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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Spoiled or Loved?

Some people say we spoiled our daughter alot.

My 2 besties say "no, she's just loved"

Yeah, she gets almost everything she wants.  She asks for very little though. She has no sense of entitlement. She says "I'm so spoiled" and knows she has tons, but it's so rare for her to actually ask for something.

The other day hubs ordered the Echo for her Christmas present.  We have almost all the Christmas shopping done already, because it's so fun to shop for her.

This morning she came in and said "I used to have a stuffed Alvin the Chipmunk and my dog took it. I really miss it. You should get that for me".

5 minutes later it's ordered for Christmas. Alvin, Brittany, a Christmas CD and Christmas DVD.

Yeah, we love spoiling her.  I mean, LOVING her!!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Back to School

Kiddo broke her leg in March of this year and in mid March had surgery. She was out of school and home schooled the rest of the year. 

So much progress with attachment and anxiety has been made since then.

Needless to say, I was dreading her going back to school.

Back to School night was the day before vacation and she was having anxiety just on the way to the IPad meeting.  I thought we were going to have a meltdown, but she sucked it up and made it inside and found a couple of her best school friends and was glad she went because she missed them. 

We're a week in, 2nd day of school, she was in tears when I dropped her off (but in all fairness, had physical therapy that morning and was late to school as a result, both pain and off schedule was bad).  I was worried it would develop a habit, but she's been fine all week.  

Her and BFF still are trying to talk daddy into home schooling them, but they're not making progress. 

Hoping for a smooth school year. Smoother summer than normal, so optimistic that we're on a good path now.


We took kiddo and her BFF on vacation week before last and it was one of our better ones. Only one incident and it was over within the length of time it takes to ride go karts.

We got so many compliments on the girls behaviors, even to the extent of being asked if we wanted to trade.

The girls wanted to ride go karts and when we got there, kiddo backed out and was near a meltdown, seemingly in fear.  Her BFF and hubs rode go karts and kiddo sat on the bench mad.

Not long after they were through, she said "I can't stay mad at y'all when you're making me laugh like that".  We asked why she was mad and she said she didn't know.

Therapy the following Tuesday and her therapist thinks she was triggered by something that reminded her of her birth family. I'm not really buying it this time. Normally I'd agree, but this time it just doesn't feel like that's what it was.

She's been okay ever since too. Not sure what was up there.

As for the vacation, we took the girls to the Great Smoky Mountains and rode first class on a train. The girls loved it, and honestly, it was one of the better vacations we've had on so many levels.  It was relaxing and full at the same time.

Some highlights:

BFF tied a cherry stem with her tongue. (she has a giraffe tongue)

\We all tried frog legs. They really  DO taste like chicken.

We went and saw an Indian dance

The girls and I were disappointed that we didn't see any living bears while we were gone, but we did see this stuffed bear in a store.

We went to the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. The girls were amazed at the amount of racism in the day demonstrated.

The amazing view from our hotel. Oh, and we had a window bench seat in the room that BFF slept in instead of the bed.

Our first time on a scenic train like this, and it was AMAZING.  Anybody wondering what it's like, it's worth it.  

First class seating, but we sat on the side with tables with 2 chairs each so we could all have a window view:

Speaking of window views:

Amazing food on the train too:

 The girls had Shirley Temples. The server was so impressed with their behavior and hair, she didn't even charge us.

And desserts for all in first class....

The gimme's were great on first class too. We all got a Smokies travel cup, unlimited refills on the train from first class.  The girls got nice spiral bound coloring books vs coloring sheets in the other cars.  They got free frisbees.  We all got nice canvas tote bags (and I have a tote bag fetish, so that made me happy).  The above desserts instead of airplane pretzels.

We would do it again.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Orthodontist Visit

You may remember this:;postID=3162261861794907511;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=105;src=postname

Kiddo has brushed her teeth faithfully since then, but she is a bit lazy with it and she has an issue not brushing her gums well. It feels weird to her. She brushes them, but not well.

A few days ago, she was brushing her teeth and the wire popped out of her braces, they'd gotten hung on her toothbrush. It was after hours and the on call person didn't answer or call back.

Hubs cousin is an ortho assistant for an orthodontist out of town, so I took kiddo over to her house to clip the braces for us.  Pretty funny looking to not have braces on the 2 front teeth.

Once we got kiddo into the ortho, the assistant there YELLED at her and refused to fix them, because she's "not taking care of her gums".

Babygirl almost had a meltdown, anxiety and PTSD set in and hubs said the trip home was horrible.  She managed to get regulated with daddys help before they got home to her xanax and then he found out what happened.

He called the doc and spoke with the office manager, who promised to take care of it.  The doc called and apologized on behalf of the assistant and promised to make notes in her chart.

For now, I'm looking for trauma info to provide to the doctors office.

It's NEVER okay to yell at a child, it's VERY not okay to yell at a trauma child. That could have ended very badly.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Progress Report

Therapy went well last week and we don't have therapy again for 6 weeks, as therapist is very pleased with how well she's doing and the increased level of maturing.

A few signs of progress:

One example of being very open, a guy from kiddos school texted her and asked for nude photos, she said no and he asked if he could send her some and she said no (actually, she was a little more WTF on it all, but that's okay). She immediately blocked him, unfriended him and sent me the screen print.  We sent it to the deputy and the deputy went to talk to his parents.

At therapy, when kiddo was asked why she seemed calmer despite S going back to residential, she said "When I saw what she did unprovoked, I realized that I'm not responsible for what happens to her, she's responsible for her own actions and if she doesn't care enough to even try, it's not on me".
She asks for what she needs, instead of making us try to read minds and her blowing up later.  She even requested waiting awhile before the next visit, that she's feeling angry about this and needs some time.

She got nothing less than a B on her report card.

She tripped and had to be recasted and can't swim until just shortly before her birthday. No blowup at all. She recognizes it was her, not somebody else, that put her boot in the floor to be tripped over. She said if she's not swimming by her birthday, she still wants her friends over, that they can have fun and she'll enjoy having them here.  

One of her bouts of depression was from feeling bad about hurting our feelings and things she's said. She said she really cried hard later after we told her what she'd said during the blow up the day of her surgery.

We were talking on vacation and I was saying that you can't hold anger or get upset and sad at somebody that you don't care about, and she said she wasn't sure how she felt about my realizing that she cares for us.

She has started saying I love you, to BOTH of us on a semi-regular basis.

Of course, all this progress didn't come without a little set back. We had a few minor issues after therapy. Therapy provoked a few emotions, but over all, 2 steps forward, 1 back is still trending forward.

One set back was a "boyfriend" on facebook that she lied about the age of and she got sad and depressed when we said no to him coming to her party or him even being her boyfriend.  He has a reputation of being creepy from people we trust, so no way.

A step forward was when he said they could just keep their "relationship" a secret and not tell us and she told him she didn't want to keep things from her parents.

She got really depressed afterwards and that required some serious time in and xanax. When I asked what was wrong, she said therapy brought up some feelings. She said the depression and tantrum didn't have anything to do with the boy. I told her I thought it was because she was upset with herself for not being upfront with us and she's starting to develop a conscience. She said she wasn't admitting anything (laughingly) and said "bla bla" which is code for "I love you, but it's still hard to say".

She also came close to losing it at my nieces graduation because of the crowd, despite the xanax and started to get demanding about leaving early. We got it together though and had a very nice day.

She almost lost it on the way home and refused dinner, wanting to hurry and get home. We told her whether she ordered dinner wouldn't affect the time we got home because we were having dinner. She still refused.  We ordered ourselves extra and she ended up eating it later (our intention) and her mood cheered up.

All in all, I'm so ridiculously proud of this baby girl that I can't stand it.

Even my brother e-mailed me today to tell us thanks for coming and said "I guess kiddo can do okay with crowds as long as there are babies and animals, huh?"

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Things to See or Do In Virginia

I was reading about the 8 wonders of Virginia and there was an offensive comment made on the thread about wondering why anybody would want to go to Virginia?

Why? Our state is beautiful!!

Obviously they have issues and have seen very little of Virginia.

Here are some of my favorite spots in no particular order:

Virginia Beach, what's not to love about sun & sea & sand. Pros: you can walk ANYWHERE from your hotel, not as crowded as places like Myrtle Beach, SC, very clean and family friendly  Cons: starting to get commercialized and busy, starting to get pricey

Williamsburg, a trip into historic times; pros: things for any budget and things to do for every type person
Dixie Caverns, Salem, VA
pros: inexpensive cavern experience, not crowded at all
cons: small

Luray Caverns, Luray, VA
pros: huge and lots to see
cons: way too crowded
Safari Park, Drive Thru Zoo, Natural Bridge VA
pros: hysterical to drive thru and see this critter staring at you thru your car door, a spot to walk thru afterwards as well for petting type animals and a place to enjoy a picnic
cons: careful feeding them, so they don't attack your car, also your car will smell like food for awhile, a little pricey for the experience, but I'd still do it again

Natural Bridge
pros: stunningly beautiful, great natural walk and if you have the energy there is a waterfall available to visit, can't wait to take kiddo and her bff there when their ankle/knee heals (the con is the number of stairs to get down to this beauty, not for the physically challenged)
Jamestown, VA first permanent settlement, the history, the beauty, what's not to love about that

Chateau Morrisette, Floyd VA
Virginia is full of nice wineries, this just happens to be "our" winery of choice to visit, great for special occassions and they even have fun things on the lawn for lower budget fun during the peak season. 5 stars!!

