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New Year!

New Year’s Eve.

How do you celebrate? Do you party like a rock star? Stay home and snuggle in to watch the ball drop? Stay home and sleep while the world celebrates?

I don’t really believe in New Year’s Resolutions per se. Well not the kind like I am going to lose 423 pounds this year. Or I am going to eat cabbage every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. No not those kind. I still like to set goals for myself. Things like I am going to take better care of me this year. Or I am going to try harder to be more patient with my kids. Things like that, to me, are not so much resolutions as self-care.

In evaluating how I can better take care of me I am trying to eliminate things that drain my energy. No I am not voting any of my children off our family island – although one in particular really really drains my energy! I don’t want to be a slave to doing something that I don’t love. Unfortunately, the first thing that came to mind was blogging. Gosh, it’s kind of weird to say that. I never thought I would feel like it was a chore – I have always really loved writing and blogging was my outlet. I have been blogging now for four years. I started over here at Bringing Home Kobe in 2007 to chronicle our adoption journey. I totally thought I was ahead of the game and was the only person on the planet who would think to blog about their adoption. The 457 million (give or take) other adoption blogs I used to read daily prove, I was not and am not ahead of any game. When it was time to bring Kobe home  we suddenly, one week later, found ourselves parents to not just Kobe but two other kids. The two other kids were our niece and nephew and they were in foster care with us. We had failed several times at trying to gain custody of our nephew pretty much from his birth so we were cautious and rightfully so. I blogged privately for several months. My close friends knew about the two other additions to our family but the general blog reading public did not know. Then finally, I opened up my private blog and eventually moved over here to word press and home of Our Fab Five. Some of the random blog reading public was confused. I had many questions and confusion about our sudden family growth. It was kind of funny actually.

Not too long ago someone said to me that ‘they’ sometimes laugh at us and how we adopted three kids at once. I know my response was uncensored because I feel like I have to laugh at myself sometimes. But it kind of hurts because I wonder if we are those people who have no idea what we are doing as parents, that people just kind of point and laugh at the weird circus family. I feel like we live a one ring tiny isolated circus. There is no beating around the bush two of our kids have major needs. Major Major Major needs. Would I do it again with these two -abso-freakin’-lutely- I love my kids. Would I do it again knowing what I know now? No. It is not ok to me that a mother (and father) can give birth to child after child and then neglect them. Hurt them. Abuse them. Emotionally abandon them. It is not ok to me. There is nothing that lights a fire in me more than watching a person do this over and over and over. I am left, we are left – to pick up the broken pieces and mend them together again. Some things cannot be fixed. Nobody can fix the way a brain is hardwired from so much neglect and abandonment at birth. It is not ok to enable another to hurt children over and over and over. It is not ok! These are human lives at stake.

By nature I am an honest person, to a fault. I don’t really hide things or beat around the bush. It’s just not me. Love it or hate it, take me or leave me. Something I have learned through this journey, especially the part with blogging and being open to criticism, is not to judge others. Nobody knows the pain we endure behind closed doors. Everyone has an opinion. We have lost some of our greatest friends because of this strange parenting journey we are on. But we have also been encouraged by our true friends. The ones who stick by us and give us a pat on the back when things are going well and who will cheer us on when things are not going so well. Having true friends who will stick with you through thick and thin is really the greatest thing of all.

So for this New Year I want to be a more loving and giving person. To judge others less. To take care of myself more. To be patient and kind when I would rather be snappy and rude. I want to focus on my relationships with my kids and husband. I want to make sure I nurture my kids while they are little. I want to use my precious me time for things I love.

Maybe I will miss blogging so much I will come back. Maybe I will keep this blog or maybe I will start a new one. It could be public or private or non-existent. I have no idea.  I will leave you with this sweet little quote from my all time favorite poet and poem.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference.”

Robert FrostThe Road Not Taken

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Beautiful Moments Blogged

September 28, 2011

There is a silver lining to every dark cloud right? R.i.g.h.t.

Well I am thankful that today my daughter did not physically hurt me or throw anything directly at me. How’s that for a beautiful moment. Nothing more to say about that.

Beautiful Moments Blogged

September 19, 2011

The beautiful moment of the day. Umm. Ok I did enjoy seeing Jaylean in her super cute glasses. Other than that I enjoyed a sassy 4-year-old who suddenly talks back more than he actually does what he is told. Oy. Then there was the evening full of screaming sassy school children who wanted to argue about everything under the sun and were sent to bed early. Oy. But it was beautiful to see Jaylean in her cutie glasses. Oh and it was nice to eat Macaroni and Cheese for dinner!

