Sunday, December 30, 2007

Fun with Mommy . . .

So let's see . . I'm up until 2:00 this morning playing a ridiculous Guitar Hero song and I finally go up to bed. I am kid-less. They are all three fast asleep in their beds, Robert is downstairs. I have the entire king size bed to myself! Ahhh.

At 4:30, I hear Robert's footsteps coming up and I slightly awaken to realize McCartney is sweetly sleeping next to me. But hark. . . what's that sound? She's retching. Oh my Gosh, awaken yourself woman! But too late, as Robert walks into the bedroom McCartney is now yakking all over my freshly laundered sheets and . . . well, me. As I wake myself, shaking my head to make myself as alert as possible with puke running down the left side of my body, I have Robert put McCartney in the tub. I run to the bathroom to choruses of "Mommy, my nose is bleeding too!" Arghhhhhhh! The tub floor is now covered in blood, and well . . . puke. I wash the kid, my arm and strip the bed.

So now my sheets are once again the in washing machine. My daughter is watching Blue's Clues, and I am now wake for the day.

Ah, motherhood . . . yawn.

**update. . . breaking news. It seems everyone loves me. I just walked in the kitchen and stepped in dog pee. Nice. Poor Cayenne, the excitement must have been too much for her.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas fun . . .

Lazy dog . . . "who put this pillow in my chair?" . . .

Daddy is now addicted to Guitar Hero . . .

Uncle Steve is being attacked . . . "All my daddy a "damn liberal" again, I dare you!" . . .

Little boys LOVE Hot Wheels . . .

Little girls LOVE babies . . .

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bye sweetie . . .

The puppy poopin' machine is gone! Woohoo. I got a call and we decided to meet at the pet store nearby. While I was there wainitng, I had 4 people offer to take her. I should've went and stood there earlier! I have since had 3 more calls. I have developed a new love for craigslist.

Merry, merry . . .

Whirlwind of a couple days. Christmas Eve with my immediate family was nice. The kids were well behaved and I had spent the entire day cleaning, so I was relaxed and sleepy. My mom did stay and help me wrap the presents. Thank goodness, I hate to wrap. I figure the kids couldn't care less and decimate them in about 3 minutes flat, so I'm good. The kids had a great time opening some small gifts Christmas Eve and the "big haul" on Christmas morning. We then went to my aunt's house and ate till we about puked. Dustin, only had one melt-down and spent about 30 minutes in the van calming down.

When we got home, there was a lady standing the lot behind our house with suitcases and a puppy. When we got out of our car she asked if we wanted a puppy. I said that we had plenty of animals. She began to cry saying that she had just gotten kicked out of our house and was hitchhiking back to New Jersey. She said she couldn't find a ride with the pup. I am a sap. I said I would take the dog and find her a good home. About 10 minutes later I was wondering what I had done! A puppy. . . man, oh man.

She is a good dog. Fairly obedient, and after a few tense hours, she was pretty much potty trained. She has only had 1 accident since we got her. I posted her on craigslist, and a few strategically placed flyers around town. Hopefully she will find a permanent home soon. She is excellent with the other animals and with the kids. My daughter is gonna be heartbroken, but I keep repeating my mantra . . . no more dogs, no more animals, no more poop.

Here's to keeping our fingers crossed. . .

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The princess . . .

McCartney Raye was born in September 2003. We were fostering 2 very difficult children at the time, Dustin was in a very difficult mental state at the time, and Harrison was 15 months old. I was a crazy-busy pregnant mommy. I began to have problems with my blood pressure and was put on strict bed rest. The following day I began to black out and was sent directly to the hospital to be induced the following morning. I gave birth to McCartney 4 hours later before being induced. She was 17 days early. After she was born, I went directly into surgery and McCartney had difficulty regulating her body temperature so she went into an incubator. Daddy spent the night by her side. We found out the next morning that she had a sacral dimple and could suffer from some form of Spina Biffida. After a few weeks of horrific waiting, we found out she was fine.

She was a mellow baby who slept through the night at 3 weeks old. She was active and alert. She loved being next to her brothers and her eyes lit up when they spoke to her. She was completely bonded to me. Where Harrison was Robert's boy, McCartney was MINE. She cried whenever I was away from her. I was totally responsible for her happiness. I found the "art of baby-wearing" and purchased a sling from Cindy. It was the best thing I ever did. She could be with me and up against me at all times, and yet I could function. When I went back to work, Robert would "wear" her in the sling and it totally helped create a bond. She loves her daddy, but to this day she is MY GIRL.

She was enrolled in speech when she was a toddler because she had nearly no words. After about 3 visits, she was speaking like crazy. I fully believe she could before, she just had no reason to. She knows all her "stuff" but will not perform. Still at 4 years old, it amazes me when she reads a word like she has known what it was for years. You think she has no idea and it quite ditzy, she isn't, she just doesn't flaunt what she knows. I'll ask her how she knows something and she says, "Because I'm smart."

She is bossy and strong-willed. She is sweet and ornery. She can charm the pants off you one minute and scream in your face "you're stupid!" the next. She's purely a girl. When Harrison was little we would ask him, "Are you rotten?" He'd say, "I not rotten, Sissy's rotten!" As ornery as she is, she is also very thoughtful and kind. She knows when someone is upset or angry and tries to reach out to you. She is extremely cuddly, but doesn't like to be held for more than short periods of time. Where Harrison would be content to sit in you lap for hours, she will hug you 15 times in that hour, but will not sit there and will not be still. She is full of energy and always on the move. She is tenacious and determined.

She's my princess who loves to dress up in dresses and skirts and then wants to where jeans and play with the boys. She constantly changes her mind and loves to annoy the pants off her brothers. She pushes Daddy's buttons and drives me over the edge. She's definitely a female!

Awwww. . .

Friday, December 21, 2007

The boy . . .

Harrison Tyler was born in May of 2002. I was frantically dreading labor and promised Robert that there would much screaming and gnashing of teeth. As the day grew nearer, I became quite ill with laryngitis. Robert found it quite amusing. On Monday morning I went into the OB to have a stress test (with 18 days before my due date) and the OB said, "Do you have a bag packed and waiting by the door?" I said, "Yep" and he said quite unexpectedly, "Go home and get it and head to the hospital. This one has cooked long enough, we're gonna induce" I freaked. We headed to the hospital and started the "devil water" drip. 37 hours later I held my wonderfully beautiful baby boy. By the way, during that time in the hospital they had me on IV medications for my throat and by the time birthing time came, I could holler nicely thank you!

Harrison was a mellow and happy baby. He was small and cuddly. He loved to be next to you and against your skin. . . plastered to you actually. Still to this day he cuddles up next to one of us at night when he climbs into bed with us. Since he was born in the spring all of my early memories of Harrison are outside in the yard or on the porch. The best part of that early time with the first baby was the wonder on my husband's face as he looked at his son. The youngest Rouse, the child who would carry on the name. The joy and love that I felt as I looked at my child and my husband were unmatched by any other experience in my life. The bond that I felt was unlike anything else. It always made me weep for Dustin as I imagined his early life and the trauma it contained as I held my little bundle who completely relied on me. Harrison was completely and wholly bonded to daddy. He was definitely Robert's child and spent every waking moment with him. I have a myriad of pictures of Harrison sleeping in the crook of Robert's arm as he types away on the computer.

Harrison has always been a little precocious. He got all of his teeth early. I was at the dentist with him at 11 months asking what the black blood blisters were in his mouth. Astounded the dentist found that they happened to be his 3 year molars. He was speaking to his daycare teacher in full sentences at 13 months. By 2 he could tell you all his colors and recite simple poems and sang a boat-load of songs from memory. He knew all of his letters, upper case and lower case at 3. By 4 he was reading with comprehension. He seemed to absorb everything he saw. He is inquisitive and veracious in his learning and questioning. He is intuitive to his surroundings. He is curious and lovable . . . and ornery.

Kindergarten has been a challenge. As advanced as he is in his learning, he is immature. He is sensitive and can have what we refer to as "melt-downs". He astounds me with his wit and his humor. He is a likable child who makes friends easily. He is out going with other children and is very imaginative in his play. He's my boy, my first born and I couldn't live without him.

Comfort food . . .

My favorite cold weather soup. . .

In about 4 cups of water boil 3 potatoes cubed and a chopped onion until potatoes are tender. Add 4 bouillon cubes, 2 cans of cream of chicken soup, one package of chopped broccoli pieces thawed, one pound of velveeta cheese cubed.

Curl up on the couch with a comfy blankie and eat broccoli soup while watching football. Recipe for a great Sunday!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The chosen one . . .

I decided this Christmas season I would do a post about each one of my kids. Today is Dustin's day. I talk about him a lot, but I decided I would share with you about my eldest and maybe you'll learn something you don't yet know about him.

Dustin has only been in our lives since 2001, but he has certainly made an impact on the way we see the world. He is a loving, kind and helpful child. He will happily complete any task or chore that you give him as long as he is kept on task and he doesn't think it is a punishment. He loves to be a "helper" and this can really distract him from unwanted behaviors if used properly.

The day he came into our life was a rainy one. He had a silly bowl cut haircut, a dirty jean jacket under a too-large spiderman raincoat. He also had a striped weighted "Snake" on his neck. He was sitting in the front seat of a pickup truck rocking back and forth, sucking his cheeks in. He had large "pick marks" across the top of his head from his obsessive-compulsive picking. He was obviously a mess. I can't say it was "love at first sight", actually it was fairly obvious this child came with "baggage" and it scared the stink out of me. Robert turned to me and said, "Is it too late to run?" The next few hours were interesting as he explored our home and got into far too many things. We dug worms all afternoon. He was loving and fun and yet very distant. The next visit was far better and by then, we had become attached to this odd, funny, "broken" child. We knew we were destined to be a home for Dustin, if only til the "right one" came along. Little did we know, the "right one" was us!

Having Dustin has made me look at the world in a different way. In one respect it has made me more aware of the "ugliness" the world has to offer. The ugliness that allows mother's to drink while pregnant, the ugliness of mother's allowing others to harm your child in your own home, and the ugliness of some aspects of foster care. In another respect we have seen ugliness in people's reactions to our son and his behavior, the ugliness of expectations the school has had of him complying with "general education" standards, and the ugliness of misunderstanding even within our own extended families when it comes to "what is best" for Dustin and our choices in dealing with him. We can also experience the ugliness in ourselves when we have "reached our limit" in dealing with the daily struggles that life with Dustin comes with. It is those time when having a supportive spouse and a committed father is absolutely a god-send. We have learned when it is time to "tag-team" Dustin.

Thankfully having Dustin has also opened us up to a whole new world of kindness. I have experienced the kindness of another mother in a restaurant who gives you that "knowing" look and a kind smile when he is wailing about something. I have seen how he touches people and how his story has changed someone's perception about the world of a moderately handicapped child. I have experienced the kindness and patience of his teachers and his administrators who deal with his issues daily. The kindeness of the ones who have a true heart for the moderately hanidcapped child and truly give all they have on a daily basis and still can give a parent encouragement and praise. I have unfortunately experienced the kindness of behavioral hospital staff who take care of your baby when you cannot keep him safe from himself. Those staff who know it is not the fault of bad parenting that your child needs their services. I have also seen the kindness of my husband in his dealing with Dustin. He is so very patient and determined to give Dustin the best possible life. I have also felt the kindness of families like my own and some who are learning about families like ours who have commented on this blog and others. These words of encouragement and advice mean more than you can know.

We often say that Dustin's saving grace is his kindness. We have been touched by the kindness and acceptance from a child who has been "for-saken" by some many other adults in his life. He loves us unconditionally. He trusts. For that we are truly blessed.

Good news . . .

I just got word that my daughter's MRI results were normal. That makes my day. Now I cen rest assured that the leg pains are growing pains and the "piddling" is normal 4 year old stuff. Life is good.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The update . . .

Today we were supposed to go to McCartney's pediatrician for her blood work results. They called and we need to repeat one of the tests. Meaning another blood draw. Stink! She was good the first time, so maybe it will be alright. The MRI went great the other day, by the way. She was a fabulous patient and the nurses at the Lutheran Children's Hospital outpatient clinic are PHENOMENAL! It was a very positive experience and the intensivist that did her sedation was great. The meds were easy on her and it was as though nothing was done about 5 minutes after the procedure. I should know something soon from that test.

The bloodwork issue is a bit concerning. The doc said that she had an odd bacteria, and he wanted to repeat the test so they could rule something out. Hmmm. I'm so glad I am medicated, because "pre-OCD medicated Sheri" would be crawling out her skin waiting to hear something. Modern medicine is amazing.

Now how about modern non-medicine. I have used alternative medicine in the past, actually quite often. I have seen an iridologist, and would love to visit Solomon Wickey someday. My mom has learned about something called an Aqua Chi Footbath. Anyone heard about this? The info on the web looks promising and interesting, but you could find a website for making gold out of soap if you wanted to. I wanna try it, but it is quite pricey to have the procedure done. Anyone out there seen this or have any testimonials? Or am I just crazy?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My baby . . .

The first Christmas Robert and I were married, he bought me a special present. He bought me a cockatiel. We thought for sure it was aboy so we named it Elvis. Elvis turned out to be a girl. She was an awesome bird. Fully flighted and really special. I adored her and it spawned a love of birds for me. I became addicted to birds. We ended up with many different birds over the years, some from bredding, some from rescue. With the birth of the kids we have decreased our flock to 2 birds. (We recently lost our last cockatiel a month or so ago) We have a blue and gold macaw named "Boomer" and an african grey named "Caesar". I have blogged about Caesar and his escapades before when I spoke about the passing of Alex, a famous African Grey.

Boomer is my baby. We brought him home before he was fully weaned, which was a huge mistake. I had to hand-feed him day and night and make sure he was eating and gaining weight. At first I had to feed him through a syringe and then by soaking food and dropping it in his mouth. I was un-godly concerned about him not gaining weight and I had to take him to the vet and weigh him weekly. It was a mess. He is definitely my baby. He does speak. He says, "Shut Up Boomer" and "Dustin! Go to time out" and "Diiinnnnner!" and "That's enough!" and "Robert, I need you!" other wonderful things we say around here constantly. We wanted him to be able to say thank you when he was handed something so every time we gave him a treat, we would say, "Say Thank You Boomer". You guessed it, he now says, "Say Thank You Boomer". Not too bright, but loveable.

I'm not sure he is doing well. He should live to be about 60-80 years old and I think he is about 10 years old. He doesn't seem quite right. Tonight I got him out of the cage and gave him some lovin' and decided to take some photos to share.

Showin' the love!

Who's your momma?

A pretty boy! (or maybe a girl, who knows?)

Lovin' the scratchin'

Cayenne isn't too happy when Boomer tries to kiss her.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Flashback . . .

Today I went to get my haircut. My sister-in-law has been cutting my hair for some time, but infomed me last month that she was no longer doing hair. I freaked out when she told me but then she reminded me that her mom was doing hair again. Her mother who used to cut my hair back in my "punk rock" days and always had some crazy cut or color for my hair. So today, I made me first trek up to the small town north of here to get a cut. She asked me if I wanted to get colored to and I said I hadn't planned on it, but I would like to. She said she already had some color mixed, so it would be easy. She then went in the back to mix another red and began coloring. I sat there processing while she cut someone else's hair and she came over the check on me. She made this little laughing sound and said, "Oh yeah, I think you're definintely ready to rinse." When she was done rinsing, she said, "If I remember right you like crazy right?" Yeah, like 20 years ago, but it was a little late. My hair is crazy and I love it.

Monday, December 03, 2007

If only . . .

I blogged on Friday about Dustin saying things at school about his former abuse. I also blogged that he had a therapy appointment later that day and I thought it would be nice to visit that topic then. When Robert picked me up at work Friday evening, I asked how it went. He said that Dustin told her that he was thinking about being hurt because he had some bad dreams about his abuser lately (which I think is a crock). He tends to say he has bad dreams every time he gets in trouble, steals or says things that aren't true. He has learned through years of therapy that they always ask him if he has bad dreams and he always says "yes" even if he never mentions having bad dreams at home. I don't fully believe he has them, I think he uses that as a learned excuse. Whether or not he does doesn't dismiss the idea that he is telling people at school things that are not true.

So, do you know what his therapists answer to the issue is?

Freakin' pixie dust.

She told my concrete thinking, 12 year old FAS child to sprinkle pixie dust around his bed at night to keep the bad dreams away. This is a woman who is supposed to understand FAS. Pixie dust is her answer.


She didn't talk about telling truths. She didn't talk about past tense or present tense. She didn't deal with his PTSD issues. She told him to sprinkle imaginary pixie dust. Better yet. . . she actually told my husband to get a shaker and put some pixie dust (nothing) in it and use it at bedtime.

No. I will not. And she better be glad I didn't take him to this appointment. If only it were that easy.