Great restaurant, great view and if you do the wine testing, you get free wine glasses with the logo on them. That was fun.

Lots and lots of museums in Virginia
Despite being a small town, Martinsville, VA has a super nice museum, Virginia Museum of Natural History (affiliated with Smithsonian)
pros: inexpensive, not crowded at all, met Carl Edwards, race car driver there
cons: not much else to do, so could be expensive if that was all you're doing, go there during a race

This is actually better than museums in Richmond VA
Other museums visited: Amazement Square, Lynchburg, VA, enjoyed this very much
2 of the childrens museums in Richmond, VA (one we were not impressed with at all, one we enjoyed, but wouldn't put in the loved it category)

Racing, Martinsville, VA and Richmond, VA
pros: short track racing for both, can see from any seat in the house, inexpensive  or expensive, Richmond has organized traffic pattern, Martinsville you can run into drivers and pit crew in any restaurant and they're all friendly
cons: Martinsville has a HORRIBLE traffic pattern for getting out of the race and restaurants are crowded and annoying to deal with during race weekend, make reservations early or you'll be stuck in sub par accomodations

Philpott Lake, Bassett VA
special to me, my great grandfathers house is under this lake. This is a man made lake and stunningly beautiful, cheap fun

Mabry Mill, Meadows of Dan VA
pros: on postcards in every state because it's so beautiful, cheap fun, you can also learn how to make moonshine just looking at the equipment nearby, heehee
cons: restaurant is VERY busy and small, long waits
recommendation: pack a picnic instead, lots of picnic spots

Lovers Leap, Meadows of Dan VA
the view says it all

Maymont Park, Richmond VA
mansion, gardens, wildlife.....something for everyone
(although truthfully I loved the park/pond we had a picnic at right outside of Maymont even better, but I can't remember what it's called. It's right at Maymont, we had the place to ourselves, fed ducks and walked the path)

Virginia Science Museum and Aquarium, Virginia Beach, VA

Monticello, Charlottesville, VA
yep, tons of history in VA, home of Thomas Jefferson
pros: lots of things to see
cons: you don't get to see the whole house, it's a guided tour and no photos

Metro Zoo, Richmond VA
Natural Bridge Zoo, (walk thru), Natural Bridge, VA
Safari Park Drive Thru Zoo, Natural Bridge, VA
Mill Mountain Zoo, Roanoke VA

Safari Park Drive Thru Zoo gets the most points
all the other zoos have caged animals that make me sad
Natural Bridge Zoo, however, does have elephant rides and photo opportunities feeding certain animals

Natural Bridge and Metro, you can feed or pet the giraffes

Roanoke Star and Roanoke VA in general
lots of fun things to do....museums, zoo, history, cultural opportunities, good food, caverns, etc

Amusement Parks
Busch Gardens, Williamsburg VA
Kings Dominion, Doswell, VA

Busch Gardens, one of the biggest amusement parks in the world, not just area

Kings Dominion, I like because it's smaller and you can go thru it all in a day. I also like the water park there.  

Blue Ridge Parkway
all along the skyline
pros: nature, beauty, free
cons: weather permitting, once you're on the parkway, you're in for a drive, don't change your mind 

All these things are some of the reasons I love calling Virginia home.

Living in the country, but only hours away from most of these places. Even aliens have sense enough to know Virginia is for Lovers and more.  

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Play Date Disaster

We got to see firsthand the mild/moderate aggressiveness of the baby sis today.

It confirmed our decision not to have her for the weekend, but my heart is breaking for my baby, for little sis and for her foster parents.

We had lunch together and baby sis asked to ride with us to the movie theater. Given the behavior earlier this week, we set the ground rules first and she promised to behave. She did in the car. When we got to the movies, however, all bets were off.

We ended up leaving early before kiddo go affected too terribly by it.

We had some good discussion on the way home and some clinginess after we got home.

I'm sure more is coming later, but hopefully we headed off the worst of it.


Baby sis is going to residential Tuesday. Our last playdate had to end early. Baby sis doesn't know yet.  We all hope and pray she gets the help she needs.

Kiddo and I both ended up with a headache and kiddo hung out in the gazebo for awhile to decompress.

I'm proud of our baby for working so hard to do the right things.