Thursday, August 29, 2013


  For a long time I thought that the word 'twerking' referred to the spastic RAD behavior of traumatized kids. Like, 'oh no, he has been triggered and is really twerking now!' It's the perfect word to describe the bizarre, off the wall behaviors of these kids. Picking his nose until it bleeds? Total twerk. Shredding his food? The poop and pee issues? Seriously twerking. The inability to modulate the level of his voice, sit on a chair to eat, or remember what was said to him 10 seconds ago? Annoying twerking behaviors.

  This is the first week of school. We did everything we could to prepare for the transitions, the changes, the different routine. We stayed on the same bedtime and wake up routine all summer so we didn't have to readjust it twice. We talked daily about what we needed to do each morning. We organized school supplies, new lunch boxes and school clothes. Absolutely everything we could.....and yet it is never really enough. My little man is having a rough week. He is exhausted due to the high level of anxiety he has all day long. He can't calm down at night to fall asleep, he lays there twitching and rolling and talking to himself. He is behaving in school but it is taking everything he has to hold it together. At home he is a hot mess. Shredded food, bloody nose, pinching, hitting, screaming, etc. true twerking behavior. Poopy underpants and pee on the floor have also appeared but only a tiny bit. This year is better than last, so he is still making progress but I just hate seeing him so stressed out.

  So Miley Cyrus, you don't really know what true twerking is. Yours was choreographed, staged for maximum impact. Our kids also are going for maximum impact but everything in their lives drives them to twerking and they are masters of the craft. Until you have had a 4 year old head butt you in the face and try to literally scratch your eyes out, you haven't experienced true twerking.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

We are Awesome!!!

Buster is now official! He is a credentialed service dog, trained in therapy of persons who are traumatized, in crisis, and emotionally needy. He has worked with kids with autism, trauma, and abandonment issues and adults suffering through traumatic times. We took him shopping with us the other day in his service dog uniform and he did so well. Kids ran past him, ran up to him and shouted in his face and he never moved except for his wagging tail stump. Plus, Jonathan was his handler and he did an incredibly wonderful job and was the best behaved he has ever been. Its a win-win and the perfect solution for my anxiety ridden child. 

 Ahren has been struggling with his asthma the last two weeks. He fell asleep on the floor in the middle of the day, that's how tired he has been. Sweet Buster kept him company. (Can that be comfortable?)
 Here is the next square (2 of 6) of my Lion Brand slip stitch throw. This one went twice as fast and I discovered some mistakes I made on the first square. Oh well, it's still going to be just as soft and warm....
 Ashley moved into her very first apartment at college. It is absolutely lovely. We made it a family affair  (maybe that was not such a good idea....) all of us giving her many hugs and kisses.

I am making my very first attempts at healthy lunches a la bento boxes. 

Sushi, carrot and cucumber sticks, red grapes and cookies.

 Chef salad with mozzarella, turkey, croutons
 romaine, carrots, cucumbers and ranch dressing
 Turkey sandwich, cheese stick, home made pickles, greek yogurt with fresh strawberries and spicy pretzel chunks
 Turkey sandwich, same yogurt, ranch dip with peppers, cucumbers and carrots for dipping and cookies
 Crackers with cream cheese and turkey, grapes, home made pickles, chips and cookies
 Blueberry pancakes, turkey sausage with maple syrup, fresh grapes and cucumber strips

All of these meals were approved by picky kids in my household. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Busy, Busy

An Ode to the Laundry
by Wendy

Dirty clothes, oh dirty clothes,
Piling up so high,
Why don't you wash yourself
and put yourself to dry?

Jean shorts, t-shirts, 
and smelly underwear,
March yourselves right out of here, 
I really do not care.

Strip off those clothes, go naked,
Don't create that much more laundry,
Then in this place I would not be,
The dirty laundry quandary.

For play I say, for time is short,
Soon all will be in school,
I spend my time with little boys,
Laughing like a fool.

I have been experimenting with cooking En Papillote, or 'in paper'. The idea is you throw everything into a paper parcel, shove it in the oven and Voila, healthy, tasty dinner with very little clean-up.  Last week I did salmon and it was FANTASTIC. So moist and flavorful. A drizzle of oil, some fresh sprigs of thyme and lemon slices. Cook 30 minutes at 350F. It was amazing.

