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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Years Goals

How did everybody do on their goals last year?  I see alot of people say they don't make new years goals because nobody actually follows them, but you can't reach a goal you can't see.  Doesn't have to be new years, I actually recommend short term goals.  Set mini goals. Make small changes first. The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention. Every day either puts you closer to your goals or further from your goals (even if you maintain your status quo, you're a day further).  Progress, nt perfection.

While we're at it, make those goals smart!! Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timebound (in the absense of a time frame, my target date is December 31)

Last Years Goals Vs Actual

  • work on attachment parenting, measure of success will be decreased meltdowns and increased communication
    • meltdowns actually probably increased slightly, but they were more productive and resulted in further healing.  As visits with sis increased, anxiety also increased. On a positive note, one of the teachers said we should have more kids because there should be more kids like ours :)  Given that in 5th grade, teachers were running from her in the grocery store when they saw us, I'm counting this as a success

  • be the best wife I can for hubster by listening and spending more time together
    • Failed miserably in this area

  • Reduce size by 1 dress size minimum for year
    • my weight has essentially maintained for the year, as has my size

  • Payoff at least 1 bill to make more disposable income to enjoy our 'lil family
    • actually, paid off 2 (more, but opened one back up), however, still no more disposable income yet because of job change and renter moving out in April and didn't replace the tenant until November

  • do more as a family than Friday night dinners
    • we went to several movies, Amazement Square, concerts, Safari Park drive thru zoo, 2 beach trips, Short Pump, Dave & Busters, Build a Bear, zoo, dolphin watching, Bowling, Nutcracker, Atlanta and lots of activities there, Cirque du Soleil, put in a gazebo with firepit and did weiney roasts....overall, pretty happy with our choices here

  • Get kiddo into activity for self esteem as well as distraction from stressing over her baby sis
    • we got her into softball, she ended up quitting that due to bullies, working on finding replacement for 2015

  • make sizable bonus for 2014 and participate in monthly incentives every month
    • well, I changed jobs, but it's looking up!! Changing jobs was better decision than sticking it out and making bonuses there, even if it required forfeiting several months of bonus opportunities while waiting on my branch to actually open

  • be a good leader for my team at work
    • again, changed jobs, picked my own team, we're one of the tops in the company, so I'm guessing this one is a success

  • start savings account for kiddo
    • totally forgot I made this goal, ouch!!

  • consistent savings for us, $1 first week, $2 second, etc.
    • acck!! I suck!! lol

  • Contribute to an area of passion (ie, kids backpack program, holiday gifting for kids in need, foster support)
    • renewing our foster license so we can provide respite for the baby sis
    • did holiday gifting
    • inquired on kids backpack program and leader has promised to contact us with more details on how to proceed

  • Be the best me that's possible
    • Always room to improve, but also did better than normal.  I went outside my box. I took risks.  I lead.  Changed jobs and showed my daughter it's not okay to be abused, even verbally.  Made compromises that improved the overall quality of life.

I'll be back shortly with this years goals!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Kiddo has been getting up several times a night for the past few weeks and was super hyper yesterday.  I asked her to calm down and tell me what was going on.  After asking a few different ways, she said she's worried.  She said she keeps having nightmares about her baby sis doing things to her new parents. She's worried that she'll never get adopted and worried that we'll make her call her back.

I reassured her that we weren't going to force her to call her sister, the option was always there, but it wasn't a mandatory "chore", that we're looking to be supportive.

She said she wants to go back to visits every few months, not every month.

I gave her ideas from my past therapy on negative thoughts and told her to repeat "it's just a dream" or "she's never done that in the past, it's not likely now" every time and for her to come to tell that instead of zombies so I can remind her and reassure her, as well as give her an extra hug.

She said she's worried S is so much like her that she'll do something like that. I asked what happened that provoked her doing that in her last home (to remind her it was self defense) and asked her how many times she'd done that to us (none).  I reminded her if she hadn't done that since then and only did in self defense, then logically it was to be expected if S is "just like her" that she would only respond like that in self defense too, instead of offensive aggression.

I asked her if she'd ever thought about doing that to us and she said no.  That was to remind her she only gets violent when somebody is violent with her and she's not a bad kid.

She was still hyper and anxious, but I think it was productive.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Avoiding the Past

After the last few sibling visits, I realized we were totally wrong for even considering adopting the baby sis. The more I see them together, the more I understand that they probably would trigger each other horribly and we'd see bad regression.

They enjoy seeing each other. They worry about each other. They love each other.

