Sunday, July 31, 2011

The sub-basement of hades...

 is also known as my boy's bathroom.  No one else dares to venture in there for fear of never being able to escape. I wipe it down frequently with bleach wipes and then every week I head in there in my hazmat suit and give it a good scrubbing and detoxification.

I used to wear rubber gloves, but have more recently gone to using a long handled scrubber. That way i don't have to get up close and personal with the mess. Believe me, the handle cannot be long enough!

So today I attacked the bathroom and I found:

1) #1 all over the seat, the hinges, the floor around the commode, and the side of the trash can next to the commode.

2) #2 on the TP holder, toilet seat, the flush knob, the edge of the counter top

AND, amazingly......

3) #2 on the shower wall 6 1/2 feet off the floor. (And I confirmed it was #2 with the sniff test)

OK, I ask you, how in the WORLD can someone get poo in that location without serious effort? I can only imagine some small person flinging poopy drawers at the wall. But...I have not FOUND any poopy drawers for several weeks. I don't even WANT to think how it got there.......

Saturday, July 30, 2011


  Hope is such a wonderful thing and yet when it is dashed hurts more than anything. Understandably we strive NOT to get our hopes up so we won't be hurt, but invariably we do it anyway. (Or at least I do) Maybe hope is all I can hang onto some days, so it's better than nothing. Or maybe i am just a naturally hopeful, optimistic person.

  Lately we have had some things to be hopeful about. The first is that the US government is re-doubling efforts to get the grand-fathered Guatemalan children finally processed and home to their forever families. The last big visit down there was less than successful. They determined that one huge stumbling block to being able to advocate for us waiting families was the fact that the people in the group advocating for us did not have a legal position in order to demand to see and work on our adoption files. Well, that was solved by us waiting families signing a legal document giving them the authority to intervene on our behalf. Now they are going back to Guatemala, documents in hand, and demanding progress. I am carefully hopeful. I know that Guatemalan authorities do not always follow the letter of the law (theirs or ours) and they are not always rational. (OK, I am being kind with that. They are usually downright difficult in all areas) So soon we may have a bit of info about our most loved and hoped for little girl, Peri Brynn.

  The other most amazing thing that has brought us hope has to do with Seth. I found a child psychiatrist nearby who was willing to take him on as a new patient. Our great therapist has done wonders helping us tackle a lot of behaviors, but he didn't really dig into the reasons he is like that or try and help him work through them. He might be able to better control the behaviors, but he has not worked THROUGH any of his issues in therapy with him. The psychiatrist is a woman, very knowledgeable and actually spent an entire hour talking to us and Seth. I was really afraid that she would see some of our worst issues and want to just medicate the living daylights out of him. Instead, she congratulated us for all the progress he has made and came up with a BRILLIANT plan.

  She told me about research that shows that young brains that have suffered traumatic situations are like a machine that fritzes out, and that by using anti-seizure meds that slow down the electrical impulses in specific portions of the brain, you allow the brain to continue to develop and actually HEAL itself. The temporal lobe is the home of impulse control, of which Seth has NONE. He has had success with ADHD meds but those work by sedating the frontal lobe and slowing the child down. The brain doesn't continue to develop quite as quickly and the child suffers the side-effects like slow weight gain, etc. So, instead, you use a very low dose of specific anti-seizure meds, the child gains a longer time window in which to think through his impulses and curb them, yet the brain develops normally and there are fewer side-effects.

  Seth started on half of the lowest dose for the first week, then up to the full lowest dose the second week. This child is still very active but HAPPY and has not gotten in trouble in 10 days. That is an all-time RECORD for this boy!!!! He even told me he FEELS better. He hasn't been having nightmares, which were occurring 2-3 times a week before, and he is still eating and sleeping like a champ.

UPDATED: The anti-seizure med we are trying is tegretol

Hope. Hope for Peri Brynn, hope for Seth. Hope for normal lives, full of their own hopes and dreams and happiness. Hope is a wonderful thing.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Life is Brutal

  Oh hey, there you are, the small group of loyal readers who wait for my occasional posts lately. Sorry, life keeps getting in the way. I love you, I really do, but all these small people demand my attention. Then there is that pesky full time job, plus house work and 5 acres to keep tamed. I never catch up. never ever ever. I even have dreams of dirty houses and the show Hoarders. No stress there!!!!!