Last night I tried chicken with fingerling potatoes and carrots. (I added some purple fingerling potatoes and the boys about freaked out. They swore there was something wrong with them! LOL!)

I dusted the chicken with dry ranch seasoning, tossed the veggies in a little olive oil, salt and pepper, then wrapped them up.
 You use a beaten egg to seal the edges of the parchment paper, rolling it up and over itself and then tucking the last corner under.....
 so it ends up looking like this. I baked these about an hour at 350F since the chicken was bone-in. The chicken was moist and flavorful, but the pale color was a bit off-putting. Maybe I should have first browned it in a skillet then added it to the packages. Anyone else ever try this cooking method and have some great recipes?

The boys discovered that in the game Minecraft they can build roller coasters. They worked together for three whole days building a huge coaster that travelled between entire villages, each one on a different computer and meeting  up in the same place on the game. There was a lot of teamwork and very little bickering. They would decide together what needed to be done and each tackle a part of it. I was absolutely amazed at what they created but more so in how they worked together. There have been days/weeks/months when I wondered if we would ever survive and feel truly like a family that cared about each other the way I wanted. My heart and soul are full of this unexpected joy!!!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Church Dichotomy

Almost every Sunday we load up and head off for church. One hour of connection to God, our church family and time together with our family. I love going to church. I hate going to church. Why so split on this? Well let me tell you.

I love church because it is a super friendly place without judgement, lots of lovely people, good worship and a very special woman who is our pastor. More often than not she leaves me in tears with her words. I leave church each and every time a better person, both spiritually and emotionally.

I hate church because one small boy needs my undivided attention the entire 60 minutes. He rolls around on the seat, makes rude noises, yawns loudly, puts his feet on the chair (both his seat and the back of the seat in front of him) and fidgets constantly. The worst though, is that he digs his head and face into me the whole hour and he does it HARD. Not a sweet snuggle, al;though that is what it looks like to others, but more of a bruising head butt followed by him continuing to dig his head and face into my body. I can't concentrate on the service and I end up sore and annoyed to no end.

Today we also taught Sunday school. We had 14 kids ages 7-10. Want to know which child was the worst behaved? Why yes, it was our own son. So after spending an hour being rolled around on and trying to get him to sit still, we spent another hour trying to teach a lesson while handling this obnoxious child. I ended up sitting him on the floor in the hallway for about 10 minutes just to be able to talk to the class. We had an art project where we made sheep out of paper plates and cotton balls. His sheep is angry and one-legged. Go figure.

We are now home and he is sitting on his bed calming down and hopefully thin king about his behavior. (Who am I kidding, he is in there rolling around and thinking angry one-legged sheep thoughts)

I was hoping we could have him in school without meds this fall. It is now apparent that is not a good idea. He has ZERO control over his mouth, his behavior and his impulses. It is a daunting full-time job to keep him regulated throughout each day without the meds.

I am also considering getting him a sensory-vest that he would wear under his clothes. He is horribly sensory-seeking, which is what the whole rooting around on me is all about. The vest provides gentle hug-like pressure on his torso and can help soothe a child. It's worth a try. I am at the point it is either try that or duct tape.

Summer is almost over and I am soooo tired. It takes every ounce of my energy to patrol him and try and continuing his healing and progress, especially without the meds. I don't mind him being off the meds because it is the only way for him to learn to control himself. He has to be responsible for his behavior. I won't be there every minute of his life to patrol him and medication is not a long-term solution. He does better every year but he still has quite a way to go. My biggest wish for him is that he can learn to control himself so he can be a happy, successful person his entire life. That is my biggest wish and biggest fear. We all know what happens to grownups who have no impulse control and it is not good. I want so much more for him!!!

Do any of you fear what is going to happen to your children when they grow up?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Winding Down to the Start of School

 Around these here parts, we are giving it our best last hurrah of summer.  Squeezing in every moment of fun possible, seeing all our friends and getting ready to settle back down into a routine. Next week we will get haircuts, get backpacks ready and go to Meet the Teacher night, but this week we party!

Does this happen to anyone else? I go to clean up the kitchen and find all sorts of things that do not belong there. See this pile? That is from one day. A rock, a dirty sock, a helicopter, a couple of dart guns, legos, video games and a pencil sharpener. Is the kitchen the magical center of the universe where stuff that has mysteriously disappeared then suddenly reappears there?