 

 

Kids With Serious Allergies

What is a serious allergy? One that makes a person sneeze? One that makes a person have hives? While those are allergies and quite miserable but lets be honest those are not *serious* and by *serious* I mean life threatening.

A serious allergy is one that results in anaphylaxis. An allergy that can mean life or death for a person. I do not have serious allergies so for all purposes this post and all future posts on my blog about serious allergies will be directed to kids with allergies and/or parents who have kids with allergies. Since it is the beginning of the school year (again) I have been searching or information that is pertinent to Javien’s teacher and classroom. There is so much information it is overwhelming and very difficult to narrow it down to exactly what I need and am looking for.

Many MANY people have serious allergies ranging from bee’s to peanuts to sesame seeds or shellfish. Javien is severely allergic to ALL nuts and sunflower seeds. We also believe he has a mild allergy to wheat gluten. Again let’s review what severe serious means = if he is in any contact with these items he could go into anaphylactic shock and die. The chances of him having an anaphylactic reaction to any of those things is extremely high – it is not just a one in a million chance. If you have eaten peanut butter I would ask that you refrain from coming to our home or even speaking to Javien because the peanut residue for lack of a better description would more than likely provide a potentially fatal allergic reaction for him.

I plan to blog more about this kind of severe allergy as I find information that I find to be helpful. Recently I have been in touch with someone who is becoming an abundant resource for me. I am finding more information on allergies than I have ever. The best part is it is focused information and it applies to our situation. I am including the links to websites or Facebook groups that I found helpful below.

Allerbling – not jewelry but an excellent reminder for people around us that this is a child with a SEVERE allergy. Check it out. Also check out the “Resources” page for a fantastic guide to treats and goodies that are allergy friendly.

504 Plan for Severe Allergies and Anaphylaxis – a Facebook group created by a mom. A 504 plan is important for kids with limiting disabilities and severe allergy is a limiting disability. I am just starting the process to get a 504 in place for our son. If you do not have one or are not sure if your child has one start here!

SpokaneFASN– The Facebook page for SpokaneFASN (Food Allergy Support Network) another fantastic resource for information and support.

HomeFree – Treats that are allergy friendly. I have not tried these yet but I plan to soon. What a fantastic gift idea for that special kiddo in your life who is allergic to what seems like ALL the good stuff.

Food Allergy Awareness for Kids – Super awesome short video aimed at kids who might not understand why sharing their Snickers bar with a classmate is a very bad idea.

My thoughts on Kindergarten.

This year my daughter’s Kindergarten teachers decided to do something new. Last week there were 3 days of school. Her class was split into two groups – she is in group one. So she attended school on Wednesday and Friday. Group 2 attended school on Thursday and Friday. This week she attended school on Tuesday and the second group on Wednesday (today). Then all the kids go tomorrow and Friday and so on.

A little more background. My daughter has insane difficulties with changes. She is horrible at adjusting to a new routine and schedule no matter how awesome it is. She is thrilled to be in school. And many including the organizers of this system I am sure thought it would be a fantastic way to ease kids into it. I don’t want to bash on the teachers or administrators who decided to do this because I am positive they had nothing but the best of intentions.

With that said. This system SUCKS. She is so dang confused if she goes to school today or tomorrow or who is in her class and who is not. She can’t figure out why she started school and now has to stay home. She just wants to go to school. Sure she was tired on her first day – absolutely. She fell asleep on the bus to go to the middle school where she walks to Nate’s classroom. A 10 minute ride. She was crabby and tired when she got home. Of course she was! She was adjusting. That is normal. Today she is angry. She thinks I am keeping her home from school. She is hitting me, scratching me, slamming my cabinet doors so hard the hinges are going to break. She pinched me and kicked me in the face and then she smacked my face. Why? Because I made her stay home. Oh no sweetheart I didn’t! I nearly sent her to school anyway because what are they going to do? Call me to come get her? Maybe but I think they would have just kept her there.

Now that part aside. What about parents who work? How are they supposed to finagle he first two weeks of school? Just take the time off from work? I guess they could do that but seriously. Try to get your employer and co-workers to understand that?!

Clearly I am NOT a fan of this situation. I imagine some people are loving this. I am not. My daughter is not. I will be so thankful when tomorrow comes and she can just go to school every day. And in the spring when they do Kindergarten round up so the Kindergarteners have two stinkin’ days off from school? I am hiring a freakin’ babysitter. I am done!

Therapeutic Parenting sometimes means not yelling…

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True story.

