Sunday, March 30, 2014

I feel so chatty!

  I don't know why, but suddenly I feel like blogging again. Maybe because it is getting warmer and sunny every day. I am a bit like a big lizard. When it's cold I am sloooooww. The sunshine energizes me! Whatever it is, I am enjoying the energy!

  We had debated for several years whether to get the boys a trampoline. I know they would never follow the safety rules like only one jumper at a time. I also know there would be lots of shoving, bumping, flipping and bouncing off of each other. I also know that one of the top reasons for kids to be seen in the ER is injuries from a trampoline.

  But…..we need outlets for excess energy in one boy and we need physical activity to build muscle in another boy. So we bit the bullet and ordered a trampoline and enclosure net. We got the biggest we could find that had super good safety ratings. Very strong, 6 ft tall net all around, pads covering the springs, safety latches on the springs to hold them tight, and a quick latch opening. It took us a while to get it put together (too much help from little boys) but it was relatively easy to assemble. Then the jumping began!

  We have had the tramp for about a month now and it gets used every single day. After school they will jump for an hour! During the weekends they are out there off and on all day long. So far so good on injuries. We have had some sore muscles and one bumped head (not bad). The most amazing thing is that Jon is showing us what a truly gifted athlete he is. he has taught himself a cartwheel, round-off and front tuck. I am now working with him on a back tuck. In one session, he almost has it, landing close to on his feet every time. I went ahead and signed the boys all up for gymnastics starting this week. Levi is also doing great learning tumbling and Ahren, well Ahren just needs work. Hah! That sweetie is a hot mess. Gymnastics will be great for him. As he gains muscle it will help compensate for his loose ligaments and tendons. The boy is like Gumby.  That flexibility will come in handy for gymnastics.

  Not much else happening around here. Ashley and I are going on a 9 day mission trip to Costa Rica in July. That means I need to get exercising. I need to be able to do manual labor all day long in the heat. Well, heat I am used to, but the hard labor? I need to get my tushie moving. We are so excited to be able to participate in this wonderful trip set up through our church. There are 14 of us going from the church. it's going to be awesome.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hard Work and Sunshine

  If you live somewhere in the far frozen regions of the world, stop reading right now. This will only tick you off…..
  Today I planted my garden and it is late. It has rained too much to get it in before now. My garden is three 8x4 ft and one 8x8 ft raised beds. The entire thing is enclosed in 5 ft fencing to keep the deer and rabbits out. A large plastic owl with a swivel head hangs over the center to keep the birds out. You see, when you live this close to nature you have to fight for those veggies. Our 'soil'(if you can call it that) is all clay, hence the raised beds. This is the first time in three years I have planted the garden. Droughts the past two years made it impossible to grow anything besides cacti. Here is what I had to do to reclaim my garden.

Step 1) The entire thing is overgrown with weeds and dry brush, so I had the brilliant idea to burn off the dead stuff. I watered all around the outside of the fence really well to be sure it didn't spread. Then a couple of squirts of lighter fluid and I threw in a match. Oh holy flames of hellish inferno! The whole thing went up like a roman candle, sending flames 15 feet into the air. The kids ran screaming and the neighbors came running out to see if we were okay. Luckily it burned out as fast as it started. Whew! I was not looking forward to trying to explain this to the fire department.

Step 2) Natural fertilizer in the form of horse manure. Did you know that horse poop does not smell very much? It smells a lot less than the stinky composted mulch the lawn care companies use. That stuff stinks like a hog confinement, and believe me I grew up in Iowa and smelled plenty of those! I took our mule (kawasaki not 4-legged) and brought up several loads from the barn. I had enough to fertilize the 8x8 bed and one 4x8 bed. There will be more coming, that I know. (Never ending supply) I placed a layer of manure in each bed.

Step 3) Add bags of garden soil and top soil and then turn it all by hand. I can't use a tiller since they are raised beds, so I had to do the work myself. Ooooh, my back hurts! I got it all turned and mixed well. Nice and loose and ready for my plants.

Step 4) Arrange plants and seeds and get them in the soil. Add slow-release fertilizer on top so that it dissolves a little each time I water. Place cages around the tomato plants. Keep plant info stakes beside each plant.

