Monday, September 28, 2009

Trash . . .

So last night I was coming home from an errand at about 10:00 and I saw these chairs in someone's trash. I drove by and did a U-turn. I had to have a look at them, and I thought they were cute so they went into the mom-mobile.

I have reupholstered things before, but the easy way. I have never torn apart a chair to re-upholster it. It was easy-peasy. The chairs are very sturdy and I had no need to add padding.

Whatcha think?

Biggest find ever. . .

I posted a while back about using Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda and lemons to clean my tub. It is fabulous! And cheap too.
I decided that using Super Washing Soda worked so well that I decided to dissolve some in water to clean the kitchen. It worked wonders so I had the bright idea to put some in a spray bottle and keep it on hand. It works great. I used like a quarter cup in a large garden sprayer.

I use it to clean the grim off the bottom of my pots and pan. It literally wipes right off with a couple sprays and a paper towel. I use it for my toilets, sinks and shower. I also use it to wash down the cabinets and the outside of the trashcans. Now, I am not sure I could do without it!

Try it, I promise you will like it.

Any other cleaning tips out there? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My darling daughter . . .

Baby girl, you have grown so very big.
I love you with all my heart and my soul!

Today my baby turns 6! It has been a year of firsts . . . her first sleepover, her first day at Kindergarten and her first trip on a school bus. McCartney has always been my velcro child. When Harrison was born, it was obvious he was daddy's boy. He loved me, but much preferred his father when he needed some lovin'. I never knew what it was like having a child attached to you until McCartney came along. She has been attached to me like an extra appendage since the day she was born. She goes just about everywhere with me and she is always helping me do whatever it is I am doing at the time. She loves to help with laundry, she likes to sit in my chair with me and she will always engage me in conversation at any given moment. When she gets off the bus at night she runs into my office at the daycare to hug me. She cannot go past my office to go outside without stopping to see me. She HAS to be near me every waking moment. When

She is so much like me it is scary. She LOVES shoes. Since the time she could hold her head up in the shopping cart, she began wanting to head into the shoe department, every time we went past it! She is strong willed and stubborn. She does not like to perform for you on que, but she loves to show off on her timing! She has a horrific temper much like her mother. She has a wonderful soft heart and loves to help others. She is a nurturer and a softie. She is crafty and likes to find solutions to problems. If something doesn't work, she will try to do what it takes to make it work. She knows what she wants and won't stop until she gets it. She can holler nasty things at me one minute and turn and give me the sweetest kiss as soon as she is done being angry. She is her mother's daughter.

I hope she will grow to be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to injustices. I hope she will stand up for what she believes in and yet will have tolerance for differing opionions. I hope she will grow to be loved with the same strength that she loves. My baby deserves nothing less.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Can you see it? . . .

Isn't it funny that when you step back and look at something you can see the signs coming from a mile away? But, when you are in the thick of it, you don't see the forest for the trees. I can sit and think about all the ways Dustin has changed over the last month or so and can see the psychosis and the delusional thinking creeping in. Not that I saw it while it was happening mind you. What is that called, Monday morning quarterbacking?

I can see it in his eyes in this picture taken Sunday. He is not quite with us. He is not in reality.

Compared with this picture earlier in August.

Can you see it? I can and it's not just the smile that is missing and it frightens me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

1,000th post . . .

I started this blog to appease my husband who was quite into blogging at the time. In fact, he was featured on CNN one day and I decided it was time for me to succumb to the pressure and do it. I was found by Kari over at Thoughts Preserved and a whole new world of support and encouragement opened up for me. I really am not sure what I would've done without you all to vent to over these difficult years. It is so nice to know that we are not alone in this journey.

What better way to spend my 1000th post to tell you about a trip to the psychiatrist. I took the afternoon off so that I could go to the p-doc with Robert to get something done about Dustin and his constant impulsivity that is increasing exponentially. We have been dealing with some stuff I have not been blogging about because of privacy issues. But, we got a definite response yesterday that told us that Dustin is not in reality. He is quite delusional right now and while school is going well, we have found that he is telling some whopper stories. The scary part is that he believes everything he says and truly believes this things are taking place. Scary crap!