  So, one HUGE change here is that I found a new psychiatrist for Seth. We spent a couple of hours there recently and have a whole new game plan. It seems that (no surprise here) that a traumatic background (as in lost families, etc) can change the brain of a child. It turns certain portions of the brain into large 'fritzing' sections when exposed to stimulus. Zzzzz...Zzzzzzzz...ZZZzzzzz. That portion of the brain that handles impulses is the temporal lobe. Often, the activity perceived in the child resembles ADHD. No impulse control, high activity level, etc etc.

  This doctor believes that by slowing down the activity in the temporal lobe, you allow the child to attain impulse control and also allow the brain to mature. He opinion is that ADHD meds work by sedating the  frontal lobes, which brings about a slower, more calm child. does not allow brain development to occur. Instead, you slow down the synapse pulses of electricity in the temporal lobe and give the child the chance to react rationally and accurately. They learn and grow normally and the trauma damaged parts of their brains HEAL. In a few years he will be NORMAL. That is what she told me.

Oh Great Succotash Limes!!!!!!!! Is that even possible? I hate to even get my hopes up. Normal??? How good is that?????

So 10 days into the meds and Seth is a different child. He has not gotten in trouble at all this week. He is calm, he sleeps much more, he is sweet and regulated and NORMAL.

I am holding my breath..........

Sunday, July 24, 2011

What NOT to do in this heat

  Most of you are also experiencing huge temps around the nation. Your high might not be the same as our highs but I still feel for you. If you are used to 80 degree temps then 95 feels awful. We are a bit more used to the heat, but still, we have our limits. Today hit 103F, not including the heat index. That hit somewhere around 110F.

  So what fun activity did we plan for the day? Why moving Kaytee out of her apartment, that's what! She can't move into her new place for 3 weeks so everything came home and got unloaded into the barn. Oh, and did I mention that her apartment is a 2nd and 3rd story unit? With outdoor stairs? In the heat????

  I did have a flash of brilliance and hired 2 men to help carry everything down and load it into our trailer. Too bad we couldn't bring them home with us to unload. That was all us. To top it all off, her room mate grabbed her sparse furnishings and fled without cleaning anything at all. Not the kitchen, not the food in the fridge, not the bathrooms, nor the floors, nor even take out the trash. I feel like dumping a bag of trash in her room and leaving it, while the rest of the house will be spotless. But I won't. Instead we started cleaning today and will go back tomorrow and spend the day finishing everything. Clean bathrooms, clean kitchen, clean fridge, clean floors, clean blinds, clean oven, clean carpets, clean everything. I think I inhaled too much bleach today because my sinuses feel like hamburger. So do Kaytee's. She was scrubbing and packing like a trooper today.

  Now we get to do it all in reverse in 2.5 weeks. Yep, yay us! Oh, you know you want to help! It's sooo much fun!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


You know how the economy is recovering (NOT) and lots  more jobs are available (NOT) and how the recession is in the past (NOT) and how all the stimulus money spent by the government helped spur lots of infra-structure development (NOT)? Well, it has impacted us in a very personal way.
The beach house that we enjoyed so much is for sale. The boat is sold, the jet ski's are sold, the golf cart is sold, and at the end of this month the house is sold. We had one last hurrah at the beach to celebrate and now we say Goodbye. 
We are sad, but still hugely blessed. It could be so much worse. We are the lucky ones who HAD a house to sell. Let's just hope that it turns around for all of us. Amen.


The latest addition to our family


Bogart (Bogie for short) is a Gemini, born on May 31st. He loves long walks, smelling toes and peeing on the rug. (He fits in perfectly!) 
He joins full-blooded big brother Buster (same breeder, same sire and dam).
He had us at hello.....

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wait, it's mid-July already????

 Good grief this summer is flying by so fast! I just realized that I hadn't ordered the kid's school supplies from the school (conveniently pre-packaged and in-expensive) and now it's too late. That means I have to go find all the stuff myself, fight the crowds and go to several different stored to try and get everything. I am kicking myself!!!
  Everyone is good here. Still no rain, worst drought in history combined with record high temperatures. Water rationing and burn bans are in effect. Every day you hear of another fire racing through the parched countryside and pray it is stopped before it takes any more lives or homes. Thousands of acres have already burned and no sign of it letting up anytime soon.
  We spend our days swimming and holing up in the AC. So far no one has gone bonkers but it is only a matter of time before the kids can't take it any more. We try and do at least one big outing a week to help with the boredom. (Big outing might actually mean visiting the chicken sandwich shop for kids craft time followed by lunch....) We have also been setting up a lot of play dates. Ours are not the only stir-crazed kids these days!

We have some fun and exciting posts to share when I have time. One big outing for a birthday and one new addition to the family (No, not another child...LOL!)