Step 5) Water well. Deep and slow, soaking all the ground underneath. The trick to getting plants to send their roots deep is to water deep but less often. That is important in such hot climates.

Step 6) Stand back and look at my beautiful plants, then realize I am only halfway done. Rub my sore back and head in for a shower. Notice I am also sunburned.

  In addition to the gardening, I also gave Rio, my horse, a bath and scrubbed a lot of the loose hair off of him. He gets really shaggy over the winter, even though it never gets that cold here. He is a Morgan, much like the Mustang, and they are rough and tough outdoor animals. This time of year he looks like a shaggy, patchy mess. As I scrubbed him, handfuls of hair came out. He has to feel so much better. Then, since I was already wet and soapy, I washed my van.

  Of course, this means I did NO laundry, no housework, no indoor chores today. My bad. I would much rather be outside than inside. I was a dirty, sweaty, sunburned, hairy mess at the end of it all, but I am a happy camper.

Aww, life is good.

Friday, March 28, 2014

One step forward, two steps back….going in reverse

  Today resulted in another trip to the Principal's office for my young RADlet. I am not sure if I remember everything he did, but it went something like;

              1) Screaming in class
              2) snuck into the teachers desk and stole an eraser
              3) lied about everything multiple times
              4) pushed another child in the restroom
              5) more lies

I think there was something else but by this point I was on overload. The new Vice Principal is such a sweet lady, definitely no match for my evil genius son. She went on and on about discussing the Golden Rule and how lying just makes a bigger mess of things. He sat there looking very attentive and gave her back all of the correct answers. She thinks he is really 'getting it'. Right. Like we have never had these discussions in the past 4 years. Geez! I know she is trying, but he is not your typical 8 year old. Now he thinks he really put one over on her. Plus, to him, getting to hang out in her office and not do his school work was a reward for him. He would much rather hang out and talk to an adult in a nice way than sit in his chair, keep his hands to himself and get his work done. Too bad the Principal wasn't there today or the last time. He is a big, deep-voiced no-nonsense man and Jon would have had a totally different experience in his office.
  Now the VP wants to have Jon spend a few sessions with the school counselor. Sigh. Like we have never taken him for therapies or counseling. Maybe we should have just saved the many thousands of dollars of our money and the school counselor could have just talked to him. I thought these things but I was super nice on the phone. I thanked her for everything she was doing and offering. It may help and we do need all the help we can get. I just laugh inside about how little they understand my son. I have a vision of him dancing mental circles around them and eventually running the school.

  I have no idea what to do for consequences for him. I am out of ideas. If you have any thoughts, no matter how far outside the box, let me know. I am completely stumped.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Jon Update

  The good news is that behavior wise he is calming down. He had two really good days in a row. Both days he handled himself well at school, and after school was loaded with tons of high energy activities. He is still struggling at bedtime so I think it might be time to pullout the herbal sleepy remedies that help to calm him. It's either that or a blow to the head. Hahaha!

  I forget how far that little booger has come. I was reminded the other day how tiny he was when we got him. At the age of 4 years and 3 months he weighed 26-28 pounds and wore a 2t in clothes. He vomited at every meal. He had little tolerance for any foods. He was below the 5th percentile in height and weight and was labelled at 'failure to thrive' with no known reason other than psychological. We have had him on mood stabilizers, reflux meds, ADHD meds, anti-seizure meds (to slow his brain down and get him out of the PTSD pathways), and many homeopathic medicines and supplements. He is also on what I call the scrawny kid diet. Everywhere I could pack an extra calorie or bit of protein, I did. Tofu blended into sauces, soups, scrambled eggs, heavy cream instead of milk in recipes, and eating at least 5 times per day.
  Today he is off of all meds! Hooray! And….drum roll please……he just weighed in at 60.4 pounds!!! He is now wearing a size 8 in clothes and right in the middle of the growth charts. I tend to cook most of our meals from scratch to avoid additives that might make him more hyper. I don't know if it really helps, but I do know the one time he had a bunch of red drink mix he was so crazy for two days I thought we would have to tie a rope to him to keep him from whizzing into space. Man is this parenting thing trial and error!

