Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Re-entry and Bonding

Yesterday was re-entry day.  C had been at a friend's house for a few days and we enjoyed some blessed 'normalness'.  The friends drove him home and picked up their kids had lunch and then headed off again.  He was happy and energetic until the moment they left and then crashed...hard.  Everything was horrible, nothing was fun, he was bored, his brothers are idiots, blah, blah, blah....So my stress level went up a notch or two, a few things went flying, not much fortunately because he is on a mission to have 365 days without a major explosion.  If he accomplishes this seemingly impossible task he will win himself an Ipad.  It might take till he graduates, but he's determined, at the moment.

Our counsellors from our parenting class (Parenting Out of Control Teens) helped us come up with a reward system.  We supply little rewards (badminton birdies, beef jerky, chocolate, gum, etc.)  and he supplies the necessary behaviour.  He evaluates himself and then is allowed to reward himself for not exploding when he thinks he's done a good job of the day.  So far we're only applying it to the huge, destructive explosions not all the picky nit-picking, etc.  But hey, a few less holes in the walls are a good thing!  Only one really big explosion since we started this - 6 weeks ago.  That, my friends is progress!

We had a good bonding time over a flooding cistern.  I walked by the furnace/cistern room and heard the sound of running water, I shouldn't hear that sound there!  C happened to be close by so I rushed in and started the bucket brigade to keep the rug from getting flooded.  A and J came down and helped, too and the four of us averted the impending disaster.  Then we watched the extended version of Fellowship of the Ring.  C fell asleep leaning on one side and A on the other, love moments like that!

Had some good moments today getting ready for A's birthday party.  The whole eating healthy and exercising thing has gone totally out the window this week along with all vestiges of routine.  What can I say, I'm gonna say no to chocolate fondue?  Hardly.  Solid chocolate bunnies?  We are doing emotional eating and I figure if I'm fully aware of what I'm doing it's okay...I think!  So chocolate spa party here we come.  Fortunately the baseball coach called a practice/wiener roast for this evening, so, yay, C, S7 and S8 are all out of the house for most of the evening.  The girls should like that.  Thank you Mr. Jones!

Monday, April 25, 2011

A New Focus

It's Monday morning and most of the kiddos are at home on their Easter break.  We have a few extra friends around as well. So it's a little crazy with all the bodies but not stressful 'cause my most stressful kid isn't here at the moment, he's at a friends' house and we're enjoying the peace that brings.

Shocking?  Well, if you lived with us every day you wouldn't be shocked.  Life in our house isn't very typical by any standard.  about 12 and a half years ago we met this sweet little fellow that my mom and dad were fostering.  A few months later they all moved in with us and his care transferred to us.  Then a several months after that he got moved out into a 'permanent' home.  Seven months after that his permanent home called us and said it wasn't working so we hopped in our van and went and picked him up.  He's been with us ever since and our lives have never been the same.

I had this ideal dream of perfect children, a perfect home, a perfect life where everything made sense and went according to my plan.  Surprisingly enough, since I'm not God, He decided we needed to shake things up a bit, my perfect picture is in a thousand pieces all over my floor!!

So here we are with six kids, a farm, 4 dogs and anticipating 9 more animals.  I'm pretty sure we're nuts.  That sweet little fellow came back as a mad little bantam rooster, and has been mad ever since!  He's been tested and poked and prodded and slapped with labels of every kind.  We've only figured out in the last few months that what we're most likely dealing with is attachment disorder.  While we don't have an official diagnosis all our research and unofficial diagnosis' confirm what we've been scratching our heads over all this time.  While it doesn't make life easier, at least we know what we're dealing with...finally!

Unfortunately it makes other people rather uncomfortable.  Most of my weeks are really stressful and I'm just trying to keep my nose above water while we patch up holes and clean up all the stuff that's been thrown around the house (we figure he's so good at baseball because of all the practice he gets hurling my stuff all over! :))  We deal with emotional aftermath of toxic volcanic verbage every day.  And, unless you live with it you can't possibly understand it...sorry, you just can't.

In an effort to help others understand what we deal with and hopefully further my own healing (I don't talk about this much), I'm going to start talking here about our life, the ups, downs and ins and outs of living with a bunch of kids, a farm, a pastor, one crazy mom and a God who loves  us all and dealing with attachment disorder, etc.  Sorry, it may be a bumpy ride.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Today's Smiles

Things that made me smile and give thanks today....
- a teaparty with my little girl (she set it all up)
- the 14 year old brother who joined our tea party and played along
- classical music playing all morning
- the 14 year old boy who fond a channel and kept it going
- listening to my 5 year old girl practicing Air from Haydn's surprise symphony
- sewing with the 14 year old, helping him make 'priestly garments' for his school project
- teaching the 5 year old to sew
- a yummy spinach/tuna salad for lunch
- clean laundry
- sunshine
(it's only 1 PM, there may be more smiles later)

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Family Day

Today our whole family was home together without any extras, we didn't have any meetings or appointments, just us....all one place...for a whole day.  You don't realize how rarely that happens until it is suddenly upon you and it feels strange.  Yesterday we had huge expectations for today, we were going to get a ridiculous amount of work done around the yard and in the house.  We realized that was probably stupid and lowered those expectations considerably.
And the whole thing went not too bad considering we have eight very different personalities, one very explosive child who hates to work and the age range that we're working with. 
-the kitchen floor finally is free of wax drippings and honey spots
-kitchen counters are free of honey-processing stuff
-basement is ready for wall-sanding (if we can find the sander)
-you can see the laundry room floor
-winter boots are boxed up for the year (found 3 pairs of boots I've never seen before!)
-made pizza for lunch and cleaned up the mess

-a lot of dog poop got picked up
-the truck is loaded and ready for the dump whenever it re-opens (too wet at the moment)
-lots of garbage and debris picked up from the melting snow
-cement pad is scraped off
-recycling got taken in
garage is clean and swept

To celebrate our success we had ice-cream sundaes and then headed off to see a wild menagerie of miniature and exotic animals, some of which we are interested in purchasing for our farm.  The kids totally enjoyed all the interesting and odd animals we saw including pot-bellied pigs, fainting goats, an emu, a peacock, double horned ram, alpacas, bunnies, little ponies, donkey, miniature cows and of course lots of bunnies and cats.  We headed to A&W to celebrate our day and the fact that it is our fourth anniversary of our move to the farm.  What a lovely day, even with the rough bits, it still worked out pretty good!