Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Doh! (Sound of hand slapping forehead)

I don't know why I forget certain fundamentals of dealing with our rad-let kids but I do. Oh wait, yes I do know why I forget. It has something to do with running 90 miles and hour 24/7 trying to work, take care of kids, cook, clean, laundry, bill paying, etc etc etc. Add in the health issues of one small boy that weigh on me and Presto! I am brain dead. But still, you think after about the 100th time I realize this I would start to get it....guess not.

So I had an epiphany this morning. It is kind of a chicken versus egg thing. The more stressed I get the more annoyed I get with the attention seeking behaviors....and the more annoyed I get with the behaviors the more those behaviors ramp up. Vicious circle of annoyance. So what comes first, the behaviors or the annoyance? Yeah, chicken and egg all over again.

But, I do know how to ramp this back down. I fake it until I make it. I act non-annoyed. I smile, I hug, I kiss, I laugh at the antics and refuse to get upset. It is hard. VERY hard. How do you not get upset when someone bites you in the stomach and claims it was an accident? Or when they climb on top of the shelves and attempt to leap from that 5 foot high perch onto the bed? Or when they bang their head intentionally into the wall, and scream bloody murder claiming their brother did it to them? (And brothers are not in the same room) The hanging onto a lie even in the face of incontrovertable evidence. The whining, crying, hitting, screaming, kicking, peeing..... well, you get the picture.

So today I am smiling, hugging, kissing, laughing and dealing. Maybe I can get the kids back in a groove before we leave for the beach house Friday (that is if a hurricane doesn't ruin our plans)

And people? The next time you see me being an idiot and forgetting this basic principle, please feel free to dope slap me yourself. I will thank you!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The ups and downs

Recently I reported that the boys were in a spell of great behavior. Well just like all things that go up must come down, so does the behavior around here. I know some of the reasons they have regressed. I have been working a lot more hours since we were in the middle of moving our office to a brand new location. Our dear sweet Nanny had knee replacement surgery and has been absent from our lives. The weather has gotten beastly hot and outdoor activity is severely limited.
So how has this manifested itself? Let's see. A shelf of keepsakes was torn from a wall, leaving holes and a ticked Mama. One boy has become an ever-present buzz of attention-seeking behavior. The constant nonsense questions, the demands to see what he is doing, listen to his statements and the cry of mommy eight-million times a day. i have to admit it annoys the heck out of me.
Then there is the LOUD behavior. Especially if I am on the phone or trying to have a conversation with my husband. We have had kids escape from the house, make horrific messes, and break many things. They have also been hitting each other, having many 'accidents' where they are hurt and blame someone else, and have 'accidentally' bitten and hit me. (Seriously, how do you accidentally BITE someone hard enough to leave teeth marks?)
So life is a roller coaster. I still love it. And I still love my family, every one of them. I am tougher than the RAD. Or maybe more stubborn. Finally that trait comes in handy!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

In a Pickle!!

I think I am a throw-back to days gone by. I love to knit, sew, bake, and now preserve foods in old-fashioned ways. I had never tried making jelly/jams before, but my dear mother-in-law does these things on a regular basis and she is my idol. I just had to try. My first foray into jams was with the fresh blueberries we picked a few weeks ago. The kids loved it so much it gave me confidence to try more. yesterday I made Black cherry/ Grape jelly and it is sooo yummy! Not hard at all! I swear I am a real Pioneer Woman now!

Then there is my garden. This year is so different from last year. Last year we had a huge hot spell and drought and my garden yielded zilch. This year I am getting cucumbers in the dozens. A person can only eat so many cucumbers raw, so I resorted to pickles. Lots and lots of pickles.
Then my neighbor brought us HER cucumbers, some form a GIANT variety I had never seen before. Mine on the right, hers on the left. What the heck! One slice would be enough to cover one burger!! Then again, I couldn't let them go to waste.
Does anyone want some pickles? Dill, brad and butter or spicy? Please????

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Spring Babies

Buster is a wonderful dog. Well ,if you ignore the potty training issues. He is still pretty young to train so we are being patient. He is just the sweetest, calmest, best behaved little guy. All he wants is love and attention and he is happy. Here he is hanging out in the boys tiny Sponge Bob stuffed chair. I took these two weeks ago and now he is too big to fit in the chair!