They do NOT need to be together though. S's eyes dilated beyond belief (the fight/flight, anxiety, excitement), pulling Kiddos's arm off nearly, Our daughters's distress, all of it was more obvious than normal this last visit. Kiddos's PTSD was triggered at Thanksgiving and again at Christmas. I don't usually see that during visits.

October-December, we had 3 visits together, that's way more than normal.

Kiddo moved in in December 2012.

Her first visit with baby sis after placement with us was April 2013, then June 2013, November 2013, December 2013, March 2014, May 2014, June 2014, August 2014, October 2014, November 2014 and December 2014.

I think they're too frequent now and we need to back off. As the frequency escalated, so has kiddos's anxiety.

Two recent signs of this:

I was sitting in the bathroom talking to kiddo while she was getting ready for school before winter break started and cuddling the kitten. I said something about my mom and she told me to not talk about my mom in front of the cat, it would make the cat sad and maybe she doesn't want to think about the past.

This weekend S called Kiddo and we missed the call. Kiddo refuses to call her back. No reason and I'm certainly not pushing it. I think it's obvious she's not ready for that right now, but still....I wish I had a crystal ball and knew how to handle things like this.

Sometimes our kids just want one family and would prefer not to see things from the past that are reminders of past neglect and abuse.

Kiddo has been a tad wonky since Thanksgiving. With these things, I wonder if it's because of the escalating visits.

She no longer even pulls out her life book.

I'll take the lead from Kiddo, I think instinctively she knows what she needs, I just wish she was a little more obvious about it sometimes, so I didn't feel like I was barking up the wrong tree later. Her body knows what she can handle and she may not be able to process these things at this time and stay healthy.

Even worse, it's hard because I know S is the opposite and needs more time with her, especially now, but our #1 priority is our kid and we have to protect her first.  We'll do what we can for S of course, but we have to do that around what must be done for our own child.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

She ate Santa's cookies

When a child is most undeserving of love is when she needs it the most.

Words to remember.

She's been driving us nuts for about a week now, after such a pleasant calm.

I'm trying to remember she's creeping up on the time with us that matches the time with her last disruption.  She treats us worse because losing us would hurt too much.  It's too risky to be vulnerable enough to let herself be loved as she creeps upon this traumaversary, so she's trying to be unloveable.

In a weird way, I guess it's a compliment.

How terrible it must be to live in such fear though.  I wish her brain was okay with being loved and loving back all the time, not just sometimes.

Yeah, she ate Santa's cookies, raw, uncooked dough plus the ones we had fixed. Poor Santa, but poor Kiddo for feeling the need to mess with tradition and test limits.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Wanting Momma time

It's been awhile since kiddo has wanted and craved that momma/daughter time we used to have so frequently.  After she hit 13, she shut me out for awhile.  90% of that was depression and I knew it, although of course, everybody else said it was being a teenager.

She's started coming out of it though and we've spent time playing Mario together, she's requested back rubs and reading to her at night.  She's requested I fix her snack at night instead of her.  She's helped me cook a few times.  She's even climbed in bed before bedtime and asked for me to lay down with her.

Yesterday I took off of work and she claimed to be sick and wanted to stay home. I knew she was faking so I told her to go to school and the nurse would call if she needed me. Her braces knocked loose during the day and I ended up picking her up early anyway to take her to the ortho.  Ironically though, as soon as she got home, she "felt fine" and was up to jumping on the trampoline for awhile.

I was off on a hot date with hubs when we got the call from school. We were sitting there eating sushi and left to go pick her up.  She was so thrilled to find out we left from there to come get her. It made her feel important and that she was first.  (we didn't tell her we only had one piece of sushi left and popped it in our mouth and asked for the ticket quick, we did tell her about standing up to get them to rush ticket over though, she loved that and felt like her feelings really mattered).

I crave the momma/daughter time more than her, so I'm loving that I've got my daughter back, for however long I have her.

Everybody says it's because Christmas is coming. I'd like to think it's not such a shallow reason.

When she's shutting us out, it's visibly distressing to her when we try to push through, so I'm pretty sure it's real.

The Nutcracker

We have an annual tradition of going to the Nutcracker.

It started with us getting 3 tickets one year to go in hopes that our child would be found in time to go.  She wasn't, so we had a spare seat beside us.

The following year, we got 3 tickets, she still wasn't found so we took our Godson.  It was amusing to see him watching the girls, but even more so to hear hubs tease him asking if he'd have his pic taken with a ballerina.

Fast forward a year!! FINALLY!!! Our lovely daughter got to go with us.  She loved it so much she requested we make it a yearly tradition. We'd gotten in the habit, so that was pretty easy to do, we just added a tradition of getting a nutcracker there in addition to going.

This year we got 4, thinking if S wasn't with a family, we could steal her for the day. Since she is in transition, we didn't ask and asked kiddos BFF to go instead.

That was money WELL SPENT!!! Kiddo always loves it and BFF was absolutely nuts about it. They enjoyed it so much and I think we now have a new tradition to take her with us.

We got them nutcrackers too and shirts.

Here's her collection, left to right: 2014, 2013 and 2012

Thanksgiving Day

We were invited to spend Thanksgiving Day with S and her new family.

I was hesitant to say yes, thinking first overnight and not moved in yet, plus first holiday for the siblings together since being separated.

The SW though, said unless it would adversely affect kiddo, they would really appreciate it if we could say yes though, because they're struggling with convincing S that she can still see her sis after adoption and for them to have us for a holiday together would go miles to help prove their willingness to maintain the connection.

We went, we had a good time, but it was a little odd to spend Thanksgiving with people we barely know (outside of S).  They are really nice and we're optimistic that it will work.

We left when we noticed that kiddo seemed to be getting a little tired of the constant attention.  I think we'll save holiday visits for a day near the holiday instead of the actual holiday.  We all missed our traditions, totally want to spend time with them again, it was fun, just not on the holiday.

We came home and put our tree up and had our Thanksgiving meal on Saturday at home.

Sibling Visit

Kiddo's baby sis is still in visits with her future family.  We spent Thanksgiving Dinner with them and they were seeing her every other week.  This past weekend was their weekend to have her and we took kiddo and her BFF to see the Nutcracker.

Since we'd be in a central location for that, we suggested they meet us for dinner Sunday.

Saturday at 6 pm, I get a text that they beat us to the restaurant and went ahead and got us a table.  Eek!!! I was scrolling like crazy to make sure I hadn't given them Saturdays date instead of Sunday.  Thankfully it wasn't my mistake, but I sure was stressed thinking of baby S there waiting on her sister and not seeing her.

We replanned for a quick lunch before because turns out 6 pm on Sunday wasn't even good, they'd said yes thinking Saturday.  After lunch, I snookered the baby into going to see Santa with sis and BFF. We got the best pic of the 3 of them with Santa.  Memories to cherish.

First meltdown for S almost happened at lunch, but she held it together and her new dad handled it perfectly.

Kiddo said she thought S was going to pull her arm off of her though. Kiddo was so ready to get out of there, loves her sis, but gets annoyed quickly.

The more I see them together though, the more I understand the need to keep them as only children.  So glad they're close though for frequent contact.

The girls exchanged presents and S went all out on Kiddo's gift. We kinda did for S, but that's normal for us, S spent her own money, plus made cookies.

I wish there wasn't so much guilt with those 2 and so much triggering.  They adore each other and didn't deserve to be put in this situation. The first 2 pics are what Kiddo received from S, I forgot to take a pic of what she gave S, other than the picture she made her, so sweet.

Jessica Elf

Wow!! I've been lazy, it's been over 3 weeks since I've posted here. I may have to go back and figure out where I left off so I can catch up.

Lots of facebook posts of people elves on a shelf. I can not for the life of me figure out why people would waste a bunch of sugar for snow angels, go to the trouble of decorating cheerios for donuts and most of all have their elves do mischievious things instead of setting good examples.

Our elf has been kiddo's "friend" since day 1, her secret keeper, a way to get messages to Santa and stuff like that instead of shaming her.  Although last night for the first time, after getting annoyed with repeated food binging in the middle of the night, Jessica ended up on the fridge door. No shame, but at least a way to make it more difficult to open the door unnoticed.

Sometimes I wonder if the food issues will ever stop.

We can't lock it up, that would be counter productive and make her feel unsafe.  Having so much food available helps her feel safe. The downside is that if she wakes up in the middle of the night and gets stressed, without us or the pups awake to help remind her of healthy coping skills, she binges on unhealthy stuff, raw dough mostly.

If anybody has ideas, please feel free to share them in the comments.

She has a snack box. She has approved foods, we only ask that she doesn't eat stuff like that. We've even asked that she wake us up for us to cook it, but when she's stressed her brain doesn't operate as it should.

Oh wait!! This was suppose to be about Jessica, right?