanket before his ultrasound appointment. Had to carry him through the parking lot and then he just laid in the hospital bed while they did the extensive ultrasound tests. Now it's lunchtime and he is lying on a blanket on the floor. This is NOT like him. He is an active 4 year old boy! I have a call into the doctor.

Anyone out there have knowledge about kidneys and kidney failure in kids?????

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Break

Spring break just about killed me. Seriously. I feel like a wet puddle on the ground. It was through sheer will that I kept everyone held together for the week. Minor meltdowns aside, they all did pretty well, but it took an enormous amount of attention and energy. Big kids and little kids all had their moments. Heck, us adults had OUR moments! There were trips to the rodeo, concerts, bowling, friends who spent the night, shopping, dining and general frivolity. Maybe in there somewhere we made a few memories of the lovely kind.

Now I need a break from the break.....

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Triggers and such

A couple of weeks ago I accidentally triggered Ahren. For those of you who don't know about triggers, they are something that causes a child to become disregulated. Often times they don't even know why or can't express why they begin to fall apart. It is something deep down in their subconscious that causes them to become extremely anxious, angry or out of control. They don't understand why they feel so awful and it makes it that much harder to deal with. They are scared but don't know why. It's a terrible feeling for them.

One of our favorite things to talk about in the car is how each child joined our family. Levi grew in my tummy, and they cut me open to pull him out, screaming and messy. Ahren came from Guatemala and Kaytee and Mommy went and brought him home on an airplane. Little S became ours when I heard about him and we went and picked him up at a store called Buckee's. We like to stress how special each way was, how each child is special and their story is unique to them.

We were talking about this and I mentioned that some day I wanted to take Ahren back to Guatemala so he could see where he came from. Poor baby misunderstood and thought I was taking him back....for good. leaving him there. He started to cry and tell me he wanted to stay in 'the yellow house' (our home). I immediately told him we would just be visiting because it is a great place to visit, we would stay in the hotel, swim in the pool (things he remembers) and then come home to our yellow house. He calmed down and I thought I had fixed it. Yeah, not so much.

That night, after he had fallen asleep, he started screaming. I went in to hold him. He wasn't really awake but he was talking and crying and screaming. He talked about the yellow house, and was crying for Mommy even though I was holding him. It took about 40 minutes to calm him down and get him back to sleep. Then every hour or so all night he would begin to thrash about, scream and fight, all while still asleep. I stayed with him all night, reassuring him, holding him and loving him. The next day I talked to him again and he seemed much happier. I made sure to reassure him all day that he was ours, we loved him and he was safe.

Poor baby. Something so innocent as the desire to share his wonderful birth country with him scared him to pieces. I really need to be more careful, but there are triggers and pitfalls everywhere. Maybe it's a good thing to work through them.

This week is also hard. Spring break. No familiar routine. Even fun things cause the anxieties to rise. It is a balancing act. I want to do fun things with them, but if we try and do too much no one ends up having a good time. Sigh. All I want is to enjoy our time as a family and that is so hard. Boring routine = good. Fun and surprises = bad. Sigh......

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Little S came to us with a RAD diagnosis. Ahren, although not officially diagnosed, also seems to have many RAD symptoms, so I just assume he does and treat him accordingly. What I want to tell people, though, is that they seem to have a much lessened version of RAD than many parents face. The other families I know who have RAD kids truly have to deal with much, much more than we do. I want people to know that RAD is not always the 'worst-case-scenario' that many parents face. We are lucky. We seem to be experiencing RAD-Lite. I bow to those who are dealing with the truly rough stuff and I do not begin to compare myself to them. Instead I want to let you in on how our situation is going and what life is like around here.

First of all, if you put two 4-year old Rad-ish children in close proximity together, what you get is one big, long argument over nothing. I like fish, no you don't, yes I do, no you don't. That's my mountain, no it's not, yes it is, no it's not. You're a girl, no I'm not, yes you are, no I'm not. And on, and on, and on, and on.....24/7. They never stop. Punishment doesn't work. Diversion doesn't work. Incentives do not work. It is driven, like breathing. They cannot stop. It is enough to drive a person insane (insert screeching nails on a chalkboard).

There seems to be a competition between the two RAD-lings as to who gets the food. If one wants something the other immediately begins to beg for it or will stuff mass quantities of said food into their mouth, holding the rest in their hands. This is all calculated to prevent the other one from having any. This is at it's worst if I place the serving dish of food on the table family style. Picture a small child with 8 bites of sausage in their mouth and clutching 2-3 more sausages in their greasy hands. Ahren is way worse at this. Just as a note, he has never gone hungry. He had a wonderful foster family and he was fat, fat, fat. Very well fed. This is not a behavior from having suffered from hunger in the past. It is simply a controlling behavior. He wants it simply so someone else does not get it.