The p-doc did not just up his dosage of the anti-psychotic, but DOUBLED it. Nice. We shall see how this effects him. I hope it is the answer to many of the behaviors we have been dealing with at home. The doctor is so very kind to us. He told us that he is quite happy that we are able to manage him in a home setting. He believes that he would've been institutionalized a long time ago had he been in another home. He said he cannot believe that we can handle this and he said we are to be commended. It is SOOOOO nice to hear this after such difficult times. It is so easy to feel like you are a failure when you are unable to keep your kid in the house and safe, but when a respected doc says you are doing well, it makes it seem like you are succeeding. He thinks that the delusions that he is having is causing him to be even more impulsive because he is perceiving things being more of an issue than they are so he is running out of the house. (holy run-on Batman) We shall see.

The doc did apologize about the hospital issue. He said that once he took a step back and thought about it that the hospital would not be beneficial to Dustin since he would be in the teenage unit. He is concerned that the program is not tailored for moderately mentally handicapped children and that he would be victimized and made fun of. I appreciated his candor and his apology. I totally agree and that was our concern as well. We wanted to make sure that we were doing what he asked of us, and I am glad he rethought his position.

I have no idea what our future holds whether is be near or far. I just hold to the fact that we are doing the best we can. We feel we are able right now to keep us and the other kids safe and we are doing the best we can to keep him safe as well. He is never unsupervised at home and he has a one on one aide at school. As long as we are able to continue with these stipulations we think we can continue to have him in our home.

I want more for him than a hospital right now.

How I wish that this disability was not hidden. If this disability was outwardly present and we had kids that were horribly disfigured more people would take notice and wipe out FAS. That sounds so bad like I want my child to be horribly disfigured, I hope you understand what I mean. I am just so tired of dealing with this disorder and not having people SEE that there is something different about him. I am so tired of people thinking it is me who is at fault for his behavior. I am tired of explaining. I am tired of mourning the life he could've had.

I am tired of FAS. And I am tired of Schizophrenia.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My cat is an addict . . .

Ozzy is a fabulous cat. He comes when he is called and truly acts more like a dog than a cat. He has developed one large problem. . . his addiction to pharmaceuticals. It started with Fish Oil. He began by knocking my pill box off the dresser to pop it open in order to get to the Fish Oil gel tabs inside. He punctures them with his teeth and steps on them to squirt out the ooey-gooey fish oil gunk. It has progressed to Robert's meds. Robert is a diabetic so he has a large amount of pills he takes each day. Robert has to hide his pill box so the cat doesn't knock it over. Ozzy's drug of choice is Prozac. He gnaws up the caplet to spill out the meds. I have noticed the cat is calmer lately. . .

I am a little freaked out by this. Not only is the cat an addict, but I know the meds can't possibly be good for him. Lord have mercy, between the cat and Dustin, I am going to have a nervous breakdown . . . and we won't have anymore Prozac.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Oh woe is me . . .

Dustin ran out again tonight. That makes 3 times in just over a week. He ran last Friday as well. Friday he stayed close to the house and kept checking back to see if someone was going to chase him. Last weekend he ran and a perfect stranger took off after him after I asked him to stop him on the block over from our house. Tonight he took something he was specifically told he could not have. I caught him. He very unemotionally turned and ran out the door. Robert took his place by the front window and watched. Dustin came back toward the house twice. Then we didn't get a glimpse of him in over 5 minutes.

Robert went down the block to the corner and he saw him up on the River Greenway. We live right near the conflux of 3 rivers. Two rivers surround us and there are long sidewalks where people bike, jog and walk. Robert texted me the direction he wwas heading and he thought we could pin him in if I headed down the Greenway. When I caught up to him he knew hewas pinned and he came down the hill to where the van was with much ado. He was wailing and hollering about going to the hospital and how we don't love him.

The psychiatrist told us at his last appointment that he was to be taken to the local behavior hospital if he ran again. He has ran a dozen timess since. He has an appointment Wednesday so we thought we really needed to not only document the run, but follow through with what the p-doc said.