  The only other thing that we have been trying to correct is that his lower jaw is significantly under-developed. I don't know if I  have ever mentioned this. We saw a very cutting-edge orthodontist about 18 months ago and have been trying a non-surgical method to get his jaw to grow more rapidly. It involves wearing an appliance at night that puts stress on the lower jaw, thrusting it forward. The stress on the jaw accelerated the bone growth so that the lower jaw will grow faster than the rest of his head and eventually catch up. It is a years-long process but it sure beats the alternative. )Side note, the typical 'expander' that orthodontists use is not going to work on him, or so we were told by 2 different orthodontists) Well, if I haven't mentioned it in the past, this is one hard-headed, stubborn and manipulative little guy. So he willingly or with minor fussing places it into his mouth at bedtime. Within minutes it is out. I put it back (he has to be awake to cooperate for this) and out its comes. I put it back, check on him and he appears asleep with it in. Then I check later and its on the floor. Over 18 months we have made only very slight, if any, progress. Do you know what that means? Invasive intervention and soon. His first set of permanent molars are trying to come through but they are partially wedged under the jaw bone. They hurt, they affect how his mouth closes and he chews and they are a sight of possible infection.
  You might think I am crazy, but I showed him the after-surgery pictures of children who have had the surgery and they were NOT pretty. I wanted to shock him and give him motivation to wear his appliance. It was only minimally successful. He has worn it a couple of hours this week, total. He needs to be in it 8 hours a day to put enough pressure on the bone. I am at my wits end. I hate the thought of putting him through this ordeal. It involves 3 surgeries and weeks of painful screw turning daily. Who would want to put their child through that? Not me! There is a little voice in my brain, though, that says this might just have to be a very painful lesson in how Mom and Dad are really doing the best thing for you and you are hurting yourself by fighting us on everything. Those natural consequences can be truly horrific. The Reality Fairy is not only going to slap him upside the head, she is going to go ten rounds in the ring with him and leave him a bloody pulp. Thats a tough lesson!

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Difference BetweenThem

  Jon has always been very dominant over Ahren. Ahren is a sweet, lovable teddy bear without a mean bone in his body. Jon pinches him, trips him, pushes him down, says mean things, etc etc. Time and time we have tried to tell Ahren to not put up with it, but invariably it ends up with Ahren crying and Jon lying.  If Ahren would just haul off and give Jon some of his own medicine then maybe he would stop being such a booger to him.
  The last few weeks have been especially bad, you know, the whole 'RAD no like change' issue. Ahren has purple bruises on both arms where Jon has been pinching him. That must hurt! Then Jon also earned the trip to the Principal's office for tackling Ahren in the restroom and throwing him down.
  Yesterday we had a couple of boys over and everybody was out on the trampoline jumping. Next thing I know one of the other kids is at the door telling me both Ahren and Jon are crying. I figured they banged heads or something. Boy was I surprised.
  Ahren (yes AHREN!) was pinching Jon. He pinched him so hard he left purple marks on his arm and Jon was crying because it hurt. Then, when Ahren saw that he had hurt Jon, he starters crying because he felt so bad! Jon cried for about 1 minute, Ahren wailed off and on for 30 minutes.
  Oh my sweet baby, he has such a sensitive heart. I couldn't get mad at him. He finally got Jon back, just a little, for all the times he has been hurt. As for Jon, I had NO sympathy and I told him that. He was standing there trying to squeeze out a tear and I looked at him and wondered aloud where Ahren might have learned to pinch like that? Jon couldn't stop his smile, although he tried. He smiled and said, "From me". So how does that feel? Did you like it? Do you want more? Because if you keep treating Ahren like that, we are going to make sure you get it right back so you know what it feels like.

  Ying and Yang. One is hurt to easily and the other feels no pain, emotionally or otherwise. Maybe if I smash them together really hard they will rub off on each other…….