Posts coming soon......

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Do you ever wonder.....

Why we end up in the place and time we do? Why things are just so no matter how hard we try to make them into what we desire? Why the important people in our lives are there, what purpose they serve and what we contribute to the relationships? Why is one relationship so easy and another so difficult? Why we love with no borders and give with no reservations and still get hurt time after time....and yet continue to believe and hope and think good of people?

I always think the best of people until they prove me wrong. Even then, they might have to transgress quite a few times before I give up on them. It's just the way I am wired. Unfortunately this also means that when someone breaks my trust I am stunned and terribly hurt. I NEVER see it coming and I usually blame myself for the hurts.

A long time ago, during the early years of my life, I was involved in something pretty terrible. I was young enough that I knew it was wrong but not quite sure of why or what to do about it. Someone hurt two people very near and dear to my heart. My sister and my Aunt. I was locked in a laundry room, unable to do anything to help, and it left a huge burden on my soul. Ever since that night, I have fought like a tiger to never, ever be that helpless again and to never, ever let anyone hurt those I love again. I became the great defender. But, that fire within me didn't extend to protecting myself. Other, yes, but me? I was not worthy of fighting for. I deserved all the bad things that might come my way.

I suppose that is why I have fought so long and hard for Ahren and Seth and Peri Brynn. That fire burning deep in my soul has given me the energy and will to keep going against insurmountable odds even at the darkest of times. I fight when many others have reasonably given up. I fight when the odds are stacked against me. I fight for the underdog each and every time.

Why am I not a victim and instead a survivor? I don't know. Personality traits I was born with? A strong family who held strong values and showed me the higher path? All I know is that those who do not know me well can be intimidated by my force, my passion, my drive, but they don't really know me. Inside I am a terrified little girl locked in a laundry room, hoping for a savior.

Never judge others quickly. Never assume to know their motives. Never, ever think you know what is really behind another's actions. That pushy outspoken woman just might be hiding the terrified child within.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

A Series of Triggers

  This time of the summer is full of lovely triggers for my little ones. it starts off with Kaytee's birthday June 16, then Father's Day followed by Chris's birthday June 23rd. Then a week later, on July 1st is Levi's birthday and then the 4th of July. You can imagine how things have been going.
  Ahren seems to have managed to just roll right through everything without blinking an eye. He has been doing so wonderfully lately. The combination of neuro-sensory therapy, neuro-supplements and lots of martial arts PT seems to be making a huge difference. Suddenly, he is running again, and climbing and doing things for himself willingly. He is making wonderful progress. He doesn't even fall down except for about 5 times a day now.  It used to be 30 or more!
  Seth. Poor little bugger. He is still suffering. I have to remind myself how much better he is than a year ago at this time. He really is about 95% normal now. Even without ADHD meds. But....well.....he has a gift for driving me insane! That 5% dis-regulated little trauma fritz in his brain is very powerful. If it isn't bodily waste issues then it is sneaky destructive behaviors. Last night he managed to get a Guatemalan keepsake of Ahren's off a shelf 6 feet in the air. How he did that, I have no idea. Nothing else on the shelf was disturbed and the shelf itself is hung on the wall so no lower shelves he could have climbed. (Part of me thinks he may just have levitated, his head spun around and pea soup shot out of his mouth....LOL!) He took this handcrafted woven ball and placed! Of course he then lied about it. I didn't even ask him if he did it. Once we found the ball he began spinning lies faster than a worm can spin silk. At that point it didn't matter what his reasons were or what he was trying to tell me. Levi was a sweetie and washed the ball for Ahren very carefully in the sink. Seth earned the right to not watch TV and to sit on the couch next to me until I deemed it safe to let him get down. Believe me, he got to sit there bored out of his gourd for a nice long time. Then I put him to bed and he didn't make a peep.
  And then this morning I found one of my most favorite earrings in the boys bathroom broken in two pieces. Yup, you guessed it. My trauma fritz boy got back at me. So today he is on a very, very short leash. (No, not a REAL leash, that would be cruel!........but hey, that might actually work......) A proverbial short leash. He gets to stay close to me, not have any privileges and enjoy my bad mood. For once a good case of the crabbies is coming in useful! Unfortunately my sarcasm is lost on the boy. All that talent gone to waste. Sigh....
  I think this afternoon will be full of chores so one small boy with a fritzy brain can pay back the people who he has harmed. There are tons of weeds to pull, floors to sweep, dusting to be done and 4 dogs who need baths. I think hard work might just be the best thing for a fritzy brain. I'll let you know how it turns out.....