 Aww, such a pretty kitty. She keeps us all laughing all day long. 
She wears the bell so we can keep track of her....

..and try and keep her out of trouble. Her nickname is The Tiny Paws of Doom. 

 Playing with a tag

 Sticking her nose in my coffee cup

Attacking the blinds
 See the Paws of Doom in action

 Found the spool of string

She is everywhere!

 What happens when you give a boy toast? Yup, he wears most of it.

How do you clean him up? 

Easy Cheesy chicken enchiladas. 
Flan with caramel on the bottom for dessert. 
Double Yum!!

 Hanging out with friends. 
(It's been in the 100's this week so we play inside as much as possible unless it involves water)

Monday, August 05, 2013

Knit Knit Knit-Wit

Those who know me IRL (In Real Life) know that I love to knit. Something about keeping my hands busy without having to pay too much attention allows me to actually sit and relax. Otherwise I cannot sit still. There is a distinct possibility that I am ADHD. (Ya think? LOL!) Knitting allows me to funnel that energy overflow into something useful. Well, a little useful. I like to kbit hats and scarves and mittens but I live in southern Texas where they measure the temps below freezing by the number of hours. Not the best knitting use environment. But that doesn't stop me!

I told you about the slip-stitch throw by Lion Brand I had started. It knits up very quickly. Don't look too closely because I made a few minor mistakes. I left them in because they add character, this is a learning process and my native American heritage believes that only the Gods are perfect and we as humans should never attempt it. Plus I suck at ripping back and picking up stitches. 

Here is the first square of the throw. I have not woven in the ends or added the border yet but you get the idea. Each of the 6 squares is the same pattern with different color combinations. It is BIG. That is a cell phone next to it for comparison. This square took me two weeks from start to finish, working about an hour a day. It is going to be a fairly large throw when finished. 

 And because I cannot focus on only one thing at a time, I decided to cast on a wee baby blanket for my future grandchildren. It is a pattern of my own, which looks like a window pane, using three colors of Bernat CottonTots. It is super soft and washable. Mmmm, babies. But I can wait. Besides, I need plenty of time to knit and cross stitch and sew before the first baby makes it's appearance. Mmmmmm...............babies........

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Random Catching Up

The kitten, now named Beatrice, is growing quickly. She is the perfect match for this crazy active house. She gets along with all people and animals and keeps us entertained constantly. Here is her favorite perch, behind Levi's head, when he is playing the XBox. 

 Ahren lost another tooth, his first upper one. That makes 3 teeth gone. Other kids his age have lost a bunch, but he and Jonathan are on the slow track. Maybe they are waiting for inflation to catch up to the Tooth Fairy?
 There has been a lot going on in my kitchen lately. Lots of new recipes to try, lots of culinary adventures. And apparently a little planking.... (By the way, he informed me that planking was no longer cool. How does a 10 year old know this???)
 Beatrice trying to figure out what I am doing. Almost every picture of her is in motion. Every time she sees me with the camera she comes running to investigate, leaving me with crummy pictures.
 This is what is on my needles right now. It is the slip-stitch throw by Lion Brand. It came as a kit so I just have t follow instructions. It is knitting up very quickly and I am almost done with the first of 6 squares that stitch together to complete the throw. I'm not sure I did everything correctly, but it still looks cool.
 Here is after a little progress. The colors are a bit different. I think if I had designed it I would have stayed with all earth tones but in the end it all goes together beautifully. So what do I know? The designer definitely knew what they were doing.
 Ornery boy lounging in bed. His legs have been hurting a lot in the last couple of weeks and he has been staying in bed a lot. I think a growth spurt is the culprit. I need to measure him to tell for sure. He seems taller, though and he is eating 5 meals a day. Full meals, not just snacks. Then for a snack he will fix a huge bowl of cereal and still be hungry.
 This boy loves the animals. I am still struggling to put any weight on him. He eats a lot but he just burns it all off. He is on what I call the 'Scrawny Kid Diet'. Extra protein, real butter, cream in his hot chocolate, and a glass of Carnation Instant Breakfast every day. He just keeps getting taller! He grew almost 2 1/2 inches in 3 months early this year.
 And finally, my sweet Buster boy. That is a face only a mother could love. Best dog ever!