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Very Funny Story

  A little background is needed here. My dear friend and Levi's best friend have been struggling with the serious health issues of the grandmother. These issues are not treatable and there is just time left. Right now they have home health nurses coming in to care for Grandma and it is very hard to deal with for all of them. The loss of independence, dealing with pride and ego, and trying to have the best services available for their needs. Its all hard.
  So yesterday Levi's friend was with us and we began to talk about this. How hard it is to let someone else do the things you are used to doing yourself. Things like taking a bath, now you need a stranger to help with that.
  The boys understood the struggle with that. Then Levi spoke up. He told me he would never let someone bathe him……

Unless it was a girl. Then it was okay.

I have been laughing ever since. He is so much like his father. Enough said.

Oh My Goodness!

What a sweet face, such a handsome boy.
If only he would his powers for good, not evil. LOL!

I left off yesterday saying he was being super sweet and regulated. That lasted until bedtime when he did his best Exorcist impression, head spinning around and screaming ugliness. Only a slight exaggeration. He reverted to some language I have not heard in several years. The ugliest things he knows to say. I hate you, I hate everyone, I hate this family, I don't want to be here. Etc. Maybe I hit more of a nerve with yesterdays Mini-Mommy punishment than I thought. For his consequence to this behavior, he was rewarded with sitting next to me on the couch while I watched cooking shows. He had to sit up and stay still. He couldn't roll around, get down or talk. I wore headphones to listen to the shows so he didn't even get to 'enjoy' my shows and if he tried to talk to me I ignored him because I couldn't 'hear' him. (I heard him just fine, but answering him rewards him for talking and keeps the behavior going) Today I am just winging it. I have no plan. I cannot manage another day where he is all  up in my business every second.
  Here is another recent bizarre RAD response to a situation. One Saturday Levi had a friend over who was going to spend the night. That evening the friend lost a tooth, then Levi lost a tooth and then the friend lost another tooth. Triple Tooth Fairy night! The two toothless wonders got some attention and that didn't sit well with RADlet who will do ANYTHING to be the center of everyone's attention.
  The next morning I was getting kids dressed for church when I noticed something bright red in his ear. I took a look, could tell it was not a body part and went to get the ear scope. I looked in and his entire ear canal was jammed with something shiny and red. It looked to be shoved in all the way to the ear drum and wedged in very tightly. I tried flushing his ear with warm water and a syringe. Nothing. I tried to wiggle his ear around hoping to dislodge it. Nope. We asked him many times what was in his ear but he went into liar mode and stuck to the story that he didn't know and he didn't do it.
  We went ahead and went to church and then afterwards I took him to our doctors which has Sunday hours. Several people took turns taking a look and the final consensus was that it was too dangerous to attempt to remove it in the office. It was so jammed against the eardrum that the risk of rupturing it during removal was very high. Lovely. At this point I briefly considered leaving it in there until it festered and the pus pushed it out…….but I am either a better person than that or I didn't want to wait that long. Not sure which.
  So we loaded him up and went to the local stand-alone ER. They were not sure they could get it out, but they decided they would give it one try and then he would have to go an ENT the next day and possibly have it extracted under anesthesia. They got him prepped, at which point I finally got him to admit what was in his ear. Crayon! Well that changed everything, because now there was no way to grab it with tweezers since it was wax and a little soft from being in his ear. Again, lovely. (Not what I actually thought but I can't print that here)
  The doctor thought for a while and came up with a plan. Her idea was to use a needle-like instrument, try and spear the crayon on the end and pull it out. The problem was that he had to be absolutely completely still or the danger of piercing his eardrum was too high. As it was, she had no idea how deep the crayon piece was and how close to the eardrum she would get. One attempt. That is all she was willing to give. I can't blame her, I was shaking with fear and trying to look super calm for my boy.
  Luckily, he held really still for the most part. It hurt a bit, but what wouldn't if it had been shoved that far in and had been in there 16+ hours. When she first entered his ear, she managed to spin the wax around and that left a small space on one side between it and the canal. She then very carefully worked the needle into the opening and flicked the edge towards her. She was then able to spear the edge and drag the piece out. There were some remnants left behind so they flushed it with sterile saline and told me to keep an eye on it. It was irritated and red, a little raw and open to infection. We rinsed with dilute hydrogen peroxide for a few days and all was well.
  His little escapade cost me $250 and 4 hours in doctors offices on a Sunday. Him? He was all grins. He got a ton of attention, cookies and juice provided by the ER, people kept telling him how great he was doing, and it was all about him. Me? I decided that the next time he pulls that particular stunt, I am going to pound his head on the ground until the object pops out. Much cheaper and more rewarding for me. (Just kidding……mostly)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Backlash.....dun, dun, dun (sound of suspense)

  As many of you know, either thru experience or by reading what we deal with, you know that RADlets (a term of endearment for our RAD affected kids) do NOT like change. Good or bad, expected or unexpected, it throws them for a loop. For our little RADlet, he usually handles the actual time of change moderately well. Instead, he is okay for a while, lulling us into a false sense of security and then WHAMMO we get blind-sided. Why do we always think this time will be different? Well, because he is doing so incredibly well most of the time and we are full of hope for him. One of these days we will be blind-sided when he does NOT react to change.
  So the week before last was spring break. We had some minor issues, mostly because for most of the break we were cooped up in the house by bad weather. Lots of physical activity is the key to his regulation. Excess energy equals bad behavior, plain and simple. It was fairly minor and well within the 'normal' kid behavior scenario. Then the first week back at school he was awesome. Right back into the groove, happy, regulated and successful.
  Then this week came. It was a bit like March coming in like a Lion. WHAMMO! In a nutshell, this week included lies, bad words, calling other kids names, pinching, pushing, hitting, more lies, two trips to the principals office and one really ticked off Mama. There were other things but my brain can only hold so much bad data before it overloads. (I wonder if his brain is like that???) Not the worst he has been but very different than his usual current behavior.
  My biggest problem is how to give him a consequence/punishment that will actually make an impact on him. If you haven't noticed, he is an incredibly intelligent, strong-willed, defiant kid. If i take something away from him he doesn't care. If I ground him, hey, he is still having fun. If I send him to bed early, he lays there without complaint and is perfectly happy. A consequence needs to be unpleasant so that making the right choice is more desirable. Yeah, I have no idea what that consequence would be for him.
  Today I came up with an idea. It was a combination of 'time in' (where you keep the kid with you instead of putting them in time out) and giving him many chores. I decided that I was going to make him my mini-me today. He had to do all the chores I do and keep up with me all day. Oh, baby, this is going to work. I came pretty close to patting myself on the back for my brilliance!
  Oh how misguided I was.... Instead of punishing him, he LOVED spending all day with me. Instead of making an impact on him, I spent the day listening to non-stop non-sense chatter, having him invade my space in 407 different ways, and tripping over him as I did my normal Saturday chores. I got nothing done and have the worst headache. I ended up rewarding him and punishing myself. Stupid, stupid stupid......not really.
  It didn't work the way I anticipated, but the extra attention helped him regulate himself and get back on track. He is being the sweetest, most helpful child tonight. It is incredible how awesome he is now. I may have totally, accidentally come up with something. Totally accidental. We will see......

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ahren is too funny

  I am not sure if I shared this story when it happened. It was so darn cute and I don't want to forget it. It is one of those stories that I will be telling to his children someday.

  Last year, just a couple of weeks into the school year, Ahren came home from school and announced to me that, "today I was nerdy". I immediately thought that someone must have called him that and he was trying to figure out what it meant. I launched into a discussion of what nerdy meant and that it is a compliment on your intelligence. He just looked at me with his big beautiful dark eyes. I finished my speech, patting myself on the back for turning this into a positive.
  He then told me that he had to get a note from the office for being nerdy. What? Now I am confused. They sent him to the office because someone called him nerdy? I asked him about it but he couldn't explain. When I asked him WHO called him nerdy, he said his teacher. Who sent him to the office? His teacher. Why did she call him nerdy? He had no idea.
  By now I am confused, slightly angry that an educator would call my son a name and then punish him, and really wondering what the heck happened. Then I opened his folder and inside was a note explaining that he had been TARDY that morning. (Tardy not!)
  Now, I had dropped the kids at school in plenty of time to hang out in the gym until the bell rang and they headed to class. There was no reason he would be tardy. I began questioning him. Did he do anything else on the way to class? Did he go anywhere, stop off, walk slowly, head to the restroom, anything. He couldn't remember why he was tardy.
  Then I hit on something. Who did he walk with? Oh, Nicholas, our neighbor and friend. Was Nicholas tardy? No. If Nicholas wasn't late why was Ahren? Well, suddenly it clicked in his head and here is what he told me.
  He walked to class with Nicholas and followed him into the classroom. Good, except Nicholas is in a different first grade class. Ahren hung out with Nicholas until they began circle time, at which time the teacher realized she had an unknown child in her class. She sent him to his classroom, at which time he was tardy.
  I cracked up thinking about what the teacher must have looked like when she had an extra kid in circle time. There he was, just sitting in the circle and behaving himself, all happy and ready to learn. That is the one and only time any of my kids have been tardy. Unfortunately, with us as parents, this will NOT be the only time they are nerdy!!!!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Frog and Toad

We did venture out this week for one big, special outing. And I seriously mean BIG! Eight Mamas, two grandparents and 26 kiddos from 5-12 years old. 
We drove down to the very trendy Montrose area in Houston (quite the trek for us) and had lunch at a Greek restaurant. You should have seen the faces on the people there as we walked into the restaurant. I saw one man make the sign of the cross and whisper 'God Bless You'! We took over the patio seating which was perfect for our louder-than-normal lunch bunch. The biggest hit of lunch was the bird who stole french fries off the table.

Then we all travelled to the Mainstreet Theatre to watch a matinee of Frog and Toad, the play. It was Sooo Goood! We laughed, we clapped, we sat on the edge of our seats. We are still singing the songs from the show.

The eight very brave Mamas. 
   Most of the kiddos. Some had already hit the road to try and escape before rush hour hit. What a beautiful bunch and now they have all experienced a little culture. Maybe it will rub off….

Spring Break, Bad Behavior and Treasure Hunts

It has been spring break here this week. It sounds so delightful but in reality it is a deep cesspool of poor choices and bad behavior. The lack of strict schedule and the variety of fun is just way too much for some to handle. That might be me and it might not….I admit nothing!

One way we try and deal with this enforced fun week is to stay close to home and keep as much normal as possible. We invite others to our house and that seems to work better than dragging ours out to other places. We also try and get a LOT of exercise and eat well. 

Today, the 7th day of the break, we had several boys over to spend a 'Boys Day'. Chris was out of town so it ended up me and 6 boys. That's OK, I had lots of fun plans. A huge treasure hunt all over our property, light a big fire and cook our lunch over it, ride bikes and scooters, jump on the trampoline, and work in the garden.

And then it rained. All day long. Crap.

We still managed the treasure hunt, but had to go ahead and do it before the last boy made it to our house. Here are pictures of the event. It lasted 30 minutes and the boys were so tired and panting by the end of it they couldn't even walk fast anymore. Win!!!

Each clue was a rhyming riddle. They had to solve the riddle, then find the next clue. 
And they had to work as a team and follow the rules.

The clues took them over all 3.5 acres of our property several times. I planned it that way….

Most of my pictures are of their backsides running away from me. They are fast little guys!

We timed this between rain showers so it wasn't too bad. I made everyone put on rain boots/old shoes.

Stopping to read a clue and figure it out. Some of the clues were really hard on purpose. If they got stuck I was nearby to provide a hint. No use getting them frustrated.

 And RUN!

And RUN some more!

The final clue led them to a buried treasure. They had to find it, dig it up and then share the treasure.

Happy, sweaty boys!

Here they are showing off their treasure. They each received $2 in cash. I think they were expecting gold dubloons. Sorry!!!

Saturday, March 08, 2014

The Lying Game

  I have to remind myself sometimes how far Jon has come from when he first joined our family. He has made tremendous progress and is doing very well for the most part. There is one area we still struggle with though and that is lying.
  I know that kids lie. It's normal. They  lie when they are in trouble and they lie to try and get something they want. Jon's lying goes far beyond the normal. He lies about everything. I do not exaggerate and those with RAD kids know what I mean. Here are some examples from just the last two days.
  Jon asks if he can have a snack and I say yes. He goes to the fridge and gets some cheese. The other two boys are with me in another room. Ten minutes later when I walk into the kitchen I find a piece of cheese on the counter. I ask Jon if he left the cheese out and he says it wasn't him. I really just wanted him to put it back in the fridge or eat it, whatever. My first mistake was I asked him if he did it. His knee-jerk reaction is to deny whatever I ask him. I should have just told him to do something with the cheese he accidentally left out. Instead we ended up squared off in battle over a stupid piece of cheese and his staunch refusal to back down and admit anything.
  Ahren begins to cry and comes to me with a large red mark on his arm. He claims Jon pinched him because he was winning the game they were playing. (This is about the 1,000th time I have encountered this scenario) I ask Jon to. Come to me so I can talk to him. He refuses to come to me, starts screaming he didn't do it, Ahren did it first, it wasn't him, it was an accident, etc etc. I send him to sit on his bed to think about things and cool down and I hear banging, wall kicking and nasty talk. After he cools down we talk and I explain that because he lied the consequences are much worse for him.
  Right now he is sitting on his bed because he tore a hole in Ahren's stuffed Mario toy and then lied about it. I can watch him do something and he still denies it and will die sticking to his story. Well he got more than he bargained for today because Daddy is home and heard our exchange. He tripled the consequences and really came down hard on Jon's behavior. We have to keep a united front for this kid at all times.
  We are now commencing to institute what we call 'commando parenting' on this behavior. It's when we focus on one undesirable behavior and clamp down on it full force. Consequences are increased, no instance of this behavior goes unnoticed and without consequence no matter how small, and we essentially make his life miserable whenever he does the wrong thing. We do this with a couple of methods. One, we remove things he enjoys. This is not particularly effective with our strong-willed boy. He just sneers and says he didn't want his bike, computer, play date, or whatever. Our second method is to assign him extra chores, the smellier and more undesirable the better. Clean out the cat box, pick up dog poop, shovel horse stalls, clean out my van (ooh that's a bad one lol!) and such. Today is going to be a long day of  chores. I have even volunteered his services to the neighbor lady to pick up sticks in her very large 2 acre yard.
  I HATE having to be a mean, tough mom. I hate to be on his case all the time. I really would prefer to be having fun and playing with him. Instead I know that if we don't get a handle on this now, he will be in danger later in life. If he continues like this I can only see a life of misery in his future, so I will do whatever I have to do to try and set him up for a successful life. Arghh, Mom never told me it would be like this!!!!

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

National Honor Society at age 10

Levi was nominated and selected to be in the National Elementary Honor Society. Only 13 kids from his school were awarded this honor this year. They have too have a super high grade average, be involved in community services and have references from teachers. 

 Here they are reciting the honor society pledge.

 Receiving his pin and membership card.

Signing the membership book.

All smiles.

The new inductees.

 Proud parents.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Catching Up and Lots of Pictures

I am not going to apologize for being absent for so long. Life. It happens. I will show you proof.

Ready for church and looking might handsome. I asked him to pose for a picture and this is what I got. 
I am not sure why I even try. 

The little boys ready for church. They actually smiled for me. That was unexpected!

 Our kitty Beatrice. Anything that I open she jumps into while I am not looking. She is lucky I haven't shut her in a drawer and left her……yet.

One way I save on our grocery bill is that I hit the 'Manager's Special' meat cooler before buying any meat. I find some great deals. Of course these are all just about to hit their sell-by date so I either immediately freeze them or cook them. It also means I have to adjust my menus for the week accordingly, but I don't mind. These turkey sages got browned and served with pasta and marinara sauce. Healthy, less expensive and yummy.

Here she goes again. Maybe she thinks this is a kitty wash?

Bogey (Bogart) with his stogey. It always looks like he is an old man with a fat cigar. 

Ahren turned 8 years old in January. A dear friend made his cake for us. Since he has food allergies this was no simple task. This is wheat free, soy free, gluten free, etc etc. His favorite game is Minecraft so this is a Creeper from the game. Inside his chest is more dynamite. There is also a layer of raspberry filling.

We had a few kids over, sang happy birthday, opened presents and ate cake. And ate cake and ate cake and ate cake. It was SOOOOO yummy!

Here is what Ahren thought of the cake. If you live near me and need a special cake, either in design or for allergy purposes, contact me. I can hook a sista up!