Ahren has rages, Little S whines. I haven't figured out which is worse yet. The rages used to be 3-4 times a day, and involved, hitting, kicking, spitting, biting, scratching, and lots of screaming. Now we might see 1-2 per week and they last minutes instead of hours. But the whining...oh lord the whining. Non-stop, every word out of his mouth, whining. It has gotten a lot better since we instituted the 'I cannot understand you, I don't speak whining'. If he whines, we do not answer him. Period. I will look at him and say 'What'? That is all. He was very frustrated at first but he is catching on now. He can actually re-phrase what he was saying in a normal voice most of the time. Whew! There isn't enough wine in the world to handle the whine.

Ahren pretends he cannot do anything for himself. He can't feed himself, he can't climb up on the potty, he can't pull his pants on, he can't reach his cup on the counter. Both here and at school we have instituted a 'you have to try first before anyone helps you' rule. It's working great. That and a little peer pressure! Little S on the other hand, will be totally capable of doing things and then suddenly 'forget' how to do them. One day he forgot how to drink from a cup. Amazing! I praised him for being able to drink yesterday and drinking all his milk and then told him I could SEE him growing bigger and Voila! Suddenly he knew how to drink from a cup again.

Little S is also extremely demanding of my attention any time I am busy with something else. He can be playing quite happily and I will start cooking and suddenly he needs me right now! His eye hurts, his feet hurt, he wants me to hold him, he needs a drink, he needs medicine, he needs, needs needs. I calmly talk to him, tell him what I am doing and explain that as soon as I accomplish 'X' I will tend to him. I keep talking so he knows he has my attention, but it isn't always enough. He is testing me. Making sure I am there for him. He only does this to me. Not his Dad and not Nanny. That's OK, he just needs me more. I can deal with that. (Someday he will be out on his own and not need me at all and I will look back on these days and be sad!)

There is a lot more. Silly, crazy, stupid little stuff. In and of itself, each thing is nothing, but the big picture tells it all. Still, we are so lucky. I guess what I am saying to all of you is don't be afraid of RAD. Don't be afraid to adopt an older child. Don't be afraid to love a child with some issues. The demands are great but the rewards are much greater. Each hug, each special moment, each hard-won improvement is so worth it. These are not throw-aways. These are children, little angels made by God. They just come with a few more flaws.

Man I love these boys!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

New design for the ol blog

Do you like the new look? I wish I could say I did it myself but heck no. The amazing, wonderful Nikki hooked a sister up. You can click on her button there on the right, Blogs for a Cause. She is inexpensive and very talented, and a pretty wonderful person too, if I do say so myself!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Cheerleading Banquet

Last night was the Cheerleading Banquet. This year is flying by so fast! Kaytee won Best Attitude. That's my girl!!!
Here is Kaytee with her date.
Kaytee with her best buddy Lauren. These girls are amazing. Beautiful, funny and so sweet. And those legs.....ugh. They should be illegal.
Kaytee and me. She is already quite a bit taller than me but the 4 inch heels just added insult to injury.
The seniors each got to make a speech. It was very emotional as they would thank their parents, coaches and friends for the journey they all followed together. Kaytee never cries, but she started sobbing when she got to her thanks for me. Of course that was all it took and I was sobbing too. In fact, there were not a lot of dry eyes in the house. Several other parents came up to her afterwards and told her how great her speech was.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

An open letter to Mickey-D's fast food

Dear Mickey-D's,

This morning my son had to have a bunch of fasting blood work done. This is a hard thing for a barely-4 year old to handle and all he wanted as a reward for being so brave was breakfast at your establishment. We got there after the morning rush and the place was calm and quiet. We placed our order, hotcakes and sausage and then walked away with our tray. When we got to the table i realized that we didn't have silverware, butter, syrup or any sausage. Inside the container were two lonely hotcakes, nothing else.
I headed back up to the counter and explained to the girl what we were missing. She dug around for a while, dropped the syrup on the floor then picked it up and handed it to me with silverware and then just stood there. i reminded her we still needed sausage. That's when another girl stepped up and said we didn't pay for any sausage. I replied that we ordered sausage but never mind, could we get some now. She replied, "Well, you will have to pay for it." I respond in the affirmative, of course I will pay for it. She then reminds me again that I didn't pay for it.
I return to grab money from my purse and head back to the counter, feeling like I had just been accused of trying to steal a bleepin sausage. As I walk up to the counter the manager reaches out with a container and says, "Here M'am, no charge." Apparently he heard our exchange. I snapped though, and threw the two bucks on the counter and said, 'No one has ever accused me of stealing before and it's not about to happen now. Take the money". And I took the sausage and went and fed my son and we left.
So dearly beloved (by the small people) Mickey-D's, you can take your sausage and stuff it up Ronald's big red nose. We ordered breakfast, but we didn't get silverware, butter, syrup, sausage or respect. And in fact they over-charged for the two pancakes. In this economy you can bet that I carefully select how and where to spend my hard-earned money. That will be the last time we visit that particular restaurant.

The suspected head of the local sausage-stealin ring