The thing about being a therapeutic parent is that you don’t need a degree to do it. It just means being present for your child. Being attentive to their needs. Being attuned to their behaviors.

Adopting one child means you get a lot of “ohhhh you are such a good person for saving this kid” but adopting THREE children AT THE SAME TIME means we get this ten fold. I have a secret to tell you. Shhhhh!

Sometimes I get frustrated. Sometimes I yell at my kids and say things that are not nice. *GASP*

*Sigh* I knowwwww. I just ruined your unicornie and rainbowie thoughts of me. But just listen. All parents get fed up sometimes. All parents get frustrated and pushed to their limits. All of them. Now imagine parenting three children with varying degree’s of special needs. I am not perfect and I am not a perfect mother. I am just getting to the point where I can say I make mistakes and that is ok. It’s fine that I am not a perfect mom. It is not ok for me to yell and say things I shouldn’t but it happens. I always tell my kids. “Mommy was frustrated and I yelled and I am so sorry. I did not handle that very well at all” The truth is my kids do not handle themselves very well at all – most of the time – and it is not ok. BUT they can redeem themselves. They can come to me and say “Mama I did not handle myself very well and I screamed about nothing for two hours and I don’t know why but I am sorry.”

So anyway, tonight we had a very crabby patty living in our home. She screamed and she screamed and she had ice cream so it couldn’t have been that. Finally, she came out of her room and was about to launch herself into a tirade of epic proportions. Like seriously. I could feel the tension vibrating. I jumped up and said “DADDY I FORGOT TO SHOW YOU THE ROCK IN THE DRIVEWAY!!!!” I grabbed my shoes and Nate shook his head and got up with me. (Thank God for an awesome Baby Daddy but that is a different kind of post for a different kind of day) As we made our way out to the driveway he said here she comes and I said “Oh good” — You see she did exactly what I knew she would and what I wanted her to do. She followed us outside. And she got quiet because we were doing something we don’t normally do. We were scouring the ground for this sacred ROCK. Yes a rock in a driveway can be sacred. We looked and we looked and FINALLY we found it. I made her and Nate touch it exclaiming that it didn’t feel like the other rocks. It didn’t look like the other rocks. It was amazing. It was inspiring. It made her shut up quiet down. My eyes got really big and I said to her in a whisper “ohhh I just thought maybe you could take really good care of my special rock for me tonight? I mean if you could really be careful with it because it is very important to me.”  She agreed and quietly went off with the sacred rock and fell fast asleep.

What I did is not something spectacular. It is therapeutic parenting at its greatest. I saw her need to fight sleep simply because she wanted the control. I acknowledged the battle in my head and consciously made the decision NOT to play. I removed the environment, in this case her room or the house. I stopped the battle by distracting. I gave her something to control – the rock. She won – because she felt like she was in control of the situation to care for the rock. I won because she stopped screaming and went to bed. Our entire family won because calm was restored.

Sometimes therapeutic parenting means…looking for rocks in your driveway not yelling.

Two Years

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Sunday marked two years as a family of five! I simply cannot believe it! We went from a family of two to three to five in one week. Insanity!

I have a lot of thoughts on become a parent so quickly. In fact I just deleted a whole rant I had typed. Things are beyond difficult. Things are very stressed. Everyone seems to have their opinion – but yet not one of the people who has offered us an opinion has ever been in our shoes. Everyone thinks they are an expert. If your child had a significant heart condition would you withhold medication or hospitalization that could save their life? What? No? What about if that condition was not in your child’s heart but in their brain instead? Would you withhold medication or hospitalization then? Anyway, I know what I would do. It’s food for thought. Mental illness is real my friends. It is real.

Two years ago I was thrilled to have a family. It was an incredible and heartbreaking journey for us. We expected one child from Haiti. Instead we got one child from Haiti and two from family via the divine foster care system. <I have a lot to say about the foster care system but this is not the time for it> Our kids are amazing. They are resilient. They are strong. They are smart. They are beautiful. They are not perfect – and that is ok. My kids make nasty bad choices. My kids are loud and destructive. I love them. I love them for their sweetness and their innocent eyes that look to me to help them heal.

Fast Forward

Today I am thankful that I have been blessed with three beautiful children. My mind is jaded by all we have been through over the last two years. My emotions are pulled in every direction every single minute of every day. I love my children. I look around me and I am happy to see toys scattered around the house and bikes scattered around the yard. I am proud of the job I am doing as a mom. I am proud of the job I am doing as a mom to children with extra special needs. We are not a perfect family but we are perfect for each other.

Then:

and Now: