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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Christmas Wish List

so.....Monkey Butt wants a car for Christmas.

Given that's probably a good time of the year to get a decent deal on a car, we are going to try to accomodate that request.

However, I've been wracking my brain trying to think of ways to make it even more fun and special than getting a car is anyway.

When I was 17, for Christmas, I had 5 packages under the tree.  My family had a tradition where we opened one gift on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas morning.  The "big" present was never allowed on Christmas Eve, of course.

The present I opened on Christmas Eve was a box of gravel with a note not to spin in the gravel.

The next morning, I was told the big box had to be last.

I opened up 3 boxes that had notes in them:  "new seat covers, new tires, new paint job".

My silly self thought that meant they were going to do all this to my Flintstone mobile.  That final box though.....had about 6 boxes inside of it. The final box was a set of keys.

That wasn't all though.

Dad was laughing his head off and said "now, to see how good you are.....the car isn't here, but it IS at a neighbors house.  Let's go outside and walk around the block and when you think you see a car that could be yours, go see if the keys will crank it"

No pressure, right?

I mean, it was Christmas.  Nearly every house on the street had extra cars there because of family visiting.

I went by several cars and didn't try them out.  He kept saying "Nothing striking your fancy, what if you don't like it?" I knew, just knew that I hadn't passed it yet.  Then I started REALLY squealing.

I got ready to jump in the car and dad said "are you sure you're not jumping in a neighbors family members car? Don't yell so loud, you don't want the neighbors to wake up and have you arrested for breaking in their car or something"

It was mine. I knew.

Yeah, I loved it, but as much as the car itself (and God knows as a teenager, having a cool car was amazing and fun without the other stuff) was the thought put into making getting it special and fun.

I want to do that for kiddo.

The stumbling blocks:  1) we go overboard on gifts so lack of gifts under tree will give it away  2) we don't live in a neighborhood, we're in the country and no neighbors that we could hide a car at 3) she knows my story, she'd totally suspect the whole "nesting boxes" as the presentation.

So, here it is.....shortly after midnight, all is quiet and all are asleep when I decided what to do.

I'll ask bestie if I can hide the car at her house until Christmas Eve and then park it behind the nearby church that I can walk to. In the middle of the night I'll walk to it and drive it home.

The keys will not be in a nesting box.  We'll go ahead and get her gifts, but majorly bargain shop so she doesn't suspect.  The gift DOES have to be the last one opened though. When it's not a big box, she'll assume it's not that.

Inside will be this jewelry box that she'll be getting for Christmas. She'll assume because it has the daughter stuff on it and mushy, that that's the reason we consider it the special wait til the end gift.


Inside will be this keychain with her new key on it.

Now, to find the car and not go broke.

Looking forward to the holidays once again this year.

She's so worth it.

I'm sorta leaning towards a "clue" in some of the other gifts.

1--a banana, whether fake or real and 2--a turtle




We've been teasing her that our big worry about her driving is her experience with Mario Kart.  She threatens to bring turtles and bananas to throw out the window on our way to school for idiot drivers that behave poorly.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Tech program at school

Last January, kiddo applied for and was accepted into B Tech.  (B Tech isn't the name, but the name for here)

B Tech is almost like a school within a school.  It's high school info but done like you're in college or in workplace.  They'll work in groups instead of lecture style from teachers, no worksheets, but project based. 

It allows teachers free reign over what they want to teach students and how they want to teach it. The teachers have total intellectual freedom. They combine subjects sometimes and instead of 6-8 classes a day, they only have 4.  It'll help her with her ADHD I think. Last year she struggled with bell assignments (the first 5-10 minutes of each class). I think it was the adjustment part that made that difficult, because the assignments were easier than what she did successfully, as far as material.

This will help her build soft skills, like confidence, time management, and communication, as opposed to learning how to retain a body of knowledge about topics studies show they quickly forget. While other schools teach students memorization tactics in order to score well on a test, B Tech will focus on learning citizenship-readiness. They encourage movement, noise, and activity in the classroom. (also good for her ADHD)


Each student works on a group project, the act of which encourages team building. Students at similar facilities in the county scored on average 10 percent higher on senior exit exams. Student also had a 98 percent acceptance rate into college.  

The critical thinking and using skills that actually get used after leaving schools had us sold on the idea.

So many are complaining about the program, but other than fear of the unknown, I don't see the downside yet.  