It's also the season for fawns. We are seeing a few, but less than in years past when the weather was nicer through the year. Still, I love seeing them!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Reality Fairy

I have a dear, sweet friend named Paula whom I met during our horrific ordeal adopting Ahren. We shared the same agency (who was arrested and incarcerated while we were in process) the same facilitator who was undeniably incompetent, the same many-year ordeal, the ups and downs and the final triumph of bringing our children home. We became very close and I love her like a sister.
During our long adoption roads we shared many moments of good news. Unfortunately these were always followed by BAD news. The kind of bad news that brought you to a whole new low, especially after experiencing a high and some hope. Those moments were the ones that always hurt the worst. The low after the high was always more painful, more devastating, more soul-sucking. We dreaded the highs because we knew the lows would follow with a new intensity.
Paula dubbed these the hit of the 'Reality Fairy'. Each time we dared to hope, to believe, to think it might just happen, the Reality Fairy would sweep in and smack us upside the head and deliver a devastating blow. We would joke about the Reality Fairy, but we both believed and dreaded her presence. Oh how we hated that fairy.
So here we are, post-adoption and beyond the reach of the Reality Fairy....or are we? The last 2 weeks here have been wonderful. The boys have been lovely, no big rages or out-of-control behaviors. We are having FUN! Lots of love and hugs and kisses, all spontaneous and heart-felt. We changed a few things this summer. No Nanny, just a part-time teenaged sitter. I am working very few hours and spending the majority of my time with the boys. We do special things every day. Nothing huge just time together and it has been wonderful! We are all loving it!
But the Reality Fairy has not let go of us this easily. First the microwave door broke and could not be repaired. I ordered a new one on the internet and had it shipped to a local store. it had to be the same model to fit in the built-in space in the kitchen. We have been without a microwave for two weeks. That sucks!
Then when we returned from the beach house last weekend we found that we had no hot water. One heater sprung a leak and kicked off the other one. On and of all week we have been able to get one working. Just enough to have a warm shower now and then. Three times the repair man was supposed to be here, and three times we missed him. Five minutes and it was a miss and he wouldn't answer his phone. Finally today we got it fixed (hopefully). Cold showers are getting really old.
And then, the ultimate insult. Please don't laugh at me cuz I am devastated, embarrassed and ticked off. My van was out of gas Friday morning and in a hurry to try and get to work I grabbed a five gallon gas container out of the barn and chugged a little into my tank. I took off and got all of 200 yards down the road when the engine quit. I managed to direct the van into the ditch in front of an empty lot and called Kaytee to pick me up. I drove the spare car to work and called Chris.
What I learned is that, beside the 5 gallon gas cans he had stored 5 gallon water cans. I had actually grabbed a water can and poured it into my gas tank. Oh Hells Bells, this is not good., So now my van needs to be towed to the dealership for a full work-up and I am driving the small back-up vehicle (Thank God we have that!)
Reality Fairy, could you please not just let this little period of happiness slide? Did you really need to exact some Karmic balance and make me miserable in other ways so that I was not so happy about my kids being so great? Would you be happier if I go the kids to have some huge fits and maybe break a few things?
Reality Fairy.... I hate you so very much.......

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Awww Poop!

You will thank me later cuz there will be NO photos with this post. On Wednesday I had a pretty short lunch hour and I came home to help the teenage babysitter feed the kids. (Nanny had knee replacement surgery and is out of commission for a while)

As I was cleaning up the dishes and such I noticed a brown clod on the living room floor. Oh that darn puppy! I was sure he had had an accident and I was not happy about it. He had just been outside! I went over to clean it up, which was right next to Ahren who was playing the Wii....and I smelled more than a small poo on the floor. I sniffed Ahren and my eyes glazed over and my face turned green! Oh No!!! He had pooped his pants!!!! Do you know how much poo a 50 pound child who eats LOTS of food can produce?