Robert took Dustin to he hospital. They did all the intake and phoned the doctor who said . . . are you ready for this . . . he didn't need to be admitted.

Are you serious?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Johnny Appleseed Festival . . .

Did you know Johnny Appleseed was buried in Fort Wayne? He is. Every year we have a wonderful festival to celebrate his life and times. We braved the crowds and had a good day in the beautiful weather and had some awesome food. . .

Good ol' Indiana sweet corn.


Gi-normous turkey legs.



Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sad ending . . .

I found out today that my grandfather is dying. He had a cancerous lung removed several months ago. He was doing well. He felt better than he has for years. Last week they did a PET scan and he had cancerous spots on several organs. This week they did an MRI and he has two large tumors and spots all over his brain. He is deteriorating quickly.

I am torn. I am sad that he is dying, but I lost him long ago. I have already mourned him leaving my life. I feel guilty for not being more upset. I feel like a fool for "saying" that here.

I don't think it would have been as hard as it was for me, but my grandparents played a heavy hand in raising me. My grandmother babysat for kids and she watched me while my mother worked until I was 7. I was ALWAYS at their house. I would spend weekends camping with them in their camper. My grandmother refused to cook Monday through Fridays while she was babysitting, so they ate out every week night. I joined them more often than not. When my grandmother needed glasses when I was 8 she let me pick them out. She wore orange cat eye glasses with rhinestones. That's love! I was the only grand-daughter and the oldest, I was spoiled rotten!

My grandmother lost her sister, her dearest friend, when I was 21. When Aunt Velma died, part of my grandmother died. I swear she suffered a broken heart that very night. Two days after the funeral, my grandmother died in ICU and they brought her back. She was never well again. For 2 years she lived a pain-filled, miserable life. I was at the house at least one night a week for dinner. I was expected to be around for the both of them. They never found a cause for my grandmother's pain. (I believe to this day she had Lupus)

When she died my grandfather lost the love of his life (she was only 63) . He visited her grave EVERY morning. It almost became sickening. I was still very close to my grandfather and ate dinner with him often. If I did not stop by or call I was in trouble! About 3 years later he began dating a woman he knew that was married to a co-worker long ago. They immediately got close. He stopped calling. He stopped expecting me to be around. I pretty much lost all contact, it was like pulling teeth to get his attention. I was wounded. During this time was when we became foster parents for Dustin and he was difficult to deal with to say the least. Our relationship faded into oblivion.

I had my babies. I remember him holding Harrison at the kitchen table (where my grandparents spent all their time). I thought maybe our relationship would rebound. I was wrong.

I only see him at Christmas. He doesn't even remember my children's names. Oh my heart hurts to have to type that! He continually calls Harrison, Benjamin. I thought maybe he just had difficulty remembering things becuase he hasn't been as quick as he once was, but when he had his lung removed last spring and I sat all day at the hospital, I heard story after story of how he babysat for "B"s greatgrandkids. I heard tell of how he LOVED being with them and how they ADORED him. I found out that day he was an integral part of great-grandchildren's lives . . . and they weren't mine. When he came out of surgery he told me stories of the sweet little girl who called him pa-pa and begged to be with him and how he loved her beyond measure. I wept that night more tears than I care to recall. That little girl should be McCartney! What could I have done differently? If I hadn't been as busy or as bitter I could've made this end differntly. Or could I? I will never know.

He is still pretty close to my mom partly because she lives near "B"s house, where he currently lives, and partly because she is his oldest child. Last night she called and told me the grim prognosis and told me they had been at his house visiting. I really didn't feel grief. I am sad that this man is suffereing and from a disease that he fears more than anything. I am sad that my kids will never hear him call me Sheri Kay. I am sad they will never see the love he showed me in his sparkly eyes as a child. I am sad that they will never study the criss-cross wrinkles on the back of his neck while holding on tight to him as they ride his motorcycle through Johnny Appleseed Park. I am sad they will never pick kohlarabi and tomatoes and eat them while still standing in the garden. I am sad he will never teach them to get the prickles off cucumbers before picking them so they don't poke your hands. I miss him saying, "I love you Jeanne Ilene!" But I have already mourned the loss of my grandfather.

He died to me long ago. And I am afraid I died to him long ago as well.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I am crying . . .

I am sitting in my favorite chair crying tears of pure joy that a woman I have never met had her darling little babe tonight! Mandy has had a tough road of infertility and she lost her dear sweet twins girls right after I began reading her blog. I made her darling boy a blanket emblazoned with her girl's names so they could be apart of his babyhood. She posted last week that he is going home in that very blanket. . . I am touched! And I know the girls would be thrilled!

Isn't the internet great?!

Too True Tuesday (5) . . .

Go on over and visit Essie, author of this wonderful idea!

Today's assignment was to write about "the best of the worst parenting advice you ever got." I didn't have to think long for this one. This comes directly from my child's therapist. . . I even wrote about it before, here it is word for word from that blog entry. . .

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.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

For better or worse. . .

I photographed a large wedding last month. I was a nervous wreck! I have finally finished editing all the pictures and they are in the hands of the bride. I wanted to post a few here to get some suggestions, critiques, ideas to make the next one better.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Just thinkin' . . .

Okay, I have been reading some blogs and some kids are rally having some rough times around the blog-o-sphere. The foster, adopted, special needs kiddos can really throw the families for a loop. Not only is it difficult dealing with the child who can be aggressive and impulsive, but it is difficult to deal with your spouse, your job and just plain LIFE with the addition of all the extra stress. Right now we are having a little peace from behaviors, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt they will be back, probably with a vengeance. I want to comment on some of these posts, but too often I don't know how to do so without sounding crappy and judgmental (even thought sometimes I would like to) so I keep my mouth shut most of the time.

I thought I would address some things here that I would like to say a couple of places around the web. I thought maybe I could just address them generally and maybe won't offend. I hope maybe this advice could help just about anyone . . . and maybe I am just full of crap. This is not directed at only one party. All of this is definitely also directed at myself. I am just as "guilty" of all of these things.

1. Foster/adopted kids are gonna have issues. Regardless of their diagnosis, or lack thereof, they are gonna have issues. They have been ripped from the only family they know. In all likelihood they were taken from either a neglectful or abusive home, or mentally ill parents. They will not only have emotional stressers, but most likely genetic ones. I get so tired of reading, "They do not have a diagnosis". Who cares?! Just because a professional doesn't see the problem at the time doesn't mean you aren't dealing with a whole suitcase of baggage. Who cares what it is called, you still have to deal with it. Cut the kid some slack. This does not mean you have to give in to their every whim, but it does mean that you should have some semblance of respect for what they have been through and how it has effected them regardless of the letters behind their name.

2. OMG too many words. Does everything have to be discussed? If a child is refusing to do the dishes. Do you have to talk about the responsibility in the house? Do you have to tell them what their consequences are? Do you have to remind them that they will do nothing else before they do the dishes? Do you have to talk about all the stuff you do for them? Do you really need to pile on more chores so they can refuse those too? If my child refuses to do the dishes, I would say, "Fine. Go to your room. I'll do them." Does the child know they should be helping? Does the child know they are gonna get more consequences? YES! Do you have to pile it all on now or can you talk about it later when they are calm and ready to talk? YES. When they are calm and are able to come out of their room say something like, "I did your chore, now you need to do mine, I would like for you to wash down the driveway" or whatever. Do not engage during the issue, you are simply making it worse.

3. If you child is raging, you do not give them more power by hiding from them or locking yourself in your room. You do not let them know that you fear them. You are the adult. Act like it. This is absolutely ridiculous and I will not continue with this one.

4. If you are concerned about lying, don't ask questions. Don't give them an opportunity to lie. If your child says they brushed their teeth and you know you did not hear the water, don't say "Are you sure?" and give them a chance to lie. Say, "I know you did not, I didn't hear the water. Go brush them now." Will they always be liars. If they have been diagnosed with FAS they will likely be liars. My Dustin has little impulse control, no object permanence and doesn't understand cause and effect so we have no hope of the lying ceasing. FAS is not the only reason a child lies. Think of the lives these children lived before coming to us, lying was not only a habit but a necessity for many.

5. trust runs both ways. You may expect trust from the child, but they have to trust you as well. Don't talk about them and their behavior in front of them, unless it is a therapist. I don't care how old they are this is degrading. I have made this mistake more than I care to think about. I am not saying you shouldn't tell friend's parents or neighbors about issues, but do so without the kid present. It doesn't have to be secretive, but you should respect them enough to do so in private.

6. For the love of peanuts, fake the love. I don't care how irritated you are with them, hug them. Tell them you love them. This is the hardest one for me personally. I have to work hard to hug him when I am mad at him. He needs reassurance after really bad behavior and it is terribly difficult for me, but I have to FAKE IT. These kids have been through so much. They have been bounced, or moved, or ripped from homes. They have been hungry, scared and neglected. He needs reassurance that just because he did something I still love him. (I suppose this would be good for the husband when I am mad at him too!)

7. Compliment the crap out of these kids. I honestly don't care if it is "Hey, good job breathing quietly!" They need positivity! This is the one I am working on the most right now. Dustin gets complimented for everything. (And oh my word, it is working!) I try to compliment him once every 10 minutes at least. You can literally see his posture change and his face glow. He needs the positivity. If you cannot compliment do it along the lines of The Nurtured Heart Approach and just narrate what they are doing, "I see you are watching TV." It sounds really stupid and you feel like a fool, but it works. They see that you are noticing what they are doing and for some that is enough of a compliment. I went to a workshop once that equated it to storing positivity in a piggy bank. Every time we compliment or praise we are putting coins in the bank. She said it is easier to deal with bad behavior (or take away coins from the bank) when you are left with a positive balance at the end of it.

8. Vent. Vent. Vent. Find someone who will just listen. Shoot an email out. Holler at your office-mate. Let it all out in front of your spouse. I don't care who it is, vent. Find someone who is safe enough to be able to say, "I hate my child right now." Someone who knows it will pass in 2 minutes and you don't really mean it. Someone you can call and say, "He ran away, I kinda hope he doesn't come home" (okay, too close to home!) And they know you are just frustrated. Sometimes those kind of things are far too personal for a blog in my opinion and can change other people's view of you.

9. Share with us! We need to know what worked for you and what didn't. Sometimes what works for you is really not good for our kid and vice versa. Sometimes your failures can give me an idea. Sometimes tweaking an idea works fabulously! If you really don't want to blog, comment. If you want to be anonymous, make up a name. We are all in this together. I could never have made it this far with my sanity in tact if it wasn't for the venting my blog allows me and the support I have gotten knowing I am not alone.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Too True Tuesday . . .

Too True Tuesday, sponsored by The Accidental Mommy.

Another confessional day. Join us will you? Today I want to tell you about when I was pregnant with Harrison. I was sick. Like sick beyond sick. My OB/GYN had no idea how much I meant when I said I was constantly sick. He asked me to count the number of times I vomited from the time I woke up to my 1:30 appointment. I had barfed 37 times that day. In about 6 hours.

37 times.

I had serious morning sickness. Okay, so anyway, I would have major trouble going to the grocery store. The meat section did me in. I couldn't walk near it without barfing. Of course I had a husband and Dustin to feed at home so sometimes it was necessary to shop for meat. I would have to first stop at the checkouts and get a plastic bag, then to the tissues and grab a box of kleenex. I would proceed to the meant department and more often than not barf in the tissues in my hands. Nice huh? Then I would buy my open box of tissues and the meat and my other items (carrying my bag-o-puke) and be on my way. Usually barfing a few times on the ride home for good measure. I was really good at taking side streets so I could pull over, open the door and yack.

That sets up my Too True Tuesday confession. I would shop at a small local store so it would be less crowded as I yacked, thus offending fewer people. After a while, the store manager paid attention to the woes I was having and put a trash can in the meat department. One day I walked in, went to get my plastic bag and he came over to me and said, "I am so sorry you are sick with this baby. I put a trashcan in the meat department for you." That was the sweetest thing anyone ever did for a barfing pregnant woman!