As time progresses, we shall see how this goes.  I hope kiddo will be happy with this choice because I want her to stay in it. She's only committed to 1 year, but I'd like this to continue going forward if successful.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Slumber Party

We let kiddo have a big back to school slumber pool party--11 am Saturday to 11 am Sunday.

Hotdogs for lunch, a ton of pool play, pizza for dinner, more pool play, a gaggle of girls laughing and watching movies at night and back in the pool first thing in the morning.

Kiddo is enrolled in a new program at her school and her bestie didn't enroll in it.

The program is more about creating a learning environment that matches real world experiences and helps with critical thinking. We thought it'd be good going into high school, knowing she wouldn't have classes with at least 2 of her besties for them to get together and bond, going to high school stronger than normal.

They were all great, but man, can they eat!

Who knew teen girls ate even more than the stereotype of teen boys.

It was a major success.

Some of the girls were crashing on the floats the next day, several were late leaving, some begged to stay.  One I'm concerned about. I think we'll invite her over very soon for a few visits. There is something nagging at me that something is wrong, and she needs to know she has a safe place to share and get help if needed.

Maybe we should find some cheaper food options next time though.  I know it was no less than 36 drinks and 40 mini-bags of chips for 5 girls? and I thought kiddo ate alot.  She has nothing on these girls.

The closeness she now has with some of these kids as gotten stronger and I think she's in for a fun freshman year.

I'm looking forward to seeing how she does in this new program. One of her friends mom told us she wanted to take her kid out of the program because she felt it would be so hard on her daughter.  I told her that I thought it would be hard initially, but they'd learn so much. She's afraid of bad grades. I'd rather her have bad grades and be learning than good grades and not get anything out of school though.

We shall see....we shall see....

Today she said she was really starting to get excited.

When we got to school though, getting out of the car was a different story. She said "I think I'll just stay in the car a few minutes, I'm nervous"

So proud though, no meltdown, no acting out, just "let me sit a minute" and went on with it happily.


Letter to my Freshman

 So, kiddo started high school today.  We've come a long way since she arrived back in 5th grade and I'm so proud of her. 

Starting a new journey isn't easy with her anxiety though and high school is a big step.  I was going to put a letter in her lunchbox, but she decided not to pack lunch, so this went in her bookbag and who knows if she found it.


Hi Beautiful Babygirl              

Today is the day—can’t believe our baby is in high school.

Enjoy your day, enjoy your year. Try not to stress.

You will make mistakes from time to time, don’t repeat them, learn.  You will succeed, frequently!

You will lose sometimes, you will win other times.

You will hurt, you will laugh, you will cry, you will be overwhelmed, you will be tired, you will celebrate!

You will have a huge range of emotions during your freshman year and it’s okay—everything is always okay in the end.  If it’s not okay, it’s not the end yet.

And never forget….home is your safe haven, you have a family you can lean on, you have a family that treasures you more than you’ll ever know and you have a willing shoulder and ear that is so proud of you.

You have a lifetime of support, in both good times and bad.
All we ever ask is never give up, do your best and let us be there.

Keep being a kid as long as you can, but put forth your best drive towards your classes and it’ll payoff in the end.

Love you,

Momma & Daddy!
And Lucifer & Arlo

And okay….maybe even Bonkers & Rocza Belle

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Foster World

It's so annoying to find somebody in the foster world that just doesn't get it and doesn't put the kids first.  It's really annoying when they say something out of line and they have no idea you adopted out of foster care. It's even worse when it's a customer and you have to choose between keeping your job and letting them have it.

I said a few things without crossing any lines, but there was so much more I wanted to say.

A customer of mine said he'd went to training and was considering opening a residential facility local. In the next breath, he talked about being late because he didn't have a full foster payment because he'd just disrupted on the boy he'd had for awhile.

He said the paperwork was unreal and I'd be shocked to know how much was involved in foster care. I told him then I adopted from foster care, so yeah, I had a pretty good idea.

It went from bad to worse.

It's been 2 weeks and I'm still fuming.

He said he was considering adopting this boy that's been with him, but he was acting out so bad since TPR happened and he just couldn't do it. The boy was having sex, begging him to drive him to see girlfriend, not turning loose of his phone and he just couldn't do it.

I said "Poor guy, he's probably been feeling some pretty big anxiety about all that".

He said I didn't get it and obviously I got a "good child", not the problem kids he always has gotten.  He said he was really tired of social workers not telling the whole picture.  I get that part, but his thing was "This boy had 14 placements in 3 years and the worker didn't tell me until I put in my notice".