I dragged him into the bathroom and got his pants off, smearing poo all down his legs. Sweet. What a mess. As I began to clean him up the darn dog came into the bathroom, snatched the poopy pants in his mouth and ran. Poo smeared and skittered everywhere, with the dog stepping in it and adding poopy paw prints as he went. Picture me chasing a wild puppy, poop flying everywhere, colorful language also flying everywhere. (OK, my idea of colorful language is the words "oh crap', 'Oh Dang', and maybe the 'S' word. (I am NOT gifted in this area) I caught the dog, cleaned him up and tossed him outside.

I got Ahren cleaned up, returned the poopy pants to the bathroom and shut and locked the door since I needed to get back to work. Later that night I spent a long time with Clorox wipes getting poo off of all the surfaces in the bathroom. The dirty underwear went in the trash. I know when I am beat.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Life is a Beach!

We spent our first weekend this year down at the beach house in Galveston. Yeah, I know, we are so lame, why haven't we gone before this. Life just kept getting in the way. Either someone was sick, or it was Prom, or graduation or the weather was awful. It was worth the wait though!

There was a lot of silliness, as usual.

We tried out the new boat. Unfortunately this is as far as we got. The battery was dead and would not take a charge. Poor Chris spent 2 hours going from store to store to find a new one.
We played with toys we hadn't seen in a long time.
We swam in the pool.
Fished off the dock.
We even caught some fish, but didn't keep them.
My Beach Boys eating. We did a LOT of eating.
All the sun and activity made for very hungry boys.
We played on the beach for hours and hours.
Everyone had a great time and the weather was absolutely perfect.
Busy busy boys, coated in SPF 5000, sand and salt.
The only downside at the beach this visit was that there had been a huge seaweed bloom and there were mounds of the stuff everywhere and in the water. It feels so gross to have that stuff tangle around your legs under water. Bleck!
We mostly had happiness and cooperation, but I won't lie to you. There were some moments. Seriously, how can such a beautiful child turn into a screaming demon at 2 am?
And the other little guy drove me crazy not following the safety rules. I swear I aged ten years when I saw him neck deep in the crashing surf struggling to stay upright just 1 minute after again telling him not to go in over his knees. That earned him the right to wear an uncomfortable life jacket at the beach. If that doesn't work I am going to tie a rope to him and anchor it on the sand. A very short rope....

Sunday, June 06, 2010

You're gonna be soooo jealous!

Yesterday we went with some friends to a local blueberry farm. An ORGANIC 28 acre blueberry farm. It's only open a few weeks each year when the blueberries are ripe and ready for picking. They have many different varieties and they direct you to certain areas to get the best berries that day. We lucked out since we have 5 small children with us and got sent to a separate area from most folks. The man pulled me aside and told me the bushes in this section were lower to the ground and very full of berries. I think there were only 2 or 3 other families in that whole section. They let you eat as many berries as you want while you pick too. Yum! But the best part? They only charge $1.50 per pound. That is no typo. $1.50 per pound!
After a quick lesson to the munchkins about which berries were ripe and which weren't, we were off and picking (and eating).
I didn't realize blueberry bushes got this big, and these are the small ones! Everyone got their own buckets, well except for baby Henry. He just picked leaves and ate them!
Levi showed himself to be a Champion picker. He didn't complain about the heat either.
We all had fun in the heat, sweating up a blueberry storm.
We took frequent breaks in the shade to try and cool off. Even early in the morning the heat is a killer.
After 1.5 hours we had collectively picked 18 pounds of berries. These berries were huge, some as big as grapes. That was 10.5 pounds for our family and 7.5 pounds for our friends. (Numbers rounded for my laziness)
Off we headed to get our berries weighed and paid for, and pick up some cold drinks.
One of us was not happy. Any guess who? He wanted to be carried. Forty five pounds of sweaty boy on top of buckets of berries? Sorry son, but No. And what happens when you tell a very hot and sweaty small stubborn boy No? He metamorphs into McScreamy!
This is how he left the fields. Screaming his head off. I walked a way behind and muttered comments like, 'Gee Mister, can't you control that kid?' as the other people passed us. Luckily Chris couldn't hear me cuz of the screaming!
So what do you do with 10.5 pounds of fresh blueberries? I took most of them, sorted and separated them into 1 cup baggies, placed those in freezer bags and popped them into the deep freeze. They will keep up to two years. That was 28 cups of berries. Then I made a blueberry/lemon coffee cake for Sunday breakfast. And today I am going to try my hand at some jam. We also have fresh berries for munching, topping yogurt, ice cream or cereal.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Language Skills and RAD

I just read Essie over at The Accidental Mommy ( and she brought up something a lot of parents don't know about RAD-ish kiddos. Heck, I wasn't even aware of the extent that my kids talking issues were really attention ploys.

I will explain what my two little guys do. One 'stutters' all the time. He will start by yelling 'Mommy'. He literally says Mommy hundreds of times a day. Impossible you think? I would have thought so too if he hadn't just said Mommy 5 times while I typed this sentence. Then if I say What, he says, I...I...I....I... and then stops. I wait a few seconds and he says Mommy again. If I say what he says, It'''s...... This will happen over and over again. Sometimes he gets a few words out and then gets stuck. It is downright painful to try and understand what he is trying to say. I think most of the time he doesn't even KNOW what he wants to say, he just wants my attention. It is annoying, grates on my nerves and makes me want to scream SHUT UP......but I don't. (Oh yeah, I feel guilt for being so annoyed, but then I also realize that he gets a win if I get annoyed. He got the reaction he wanted. So I try and shrug it off and never let him see if it does get to me)

Both boys are horrible about asking the same question over and over and over again. And asking non-sense questions. Is this my cup? Is it today? Can I blu-blah-dah goo? Oh, yeah, the baby talk. I refuse to answer baby talk. I tell them I do not speak it and will not listen to it. That usually stops it for a little while. I will also not answer to a whine. I have gone so far as to stick my fingers in my ears and sing 'Lalalalalalalalal I can't hear you' when they whine or baby talk. That usually makes them smile and stop for a while.

The other little guy has volume issues. When we are inside and he is 12 inches away from me he has his volume ALL the way up. he has a screechy high pitched voice that can cut through titanium. He literally blasts my ears and gives me a headache! Then, when we are somewhere else he whispers and mumbles. This is the worst in the car. His carseat is in the third row, there are road sounds and engine noises and he WHISPERS. Of course I can always hear the cry of Mommy, but never what comes after it. Lately I have been turning on the radio and telling them I cannot listen to them in the car while the radio is on. That has stopped most of this. This little one is also the worst at the baby talk right now. He was at full tilt when my in-laws were here. He would climb in Grandma's lap, waller all over her and talk baby talk nonsense. Poor woman, he about wore her to death! Thank goodness she is so wonderful. She handled it like a champ.

We had both boys tested by the school district for speech interventions. Guess what? They both scored high-normal. They didn't do any of these things while being tested. That tells me a ton. One: it's elective patterns and not uncontrollable and Two: it's all for me baby! Gotta save all the attention seeking behaviors for those closest to them. I feel so loved.....

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

More catching up

Our newest family member, Buster! No, hes not an english bulldog. Turns out the female dog had an hysterical pregnancy, no puppies. So we did some more research and decided a Boxer was actually a better fit. We found a breeder with lots of good reviews and went to see the last 4 puppies. This little guy climbed into Levis lap, rolled onto his back and fell asleep. The puppy picked the boy!

This puppy LOVES attention, is very calm but still playful and is doing really well at house training. BTW - Levi is not naked, just has on short shorts!
He climbs into each and every available lap for snuggles and cuddles.
He even found a big boys lap to take a snooze in.
Levi laid down on the floor and Buster immediately laid on him and fell asleep. Poor Levi was afraid to move and wake him up.
And yet another nap attack by Buster. He is adorable!
Our latest batch of tadpoles, about ready to sprout hind legs. You never know what you will find at our house!
Goodness from the garden. Hopefully we can get enough harvested before the serious heat hits and burns everything up. Its already been in the high 90s. Ugh!
Green beans, straight off the bushes and ready to blanch and freeze.
Ready for the Fourth of July. Gotta love Old Navy. Each outfit, shoes and hat included, set me back $14.50.