I told him I get the frustration about not having the full picture and agreed he should know that so he could prepare. He said nobody would ever take a child with that many placements if they knew.  I said I thought some would and that just because some familes aren't the right match doesn't mean there isn't a good family out there that is a good match.

He said some kids just don't have a match and shouldn't have a family.

I was fuming.

At that point I ended the conversation and sent him on his merry way because I was either getting fired or arrested if it went any further.

If somebody is in it for the money and not the kids, then they need to get lost.

If they're burnt out, it's time to not take another child on, much less consider opening a residential center.

and yes.....he said he chose the agency he did because they paid the most.  I'm not buying that, but still.

He said he was considering residential because of the money. :(

This is why foster parents get a bad rap.  I hate this.

Meanwhile, all I could think about was kiddos baby sis and her number of placements and hoping she doesn't end up with somebody like him, hoping she ends up with a good family and not age out of care.

I think of my child, her residential stay, her disrupted adoption (or is that dissolved? I always get confused). It was after adoption was final.  Yet, she still worked at it, was willing to try to trust us, was willing to try to be a family girl and he she is in the family she's meant to be with, being cherished, loved and treasured forever.

In some ways, kiddos baby sis situation is made worse by being so daggone cute.  She gets so many inquiries because of that and then either gets shut down, they get turned down for not being a good match, they back out because of her history or she gets disrupted after in a home.

It's time to stop the cycle. Can you be the change the world needs to see? If you can be stubborn and out stubborn some cute kids that need a healthy home, and can provide healing and patient, connected parenting, please consider fostering, adopting or both.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Christmas List

Well, kiddo has finally gotten to the point where she'll ask for what she wants without us having to fish and push and prod until we get an answer.

Each Christmas, at best, she's asked for about 3 things and having to ask her a zillion times.

We asked her the other day what she'd like for Christmas, rattling off a few suggestions since she struggles with it normally. She kept saying no to our suggestions and given what the suggestions were, that made it obvious she knew what she wanted.

We asked.....

her answer....

a car.

When did this little girl start growing up so much?

When we said she needed to know IF we decided to do that, it wasn't like she'd be able to get other things for Christmas.

She said just 2 more things....

bananas

turtles

That girl!!

She cracks me up.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Sibling Visit

Kiddos baby sis wasn't able to come to her birthday party at the end of June so me and the therapist put our heads together to see when we could plan a playdate.

Given that baby sis's birthday is early August, we decided to make a playdate special at the half way mark and celebrate both their birthdays together.

The therapist came up with the place and we made plans.

As time got closer and closer, kiddo was showing more and more anxiety.  Finally, she comes out with it.  The place the therapist chose was where their last family used to vacation.

I reached out and we changed the location and got together.  The therapist said baby sis hadn't even acknowledged that she'd ever been there before. The therapist also talked to baby sis and she said "yes, let's move it, I want her to have as much fun as me".  So much progress. No meltdowns.

The most amazing visit ever!!

It's so obvious how much better baby sis is getting.

She called me by my name. That has never happened. I'm a grown up that has gotten to the point where I'm enough of her life to now have a name. lol

When kiddo refused to go on the slide with her, she didn't throw a temper tantrum.  I offered to go with her and she always turns us down when we offer to do things kiddo doesn't want to. She'd rather not do something she wants than do it without her big sis.  This time, she waited awhile, came to me and asked me to go on the slide with her and asked big sis to watch us.

when kiddo didn't want to do something, she wasn't aggressive and rough. She's not cruel and hurtful, but normally plays way too rough and in a dysregulated way.  She pouted in a normal way but didn't lose her mind over being turned down.

She didn't eat all her lunch.  Normally she eats all her food and half of kiddos.

She nearly cried at the end of visit.

That broke my heart, but also made me smile deep in my soul for having a normal reaction.

She has since been almost matched with somebody local to us and they backed out at the last moment.  They are having a time finding somebody willing and able to accept her issues.  I keep sharing the DSS facebook post of her. Maybe one day she can find permanency and be the treasured daughter of a family the way her sister is for us.

The girls exchanged gifts at the visit.  They had sno cones together and tons of water play.
Our visit was at a water park.  The therapist said 5 hours.  Kiddo said 1 hour, maybe 2 if it was going well, because she stresses her out so much. We got there and kiddo kept saying she wanted to stay longer.  We were there 4 1/2 hours and then it wasn't because of baby sis that we left. We were burnt and at that point the park was at max capacity, which is a trigger for kiddo.